Categorized | Lossiemouth History

Stotfield-Lossiemouth’s Roots

Another of the villages that Lossiemouth has derived its origins from is Stotfield. The settlement of Stotfield has a few possible names, depending on which map and from which period of time those maps are from. Some have it listed as Stotfold, or Stodfauld. In the English of the day, it meant “Horse Fold”. Bearing in mind that name, one can tell it was an area in which horse breeders found a paradise, many had brought their horses to, or quite possibly an area of naturally occurring herds of them. The fact that it was not a Scottish name giving the origin to the city has definitely led to the popular conclusion by historians that it was a settlement settled by foreigners and not those from the native land.

The town existed in the Medieval times mostly as a farming community, containing some very small fishing operations. Though the farming was initially superior, as the population grew, so did the need for a more constant income. Fishing operations grew to meet that need, overtaking the overall farming after a short period. The two industries eventually settled into a dual specialty in the area of both farming and fishing. Some time later though, the fishing industry was impacted by religious initiatives brought into play, but even then the town seemed to subsist on the easily bartered goods of fish and farm products.

For anti-heathen reasons, one practice that had been banned, or at least attempted to be restricted, was the carrying of torches aboard vessels on New Years Eve. It was determine to be proof of how the area still believed in superstitions and idolatry. Those in power believed that the carrying of the torches on New Years Eve meant that the citizens held those idols and superstitions in the same high regard as church practices. In the early 18th century, this information was recorded in the Kinneddar Parish Kirk Session minutes as power being held by Magistrates to fine church parishioners for going against the law and code of the church, a unique situation in this small area.

The area also had a catastrophic incident that is forever remembered. In 1806, Christmas day, every male that was was out on boats fishing when a sudden storm rolled in. All the ships in the small fleet were destroyed and every able bodied adult and adolescent male from the town was killed. The official accounts of this tragedy show that 2 elderly males were spared. It’s a folk memory that is especially retained by the fishermen of the area to this day.

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