The village of Maud stands in the valley of the South Ugie Water midway between the villages of New Deer and Old Deer and 12 miles west of Peterhead. Today it is home to what some regard as the best livestock market in North East Scotland and serves as the main service centre for agriculture across a broad swathe of Buchan.
Known at various times under a number of different names, there has been a settlement at what became the meeting point of six roads in central Buchan for a considerable period of time. The first recorded name was "Bank of Behitch". This is said to have come from a natural embankment next to the houses in the original settlement, which carters used to help them unhitch their horses.
It was another transport development which led to the next two names by which the settlement was known. The Formartine and Buchan Railway opened in stages between 1861 and 1865. Its main line ran from Dyce in the south to Fraserburgh in the north, and there was a branch line which connected to Peterhead. The original plans for the line saw it extend only as far north as Ellon. The fact that it went much further was largely due to the political influence, and financial input, of William Dingwall Fordyce, an MP for Aberdeenshire and a resident of Brucklay Castle, a mile and a half north of Maud.
The junction station between the main line to Fraserburgh and the branch line to Peterhead was built in what is today Maud. But, presumably influenced by William Dingwall Fordyce and reflecting the station's proximity to the Brucklay Estate, the railway company originally named the station Brucklay Junction. The village that started to grow up around it briefly became known as Brucklay.
Within a short time the name of the village had been changed again, this time to New Maud. This seems to have been a reflection of the fact that a long established nearby settlement was traditionally known as Aldmad, Auld Maud or Old Maud: and it was logical to call the largely new village that grew around the station New Maud. The station name was changed to Maud Junction, and before long the village itself started to become known simply as Maud.
If the origin of the name isn't straightforward, neither is its meaning. The most straightforward explanation is that it comes from the Gaelic am mòd meaning "meeting place", a reflection of the meeting of many routes here. More likely, however, is that it means "wolf's (or dog's) lair", coming from the Gaelic madadh. And to complicate matters further, the original name of Old Maud, "Aldmad", probably came from the Gaelic allt madadh, meaning "stream of the wolf (or dog)". If this is right, the "old" in "Old Maud" was simply an Anglicisation of the Gaelic for stream.
The railway stopped carrying passengers in the 1960s and freight at the end of the 1970s. Despite this, Maud has retained its railway station buildings. These are now home to the Maud Railway Museum. Other reminders of the railway remain in the form of the Formartine and Buchan Way, 54 miles of right of way; an old oil depot on the edge of the village; and the Station Hotel.
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