The original village lay between St. Peter’s Kirk (on Gordonstoun Road), and The Old Manse (rebuilt c. 1700).
It comprised of a handful of cottages along the roadside. Each cottage had a narrow plot to grow vegetables, with a midden at the far end, as far from the house as possible!
In the 19th century landowners in Scotland developed the idea of “planned villages”, for which they made suitable land available, and tradesmen such as blacksmiths, cobblers, joiners etc. were given an inducement to settle in these villages to make the communities more self sufficient.
It must be remembered that travel at that time was by horse or cart on unmade roads – the road from Duffus to Gordonstoun was only tarmaced when the school started c.1930.
Burghead and Lossiemouth are also examples of planned villages.
A new Manse, (now a private home), was built outwith the village and the new church was built in 1868.
There was a hall in Hall Place and the small recreational ground was where the Council houses were later built.
The village never had its own school – instead the children walked to the Kaim, (now a private house), often in bare feet and carrying their books.
After World War 2 funding was given by the Government to build local halls. Sir Edward Dunbar, (the present Laird’s father), gave the ground and the playing field to the people of Duffus.
The hall was opened by Lady Dunbar. Mr R Duncan, Begrow Farm, was the small boy who presented her with a bouquet. This was around 1953. Sadly in the late 1990’s the hall burned down due to an electrical fault.
Rebuilt from insurance money and Lottery funding, the new hall opened in 1999.
As late as the 1960’s there was not only the Post Office but a couple of other shops, such as a Butcher & General Store (run by the Mustard family) and a chip shop.
New houses were built to the north of the village by local builder Packman. The land was part of Duffus Estate so Northfield was named after the Laird – Sir Archie Dunbar of Northfield.