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 23 of 37)
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only sister, Mrs. Davina Grant, wife of Frederic Grant, Esq.,
of Mount Cyrus, Kincardineshire, where her mortal remains
are deposited in the burying-ground of St. Cyrus parish. She
died on 8th March, 1828, aged 27 years.

Robert and Lewis Grant were twins, and their mother
was a daughter of the minister of Cromdale. The hus-
band of their sister Robina was a son of Mrs. Grant of
Laggan, the poetess.

VI. Sacred to the memory of Robert Grant, of Kincorth,
who died on the 10th August, 1801^ in the 49th year of his
age. Also in memory of Lewis, infant son of Robert Grant
and Edith Eaton, his wife, who died at Forres House, on the
17th November, 1861, aged 13 months.

From a table -shaped stone, enclosed : —

VII. Erected to the memory of Alexander Carmichael, of
Congash, who died the 14th November, 1803, in the 64th year
of his age. He was justly esteemed and sincerely regretted for
his uniform integrity and general benevolence.

Lieut. -Col. Lewis Carmichael, born at Kinrara, June 26,
1792, died at Forres, August 8, 1844. Entering the army in
1809, as an Ensign in the 59th Regt. of Foot, he served his
country 34 years with distinguished honours. At Vittoria,
San Sabastian, Nivelle, Nive, and Waterloo, he earned the
reputation of a zealous and intrepid officer ; and at the assault
of Bhurtpore, for a feat of extraordinary valour, he was officially
thanked by the General in command. Sir Jasper Nicolls. His
efforts in contributing to restore order in Canada dm-ing the
commotions of 1838, &c., were duly appreciated and acknow-
ledged by the Local Government, and by all the well affected
in that Colony. As a man he was kind and generous, devoted
to the interests of his country, beloved by his companions in


arms, and esteemed by all who knew him. After a short but
painful illness, which he bore with Christian submission to
Divine Will, he died in the hope of a blessed resurrection.
This monument his sorrowing sisters have erected to an affec-
tionate and lamented brother, 18-i5.

VIII. There are five Tablets on the south side of the
Church to a family of Houston, the earliest recorded of
whom, Alex. Houston, and his wife Jane Cruickshank,
lived in Grantown, and died respectively in 1808 and
179G. The deaths of two sons and two daughters are
recorded. The eldest son, James, and his wife Helen
Macdonald, died in 1842 and 1803 respectively, and the
following refers to one of their family : —

IX. In memory of Alex. Cruickshank Houston, Lieut.
G2nd Regiment, Bengal, N.I., "an officer of proved gallantry
and great promise," born 25th March, 1829, at Kirkton of
Inverallan, died 29th May, 1855, at Fort Abouzdie, in the
Punjaub, where the officers of his regiment have erected a
monument over his grave.


The ruins of the Church of Advie occupy a hillock
about 8 miles below the kirk and boat of Cromdale. A
considerable portion of the walls of the church still
remain, the east gable being the most entire. The walls
are about 3 feet thick, and the inside measurement of the
fabric is about 20 by 52 feet. The ruins of a roofless
" watch-house " are near the south-west corner.

The kirkyard-dykes are in keeping with the crazy
state of the kirk walls ; but, being surrounded by a few
ash and fir trees, the site is not destitute of picturesque
beauty. Fine views of the shooting lodge of Tulchan,
and a large part of the wilds of Spey, ai'e obtained from it.

There are about a dozen grave-stones within the area
of the ruins, and in the chui-chyard. From these the two
inscriptions below are selected.

Tlic former is upon a granite obelisk ; the latter upon a
})lain headstone : —

I. In memory of the late Adam Stewart, Esq., Mains of
Dalvey, and of Marjory Grant, his spouse. Also of their
sons, Wn.LLVM, surgeon in the 58th Regt., who died the . . .
and Greoor, surgeon in the 18th Regt., who died at Hong-
Kontr, on the 18th August, 184G.


James, younger son of Adam Stewart, became minister
of the adjoining parish of Abernethy, where he died in
18C2, aged 57. Being of an unostentatious, kindly dis-
position, he was much respected in his parish, while his
attainments in literature and science gained him many
friends at a distance. He was one of the best violinists
in the north, and excelled in Strathspeys. "A thorough
Highlander in feeling (Scott's Fasti), he had a treasure of
Highland legends, and being gifted with a poetic genius,
had several specimens of his verses printed in the Bamff-
shire Journal."

II. Erected by Peter Grant, Ballifurth, in memory of his
son John Grant, who died May 15, 1843, aged 19 years.
Kemember man, &c.

6th May, 1874, Elsie Grant Livingston died in the faith,
Prov. xiv. 13, aged 20.

By grace I say,

I hope alway,

I'll see my resurrection day.

Also, in memory of the foresaid Peter Grant, late tenant,
Ballifurth, who died on the 12th day of August, 1855, aged
78 years.

There is still a Mission Church, and regular service is
held at Advie ; but in addition to this parish, that of
Inverallan is also united to Cromdale. The district of
Inverallan was erected as a quoad sacra in 1SG9, and is
known as the Church of Grantown.

A good many traces of pre-historic remains have been
found in the united parishes, such as stone-cists and urns,
funeral cairns, and Druidical circles, the most of which
have been described either in the Statistical Accounts,
local Guide-books, or the Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquaries of Scotland.

One point is curious.

It forms — 1, boundary between the counties of Moray and
Banff; 2, boundary between the parishes of Cromdale and
Inveravon; 3, boundary between Seafield and Ballindalloch
estates ; 4, boundary between the Buchan and Moray "Nations"
at the Aberdeen University ; 5, boundary between Lower and
Upper Strathspey ; G, boundary between the Gaelic and Eng-
lish speaking population (Gaelic being still regularly preached
in Cromdale Clinrch).


I now go up the river to


That is, the mouth oi Nethie, or the impetuous
washy river. To this the parish of Kinchardine
is united, and both He on the south east side of
the river. It extendeth from the borders of
Cromdale to Kothiemm'chus, 7 miles in length,
and fi'om Spey to Glenlochy, 5 miles in breadth,
environed, except on the river, with a chain of
hills. The barony of Kincardine is the property
of the Duke of Gordon, and all the rest, except a
few wadsets, the property of the Laird of Grant.
Abernethy is in the county of Moray, and Kin-
chardine in the county of Inverness.

The Church standeth two fmiongs from Spey,
and as far from Nethie, 4 miles south west of
Cromdale ; 4 miles east of Duthel, and G miles
noi-th-east of Eothiemm'chus.

The water of Nethie risetli in the hills near
to Loch Avon, and watering the parish from
south to north, after a course of near 7 miles, dis-
chargeth into Spey.

The barony of Abernethy was a part of the
estate of Cimnning, Lord Badenoch, where he
had a house or fort near the church. (See
" Mihtary History.") Upon the forfeiture of
Ciunming, it became a part of the Earldom of
Moray, and as yet giveth the title of Lord
Abernethy to that Earl. On the death of Earl


John Eandulf anno 1346, the Earldom reverted
to the Crown : and Abernethy, as a part of it, was
given to " Delecto fiho nostro Joanni de Dunbar,
et Mariotse sponsae ejus, fihcT nostrae charissimae,
9° Mart, anno regni 2° 1373."* {Botiil. Boh. II.)
At what time the Lairds of Grant first obtained
any part of Abernethy, I cannot determine ; but
they w^ere in possession of the lower parts early
in the 16th century, and thereafter they pur-
chased the upper part in the 17th century, from
the Earl of Moray.

Let it be observed that the Davachs of Garten-
more, Eymore, and Tulloch, in Abernethie, and
the Davachs of Tullochgorum, Clourie, and Cour,
in Inverallan, were a part of the Lordship of
Badenoch; and about anno 1660, the family of
Huntly excambed these lands with John of
Freuchie, for lands in Strathavon and Glenlivat,
reserving to Huntly a servitude upon the fir
wood of Kymore, for repairing Gordon castle,
and the castle of Blairfindie in Glenlivat, which
servitude is still in force.

In the east end of the parish is Conegess, a
mortgage pertaining to Mr. William Grant late
minister of Abernethie ; and a half mile above
Conegess, is a bridge of four arches over Spey
built on the military road in 1754.

* Translation. — Our well -beloved son John Dunbar, and
Mariot his spouse, our dearest daughter, 9th of March, in the
2nd year of our reign, 1373.



A mile further up is Achernack, for about 300
years the residence of the Head of the Clan
.\llan. About the year 1560, James Grant of
Achernack had a family of eight sons, whereof
Duncan was heir: a 2nd, Gregor, founded the
family of Gartmore; a 3rd, James, was ancestor
of Auchterblair, now Carron; a 4th, John, was the
first of the Grants of Easter Lethendie and Burn-
side; a 5th, Allan, was ancestor of Mulachard; a
6th, Mimgo of Conegess ; a 7th, Robert of Nevie ;
and the 8th, Andrew.

Near to Auchernack is a passage boat.

At the mouth of Nethie is Coulnakyle, a plea-
sant seat, where Sir James Grant has built a neat
new house.

A mile up on Nethie, is Letocli, the mortgage
of a gentleman of the Clan Allan; and a mile
further up is Lu7'g, the seat of Robert Grant of
Lurg, the 5th descent from Duncan heir of
Grant, who died anno 1581.

Beyond Nethie, on the river Spey, is Gartin-
more a mortgage of John Grant.

South from which is Bymore, and south-west
thence is TuUocJi, which had been for six gene-
rations the property of a branch of the family of
Ballendalach, lately extinct.

A skirt of the parish of Abernethy lietli in a
narrow valley called (jlenhruin and Glenlochie,
near the river Avon.

The barony of Kincliardine lieth on the river


Spey, betwixt Gartinmore and Rothiemurchus.
The Chnroli* is in the middle of it, a furlong
from the river.

I observed above, that Walter Stewart of Kin-
cardine was the 3rd son of the Earl of Buchan.
His descendants for ten descents continued in
good repute, till about the year 1683, John Roy,
the last Baron (a silly ignorant man), was in a
manner cheated out of his estate, by his brother-
in-law Alexander M'Intosh, called the "sheriff
Baine," who made him sell it to the Marquis of
Huntly for a very trifle ; and the family is extinct.

[Near tlie Parish Kirk there is a large oblong building
called The, Red Castle or Castle Roy, which appears never
to have been roofed, has no loop-holes, and has only one
entrance to the interior. Even "old wives' fables" fail to
make up what is wanting. One side measures 30, the
other 20 yards ; the height is about 10.

Before 1745, reiving, or stealing cattle, was carried on
to a great extent in this parish; and the county of Moray
seems always to have been considered a fair held for
plunder. It used to be a subject of regret that the corn-
stacks would not be di'iven like cattle. So great was the
propensity to reiving, which was not considered a crime,
that the Laird of Grant was obliged to build a stable
within his court to prevent his own brother from making
him minus of his best horses. The people of the district
were in those times obliged to maintain a watch during
the summer months for protecting their cattle; and those
sentinels were regularly relieved at certain hours in mili-
tary style.

* The Kirk of Kincardine is 8 miles distant from the village
of Abernethy. The parish minister officiates two successive
Sabbaths in the Kirk of Abernethy, and every third Sabbath in
that of Kincardine. The latter has sittings for 600; the
former for 1000. (Ed.)


In the beginning of the 18th century, the onl}' judges
recognised in this district were the Bailies of the Regality
appointed by the chiefs. Those functionaries were a set
of the most ferocious despots, who set all law at defiance.
One of them named Robert Grant, commonly called
" Bailie More," lived in this parish. He was accustomed
to hang people merel}' for disobliging him, and he seldom
called juries. Another named James Grant, alias " Bailie
Roy," or "the Red Bailie," on one occasion hanged a man; and
after the unfortunate wight was dead.ajury was summoned
who found him guilty as a matter of course, the said jury
being all the creatures of "the Red Bailie." This person-
age coolly observed, when they gave their verdict of
guilty, that it did not signify to the man whether he was
hanged before or after the trial, as he would have been
hanged at any rate. It appears that the Bailie had his
own reasons for being in a hurry, as his victim possessed
horses, cattle, sheep, and goats, all of which were driven
to " the Bailie's ' house. The children of the unfortunate
man were reduced to beggary, and his wife became de-
ranged, and drowned herself On another occasion, this
same " Bailie Roy " hanged two thieves, parboiled their
heads, and set them up on spikes. He drowned two men
in sacks at the Bridge of Bellimon, within a few hundred
yards of the manse of Abernethy. When a man from
Glenmore, in the barony of Kincardine, refused to assist
him and his followers in the business, "the Bailie" said : —
" I tell you what it is, my lad, if I had you within my
regality, I would teach j^ou better manners than to dis-
obey my commands." Another of these wretches was
" the Sheriff Baine " (probably the individual alluded to
above by Slunv), who became so odious that the country
people drowned him in Spey, near the kirk of Inverallan,
about 2 miles from Abernethy.

Lords Cullen and Prestongrange, judges of the Court of
Session, were connected with this })arish. The Hon. John
Grant, Chief Justice of Jamaica, and John Roy Stuart,
the Gaelic poet, were natives. The latter was born in
1700 at Knock of Kincardine.

I'idloclujoriLin farm-house, the pristine seat of the Clan
Phatrick, on the left side of the Spey, nearly opposite the
Kirk of Aberneth}', has famous associations with the


ancient poetry and music of Strathspey, and figures in
the sarcastic lines of Sir Alexander Boswell, beginning,
" Come the Grants of Tullochgorum," at which every
Highland heart will beat.

In the Kincardine portion of the united parish, there
are several lakes. The most considerable is Loch Mor-
lach in Glenmore, of an oval shape, nearly 2 miles in
diameter, and surrounded with old fir trees which rise
gradually towards the mountains. There is also another
small loch in Glenmore, which covers about an acre,
which abounds in green trout. Loch Garten and Loch
Maulachie, communicating with each other, lie north-
west of Kincardine Kirk. Loch Pittenlish is south-west,
at the Spey-side of the mountain range of Glenmore. At
the foot of Cairngorum is Loch Avon ; at the end of
which, surrounded by mountains, is a large natural Gave,
called by a name in Gaelic, signifying ike Shelteriv;/
Stone, i.e., the Blue Mountain.

GaiTmjoruin is one of the highest of the Grampians.
It is 4050 feet above the level of the sea, and 1780 feet
above Loch Avon, which is a mile from its base. It is of
a conical shape ; the sides and base are clothed with
extensive fir woods, while its top is covered almost all
the year round with snow. It has been long celebrated
for beautiful rock crystals, called "Cairngorum Stones"- —
a species of Topaz much admired by Lapidaries. They
were formerly found in great quantities, but are now-
more carefully sought for among the debris of the moun-
tains brought down after a storm. They are hexagonal
or six-sided prisms, extending from 1 inch to G or 8
inches in length, and of which specimens have been found
weighing 10 lbs. of solid crystal. Generally the one end
is rough, and often a part of the rock to which the gem
was attached adheres to it. Topaz, beryl, amethyst, and
garnet, also occur in this range of mountains. The fol-
lowing is a list of some of the rarer and more character-
istic plants of this mountain district : — Aira alpina, A ira
vivipera, Aiopecurus alpinus, Apargia Taraxaci, Arabis
hispida, Arabis petrcea, Azalla procumbens, Betula namoe,
Cetrarioe.] (Ed.)

[Situation, Soil, Cliviate. — The river Spey, <^xpanded


to its greatest apparent magnitude, glides onward in a
smooth unruffled course from Rothicmurchus along the
northern border of the district of Kinchardine in the
sheriffdom of Inverness, which is continued on tlic
southern side of the river till it meets that of Moray near
the middle of Abernethy, the lower end of which falls
again within the county of Inverness, which stretches
across from the parish of C'romdale, till it borders on the
county of Banff in the parish of Kirkmichael, where there
is a point at which the three counties meet.

Kinie-chaircliii, in the Gaelic, signifies the tribe of
finencU : and Abernethy, where the church of that dis-
trict is placed, denotes the injiax of the Nethy into the
Spey. The two districts extend the parish 15 miles
along the banks of the Spey. It is nearly 12 miles to its
southern border, in the extremities of the valleys of Glen-
lochy and Glenbruin,and the sources of the Nethy, which
intersects the parish for the whole length of its course,
which is only a brook in dry weather, but it is swelled
by rain to such consideration, as to float down the timber
to the saw-mills or to the Spey. There are several lakes
in the parish : that of Glenmore is nearly circular, about
2 miles in diameter. It occupies the middle of an aged
forest of firs, the largest and best timber in Scotland, and
discharges a stream into Spey through a course of G
miles, which, having been deepened and straighted, and
a sluice and dam constructed, forming at pleasure an
artificial flood, by which masts for the vessels even of the
Navy, and the heaviest logs, are navigated into the Spc}',
which conveys them onwards to the Garmach dockyard.
In this quarter is a deep hollow in a mountain ; the
bottom, of inconsiderable extent, forms a lake, neither
taking in nor emitting any stream ; but the rocky banks
rise around to a great height, and are closely clothed with
the ever-verdant pine, by the reflection of which the
water is always seen of the deepest green colour, in evrry
possible situation. It is stored M-ith abundance of fat
trout, which glitter in the same hue while viewed within
the mound of this singular cavity.

The mountains of Cdirnr/oruvi, the blue mountains,
rise to a very conspicuous elevation on the southern
boundary of the parish : they are never wholly free from
snow ; the forests cannot extend themselves to a great


height on their sides, nor a tree rear its head within the
region of the cold ; even pasturage itself fails, and their
rocky summits are covered with a downy coat of yellow
sapless moss: from them the prospect is stretched over
half the kingdom, from the mountains of Perthshire to
the Caithness plains, and from the shores of Buchan to
the sources of the Spey. The eye, accustomed to flowery
pastures, and waving harvests, is astonished at the appear-
ance and properties of mountainous regions : but these
constitute a great part of the earth ; and he that has
never seen them must live unacquainted with much of
the face of nature, and with one of the great scenes of
human existence. The majestic features of the unculti-
vated wilderness, and extensive prospects of nature, gained
from the lofty brows of rocky mountains, yield an expan-
sion of fancy and a native elevation of thought, accom-
panied with impressions interesting and solemn, leaving
on the memory traces of an entertainment serious and

The arable ground in the parish bears but a small pro-
portion to the uncultivated : a great part of the surface is
covered with wood ; much more is rock, hill, and moun-
tain : part of the arable soil is thin and dry, part wet and
cold, and part kindly and deep : a stretch of 3 miles, con-
taining many hundred acres of this fertile quality, along
the bank of the Spey, is often overflowed. The air and
climate become less genial as the ground rises towards
the mountains, which occasion much frost and cold : but
in healthfulness it is not exceeded by any part of the

State of Property. — The district of Kinchardine, with
all its wood, is the property of the Duke of Gordon. The
particulars of the contract between his Grace and Messrs.
Osbourn of Hull, and Dodsworth of York, for the market-
able timber in the forest of Glenmore, are given under
the parish of Spey mouth. It only remains to be added
here, that his Grace has also let to this company a con-
siderable farm in the skirts of the forest, for their accom-
modation in the management of the timber; in their
agricultural operations they have adopted the modern
practice of the country. In the Cess-Books of the county
of Inverness, Kinchardine stands valued at £400 Scots.

The district of Abernethy appertains to Sir James


Grant of Grant, Bart. The valuation of the Inverness-
division is £903, 6s. 8d., and the Morayshire valuation
amounts to £750, 9s. 4d. extending the valued rent of the
whole parish to the sum of £1563 16s. Scots. The real
rent of the Abernethy district, exclusive of the revenue
for the sale of the wood, is about £1400 sterling. There
are some farms in this part of the parish in a high degree
of improvement, having substantial and commodious
buildings, sufficient enclosures, and fields properly culti-
vated by able cattle, and implements of the best form,
and brought to the highest state of productiveness by
lime manure and green crops. The higher parts of the
parish might be also much improved, particularly by the
application of lime, which the vicinity both of the quarry
and of the fuel solicit to provide : but the lands are let in
run ridge, and without any certain lease, and every
imagination of improvement must be thereby instantane-
ousl}^ and completely quashed. The only mode of meli-
oration within the reach of these poor tenants is, not to
overlook the summer pasturage, nor the winter forage,
with greater numbers of sheep and cattle than can be
kept in good condition. The productions of the cultivated
land are chiefly black oats, and barley, rye, and potatoes.
The crop is always precarious, and frequently misgives to
a very distressing degree. Deducting the seed, and corn
for the horses, the whole produce amounts to 2040 bolls,
at an average of years ; about Ih bolls to each inhabitant,
or provision only for six months of the year.

The revenue arising from the forest in the district
of Abernethy, extending over 10,000 acres, is of great
consideration. An uninterrupted manufacture of this
timber hath been carried on for more than 60 years :
though the wood, therefore, be in a very thriving
state, it does not acquire the bulk, or hardness, or
quantity of rosin, which is found in timber of more
mature age. It is yet remembered in the country, since
the only mode that was known of making deals, was, by
splitting the timber with wedges, and trimming tlie
boards with the adze or the ax ; and an upper-room in
Castle-Grant is floored with deals of this kind, never
smoothed by the plane. In those days, the landlord got
only a merk (Is. Hd. sterling) in the 3'ear, for as much
timber as a man could in this mode manufacture. By


small gradations of Is. 8d. and Ss. 4d. it had risen to
5s. Gd. about the year 1730, when the York Building-
Company purchased the timber of the woods of Aber-
nethy, to the amount of nearly £7000 sterling. Great
indeed was their beginning : every kind of implement of
the best form, 120 work-horses, waggons, elegant wooden
houses, saw-mills, and an iron foundry, all surprising-
novelties in the country. They had a commissary for
provisions and forage, with a handsome appointment.
They imparted much knowledge to the people, and taught
them dexterity in many operations. Besides the saw-
mills which they constructed, and the roads which they
formed through the woods, Mr. Aaron Hill, the poet, the
clerk to this establishment, first shewed the mode of
binding 3 or 4 score of spars into a platform, by passing

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 23 of 37)