Visit Kemnay and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Kemnay, Aberdeenshire. This village on the River Don, in a pleasant basin facing Bennachie, owes its existence to the granite industry, and nearly all its substantial granite houses were built by the granite workers themselves, for themselves, in the 19th century. Kemnay House to the West of the village dates largely from the 17th century, with later additions. It was rifled and plundered in the Civil War, but since 1688 it has belonged to the Burnetts, a cadet branch of the Burnetts of Leys.
Thomas Burnett, the second of the Kemnay line, was a friend and adviser to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and had a hand in preparing the ground for the Hanoverian cause in Britain. He went to Paris in 1702, and was thrown into the Bastille through the influence of the Jacobites. The Electress discovered where he was and, by exerting her influence through the Duchess of Orleans, had him set at liberty after a year and a half in durance vile.
Alexander, the fourth Burnett laird, was a friend of Frederick the Great and served as British chargé d'affaires in Berlin. It was his son John who, in 1830, opened the first quarry at Paradise Hill, one of several in the area that were to form the basis of a great industry.
Kemnay granite, a magnificent silver-grey stone that has a light tinge of brown caused by the tints of felspar, and contains both black and white mica, was soon being produced in enormous quantities. It was here that steam was first applied to the quarrying industry, and later that blasting shots were first fired by electricity.
Seven bridges over the Thames, and innumerable public buildings all over the world, were built of the stone quarried here, and Kemnay became the home of a colony of quarrymen, granite-masons, and sett-makers.
In the first decade of the present century, great numbers of skilled sett-makers and masons from Kemnay took part in an annual migration to the United States to work from spring to fall in every state from New York and Maine to the Middle West, returning to winter at home. Others went to Odessa to teach the Russians how to make setts. Setts, it should perhaps be explained, are the paving-stones for streets, not pavements.
Nearby towns: Insch, Inverurie, Kintore, Westhill
Nearby villages: Auchleven, Bankhead, Blackburn, Chapel of Garioch, Colpy, Comers, Corsindae, Craigearn, Dunecht, Echt, Fingask, Garlogie, Hatton of Fintray, Kinmuck, Kinnernie, Kirkton of Skene, Kirktown of Bourtie, Monymusk, Oldmeldrum, Oyne, Pitcaple, Pitfichie, Pittodrie, Pittrichie, Port Elphinstone, Thainstone, Tillyfourie, Tough, Whitehouse
Have you decided to visit Kemnay or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Kemnay bed and breakfast (a Kemnay B&B or Kemnay b and b)
- a Kemnay guesthouse
- a Kemnay hotel (or motel)
- a Kemnay self-catering establishment, or
- other Kemnay accommodation