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


PRESBYTERY OF ALFORD, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. ROBERT SCOTT, MINISTER.

I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name.—This parish derives its name from two Gaelic words, gleann, a glen, and buidhe, signifying yellow, or from the stream of Bucket, which intersects the glen, taking its rise among the lofty mountains; separating Glenlivat and Glenbucket, and which falls into the Don below the venerable castle, the seat of the ancient Gordons of Glenbucket. The castle stands in a commanding and beautiful situation, totally neglected, and fast falling into complete ruin.

Extent.—The average breadth of the parish is about one mile arable, and, including the mountain ranges, about 2˝ miles; its length arable about 6 miles,—including the mountains, 10 miles.

The parish is almost surrounded by Strathdon: for a small space to the north-west it adjoins Cabrach and Glenlivat. But from these, it is separated by a regular range of lofty mountains.

A narrow and romantic pass leads into the parish from the east, commencing at the confluence of the rivers Don and Bucket, below the castle.

Craigenscore is the highest hill in the parish; it lies to the north, and rises about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Benneaw is the next highest, and is 1800 feet above the level of the sea, The castle is built on the acclivity of this hill.

Climate.—The climate is severe. In the summer months it is sometimes excessively hot; in winter, north winds, deep snows, and keen frosts prevail, which frequently continue long, and make late and bad spring months.

Geology.—The rocks are generally primitive. There are to be found, hornblende, felspar, gneiss, mica-slate, granite, and primitive limestone in great abundance, which contains about seventy per cent. lime. It is worked to great advantage by the tenants, both for their own use and for sale.

Zoology.—The breeds of cattle, horses, and sheep, have been much improved within these few years, and bring annually a considerable sum of money to the glen. The wild animals are, foxes, hares, common and alpine; roe and red-deer frequent Glennoughty. Birds; eagles, hawks, black-game, grouse, ptarmigan, snipes, dotterel, plover, partridges, &c. and a great variety of small birds. Fish; salmon, trout, and eels are found in the Don and Bucket.

II.— Civil History.

The barbarous feud that took place betwixt Mowat of Abergeldie and Cameron of Brux, is recorded by the celebrated President Forbes in the Culloden Papers.

The ancient Gordons (Lairds of Glenbucket) were long one of the most powerful feudal families in this county, a gallant and handsome race of men. The last laird had a distinguished command under the Stuarts, in the bold, rash, and unfortunate enterprizes of 1715 and 1745. It is said that George II. having the greatest horror at the name of the dread chieftain of Glenbucket, often dreamed of him, starting in his sleep, and exclaiming in broken English, "De great Glenbucket be coming." The fact was, however, that very few gentlemen in the times in which he lived were more accomplished, humane, and brave. He made his escape to France (a very old man) after the fatal battle of Culloden:

The Earl of Fife is sole heritor of the parish, as well as superior of the estates that once belonged to the ancient and powerful Earls of Mar.

Parochial Registers.— The parochial registers, of late years, have been kept correctly.

This summer, an excellent porter's lodge has been built by the Earl of Fife's orders at Badenyon, which will be of great benefit to that remote and celebrated spot.

III.—Population.

Beyond the year 1775, there is no report of the population of this parish.

Population has increased in this parish, in consequence of the increasing cleanliness of the people, greater attention to children in extreme infancy, vaccination, but, above all, the annihilation of smuggling. The improvements in every respect, since illicit distillation has been happily put down, are truly astonishing. Falsehood, swearing, drunkenness, and other immoral practices, although they linger with a few of the old and hardened, are fast disappearing; and in their place are progressing, good manners, cleanliness, sobriety, exemplary attention to their moral and religious duties, and diligence at their different avocations. The people are generally hardy, active, and intellectual; and since smuggling has come to an end, manifest a strong desire for reading and general information. The establishment of a library in the neighbourhood has been of great use.

IV.—Industry.

The inhabitants are all employed in agriculture, as farmers, crofters, and farm servants, with a few mechanics. The soil is generally very good, and were the farms properly arranged, and leases of proper endurance given, great improvements would certainly take place. There is excellent limestone, easily wrought, yielding upwards of seventy per cent; and inexhaustible peat moss, of superior quality. Draining, enclosing, and planting would greatly ameliorate the climate; and although the humane and truly benevolent proprietor, the Earl of Fife, gives very little encouragement here, yet the people are farming, notwithstanding their many disadvantages, on the most improved system of agriculture, raising good crops of turnips, potatoes, hay, bear, and oats. The Mains farm at the castle is perhaps as well managed in every respect as any in Scotland. Roads are much wanted. It is to be wished that the Noble proprietor may soon turn his attention to the improvement of this beautiful but still much neglected part of his princely estates.

V.—Parochial Economy.

Ecclesiastical State.—About twenty years ago, there were from twenty to thirty Roman Catholics in the parish. With the exception of two old people (Roman Catholics) there are no Dissenters of any denomination from the Established Presbyterian church. Divine service in the church is well attended. The number of communicants is about 300. The stipend from teinds (exhausted) is L. 33, 0s. 8d.; from Government, L. 125; in all, L. 158, 6s. 8d. The glebe is worth about L. 10 annually; and the manse is in excellent condition.

Poor.—The average annual collections for the benefit of the poor amount to about L.14 Sterling annually, which, with a small fund from savings, furnishes the only means by which the poor are supported. There are 18 on the poor's roll.

Education.—There is a parish school, having the medium legal salary; the school fees, a good house, excellent garden, and small croft of land of three acres, at a very moderate rent, support a duly qualified teacher. The people are particularly anxious to have their children educated, and there is not an individual but can read and write.

There is a small but useful adventure school kept during winter and spring, in the remote part of the parish, on the celebrated classical spot where John of Badenyon lived. A proper teacher and salary at this station is much wanted.

October 1840.


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