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 9 of 37)
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travellers. The wooden bridge existed at the Reforma-
tion, but having fallen into neglect and disrepair it was
swept away by the Spey, and its place was supplied by a
ferryboat, whence the spot was termed " Boat o' Brig."
This again was supplanted about .50 years ago by the
]M-esent iron suspension-bridge, 'l'\o feet in span, and now
tlie railway viaduct runs ])arallel witli it, conducting
through tlie ])rccipitous bircli}' ravines of Aucl)roisk on
to Mulben. The ruins of S. Nicholas' Hosjiital and Chapel
remained in considerable extent till cleared away for the
approach of the first iron suspension bridge (built on a
{)lan by Captain Brown for £3,500), when many human
bones were disinterred, but no other article of curiosit}'.
Shaw gives inijierfect copies of the several Charters bear-
ing on this little Hospital and Cliapel. The seipiel is a
correct Inventory of the whol<3 of the Charters thereanent.


as carefully collected by Profes.sor Cosmo Innes in the
Registi'um Episcopatus Moraviensis, and also in the
Antiquities of the SJdres of Aberdeen and Banff: Spald-
ing Club : —

1. Charters of the Hospital of St. Nicholas beside the Spey,
at Orchil, A.D. 1228, A.D. 1242.

2. Charter by King Alexander II. of the land of Eobenfeld,
for the maintenance of the Bridge of Spey, A.D. 1228.

3. Charter by Muriel of Pollock of the land of Inverorkil,
for the endowment of an hospital for poor wayfarers, A.D.
1224, A.D. 1244. Witnesses — Andrew, Bishop of Moray;
Nicholas, Vicar of Rothes ; and Symon, Vicar of Dundurkuis.

4. Charter by King Alexander II. to the Chapel of St.
Nicholas beside the Spey, for the support of a chaplain, of four
merks yearly from the rents of his mills of Nairn, A.D. 1232.

5. Agreement as to the Churcli of Rothes between the Prior
of St. Andrews and the Bishop of Murray on the one part, and
the Lady Muriel of Rothes and the Hospital of St. Nicholas
beside the Bridge of Spey on the other side, A.D. 1235.

G. Charter by Muriel of Rothes, the daughter of Peter of
Polloc, to the Hospital of St. Nicholas beside the Bridge of
Spey of a piece of land beside tlie Hospital, and of liberty to
have a mill on the Hospital's land of Inverorkil, with a mill-
dam and mill-race, A.D. 1238.

7. Charter by Walter of Murray, the son of W^illiam of
Murray, to the Hospital of St. Nicholas beside the Bridge of
Spey of his land of Agynway (of the measure of one davach),
A.D. 1224, A.D. 1242.

8. Charter by Eva Morthach daughter of Walter Murdoch
and of Muriel of Polloc, Lady of Rothes, the daughter of Peter
of Polloc, Lady of Rothes, to the Hospital of St. Nicholas
beside the Bridge of Spey of all her right and claims in the
Church of Rothes, A.D. 1235, A.D. 1242. This Eva Morthach
or Murdoch married a knight of the surname of Watson, and
their daughter married in 128G Sir Norman Leslie of Garioch,
whose name the family of Rothes still bears.

9. Charter by Andrew, Bishop of Murray, to the Hospital
of St. Nicholas beside the Bridge of Spev of the Church of
Rothes, A.D. 1235, A.D. 1242.] ("Ed.)

In the south corner of the parish, on the river's
bank, are the lands of Aitkenwa, for several gene-
rations the property of a branch of the family of


Eothes, and now pertaining to the Earl of Find-
later, as a part of the barony of Eothes.

The whole of this parish is in the county of

Next to it is


This parish in Irish is called Bauis q. Baudb-
uis, i.e., Eed water, from the red banks of the
river and brooks. It extendeth on the river side,
in a beautiful plain, from N.N.E. to S.S.AV. about
2 miles, and in the lower end a defile, called
the Glen of Eothes, stretcheth among the hills
towards Elgin, 3 miles to the N.N.W.

The Church standeth upon the side of a brook,
a quarter of a mile from the river, and half a mile
from the north end of the parish — 1 mile south
of Dundurcos Church, 3 miles north of Aberlour,
and about 5 miles N.E. of Knockando.

In the year 1238, Eva de Mortach (daughter of
Muriel de Polloc, who was daughter of Petrus de
PoUoc) was Domina de Eothes (Chart. Mor.) In
the end of King Alexander III.'s reign, Norman
Leslie of Leslie, in the Garioch, married the
daughter and heiress, it is said, of Watson of
Eothes, and from tliat time the barony continued
to be the property of the family of Leslie until,
in the beginning of this century, Captain John
Grant of Easter Elchies made a purchase of it.
And his grandson, Jolin Grant, Baron of Ex-


chequer, sold the Barony of Kothes and the
Baronies of Easter Elchies and EdinviUie, anno
1758, to James, Earl of Fmdlater.

The east side of the Glen of Kothes pertaineth
in feu-holding to Kobert Innes of Blackhills, and
the west side is the feu property of Kobert
Gumming of Logie.

Near the church stood the castle or fortalice of
Kothes, which carries the marks of an ancient
building. It stood on a green mount, surrounded
by a dry ditch or fosse, and is now in ruins.

[Edward I. took up his quarters in the castle or manor-
house of " Rosers," or " Roseise," as Rothes is designated
in the different versions of the Journal or Diary of his
expedition. Two etchings of the present ruin are given in
Rhind's Sketches of Moray. The keep was several storeys
in height. Several houses in Rothes have been built from
the stones of this fort, which the villagers burned nearly
200 years ago, as it became a refuge for tramps and
thieves. Grant of Elchies purchased it about 1700, and
eight years afterwards it was bought bj^ the Earl of
Findlater, and it is now the inheritance of the Earl of
Seafield.] (Ed.)

The whole of this parish is in the county of
Elgin or Moray.

[Sitiiation, Soil, Climate. — The River Spey has been
described as holding a course nearly from west to east,
and almost parallel to the Firth, through the districts of
Badenoch and Strathspey. Had this course been con-
tinued, it would have fallen into the sea near Portsoy, or
have probably conjoined its stream with the waters of
the Deveron. The mountain of Beneagen, lying across
this course at a little distance from the lower Craigellachie,
bends it into a direction nearly from south to north ; in
which, save sundry short inflexions, it hastens more
VOL. I. 6


directly, and almost at right angles, to the sea. The
plains of Rothes lie in the same direction for 9 miles
along its western bank ; the estate of Oakenwall only
occupying about the space of a mile, in the form of a
peninsula, at the bottom of the mountain, on the other
side. Besides the defile called the Glen of Rothes, opened
through the hill towards Elgin, there are two other valle3''S
stretching along the sides of their respective streams
westward into the hills, where many improvements have
within the space of 50 years been made, now yielding a
rent, with others on the banks of smaller brooks, of more
than £150. The hills, at certain distances bending near
to the bank of the river, have shaped the country into
four detached plains — Dunnalieth, or Dandaleith, Rothes,
Dundurcos, and Orton. Besides the plains, the slopes
along the bottom of the hills are closely cultivated : the
banks of the river in many places are fringed with stripes
of natural wood ; and extensive well disposed plantations
occupy the uncultivated sides of the hill. The northern
frontier of the jmrish skirts along the confines of Dollas,
Birnie, Elgin, St Andre ws-Lhanbryd, and Speymouth.

The soil along the river may, in general, be described
as a fertile loam ; in some places, a purer clay ; and in
others, rather surcharged with sand, superinduced by the
floods : along the bottom of the hills, it is a sharp gravelly
mould, a little encumbered by the smaller loose stone : in
the improvements within the limits of the mountain, it
is moorish, in some places inclining to cla}", in others
to sand.

The climate below Craigellachie, though more rainy, is
not colder than in the open plain of Moray ; yet, being
more distant from the sea, the snow lies deeper, and the
harvests are, in general, more late.

The Gaelic name rathuish signifies the bending of the
water, rath, or roth, signifying a wheel, nearl}- as in the

State of Property. — Six proprietors possess the parish.
The only family seat is at Orton,* the property of the

* The estate of Orton Ix'longcd to a family named Dumbrock.
The Earl of Fife purchased it about the middle of last century
and left it to his youii,ircst son, the Hon. Arthur DuiF. who died
in 1805. Eichard Wharton, his nephew, succeeded him, and


honourable Arthur DufF of the family of Fife. A level
plain of fertile corn-field spreads backward about a mile
from the river ; a green bank sweeps circular upon the
other side, presenting near its margin above an elevated
enchanting situation for the house, a modern large elegant
building of four storeys, with a neat pavillion roof: besides
the hall, a parlour and three bed-chambers occupy the
ground floor : on the first floor is a magnificent suite of
public-rooms ; the paintings, though pretty numerous, are
for the most part family and other portraits ; there is a
specimen or two of the polygraphic art, landscapes no
way distinguishable from common paintings : on the third
floor the library occupies a spacious room, fitted up in an
elegant and commodious manner. Eastward on the same
plain with the house, is a thriving orchard, within the
skirts of a sheltering grove ; under the bank is the garden,
and a considerable extent of wall for the more delicate
fruitage : the bank offers an inviting walk, with its orna-
mented shrubbery ; groves judiciously disposed, and
circling belts afford their shade and shelter to the circum-
jacent fields ; and a great extent of flourishing plantation,
tir, larix, and forest trees, clothes the side of the mountain
behind. On one prominent intermediate height, a neat
modern watch-towei- commands the course of the I'iver,
Gordon Castle, and its decorated environs, and all the
plain northward, and a great extent of the sea. The
valued rent is £412 Scots.

Garbity on the south of Orton, and Inchberry on the
north, the property of the Duke of Gordon, are valued at
£824 3s. Inchberry is connected with his Grace's pro-
perty of Speymouth, and parted from his lands in Bellie
only hy the river.

To the Earl of Findlater, connected with his property
in St. Andrews-Lhanbryd, Elgin, Birnie, and Knockando,
appertains the Lordship of Rothes, amounting to the
valuation of £1,021 14s. lOd. Scots.

In the year 1760 a village was begun to be built on the

took the surname of Duff on marrying his cousin, Lady Anne
Duff, 2nd daughter of Alexander, 3rd Earl of Fife, who boi-e a
son and three daughters. He died in 1862 and was succeeded
by his son, Captain Alexander Thomas Wharton DufF, late
93rd Eegiraent. (Ed.)


plain of Rothes, upon leases of 38 years, and the life-rent
thereafter of the possessor, after which the building
becomes the property of the landlord : each tenement is
the eighth part of an acre, at the rent of 10s. 3'early : from
an half to two acres of land, at the rate of a guinea the
acre, save where the soil is greatly inferior, is occupied
with each tenement, but without any lease. The village
at present accommodates about 300 inhabitants. In the
year 170G there were set off 41 additional tenements, for
its farther enlargement. The establishment of no manu-
facture has been yet proposed, though a considerable
stream, working a corn and fulling mill, washes the whole
length of its streets : a few artizans only supply the
exigencies of the country. Pitcraiggy, and the glen, in
which there is a snug commodious house and garden, on
the margin of a little brook under the side of a hill,
covered with a considerable extent of birch, called the
Torwood, is the property of Robert Cuming of Logic, Esq.
The valued rent is £74 156. The estate of Auchnaroth,
on which there is a great extent of various plantation,
and many smaller rising groves, is the property of William
Robertson, Esq., merchant of Elgin. The valued rent is
£35 Scots. Oakenwall, in the county of ]3anff, the pro-
perty of David M'Dowal Grant of Arndilly, Esq., adjoin-
ing to his other property, is valued at £130: extending
the valuation of the parish to £2,597 4s. lOd. Scots.

There are several farms of very commodious extent,
rising to the extent of £80 of rent: several are from £10
to about £40 : the rents of the generality of the possessions
in the newer lands in the hills are even under £10. The
whole number of acres under culture are about 2,500, and
the present real rent does not much exceed the sum of
£1,200 sterling.

State Ecdesiadlcal. — Although a chapel in Roman
Catholic times stood, no doubt, on the farm of Chapelhill,
yet the parisli remained unaltered in its extent, from the
rirst establishment of i)arochial districts until the year
1782, when the suppressed ]iarish of Dundurcos was
divided between those of Boharm and Rothes. Experi-
ence hath shown that the general accommodation of the
people hath not been thereby in any degree impaired.

The church, moved from its ancient station in the
burying-ground, is comniodiously placed in the village.


About the year 1630, Mr. John Wemyss, brother to the
Earl of Wemyss, and minister of the parish, made a
private agreement with the proprietors, fixing the stipend
at £20 12s. and 45 bolls of oatmeal, and which was first
changed by the annexation of part of Dnndurcos. It is
now established by a decreet in 1794 to be £54 4s. 4d.,
(So bolls of meal, and 85 of barley, the communion allow-
ance included. The whole glebe at Dundurcos was by
excambion annexed to the glebe of Rothes, which now
consists of about IG acres. One third of the right of
patronage, by the annexation from Dundurcos, appertains
to the Crown, and the other two-thirds to the Earl of

The salary of the school has been lately, with some
opposition, augmented from £1 12s. and 6 bolls of meal,
to an establishment of £11 2s, 2icl., with the customary
fees from about 40 scholars, and the perquisites of the
office of session clerk.

The number of poor is 30 : the provision for their
support, raised from the people in common form, aided by
two endowments, amoiniting together to £1, is equal to
an annual dividend of £15 sterling.

The members of the national Church are 1,450.
The dissenters, about 50, assume the profession of any
preacher who pleases to officiate in the old church at
Dundurcos, which, when first vacated on the suppression
of the parish, was occupied by an insane preacher, and,
since he wandered off, by persons generally unknown,
professing to be Methodists,

Miscellaneous Information. — The people are in every
case obliging, frugal, industrious, and discreet, and much
attached to the national religion and government. In
Roman Catholic times, the parish was under the peculiar
protection of St. Lawrence, The rights of his fair were
long ago, by purchase, ti-anslated to the town of Forres ;
but his well, a fountain distinguished by the purity and
lightness of its water, is still recognised.

On the estate of Orton, there was a chapel dedicated to
the Virgin Mary. There also was a sacred well, which,
like the patent medicines of the passing times, was for
many ages of the most distinguished celebrity, for the
miraculous cure of all manner of disease. The passing
generation have seen pilgrimages from the most remote


parts of the Highlands, and fri»ni the Western Isles ; but
they are now wholly discontinued.* The tomb-stone of
the first minister of the Presbyterian Establishment is
still entire, in the tomb of a family of the same lineape :
it simply relates, that " Here lies ane nobleman, ]\I n.
James Leslie, parson of Kothes, brother-german to
George, umquhile Earl of the same, who departed
IN THE Lord 13th October, loTO." The copy of tlie
Solemn League and Covenant, which was subscribed,
at Rothes in the year ICAS, is still extant; by which it
appears, that in this quarter the subscription of it w:is
not rigorously enforced. It is printed at Edinburgh by
Evan Tyler, printer to the King's Majestie, on two sheets
of small coarse paper, in quarto. The first contains the
approbations of the General Assembly and of the Conven-
tion of Estates, both dated on the 17th Aug., 1G48, and
the ordinance of the estates for swearing and subscribing
the Covenant, dated 11th Oct. thereafter: and the blank
pages are for the subscribers' names, which are, Mr. Rob.
Tod, minister of the gospel at Rothes — Leslie — Patrick
Leslie, elder — Walter Leslie — Robert Leslie — Wm. Innes
— John Guthrie, elder — Wm. Farquhare, who subscribes
also for nine others, elders, adding a docket, " Thir are in
name of the elders that could not subscribe themsehos,
who professed their consent formalie, and that I, Willinm
Farquhare, clerk to the session, should subscribe for
them."] {Survey of the Province of Moray.)

[The vale of Rothes is beautiful and fertile, but in the
great flood of the 3rd and 4th Aug., 1821), the Spey, fed

* A mausoleum, erected in 1844, like a small Gothic chapel,
now covers this once famous well. Inside are min-al tal)lets
with the names of the various mcml)crs of the Duff family
buried. In clearing out i\\v foundations of St. Mary's Cluqjel,
among other objects, T. Mackenzie, tlie architect, discovered a
fragment of a stone of the Anglo-Xorman style, which proved
that the Chapel dated from lOGG to 1135. The mausoleum
bears the following inscrij)tion : — " Quo primum loco Mora-
viensis Christiani Sacellum Marian Yirginis in honorem Posue-
ruut hoc Mausoleum ut sub ejustecto Pelifiuia' sui ipsius
suorumque requiescant in pace. Sepuleliri memor extruendum
curavit llicardus Wharton Duff de Orton Armiger Anno
Salutis 1844."— (Ed.)


with many streams and burns, devastated the village and
haughs unprecedentedly ; overtopping lofty trees and
leaving marks of sad disaster and woe.

Benriunes towers aloft, just beyond the south-east
boundary, and invites a tourist to survey a large por-
tion of the 9 surrounding counties. The village of late
has been almost rebuilt, and instead of about " 250 straw-
thatched cottages arranged in 4 streets" (the characteristic
30 years ago), there are now several respectable residen-
ces of two storeys. The Glengrant Burn and the Burn
of Rothes intersect the little town. The Glengrant Dis-
tillery (capable of running oft' 1,G00 gallons of whisky a
Aveek) is the principal industry.] (Ed.)


In Irish Knoc-canach, i.e., the Merkat hill, is
bounded by the river [Spey] to the south and
east, by the hills on the north and west, and
extends by the side of the river about 6 miles in
length, and generally 1 mile in breadth, and in
some parts 2 miles.

The Chm'ch standeth a quarter of a mile from
the river, about 2 miles below the south-west end
of the parish, 2 miles north of Inveravon, 5 miles
south-west of Eothes, and about 3 miles south-
west of Aberlour.

In the lower end of the parish, on the borders
of Eothes, is a rocky hill called Craig Eleachie,'"

* Craigellachie and Bridge.

" Stand Fast Craigellachie " was the slogan or war-cry of the
Clan Grant, shouted often and long along the beetling cliffs so
graphically alluded to by the painter Ruskin in his "Two
Paths": — "In one of the loveliest districts of Scotland, where
the peat cottages are darkest, just at the Avestern foot of the
great mass of the Grampians, which encircles the sources of the
Spey and the Dee, the main road, which traverses the chain, winds


i.e., the Echoing or Sounding Craig; and from it
to another craig called Elachie, on the borders of
Badenoch, stretcheth the country of Strathspey,

round the foot of a broken rock, called the Crag or Craig-ellachie.
There is nothing remarkable in either its height or form ; it is
ilarkened with' a few scattered pines and bircJi trees, and
touched along the summit with a flush of heather ; but it con-
stitutes a sort of headland or leading promontory in the group
of hills to which it belongs — a sort of initial letter of the
mountains ; and thus stands in the mind of the inhabitants of
the district — the Clan Grant — for a type of the country upon
themselves. Their sense of this is beautifully indicated by the
war-cry of the Clan — ' Stand Fast Craigellachie.' You may
think long over these words without exhausting the deep wells
of feeling and thought contained in them — the love of the
native land, and the assurance of faithfulness to it. You could
not but have felt, if you passed beneath it at the time when
so many of England's dearest children Avere being defended by
the strength of heart of men born at its foot, liow often among
the delicate Indian palaces, whose marble was })allid with
horror, and whose vermilion Avas darkened with blood, the
remembrance of its rough grey rocks and purple heaths must
have risen before the sight of the Highland sohliers — how
often the hailing of the shot and the shrieking of the battle
would pass away from his hearing and leave only the whisper
of the old pine branches — 'Stand Fast Craigellachie.'"

Craigellachie is a lofty, romantic, quartz crag, of similar
appearance to the rock of the same name at Aviemore, which
Kuskin paints so well. This is the Lower Craigellachie. The
reach of the Spey above and below it is finely picturesque. A
single-arched metal bridge, 150 feet in span, with a round
embattled tower at each corner, 50 feet high, resting in the
parish of Knockando-side of the Spey, at tlie foot of a solid
red rock (which gives its name to the bridge) and on a strong
pillar of mason work on the Aberlour-side, erected in 1815
at an expense of £8,200 (one half raised by subscri})tion and
the other half given by Government), was the design of
Thomas Telford, civil engineer, and the undertaking was
carried out by Simi)Son of Shrewsbury. (Thomas Telford,
born at Westerkirk, in Duiufries-.shire, Dth August, 1757, cele-
brated //(/('/• alia for the Menai Bridge. Died unmarried at
Abingdon Street, Westminster, 2nd Sept., 1834. Buried in
Westminster Abbey beside Robert Stephenson.) This was a
great inidertaking at the time, and opened u]) most convenient


commonly said to be between the two Craig
Elachies, extending about 22 miles in length but
unequal in breadth — a country inferior to few, if
to any, in the North of Scotland for the conveni-
ences of life. Besides abundance of grain for the
inhabitants, it is beautified and enriched with
much wood and timber, watered by many rivulets,
and well stored with cattle, great and small.
And as the most considerable inhabitants of it
are gentlemen of the name of Grant, I shall,
before I describe this parish, give a succinct
account of


From what country to fetch the Grants origi-
nally I know not. Some make the names Suene,
Allan, &c., indications of a Norwegian extraction.
Others make the surname, Grande, of French
original. These two may be compounded by
fetching them from Norvv^ay into Normandy in
France, and thence into Britain with William
the Norman Conqueror. But, if we allow them
a Scottish origin, the name will bear us out.
For, in the Irish, Grant signifies Gray or Hoary.

communication which for ages Avas oljstructed. The easy access
cut abruptly into the opposite towering wooded rock, the Spey
rolling deeply underneath, the lightness yet stability of this
graceful bridge, the most beautiful vista of mountains in their
various altitudes and distances, with the lovely vales of birches
and firs, the seats and dwellings under the eye, present so
fascinating a landscape that no tourist can forget this enchant-
ing spot of wonder, love, and praise. (Ed. )


And one tribe of the Grants is called Keran, or
Kiaran, much the same with Gray or Grant.
But in this I determine nothing.

Not to carry up their antiquity (as an inexact
and unchronological Tree of the family doth) to
Woden the Heathen, their descendants can be
traced back 500 years, with strong presumptions
of a much higher antiquity- — (1) In an Agreement

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 9 of 37)