Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume XII - Aberdeen
Parish of Keig

[Drawn up by the late Major Youngson, Harthill, before the appointment of the Rev. Alexander Low to the church and parish of Keig; with additions and corrections by Mr Low. ]

I.—Topography and Natural History.

Boundaries, &c— Keig occupies the north-east portion of the valley of Alford, here shut in by part of the Benachie range on the north, and the Menaway hills on the east, closing in upon the river Don, which intersects the parish. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Leslie and Premnay, partly along the southern slope, and partly along the ridge of the hills; on the east, by Oyne, down the south side of Benachie to the Don, and by Monymusk up the north end, and along the lap and lower ridge of Menaway, leaving its summit about half a mile to the east; on the south, it is bounded by Tough; on the west, by Alford as far as the Don, and then by Tullynessle, until it joins Leslie at the north-west angle. The form, though irregular, is compact, the inhabited part extending from the church in all directions, from 1½ to 2½ miles, the length from north to south being about 5½ miles, the breadth at the north end 4, near the middle where the Don crosses it not quite 1½, and at the south end 2¼. The contents are 7900 imperial acres, or about 12.344 square miles.

Topographical Appearances.—The most remarkable mountain ranges lying partly in Keig are those of Benachie and Menaway, both composed of granite. The eastern extremity of the former is a rocky peak, in the parish of Oyne, called the Mothertop, from which the mountain, extending west about five miles, connects with a chain of a different formation, which, under several names, reaches nine or ten miles farther in the same direction, terminating in Auchindoir. The Mothertop is, according to Robertson's map of Aberdeenshire, 1677 feet above the level of the sea, and,

considering its moderate height, commands a most extensive view of no ordinary kind, on the one hand, of the high lands of Aberdeenshire, and on the other of a very large plain extending to the German Ocean and Moray Frith, composed chiefly of the districts of Garioch, Formartine, and Buchan. It is worthy of notice also that Benachie with its craggy peaks is, from many points, a high, ly striking and picturesque object. Menaway with its range ex-tends nearly four miles south from the Don, to where a hollow, at Tillyfourie, through which the turnpike road to Aberdeen runs, partially separates it from Corenny and the range dividing the valleys of the Dee and Don. Its summit, which is round, is in Monymusk, and, according to Robertson, 1430 feet in height.

There is a considerable extent of cultivated land up the slopes of the hills, to a height of perhaps 700 feet above the sea. The central part of the parish is tolerably flat, and probably at a height of from 420 to 440 feet. Along the Don there is some haugh land on a still lower level, perhaps only elevated from 350 to 400 feet, the bed of the river where it enters Keig being 380, at the bridge near the centre 360, and where it quits it, 340 feet above the sea.

Climate, &c.—The climate is healthy, and the diseases of Keig generally considered, do not differ from those of any other country parish in the north of Scotland. Perhaps, however, the following circumstances connected with this subject deserve a notice. In the Edinburgh Medical Journal for July 1826, Dr Alexander Murray has given a short account of five individuals belonging to Keig, related to one another, all being boys, and four of them brothers, who were all attacked by bleedings from the mouth, nose, scalp, and bowels, from the effects of which all died except one. "There are upon record," says Dr Murray, "a few instances of a similar complaint attacking relatives, most of which occurred in Germany and America." In the Edinburgh Medical Journal for April 1830, Dr Murray has also noticed an unusual kind of scarlet fever, followed by a painful swelling of the joints, which occurred in this district and principally in this parish, and, from its resemblance in various particulars to a remarkable epidemic which lately prevailed extensively in the West Indies, where it appears to be considered a new disease, he has suggested that the West India complaint may be no other than scarlet fever,—"an opinion," he says, "which an observer on the spot had previously adopted."

Hydrography.—The Don is the only river: it rises about six miles above Corgarff, in the parish of Strathdon, and after a course of sixty-one miles, falls into the sea near Old Aberdeen. Its average summer breadth, where, in a singularly winding manner, it intersects Keig, is about 140 feet, and where its depth is fifteen inches, its velocity is about 90 feet per minute, thus discharging in that time 15,750 cubic feet of water. In the flood of August 1829, it rose four inches higher than in that of 1778, and did much damage, but the injurious effects of it are now nearly obliterated.

Geology.—There are not many parts in Keig where the rock is laid bare so as to furnish an easy opportunity of ascertaining its nature, but wherever it is to be seen, granite prevails, mixed in a few places with gneiss, greenstone, and clay-slate. Some masses of porphyry are found, and, among the simple minerals, tolerable specimens of rock crystal. A great deal of micaceous schist is scattered about on the surface of the ground, even on the tops of some of the granite hills; but the writer has seen none of it in situ within the bounds of the parish.

With the exception of the haugh land, which is alluvial, lying over water-worn stones and gravel, the soil of Keig is generally sandy or gravelly, combined with clay, which in a few places is stiff and yellow, and in some poor low wet tracts is light and of a bluish-white colour, the whole probably referable to granite in different states of decomposition. Pure clay is found in a very few places. In the best lands, tillage has produced an abundant mixture of good mould, but in the poorest, there is little but the original moorish surface soil, a thin stratum of which covers nearly all the uncultivated ground. Peat moss is confined to a few spots; it is very impure, and makes bad fuel.

Botany.—The botany is, in general, similar to that of the neighbouring parishes. The following few species deserve a notice, being among the rarer Scottish plants : Juncus obtusiflorus, Epi-lobium angustifolium, Pyrola rotundifolia, Rubus suberectus, Fu-maria claviculata, Genista Anglica, and a remarkable Hieracium with spotted leaves, upon very hairy footstalks.

The following plants, natives of the parish, may likewise be mentioned, as they are rare in the district wherein Keig is situated, though abundant enough in certain parts of the kingdom: Eriophorum vaginatum, Lysimachia nemorum, Peplis Portula, Pru-nus spinosa, Geum rivale, Teucrium scorodonia, Sanicula Euro-pact, Melampyrum pratense, Hypericum humifusum, Gymnadenia conopsea, Habenaria bifolia, Sparganium simplex, and Myrica gale.

On Lord Forbes's estates in Keig, there are 2200 imperial acres of wood, of which 378 are natural; on the estate of Balgowan 75. The natural wood is of the trees above-mentioned; the planted is as follows: British and sessile fruited oak, ash, white and black poplar, aspen, birch, weeping-birch, service, beech, copper beech, laburnum, elm, lime, plane, cork, horse-chestnut, maple, silver fir, Weymouth pine, spruce, larch, and Scotch fir; six-tenths of the whole being Scotch fir, and three-tenths larch, from ten to forty years old, the former thriving best on the lower ground, where tolerably dry, and the latter on the hills.

It may be deemed worthy of remark, that the very common plants, corn-marigold, corn-poppy, and corncockle, are not to be, found in Keig or its neighbourhood, and that ragwort, rare here some years ago, has now become a serious evil in grass lands.

II.— Civil History.

Land-owners.—The land-owners are, Lord Forbes; the Hon. the Master of Forbes; Sir Andrew Leith Hay of Rannes; the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland; and P. Farquharson, Esq. of Whitehouse.

Parochial Registers.—All the early records were accidentally burned, excepting a part commencing in 1740, and ending in 1743, preserved and copied into the present books. The first; regular entry is dated May 20, 1753; the registers of baptisms and marriages appear to have been correctly kept, but no notice has been taken of deaths.

Antiquities.-There are many Druidical circles in the neighbourhood, and two in the parish. One of them, in a wood on the Cothiemuir hill, within the grounds, and about half a mile north of Castle Forbes, seems originally to have consisted of eleven upright stones, mostly about seven feet high, and except two on the south side placed 15 feet apart, forming a circle of 25 yards in diame-ter. The two towards the south are somewhat pyramidal, about 9½ feet high, 3 feet wide, and 20 inches thick at the base, and only 15 feet asunder, the space between them being occupied by a horizontal subcylindrical mass of stone upwards of 5 feet in diameter, and 13½ feet in length, lying on the west side of the circle. Of these upright stones the two principal ones last mentioned, and three of the others, remain standing,—two are lying on the ground, and the other four are broken. In the middle of the circle is a quantity of loose stones, and near the centre a slab of 4 or 5 feet square, covering a small pit open on the south side. The other circle, which is more imperfect, is situated in a belt of wood, a quarter of a mile north-west of the farm-steading of Old Keig. It is about 66 feet in diameter, and in the circumference of the circle there are two upright stones, 9 feet above ground, with an immense stone lying between them about 16 feet long, 6 feet high, and 5 broad at one end, and differing from the other in being flat on the top, of a quadrangular form, and placed on the south side of the circle. This could be no rocking-stone, and has evidently been used as a stone of sacrifice, there being now no altar stone in the centre of the circle, if it had ever been. These rude circles were places of worship, and generally of the circular form, because it was an emblem of eternity. They were either erected on eminences, that the Druids might see the heavenly bodies, or in groves, because it was deemed unlawful to build temples to the gods, or to worship them within walls or under roofs. [Tacitus de Morib. Germanorum, c. 9.] The rude upright stones by which they were formed were representations of Celtic deities, [Phurnutus de Nat. Deorum, c. 16.] and particularly the square stone, which implies solidity, stability, and the power of God. [Maximus Tyrius, Serm. 38. Pausanias in Acbaicis, Plin. 1. 14, c. 8. Clemen. Alex. Stromat. lib. i.] As these rude obelisks were the first description of images in the world, [Themistius, Orat. xv. Clem. Alexand. Stromat. lib. i.] they were worshipped by the Druids, and appropriately enough formed a part of the temple in their idolatrous system. The large stone, 3 feet diameter, and 13½ feet long, which lies between two of these upright stones in the circle, on the Cothiemuir hill, resembles much the rocking-stone, being now inverted, with its base uppermost, which was so rounded that it might move in a groove, and differs in its nature from the stones of that locality. These rocking-stones, which were the wonder of the ancient world, were made to move by a protuberance of a circular form on the under surface, which moved in a socket, and was poised in such a way as to vibrate by a touch of the hand, and yet could not be moved by the greatest force. They appear to have been employed by the Druids, who were the judges in criminal as in other cases, to test the innocence or guilt of those who were accused of theft, robbery, or any other crime, and were so managed that they appear to move obsequious by the gentlest touch of him whose life was innocent, but to the criminal's or the giant's arm they were immovable. This appears, however, to have been a Druidical temple, from the slab resting on the top of the cairn in the centre of the circle, and seems to have been dedicated to Carneus, one of the Druidical names for Apollo.

The Druids began their religious worship by going three times round the cairn or temple, according to the course of the sun; a ceremony which was known by the name of the Deas-iul, or brought their left hand to their mouth in adoration, and turned round their whole body in the direction of the right hand thrice, because this number was sacred among the ancients, embracing the beginning, middle, and end, and comprehended the most profound mysteries of the Divine philosophy. They had several great solemnities, and one half-yearly, at the court of the Corfi or Arch-druid, at which all the sacred orders, or a deputation of them, made their appearance; and this meeting, as well as the great annual festival, held in honour of Beal, at the sixth of the new moon, on the 1st of May, the beginning of their year, (for they began both their month and year, not from the change, but the sixth day of the moon,) was celebrated by great sacrifices, and religious observances. Upon this occasion, one of their number, who wore a crown of laurel upon his head, clothed in white, proceeded to cut the misletoe of the oak, when the celebration of the auspicious day with sacrifices and feasting commenced. The delphicas, tripod, or slab was loaded with rich offerings of every kind, presented by those who came to worship, or to know the will of the immortal gods concerning them; heaps of spoils taken in war were dedicated to the guardians of the field of battle, the lares of Ognisus were appeased by offerings cast into the midst of the sacred fire, and the altars loaded with the gifts of pious men;* and when the Druids had any extraordinary favour to ask of the gods, they offered up more than one human victim, and sometimes a hecatomb, or a hundred living creatures. The Druids reckoned the sacrifice of a man the most meritorious act of their religion; and the human victims, which were taken not only from criminals and captives, but also from among the innocent, were enclosed on such occasions into a frame of immense size, and while the Arch-druid or priest placed his hand upon the head of the victim trembling before the altar, and offered up prayers to the various Celtic deities, the blind votaries of the heathen were lying prostrate before images, the workmanship of their own hands. The image enclosing the unhappy human victims was then set on fire, and they were consumed cruelly to ashes, in the presence of the people, amidst the solemn notes of various musical instruments, which resounded through the sacred grove to drown the cries of the dying men. Others were slain with one stroke of the sword above the diaphragm, so that by observing the posture in which they fell, the different convulsions, and the direction in which the blood flowed from the body, they might interpret the will of the gods, or foretel future events.

On the top of a partly detached hill in the north-west part of the parish, is a circular enclosure of loose stones, apparently the ruins of a rude wall; it is called the Barmekin, and is about 70 or 80 yards in diameter, with a heap of stones near its centre. There is no satisfactory tradition connected with it. Many flint arrow and spear heads of various forms are occasionally found, principally on Benachie.

Mansion-houses.—The only remarkable mansion-bouse is Castle Forbes, the seat of Lord Forbes, chief of that ancient family, a spacious, elegant, and most commodious modern edifice, in the castellated style. It stands on the left bank of the Don, on the slope of the south-west corner of Benachie, at the termination of the valley of Alford, commanding a view of great extent and beauty. The Don, here hemmed in by naturally wooded hills, flows through the grounds; farther on the bridge of Keig a single arch of 101 feet span, has a fine effect. In the middle ground the whole vale is seen with its winding river, woods, and seats, and in the distance Morven, Lochnagar, and some of the other most remarkable mountains of Aberdeen and Banffshires. The grounds, which are of great variety of surface, comprehend 285 acres of natural wood, and with belts, 90 of planted, seven or eight miles of drives, a great extent of walks, and a highly cultivated home-farm of 400 acres, including the lawn, the whole showing that, while money has been liberally expended, it has been tastefully and judiciously laid out. The view from the manse of Keig, situated on the southern slope, in the neighbourhood of Castle Forbes, is equally commanding and rich, including the fine grounds of the castle, which, with its extensive park, is looked upon as one of the most romantic places in the county.


Lord Forbes and the Hon. the Master of Forbes are the only persons of independent fortune usually residing in the parish.


The parish contains 7900.37 imperial acres.

The total rental, including rise on new leases, being L.2862, 18s. l1d.; but, since this calculation was made, some leases have been renewed at a considerable advance.

The rent of grazing for a full-grown ox or cow may be reckoned at L. 2 for the season, and for a full-grown sheep of any of the improved large breeds, 8s. for the year.

Prices.—The following is a list of the price of articles of raw produce, country manufacture, &c. &c. Fir and larch weedings, and small wood for paling bars, per dozen, 6d. to 1s. 6d.; 100 feet of inch deals of fir, 8s.; 100 lineal feet of larch paling, 1s. 9d.; ash, 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. per cubic foot; slates per 1000, carriage included, L.2, 13s. to L.2, 17s.; lime per load of twelve heaped bushels, from Cairney or Keith, carriage included, 17s. 4d. to 18s. 2d.; coals, English, per load of eight heaped bushels, carriage included, 17s. 8d. to 19s. 4d.; peats per load, carriage included, 3s.; wool, per lb., 7d. to 1s. 2d.; butter, 6d. to 8½d.; cheese per stone, 5s. to 7s.; eggs, per dozen, 4d. to 7d.; fowls, each, 1s.; chickens, 3d. to 5d.; beef, per lb. 4½d. to 6d.; box-cart with hay-frame, complete, L.7 to L.9; lime, L.6, 10s. to L.7; stone, L.6, 10s. to L.7; iron plough, complete, Small's swing, L.5 to L. 7; wooden, L. 3; iron harrows per pair, complete, L.2; wooden, 18s.; turnip sowing-machine, L.1, 10s. to L.2; drill harrow, L.1 to L.2; wheel-barrow, 18s. to L.1, 1s.; set of cart and plough harness, L.5, 5s.; stone roller, complete, L.1, 10s. to L.2; barn fanners, L. 2, 10s. to L.3, 10s. The present rates of mason, slater, &c. work are nearly as follows: mason-work, per rood of 36 square yards, L.2 to L.2, 5s.; slater, 15s.; plasterer work per square yard, three coats, 4½d.; building stone dike, 3 feet wide at bottom, 1¼ at top, and 4 feet high, including coping, per Aberdeen ell of 37.06 inches, 5d. to 7d.; building a faced dike, 5d. to 7d., viz. stone facing, 1½ foot wide at bottom, and 4 feet high, per Aberdeen ell, 2½d. to 3½d.; earth, back or sunk, 2½d. to 3½d.; cutting or embanking, per cubic yard, including harrowing, not more than 50 yards, 3d. to 4d.; spade-trenching, 10 inches deep, per acre, L.6 to L.12.

Live-Stock.—The sheep in the parish altogether scarcely exceed 600 ; about a score are large Leicestershire, kept principally for the sake of their wool for domestic purposes; a few are four-horned, the rest are black-faced Highland. The cattle generally preferred are the native horned Aberdeenshire, in many instances crossed by the Galloway, but sufficient attention even yet is not paid to breed. About 1150 of all ages are kept.; 300 are cows and grown beasts, and 260 are calves annually reared, of which about 40 are sold at one year old, 60 at two, and the rest at three, except 20 or 30 kept to replace old cows, &c. The work-horses are good, worth from L.20 to L.30 and L.40, and principally homebred, not including 26 colts and poneys, there are 108 in the parish. The small tenants who keep only one, sometimes club two together in ploughing, and sometimes yoke an ox with the horse; with this exception, there was lately only one pair of work oxen used.

The short-horned breed and first crosses from these and Aberdeenshire cows, are now becoming very common in this and the neighbouring parishes, and farmers now find it more profitable to feed fully more cattle, and send them to the London market since steam navigation has been extended.

The system of tillage is that common to the interior parts of Aberdeenshire, the tenants being usually bound with some modifications to the following seven-course shift: 1. a green crop, such as turnips, potatoes, &c. for which the ground is well prepared and manured; 2. a white crop of oats, bear, &c. with clover and grass-seeds; 3. hay; 4. and 5. pasture; 6. and 7. white crops, then a green crop as before. When practicable, therefore, each farm is laid off in seven equal divisions, which the tenant is required in most of the leases lately granted to inclose, except in particular situations, with such stone fences as have been described, for which he is reimbursed at the termination of his lease. Paling is used for temporary subdivisions for pasture ground fences, and where stone would be unsuitable. No turnips or potatoes are, raised for sale, markets being too distant. Some wheat is occasionally cultivated; it is sown in August or September after a summer fallow, and takes the place of crops 1. and 2. above; two-sided barley is not reckoned a profitable crop, and neither pease nor beans are raised. In harvest, the scythe has now almost entirely superseded the sickle. Distant carriage prevents the use of such manures as whale and herring refuse and night soils, but bone-dust is successfully employed.

There were formerly many life-leases, of which two remain; the present term is nineteen years. Under both the old and new leases, the rent of some farms is payable partly in meal, but under the new, the proportion of it is small; the tenants are, besides, generally bound to bear their proportion of carriage of materials for river embankments, for repairing or rebuilding the proprietor's mansion-house, and the parish church, manse, and school-house, and though there is no thirlage, to carry their grain to such mill as may be specified.

Some of the tenants certainly feel the want of sufficient capital; but the principal disadvantage under which the whole labour, is their distance from a sea-port, or a ready market for agricultural produce. In spite, however, of such obstacles, cultivated lands continue to be more and more improved, wastes to be gradually reclaimed, and rents not only to rise but to be well paid.

Besides from twenty-one to twenty-two tons of cured pork, and nearly as much value in live pigs shipped for the London market, which amount to L. 1826, 4s. 4d., by an enterprising individual, not included, only a very small portion being the produce of Keig, equal to about L.100.

Manufactures.—Under the head of manufactures there is only to be mentioned, that knitting worsted stockings for the Aberdeen manufacturers continues to be the principal occupation of the poorer females. Upwards of 5000 pairs, at from 3d. to 5d. per pair, are annually made by about thirty families. It may be observed, that this is an employment which does not interrupt their attention to many of their domestic concerns in or out of doors.

V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Towns, &c.—The parish contains no village. The nearest towns are Inverury and Kintore, at distances of twelve and fourteen miles ; but the only market intercourse is with Aberdeen, from which the centre of the parish is twenty-five miles distant. The Aberdeen and Alford turnpike road passes for half a mile through the southern extremity of Keig. A mail gig runs daily to and from Aberdeen, and a stage-coach every alternate day. The Whitehouse post-office is just beyond the boundaries of the parish. Keig has ten and a half miles of commutation roads,— the funds for the support of which are L.31, 10s. 2d. a year; and upwards of five miles of roads made and kept up by the respective proprietors of the lands through which they pass, the whole being well directed and kept in excellent repair. There are besides about five miles of little used and bad hill roads, and one and a half of old commutation in much the same state. Keig bridge, over the Don, has been mentioned. It was built in 1817, at an expense, including the approaches, of L.2300, and has been of infinite benefit. One-half of the money was raised by subscription, and the other was advanced by Government on condition of being relieved from the annual Exchequer allowance of L.57, 17s. 3d., under the Small Stipend Act, to the ministers of Keig and Tough, by the union of the two parishes, on the demise of either of the incumbents,—Lord Forbes liberally taking upon himself the payment till the junction should take place; but since that time the parishes have been disunited again by the Court of Teinds.

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish of Keig was originally made up of church lands, belonging, apparently, to the priory of Monymusk, at first a seat of the Culdees, but erected in the reign of William the Lion into a priory for the canons regular of St Andrews. The Culdees were disinherited of their lands, which were bestowed by the Bishop of St Andrews upon the canons, who was called to Parliament as Lord Keig and Monymusk. It was erected into a distinct regality, being one of the three,—St Andrews, Kirkliston, and Monymusk, in which the Archbishop sat as supreme judge in criminal cases, coined money, and laid hold of all forfeited properties. The original bailie of this regality was Lord Forbes, who was so to the priors of Monymusk, the Abbots of Arbroath and Lyndores, the Bishop of St Andrews, Moray, as appears from a family manuscript; but the Marquis of Huntly became hereditary bailie, and paid to this see an annual feu-duty of L.300 Scots.

List of Ministers of the Parish of Keig.—Rev. John Young, member of Assembly, 1638; Rev. Thomas Forbes; Rev. George Middleton, died 1739 ; Rev. Alexander Strachan, appointed June 24, 1740; Rev. William Duff, died 1772; Rev. Alexander Smith, appointed 14th December 1774, and died in 1833; Rev. Alexander Low, appointed 27th June 1834. The present act of patronage having been sanctioned by the Legislature before the appointment of Mr Middleton to the church and parish of Keig, a band of fifty soldiers is said to have been sent to his settlement, for the purpose of preserving the peace, which was stationed near the present bridge over the Don, during the service, and, in consequence, this part of the old glebe is called the "Drum Leys" to this day.

The church, which is an excellent model for a country church, of the Gothic style of architecture, was built in 1835, and is beautifully situated in a south exposure, a little more than a quarter of a mile north of the river, and looking down upon the grounds of Castle Forbes. The sittings are from 480 to 500, all free. The old manse was built in 1774, and the present in 1834. An excambion of the glebe at the same time took place, which, altogether, contained then 12 acres, 2 roods, 11 poles Scots.

The number of families at present actually in Keig is 130, of which 124, composed of 630 persons, attend the parish church; 2, of 16 persons, at the church of a neighbouring parish for convenience; 3, of 7 persons, at a Dissenting meeting-house, and 1 family at an Episcopalian chapel, all being regular attendants at their respective places of worship. The average number of communicants at the parish church is about 306. Education.—The parochial school is centrically and conveniently situated. The schoolmaster's salary was fixed, in 1829, at L.29, 18s. 10d., with a dwelling-house not restricted to the legal accommodation, but is now the maximum. From 15 to 20 girls lately attended a school kept by a young woman, who teaches reading, writing, and sewing; and about 25 children, in the southern part of the parish, are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic at an unendowed school near them in the extremity of the parish, at the same rates as in the parochial school.

Poor.—The average number of persons on the poor roll for the last six years has been 9, mostly infirm old women without near relations able to support them, besides whom others in similar circumstances have been occasionally assisted. The average annual contributions for their relief for the same period at the disposal of the kirk-session have been as follows: Church collections, L.17, 3s. 9d.; interest of money, L.4. 16s.; donations and legacies, L.10, 15s. 6¼d.; fines, L.1, 1s. 8d.; total, L. 33, 16s. 11¼d.; L.16, 13s. 4d. has been distributed for the year at an average to those on the roll quarterly, in sums of from 6s. to 12s., according to the necessities of each individual, and to others occasionally from the donations perhaps from 10s. to 15s. a year each ; not including about L.20 paid annually for the support of a pauper lunatic and foundling child. The present number on the roll is 12, and the quarterly sum granted at an average to each of 10 is about 8s. No person belonging to the parish has begged for upwards of fifty years past; and so far are the poor from showing any disposition to seek parochial relief, that much address is often required to prevail upon them to accept it. The people in general are sufficiently attentive to those in want or distress, and the only residing proprietor is remarkably so. The heritors have been liberal in their donations, in order to prevent a legal assessment. Miscellaneous Observations. In 1792, when the last Statistical Account was drawn up, the Duke of Gordon was superior of the whole lands in this district. In the parish there were 430 imperial acres of wood, mostly natural, and 2130 of arable land, of which about one-fifth was infield, rented at from 9s. 6d. to 17s. per acre, and the rest outfield, at from 1s. 7d. to 4s.; the whole rental, including the value of various services, being under L.600. The infield was manured, and kept constantly under a rotation of one crop of bear and two of oats; the outfield was exhausted by three or more crops of oats, and then allowed to lie waste till it recovered. Few of the tenants sowed grass seeds, or raised turnips or potatoes except for the pot;—148 horses, 610 cattle, and 1229 sheep were kept; of the latter the greater part belonged to crofters, and, being allowed to wander about, were very detrimental to the neighbours. There were 47 ploughs, drawn by 88 horses; 87 cows, and 157 oxen and young cattle. The wages of farm-servants were, of men, from L.4, 10s. to L.6, 10s. or L.7; of women, from L.2 to L.3 per annum; of day labourers, 6d. with maintenance. Reapers were hired for the harvest, the men at L.2 and the women at L.1. The inhabited houses were 117, of which 79 were occupied by married persons, 9 by widowers, 15 by widows, 8 by bachelors, and 6 by unmarried women.

August 1842.

Return to our Aberdeen Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus