Keith Area Profile

This area includes Keith, Drummuir, Newmill, Grange, Mulben and Rothiemay.

Keith is divided into the three parts of Old Keith, New Keith and Fife Keith. The name Keith is derived from the Gaelic 'geith' or 'goath,' meaning wind.

Official history began with a charter from William the Lion around 1195. Keith was a Barony then, with power of 'Pit and Gallows' and could convict persons charged with robbery, murder, rape and arson. Prior to 1195, there is no doubt that a settlement of sorts had grown up and around the River Isla ford near the Auld Brig. This is the area now know as the 'Auld Toon' or Old Keith.

In 1750 the 5th Earl of Findlater, Viscount Reidhaven, decided to extend eastward: New Keith was built. This was a planned village of one central square and three parallel streets linked by a series of lanes, gridiron style. The Square was the scene of the annual Simmereve Fair, which is still held today as 'The Great Keith Show.' 

Keith expanded with the formation of Keith Junction allowing the railways to branch out in all directions, bringing trade and commerce to the town. In addition to this, the first two of three distilleries were established in 1785, followed rapidly by Kynochs Mills in 1788 and Seafield Mills in the early 1900s. Production peaked during the World War II and continued to be a good source of employment until the latter part of the 20th Century, as did the distilleries and the railways. Agriculture is the predominant industry in the surrounding area.

Keith is now a service-oriented town and diversification is strongly encouraged, e.g. the Kilt School and the Tartan Museum.

Newmill has the largest rural community in Strathisla (around pop. 500) and has a clear centre of population. It is situated some 1.5 miles from Keith. There is a network of glens running up to four miles north of the village, and the primary school catchment area includes the hamlets of Aultmore and Auchinderran to the west. The area was originally part of the Glengerrack estate, which was broken up over one hundred years ago.

The Parish of Grange (meaning 'farm' of 'country') covers a large expanse of primarily agricultural land and yet enjoys the luxury of a relatively small population.

Standing stones and stone circles remain in the surrounding areas of Grange as evidence of Pictish inhabitation as early 3000 BC. The Picts were ousted by the Scots in 843 AD and the end of the 9th Century saw invasion by the Danes. The Romans had almost certainly arrived, albeit briefly, by the first century AD, leaving some interesting historical sits, such as evidence of a Roman camp large enough to accommodate 10,000 men found at Murifold. They also inspired a rich legacy of stories and traditions, such as a belief that the vicinity of the Knock was the location of a battle of Mons Graupius a claim that may be supported by finds of burial cairns and earthworks in the area.