These two village are linked in so many ways that it can become quite confusing at times; together with their immediate districts they form the Parish of Fordoun with the Parish Kirk actually being sited at Auchenblae!
Back in the annuals of time Fordoun, or Fothirdun as it was historically known, was probably the most important area in the Howe o' the Mearns. The seat of Kings with its Kirkton at Auchenblae, which was then just a mile away from what was the original settlement.
The name Fothirdun could possibly mean "the lower place", but there has been some debate about the fact. Auchenblae, on the other hand is quite simply "The Field of Flowers"...Auchen meaning field and Blae referring to flowers or blossoms. Quite a fitting name indeed as during the last Century the area was known for its flax growing. It also has a flax spinning mill which, along with another at Blackiemuir, Laurencekirk, kept the weavers of the Howe well supplied with their raw materials. Prior to these mills coming into being weaving had tended to be more of a cottage industry.
Auchenblae is a quaint village whose main geographical feature is the steep incline of its situation which could well substantiate the claim that Fordoun is "the lower place". The number of shops on the 'Blae's slopes has diminished over the years but there is a Butcher's Shop, a General Store and a Post Office, There is also a Doctor's Surgery and two hotels on the main street. In addition, Auchenblae can boast a very busy and popular Golf Course on its northerly side and leading off the main street is The Den which has long been the haunt of sportsmen and women who can avail themselves of its Tennis and Bowling facilities, or simply walk its shady paths. In 1991 Auchenblae Primary School celebrated its Centenary in a fitting style with former members coming frae a' the airts to reminisce and help mark the occasion.
Like the majority of the Mearns villages both Auchenblae and Fordoun appear to have changed little over the years; but changes there have been with both Council and private houses being added to the early layouts. Indeed Fordoun has always been a rather secluded place because even before having been by-passed by the dual-carriageway, it had been by- passed, so to speak, with only a few of its houses bordering the main road. At one time it had a thriving Railway Station and quite a few shops, but now alas no more; although it still does have a Post Office and shop, a Hotel and an extremely popular roadside cafe.
In its contrary fashion the Primary School which serves the Fordoun catchment area is actually situated nearby and is known as Redmyre Primary School! In the 1960's the old School was replaced by a spanking new building, still sited at Redmyre, but the coming of the Dual-carriageway has meant that it is now completely separated from the village and can be reached via an underpass; in truth the old and new schools were also separated by the roadway which leads to Arbuthnott.
Published by Laurencekirk and Distric Business Club