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 31 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 31 of 37)
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an extent of about 560 acres : its general height is about
20 feet above the high water-mark ; but it is cut out
almost to the level of the sea in many channels, from
50 to 100 yards wide, waving parallel to the shore.
Towards its southern end, it has acquired a thin surface
of soil, producing dwarfish heath and iuni})er, and has
been lately planted with Scots firs ; but, in many places
of great extent, it has yet acquired no sward, and the
pebbles, gravel, and .sand, are still as bare as when just
left by the sea. It evidently appears to have been
sui)erin(luced by the extreme violence of sonic dire com-


motion, which at once raising this immense mass of
rounded stone and sandy gravel from the bottom of the
ocean, poured it with an overflowing rapidity in the
opening of the bay, penetrated farther upon either side,
where the shallow water could give least resistance ; but
where its depth towards the middle must have given the
greatest opposition, its progress seems to have been first
checked, and a semi-circular mound of the largest pebbles
has been raised, with a striking regularity, upon a bottom
of sea-sand, now clothed with grass. The connection
with the ocean being hereby cut off, the mechanical vio-
lence of the advancing surge, and the subsiding agitation of
the retreating waves, would naturally form the alternate
channels and ridges, which have been described upon this
new shore, not then so cohesive as it is now, when con-
solidated by the long-continued influence of the power of
gravity, hardly at the first exerted on the gravel, almost
floating on the still intermingled water. The bottom of
the lake, if at that time so deep as the sea, must have
been gradually since then filled up, both by the winds
and the waters sweeping down the sand and the mud,
chiefly from the west, where the bottom of the lake has
of course been first converted into dry productive land.

The communication with the sea at the west appears
to have been gradually cut ofl'. Until this was completely
effectuated, it is evident that a passage would be again
opened at the east, upon the subsiding of the storm.
This appears to have been effected in the course of the
present canal, and of the river Lossie, which at that time
entered the lake upon the east side of the Castle of Spynie.
These circumstances are ascertained by the Chartulary of
Moray, f d. 93. in a protest taken in the year 1383 by the
Lord Bishop Alexander Bar, against the noble Lord John
Dunbar, Earl of Moray, and the burgesses of Elgin, re-
specting the right of the fishing and of the harbour.

'' Item," says his Lordship, in the second article of this pro-
test, " Because the port of Lossy, otherwise of Spynie, and the
fishing grounds in dispute, are within the marches and limits,
and within the extent of the said lands of Spynie and Kinne-
dar, and the island [probably Lichbroora], the extent of which
along the banks is distinctly and universally known.

" Item, — Because the Bishops of Moray, our predecessors,
with the knowledge and sufferance of the Earls, and of the

VOL. T. •^>


burgesses of Elgin, had, and were in the use of having, the
inhabitants of the village of Spynie, in the name and riglit of
the Bishops of Moray, fishers of seafish, sailing with their
wives and families from Spynie to the sea, and returning in
their boats with the fishes to the said liarbour.

" Item, — Because our immediate predecessor, John Pilmore,
of worthy memory, intending to improve ami deepen the course
of the said harbour, laboured therein, neither by force, nor
secretly, nor dependently, but in his own right, as master of
the said harbour, and turned the course of the Avater out of its
ancient channel, by sinking little boats there ; the Earl of
Moray and the burgesses of Elgin, who were at that time,
knowing and permitting it.

" Item, — Because we aver, and undertake to prove, that the
said Bishops of Moray, each in his own time, had and were
in the use of having, and we in our time have had, and now at
present have fishers, with cobels and boats, for catching salmon,
grilses, and finnacs, and other kinds of fish, with nets and
hooks, singly and united, in the grounds in dispute, in name
and right of the Table Episcopal of the Bisliops of ^Nloray,
without impediment or opposition, the i)resent dispute ex-
cepted, from the Earl of Moray, or from the burgesses of

" Item, — Because our predecessors and ourselves, and others
in their name and in ours, have exercised, and do at present
exercise, those acts of navigation, in conducting boats to the
sea, and bringing them back, in throwing nets and hooks, and
catching fish alone and in companies."

It is not known whether Lossie was turned, clear of
the lake, into its present course, by accident or design ;
but it is certain, that some time posterior to the age of
Bishop Bar, the lake had been reduced to a less extent
than its present bed ; for when the ancient drain was
improved into the present canal, the course of ridges
wholly divested of sward, the formation of artiticiai
roads, inclosures, and every token of ancient and unknown
cultivation, most evidently and unexpectedly appeared.
Among these, in a small island towards the western end
of the lake, a quantity of iieat-ashes was found, upon
breaking up the ground, buried under the turf- wall of a
cottage, that had been inhabited ; and among the ashes
was found a small number of coins, a little treasure that
had been concealed under the hearth, upon some alarm of
danger. A causeway also at that time emerged, formed


of freestone from the quarry, quite across the lake, with
openings for the passage of the water, each about 3 feet
wide, covered with broad flag-stone. This revived the
recollection of a circumstance then almost forgotten, that
this causeway was called " the Bishop's Steps," and had
been formed by his order, to allow his vicar to get from
St. Andrews, after the service of the forenoon, to officiate
at Oguestown in the evening of each Sunday. Near to
the castle also, where the water was deepest, an artificial
island was discovered, of an oval form, about 60 by If!
paces, appearing to be composed of stone from the quarry,
bound together by crooked branches of oak, and as if the
earth with which it was completed had been washed
away during its submersion.

The limits of the lake, however, at this period of ancient
cultivation, cannot now be accurately ascertained. Ne-
glected most probably during the disastrous struggle
between Episcopacy and Presbytery, it had spread out
so as to extend to the length of 4 miles, and in no part
of less breadth than one, covering the space of 2000 acres.
Of these, Pitgaveny, by taking off 3 feet 4 inches of the
depth of the lake, has, at his own expense, recovered 11 (J2;
of which there appertains to his own estate in the three
parishes that have been already mentioned 800 acres ; to
the estate of Gordonstown, in the parish of Drainy, 10-i
acres ; to the estate of Duffus, in the parish of Duff'us, 132
acres ; to the estate of the Earl of Fife, in the parish of
Spynie, including " the Bishop's Precinct," belonging to
the Crown, 72 acres; to the estate of Findrossie, in the
parish of Spynie, 51 acres; and to the estate of Westfield
in the same parish, 3 acres: 1162 acres. But the whole
of this extent has not been so completely drained as to
admit of proper cultivation. Various speculations con-
cerning this object have been suggested ; but as the level
every way has been accurately ascertained, the most
proper course for the drain may be readily and certainly

The deepest part of the lake to the eastward of the
castle, probably where the harbour had been deepened by
Bishop Pilmore, being 10 feet, is found to be one lower
than the channel of the river at low water in the harbour
of Lossiemouth; but an immediate communication with
the low water-mark of the sea, upon the west of the


Coulard hill, would at Spring tides give a fall of nearly
15 feet, and at ordinary tides of nearly 10, which would
be sufficient to drain the lake : but as by much the
greater part of its bottom is now only from 4 to 5 feet
deep, every advantageous pui-pose of improvement would
be obtained, by bringing the present canal down within
the harbour. But as the river Lossie, opposite to the
bridge on the canal, in tlie road from Elgin to Lossie-
mouth, is 5 inches higher than the canal, when both are
in their ordinary state, and is often raised by floods to
the height of 7 or 8 feet above the surface of the lake,
and being distant from the canal only from 7 to ISO
yards, it will be requisite in this course to raise a suffi-
cient embankment along that side of the canal. This
might be frugally accomplished, by disposing the earth
that must be yet thrown out in completing the formation
of the canal, in the form of a mound, as the banks are not
yet shelving enough to stand in the gravelly soil through
which its course is conducted. Were this effectuated, 600
or 700 acres of more land would be gained, and the whole
laid more perfectly dry. The interest of the respective
landlords in this acquisition may be readily inferred from
what they have already obtained. It would be alsa
practicable to have carriage by water, not only (as in the
time of the Bishops) up to the castle of Spyuie, but more
than half a mile nearer to Elgin, along the course of the
Sey Burn.

The Lake of Cottes is on the other side of Lossie, but in
the neighbourhood and in the same level with that of
Spynie, but considerably nearer to the sea, and, being
([uite unconnected with the river, might be drained at an
expense proportionally inconsiderable ; and besides its
own extent, which is about 1:^0 acres, a great part of the
adjoining swampy plain would be thereby greatly im-
[)roved, and the country about Innes and Leuchars ren-
dered more healthful. This lake is supported by two
iH'ooks, each of such consideration as to work the ma-
chinery of a corn mill. This quantity of water united
would be sufficient to keep the canal from filling up, and
might probably create, at the out-fall, a salnion-flshery of
some consideration.

The third Lake to be mentioned is Lochnaboe, in the
south-east corner of the parish, described in the account


of Urquhart. It is about 3 miles in circumference, con-
taining a small island, prettily wooded. It is also sur-
rounded by the forest which the deer now inhabit, and
through which a road has been lately formed, offering an
enchanting ride around the shaded margin of the placid
lake. It might be drained at a small expense; but
appearing to have been a moss, long since entirely dug
up, the naked gravel of its bottom would hardly admit
of cultivation.] {Sui'vey of the Province of Moray.)


The Church was dedicated, as the name implies, to 8.
Bride, or S. Bridget, Virgin. No vestige of the old
Church remains.

In Bishop Bricius' great charter of the foundation of
the canonries at Spynie (1208-15), mention is made of the
assignation of the chantors of Lamnabride with a davoch
of land. In 1225, when Bishop Andrew granted the
Manor of Lamanbride, with its pertinents, and the davoch
of Petnassare to Robert Hood and Matilda, his spouse,
the manse and kirk davoch were reserved. The next
mention of Lhanbryde is in 1280, when Malcolm of
Moravia, knight, granted a charter of his whole lands of
Lamabride to his son William. In 1529 (Douglas Peer),
James Stewart, Earl of Moray, had charters of Cookstoun,
Longbride, &c., from his father, James IV.

In 1574 the Churches of Llangbride and Urquhart were
served by one minister, and each locality had its own

[The old Churchyard of St. Andrews presents quite a
contrast to the most of the churchyards in Moray, as it is
situated in a secluded spot, a hollow by the side of the
river. The day I visited I had some little difficulty in
threading my way through the bushes up the narrow
path and over the frail rustic bridge, which forms the
only access from the Lhanbryd side. In the churchyard
is a very rude Font, but in such a polluted condition that
one is ashamed to write of it. So wrote, in 1869, the Rev.
James Brown Craven, now Inct. of S. Olaf's, Kirkwall.
Andrew Jervise says that " the old Font is broken in
three pieces."]

The village of Lhanbryde is one of the loveliest hamlets
in the north.

342 nrRiAL-PLACE of the inneses of coxton.

The Inneses of Coxton buried within the choir of the
old kirk, and a recess tomb, which contains the recumbent
and well-proportioned effigy of a knight in armour is still
preserved at Lhanbryde. On the left is a freestone slab
(adorned with the Innes arms, also a skull and cross
bones), upon which is this inscription : —

I. Hie. Reqviescit. in. Dno. Alex. Innes. Cokstovns. ex.
illvstri. Familia. Innermarkie. orivndvs. qvi. Fatis. Concessit,
r.. Oct. 1G12. sve. vero. ittatis. 80.

Tran><lafioii. — Here rests in the Lord, Alex. Innes of Cokston,
descended from the illustrious Innermarkie family, who died 5
Oct., 1612, in the 80th year of his age.

This old man was the father of John Innes of Haltoun,
whose son James, against the " advyis " of his father and
grandfather, " undeutifully coupled him selff in marriage
with Mariory Innes, dochter to Alexr. Innes of Cotts," an
act which so much otiended his " guidsir and father " that
they mutually bound themselves to "seclud the said
Jan'ics during all the dayes of the said Mariory's lyftyme,
and the airs quhatsumever gotten, or to be gotten betwix
them, for ever fra all benefit of inheritance that may
appertein to them ather be birth richt, tailzie, succession,
or ony other provj-sion quhatsumever." John Innes of
(/oxton ap})ears to have died between August, 1684, and
July, 1035. He was probably succeeded by Alexander,
who married a daughter of Gight.

II. A slab (with the Innes and Gordon arms) is thus
inscribed : —

Hie. Rec^viescit. Maria. Gordon. Filia. Clarissimi. Eqvitis.
De. Gight. qvc. Fatis. concesit. 20. Avgvsti. Ano. . . . 1G47.

.... In. Piam IMemoriam. Hoc. Monvnientvm. con-

strvendvm. Alexandr. Innes. De. Coxton. Maritvs. Cvravit.

Translafion. — Here rests Mary Gordon, daughter of the most
illustrious Knight of Gight, who died 20 Aug., 1647, to whose
pious memory her luis])and, Alex. Innes of Coxton, caused this
monument to be erected.

It was in the time of the above-named Alexander of
Coxton (c. lG3o) that his brother, Innes of Leucliars, and
other members of " the clan," were ordered to restore the
pio|)erty of the "umquhil, Mr. John Innes of Coxtoun,"
to his executors, also the charter kists of Coxton and


Balvenie, as well as to pay 1 ,000 raerks for the " wrong
and insolence committed in the taking of the place of

There were Inneses of that ilk (a property in the
adjoining parish of Urquhart) from the time of William
the Lion, and from Walter of Innes, who died in the time
of Alexander IL, have descended the various branches of
Invermarkie, Balvenie, Leuchars, &c. It was through the
marriage of Sir James Innes of Innes, in 166G, with
Margaret, third daughter of Harry, Lord Ker, that their
great-grandson, Sir James Innes-Northcliffe, Bart., became,
by decision of the House of Lords in 1812, fifth Duke of

III. A flat stone, with carvings of the blacksmith's
crown and hammer, bears : —

Heir lyes the .... honest man called David Russel, in
Longbry, who died in yeir 1665.

IV. The following inscription contains the somewhat
odd, but not unique, notice of a man erecting a monument
to his own memory : —

This is the burial place of Patrick Paul, who lived in Darkliu,
and died 16 . . Jan, 17th, and his spouse, Grizel Maver, and
their children, James Paul, who placed this stone in memory
of his father and of himself, who died Nouer ii, 1756, and
Elizabeth Miln, his spouse, who dyed the 29 of Septr., aged
66, the year 1771.

V. Here lys the body of Elizabeth Walton, first beloved
spouse to William Tulloch, merchant in Elgin, who dyed Nov.
23, 1763, justlly lamented by all hir acquaintances.

In God I liv'd, in him I died,
I live with him, tho' dead I ly.

VI. In the area of the old kirk : —

This stone is placed here by Mrs. Ann Macfarlane to the
memory of, and over the remains of her husband, the Rev.
Thomas Macfarlane, late minister of Lhanbryde, who died
November 1781 ; and of their son, the Rev. Thomas Macfarlane,
late minister of Edinkillie, who died on the 7th August, 1827.

VII. Within an enclosure : —

Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Tod, relict of the late
Rev. James M'Lean, minister of Urquhart, who died in Elgin
on the 20th day of Jan., 1851, aged 75 years.


This was the second wife of Mr. M'Lean ; his first wife,
whose name was also Elizabeth Tod, died at Keith.

VIII. Near the south-west corner of burial ground : —
Sacred to the memory of John Sadler, who died on tho 24t]i
of Dec, 1858, in his 65th year. He Avas for many years the
faithful servant of James, fifth Earl of Fife, by Avhom this
stone was placed. St. John xi. 25, 26 verses.

IX Chalmer of Pedensir, some Chalmtr

. . . . December 1713. And his spows, Mariore "Watson, who
died the 1 day of December, 1762, aged 81. And their
children. Memento Mori.

X of James Petrie, who lived in ... . Avho ....

of July, 1789 years, and his .... spouse, Agnes .... who
departed the 15 of Aprile, 17.2.... years.

XI. Here lyes the Body of Thomas Dick, Tacksman in
Lonbrid. He died April the 15, 1726 ; and Janet Robertson,
his spouse. She died April the 18th, 1730.

XII. Here Lyes the Body of Alexr. Phimister, son to William
Phimister, in Trows. He Died May ye 14th, 1738, Aged 16
years. And George, William, John, and John Phimisters, his
Brethren. And William Phimister, farmer in Trows, Avho
Died November 11th, 1745. aged 63 years. And His Spouse,
Margaret Shaiach, Avho died^(never inserted).

XIII. Here Lyes the body of Alexander Brown, sometime
farmer in Darkland, who Died December 5, 1786, Aged 78.
And his spouse, Jannet Achyndachie, who Died Nov. 25, 1754,
aged 54. Erected by his sons.

XIV. Here Lyes the body of James Kedoch, sometime
farmer in Blackhills, Avho died March 2, 1775, aged 73 years.

And his spouse, Margaret Paul, wjio died in the year

aged 61 years.

XV. In memory of James Shaw, late farmer in Hornbrae,
who died . . . . 1779.

XVI. This stone is laid in memory of William Sheach,
sometime farmer in the T . . . and who died February 178],
aged 42 yeai-s.

XVII. In affectionate memorial of William Camjibell of the
Excise this monument is erected by Margaret Peterkin, widow.
He died Dec. . . . 1784, aged 63. Their daughter, Henrietta,
died Feb. 20, 1779, and is here interred.


XVIII. Two enclosures, one at the east end of the kirk,
the other near the south-west corner of the churchyard,
built up on all sides, belonged to Inneses. The first,
called the Leuchars Aisle, contains two slabs. One bears
the Innes arms and this inscription : —

Heir. Lyes. Ane. Honorable. Man. Alexander. Innes. Mathi.
Milne. Who. Departit. November. The. First. 1636.

This is probably the tombstone of Alexander Innes who
witnesses a grant to his brother-german, John Innes of
Leuchars, of the lands of Corskie, Mathie Mill, and three
pairts of Germocht, in 1587. (See Ane Account of the
Familie of Innes — Spalding Club.) It is from the
Leuchars branch that the late Professor Cosmo Innes is
descended, by whom the above Family history was edited,
whose forhearis are buried in the romantic church3^ard
of Cowie, near Stonehaven, and in the Innes Aisle, Durris,

XIX. The second stone in the Leuchars Aisle also pre-
sents the family arms, with A. I. : I. K. in monogram, and
the following : —

Alex. Innes, Iean Kinnaird — 1688.
These were Alexander Innes, son of George Innes of
Calcots, and his wife, Jean Kinnaird, a daughter of
Cowbin. They were married about lG5o, when Innes
received from his wife's mother a "present portion of 4,000
merks, with that part of the stell fishing callit the Eath

XX. Formerly within the church, but now upon a
marble slab, set in freestone, within the area of the old
kirk : —

In this church lie interred Mr. John Paterson, once minr. of
Dipple, and 47 years minr. of this parish, who died April 20,
1778, in the 81st year of his age and 51st of his ministry.
And Helen Grant, his spouse, died Jan. 5, 1769, aged 76 years.
Love to God and charity to men were their prevailing disposi-
tions. He was fervent in the work of the Gospel, and she
was a pious but humble Christian. This mont. is erected to
their memory by their son, Mr. Robert Paterson, minr. of
New Spynie.

XXI. Here. lyes. lespar. Winchester, who. died. in. Spynie.
27. of. October. 1688. also. lames. Sim. who. died. at. Pitcravnie.


May. 16.38. William. Winchester, his. son. Worship. Him.
that. made. the. heaven, the. earth, and. the. sea. and. the.
fountain, of. water. Margaret. Sim. his. spouse. I.W : M.S.

XXII. Heir lyes Agnes Geddes, spous to lohn Grant, in
Kirkhill, who departed the 20 day of May, 1 . 81. I.G : A.G.

(A jSIorthead is in the centre of the slab.)

XXIII. A table-shaped stone : —

Here lies interred the bodj' of Andrew Gill, late schoolmastei-
at St. Andrews, w^ho departed this life Sep. 5, 1791, aged GTi
years. He was an affectionate husband, a tender parent, sup-
ported the noble character of an honest man, lived much
respected, and died much lamented by his family and friends.

XXIV. Here. lyis. Ane. Honest. Man. called. George.
Geddes. swmetime. Indweller. in. the. Wakmylne. who. d>'-
parted. the. 12. of. Apryle. 1632. and. His. Spous. Margori.
Simson. G. S. — Memento Mori (round a ^lorthead).

XXV. Here. lyes. the. spous the who. dyed.

in. Speynie. the. 17. of. October Also. James. Sim.

who. died. in. Pitgavin May. 1658.

A number of gravestones was used to floor the kitchen
of the schoolmaster's house. Some of the linear divisions
of the above epitaphs are comical. In many, the inscrip-
tions are round the edge of the slabs, which, when tilled,
are continued in the centre. (See Jervi^es E/nfaphs.)

Next tp Langbride is


The meaning of the word Elgin is unceiiaiii.
In British, Hehj, i.e., to hunt, and Fin., i.e.,
Fair, q. a pleasant forest or hunting place. Or,
in Saxon, Hchj, i.e., holy, and Dun, a hill. So
Helgun (throwing out d to soften the sound) is a
holy hill. In the repository of the town there is
an old iron seal, with the inscription Helgun.
And at the end of the town there is a green mount
called Onr Ladifs Hill. Whether these hints


may lead to the true etymology I determine not.
Passing such curiosities,

The Town standeth on the south bank of the
River Lossie, in the northern extremity of the
parish, on a plani, and the ground sloppeth a
little to the north. This situation is dry, pleasant^
and well aired. The river has taken a winding
turn northward from the centre of the town,
whereas it anciently run by the foot of the
gardens, and was the boundary of most part of
the closses on that side. The town is one long
street from south-west to north-east, crossed about
the middle by the School Wynd or lane to the
south, and by Lossie Wynd to the north.

The Cross standeth near to the middle, and
near the east end standeth the Little Cross,
from which the High Street divideth into two
branches, whereof one runneth due east and the
other leadeth north by east into the College.

The High Street is, for the most part, broad,
beautiful, and well laid or causewayed.

On the middle of the street, near the Cross,
standeth the High Church — a large and beautiful
edifice, surpassed by few in the kingdom. It
standeth on two rows of arched pillars, and is 00
feet broad, and above 80 long within the walls.
No Church can be better furnished with seats
and lofts of wainscot, and a pulpit of curious
workmanship. It is lighted, besides several
windows in the side walls, by a Venetian window


of three arches in the western gavel, whereof the

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 31 of 37)