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

. (page 28 of 37)
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 28 of 37)
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Till the year 1731 {vid. Eccles. Hist.) this
made two parishes, viz., Essil and Bipple. Essil
(lasal, i.e. low) in the north end.

At the month of the river is the harbour and
town of Ger/nagJi.

The harbour receiveth no ships of burden,
being choked with sand and shut up by a bar.

The town of Germagh is a burgh of barony,
consisting of about 60 dwelling-houses. It was
long the property of the family of Innes, and now
belongs to the Earl Fife, and feued out to
small heritors.

South of the town are the lands of Essil, for
several generations the heritage of Geddes of Essil,
disponed in 1698 to Duff of Dipple, father of the
late Earl Fife. Dipple (Duhh or Du-pol, i.e.
the black or deep pool, viz., in the river) was
church-land, for some time the heritage of the
family of Innes, and now of Earl Fife. The
Duke of Gordon has a farm or two in this parish,
and for the space of about 4 miles above the
mouth of the river is one of the best salmon
fishings in the kingdom, belonging to the Duke
of Gordon, the Earl of Moray and Earl Fife.

The Duke of Gordon's fishing is partly a per-
quisite of the Lordship of Urquhart, and partly
purchased from Cumine of Ernside. The Earl
of Moray's fishing formerly belonged to the


Bishop of Moray, and came to the Regent Earl of
Moray with the lands of Dipple, about anno 1567,
from Patrick Hepburn, the last B.C. Bishop.
.\nd when the lands of Dipple were sold, the
fishing was retained, and the Earl Fife's fishing
came to him with the lands of Germach, from
the family of Innes ; and with the lands of Essil,
from Geddes of Essil.


[Situation, Soil, Climate. — This parish lieth upon the
northern bank of the river Spey, at its influx into the
Moray Frith. Its length from north to south, along the
course of the river, may be 6h miles, its breadth 1}, partly
terminated by the eastern end of the chain of mountain,
i-anging along the southern side of the champaign of Moray,
and partly by the limits of the parish of Urquhart, whicii
meets it on the plain. Where the post road a})proachos
to the river, the country swells into a gentle eminence.
Exclu.sive of this, and of the mountain side, it may be
regarded as a plain, having one })art sunk below the level
of the other about 50 feet, having the river winding on
its farther edge, which in the lower part of its course
shifting at times its channel, and at times dividing its
stream, with a considerable extent of fertile ground, much
V)are uncovered beach is also left. A great proportion of
the plain above the bank is also uncultivateil moor ; but,
with the application of lime, might be easily brought into
productive cultivation. The arable field is partly a
shallow gravelly soil, partly a light fertile loam of .suffi-
cient depth, and in some parts it is a .sandy soil. Tlie
climate, comparatively temperate and mild, is scarcely
subject to any other inconvi-nicnce besides parching
easterly winds, which commonly prevail in April and
May, often bla.sting the fruit in its blossom, and checking
the growth of the grass. This part of the country is
supposed to 1)C the driest even in Moray, where it is said
there are foity days more of fair weather, than in any
other country in the north oi' Scotlan<l. A ilronght


frequently sets in during the month of July, prejudicial to
the crop on the shallow soil. A showery summer is
accounted favourable : and a quantity of rain, that would
be very hurtful in most parts of the kingdom, is beneficial
here. In the year 1782, when, from excessive rain, there
was a general failure of the crop over Scotland, man}^ per-
.sons here made more than common profit. The mean
depth of rain-water falling in a year is about 24 inches.

State of Property. — Except the feuars of Garmach
holding of the Duke of Gordon, his Grace is the pro-
prietor of the whole parish, and also of seven-ninth parts
of the fishery ; the other two-ninth parts appertain to the
Earl of Moray. Garmach, the only village in the parish,
is a burgh of barony, containing 620 inhabitants : it has
an annual fair on the 19th of June. The lands are occu-
pied for the greater part by the proprietors, several of
whom, by pursuits in other occupations, are in opulent
circumstances. The name of this village is Gaelic ; but
its signification is not certainly ascertained : it may
import the rough outlet, from the ripple of the tide at
the influx of the river ; but as it bore the same name
when the mouth of the river was more than 3 miles
distant, it may be i-ather a compound, corrupted of var,
water, anfili, a plain on the bank of a stream, and na, the
Gaelic of the article the. The walls of the greater num-
ber of the houses in this village are composed entirely of
clay, made into mortar with straw, in some cases having
a foot or two in height from the foundation built in
alternate courses uf the same mortar and stone. In
building this kind of wall, it is necessary to suspend the
work a little, on the addition of every yard of height,
that it may not warp from the perpendicular. With this
{irecaution, it is frequently raised to the height of two
stories, bears a slated roof, and is neatly finished within.
If sufficiently covered on the top, it is found as durable,
and more impervious to wind and damp, and appears as
liandsome, when daubed over on the outside with lime
mortar, as walls of stone in the common fashion.

The parish is occupied in farms rather of small extent.
A few rise to near 80 acres, some about 50, several about
30, and nearly the half of the whole number may be let
from £-i to £10 of yearl}' rent. 10s. may be stated as the
mean rent of the acre, varying from about 5s. to 15s.


Part of the lands which are let about Garmach bring
from :20s. to 30s. the acre, and a small proportion rises
to about .£2 10s. the acre, making tho average there
about £1 OS.

The valued rent of the land of the parish is £2771 17s. Id.
Scots, to which is added, the valued rent of the tisherv,
£2541 17s 8d. Scots; total £5313 14s. !)d. Scots.

State Ecclesiastical. — In the j^ear 1731 tlie parishes of
Di})ple and Essil, and the village of Garmach, originally
appertaining to the parish of Urquhart, were, by the
decreet of the Court of Teinds, erected into the parish.
then named Spc3'mouth. The glebes of the parishes of
Dipple and Essil were exchanged with the family of FifV-
for the present glebe, which being then partly unculti-
vated moor, about 25 acres were found the equivalent.
The Church and manse were built in a centrical situation:
but the burying-grounds of the original parishes were
continued : and their patrons, the Earl of i\loray, and the
proprietor of Gordonstown, use the right of i)atronage
alternately. The stipend, including the allowance for the
communion, is £53 6s. 8d. sterling; 77 bolls, 1 firlot, 2
pecks barley ; and 32 bolls, li peck oat-meal — at 8i stone
per boll of meal.

The parochial school was latel}- established at Garmach,
though at one of the extremities, the most populous
quarter of the parish : the salary is 8^ bolls meal, and 2^;
bolls of bear: and as b}' Act of Parliament 1696, the
salaries of schools " are declared to be bj'' and attour the
casualties, which formerly belonged to the readers and
clerks of the kirk session," the schoolmaster is by this
statute entitled to £2 sterling as session-clerk, paid fronj
the parish funds under the management of the session.
He is by the same statute entitled to Is. for the
proclamation of the purpose of each marriage, and for
every ba])tism entered on the record; and for ever}-
extract of such entry, and for every certificate granted b}-
the session, 4d. He has moreover £5 lis. Hd., tlic
interest of an endowment by ]\lr. Pat. Gordon, watch-
maker in Edinbuigh, for the behoof of the Schoolmaster
of his native place. The fees for teaching in parish
schools are generally the same over the province; namely,
for each scholar taught to read English, 4s. in the year :
wlion wjiting is conjoined. 5s. 4d. yearl} - ; for arithmetic,


6s. 8d,; 8s. for Latin ; and for a course of book-keeping,

The Society for propagating Christian Knowledge have
lately established a school, towards the other extremity
of the parish, with an appointment of £10 yearly, to
which the landlord adds a house, small garden, and £2
yearly; besides which, he has £1 7s. O^d., the half of an
endowment by the family of Fife, in a former generation,
for the schools of the original parishes : a superannuated
teacher at present has the other half At this school,
about 30 scholars generally attend ; and about as many,
the younger servants in the neighbourhood, attend the
same master, for some hours during the evenings of the
winter season. There are, besides, two or three poor
women, who, in different parts of the parish, teach chil-
dren to read : the poorest of the people have all their
children taught to read, and most of the boys are taught
also arithmetic, and to write.

Poor's rates are not known in this country; yet, with
such labour as themselves are able for, all are by volun-
tar}' charity provided with the necessaries of life ; very
little is suffered by want, there is no abuse, and little
temptation to idleness. The provision for the poor arises-
from donations, made by the people who attend the public
Avorship of the Parish Church, collected immediately on
its conclusion. These amount to about £20 sterling in
the year, to which the hire of the pall at funerals is
added, and £4 3s. 4d. bequeathed by the same ancestor of
the family of Fife who made the endowment for the
school, which are paid by his lordship. This fund, after
discharging the fee of the session-clerk, and £1 as the wages
of the se-ssion-officer, is divided half-yearly, generally
among 40 persons, on the parish roll, in proportion to
their respective necessities, besides occasional supplies in
urgent cases. The number of the Established Church is
1302 : there are 40 of the Church of Rome, and 5 of the
Episcopalian profession.

Miscellaneous Information. — The people in general
are honest, peaceable, and industrious, charitable also, and
in cases of distress much disposed to acts of humanity.
They are hardy and active, and rather above the middle
size. Few go into the army ; the greater part apply to
husbandr}^ to the salmon-fisliiug ; and the young men
VOL. I. 20


about the town of Garmach are disposed to a seafaring
life, and become expert sailors. About 12 of the natives
are at present the masters of vessels. The more wealthy
wear English cloth, in which almost all are dressed on
holidaj^s. Most of the smaller tenants keep as many
sheep as supply clothing for their families, and almost all
raise flax, which they also manufacture into linen.
Several families make a little both of woollen and linen
cloth for sale. Moor turf is the fuel thi'ough the greater
part of the parish. Sunderland coal, delivered from the
ship at 2s. for a barrel of 13 stone, is mostly used about
Garmach. The stone principally used is quarried from
the rock that forms the bank of the river for a mile where
the post road passes; it is limestone of a red colour;
toward the top it is a stone marl, which, with intervening
layers of clay, is used in the vicinity with great advantage
as a manure. The stone becomes harder in ])roportion to
the depth at which it is quan-ied.

The river Spey derives its remotest source from the
mountain of Corryarioch, at the distance of almost 100
miles from its influx into the German Ocean. It is the
most rapid river in Scotland ; its fall for the last 3 miles
of its course is 60 feet. It does not appear so large as the
more gently rolling Tay ; yet it is supposed to discharge
an equal quantity of water in the year. In the middle
and higher parts of its course, its branches stretch out to
15 miles on either side, and the extent of country which
it drains is equal to 1600 square miles. Although its
course is now directly into the sea, yet it is certain, that
in ancient times, bending almost into a right angle when
just upon the shore, it flowed westward nearly 3 miles,
mostly parallel with the Firth, in a hollow marshy tract,
called the Leen,now partly reduced into a state of imper-
fect cultivation. The tide ilows up the river almost to
Garmach, .ind, at neap-tides, the dej>th of water is 9 feet
on the bar. The entrance into the harbour is sometimes
shifted a little by the gravel washed down by the stream;
but there being always skilful ])ilots, no detriment ensues.
The expense of building a pier is supposed to exceed the
value of the trade ; but the .shore on either side for o
or 6 miles along the bay of Spey being smooth gravel,
or soft sand (one little rock, the bear's head, half way
between Garmach and Tvossiciiionth excepted), several


vessels have in necessity been run ashore, with little

At the harbour, there is a wood-trade, the most con-
siderable, it is supposed, for home timber in Scotland. It
is mostly fir, with some birch and oak. There are seven
persons engaged in this trade ; but for some years the
greater part has been carried on by an English company,
who, about the year 1784<, contracted with the Duke of
Gordon, for all the marketable timber of the forest of
Glenmore, in the district of Strathspey, to be felled within
the space of 2G years, at the sum of £10,001) sterling.
When the timber of this, and of the other forests in
Strathspey and Badenaugh, arrives at Gannach, after
supplying a great extent of country, from Aberdeen to
the Isle of Skye, it is carried in considerable quantities
to Hull, and to the King's yards at Deptford and Wool-
wich. This company have also formed a dock-yard, and
since the year 1736, besides a number of boats, they have
built 24 vessels from 25 to 500 tons burthen, the greater
number about 200 tons, amounting in all to more than 4000
tons, all of the fir- wood of Glenmore, both the plank and
timbers. The greater part of this wood being of the best
quality, these vessels are deemed equal to those of New
England oak. The largest masts are 60 feet in length.
Before the Commissioners of the Navy purchased any of
this timber, they ascertained, by several experiments, that
it is equal in quality to any imported from the Baltic.
Several of these vessels have been purchased for the Baltic
trade, one for the trade of the Bay of Campeachy, and
several are emplo3^ed in the trade of the company. Be-
sides the vessels which they have built, several sloops
have been also built at Speymouth by others, in the same
time, and several have been repaired. The plank, deals,
and masts, are floated from their native forests down the
Spe}^ in rafts, navigated by 2 men, at the rate of £1 10s.
the raft. The logs and spars belonging to the English
company are at times floated down in single pieces, to the
number perhaps of 20,000 at a time, conducted by 50
or SO men going along the sides of the river, to push
them oft' by poles, as they stick upon the banks, hired at
Is. 2d. by the day, and a competent allowance of spirituous
liquor. The medium price of logs, from 10 to 20 feet
long, and from 12 to 18 inches diameter, is Is. the soli<l


foot; spar- wood of the same length, about 7 inches
diameter, is sold at 7d. the solid foot; plank, 3 inches
thick, and 10 in breadth, about 12 feet in length, are 3s.
the piece — 2 inches thick, 2s.; and deals, ] I inch thick, 8
inches in breadth, and 12 feet long, Is. the piece.

The exports from Spey consist chiefly of wood and
salmon, and 4 or 5 cargoes of grain, or meal, of 400 or 500
bolls each in a year.

From Oct. 1, 1791, to Oct. 1, 1792, vessels sailed from
Spey with timber for different places, from 350 to 20 tons
burden, average 50 tons, 82 ; touched at Spey, and took
in salmon for London, having taken in part of the same
cargo at other ports, 24 ; with oats and meal, 2 ; with
yarn, 1 : number of vessels which sailed with cargoes, 109.
Vessels arrived in Spey with coal, 11 ; with empty
kits, staves, and hoops, 5 ; with iron and goods, G ; with
salt, 1, 23.

The salmon-fishery, yielding a revenue of £1800 ster-
ling yearly, begins on the 30th of November, and ends
the 2Gth of August. It is seldom regular until the end of
January. During the spring months, the greater part of
the fish is sent fresh in ice to London — a late discovery,
which adds greatly to the value of the fishery, as the
highest price is in this way obtained : 4id. the lb.
is the common price at the river-side. After the
beginning of May, the greater part of the salmon is
boiled, and sent to the London market. The fishery is
carried on by nets and small boats, each navigated b}^ 8
men, and an overseer, called the Kenner, from the Gaelic
word for the head. The crew is changed every 12 hours :
each man has £1 15s. of stated wages for the season, and
6d. each besides, when G fish are caught in the 12 hours,
and 3d. only when they catch but 4. They have still a
further allowance when they catcli above a certain greater
number, and may gain from £4 to £G in the season. They
have as much bread and beer as necessary while at
work, and a bottle of sj)irits to the crew for the 12 hours
they are employed. They are accounted skilful in the
business ; and tliough wading in the water higher than
the knee, and remaining the whole 12 hours in wet
clothes, such is the power of hahit, they feel no incon-
venience from the cold even of tlie winter night. About
130 men may be the number generall}' emj)loyed.


This parish has a connection with the distinguished
family of Chatham. Jane, spouse to Governor Pitt, the
gi-eat grandmother of the present Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, was daughter to James Innes, Esq., of Redhall,
on the bank of the Spey, directly opposite to Gordon
Castle. The family of Redhall, represented now by Innes
of Blackhills, are a branch of the family of Innes, Baronets
of Coxtown. This circumstance has been always recog-
nized in the country, and is ascertained by Edmonson's
Peerage, " Family of Chatham."

The parish has been the scene of some actions in the
history of the kingdom. Near the mouth of the river,
the rebels of Moray, Ross, and Caithness, in the year
1078, made a stand, to oppose the passage of Malcolm
III.; but, on seeing the resolution of the ro3^al army in
fording the river, their submission was offered, and re-
ceived, at the intercession of the priests.

In the year 1110 an army of rebels halted at the mouth
of the Spey, to dispute the passage with Alexander I. pur-
suing them. The King, forcing the passage, so terrified
the rebels, that they were easily defeated by a detach-
ment of the army, under the conduct of Alex. Scrimger.

In the year 1160 a rebellion, still more formidable, was
quelled by Malcolm IV. in a battle that must have
happened on the moors of this parish, wherein the Moray
people were so completely routed, that the chief families
of this turbulent province were removed to different
parts of the kingdom, and others transplanted in their

In the year 1050 King Charles II. landed at Spey-
mouth from Holland. A man of the name of Milne
carried his Majesty on shore, and his descendants are yet
distinguished from others of the same name in Garmach,
by the appellation of King Milnes. His Majesty was
received by the Knight of Innes, and other gentlemen,
and dined with the steward of Lord Dunfermline, at that
time the proprietor of the lordship of Urquhart, in a
house of Garmach, built, as has been described, of mortar,
and of late only taken down ; and in this house it was,
that his Majesty subscribed the Solemn League and
Oovenant.] {Survey of the Province of Moray.)



The old Churchyard is situated near the village of
Garmouth close by the side of the Spey. It is particu-
larly to be noticed not only for its fine situation but for
the neatness with which it is kept ; being an instance of
the better feeling of late in manifestation. No remains
of the old Church remain, although the foundations may
be faintly traced.

I. Here Lyes Ane Honest Man. Called Walter Duncan And
Alex. Duncan. Portioners in Germovth.

The above is round the edge of the slab. In the cen-
tre, as much as can be deciphered : —

.... Ij-ffe .... 1G40 .... aii.l .... W. D. A .D. T. D.
Here lays the body of ... . Duncan feuar in Garmouth -who
Died 4 December 1777 aged .... Jean Gait Dyed Feb. 1774
a^i,'ed 71.

The inscriptions are cut rudely, some of which are
huddled into a corner of the stone.


TI. Here. Lyes. Anc .... Eelisjjious Gentleman. -J;
.Tames Pringle Who De])t'.' This LiftVrThe Last of Maye. IG 1 1.
[In the centre.]
Memento Mofj.

III. Here Lves .... Arnoch Wlio Departed This Tivfe

IV. Here Lyes. J AMES Geddcs and Margaret Shand
His Spouse Who Deceast. in August. The. 7. 1680.

V. W. G. J. M. M. G. E. G. M. G. M. G. 1G82.
The initials are in separate lines.

VI. Here. Lyeth. George Gordon. Somtymc in Germouth
Husband, to. Elizabeth. Johnston. Who. Died. the. 17th of
November 1688. And their children James Margaret Anna and
Margaret Gordon.

A Morthead is in the centre of the slal).

VII. Here. lyes. David. Clerk. Wakster. in. Garmocli. Who
Departed. This. Life. The. 26. Day. of. February. 1703. yiers.
And. John. Clerk, his. son. Avho. Departed. This life the 10th
day of March 1G91 yeirs. David Clark . . . 1852.


VIII John Archibald .... Children to Archibald.

Geddes. of. Essil. Who. died in ... .

IX. Here. Lyes .... Youugc. iVn. Elder. Coj^pr. in. Gar-
mocli. 1G92. . . . A. A.

X. Here. Lyes. Barbara. . . . ES. Spovse. to. John. James.
Sometime. Waker. in. Garmouth. Who. Deceast. March. 24.
1692. and six of his children who died in their young age.

XI. Here. Lyes. The. Body. of. James. lunes. Sometime
Duallar. in. Garmouth. He. Departed. 10. of April. 1699. And.
His Spouse Janet Duncan she and their son Andrew Innes.

XII. Here. Lyes. Alex. Ogilvie. lawful, son. to. liobert
Ogilvie. in. Essil. who Died the 22 day of January 1715.

XIII. Here Lyes the body of Alexander Hossack sometime
Fewer in Garmouth who died July 8. 1720 and his spouse . . .
died ... 9. 1733 and their son Robert Hossack sometime couper
in Garmouth.

XIV. Here. Lyes. Master. George. Cuming. 47 years Minis-
ter of The Gospel At Essil. Who Departed this life the 20 Day
of September 1723.

XV. Here lyes the body of Alex. Milne Fewer in Garmouth
who dyed the 27 of Aj)ril 1727 and Janet Dimbar his spouse
who died the .... of ... . And Eobert Harie Milnes his
children. Also Ann Filchet daughter of Alex

XVI. Here. Lyes. The. Body. of. Agnes. Innes. Spouse to
William Innes Couper in Garmouth who died the 23 of July
1732 . . . . years. Memento Mori.

XVII. Here lyes the body of James Robertson fuer in Gar-
moutli who died Oct. 13. 1735 and his spouse Elspet Mitchal
who died (never filled in)

XVIII. This Stone is placed here by Alexander Gordon
sometime fewer in Garmouth and his spouse Mariorie Win-
chester who died Octb. 4. 1740 and his 2d spouse Margaret
Mill who died April 1750.

XIX. Here lyes the body of James Smith fewer in Garmouth
who died 27 April 1746 and Barbara Marshall his spouse who
died 2Gth June 17C2.

XX. Here. Lyes. the. Body, of Robt. Wilson, sometime,
farmer, in. Spynie. who. departed this life March the 15 1746
and his spouse Katherine Ragg who departed .... and their


son James Wilson .... and his spouse Isabella Barry ....
and their children Katherine, Barbara, Robert, and Barbara

XXI. This Stone is placed here in memory of Isobel Braid
daughter to Alex. Braid late shoemaker in Garmouth. She
dyed March 10, 1763 aged 2.3.

XXII. Here lyes the body of Patrick AndtTson_ dyer in
Elgin and lawful son of John Anderson of ISIathiewell and
Grisel Stewart his spouse. He died July 1*7 MDCCLXVI in
the LIII year of his age.

XXIII. This Stone is placed here by John Rea Shipmaster
in . . . horn in memory of his father William Rea at Skippa
there aged 61 years, who departed this life the 14 September
17S1 years. {Rev. J. B. Craven's MSS.)

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 28 of 37)