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Moray facts for kids

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Logo of Moray


Moray within Scotland
Area Ranked
 - Total
 - % Water
Admin HQ High Street
IV30 1BX
ISO 3166-2 GB-MRY
ONS code S12000020
Population Ranked
 - Total (2006)
 - Density
The Moray Council
MPs Angus Robertson for Moray
MSPs * Richard Lochhead for Moray
  • Stewart Stevenson for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

Moray (/ˈmʌri/ MUH-ree; Scottish Gaelic: Moireibh or Moireabh, Latin: Moravia, Old Norse: Mýræfi) is one of the 32 Local Government council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland.

Between 1975 and 1996 Moray, with similar boundaries, was a district of the then Grampian Region.


The name, first attested around 970 as Moreb, and in Latinised form by 1124 as Morauia, derives from the earlier Celtic forms *mori 'sea' and *treb 'settlement'.

During the middle ages the Mormaerdom of Moray was much larger than the modern council area, covering much of what is now Highland and Aberdeenshire in addition to modern Moray. During this period Moray may for a time have been either an independent kingdom or a highly autonomous vassal of Alba. In the early 12th century the mormaerdom/kingdom was defeated by David I of Scotland following a conflict with Óengus of Moray, after which the area was ruled by William fitz Duncan.

After that the title became defunct until the 14th century when Thomas Randolph was granted the title Earl of Moray. The earldom would subsequently be destroyed and recreated four times, with its last creation surviving to this day, currently held by John Douglas Stuart, 21st Earl of Moray.

Over the centuries the territory of the County of Moray contracted to the area around Elgin.

The modern day boundaries of Moray date from the 1975 reorganisation of local government in Scotland. The old County of Moray was merged with parts of Banffshire to create an enlarged Moray district, which was a district of the wider Grampian Region. Some territory to the west was lost to the Highland Region. In 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, Moray became a single-tier subdivision of Scotland. The lieutenancy area and registration county of Moray cover smaller areas that are similar to the old county.

Towns and villages

The large majority of Moray's population live in the northern part of the district; only 1 of its 8 wards covers the glens to the south. Elgin is by far the largest town, being home to 25% of the population at the 2011 census.

  • Aberlour
  • Alves
  • Archiestown
  • Arradoul
  • Auchenhalrig
  • Bogmoor
  • Broadley
  • Buckie
  • Burghead
  • Clochan
  • Craigellachie
  • Cullen
  • Cummingston
  • Dallas
  • Deskford
  • Dipple
  • Drybridge
  • Dufftown
  • Duffus
  • Dyke
  • Elgin
  • Findhorn
  • Findochty
  • Fochabers
  • Forres
  • Fogwatt
  • Garmouth
  • Hopeman
  • Ianstown
  • Inchberry
  • Keith
  • Kingston
  • Kinloss
  • Lhanbryde
  • Longmorn
  • Lossiemouth
  • Mill of Tynet
  • Mosstodloch
  • Nether Dallachy
  • Newmill
  • Ordiquish
  • Portgordon
  • Portknockie
  • Rathven
  • Rafford
  • Rothes
  • Rothiemay
  • Spey Bay
  • Tomintoul
  • Unthank
  • Upper Dallachy
  • Urquhart


An inhabitant of the Moray, especially the historic Mormaer of Moray, is called Moravian.

Unlike many other regions of Scotland, which are experiencing population decline, Moray's population is expected to grow modestly to around 91,000 by 2024. Its population at the 2011 census was 93,295.

Projected population for Moray (2004 - 2024)

Source: General Register Office for Scotland


The first records on language use in the area indicate that in 1705, most of Moray except for the coast was described as "Wholly Irish & Highland Countreys" and "Ye Irish Parishes in which both languages are spoken." By 1822, Scottish Gaelic had weakened in the area, with only the far south of Moray reporting that, at best, 10% of the population were speaking Gaelic better than English. Records towards the end of the 19th century improved and show that between 1881 and 1921 the percentage of Gaelic speakers in Moray fluctuated as shown in the following table:

Year Gaelic speakers (%)
1881 2.63
1891 5.64
1901 4.48
1911 2.98
1921 2.08
1991 0.56

Since then, it has been consistently below 1%. It was largely replaced by Doric and latterly Scottish English.

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