The Knights Templar appear to have had a base in the area, and a nearby site is still known as “Temple Brae”.
Turriff was notable as the scene of the very first engagements of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–51). Early in 1639, the Marquis of Huntly assembled his forces here, and thereafter went to Kintore in lower Aberdeenshire, eventually marching from there to Aberdeen itself. The Marquis — being informed shortly after his arrival in Aberdeen that a meeting of Covenanters was to be held in Turriff on the fourteenth of February — resolved to disperse them, by occupying the town with 2000 men. The incident was known as the “Raid of Turriff” and was followed a few days later by a minor engagement known as the “Trot of Turriff”.
More recently, the 1913 Turra Coo incident in the parish was the result of a local refusal to pay National Insurance when this was introduced by Lloyd George’s government. The Sherriff’s department seized a cow from a local farmer who refused to pay National Insurance contributions for his workers. The Sherriff’s department had difficulty selling the cow, as locals were sympathetic toward the farmer. Eventually they brought in an outside auctioneer, but the auction was disrupted by protesters and the cow escaped. A statue of the “coo” was erected in 2010 in the town centre at the junction of High Street and Main Street and has become a popular emblem for the town.
Historically, Turriff was an important centre for agricultural trade, with its mart being mentioned in the mid-19th century Second Statistical Account of Scotland as one of the largest in the country. The mart finally ceased operation in December 1989, having been eclipsed by the newer Thainstone Mart at Inverurie. At one time the town was served by the Banff, Macduff and Turriff Junction Railway.