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For the South African town, see Fraserburg.
Fraserburgh Harbour.jpg
The Fraserburgh fleet
Fishing Boats in Fraserburgh Harbour
Fraserburgh is located in Aberdeen
Fraserburgh shown within Aberdeenshire
Population 12,630 (2006)[1]
OS grid reference NJ997670
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district AB43
Dialling code 01346
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
Coordinates: 57°41′35″N 2°00′18″W / 57.693°N 2.005°W / 57.693; -2.005

Fraserburgh (/ˈfrzərbrə/; Scots: The Broch or Faithlie,[2] Scottish Gaelic: A' Bhruaich) is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland with a population recorded in the 2001 Census at 12,454[3] and estimated at 12,630 in 2006.[1] It lies at the far northeast corner of Aberdeenshire, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Aberdeen, and 17 miles (27 km) north of Peterhead. It is the biggest shellfish port in Europe, landing over 12,000 tonnes in 2008,[4] and is also a major white fish port and busy commercial harbour.


The name of the town means, literally, 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser family that bought the lands of Philorth in 1504 and thereafter brought about major improvement due to investment over the next century. Fraserburgh became a burgh of barony in 1546. By 1570, the Fraser family had built a castle (Fraserburgh Castle) at Kinnaird's Head and within a year the area church was built. By the 1590s the area known as Faithlie was developing a small harbour.

In 1592, Faithlie was renamed Fraserburgh by a charter of the Crown under King James VI. Sir Alexander Fraser was given permission to improve and govern the town as Lord Saltoun. At present this title is still in existence and is held by Flora Fraser, 20th Lady Saltoun and head of Clan Fraser. The Royal Charter also gave permission to build a college and university in Fraserburgh allowing the Lord Saltoun to appoint a rector, a principal, a sub-principal, and all the professors for teaching the different sciences.

A grant from the Scottish Parliament in 1595 allowed the first college building to be erected by Alexander Fraser, and in 1597 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland recommended the Rev. Charles Ferme, then minister at the Old Parish, to be its first (and only) principal.[5]

In 1601, Fraserburgh became a burgh of regality. The college, however, closed only a decade or so after Ferme's arrest on the orders of James VI for taking part in the 1605 General Assembly, being used again only for a short time in 1647 when King's College, Aberdeen temporarily relocated owing to an outbreak of plague. A plaque commemorating its existence may be seen on the exterior wall of the remains of the Alexandra Hotel in College Bounds.

Fraserburgh thereafter remained relatively quiet until 1787 when Fraserburgh Castle was converted to Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Scotland's first mainland lighthouse. In 1803, the original 1571 church building was replaced and enlarged to seat 1000 people. The Auld Kirk was to be the standing authority in the town up until the 1840s.

The Statistical Account on the Parish of Fraserburgh, written between 1791–1799 (probably 1791) by Rev. Alexander Simpson of the Old Parish Church, shows that the population of Fraserburgh was growing with peaks due to seasonal employment. He records a population of about 2000 in 1780 of whom only 1000 resided in the town. There was an additional population of 200 in the village of Broadsea. He makes a point of the arrival of Dr. Webster in Fraserburgh in 1755 claiming that the population then only stood at 1682. By the time the account was written the population had increased by 518 souls since 1755. Rev. Simpson also gives accounts of deaths, births and marriages. Between 1784-1791, he claims to have an average of 37 baptisms, 14 marriages and 19 deaths per year. The statistical account mentions activities with the harbour. He describes the harbour as small but good, telling that it had the capability to take vessels with '200 tons burden' at the time the account was written. The account also mentions that Fraserburgh had tried and succeeded in shipbuilding especially after 1784. His account finishes speaking of a proposed enlargement of the harbour. He claims that the local people would willingly donate what they could afford but only if additional funding was provided by the Government and Royal Burghs.

The second statistical account, written as a follow up to the first of the 1790s, was written in January 1840 by Rev. John Cumming. He records population in 1791 as 2215 growing to only 2271 by 1811, but increasing massively to 2954 by 1831. He considered the herring fishing, which intensified in 1815, to be the most important reason for this population boom. By 1840 he writes that seamen were marrying early with 86 marriages and 60 births in the parish in the space of one year. On top of this increased population, he explains that the herring season seen an additional 1200 people working in the Parish. There is also mention of the prosperity of this trade bringing about an increase in general wealth with a change in both dress and diet. Cumming also records 37 illegitimate children from 1837–1840 although he keeps no record of death. The prosperity of the economy also brought about improvement within the town with a considerable amount of new houses being built in the town. The people were gaining from the herring industry as in real terms rent fell by 6% from 1815 to 1840. Lord Saltoun was described as the predominant land owner earning £2266,13s,4d in rents. This period also saw the extension of the harbour with a northern pier of 300 yards built between 1807–1812 and, in 1818, a southern pier built by Act of Parliament. Cumming states that no less than £30,000 was spent developing the harbour between 1807 and 1840 by which time the harbour held eight vessels of 45–155 tons and 220 boats of the herring fishery.

A railway station opened in 1865 and trains operated to Aberdeen via Maud and Dyce, as well as a short branch line to St. Combs. It was, however, closed to passengers in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts, though freight trains continued to operate until 1979, after which the station site was redeveloped. Currently, the closest operating station is Inverurie, 56 km (35 miles) away.


Fraserburgh has a marine climate heavily influenced by its proximity to the sea. As such summer highs and winter lows are heavily moderated, with very mild winter temperatures for a location so far north. The differences between seasons are very narrow as a result, with February averaging highs of 6.7 °C (44.1 °F) and August 17.2 °C (63.0 °F).[6] As a result of its marine influence, there is significant seasonal lag, with September being milder than June and October has slightly milder nights than May, in spite of a massive difference of daylight. The climate is overcast and wet with 1351.8 hours of sunshine. Temperature extremes have ranged from 26.6.C (July 1995) down to -14.4.C (February 1991) 747.7 millimetres (29.44 in) of precipitation per annum.[6]

Climate data for Fraserburgh 14m asl, 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 65.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 41.8 73.6 113.4 145.8 198.5 168.5 160.6 161.6 126.8 85.4 48.7 27.2 1,351.8
Source: Met Office[7]


The town has had a local lifeboat on service since 1806 which was run privately by the local Harbour Board until the first RNLI operated station opened in 1858. This was the first official RNLI station opened in Scotland. Throughout the 20th century, Fraserburgh suffered three lifeboat disasters. First, in 1919, the 'Lady Rothes' capsized while assisting H.M. Drifter Eminent. Coxswain Andrew Noble and Acting Second Coxswain Andrew Faquhar drowned.[8][9] Second, on 9 February 1953, six crew members lost their lives when the lifeboat capsized while escorting fishing vessels to the harbour. On this occasion Coxswain Andrew Ritchie, Mechanic George Duthie, Bowman Charles Tait, Assistant Mechanic James Noble and Crew Members John Crawford and John Buchan all lost their lives - the only survivor was Charles Tait. Lastly, on 21 January 1970 while on service to the Danish fishing vessel Opal, the lifeboat The Duchess of Kent capsized with the loss of five of her crew of six. Those killed were Coxswain John Stephen, Mechanic Frederick Kirkness and Crew Members William Hadden, James RS Buchan and James Buchan.[10] In 2009, a local campaign was started to raise £40,000 to erect an official monument to the 14 men who lost their lives whilst serving on the Fraserburgh Lifeboat. Coxswain Victor Sutherland announced in June 2010 that the total had been achieved. The monument was unveiled by Flora Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun, in August 2010.



The town has several attractions including an award winning sand beach,[12] a major harbour, the lighthouse museum, heritage centre and a variety of amenities and facilities. It is home to the famous Kinnaird Head lighthouse/castle. Fraserburgh also has a variety of churches including; 3 Church of Scotland congregations (Old Parish, South Church and West Church), 4 Pentecostal churches (Elim Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Calvary Church and Emmanual Christian Fellowship), as well as Baptist, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Congregational, Brethren and Bethesda Evangelical Church and the Salvation Army. Also the community war memorial by Alexander Carrick

The oldest church building in Fraserburgh is Fraserburgh Old Parish Church.

Photo gallery[edit]


The town has a variety of educational establishments, including four primary schools (Fraserburgh North School, Fraserburgh South Park School, Lochpots School, St Andrew's School), a secondary school (Fraserburgh Academy), a SEN school (Westfield School), and a college of further education (North East Scotland College).

For the short-lived Fraserburgh University see above under History.

Fraserburgh Academy[edit]

The academy was opened in 1909 in an older building which now houses the school's Art and Drama Department. A new, more modern school was built in the 1950s, and improvements are constantly being made. The school has had many successes these past few years including having several of its pupils gaining prizes over a number of years in a nationwide photography competition - Focus Environment.

In early 2009, a group of MPs from the Scottish Parliament held a petition committee meeting in the school. Also in early 2009, the art department of the school organised commemorate photo exhibition in memory Glover's early years of living in Fraserburgh. These photos were displayed throughout the town, and some of the photos are being used as part of the Homecoming Scotland campaign. See article - Thomas Blake Glover

In September 2009, the school had a visit from the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy who gave a speech to pupils from the school and others from the whole of Aberdeenshire. In 2010, the then Fraserburgh Academy's Rector, John Noble, introduced a new compulsory school dress code. This was done after consultation with pupils, staff and parents and the change has been well supported.


Bellslea Park

Fraserburgh has a number of sporting facilities including a swimming pool, ten-pin bowling alley, tennis courts, martial arts dojo, skatepark and football pitches.

Fraserburgh Golf Club[13] is the fifth oldest club in Scotland and seventh oldest in the world. It has both an 18-hole and a 9-hole course, and a modern clubhouse.

Fraserburgh Football Club is a senior football club that plays in the Highland League. Fraserburgh United F.C. is a junior football club that plays in the Scottish Junior Football North Premier League (also known as the North Superleague).

Fraserburgh Cricket Club was founded in 1862 and currently competes in the Aberdeenshire Grades Leagues. The club celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2012 and also succeeded in gaining promotion to Grade 2. In 2013 Fraserburgh Cricket Club won the Bon Accord Cup for only the second time in their history with a close fought victory over Knightriders CC. In 2014, Fraserburgh Cricket Club gained promotion by finishing second in Grade 2, meaning that they would play in the top tier of the Aberdeenshire Grades for the first time since 1975.


Fraserburgh is a major white fish port and busy commercial harbour. Seafarers' charity Apostleship of the Sea has a port chaplain in Fraserburgh to support the welfare and faith needs of seafarers arriving at the port.


Fraserburgh railway station opened in 1865 and closed to passengers in 1965. The railway line was built by the Formartine and Buchan Railway Company, which became part of the Great North of Scotland Railway. In 1923 the GNSR was incorporated into the London and North Eastern Railway, which was in turn nationalised on 1 January 1948. Passenger services on the Buchan lines were withdrawn in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts. Freight trains continued to operate Fraserburgh until 1979. The track was subsequently lifted. The closest operating station is currently Inverurie.

Notable people[edit]

  • George Bruce (1909–2002): Poet of the Scottish literary renaissance[14]
  • Elvis Dickie MBE: Co-founder of Brewdog. [15]
  • Henry Duthie MBE (born 1923): founding member of FJAS, Boys' Brigade stalwart, and Chairman of Fraserburgh 400.
  • Steve Fairnie (1951–1993) : Fraserburgh born musician, painter, sculptor, actor, board game designer, chicken hypnotist, frontman of the post-punk band Writz and half of the Techno Twins.
  • Rev. Charles Ferm (c.1565–1617): born in Edinburgh; Minister of Fraserburgh Old Parish Church (1598–1617), Principal of the University of Fraserburgh. A notable rebel minister against Episcopacy.
  • William Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun (1654–1715): born in Philorth; voted against ratifying the Treaty of Union.
  • Bill Gibb (1943–1988): born near Fraserburgh; became international fashion designer[16][17]
  • Thomas Blake Glover (1838–1911): born in Fraserburgh, where his father worked for the coastguard, moved to Japan and assisted in the introduction of modern industries. He remained in the country as a consultant to the Mitsubishi Company and died in Tokyo, a legend in his time.
  • Charles Alfred Jarvis Recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was the first person to be awarded a VC during the First World War.
  • Robertson Macaulay (1833–1915): one time president of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada).
  • Colonel William McConnachie of Knowsie, JP (1848–1932): businessman, local politician and Provost of Fraserburgh.
  • Charles Rawden Maclean (1815–1880), alias "John Ross" opponent of slavery, was born in Fraserburgh[18]
  • Major Harold J. Milne, OBE, MC, DL, JP (1889–1963): Provost of Fraserburgh, First Freeman of the Burgh of Fraserburgh.
  • Dennis Nilsen (1945–): serial killer;[19] born at Academy Road, Fraserburgh; committed his murders in London in the five years leading up to his arrest in 1983.[20]
  • James Ramsay (1733–89): born in Fraserburgh; anti-slavery campaigner.
  • Sir George Strahan (1838–87): born in Fraserburgh; British colonial governor.
  • Christian Watt (1833–1923): author of 'Christian Watt diaries'
  • Joseph Watt (1887–1955): Gardenstown born; recipient of the Victoria Cross 15 May 1917[21]
  • Elvis Watt MBE: Co-founder of Brewdog [22]

Twin towns[edit]


  1. ^ a b General Register Office for Scotland, 2006 population estimate, accessed 12 October 2009
  2. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary
  3. ^ Comparative Population Profile:Fraserburgh Locality Scotland, accessed 31 October 2008
  4. ^ Fishing Industry Statistics, Aberdeenshire Council (November 2009)
  5. ^ (ed.) Thomson, Thomas, Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, Church of Scotland General Assembly, Edinburgh, 1845.
  6. ^ a b "Fraserburgh climate information". Met Office. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Fraserburgh climate information". Met Office. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "Losses to Shipping and Property". The Times (42086). London. 1919-04-29. p. 7. 
  9. ^ "Notable Dates in History". The Flag in the Wind. The Scots Independent. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ward 3 - Fraserburgh and District, accessed 28 July 2009
  12. ^ Beaches, accessed 3 November 2008
  13. ^ Fraserburgh Golf Club – official website
  14. ^ George Bruce Poet of the Scottish literary renaissance, 29 July 2002
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Bill Gibb - Fashion, accessed 31 October 2008
  17. ^ Back in vogue - Bill Gibb, 15 October 2008
  18. ^ "John Ross Memorial". Fraserburgh Heritage Centre. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  19. ^ 1983: Nilsen 'strangled and mutilated' victims BBC News, accessed 31 October 2008
  20. ^ Famous Criminals Archived 12 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 31 October 2008
  21. ^ Joseph Watt, accessed 31 October 2008
  22. ^ [2]

External links[edit]