PRESBYTERY OF ELLON, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. ALEXANDER PHILIP, MINISTER.
[Drawn up by the late incumbent, the Rev. Alexander Cock, and revised by
the present incumbent, 1840.]
I.— Topography and Natural History.
Name.— The name Cruden takes its rise from the
battle fought there in the year 1005, by Malcolm
and Canute, son of Sueno, King of Denmark and Norway.
Extent.— The length of the parish from the east,
where it meets the parish of Peterhead, to the west, where it meets the
parish of Ellon near the House of Dudwick, is about 11 miles. The
breadth at the west end is about 7 miles, at the east end about 4 miles.
The sea is the boundary along the south side: the parishes of Slains,
Logie Buchan, and Ellon, along the west; Old Deer and Longside along the
north; and Peterhead along the east. The sea-coast from the east end to
Slains Castle is bounded by high and formidable rocks of red granite.
Close by Slains Castle is the Ward of Cruden, a small fishing village,
where vessels can occasionally bring coal and lime. From this place to
Land End, a distance of about two miles, is the Bay of
Cruden, a fine sandy beach, at the south end of which a range of sunken
rocks runs far into the sea, called the Scares of Cruden. The rocks from
this place, all along the south, are black basalts, and very formidable.
Climate.—The temperature of the atmosphere is, in
general, sharp and piercing, especially when the wind blows from the
sea-Not many years ago, a large mass of rock near Dunbay was shivered in
pieces, and some parts of it thrown a considerable distance towards the
land. There are springs of good water, and a few chalybeate ones.
In ancient times, there were large forests of oak and
hard-wood surrounding the parish. But now, only a few old trees remain
in different places, and these of very diminutive appearance. We have a
few clumps of something like brushwood, and lately some plantations have
been tried, which promise to succeed.
Proprietors.—It is with grief that the writer of
this has to mention that the Earl of Errol's property in this parish is
now greatly diminished. His Lordship is still the principal heritor. But
there are now on the estates which formerly belonged to his family nine
Parochial Registers.—The parochial registers
reach back only to the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Manufactories. — The thread manufactories, which
were so flourishing in the beginning of my day, and employed so many
people, are now completely gone. A carding and spinning-mill was lately
erected on the estate of Aquaharney, and carries on business to a
There are no villages in the parish except those of
Bullersbuchan, Ward, and Whinnyfold, which all belong to the Earl of
Errol. There are only at present four residing heritors. The number of
proprietors of land yielding above L.50 a-year of rent is 11.
Rent—The rental of the parish is about
The dwelling-houses and accommodation of the tenants
have been much improved. They are all commodiously situated, and the
farmers and people in general live very comfortably. Great improvements
have been made by draining, and the general state of husbandry is in a
Quarries.—The quarries of red granite, which some
years ago were worked to a great extent, and which contributed to the
solidity and beauty of some of the fine bridges on the Thames at London,
are now completely deserted and given up.
We have two markets in the year, one in April, and
the other in May, none of them of much consideration. There is a
post-office half-way between Ellon and Peterhead, on the turnpike road,
the length of which in that direction is about seven miles. The harbour
at the Ward can only be used in good weather. But a safe and useful one
could be made close by.
Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church, which
was built in the year 1776, stands in the middle of the parish. The
heritors lately came forward in the most handsome manner and enlarged
it, so as to make the extent of church accommodation equal to the wants
of the congregation. It is now one of the most commodious and elegant
churches in the synod. The number of communicants last year was 840. The
glebe and toft contains about 7 acres. There is one Scotch Episcopal
chapel, and divine service is well attended there and in the Established
Church. The amount of church collections yearly, for religious and
charitable purposes, is above L.70.
Education.— There is only one parochial school.
The salary of the schoolmaster is L.25. There are four other unendowed
schools in convenient situations, as the parish school, being in the
centre of the parish and near the church, is at too great a distance
from many places. The parochial teacher shares in the Dick Bequest. A
parish library was established several years ago. under the patronage of
the Earl of Errol.
Poor and Parochial Funds.—The number of poor on
the roll who receive parochial relief is above 70. There are now no
funds for their support but the weekly collections, donations from
heritors, fines, and casual benefactions.
Alehouses.—There are about 10 alehouses.
Fuel—The fuel which the parish supplies is peat,
the mosses of which were once thought to be inexhaustible, but are now
fast wearing away. In summer coal is brought, in at the Ward. At other
times, it must be brought either from Peterhead or New-burgh.