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An introduction to the Royal Burgh of Rattray

If you go to the Rattray now you would require a lot of imagination to picture the thriving settlement that once existed here.

The history of Rattray stretches back into the mists of time and features Robert the Bruce, pirates and smugglers, and shifting sand dunes that kills off a village.

Evidence of Neolithic occupation has been found which dates a presence at Rattray as far back as 4,500BC.

The main reason that Rattray existed was its natural harbour. What is now the Loch of Strathbeg was once an open estuary which was navigable to trading ships. It would have been relatively important since the harbour and estuary were guarded by 2 castles - Rattray Castle protecting it from the harbour side and Lonmay Castle on the north shore. By the 1200s there must have been a thriving community based around the harbour.

In the mid 1600s the estuary started silting up and it was finally closed completely around 1720. With the demise of the harbour went trade, fishing and the eventually the village itself. Now all that remain to be seen is the castle mound and a ruined church.

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