Burghead is a small town in Moray, Scotland, United Kingdom about 8 miles.North-West of Elgin. The town is mainly built on a Peninsula which projects north-westward into the Moray Firth, meaning that most of the town has sea on 3 sides. The present town was built between 1805 and 1809, destroying in the process more than half of the site of an important Pictish hill fort. General Roy’s map shows the defences as they existed in the 18th century but he wrongly attributed them to the Romans. The fort was probably a major pictish centre and was where carved slabs depicting bulls were found; they are known as the Burghead Bulls. A chambered well of some considerable antiquity was discovered in 1809. Each year on January 11th a fire festival known as the burning of the clavie takes place, it is thought the festival dates back to the 1700s. Burghead is often known as The Broch by locals; confusingly, Fraserburgh is also known by this name.
A pagan fire festival called the burning of the clavie is held on 11 January each year, except when the 11th is a Sunday, in which case it takes place on the 10th. The event starts at 18:00 on Granary street and should end at approximately 19:30.
In 1599, the Scottish parliament passed a law under James VI to make 1 January the official New Years Day and that the year 1600 would be the first time of its use but kept the Julian calendar. Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 when the day following the 2 September was the 14 September. The 'Auld Yuil' [al il] (Old Yule) was therefore celebrated 12 days after the 1 January and the clavie burning was on the eve of the new year. On 20 January 1689 the young men of the village were rebuked by the church courts for "having made a burning clavie, paying it superstitious worship, and blessing the boats after the old heathen custom. The tradition nonetheless survives.
The clavie is a barrel which is filled with bits of tar and wood. It is nailed onto a pole with a specially forged nail. It has to be specially made to leave a space for the carrier’s head below the staves holding up the burning clavie. A group of about 15 men known as the clavie crew, traditionally fishermen and headed by the clavie king, take turns to carry the burning clavie on a set route clockwise round the streets of the old part of the town. The clavie crew stop to present bits of smouldering embers to certain households and the three public houses in the village to bring them good luck for the following year, there are also set points at which they stop to refuel. At the end of the route the clavie is put onto a stone altar (which was not constructed until the 19th century) upon Doorie Hill, More fuel is added, often setting the whole side of the hill alight in the process. The barrel eventually collapses and the blazing embers are scattered all over the hilltop before they are collected and given out for good luck although it is said in the past the embers were kept as charms against witchcraft. It used to be customary to carry the clavie round every boat and vessel in the harbour, this part of the ceremony was later discounted, presumably because it became impossible as the harbour became more busy.
Burghead is represented at The Moray Council by the Heldon & Laich ward, from which four councillors are elected. The members elected from this ward as of May 3 2007 are; Allan Grant Wright (Scottish Conservative and unionist), John Christopher Hogg (Independent), Eric Morrison Mcgillivary (Independent) and David Christie Stewart (Scottish National Party). Moray Council is currently controlled by an Independent/Conservative Coalition.
Burghead was previously represented at Moray Council by the Burghsea ward from which one councillor was elected under the first past the post electoral system. Since May 3 2007 the STV electoral system has been used in local elections throughout Scotland, which means that Burghead is represented by several councillors in the significantly larger Heldon & Laich ward.
Males in Burghead make up 53.6% of the population, this is higher than the figure of 49.97% for Moray which itself is slightly higher than the 48.05% for Scotland. Males in Burghead do not outnumber females nearly as much over the age of 25 as they do under 25, as the number of males per female is significantly lower over age 25 (1.05) than it is under 25 (1.45).
|Population||Place of birth||Age structure||Religion||Ethnic group|
|Males: 871 |
(53.6%) Females: 679
|United Kingdom:96.46% |
Northern Ireland: 0.85% Republic of Ireland: 0.3%
Rest of Europe: 1.71%
|Under 16 years: 20.12% |
16 - 65 years: 66.04%
65 + years: 13.84% 0 - 4 years: 4.94%
5 - 15 years: 15.18%
16 - 24 years: 9.63%
25 - 44 years: 32.93%
45 - 64 years: 23.48%
65 - 74 years: 8.54%
75+ years: 5.3%
| Church of Scotland: 46.65% |
Roman Catholic: 5.3%
Other Christian: 15.85%
Another Religion: 0.24%
/> Not answered: 4.51%
|White Scottish: 76.65% |
Other White British: 20%
White Irish: 0.55%
Other White: 2.01%
Other South Asian: 0.6%
Mixed background: 0.37%
Source: Scotland's Census Results Online
Burghead and the Moray area in general is heavily dependent on the two Royal Air Force stations, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Kinloss which are located at roughly equal distances on either side of Burghead.
In 2005 the stations contributed £156.5 million to the Moray economy, of which £76.6 million was retained and spent locally. The stations are responsible for providing, directly or indirectly, 21 per cent of all employment in the Moray area. Other sectors offering significant employment are local authority, construction and real estate, food and drink, transport, tourism, business services and wholesale/retail.
In the past fishing was a very large part of the economy of Burghead. Fishing now contributes very little to the overall economy; in 2001, fishing accounted for just 2.12% of employment in Burghead.
Source: Highland & Islands Enterprise
Burghead Thistle compete in Division One of the SJFA North Region and play their home games at Forrest Park, just outside Burghead. in 2008 Thistle were awarded the Elginshire Cup without playing in a Final after New Elgin and Lossiemouth United were both thrown out of the competition.
Burghead United compete in the Moray District Welfare Premier Division. Burghead was previously home to a third football team, The Burghead Anchors.