In the twelfth century
Scotland was divided into sheriffdoms, and the sheriffs were the servants of
the Crown. Of Banffshire sheriffs, one of the earliest recorded was Richard
de Strathewan. The Comyns were the hereditary sheriffs of the county
previous to their overthrow by Bruce in 1308. For five years short of two
centuries the Castle of Banff and the hereditary office of Sheriff belonged
to the Earls of Buchan; and, when Buchan disposed of the Castle to
Archbishop Sharp's family, he resigned the heritable sheriff-ship in favour
of Baird of Auchmedden, in whose family it continued till 168 t. Then it was
conveyed to the Earl of Findlater. After the Forty-five heritable
jurisdictions were abolished, and justice was then administered by sheriffs
and sheriff-substitutes, nominated by the Crown. The counties of Aberdeen,
Banff and Kincardine form one sheriffdom, while there is a resident sheriff
-substitute in Banff.
At the head of the official
county lists stand the Lord-Lieutenant, the Vice-Lieutenant, and
Deputy-Lieutenants. Banffshire returns one member to the House of Commons.
The county has the two royal
burghs of Banff and Cullen and the nine police burghs of Macduff, Portsoy,
Buckie, Keith, Dufftown, Aberchirder, Aberlour, Portknockie and Findochty.
Each of these has its own local administration save in the matter of police,
in which the county is a single unit. The administration of county affairs
is in the hands of the County Council, appointed by thirty-three electoral
divisions, and divided into two Local Government Districts, the Lower
District with twenty members and the Upper District with thirteen members.
To these are added representatives of parish councils and royal burghs.
Besides the twenty-two civil
parishes mentioned on page 50, there are eleven quoad sacra—Buckie, Enzie,
Gardenstown, Glenlivet, Glenrinnes, Macduff, Newmill, Ord, Portsoy, Seafield,
By the Education Act of 1872,
School Boards in every parish had the charge of education; but the Education
Act of 1918 has now established an Education Authority, of thirty members,
for the whole county to control both primary and secondary schools.