Alford Image Library

Woollen Mill at Montgarrie
The Alford Image Library
Woollen Mill at Montgarrie

Peter Kemp's Woollen Mill
Picture added on 20 August 2008
I am related to Peter kemp on my GG grandmothers side. I understood this mill made blankets . Can anyone confirm this? Also what caused the Kemp woolen mills to cease production. Does any one have a contact for Ian Aitkin Kemp one time down Sussex way?
Added by William Lawson on 10 April 2009
Hi William, thanks for the comment and for the photographs. I can at least confirm the bit about the blankets, having seen a photograph of a label from one of their products which clearly stated "maker of blankets" or words to that effect. I believe that Jean Duncan has a copy of either the photograph or an original label amongst the collection that she loaned to the Alford Heritage Centre.
Added by Jim on 10 April 2009
Peter Kemp was my great-grandfather and the mill certainly produced blankets from local wool until about 1950 or so. The mill ceased production because the machinery was worn out and needed replacement and my father felt it was too expensive to renew as I could not follow him into the business - being allergic to the dust.

The last I heard of Ian Aitken Kemp, some considerable time ago, was that he was returning north somewhere but I lost his contact details in a computer crash. He did produce an extensive family tree going back around 200 years.
Added by Alexander (Sandy) Kemp on 11 April 2010
Bert Kemp fae Woolmill on image 562 Alford ATC Daughter Allison on image 716 school photo 3rd from right back row
Added by Alan Harper on 12 April 2010
Thanks Alexander. Ian did send me a copy of the Kemp tree some time ago so I should be able to find you eventually . Who was your father?
Added by William Lawson on 18 April 2010
My mother says there was a fire in the mill,before I was born, so pre 1956,and the rats fleeing the inferno were so plentiful you could have walked across the Esset burn on their backs.My grandfather,John Tytler Murray spent years getting rid of the rats from his henhouses.Bill Marnoch (Syllavethy)renovated the mill into domestic accomodation during the 1960's.
Added by Gordon Wackett on 25 July 2011
Across the road from now domestic accomodation is a former Kemp home at least two levels in grey stone and sizeable garden.
Added by William Lawson on 26 July 2011
I have just stumbled on this ! Fantastic photo of the Mill
Should anyone want to contact me I am now retired and near Lockerbie. This forum has my email address now.
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 26 September 2011
Hi Ian, Good to hear you have found this photo. As an aussie am not familiar with location of Lockerbie. Can you give some general whereabouts .? Have you had contact with Scott Kemp? I sent him a photo of David Kemp & Elizabeth & family. Have you seen this one?
Added by William Lawson on 27 September 2011
Hi William.
'Have I seen which one' ? I had never seen this photo of the Mongarrie Mill before. The only photo I had was one I took many years ago from up on the road looking down on the roof of the remaining building. This is an excellent pic.
Yes, I am now in touch with Scott - turns out I knew his father's brother Robert when I used to work in Edinburgh. Lockerbie is in South West Scotland about 25 miles north of Carlisle and the Border and 80 miles south of Glasgow. The son of the the last owner of Montgarrie Mill is Prof. Alexander Kemp, Scotlands foremost authority on North Sea oil and gas - has just published a book on the history of the industry
Wish more Scottish towns had a website like this !
Regards, Ian
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 28 September 2011
Parts of the mill,I think the office and finishing areas, were converted into a house in the 1960's by the late Bill Marnoch,formerly of Syllavethy.His daughter Pauline still lives there.
Added by Gordon Wackett on 29 September 2011
I sang in Tullynessle Church choir along with Bert Kemp,back about 1966.Choirmistress was Mrs W.S.Macdonald,wife of the Meal mill proprietor.
Added by Gordon Wackett on 29 September 2011
Mention of the Meal Mill reminds me that back in 1894, Alexander Kemp of the Wool Mill married Isabella McDonald of the Meal Mill. I well remember being shown around the Meal Mill in the early 1990's by Donald McDonald and then having lunch with his parents - I was a complete stranger to them, albeit a 'Kemp', but they made me feel most welcome. Told me tales of how there would sometimes be friction between the Kemps and McDonalds when the burn was low and the Wool Mill use of the water was affecting the amount available to the Meal Mill which of course is only a few hundred yards downstream
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 30 September 2011
Gordon, are you the son of Eric and Evelyn Wackett?
Added by Elspeth Breaux on 14 October 2011
Ian, as the son of the Albert Kemp who owned the mill, I have to say I am not Professor Kemp and not an expert on the gas industry. My interest is in astrophysics.
Added by Dr Alexander Kemp on 18 October 2011
Hi Alexander.
Wow - I really got that wrong ! My profuse apologies - have believed for years that Prof. Alex Kemp who regularly shows up on the telly commenting on the oil & gas industry, was the son of Albert ? I will go back through my old notes and try to see where I went wrong. My apologies again

Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 18 October 2011
If I have correctly identified the A G Kemp in question, he hails from Deeside and could be a member of that branch of the family. He is perhaps 1 - 3 years my junior.
Added by Sandy (Alexander) Kemp on 20 October 2011
Hi Sandy,
He is not anywhere on my tree so I suspect he is one of the 'other' Deeside Kemp families with whom I have not been able to make a connection although given that both their and our Kemps were in Lumphanon in the late-1750's, they are probably related - just cannot prove it.
I still haven't found out where I went wrong but looking at my tree, I see you are 'AJ' and with the Prof. being 'AG', I should have tumbled that I had something wrong !
Perhaps I'll ask him about his ancestry one day.
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 21 October 2011
Looking for information about a James Kemp who was born in the Alford area c 1876 and who later came down to Motherwell and was a policeman there . We've found him in 1901 census aged 25
Added by Sheena scott on 03 February 2012
Hi Sheena, Not from Peter Kemp & Margaret Smith line at Craigievar woolen mills. There is a James born there 24 Jan 1865 married a Stronach.
Added by Bill Lawson on 07 February 2012
Hi Sheena.
Did he marry - if so who were his parents ?
There are James Kemp's b. Glenbuchat, Tarland and Skene 1875/1876 who might fit ?
Or have you been down that road ?
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 07 February 2012
Thank you. We've since discovered our James was born at Glenbuchat in 1876. In the 1901 census he gave his birthplace as Alford, but now we've found him in the 1911 census , born in Glenbuchat.On his death certificate his mother was Margaret Fraser and father Peter Kemp. Sorry to bother you, but it has been very interesting learning about all of these places.I've got death certificate from Scotland's People for the Peter Kemp ,married to Margaret Smith.
Added by Sheena scott on 07 February 2012
Peter and Margaret were my 3 x gt grandparents. Margaret was his 2nd wife - his first, Isobel Walker, died in childbirth at 21 together with their baby. Very sad.
I would be happy to have a copy of his death cert. My em is You probably have the Birth registration record for your James but if not I can copy it to you.
Peter & Margaret had a 20 yr old gt-nephew working under his father, Peter, as a Tailor at Glenbuchat Wool Mill in the 1881 census – have you traced back James father ?

Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 08 February 2012
Thank you. Our problem is a difficulty in establishing which Peter was the father. He is given as a farm servant and the baby was illegitimate.
I think that James was probably the son of a Peter Kemp, listed in the 1871 census, living at Mill of Craigievar. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Kemp, so he would be around 20 in 1881 census. the area is ? and Cushnie.There's an Alexander Kemp ,27 a wool spinner and his wife Ann, also on the 1871 census.I think the address is Mill of Craigievar. The writing is faint.
We shall try and send you a copy of the death certificate. If it doesn't work I'll send it snail mail.
I've got the certificate for our James, born at Glenbuchat 1876 to a Margaret Fraser and a Peter Kemp.Why we thought he was born in Alford was that, when he was working with the Motherwell Police in 1901, he gave his birthplace as Alford, then in 1911 census while workig with the Blantyre police he gave Glenbuchat as his place of birth. Oh dear the joys of genealogy!
Added by Sheena scott on 08 February 2012
Sheena, if you send me your e amil address I will put you in contact with Kathleen MacDonald who has done a lot of research on Kemps of Lumphanan. This might be your group. Kath was a great help to me in 2004/5. She lives near Edinborough and works in Scots Family tree Organisation.
Added by Bill Lawson on 15 February 2012
Peter Kemp and Mgt. Smith were my 3 x grandparents. Their daughter Jessie married James Copland of Leochel Cushnie about 1853. James and Jessie had 5 sons and5 daughters. I am interested in all information of the family.
Added by Hilda Brook on 25 February 2012
Good to hear from you Hilda. James Copland signed the birth certificate for my Great grandfather JAMES KEMP LAWSON as a brother in law to Margaret Kemp. JKL was born at their property at North Behinties. I have a photo of the you?
Also James Copland was a witness at JKL's wedding in Lumsden on 21 Feb. 1880. JKL's father was a blacksmith to the Kemp family as was JC's father I believe.
Added by Bill Lawson on 25 February 2012
Hilda - there is an Extracty Inventory and a Will available for a James Copland on Scotlands People. Described as 'retired crofter of Waulkmill, Craigievar and father opf James C of Harefield, Uxbridge' and dated 1892.
These are SC1/36/115 and SC1/37/109. and cost £5 each
Also I have a copy of Peter Kemp's will in which he leaves £2 to Jessie 'wife of James Copland' If you want a copy, let me know.
Added by Ian Aitken-Kemp on 26 February 2012
Can anybody tell me what the building in the field between Esset Bank and Syllavethy was used for? There is a lade"?" (1860's map) running south from the Esset burn almost opposite the north end of the wool mill, down the west side of the haugh and parallel to the burn and the lade to the meal mill which passes under the road between the Esset bridge and Esset Bank and travels along the front of the house and into what looks like sluices or a dam at or near the middle of the field between Esset bank and Syllavethy ( ruins still visible) but the watercourse does not continue to the lower end of the burn, it looks as if the water was left to drain away. Was this a short canal rather than a lade, used to carry produce from the wool mill for waulking or dyeing rather than using the road? Does anyone know what Farquharson Inverarity did for a living when he lived at Esset Bank? Did he build Esset Bank?
Added by Gordon Wackett on 22 February 2013
Does anyone have any info on the woollen mill at Auchleven ? My husband is a descendant of Sandy Smith, the weaver there who is mentionned in the book The Life of John Duncan.
Added by Miranda MacDonald on 24 May 2014


Kemp Mill at MontgarrieMontgarrie BairnsFormer Residence of David Kemp, MontgarrieMontgarrie Bridge, AlfordMontgarrie Football TeamMontgarrieJimmy Robb's House, MontgarriePleasure Park Opening, MontagarriePleasure Park Opening, MontgarrieJake Balfour sporting an interesting outfit