'A countryside of birchwood and bog'

From Celts and boars to earls and knights, Huntly as we know it is born...

 Huntly spent much of its long history under the name of Milton of Strathbogie. The name is thought to mean "valley of the bubbling stream".

The origins of Huntly probably date back to a settlement serving the original castle, the Peel of Strathbogie, a wood stockade upon an earth mound built in the 1180s.

The inhabitants of the area would then have been Gaelic-speaking Celts. The untamed countryside of birchwoods and bog was home to wild boar and wolves.

For centuries life was dominated by powerful land owners, first Duncan, Earl of Fife, then the earls of Strathboglyn and, in the 14th century, the Gordon family of Norman knights from Huntly in Berwickshire. The Gordons, who built the present castle, were to hold sway for 500 years. Major change came in 1769, when the Duke of Gordon established a planned town with the present Square, laid out on a grid. By 1799 Huntly had 3000 inhabitants. Textiles played a significant part in the economy, but the industry had disappeared by 1850, victim of foreign competition.

The turning point for commerce in Huntly was the arrival of the railway in 1854. It later became an important freight centre on the Aberdeen to Inverness line and shared in the agricultural booms and depressions of the 20th century.

The History of Strathbogie by Patrick W. Scott, 212pp is available locally.

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