Lachlan Shaw.

The history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties online

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Online LibraryLachlan ShawThe history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties → online text (page 13 of 37)
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harvest encroaches far upon the winter.

State of rroperty. — The parish is possessed by four pro-
prietors. In its southern quarter, sheltered from the east
and north, by a curvature of the mountain, is the family
seat of Arndill}', the property of David Macdowal Grant,
Esq., a magnificent modern house, making the front of a
small court of lower buildings ; it is pleasantly situated
on an elevated ground, rising from a pretty extensive
plain, which has the river winding around it: the ))lanta-
tions stretch behind upon tlie sides of the mountain, farther
than the house on either quarter commands, presenting a
pleasant riding of several miles, diversified by the ditlerent
sweeps of the river, and the fertile plains of Rothes on the
farther side ; wliile the ornamented banks of a brook,
gushing from the angle of the mountain, with the gardens
and enclosed fields, add to the natural beauties of this
elegant situation. The valued rent of the whole domain
in the parish, Papeen, Newton, Galdwal, and Auchmadies,


amount to £840 Scots. The barony of Auchluncart, with
the family seat, recently improved into the elegance of
modern fashion, with the convenience of a kitchen garden,
and the shelter of a little grove, is the property of Andrew
Steuart, Esq., writer to the signet, amounting to the valua-
tion of £1000. The farm of Knockan, a part of the estate
of John Duff of Druramuir, which has run over the hill
from the parish of Botriphnie, is valued at £100. The
rest of the parish appertains to the Earl of Findlater, of
which the valuation only of the lands of Boat of Brigg,
amounting to £100, is within the county of Banff; the
lands of Cairnty, Auchrosk, Mulderies, and Mulben,
amounting to .£1437, 9s. 2d., belong to the county of
Moray : extending the total valuation of the parish to the
sum of £3577, 9s. 2d. Scots. The farms are, in general,
of considerable, though of various extent. The average
rent of the acre of arable land may be estimated at 18s.

State Ecclesiastical. — In Roman Catholic times there
were three chapels in the parish of Boharm : St. Nicholas
at the Boat of Brigg, the chapel at the Castle of Galival,
and the third at Arndilly, then named Artendol. St.
Nicholas, it may be presumed, was suppressed and added
to Dundurcos about the Reformation ; and there is reason
to believe, that Arndilly and the district of Galival were
formed into the parish of Boharm prior to the year 1618.
In the year 1G82, Dundurcos being suppressed, the terri-
tory of St. Nicholas was then conjoined: and of late a new
church has been built, about 3 miles eastward from the
old fabric, in a situation pretty centrical to the present
parish ; where the glebe, about 30 acres, has been also
located, and the residence has also been fixed. The value
of the living, as presently constituted, is £44, and 72
bolls in bear and meal. The right of patronage apper-
tains to the Earl of Fife ; but the Crown has obtained
a share by the annexation from Dundurcos. The school
has not been in a flourishing state for many years: a
sorry cottage, is incommodiously situated behind the old
church. The salary is only a wretched pittance of
£5, lis., about half the wages of an ordinary farm servant,
as the fees of teaching, and the whole emoluments of
the office of session clerk, about £3, 10s., do not defray
the expense of daily bread alone.

The number of the poor is about 2G : and the provision


for their support, contributed in the church in the usual
manner, with 10s. an ancient j^early endowment in the
parish of Dundurcos, amounts to nearly £7 in the whole.
The number of the people is about 1300; and, except
those who occasionally support the vagabonds that ply
about the old church of Dundurcos, they are all of the
national Establishment.] — {Survey of Province of Moray)

South from Boharni, on the rivulets of Piddich
and Dulenan, lieth


This parish, in ancient -waitings is called Morth-
lacJi, probably from Mor-lag, i.e. a Great Hollow,
for it is a deep hollow, sm-roimded with hills.
Before I enter this parish, I shall a little describe
the two rivulets that water it.

Field Ich, q. FiodJddJi, i.e. Woody, because its
sides are covered with wood, hath its rise in the
hills south of Mortlich towards Strathdon, and
running N.-E. about 3 miles, turneth almost due
west for a mile, and then, after a com-se of 3 miles
due north, it falleth into Spey.

The other rivulet Dulenan (properly Juilan,
from Tuil, a Hood, because of its impetuous cur-
rent), takes its rise in the hills of Glenlivat, and
running N.-E. parallel to Fiddich (but separated
from it by a ridge of hills) 3 miles, it mixes with
it 3 miles above Spey.

The parish is in length from N. to S. 4 miles,
and as much in breadth from E. to W. besides
some skirts that lye near to Botrisliny, Glass,


Cabrach. It is all environed with hills, except a
small opening to the north.

The Church standeth on Diilenan, a little ahove
the confluence with Fiddich, 2 miles S.-S.-E. of
Aberlour, and about 3 miles south of Boharm.
The parish (all in the shire of Banff) consists of
the Barony of Kininvie, the Lordship of Belvenie,
and the Barony of Anchindune.

The House of Kininvie stands upon the rivulet
Fiddich on the east side, environed with natural
wood. A branch of the family of Lesly of Bal-
quhan has enjoyed this Barony about 250 years,
and of this branch the Earl of Leven is descended.
Next up to Fiddich-side and the west-side of
DuUen, are the lands of Balvenie, which compre-
hend Bochram, Little Tullich, Park-beg, Clunie-
More, Clunie-beg, Pitvaich, Littoch, &c. Of the
Commissioners sent to London, 19 August, 1423,
to relieve King James L, was James Douglas of
Balvenie (By7ii. Feed. vol. x., p. 298), and 1446
John, son of James, Earl of Douglas, was created
Lord Balvenie, who, being forfeited 1455, for
joining in his brother's rebellion. King James II.
granted Balvenie to his uterine brother, John
Steuart, Earl of Athole. That family sold it to
Aberneathie Lord Salton, who, about 160G, dis-
poned it to Lord Ochiltree. From him it came to
Sir Kobert Innes of Invermarkie, and from Sir
Eobert's heirs to Sutherland of Kinminity. About
anno 1066, Alexander Lord Salton reduced his


father's disposition to Lord Ochiltree, and con-
veyed the hmds in 1C70 to Arthur Forbes, brother
to Blackton, fi'om whom Alexander Duff of Braco
adjudged them, and got possession about 1G87, and
they are now the property of the Earl of Fife.

Upon an eminence on the west bank of Fiddich,
stood the castle of Balvenie, the ancient seat of
the Lordship, commanding a pleasant view of the
valley ; and half a mile below it, in a moist, low,
and unwholesome soil, there is built a fine house
of modern architectm-e, one of the seats of the
Earl of Fife, adorned with gardens and planting.
In the south of the parish, betwixt the rivulets
of Fiddich and Dulen, is the barony of Auchin-
dmie. This was formerly a part of the Lordship
of Deskford, and Auchindune and forest of Fid-
dich were a part of the barony of Ogilvie, erected
in 1527 {Pen. Findl.). Afterwards it was pur-
chased by, and is now the property of the famil}-
of Gordon. The castle stood on a mount above
the water of Fiddich; and from it Glenfiddicli
stretches S.-W. about 3 miles among the hills;
where is fine pasture ground and a forest of red
deer. Upon the head of Dulen lieth Glenriness,
a fertile valley, 2 miles long.

The south side of it is a part of the barony of
Auchindune, and the north side a part of the
lordship of Balvenie. Along the north side run-
neth Benrinnes, a high hill, and a land mark for
sailors in sailing into the Moray Frith.


[The Castle of AucJiindune lies about 8 miles north-
east of Dufftown. The ruin is a high square tower, on a
bleak dreary knoll, 600 feet high. In the centre of the
ruin is a remarkable Gothic arch. Tradition says that it
was built by Cochrane, the favourite of James III. Until
1535 it was the propert}^ of the Ugilvies of Deskford, and
then passed to the Gordons. The like old tale exists of it
as of the burning of the Castle of Frendraught and the
bonnie House of Airlie. A.uchindoun was the domicile
of Adam o' Gordon, the Marquis of Huntly. In 1592,
William, Laird of Macintosh and Chief of the Clan
Chattan, had given offence to Gordon, of whom the
Macintoshes held certain lands, and who came to Auchin-
doun to seek redress. Unfortunately Adam o' Gordon
was not at home, but his young wife was, who, listening
to his errand, said that her husband desired the head of
the Captain of the Chattans to be stuck on the portcullis
of the castle. This fired the blood of the Macintosh to
siege, whereupon the vassals of Adam o' Gordon within
Auchindoun turned out in defence. Lady Gordon, with
a claymore, struck off" the head of the Macintosh then
and there. Soon this defeat got wind, and the Clan
Chattan, in dead of night, surrounded and set on fire the
stronghold of Auchindoun. A ballad, " Helen of Auchin-
doun," is given in my '■ Book of the Chronicles of Keith,"
pp. 305-318. "The glacks o' Balloch," mentioned in the
song " Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch," are a pass near the
Castle of Auchinduue. Mrs. Grant of Carron is the
authoress, born at Aberlour in 1745 ; died at Bath about
1814. " Tibbie Fowler o' the Glen " is said to have lived
in the Braes of Auchindune. This is very dubious ; the
style of the lyric, and the illusion to " Tintock tap," in
the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, discard the fancy.

Not one solitary tree is near this weird fastness ; albeit.
Queen Victoria (when on a brief stay with the Duke of
Richmond at Gleufiddich) sketched dismal-looking Auch-
indune from several points of view. Its elevated solitude
inspires the visitor with strange feelings.

Some few years ago a curious massive solid gold ring,
having three links, was found among rubbish dug up at
the castle. It seemed to have been intended for a puzzle
or pass-sign, as the motto inscribed upon it could only be
read when the links were placed in a certain way.
VOL. L ' 9


Balvenie Castle. — S. Waloch is said to have had a
mission at Balvenie (Bp. Forbes' Kalemhir of Scottish
Saints) long before the time of S. Moloch. A well at
Balvenie was noted in old times for its virtues in curing
various diseases.

It is further averred that Bp. Beyn lived at Balvenie,
and conferred the name Bul-Beyn, i.e., Beynstown, upon
the locality. ^lore probably its origin is to be found in
the Gaelic compound Ihd-hliaim, the town of green fields,
which aptly describes the verdant aspect of the place and
its pretty surroundings.

The Cumins are said to have been early pro])rietors
of the lordship of Balvenie, which, being afterwards held
])y the great family of Douglas, was forfeited by Sir John
Douglas, Lord of Balvenie, in 1455. About 1400, Sir
John Stewart, Earl of Athole, uterine brother of James II.,
had a gift of Balvenie from the Crown on tlie occasion of
his marriage with Lady Margaret Douglas, " the fair maid
of Galloway." She left two daughters; and the Earl
having married as his second wife a daughter of the Earl
of Orkney, she bore him a son, from whom descended the
Stewarts, afterwards designed of Belvenie. The Stewarts
sold Balvenie about IGOG, from which date until 1GS7,
when the j)ro])erty was acquired by Alexander Dutf of
Braco, ancestor of the Earl of Fife, it had several owners,
including the Inneses.

The Castle, which is guarded on the north by a great
ditch, with built sides, is popularly said to have been first
erected by the Danes, and has a large parlour in it, yet
called the Danes' Hall. The western portion appears to
be the oldest, and the south-east part bears unmistakable
evidence of the Stewarts. The national arms occupy a
niche over the entrance door, upon which hangs a strong
gate or yett of curiously wrought iron, and the Atholl
legend is boldly carved upon the front wall : —

FvRTH. FoRTViN. And. Fil. Thi. Fatrls.

A shield within the castle court is charged with the
Atholl and Gordon arms im})aled. These po.ssibly refer
to the 4th Earl of Atholl, who died in 157'.), and to his
lady, a daughter of the house of Huntly. Upon another
slab is a much defaced coat, over ^vhich is the motto,
"Spes. Mka. XYH:'— Christ, my hoj^c.


111 its palmy days the House of Balvenie had consisted
of a large square, occupying a Scotch acre in extent, with
a strong lofty tower at the gateway and turrets at each
of the four angles of the building. The castle was unroofed
about 1()() years ago, since which time it has gradually
l)econic so much dilapidated that restoration would be
almost impracticable. Had this been gone about at tlie
time when the first Earl of Fife built a costly, but now
neglected mansion, a little farther down the valley,
Balvenie might have been at this day one of the noblest
seats, as it is one of the most interesting ruins in the
north. Billings * gives two capital engravings of it in his
Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland, and
there is a good view (1787) in Cordiner's Remark. Buins.

Edinglassie Castle was far inferior either to Auchin-
doun or Balveny. In 1690, the year of the engagement
on the Haughs of Cromdale, some of the Highland clans,
on their march from Strathspey through Mortlach to
Strathbogy, pillaged and burnt the house. Whereupon
Gordon, the laird, with his tribe, seized 18 of the katerans
at random on their return, a few weeks after, and hanged
them seriatim on the trees in his garden. So many
kindred scare-croivs never perched there before nor since.
They were afterwards burnt, and the spot is still known
as " the Hielanmen's niossiey] (Ed.)


[Situation, Soil, Climate. — The principal part of this
parish is a valley nearly parallel to the course of the Spey,
extending eastward from the eastern quarter of Inveravon
along the southern side of Aberlour, from wliich it i^
separated by a ridge of mountain, raised into three high
rounded summits, named the Conval Hills. Through this
valley, the stream of Dullan holds a straight, and, as its
name imports, a rapid course, until near its termination
in the Spey ; where, bent almost into a right angle, it
turns across the end of the Conval Hills from south to
north. But having run about two-thirds of its course, it
resigns its name to another stream, the Fiddich ; which,

* KB. — Billings makes a gross blunder in stating that Bal-
veny Castle is in "the parish of Marnocli." Even if this was
an error of the press, it is not corrected in any page of errata,
but passes on us a verity, to he copied by others. (Ed.)


rising near the eastern borders of tlie parish of Inveravon,
occupies the bottom of a woody vale, as it name imports,
nearly parallel to that of Dullan. At the distance of 3
miles on the south, across this space, turning direct, it
hastens to join its neighbour with both its water and its
wood, forming the country together into the figure of the
letter [h] inverted, as thus [ij]. But to the parish another
vale appertains, stretched towards the south-east, from the
other side of the hill which bends the course of the Fid-
dich. Through this vale, the brook of ^larky wind>
down to the river Deveron ; which there, for almost a
quarter of a mile, forms the limit of the parish, and bounds
the county of Banff with that of Aberdeen, enlarging the
form of the parish to something resembling the capital
letter [K]. Its greatest length, along the course of the
Dullan, is about 12 miles; and the breadth, over Glenfid-
dich and Glenriness, is not less than G. No alteration
either in the natural appearance of the countrj^ or in its
name, has taken place for more than 800 j-ears. In the
charter granted by Malcolm II. about 1010, to the first
bishop of this ancient see, its name is written murthlac,
nearly the same as at present; but its etymology is not
ascertained. Mortis lacus, ilw death hiJce, is entitled to
equal respect only with the burlesque derivations of the
Dean of .St. Patrick. The more probable Gaelic source,
which makes the name imply the (jreat Jiolloiv, is neither
satisfactory in sound construction, nor in comparative
signification, as the hollow in all of the six surrounding
])arishes is of as great or greater extent than here. The
arable fields may be from 4 to 5000 acres. They lie, in
general, pretty high along the Dullan and the Fiildich,
and the banks of the brook of Marky, di.sjoined from the
rest of the ])arish. The sloping sides of the rills which
fall into these streams, and the more gentle declivities of
the mountains, are also partly under cultivation. There
are some little plains along the Aviiulings of the streams,
but they are not considerable. The extent of meadow
grass and coarser ])asturage, with the moor and heath-
covered hills, may amount to twenty times as much as
the cultivated field. The soil, for the most ])art, is a
deep fertile loamy clay ; the exceptions of its inclining in
some places to a sandy or a moorish soil, scarcely merits
notice. The air is pure and wholesome, though rather


moist than dry. Fair weather is sometimes enjoyed on
the farms below, when fogs, or showers of rain, or of snow,
are gloomily chilling on the surrounding heights above.
Its political situation places it in the county of Banff.
In the ecclesiastical view, it is under the jurisdiction of
the Presbytery of Strathbogie, the Commissariot of Aber-
deen, and the Synod of Moray.

State of Froperfj/. — The parish is the property of five
proprietors. The Earl of Fife has the lordship of Bal-
venie, on which there is an ample handsome regular
modern Seat, situated in a wide opening of the vale, upon
the banks of the Fiddich, after its union with the Dullau,
in a plain at the bottom of the eminence which is occupied
by the old castle. To his Lordship also pertains Glen-
markie, Edinglass}', and Dullanside, valued altogether in
the cess roll of the county of Banft\at £1020 Scots. The
Duke of Gordon has the lordship of Auchnadun, Glentid-
dich, with a commodious hunting Seat, and Glenrinness,
amounting altogether to the valuation of £1G20 Scots.
James Leslie, Esq., holds the barony of Kininvie and the
lands of Tullich, a valuation of £450 Scots, and resides in
the manor house of Kininvie, the commodious habitation
of his very remote ancestors. The small property of
Buchrome is a part of the estate of Andrew Steuart
of Auchlunkart, Esq., valued at £90 Scots ; and the farm
of Lochend, on the confines of the parish of Botriplmie, a
part of the estate of Duff of Drumuir, is valued at £20
Scots; making the whole valued rent of the parish amount
to the sum of £1'100 Scots. The farms are unequal in
extent, from a I'ent of £5 to £80 sterling. The mean
rent of the acre is about 15s.

State Ecclesiastical. — The church is situated on the
bank of the Dullan, a little above its confluence with
Fiddich. It is venerable merely on account of its age. It
is the cathedral of the second bishopric of Scotland. Its
walls are supposed to have stood since the beginning of the
11th century, and they are still deemed to be more durable
than any building of the present day. They have none
of that magnificence or elegant decoration of the cathedrals
of succeeding ages. The simplicit}^ of the doors and win-
dows, and of the whole edifice, bears witness to its age.
The windows are narrow slits, 6 feet in height, and only
10 inches wide on the outside, but sloped so much as to


measure 12 feet -wide within. It is 90 feet in length, and
28 in breadth, having 27 feet in the east end, where na
doubt the choir and altar were, a few feet higher than the
rest of the building. The bodies of Bean, the first bishop,
Donortius, the second, and Corniac, the third, are suppo.sed
to be here interred. Nectan, the fourth, in the 14th year
of his incumbenc}', w^as translated by David I. to Abei"-
deen; which, then becoming the seat of the diocese, assumed
also the name, having remained at Mortlach for the s])ace of
129 year.s after its erection in the year 1010. Its revenue
here was but small, comprehending only the churches of
IVIortlach, Cloveth, and Dalmeth, with all their lands.
The glebe on which the manse is placed is close by the
church, extending to G acres, and comprehending a small
orchard and kitchen garden. The patronage belongs to
the Crown, and the stipend is .£6*> 2s. sterling, and IG
bolls bear and 32 of meal, in which the allowance for the
communion is included. The whole emoluments of the
schoolmaster (the salary, an annual donation bequeathed
by Duff of Dipple, the fees, and the perquisites of the
office of session clerk), do not exceed 20 guineas a-3'ear,
for which 40 scholars have a resjiectable mediocrity of
education. Dr. Alex. IMoir of St. Croix, a native, and for
some time the schoolmaster of the, bequeathed
£600 sterling to the care of the Professors of King's
College, Aberdeen, for completing the education in that
University of 4 boys taught in this school, which must
be certitied by the minister, the donation being so adjusted
as to have one of the 4 boys beginning with it each j'ear ;
and if 2 or more apply together, the best scholar is pre-
ferred. This endowment has continued almost 40 years,
and though inadecpiate now to defray the whole expense at
Aberdeen, has been of important service to many of the
youth of this parish.

The fund for the sui)port of the ))Oor consists ]iartly of
the sum of £4, 3s. 4d., being the yearly interest of a capital
bequeathed also b\' ])ip])le, who, by his endowments for
the sujiport of the schools, and ]irovisions of this kind in
the parishes in which his [U'operty lay, shoM'ed the kinilest
and most liberal attention lioth to the minds and to the
bodies of tlie poor. To this sum, wdiich was of great
consideration in the age in which it was bequeathed, the
tenants and their ramilics who attend the eluireh make.


by their weekly contributions, the addition of about £1G
more. From which, not what can be supposed a subsis-
tence, but a scanty aid, is derived for the support of GO
of their indigent neighbours, the ruimber of poor on tlie
roll of the books of the church session. The members of
the Established Church are 1837; and there arc 43
Seceders, 37 Roman Catholics, and 1 Episcopalian.

Miscellaneous InforrtiaUon. — The people, with a few
exceptions, are and long have been honest, industrious,
sober, and humane, attached to the British constitution,
and decent in their attendance on the ordinances of
religion. In general, they are disposed to cheerfulness
and contentment, but keenly alive to the sense of injus-
tice or oppression. They are not fond of a military life,
and the business of a soldier is in low estimation among
them, being regarded as dissipated, slavish, and poor. It
is frequently observed, that there was greater plenty of
all kinds of game before the legal prohibitions had etfect,
as every one had then an interest in destroying those
animals that prey upon them so much more successfull}'
than man, and in taking care also of the eggs and of the
young, about which they are now careless, at least, and
indifferent. In the vicinity of the Duke of Gordon's seat
in Glenfiddich, there is a great extent of fine natural
birch wood, the residence of more than 1000 deer and
roe, the natural and ancient inhabitants of the forest.

Balvenie Castle, in the lower end of the country, is
embellished also by much natural wood on the banks of
the Fiddich, chiefly aller, among which the elm, plane,
and oak, prosper. The ash also shoots luxuriantly, and
seems natural to the soil. And a great variety of flower-
ing shrubs appear among the trees, the natives of the
place. There are, besides, several extensive plantations
of Scots flr upon the property of Buchrome, and on that
of the Earl of Fife, on the whole nearly 400 aci'es. An
arable and very fertile field, a sloping bank in the park
around the castle, planted with fir, when it was built
about 70 years ago, is now become fine timber full grown.
In that age, it was the opinion that rich soil was requisite
for such plantations ; but the other groves, which at pre-
sent decorate so much of the inarable waste around, seem

Online LibraryLachlan ShawThe history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties → online text (page 13 of 37)