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Coordinates: 57°30′N 3°05′W / 57.500°N 3.083°W / 57.500; -3.083
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County townBanff
 • Total641 sq mi (1,660 km2)
 Ranked 13th of 34
Chapman code

Banffshire (/ˈbænfʃər/; Scots: Coontie o Banffshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhanbh) is a historic county, registration county[1] and lieutenancy area of Scotland. The county town is Banff, although the largest settlement is Buckie to the west. It borders the Moray Firth to the north, Morayshire and Inverness-shire to the west, and Aberdeenshire to the east and south.

Local government council[edit]

Sheriff Court and County Hall, the former headquarters of Banff County Council

Between 1890 and 1975 the County of Banff, also known as Banffshire, had its own county council. Banffshire County Council was based at the Sheriff Court and County Hall.[2]

In 1975 Banffshire was abolished for the purpose of local government and its territory divided between the local government districts of Moray and Banff and Buchan, which lay within the Grampian region. In 1996, the Grampian region was abolished, and the area now lies within the council areas of Moray and Aberdeenshire (note that both these polities have different boundaries to the historic counties of the same names).


Ben Rinnes

Banffshire consists of a 30-mile stretch of coast along the Moray Firth from Spey Bay to Cullaykhan Bay, the immediate hinterland, plus a long, tapering 'tail' stretching inland some 55 or so miles, thus giving the county an elongated shape.


Cullen House, Banffshire

Considerable evidence of prehistoric human habitation exists particularly near the coastal area. For example, the Longman Hill cairn[3] and Cairn Lee are situated in the northern portion of Banffshire in the vicinity of the Burn of Myrehouse.[4]

Located in the area are the ruins of several medieval castles and the 12th century kirk of Gamrie.

Until 1891 the county contained various exclaves which were locally situated in Aberdeenshire, the biggest being the parish and village of St. Fergus.[5]

Civil parishes[edit]

Banffshire civil parish map c. 1854

Civil parishes are still used for some statistical purposes, and separate census figures are published for them. As their areas have been largely unchanged since the 19th century this allows for comparison of population figures over an extended period of time.

From 1845 to 1930, parishes formed part of the local government system of Scotland, having parochial boards from 1845 to 1894.

  1. Aberlour
  2. Alvah
  3. Banff
  4. Bellie (probably now all in Moray)
  5. Boharm
  6. Botriphnie Drummuir
  7. Boyndie
  8. Cabrach
  9. Cullen
  10. Deskford
  11. Fordyce
  12. Forglen
  13. Gamrie
  14. Glass[6]
  15. Grange
  16. Inveraven or Inveravon
  17. Inverkeithny
  18. Keith
  19. Kirkmichael (possibly all in Banffshire)[clarification needed]
  20. Marlach or Marnoch
  21. Mortlach (Mortlach distillery)
  22. Rathven
  23. Rothiemay Milltown of Rothiemay
  24. Rothnie
  25. Ontiquhill or Ordiquhill




The Aberdeen–Inverness railway line runs through the town of Keith in the north of the county.


Principal mansions[edit]

Principal mansions in Banffshire c. 1854 The Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland (1854) Vol. I. by the Rev. John Marius Wilson[7] lists the following :

  • Auchintoul
  • Auchlunkart House (A. Steuart)
  • Balveny Castle or Balvenie Castle
  • Cairfield House (John Gordon)
  • Cullen House (Earl of Seafield)
  • Duff House
  • Edingight House (Major A.F. Innes Taylor)
  • Forglen House and Birkenbog (Sir Robert Abercrombie)
  • Gordon Castle (Duke of Richmond)
  • Letterfourie (Sir William Gordon)
  • Mayen House (William Duff)
  • Mount-coffer House (Earl of Fife)
  • Park House (Colonel Thomas Gordon)
  • Rothiemay

Castles in Banffshire[edit]

Fordyce Castle, Banffshire
  • Auchindune Auchindoun Castle
  • Balveny or Balvenie
  • Banff
  • Cullen (near Cullen) [8]
  • Deskford
  • Edinglassie
  • Findochty
  • Galval or Gouldwell Castle (Boharm Civil Parish)
  • Grange
  • Inchdrewer, Banff Parish
  • Park
  • Scuth

Notable residents[edit]


Most common surnames in Banffshire at the time of the United Kingdom Census of 1881:[12]

  1. Smith
  2. Grant
  3. Wilson
  4. Reid
  5. Watt
  6. Stuart
  7. Morrison
  8. Murray
  9. Cowie
  10. McDonald

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Registers of Scotland. Publications, leaflets, Land Register Counties Archived 7 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Banff Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court, Low Street, Banff, Including Boundary Walls and Railings (LB22039)". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Longman Hill (Long Barrow) | UK". The Modern Antiquarian.com. 24 December 1924. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  4. ^ United Kingdom Ordnance Survey Map 1:50,000 (2004)
  5. ^ "St Fergus through time | Census tables with data for the Scottish Parish". Visionofbritain.org.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  6. ^ The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland (1854) of Scotland (1854) by Rev. John Marius Wilson https://archive.org/stream/imperialgazettee01wils#page/791/mode/1up
  7. ^ The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland (1854). Vol I. by Rev. John Marius Wilson p.130
  8. ^ "History of Deskford Castle by Cullen & Deskford Church of Scotland". Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  9. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  10. ^ Parry, Gordon. "Francis George Cumming". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Library and Archive Catalog". The Royal Society. Retrieved 21 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Banffshire Genealogy Resources & Parish Registers". Retrieved 4 February 2017.

External links[edit]

57°30′N 3°05′W / 57.500°N 3.083°W / 57.500; -3.083