The following pages will take you on a tour of the town of  KEITH  with pictures and explanatory text

This is  Page 1

Featuring - The Auld Brig', Campbell's Hole, Union Bridge, St Rufus Church and The Longmore Hall

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There had been a ford in the river around this point for many centuries. Then in 1609 this bridge was built by Thomas Murray and his wife Janet Lindsay. It was reputed to be in memory of their son, who drowned while trying to cross the river. The bridge lies near to the old cemetery and close to the main A96 Aberdeen/Inverness road which carries a high volume of traffic day and night. Many famous people crossed the bridge including Daniel Defoe, who declared it "a fine bridge". A small plaque, placed on the bridge by the Keith and District Heritage Group, with a short description of the history of the bridge, is shown here.

Just visible through the arch of the bridge is Campbells Hole, which has an entrance underneath the large stone, clearly seen in the larger picture, and reputedly is the start of a tunnel which goes all the way through to Milton Tower. This may be, but it is more likely to be that some Campbells that were fighting and trying to escape from the Jacobites in 1754, hid beneath the stone and possibly died there. A very nice plaque has been erected on the grassy ground to the right of the Auld Brig', as you look at the picture, which depicts some of the more interesting events in the history of Keith and the surrounding area.  This is a view of the River Isla further downstream on a hot summer's day.     

Built in 1770, widened in 1816 and again in 1912, this bridge carries the main A96, over the 'River Isla' and the view is looking North to Inverness. Underneath the bridge, is a deep pool, locally known as 'Gaun's Pot'. This was where witches were drowned in days gone past. This practice ceased in 1735. Through the trees , directly above the bridge centre, is an obscured view of the house called Earlsmount, which will feature later. On a grassy part of the ground opposite the Union Bridge has been erected a very colourful plaque, designed for The Keith and District Heritage Group, depicting some of the historic events around Keith throughout the years. A granite plaque, set into the bridge  wall on the Earlsmount side, records some of the history of the bridge.

Within sight of the 'Auld Brig' is the St Rufus Church with a very imposing tower rising to 120 feet. The church was built around 1816, cost 6000, measures 100 feet long by 60 feet wide with a seating capacity for around 2000 persons. It is one of the finest examples of Neo-perpendicular Gothic Architecture and was designed by James Gillespie Graham. The bell in the tower is inscribed T. Mears of London fecit 1818. The name of the church is thought to have been derived from a Saint Rufus  of Applecross who attempted to convert the locals to Christianity around 700 A.D. The beautifully inscribed board at the gate, advises Minister names, times of Sunday services and other relevant information. Directly opposite the church, across  the busy A96, stands the manse. This is a picture with the clock tower and the Spring blossom of 2005.

This grand hall was built in 1872 at a cost of 2000. It was presented to the town by William   Longmore who also owned the Strathisla Distillery known then as the Milton Distillery. The hall is Gothic in style and was opened to the public in 1873. Various organizations have had use of the hall over the years, but most notably in the 50's and 60's Saturday night dances were held which were very well attended. The hall's main entry door was originally the door shown, facing the A96, as seen in the main picture. This door is very seldom used now and the main entry is via the door which was created to serve both hall's when the additional new hall was built in 1964. Both hall's can now be accessed from this new entry point. Plan of both halls, which hangs in the foyer, is shown here.

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