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The Bakers Van from Rothiemay

The writing on the side of the van as follows:-

                                              Phone No 4 Rothiemay

P E T E R      T E W N I O N   

Good Bread is essential for Health

S E E  O U R  V A R I E T Y

Photo courtesy of Keith Bowie

Everybody loved Wednesday… why? … because it was the day that Peter Tewnion’s baker’s van came to Kinnoir from Rothiemay.

Peter Tewnion ran a grocer’s shop in Rothiemay in the 1920’s and 1930’s but he also baked his own bread to sell to the local community and further afield. Peter Tewnion was a forward thinking businessman and realising there was a demand from the surrounding communities Peter had a trailer specially built and decorated so that he could bring his groceries to the wider community - with the aide of his trusty horse, Muffin, of course!

Another indication of his forward thinking approach was that he signed up for a telephone line as soon as they were available in Rothiemay and proudly displayed the telephone number on the side of his trailer  “Phone No 4 - Rothiemay”. His name first appeared in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Telephone Directory of 1929.

“Good” seemed to be the superlative of the day as not only did Peter Tewnion have Good Bread on the side of his van, the Dairy at Auchinclech also had “Good Morning.. Good Milk” on their bottle tops.

Peter Tewnion’s route on Wednesdays through Kinnoir would have been about 12 miles long but included some quite steep stretches as he traversed the Fourman Hill twice in the course of the day.

The route started in Rothiemay at around 7.00 am and meandered via Corsekellie to Redhill Farm at the foot of the Fourman Hill. From there a steep ascent to the south of the Fourman to Auchinbo along the old drovers road which is no more than a track today.

From there the route was down past Bogenspro and via the Smiddy to Loanend and Kinnoir School. The route then turned East to Broomfold and Cobairdy and then down via Cairnton to Bognie Brae.

The return leg to Rothiemay followed another old drovers road to the north of the Fourman via Fourmanhill cottage where Ronnie Cran, the youngest of seven bairns born to Sandy and Mary Cran, eagerly awaited the arrival of the Bakers van.

The van returned to Rothiemay late in the evening where Muffin was fed a well deserved nose bag of oats.


Of course cash was in short supply in those days but the enterprising folk of Kinnoir produced eggs, milk, cheese and vegetables all of which could be bartered for the fresh bread and other grocery items.

Just when the van stopped its weekly round is not clear but the second World War interrupted many traditions. In post war years Kinnoir was served by Grocers vans, Butcher vans and a daily milk delivery  all of which came from Huntly.

These vans were also eagerly awaited but none could match the excitement of Peter Tewnions horse drawn van bringing fresh bread and a sticky piece!!!

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A Postscript provided by Mrs Irene Valentine of Gosport in Hampshire who is the Grand Daughter (in law) of Peter Tewnion. Irene is married to Peter Tewnion’s grandson Ken.

Peter Tewnion was born in the farming community of Garmond near Cuminestone. His decision to take up baking as a profession and move to Rothiemay remains a mystery to the family.

Unfortunately, he died tragically in 1931 in a drowning accident. He had gone missing in September of 1931 but was not found until November of the same year.

Peter and his wife Anne were not new to tragedy , however, as they lost their first three children (Helen, Mary and Peter Roy) in infancy. Fortunately they did not give up and went on to have four more daughters , Marjory, Jessie Ann, Gladys (who was Irene Valentine’s mother in law) and Millicent.

Peter and most of his family (including Gladys) are buried in the Churchyard at Cuminestown, near Turriff.


Images of Gladys Edward Tewnion (Peter’s Daughter) kindly provided by Irene Valentine