"ELGIN, a parish, royal and parliamentary burgh and market town, county Elgin, or Moray, Scotland, of which it is the county town, 116 miles N. of Edinburgh, and 71½ N.W. of Aberdeen, by the Great North of Scotland and Inverness and Aberdeen Junction railway. It is situated in a fertile valley, about 51 miles from the sea at Lossiemouth. This place is of great antiquity, having been erected into a royal burgh by Alexander II. in 1234. The cathedral, originally founded in 1224, was destroyed by the "Wolf of Badenoch," son of Robert II., in 1390. It was entirely rebuilt in 1414, and received the name of "The Lanthorn of the North," from the magnificence of its architectural design. Of this venerable building only a few fragments now remain. Its length, as attested by the ruins, was 264 feet long, by 114 broad at the transepts, with a central tower of 198 feet. The lead of its roof was taken by the Regent Morton to pay his troops. Adjoining the cathedral was a college, within the walls of which were the house and garden of the bishop and those of the 22 canons. On the S. side of the town are the ruins of a convent of Grey Friars, and on the top of Lady Hill was a royal castle or fort, which existed prior to the reign of William the Lion. Near this last stands a pillar erected in honour of George, last Duke of Gordon. The town is governed by a provost, town clerk, 4 bailies, and 17 councillors. It pages, conjointly with Banff, Cullen, Inverurie, Kinton, and Peterhead, one member to parliament. The constituency of the municipal borough in 1861 was 287, and of the parliamentary 291. The population, according to the census of 1861, was 6,403, against 5,383 in 1851, showing an increase of 1,020 in the decennial period. The corporation revenue in 1860 was £885, and the value of real property £19,004. The main street, which is nearly a mile in length, is spacious, well paved, and lighted with gas. The other streets are narrow and mean. The principal buildings are Gray's hospital, situated at the W. end of the town, with a handsome Grecian portico and cupola; Anderson's Institution, a handsome quadrangular building, surmounted by a circular tower and dome, and ornamented with Doric columns and sculptured figures; it was founded by the late General Andrew Anderson, who bequeathed £70,000 for the support of the aged and the education of youth; the Court-house, where the sheriff and burgh courts are held, and the Elgin Museum, both new buildings; Grey friars, prison, lunatic asylum, in which, in 1861, were 35 males and 42 females; and Assembly Rooms, situated in North-street. A public fountain now occupies the site of the old gaol. Several of the Scottish banks have branches in the town, and there is also a savings-bank with branches in the neighbourhood. The parish of Elgin is in the presbytery of Elgin and synod of Moray. The old church of St. Giles was pulled down in 1828, and on its site was erected the present structure, at a cost of £8,300. There are two Free churches, called High and South. A handsome Gothic Roman Catholic chapel has been recently built at the S. end of the town, and there is a neat Episcopal chapel with æ parsonage. The Elgin Academy has three endowed professorships, for Latin, mathematics, and English. There are also in the town a trades-school and infant school. Market days are Tuesday and Friday. The corn market is held on Friday, for which a new and covered market-place has recently been constructed."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)