Netherton Fisherford

Junction with the B992 near Netherton (Fisherford), Aberdeenshire

© Copyright Steven Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In the 1881 census, households in Fisherford are preceded by those in Braestarie, after which come Overton, Nether Fisherford (equivalent to modern Netherton?), and Fisherford itself:

40. Overton

William Stephen, son, 44, farmer of 36 acres, employing 2 men, 2 boys and 1 girl

Ann Stephen, 42, farmer’s daughter

John Stephen, 45, farm servant

Peter Ewen, 17, farm servant

William Cowie, 16, farm servant

John Stephen, 13, farm servant

Jessie Harper, 15, domestic servant

41. Overton Cottage

John Robertson, 28, farm servant

Jane Robertson, wife, 29

Jane Kemp, illegitimate daughter of wife, 11

Margaret Robertson, daughter, 2

Anna Robertson, daughter, 1

42. Nether Fisherford

John Durno, 47, farmer of 240 acres, employs 3 men, 1 boy and 1 girl

Jane Durno, sister, 45

Mary Ann Bright (?), visitor, 40, sister

William Kennedy, 18, farm servant

John McGillivary, 19, farm servant

Arthur Chalmers, 18, farm servant

John Chalmers, 17, servant

Isabella Gordon Scott, 19, domestic servant

43. Fisherford Croft

George Gordon, 48, crofter of 6 acres and shoemaker

Barbara Gordon, wife, 40

Eliza Gordon, daughter, 20

George Gordon, son, 18

William Gordon, son, 14

44. Fisherford Croft: 2

James Harper, 45, agricultural labourer

Margaret Harper, 42, farm servant’s wife

William Harper, son, 13

James Harper, son, 8

John Harper, son, 4

William Robb, 76, father-in-law, widower, retired agricultural labourer

45. Fisherford Croft: 3

John Chalmers, 59, crofter of 6 acres

Mary Chalmers, 52, crofter’s wife

George Chalmers, son, 11

Robert Chalmers, son, 11

James Chalmers, brother, 61, retired agricultural labourer

Ann Matthew, daughter, 25, agricultural labourer’s wife

George Matthew, grandson, 2

Margaret Matthew, granddaughter, 8 months

46. Fisherford Croft: 4

John Roy, 53, crofter of 6 acres

Mary Roy, 56, crofter’s wife

John Watt, grandson, 9

47 ditto

Mary Gibb, 37, lodger, elementary school teacher

48. Fisherford

James Roy, 39, merchant and farmer of 50 acres, employing 2 men

Robena Roy, 34, merchant’s wife

James Gordon Roy, son, 9

Helen Roy, daughter, 7

Mary Elizabeth Roy, daughter, 5

Alexander Roy, son, 3 months

Robena Roy, daughter, 3 months

John Skekle, 21, shopman / shop servant

Kettren (?) Kenman, 28, domestic servant

As before, properties in Fisherford are followed by Auchinhove.

These records show some continuity, and some change, when compared with those of 1871. The Stephen family is still farming at Overton, but the Florence family is no longer there, nor is the family of William and Ann Robb. Moreover, John Burns is no longer farming in Fisherford. Given that the size of newcomer John Durno’s farm is roughly similar, and occurs at a similar place in the listing (between the Overton properties and the household of George Gordon), it’s probably safe to assume it’s the same farm – the large building to the north of the village, and to the south-east of Overton on old maps (there are still sizeable farm buildings at this location on the modern map, too – I think it’s now called Netherton Farm).

The numbering of the Fisherford crofts is useful – perhaps it indicates that there were always four crofts in the village – and the names of the tenants (Gordon, Harper, Chalmers and Roy) occur in the same order as in 1871. In that year, the crofts were followed by the 44-acre farm of innkeeper George Robb. In 1881, it looks as though the same farm – now 50 acres – is occupied by merchant (shopkeeper?) James Roy. George Robb had died in the previous year, 1880, and his widow Elizabeth and other members of his family must have moved out of the village at this point.

Incidentally, this census record makes clear that the William Robb living with his daughter Margaret Harper was born in Premnay – Margaret herself was born in Ellon and her husband James Harper in Forgue – so it seems unlikely that they are directly related to ‘our’ Robbs. This means that, in 1881, for the first time in at least a hundred years, none of ‘our’ Robb family was living in Fisherford.


Where were the surviving members of George Robb’s family in 1881? Isabella Cruickshank Robb had married Thomas Adam in 1880 and was living in Culsalmond. Barbara Robb married Alexander Porter of Auchinhove in 1871 (Leslie Wight and John Durno were witnesses). At the time of the 1881 census she and her mother were both living with the Porters at Auchinhove: Elizabeth had reverted to her maiden name of Mackenzie.