Aberlour (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Lobhair), is the name of a place in Moray, Scotland, 12 miles south of Elgin on the road to Grantown. A burn (stream), a tributary of the River Spey, and surrounding parish, are both named Aberlour, but the name is most 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.
A site noted as Abirlaur is shown in this location on maps in the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, of 1654. The current village, Charlestown of Aberlour, was "founded by Mr. 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. The three locations are close enough in definition, for there to be little distinction between them.
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 by a minister called Charles Jupp. It is said by many who were brought up in the orphanage, that Canon Jupp 'walked' the buildings on 30 November. 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 also is the place where the famous Walkers. shortbread is made. This shortbread is known around the world, and many a New Year's Eve celebration is brought in with the brand Walkers. Walkers own the woods behind the factory - Fisherton woods.
Until 2004, Aberlour was the site of the prep school for Gordonstoun. Aberlour House educated pupils from age 7 to 13. The links between Aberlour House and Gordonstoun were very close. They shared the same school song and school flag (purple and white). Furthermore, they shared the same school motto - "plus est en vous", a contraction of "plus est en vous que vous pensez" meaning, "there is more in you than you think". They were both founded by the German educationalist Dr. Kurt Hahn. His bust was prominently displayed in Aberlour House's front hall for many years. The prep school was founded at Wester Elchies in 1936 - three years after Gordonstoun. Wester Elchies expanded such that in 1947 a modest stately home - Aberlour House - was bought. Aberlour House had been occupied by the Army during the Second World War and is three miles from Wester Elchies. The younger boys attended Wester Elchies until the age of about 10. Then they proceeded on to Aberlour House. They moved on to Gordonstoun at the age of 13. Wester Elchies got dry rot and had to be pulled down in the early 1960s. A dormitory at Aberlour House was named Wester Elchies in memory of the old school building. Other dormitories took their names from local castles such as Cawdor, Spynie, Darnaway, Gaudwell, Balvenie, Duffus, Lochindorb, Auchindoun, Towie Barclay, Kilvarock, Findlater, Brodie and Glamis. Because of Wester Elchies' foundation date Aberlour House celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1986. The school went mixed in 1974 - the same year as Gordonstoun took girls. Sir Toby Coghill, Bart., was headmaster of Aberlour House 1964-89. He was an old boy of Gordonstoun and had attended Pembroke College, Cambridge where he read English. He had previously served in the army - National Service - had been in publishing and spent two years as a housemaster in Aiglon College, Switzerland. He served as a governor of Aiglon upon his retirement from Aberlour House. His ancestor was the Coghill who died attempting to save the colours at Isandhlwana. Coghill was an Irishman from Castletownshend, Co. Cork. He was married to Gabrielle - known as Lady Gay. They had two children - a son named Patrick and his daughter who became a nurse. He died in 2001 at the age of 72. Headmasters after him included Brian Head (1989-90), a Yorkshireman named David Edward Hanson (1990), a Scotsman named Mr. Caithness (1990-2000) and then an Englishman by the name of Neil Wainwright Gardner. Rumours always persisted amongst the pupils of a thoroughly unpleasant ghost named The Green Lady, which haunted the former Wester Elchies House. Her hauntings were mostly said to have occurred before the building became a school, although she was once, allegedly, seen by the school matron.
Aberlour House enjoyed a short-lived filip in 1993 when a local rival - Blairmore - shut down. Aberlour took in many Blairmore pupils, appropriated Blairmore's scholarship boards and adopted Blairmore's Highland games event. Aberlour House never appended the word 'school' to its name even when it was separate from Gordonstoun. Although the Preparatory School still keeps its name (Aberlour House) it is now located within the grounds of Gordonstoun School.
Thomas Telford, the renown civil engineer designed Craigellachie Bridge spanning the River Spey about two miles 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.