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


PRESBYTERY OF DEER, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. ALEXANDER BOYD, MINISTER.

I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name.—The ancient name of the parish was spelt Creichmont. It is perhaps derived from two Gaelic words signifying "moor for cattle."

Extent, Boundaries, &c.—It contains an area of a little more than nine square miles, and is situated in the district of Buchan on the sea coast between the towns of Peterhead and Fraserburgh, being about eight miles distant from each by the present line of communication between these sea-ports. Its form resembles that of an isosceles triangle, being from three to four miles wide at the base, and from five to six in length. It is bounded on the north and west by the parish of Lonmay; on the south and south-east by that of St Fergus; and towards the north-east and east, by the Loch of Strathbeg and the German Ocean.

Topographical Appearances, Coast, &c.—Along the shore, the land rises to an elevation of perhaps 200 feet, gradually descending towards the interior, which is but a very little above the level of the sea, and then gently ascending to the south and south-west boundary of the parish, where it unites with the upper parts of Lonmay and St Fergus. The coast extends about two miles, and presents a broad surface of flat beach and sand hills, except at one particular point, where there is a long ridge of low-lying rocks, called Rattray Head or Rattray Briggs, running at right angles to the shore, and extending from one to two miles in an easterly direction into the German Ocean. The most formidable part of this ridge is only visible at low water, which renders it peculiarly dangerous to vessels running too near the shore; and many a stately ship has been stranded there. Of late years, however, the number of wrecks on Rattray Head has very sensibly diminished, owing partly, perhaps, to the greater accuracy of modern charts, and partly to the erection of a lighthouse, on the one hand, at Kinnaird's Head, near Fraserburgh, and on the other, at Boddom, near Peterhead; and it is commonly observed, that, of the few vessels that are now stranded, the majority of cases occurs through carelessness or ignorance, or when the wind is off shore, by standing too close in, either to catch the tides, or, during a breeze, to obtain smooth water. [It has also been remarked, that shipwrecks have occasionally occurred on Rattray Head in so mysterious and unaccountable a manner, as to lead to the uncharitable conjecture that seamen consider it a very eligible spot for stranding a frail but largely insured vessel.]

Climate, Diseases, &c.—From the circumstance of the district in which Crimond is situated extending considerably into the German Ocean, the temperature of the atmosphere is generally cold and bracing. The usual epidemics common to other districts make their appearance here. But it has frequently been remarked, that, while these have been raging virulently in the neighbourhood, Crimond has generally escaped, or been mercifully dealt with. To what this exemption may be owing it is difficult to say. As an example of the longevity of the inhabitants, it may be mentioned, that, during the last few years, three old women have died at the advanced age of one hundred, and there are many of both sexes in the parish who have seen fourscore years.

Hydrography.—The character of the springs is generally mine-ral, and they contain a large proportion of pure oxide of iron; but they are seldom, if ever, used for medicinal purposes. There is a scarcity of soft spring water in the parish. The running streams are few and insignificant, and never rise above the character of burns; of which the burn of Savoch, dividing Crimond from Lon-may, is the largest. They all terminate in the Loch of Strath-beg, which comprises an area of about 600 or 700 Scots acres and is situated chiefly in the parish of Lonmay, but partly in Crimond. Although not more than half a mile from the sea, and separated only by a sandbank or bar, the water of Strathbeg is wholly fresh. This bar of sand is gradually accumulating by the action of the sea, and rendering the prospect of thoroughly draining this loch every year more distant. An attempt of this kind was made about the year 1790, but it proved a fruitless one, chiefly from the want of funds to complete the undertaking, and from the sand perpetually drifting into the channel of communication with the sea, and thus preventing the egress of the water. It is remarked, however, that the depth of this loch, which is rarely more than 3˝ feet, is gradually decreasing, owing to the great quantity of alluvial matter or detritus brought down from the interior by the winter floods, and left to vegetate in summer by the heat of the sun; and that, although the prospect of completely draining it is distant, yet, by the outlet to the sea being kept unimpeded, its level might be much reduced, and thus the low-lying lands along its borders so far drained as to produce in dry seasons the most abundant grain crops. In the former Statistical Account of Crimond the formation of the loch of Strathbeg is described as follows: "At the beginning of the present century, 1700, this lake was of much smaller extent than it is now. It was confined to a small part of the east end, and had a communication with the sea there, so that vessels of small burden could enter it. People born about 1700 well remembered the overflowing of the west part of the loch; but the particular year is not now known, though it must have been about 1720. Previous to that, there was a hill of sand between what is called the Castle Hill at Rattray and the sea, and still higher than it. A furious east wind blew away this sand-hill in one night, which stopped the communication between the loch and the sea, by forming a sand-bar. The low-lying ground to the west was soon overflowed, and the extent of the loch much increased." From the great extent of sand which has since accumulated between them, the sea may be truly said to be receding along this part of the coast. The scenery around Strathbeg is far from interesting or picturesque, as on the side next the land it is bordered by bogs and marshes, and towards the sea by a succession of sterile and cheerless sand-hillocks, covered with bent. To the sportsman, however, it presents considerable attraction, from the numbers of wild-fowl that frequent its surface, or breed among its marshes; and few fresh-water lakes of the same extent are better calculated for boat-sailing. In the upper part of the parish, where a narrow portion of the estate of Logie almost intersects the parish of Lonmay, there is another loch, called the Loch of Kininmonth, but more properly the Loch of Logie, as it lies entirely within the bounds of that estate. It comprises an extent of twenty-two Scotch acres, and is mostly surrounded by a low mossy land, which gives it a bleak and desolate appearance.

Geology and Mineralogy.— On this head, the parish, it is believed, presents nothing of peculiar interest. Granite of excellent quality, and of a darker blue than that commonly known by the name of Aberdeen granite, is found on the east side of the parish ; while towards the west, on the estate of Logie, the red granite is found, but generally in a state of decomposition. Whinstone is also abundant. There are the remains of a limestone quarry near Bilbo, on the estate of Crimond; but it has not been wrought for many years. Iron ore is occasionally to be met with. The soil throughout the parish is generally of a light loamy nature, upon a clay bottom. Near the coast it is light and sandy, easily laboured, and producing in moist seasons heavy crops of grain, turnips, and grass. Near the mosses in the upper parts of the parish, the soil is cold and damp, and retains the wet to a great degree. The crops are consequently late and variable, and liable to be blighted by frosts and mildew. In late rainy seasons, such as 1838, they never come to maturity. There is a large extent of moss, of very great depth, belonging to the parish, deeply imbedded in which are to be found trees, chiefly oak and birch, of great size, and in tolerable preservation, the melancholy remains of an era when Buchan presented a very different aspect in regard to wood from its present naked and treeless appearance. Vestiges of decayed hazel are also very common.

Zoology.—The wild animals are such as are common to the district. Grouse and golden plover are found in the mosses; partridges and corn-rail in the cultivated lands. The starling is an occasional visitor, as also the fieldfare. Two specimens of what was considered the American roller were shot some years ago; and the bittern has been occasionally seen ; also the woodpecker. The loch of Strathbeg, from its shallow and marshy character, as well as from the circumstance of its being the most eastern fresh-water lake in Scotland, abounds in water fowl of great variety, of which may be mentioned wild swan and geese, wild ducks of every species common to the climate, teal, balcoot, widgeon, water-rail, snipe, redshank, and herons of great variety and beauty. The swans are only seen in the depth of winter, and when they appear in considerable numbers betoken the severity of the season in other quarters. They are frequently shot for their rich down, one skin bringing sometimes as much as 10s. or 12s. When one of their number falls a victim to the rifle or fowling-piece, the survivors, during their rapid retreat, send forth a melancholy and plaintive cry.

Along the beach, curlews are seen in their season; and at certain periods, the woodcock is found in considerable numbers in the sand or bent hills along the shore. In these, they generally rest during the first day or two after their long transmarine migrations, and at such times, from their worn-out condition, may be shot without difficulty.

The otter was at one time very common among the marshes at Strathbeg, but is now rarely seen. Roe-deer pay us a visit occasionally, and for several years a stray pair or two took up their abode in the young plantation at Rattray House. Rabbits are gaining ground in the sandy places. There is a very extensive rookery in the lofty ash trees where the ancient mansion-house of Crimond stood. Among beasts and birds of prey may be mentioned the fox, polecat, weasel, sparrow-hawk, glede, carrion-crow, and magpie. Among rare sea-fishes and whales, the turbot, halibut, mackerel, John Dory, seal, porpoise, spout-whale, and the red cod, found off Rattray Head and a few other localities, and much esteemed for its superior quality. Of Crustacea and shell-fish there are the lobster, crab, muscle, limpet, and periwinkle, among the rocks at Rattray Head. And of fresh-water fish, perch, trout, eel (sometimes of great size), flounder, &c. in the loch of Strathbeg, or in the streams leading to it.

Botany.—To the botanist, Crimond presents an extensive and interesting field. The marshes already mentioned, as well as the banks of the various burns leading to the loch, are well known stations for water-plants, while in the sand links and bents of Rattray, extending along the sea shore, are to be found those loving an arid soil. In the wood of Logie, likewise, a few of the rarer may be found.

The following is a correct list of the rarer plants to be found in Crimond. [This list has been kindly furnished by Dr Cowe, an intelligent botanist, resident in the parish.]

f This rush was first discovered in Britain by Mr Drummond of Forfar, about the same time it was observed in this station. It appears here to be annually increasing.

II.—Civil History.

Eminent Characters.—Among many eminent men born in, or connected by ancestry with, the parish, are Arthur Johnstone, the famous Latin poet of the sixteenth century, (the rival of Buchanan), and John Farquhar, born at Bilbo, and afterwards well known both in England and Scotland as the "rich Farquhar of Fonthill." By a long course of persevering industry, and almost miserly economy, he amassed an immense fortune in India, it is believed, as an extensive manufacturer of gunpowder for the government service, as well as a successful commercial speculator. At one period, there is reason to suppose, he had intended to leave the bulk of it for the advancement of education in Scotland, but his will not being forthcoming, his relatives succeeded to the whole.

Land-owners.—The chief land-owners are,------Forbes, Esq. of Crimond; Adam Cumine, Esq. of Rattray; Charles Bannerman, Esq. of Logie and Crimondmogate; and John James Laing, Esq. of Haddo.

Parochial Registers.— The earliest date of these is 1718, from which time till now the session records, containing cases of discipline, and disbursements to the poor, have been regularly kept. The register of baptisms commences in 1743. At the present date, there is much culpable negligence in regard to the registering of births. Until very lately, no regular registry of marriages and deaths was kept.

Antiquities.— At the east end of the Loch of Strathbeg, and close by the present farm-house of Rattray, "there is a small hill of a circular form, whose top," according to the former Statistical Account, "is exactly half a Scotch acre in extent, called the Castle Hill. It rises 38 feet above a small plain on the north-east, but is only 12 or 14 feet above the higher ground on the opposite side." The famous Cummine, Earl of Buchan, had a seat here; but after his defeat at the battle of Inverury, by King Robert Bruce, this castle fell into ruins. By the blowing of the light sand in the neighbourhood, which happens during every gale of wind, it is now covered with a deep soil, and produces crops of grain and grass. In Fordoun's chronicle, after mention of this defeat, it is narrated that " Bruce pursued Cummine to Turriff, and afterwards destroyed by fire his whole Earldom of Buchan," which may, in some measure, account for the marks of fire frequently discernible on the largo trees dug out of the moss. About a quarter of a mile south-west of the castle hill, are the walls of a chapel, (surrounded by a burying-ground), still in excellent preservation. It is supposed to have been a private chapel for the use of the Earl's family. The length within the walls is 45 feet, the breadth 18 feet, the thickness of the walls 3 feet, and the height of the gables 32 feet. In the east end of the chapel are three arched windows. The walls are built of very small stones, firmly cemented together with lime. Around this chapel formerly stood the burgh of Rattray. It is said to have had the same privileges as a royal burgh, except that of sending members to Parliament. The burgage lands were of considerable extent. There is now only one feu remaining. It measures about three acres imperial, and is possessed by Robert Sellar, who is thus an heritor in the parish. "The oldest charter upon this feu, extant," to quote the last Statistical Account, "was granted in 1627. In that year, in a burgh court holden at Rattray by the Honourable John Hay of Crimondmogate, William Dalgardno of Blackwater, and David Rivis of Strathstedlie, bailies of the burgh of Rattray, a jury of thirteen honest men, citizens of the said burgh, find that Magnus Smith, the father of William Smith, died possessed of four roods of land in the said burgh. Upon this, David Rivis, one of the said bailies, superior of the lands of Rattray, grants a charter on the said four roods in favour of William Smith. The next charter is granted in 1675, by William Watson of Haddo, bailie of the burgh of Rattray, superior of the said lands, in favour of Isobel Watson, spouse of Alexander Bisset in Bilbo. The latest charter is granted in 171 l, by Charles, Earl of Errol, superior of the lands of Rattray, in favour of the daughters of the said Alexander Bisset and Isobel Watson."

Near the mill of Haddo, at a spot called the "Battle fauld," tradition points out the grave of Sir James the Rose, who was slain in mortal combat by Sir John the Graeme, when contending for the hand of Lord Buchan's daughter. It was this circumstance that gave rise to the famous ballad of Sir James the Rose.

Many ancient coins are occasionally turned up by the plough or spade, near the site of the old burgh of Rattray ; but as they are generally gifted away to the curious in numismatology, no record of their dates has been preserved. On the north-east side of the estate of Logie, are the remains of a Druidical temple, the stones composing it of gigantic dimensions.

III.—Population.

The decrease since 1831 may be accounted for by the removal of six or seven families of fishermen from Rattray Head to the new fishing village of Burnhaven, near Boddam, they having found the landing at the former place too hazardous for carrying on their occupation with profit or success. Several families have also been removed from the interior of the parish, owing to the gradual discontinuance, on the part of the proprietors, of the croft or cottar system. Farther reduction of the population from this cause may soon be expected, as the principal estate has recently been surveyed. Many small farms have been put into one, and subletting strictly prohibited. This will ultimately tend to check pauperism on the one hand, and on the other to increase the price of labour, as the tenants must hire the labourers of neighbouring parishes to assist them in carrying on their improvements. From the difficulty, also, of finding houses, as subtenants, for their wives and families, married ploughmen are in a manner debarred from accepting engagements in Crimond, and thus both the worldly prosperity and respectability of the people must be so far retarded by an excess of zeal in the prevention of pauperism.

Emigration has not hitherto prevailed to any extent in Crimond, but may be considered on the increase. As there is not even a village in the parish, the population is entirely rural. In the absence of a correct register of marriages and deaths, the yearly average may be stated as follows:

Character of the People.—The common people are in general cleanly both in their persons and houses; and their style of dress, in regard to neatness and comfort, has undergone much improvement of late years. Their general character, intellectual, moral, and religious, may be truly said to be improving. A taste for reading, especially newspaper reading, is much on the increase. Attendance on the ordinances of religion is most exemplary, and, with the exception of the lowest class of men and women-servants, often thrown promiscuously together, with none to care for their best interests, they may with propriety be called a moral people.

Since the establishment of the preventive force at Rattray Head, about the year 1825, smuggling from foreign parts has been altogether unknown on the Crimond shore.

IV.—Industry.

Agriculture.—As nearly as can be calculated, the parish contains somewhat more than nine square miles, or about 5877 imperial acres as follows: arable, 4093; improvable pasture, 707 ; planting (actual or in progress), 96; moor, moss, bent, and waste, 981.

The gross rental of the parish is about L.3820; the valued rental is L.2160. There is no undivided common. The average

rent of land may be stated at between 16s. and 13s. per imperial acre. The average cost of summer grazing a full-grown ox or cow is about L.2, 5s. to L.2, 10s.; that of a two-year-old, L.1, 10s., that of a one year old, L.1. A plough costs about L.3, 10s.; a cart, L.10; a pair of harrows, L.3, 10s.; an iron plough (now coming into use), L.4, 10s.

Wages.—A labouring man receives per day in summer, 1s. 6d.; in winter, 1s. A woman receives per day in summer, 1s.; in winter, 8d. A mason receives per day about 2s. 6d.; a carpenter, 2s. The above rate is exclusive of food. Ploughmen's wages half-yearly, board and lodging, L.7; young lads, do. L.4; herd boys, do. L.2; female servants, do. house-work, L.2, 10s.; outwork, L.2. Married ploughmen, living in their own houses, generally receive from L.4 to L.5 in the half-year, with a cow's keep, two pecks of meal per week, and their peats driven,—a class of men who merit in general the highest praise, as they frequently bring up and educate a numerous family on such scanty means.

Prices of Provisions.—-Beef per imperial lb. from 4d. to 5d.; mutton, 4d. to 5d.; pork per old stone, 5s. to 7s.; butter per imperial lb. 6d. to 8˝d.; cheese, 3d. to 3˝d.; eggs per dozen, 4d. to 6d.; poultry per pair, 2s.; chickens do. 8d.; cod-fish each, 4d. to 6d.; turbot each, 6d. to 1s.; fresh haddocks each, 1d. to 2˝d.; smoked do. per pair, 2d. to 4d.; lobsters each, 6d.; skate each, 8d. to 10d.; meal per peck, 1s. to 1s. 6d.; potatoes per boll, 6s. to 12s.; brewery beer per half anker, 2s. 6d.

Cattle, Crops, &c.— Great attention has, of late years, been paid Jo the breeding, rearing, and feeding of cattle, and a new impulse has been given to this branch of agriculture by the facilities of steam navigation from Aberdeen to London, and the ready sale which is obtained for them there. A cross between the Teeswa-ter and Buchan breeds has of late been in great repute ; but there is consequently a great risk of the pure Buchan breed becoming extinct or greatly deteriorated, and many distinguished graziers are now turning their attention to this circumstance. The number of milk cows at present in the parish is about 272. Since the attention of the farmer has been directed to rearing fat cattle for the London market, the dairy has been comparatively neglected. Very little attention is given in Crimond to sheep-rearing.

Generally speaking, the system of husbandry pursued is excellent. The common method of cropping at present is a seven year's rotation. 1. turnip and fallow; 2. barley or oats; 3. clover and rye-grass, cut for hay; 4. pasture; 5. do.; 6. oats or barley; 7. do. Potatoes are grown for home use, and occasionally for exportation; but, from the great expense of land carriage to Peterhead or Fraserburgh, they are not reckoned a very profitable crop. Turnips are very extensively cultivated for winter-feeding cattle, and bone-dust very often employed in raising them. Fish-refuse is also driven from the fishing villages at a great expense of time and labour. The price of this sort of manure is generally conveyed from the interior in the shape of peats. The total number of ploughs in actual operation in the parish is 79,—a few of them drawn by oxen. The various kinds of oats in common use are the potato oats,—Sandy, Hopetoun, and Kildrummy. The last mentioned is generally considered the best adapted for the soil and climate of Crimond. Wheat is seldom or never grown here.

The usual duration of leases is nineteen years. From the general character of the soil and subsoil of Crimond, draining is of incalculable importance. Much has already been done in this way to improve the land, but a great deal still remains to be performed ; and proprietors stand much in their own and their tenants' light, by not encouraging it to a much greater extent. Tile or furrow-draining, by which such beneficial results have been produced in other parts of Scotland, yet remains to be commenced in the parish of Crimond. (1838.) The nearest manufactory at which drain-tiles can be procured is ten miles distant, with three tolls, which proves a complete barrier to the tenant undertaking improvements of this kind at his own risk or expense. Were a tile-work commenced within a short distance, (and there are on almost every estate most excellent materials), there is every reason to believe, that the opportunity would be speedily embraced to carry on extensive improvements in draining.

Plantations, Quarries, Fisheries.—Great improvements in planting are at present going forward on the principal estate of Crimond ; ash, plane, elm, and beech, are found to thrive best in this climate and soil. Quarries of excellent materials, both for building and road-making, are open in various quarters.

ProduceThe average gross amount of raw produce raised annually in the parish may be somewhat as follows:


V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Town.—The nearest market-town is Peterhead, nine miles distant, where a weekly market is held on Fridays.

Post-Office.—The most convenient post-office for Crimond is also at Peterhead, although Mintlaw is somewhat nearer. A foot-post, or runner, on his own adventure, goes to Peterhead daily in summer, and three or four times a-week in winter.

Means of Communication.—Various attempts have been made, for the last ten years, to run a stage-coach between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, passing through Crimond; but, from bad management, and the very small traffic upon the road, they have never succeeded. The length of turnpike roads in the parish is about two miles. There are seven or eight bridges, all in good repair, but none of them merit special notice. Most of the side-roads admit of great improvement, although much has been done in this respect within the last twenty years. Indeed, the management of the roads throughout the district generally is grossly defective.

Ecclesiastical State.—The present parish church was built in the year 1812. As the farthest extremity of the parish is not four miles distant from it, it may be said to be conveniently situated for the whole population. It is in excellent repair, affords good accommodation for 500, and is divided amongst the heritors according to their respective valuations, and again amongst their tenants, according to the size of their farms. Although no free sittings are specially set apart for the poor, yet there is no want of accommodation for them, if inclined to attend. Unlike most country churches, the church of Crimond has a steeple, bell, and clock; the last of superior workmanship, and presented by one of the heritors, the late James Laing, Esq. of Haddo, in this county, and of Streatham Hill, Surrey, a native of the parish, and one who invariably manifested a deep interest in its welfare.

A part of the south wall of the old church, built in 1576, still remains in the churchyard. The present patron of the church and parish is the Right Honourable the Earl of Fife, the patronage having been purchased from the Earl of Errol about the year 1800.

The manse consists of three parts, viz. the original structure, built in 1763, and two wings or additions: that at the east end, built in 1798, and the other at the west end in 1815. Although it possesses a great deal of accommodation, it is far from being a convenient or sufficient house. The garden and grounds were laid out with great taste, and at considerable expense, by the late incumbent, the Rev. William Boyd, who was inducted and ordained in 1797, and died in 1839. He has been succeeded by his youngest son, the Rev. Alexander Boyd, inducted and ordained 1st January 1840. The heritors of Crimond have long been distinguished for their liberality in regard to the public buildings. The church, manse, and school-house are inspected annually by competent workmen, and every necessary repair immediately executed. They are also insured against loss by fire at the heritors expense. The whole glebe land is exactly as follows:—Garden in front of manse, 1 rood 35 falls; vegetable and small fruit-garden, 1 rood 33 falls; arable land, 6 acres, 2 roods, 37 falls; site of houses, planting, waste, &c. 1 acre. Total imperial measure, 8 acres, 2 roods, 25 falls; or, Scots measure, 6 acres, 3 roods, 171 falls. Besides the above, the churchyard and site of the old church contains 1 rood 7 falls; site of new church, 28 falls. Imperial measure, 1 rood 35 falls. The glebe land is in a state of high cultivation, and worth annually about L.1, 10s. per acre imperial. The stipend, being 15 chalders, half barley and half meal, varies from L.200 to L.300 per annum, according to the fiar prices. L.8, 6s. 8d. Sterling are also allowed for communion elements.

The Established Church is the only church or chapel within the parish. In the former part of this account, under the head Population, the total number of inhabitants in 1838 was stated to be about 830. Since that time, from causes already hinted at, 8 farther reduction has taken place; and, by a pretty accurate census, made by the minister in the course of parochial visitation in January and February 1840, it does not exceed as follows: Presbyterians in connection with the Established Church, 575; Episcopalians, 158; Roman Catholics, 10; Seceders, 7; total, 750. There is, properly speaking, only one native Roman Catholic resident in the parish ; the others belonging to that church come from Ireland, and have only a temporary residence in connection with the coast-guard service. The few Seceders being eight miles distant from their place of worship, attend the parish church, except at the observance of the Lord's Supper, when they join their own communion. The Established Church is well attended. The Sabbath day is decently observed by the great body of the people, and religious discord between different sects is comparatively unknown. The number of communicants at the parish church varies from 360 to 370. The Lord's Supper is celebrated once in the year, generally on the third Sabbath of June.

Education.—The parochial schoolmaster's salary (through the generosity of the heritors) amounts to L.35. He enjoys also the yearly interest of L.400, bequeathed by a former minister of the parish, the Rev. Mr Johnston. The school fees may vary from L.15 to L.20 per annum, all which, together with the Dick Bequest, (which, however, depends on merit,) affords a very superior income to the schoolmaster. The school-room is large, airy, and well lighted, and the schoolmaster's house contains considerably more than the accommodation required by law.

Besides the parish school, there are several female schools for the initiatory branches of education, with sewing, knitting, &c.; but one such school, conducted on improved principles, and by a regularly trained teacher, is still wanted, and ought to be established. A Sabbath school has been in operation for the last sixteen years. A parish library, containing about 400 volumes, was established some years ago ; but the advantages it holds out for acquiring sound and practical information are not so much appreciated as they ought to be. At the parish school, there is also a juvenile library for the use of the scholars.

Poor's Funds.—The average number of regular paupers at present receiving parochial relief is 14, and of occasional paupers, 8. The average sum the former receive annually is L.2, 1s.; the latter, L.1, 7s. The highest sum received by any one pauper at present (1840) on the roll is L.3, 15s. The average amount of annual collections for the benefit of the poor is L.32, 10s. 7˝d., which, together with the interest of L.400 in the heritor's hands and in the Aberdeen Bank, is in general found sufficient to meet all demands. A collection is also made yearly to provide medicine and medical attendance for those upon the poor's roll. There is frequently to be observed a strong indisposition on the part of the poor to begin accepting parochial relief; but, once it is granted, it can seldom be withdrawn without occasioning much complaint.

Fairs and Alehouses.—There are three fairs held in the parish, —one at Candlemas, another in September, and a third in October, for buying and selling cattle, horses, and sheep, and sometimes grain and potatoes. There are also three alehouses, or rather whisky-shops. [Now reduced to one. 1840.]

Fuel.—The common fuel used in Crimond is peat, which is procured with much labour, expense, and loss of time in the mosses of Crimond and Logie, lying to the south of the parish.

Miscellaneous Observations.

Among the remarkable changes which have taken place since the former Statistical Account was published, about half a century ago, may be mentioned the following:—

1. The whole land in the parish, with the exception of a small feu at Rattray, belonging to R. Sellar, has passed by purchase into the hands of other heritors than those there mentioned.

2. The population, from various causes, but chiefly from one already mentioned, has decreased from 917 to about 750.

3. The real rental of the parish has increased from somewhat more than L.1300 to nearly L.4000 per annum. The aspect of the parish, both in a moral and natural point of view, has under* gone much improvement in the above-mentioned period. The people are less slovenly in their habits, and less superstitious in their sentiments, and better informed, better fed, clad, and housed than they formerly were, while many evils which then existed, such as smuggling, poaching, and plundering of wrecks, have almost entirely ceased. If we glance at the external appearance of the parish, we find a still more visible amendment. Trees have been planted on all the larger estates; and although such plantations are few and far between, and, in many cases, present but a stunted appearance from their exposure to the cold north-easterly gales, yet such spots of sombre green among the brighter hues of the corn-fields in summer tend much to vary the landscape, and to relieve the general tameness of the scenery. Much wet land has been drained, regularly fielded, and thus considerably increased in value and productiveness. In several parts of the parish, where heather held formerly undisputed possession, rich crops of grain are now produced. Some small farms, thus reclaimed from the barren waste, have doubled their rental every nineteen years. Several new and convenient lines of road have been constructed, and only require to be kept in good repair to be of great benefit to the parish and district. In particular, the present turnpike road from Peterhead to Fraserburgh has done much to facilitate communication with these sea-ports, and to increase the value of agricultural produce, and consequently the rental of the land. To these may be added a manifest improvement in many of the farm-houses and steadings, though much remains to be done in this respect; also in the rearing and breeding of horses and cattle; in the quality of farm implements, particularly thrashing-mills ; and in the method of husbandry generally pursued.

Written 1840.
Revised
1842.


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