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Aberlour (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Lobhair) is a town in Moray, Scotland, 12 miles (20 km) south of Elgin on the road to Grantown. The Lour burn is a tributary of the River Spey, and it and the surrounding parish are both named Aberlour, but the name is more commonly used in reference to the village which straddles the stream and flanks the Spey – although the full name of the village is Charlestown of Aberlour.
Aberlour, recorded in 1226 as Aberlower, means 'confluence of the Lour burn'. The first element is the Pictish word aber 'river mouth, confluence'. The name of the Lour burn is from Gaelic labhar 'loud, noisy'. This probably replaced an earlier Pictish cognate word. Charlestown refers to Charles Grant of Elchies.
A site noted as Abirlaur is shown in this location on maps in Joan Blaeu's Atlas of Scotland, from 1654. The current village, Charlestown of Aberlour, was "founded by Charles Grant of Elchies in 1812 – with the name of Charlestown of Aberlour after his son Charles." It is commonly referred to simply as Aberlour. A grant of land from Charles Grant senior feued 100 plots along the south bank of the river and saw the start of the High Street (formerly Main Street) and parish church. The three locations are close enough in definition for there to be little distinction between them. The town was granted its feu charter in 1814 and began to operate its own markets. Whisky was a major industry even then and once the 1823 Excise Act was passed and a longer warehousing process introduced it began to take on the more mature characteristics that are familiar today. The first Aberlour distillery was established shortly after the Act became law, by the owner of a gentleman's estate where Aberlour House is situated. Soon after the property changed hands, that distillery was demolished. In 1879, local resident James Fleming (1830-1895, built a new Aberlour distillery alongside the Lour Burn; which is now owned and operated by the Pernod Ricard group of companies. Fleming was also a bank agent and became a significant resident and generous benefactor in the town, providing its first purpose-built meeting place, The Fleming Hall (1889), followed by The Fleming Cottage Hospital (1900), and - as a safe pedestrian crossing over the fast-flowing river Spey - The Victoria Bridge, completed in 1902 and known locally as the Penny Bridge.
According to the 1846 A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, "This parish, formerly called Skirdustan, signifying, in the Gaelic tongue, 'the division of Dustan', its tutelary saint, derived its present name from its situation at the mouth of a noisy burn, which discharges itself into the river Spey."
Aberlour once was the site of an orphanage which was founded in 1875 by Margaret Macpherson Grant and a minister called Charles Jupp. His tomb lies in St Margaret's Episcopal Church which was the church used by the children of the orphanage. The orphanage was split into two separate units – one for the girls and the other for the boys. Between the two buildings was the school where the children were taught. Aberlour Child Care Trust is now one of Scotland's main children's charities with services throughout Scotland. The Trust was also found to be a child care institution where children suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in 2021.
Aberlour also is the place where the famous Walkers shortbread is made. Walkers own the woods behind the factory – Fisherton woods. Until 2004, Aberlour House was the site of a school, a prep school for Gordonstoun; it is now offices for Walkers. Aberlour Golf Club (now defunct) first appeared in 1905 and continued until the late 1930s.
Thomas Telford, the renowned civil engineer designed Craigellachie Bridge spanning the River Spey about 2 miles (3 km) to the north of the town. It was built after the Great Spate in the 19th century destroyed an earlier bridge. Craigellachie Bridge is now open only to foot and cycle traffic. A new bridge has superseded it.
Alexander Cameron Sim, a pharmacist who introduced lemonade (locally called ramune) to Japan, was born in the town. The area was once served by Aberlour railway station, but this closed as a result of the Beeching Axe.
- Rev James Sellar, minister of the parish church, was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1875.
- James Fleming, founder of Aberlour distillery in 1880; town bank agent; philanthropist.
- "Rannsaich an Stòr-dàta Briathrachais Gàidhlig" (in Gàidhlig). Smo.uhi.ac.uk. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Grant, Alison (2010). Macleod, Iseabail (ed.). The Pocket Guide to Scottish Place-Names. Glasgow: Richard Drew Ltd. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-899471-00-3. OCLC 759569647.
-  Archived 24 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Maps of Scotland – National Library of Scotland". Nls.uk. Archived from the original on 6 August 2006. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "The history of Aberlour as seen by Dr B M Sellar". Speyside.moray.org. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- Dyer, Fraser (2012). Old Aberlour. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781840336108.
- "THE LATE MR. JAMES FLEMING, ABERLOUR". Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser. 2 July 1895.
- "Aberdour – Anderston | A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (pp. 23–45)". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "Aberlour Child Care Trust Our History". Aberlour Child Care Trust. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Scotland's Children's Charity. Aberlour supports children, young people and families throughout Scotland". Aberlour. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Children in charity homes 'did suffer abuse'". BBC News (in English). 7 January 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
- "Case Study no. 3: The provision of residential care for children in Scotland by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo's between 1921 and 1991" (PDF). Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. January 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
- "Home". Walkersshortbread.com. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "Aberlour Golf Club, Moray", "Golf’s Missing Links".
- https://aberlourparishchurch.org.uk/photo-album/aberlour-church-gallery/[permanent dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charlestown of Aberlour.|
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