Both Jacobite rebellions affected Keith in different ways. During the 'I 5, the Jacobite army occupied Keith for about 2 months, and looted the town. That the town was on 'war footing' is suggested by the vast store of arms given up under the 'Disarming Act' of 1716 and sent to store in Banff - 634 swords, 91 Dirks, 396 guns and barrels of guns, 15 locks of guns, 219 pistols - and more
Just before Culloden, a Jacobite Army in Keith met with a number of Hanoverian Campbells, with many Campbell casualties. These were buried in the Old Churchyard in the 'Campbells' Hillock'. But legend supersedes History and leads to the nearby Auld Brig (I 609) and a large flat rock called the Campbells' stone. From it can be seen a narrow opening allegedly the mouth of a tunnel leading down river to the House of Milton, home of part of the Ogilvie family Legend has it that the Prince's part ' carried a chest of coins, designed to pay the army, but because of their own casualties they could not take it with them. It was left in the passage, with one of the Royal Pipers, ordered to remain there till the Prince returned. There he still is and on a winter's night can be heard tuning his pipes for a triumphal march to signal that return. Since the House of Milton now lies between two distilleries, a more mundane explanation may be in order. Personal examination, many years ago, of the tunnel has sho me that it extends only a few feet from the entry, and no traces have ever been found of the treasure.
Manufacturing In Keith
Manufacturing in Keith is, historically, based on its agricultural hinterland. The original crop, flax, a cottage industry, centralised late in the 18th Century But flax declined and wool took over. By 1805, G & G Kynoch had acquired Islabank Mills where they made tweeds for over two centuries. Recessions and foreign competition forced changes, and the firm now deals in Health Care Products far from Keith.
The old Kynoch building, however, now forms the basis of many smaller and varied industries, important among which is the Keith School of Kilt Making, designed to teach the art of cutting and assembling Kilts, already a great success. The old Kynoch trade - the weaving of high quality woollen fabrics, much of it for export - remains in the buildings in the Isle Mill Ltd., a rapidly expanding enterprise.
Flour and oatmeal milling has yielded place to distilling. Milton Distillery, renamed Strathisla, and at over 200 years the oldest Highland Malt Distillery, is now owned by Chivas Bros. The firm have added a new distillery across Station Road, at the former Mills of Keith, christened Glenkeith, while another former mill, Strathmill, produces Malt Whisky for J&B.