Kintore is the tenth largest town in Aberdeenshire and is about 13 miles from the centre of the City of Aberdeen. The population in the 2001 census was 1696. By 2011 the population was 4,447 and further expansion is being planned.

During this rapid expansion, Kintore was said to be the fastest growing town in Scotland and further development is allowed for in Aberdeenshire Council's local plan.

Strategically located, just nine miles from Aberdeen International Airport, Kintore is the base for businesses in oil and gas support services, electronics, aviation and food and drink. Among these operations are a number of world headquarters.


© Kintore coat of arms
Kintore was first granted Royal Burgh status with a royal charter in the late 12th century (about 1190), The Royal Charter was renewed by King James IV in 1506.

But the town has clearly been a popular settlement since prehistoric times. Recent archaeological excavations show neolithic remains dating as far back as far as 5,000 years BC.

Archaeologists have found:

  • More Neolithic pottery at Kintore than the whole of Aberdeenshire put together
  • 44 prehistoric roundhouses have been excavated in Kintore, more than at any other place in Scotland
  • Kintore has the largest collection of early historic charred wooden bowls in Scotland
  • Excavations at Deer’s Den Roman camp in Kintore revealed around 250 Roman bread ovens, more than the rest of Britain put together and the most northerly Roman rotary quern in Britain.

Gaelic was spoken in rural Aberdeenshire until the Middle Ages and the name Kintore comes from the Gaelic, Ceann-an-torr. "Ceann" means the head, or the end, and "Torr" which means a hill. So the name signifies that the town was at the head or end of a hill – presumably Tuach Hill to the south of the town.

Town House

© Kintore Town House
The Town House in the centre of Kintore dates from 1747. Work began in 1737 soon after the Earl of Kintore was elected Provost and the cost of the construction was £850 Scots.

The Town House has served as Kintore Burgh Council chambers and offices, schoolhouse and court house. In the past, parts of the building have also been used as a post office and shop.

The Town House stands on the old market stance on which the annual Marymass Fair was held. It contained a tolbooth (jail), a schoolroom, a council room and a house. There is some dubiety about the origins of the clock. Some say it was presented to the burgh by the Earl Marischal, others say that "Macphersons Clock" (as it was known in the 19th century) came from Banff.

The former council chamber was used until recently for Kintore & District Community Council and other meetings (having since moved to make the meetings more accessible for disabled).

Standing in front of the Town House is the Kintore 2000 millennium stone, which was unveiled on Hogmanay (December 31) 2000. The stone was quarried at nearby Tom's Forest quarry.

Action Kintore, Kintore’s community charity, is currently investigating the feasibllity of bringing the town house back into use for the community.

Kintore Parish Church

© Kintore kirk
Built in 1819, Kintore Parish Church was designed by the renowned Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson. Inside is a 16th century sacrament house from the previous kirk.

In the burial grounds is one of the Pictish symbol stones (see below) and also a mort house. Taking its name from the French "mort", it was where the bodies were kept under the mort cloth, prior to burial. Body-snatching was still prevalent in the 18th century and the mort house kept the corpses relatively secure.

The gateway serves as Kintore's War Memorial.

Kintore Arms

Directly opposite the church and near the Town House in the square is the Kintore Arms, which dates from the early 19th century. (Not to be confused with the Kintore Arms Hotel in nearby Inverurie.)

Roman Camp

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Just to the west of the town centre is the site of the Deer's Den Roman marching camp. This ties in with the other marching camps near Culter in Aberdeen and at Ythan Wells.

There are signs of considerable Roman activity and recent excavations have uncovered ovens which were used to feed the army a diet of what was, effectively, pizza! (Bread dough with various toppings!)

Although no-one really knows where it took place, some authorities believe that the battle of Mons Graupius - fought between the Romans and Caledonians in AD84 - took place on the north slopes of Bennachie. If so, the Roman camp in Kintore would have been near the front line.

Photo above left: Uncovering the stone floor of one of the Roman bread ovens

Pictish Symbol Stones

In the parish churchyard, just across the road from the Town House, stands a Pictish symbol stone the 6th or 7th century. It is unusual in that it has symbols on both faces.

You can find more information on this stone on Aberdeenshire Council's website, which also has more information on Pictish symbol stones in general.

Kinkell Church

An early 16th century church, near Keith Hall, it is in a ruined state. It is believed to have been built by Parson Alexander Galloway, who was the architect of the Bridge of Dee (completed 1527) in Aberdeen. Notable is the memorial to Gilbert de Greenlaw, who died at the nearby Battle of Harlaw in 1411.

Balbithan House

Balbithan House, also on the other side of the Don from Kintore, dates from the 17th century. It is an L-plan house of three storeys, the south wing and stair tower are older than the rest of the building.

Boat of Kintore

Boat of Kintore on the east side of the burgh, takes its name from the old ferry that used to ply across the Don. George Marnoch, or "Boatie Marnoch", the ferryman prior to the bridge being built, was a well known citizen in Kintore.

The ferry was replace by the new Iron Bridge in 1882. The last two red-hot rivets were driven by Kintore Provost Thomas Fraser and Dean of Guild James Scott.

Tuach Hill

Tuach Hill is probably the hill which gave Kintore its name. The hill itself is said to have a Druid circle, which can now be hardly traced and the King's Chair where the king watched his troops in battle.

On old maps an area near the summit of Tuach Hill is named “Gallow Top” – a spot no doubt well known to the person who lived in Hangman’s Croft, opposite Bridgealehouse on what is now Northern Road!

Halforest Castle

A mile to the south-west stand the ruins of Hallforest Castle, built in the 13th or 14th Century. It was a hunting castle which took its name from the great forest in which King James IV hunted. The forest, which lay between Kintore and Kemnay, is also recalled in street names such as Forest Road, Tom's Forest.

Mary Queen of Scots is known to have stayed at Hallforest in 1562. It is said that it was built by Bruce and was a former stronghold of the Keith earls of Kintore, now the property of the Earl of Kintore. An oblong keep 48 feet by 30 feet, the walls are around seven foot thick and the castle in its current ruined state stands around 60 feet.

Keith Hall

Keith Hall (formerly Caskieben), on the other side of the Don, dates from the 16th century, although the frontage is late 17th century and was added by Sir John Keith, who purchased the estate in 1662.

He was created the Earl of Kintore in 1677, having being credited with saving the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels).

Turnpike roads, the canal and the railway

It was in the early 19th century that the modern road system was shaped. The first turnpike was along the River Dee and was completed in 1798.

The post road that is now known as the A96 was one of the turnpikes that followed in the next 40 years. The modern A96 follows largely the same route (although the dual carriageway forges a new route in places, the old road can still be followed) from Aberdeen, by Bucksburn, the Tyrebagger Hill, Blackburn to Kintore, then north west by Inverurie, the Glens of Foudland and Huntly and on to Inverness.

Kintore was on the ill-fated Aberdeen to Inverurie canal, the only canal in Aberdeenshire. It was completed in 1805 and passengers, agricultural produce, coal and fertiliser were taken along its 18 miles at the dizzy speed of eight miles an hour in boats towed by two horses.

The canal went round the west of the centre of Kintore, crossing what is now School Road near Kintore Primary School and continuing towards Bridgealehouse, before turning back towards the River Don and the line that was taken over by the railway. On the 1867 map of Kintore, the canal has gone, but is recollected by “Canal Cottage” on School Road.

The days of the canal are recalled by the name Port Elphinstone, the canal terminus which is just north of Kintore. A small part of the canal can still be seen here.

Thanks to Carol Carnie, who was brought up in Brae Farm, Kintore and now lives in the Netherlands, we now know that part of the canal remains on the farm. You can still see the milestone on the bank of the canal which states that it is 13 miles to Aberdeen. You can find this at the bottom of Kingsfield Road, just past the house that used to be called Kintore Nurseries.

Never a financial success, the canal was eventually sold, in 1845, to the Great North of Scotland Railway Company. In 1854, using largely Irish labour, the canal was filled in and the railway track laid along the route.

Castlehill was levelled to make way for the railway and the Loch of Kintore, which extended from the base of Castlehill to the old railway station, was largely filled in. The loch is still recalled in the name Lochburn.


The daily newspapers covering Kintore are the Press and Journal and Evening Express. The weekly newspapers are the Inverurie & District Advertiser and the Inverurie Herald. Kintore is in the transmission area of Original FM, Northsound One, Northsound Two and stv.

Other Kintores around the world

We only know of four other towns named Kintore, named after the original – two in Canada (Kintore, New Brunswick and Kintore, Ontario) and two in Australia (Kintore, Northern Territory and Kintore, Western Australia).

Clearly they were named by emigrants who moved from Kintore to the New World. There are records of 120 emigrants who left from Kintore station at 6 am on April 25, 1873 to help form New Kincardineshire in New Brunswick.

The origin of the Kintore township in Western Australia was listed on the Western Australia government site as 'unknown'. In response to an e-mail to them we received this reply:

"Thank you for your message regarding the townsite of Kintore in Western Australia. As a result of the information you have forwarded to us, we have added a notation to our names database stating that the townsite was possibly named after Kintore in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

"Unfortunately our records only show that the townsite was named after a mine in the area which was also known as Kintore in the late 1800's and the origin of the mine was not recorded."

Anyone know of any more Kintores, historical or interesting information that should be added to this site? Please e-mail me at

Japanese puzzle

Also, there are a number of websites in Japan which have pictures or text about gymnasiums with titles or pictures named "kintore". This puzzled for many years until a Japanese translator, Duane Johnson, explained:

"The term "kin-tore," also written "kin tore" or "kintore," is made up of two elements. "Kin" means "muscle," and "tore" is an abbreviation of "toreeningu," the Japanese adaptation of the English word "training." The full term would be "kinryoku toreeningu," so you can see why they tend to go with the shortened form. In essence it means any kind of muscle-related training, ranging from push-ups and squats to more advance techniques of lifting weights and using specialized machines for such purposes."
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