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Fraserburgh is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland with a population estimated at around 12,630 in 2006. It lies at the extreme northeast corner of Aberdeenshire, around 40 miles (64 km) north of Aberdeen, and 17 miles (27 km) north of Peterhead. It is the largest shellfish port in Europe, landing over 12,000 tonnes in 2008, and is also a major white fish port and busy commercial harbour.
The name of the town means, literally, 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser family that bought the lands of Philorth in 1504 and thereafter brought about major improvement due to investment over the next century. Fraserburgh became a burgh of barony in 1546. By 1570, the Fraser family had built a castle (Fraserburgh Castle) at Kinnaird's Head and within a year the area church was built.
By the 1590s the area known as Faithlie was developing a small harbour.
In 1592, Faithlie was renamed Fraserburgh by a charter of the Crown under King James VI. Sir Alexander Fraser was given permission to improve and govern the town as Lord Saltoun. At present this title is still in existence and is held by Flora Fraser, 20th Lady Saltoun and head of Clan Fraser. The Royal Charter also gave permission to build a college and university in Fraserburgh allowing the Lord Saltoun to appoint a rector, a principal, a sub-principal, and all the professors for teaching the different sciences.
A grant from the Scottish Parliament in 1595 allowed the first college building to be erected by Alexander Fraser, and in 1597 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland recommended the Rev. Charles Ferme, then minister at the Old Parish, to be its first (and only) principal.
In 1601, Fraserburgh became a burgh of regality. The college, however, closed only a decade or so after Ferme's arrest on the orders of James VI for taking part in the 1605 General Assembly, being used again only for a short time in 1647 when King's College, Aberdeen temporarily relocated owing to an outbreak of plague. A plaque commemorating its existence may be seen on the exterior wall of the remains of the Alexandra Hotel in College Bounds.
Fraserburgh thereafter remained relatively quiet until 1787 when Fraserburgh Castle was converted to Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Scotland's first mainland lighthouse. In 1803, the original 1571 church building was replaced and enlarged to seat 1000 people. The Auld Kirk was to be the standing authority in the town up until the 1840s.
The Statistical Account on the Parish of Fraserburgh, written between 1791-1799 (probably 1791) by Rev. Alexander Simpson of the Old Parish Church, shows that the population of Fraserburgh was growing with peaks due to seasonal employment. He records a population of about 2000 in 1780 of whom only 1000 resided in the town. There was an additional population of 200 in the village of Broadsea. He makes a point of the arrival of Dr. Webster in Fraserburgh in 1755 claiming that the population then only stood at 1682.
A railway station opened in 1865 and trains operated to Aberdeen via Maud and Dyce, as well as a short branch line to St. Combs. It was, however, closed to passengers in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts, though freight trains continued to operate until 1979, after which the station site was redeveloped.