Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume XII - Aberdeen
Parish of Insch
PRESBYTERY OF GARIOCH, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. PATRICK DAVIDSON, MINISTER.
THE REV. ROBERT CUSHNY, Assistant and Successor (Drawn up by the Rev. Robert Cushny.)
I.Topography and Natural History.
Name.The name Insch is generally considered to
be of Celtic origin, and to signify an island. It is not
improbable, that the Insch had originally been confined to the small
town or village in which the church stands, or, at all events, to the
spot of ground which forms the site of the village, and which bears some
marks of having been at one time surrounded with water.
Extent, &c.The parish is of an irregular figure.
Were one part of it, however, taken away, namely, the Daugh of Moreal,
which there is reason to think had not originally belonged to it, but
had formed part of another parish now extinct, called Rathmoreal or
Christkirk, the remains of whose church, surrounded by a burial-ground,
are quite adjacent, in the parish of Kennethmont, the remainder would be
pretty nearly an oblong, the greater sides,
from north to south,
measuring about 5½
miles, the lesser, from east to west, about 2½.
The superficial extent of the whole parish is about 11
2/3 square miles. It is bounded on the east by
the parish of Culsamond; on the south, by Oyne, Premnay, and Leslie; on
the west, by Kennethmont and Gartly; and on the north, by Drum-blade and
The hill of Foudland is situated in this parish, and forms the principal
of a range of Slate-hills, extending into Gartly on the west, and into
Culsamond on the east. It stands at an elevation of about 1100 feet
above the level of the sea, has rather a lumpish appearance, but
commands a very fine prospect. That rich and fertile tract, the How or
Vale of the Garioch, is nowhere seen to greater advantage than from this
hill, by which, indeed, a considerable part of it is sheltered on the
north and north-west.
The isolated hill of Dunnideer, about a mile from the
village of Insch, and due west of it, is a singularly striking and
beautiful object, and one which has long attracted the observation both
of antiquarians and naturalists. Its form is that of a cone a little
flattened at the apex; and, owing to this peculiarity, and its summit
being crowned with some curious ruins, it catches the eye of a stranger
at a great distance.
It is about 3000 yards in circumference at the base,
from which it rises abruptly to the height of 550 or 600 feet.
Immediately facing it, on the west, and rising with equal abruptness, is
the hill of Christ-kirk, in the parish of Kennethmont, the two hills
being separated only by a narrow valley, through which runs the She-vock,
a small stream, which, at this point, and for a considerable part of its
course, forms the boundary of the parish, and whose windings, as seen
from Dunnideer, have a very picturesque effect. Dunnideer is nearly on a
line with the west end of Foudland, and about due south from it, the
distance between them being about three miles. There are no other hills
of great magnitude in the parish. Some small hills there are, here and
there rising abruptly from the plain, such as Knockenbaird, Greenlaw,
&c; but, as seen from the top of the hill of Foudland, they have the
appearance of mere knolls or hillocks scattered over the level or
slightly undulating surface.
Meteorology.The average height of the mercury in
the barometer throughout the year is 29.3 inches. There is a perceptible
variety of climate in the parish, the crops being in general three weeks
or a month later on the north side of Foudland than on the south side,
and about ten days later in the vicinity of that hill, even on the south
side, than on the more southerly part of the parish. The climate
throughout, however, may certainly be termed very salubrious, there
being none of what are called local distempers known in the parish.
Hydrography.Though not in the vicinity of any
considerable river, Insch is well watered by small rills, so that on a
majority of the farms in it, the thrashing machines are driven by water.
The Shevock has already been referred to as forming one of the
boundaries of the parish. This it. does both on the west and south.
About a mile from where it takes leave of the parish, running eastward,
it unites with the Ury, a larger stream, which takes its rise in the
Glens of Foudland, i. e. on the north side of the hill of that
name, and there forms the boundary of the parish on the north.
Geology.The hill of Foudland is famous for its
slate quarries. The slate, which is of a fine dark colour, and excellent
quality for roofing, is found in beds running from south-west to
north-east, and inclining northwards, the angle of inclination varying a
good deal. Cross-bars or dikes cutting across the veins are of frequent
occurrence, and consist of a slaty substance for the most part, with
pieces of trap and sometimes decomposed granite intermixed. These
cross-bars are found occasionally to derange the veins, so that the
sections on the opposite sides are not in the same line with each other.
The rocks composing the smaller hills in the parish
seem to be chiefly gneiss, and black or grey granite.
The soil is for the most part of a loamy nature, and
generally what might be called a light loam, with a mixture of gravel
and yellow clay forming the subsoil.
In the low grounds, towards the base of Dunnideer,
bog-iron ore is found in considerable quantities. On the sides of the
hill of Foudland, the soil is generally a light clay, mixed with slaty
particles, and the subsoil of a slaty nature, always retaining a certain
quantity of moisture in the driest seasons, and in wet seasons,
again, allowing the superfluous water to ooze off, so that the land here
is not liable to be either droughted or drowned, as the expression is.
There are some peat-mosses in this hill, in which large oak-trees have
occasionally been discovered. The higher parts of the hill, and all that
is uncultivated of it, are co-veredwith heath.
II. Civil History.
Any authentic account of the more remote history of
the parish would undoubtedly be very interesting, as the memorials of
long past times, which still exist in it, are such as shew that it has
once been the scene of important events. No such account, however, is
known to the writer of this. In a genealogical work, now rare, entitled
Laurus Lesliana, and which gives an account of the various branches of
the Lesly family, there is some information to be found respecting the
former proprietors of land in the parish, the chief of whom had belonged
to the house of Lesly.
Land-owners.The principal land-owners, at the
present time, are, Count Lesly of Balquhain, proprietor of the lands
termed the Barony of Meikle Wardhouse, Knockenbaird, &c. in the parish
of Insch. Count Lesly's ancestors had, it would seem, at one time been
possessed of the greater part of the lands in this parish, as also in
not a few of the parishes in the Garioch. The baronies of Balquhain and
Meikle Wardhouse, the former in the parish of Chapel of Garioch, the
latter in this parish, had formerly be-longed to separate branches of
the family, and they continued to do so till about the year 1642, when,
according to Spalding, the estates of Wardhouse were "so much
dilapidated, that the heir, Sir John Leslie, (who died in 1645), on
coming home from Germany, on the death of his father, found that there
was nothing left for him to live upon."
The greater part of his property, having probably been mortgaged, had
come, about that time, into the hands of the Balquhain branch, in which
it has continued ever since.
A considerable portion, however, including the site
of the castle of Wardhouse, having been otherwise disposed of, and
having passed through various hands, is now in the possession of John
David Gordon, Esq. merchant in Cadiz, who succeeded his father, Charles
Gordon, about nine years ago. The family residence in Scotland is Gordon
Hall, Kennethmont. The other proprietors of land are, Theodore Gordon,
Esq. Overhall, who is possessed of part of the lands of Dunnideer, in
this parish.Robert Abercrombie, Esq. of Rothney and Drumrossie, who
came into possession of the above lands (lying partly in Insch, partly
in Premnay), by purchase, only a few years ago, they having been sold by
the executors of the late Miss Mary Gordon, the last of her family,
which was a branch of the Gordons of Lesmoir, and in whose hands they
had been for some centuries.Sir Andrew Leith Hay, of Rannes, who is
possessed of the lands of Insch and Netherboddom, and the superiority of
the burgh of Insch. Besides the properties above referred to, there are
in the parish the lands of Boddom, Cairneston, and Johnsleys, which are
at present in the market, having fallen to be disposed of by the
executors of the late Mr Gordon, Newton.
Parochial Registers.The parochial registers,
including kirk-session records, and registers of baptisms and marriages,
extend as far back as to the year 1683, but are not altogether complete.
Antiquities.There are a good many remains of
Druidical temples, all in elevated situations. There are also several
rude obelisks, or stone pillars, in the parish; one called the Picardy
Stone, standing about 7½ feet in height above
ground, with some carving, apparently emblematical, on the south face of
it, and another, towards the centre of the parish, called the Earl of
Near the village of Insch is a mound, or rising
ground, called the Gallow Hill, the road leading past which has always
been known by the name of the Gallow Road; and there is a tradition,
deriving some probability from this, that Insch, though but a burgh of
barony, had had the power of pot and gallows.
A fragment of a brass sword, or Roman gladius, was
found some years ago on the farm of Mr A. Beattie, Dunnideer, and is
still in the possession of that gentleman, who has also some fragments
of what would appear to have been a gold chain, of very rude
workmanship, which were found on the farm of Wantinwells, on the
clearing away of the foundation of some old houses. When the vacant
ground on the north side of the church was levelled out some years ago,
a tombstone was laid bare, very near the wall, with the words randolphvs
sacerdos inscribed on it lengthwise, and, after these, some date, which
is illegible. The stone is about 6 feet in length, and 20 inches in
By far the most interesting objects, however, which
the parish holds out to antiquarians, are the ruined fort and tower on
the top of the hill of Dunnideer, the former being a fine specimen of
what are called vitrified forts, the latter the remnant of a square
tower or castle built within the fort, and partly of fragments of it,
covering from 13 to 14 square yards of ground, including the walls, 7
feet in thickness; only one wall, however, standing entire, and it being
from 50 to 60 feet in height.
As to the fort or enclosure, the subjoined remarks
from MacCulloch's Highlands and Islands of Scotland, give
a sufficiently accurate description of it.
"The hill of Dunnideer, having an elevation of about
600 feet from the irregular plain on which it stands, with a steep
acclivity all around, has a flat oval summit, which is entirely occupied
by the enclosure, so as to form a strong military position. Though much
ruined, and consequently obscured, having apparently been used as a
quarry for building a more modern castle in the same spot (the square
tower alluded to), it is not difficult to trace either the dimensions or
the disposition of the original work. The form is a parallelogram, of
which one extremity is curved, so as to be nearly semicircular, and its
longest side is about 58 yards, the shortest being about 24. The
thickness of the wall seems originally to have been 18 or 20 feet, (more
likely 12), although, from the state and nature of the ruin, it is
impossible to be very accurate in this particular. The highest remaining
portion is about six feet above the present surface, and if one foot be
added for the increase of the soil, and two for the loss which it has
sustained at the summit, we shall have nine feet as the probable
original altitude. At a certain stage down the hill are the well-marked
traces of a work, which once seems to have encircled the whole. It is a
kind of fortification, well known to antiquaries as occurring frequently
in the ancient British hill forts, and consists of a single ditch and
wall. The materials in the vitrified wall are partly roasted without
adhesion, and partly vitrified or glazed. It is easy to see that dark
granite forms the vitrified or scorified substances. Wherever stones not
capable of vitrification themselves have undergone any thing like a
similar change, it has been produced by the alkali of the wood used in
the process. The materials of the hill are chiefly grey granite, a
fusible rock; but there are scattered, in the surrounding plain, blocks
of a black variety, which, from containing hornblende, is very fusible."
It will be seen that the above writer adopts Mr
Williams's theory as to the formation of the singular species of
structure, of which this is a specimen, viz. that a mound of earth had
probably been raised on each side of the intended wall, and the space
between filled with stones of a fusible nature, along with large
quantities of wood, which, being set fire to, a sufficient degree of
heat had been produced to dissolve partially or wholly most of the
stones, and thus to convert the pile into a solid mass. There are,
however, other theories upon the subject,one, that the vitrification
had not been the result of design, but had been produced accidentally by
the fires which, it may be supposed, the people, betaking themselves to
the fort for refuge, would kindle inside the wall. And another,that
there has been no vitrification, properly speaking, at all, but that the
stones have been made to adhere to each other in the manner they do by
the use of some strong cement poured in amongst them, and which
constitutes the lava-like substance abounding in the structure. But it
seems an insuperable objection to this view of the matter, that the
stones themselves have all evidently been subjected to the action of
Nothing, of course, can be said as to what may be the
precise age of this very ancient structure. Even the tower, which has
been referred to as comparatively modern, has every appearance of having
been built at a period considerably remote. As has been said, only one
wall of it remains entire, and this having but two windows, one above
the other, and the upper one very much enlarged by the crumbling of its
sides, has a curious effect seen at a distance, and is known by the name
of "Gregory's wall," from a tradition that King Gregory had resided
here. But it may be doubted, whether this name is not more applicable to
the vitrified or more ancient structure. Fordoun has it that King
Gregory died at Dunnideer. His words are,"Gregorious autem rex iste
magnificus, postquam annos decern et octo, mensibus aliquot exceptis,
strenue regnasset, apud Dornideare diem clausit extre-mum, et in Iona
sepultus insula requiescit."
The erection of the tower is also ascribed to David
Earl of Huntington and Garioch, the founder of the Abbey of Lundores.
And mention is somewhere made of "the Abbot of Dunnideer," by which
expression, however, it is supposed, the Abbot of Lundores is meant.
That Dunnideer, if not formerly a regal residence,
had been, at any rate, a place of great importance, is manifest from
various circumstances, especially from the extraordinary care with which
its safety seems to have been provided for. In the hollow or narrow
valley to the west of it is the site of the ancient castle of
Meikle Ward House,
properly, the Meikle
Ward House ofDunnideer,the
only remaining vestige of which now is the fosse by which it had been
surrounded; although it is not very many years since the ruins of the
walls were removed; and a little farther on in the same direction, that
is, more to the north from Dunnideer, is a place called Little Ward
House, where, however, the name alone indicates the previous existence
of a place of defence ; and the northern extremity of the valley, or
where it opens up to the west, is called Ward Head. Now, the idea that
these names and relics are vestiges of the defences of Dunnideer, seems
probable, from the circumstance, that it is only on this side (where it
is nearly approached by other hills and rising grounds), that the place
could have been surprised by any sudden attack, as on all other sides it
commands a very extensive tract of level ground.
It is possible, however, as the valley in which the
traces of these defences occur forms a principal pass to the Garioch
from the north and west,that they and the fort of Dunnideer itself had
been erected for the purpose of guarding against invasion from these
According to the Statistical Account of the parish,
published by Sir John Sinclair, the population was estimated, in 1755,
at 995 souls; in 1795, at 900, shewing a decrease of 90 in the
intervening forty years, which decrease is ascribed, by said account, to
the scarcity of fuel then beginning to be felt in places distant from
the coast, and also to the increased demand for hands in the
manufactories, which had drawn off some of the rural population to the
manufacturing; towns and villages.
The population in 1831 amounted to
the males, numbering 659
the females, 679
This shews an increase, in the space of thirty-six
years, (that is, from the year 1795 to the year 1831), of 438, an
increase which must be chiefly ascribed to the improvement of waste
land, and the more extensive working of the slate-quarries in Foudland,
to both of which a stimulus was given, by the opening of the canal from
Aberdeen to Inverury, and which afforded considerable encouragement to
labourers to settle in the parish.
The present population is 1379, which shews an
increase of 41 in the last ten years. This increase has been altogether
in the village of Insch. Rather more than a sixth part of the whole
population of the parish, or about 220 persons, reside in this village,
and there is no other besides it in the parish, but only two or three
small hamlets, and of these there is none containing above ten families.
The yearly average of births, for the last seven
years has been 37
The average number of persons under 1.5 years of age
is about 550
betwixt 15 and 30 about 300
30 and 50 250
50 and 70 200
upwards of 70 47
There is a good deal of wealth in the parish, the
farmers, as a body, being fully as affluent as those of any other parish
in the district. There is, however, only one proprietor of land residing
in the parish.
The number of unmarried men, bachelors and widowers,
upwards of 50 years of age, is about 21
The number of unmarried women, upwards of 45, about
Fatuous persons in the parish, one; deaf and dumb,
one; blind, (from decay of organs), two.
Land under cultivation, 5312 Imperial acres
Capable and worthy of cultivation, about 200
Undivided common (the commonty of Insch), 5
There are not above 47 acres in the whole parish
A large proportion of the arable land is of excellent
quality ; and there are some farms, the leases on which have been lately
renewed, that are yielding a very high rent, in some instances nearly L.
2 per acre, over head. But the average rent of arable land over the
whole parish cannot be stated as higher than 18s. or 20s. per acre.
Very few sheep are kept.
The cattle hitherto most generally reared have been
of what are called the Aberdeenshire or Angus-shire breeds. The practice
of crossing these with the short-horned or Durham breed is, however,
becoming very prevalent; and the superior size of the animals thus
produced holds out great temptation to it, though the beef is not
considered to be of such quality as that of the old breed of the
country. The cattle-shows held by the Highland Society of Scotland and
by local agricultural societies, have had considerable effect in causing
greater attention to be paid to the rearing of stock, and consequently
in improving the quality thereof.
The system of husbandry pursued in this as in the
other parishes of the Garioch, may certainly be considered as having
attained a considerable degree of excellence. The climate not being
suitable for wheat, oats form the principal corn crop; and, according to
the most improved rotation, one crop of these is taken after three years
of grass; and the ground being next green-fallowed with turnips, bears
another crop of oats, sometimes bar. ley, the sixth year, grass being
sown in along with it for hay crop the following year. This rotation is
called the six-shift, and is rapidly taking the place of the seven-shift
formerly used, and according to which two crops of oats were taken in
succession after three years of grass, which, besides that the second
crop was generally a poor one, took away much from the chance of a good
crop of turnips the year following,a matter of serious consideration
where so much dependence is placed upon the rearing and fattening of
live-stock. The application of bone-manure to the raising of this crop
is now generally practised with great advantage in light soils.
Although, generally speaking, there would be little
difficulty in supplying enclosures with water, yet, owing to the
scarcity of materials, i. e. of stones and wood, suitable for
diking or paling, and the cultivation of hedges being but little
encouraged, there is as yet only a small proportion of enclosed fields.
The farm-buildings, if the value of the farms be
taken into account, must in general be pronounced of an inferior
description. Few of them are slated, notwithstanding their vicinity to
the slate-quarries ; and a great deal of straw is, in consequence,
annually consumed on thatch, which would be more profitably employed as
provender or litter for cattle. The remedying of this state of things
lies with the landlords, who would greatly enhance the value of their
properties by erecting substantial farm-buildings, on a good plan, and
at their own expense, and thus leaving their tenants with the full
command of their capital to improve their farms, which would, of course,
bear a higher rent; whereas the general system at present is to let the
tenant provide himself with buildings, such as he thinks proper,
allowing him only one year's rent, or one and a-half year's, at the end
of the lease, for his whole outlay; or, in some cases, allowing the
value of the mason-work, deducting lime and carriages; and, in others,
only the value of the roof.
The general duration of leases is nineteen years.
The thrashing of corn by machinery is now almost
universal-For driving the machines, water-power is used where available;
where it is not, horses are employed. On the farm of Nether-boddom,
where there is not sufficient command of water, the enterprizing tenant
(A. Jopp, Esq. Advocate, Aberdeen,) has, for some time back, employed
Quarries.The slate-quarries of Foudland in this
parish have long been in great repute, as producing an excellent quality
of blue slate, large quantities of which were formerly taken to
Aberdeen; but that town has for some years derived its chief supply from
Easdale in Argyleshire, from whence slates being now brought by sea,
free of duty, can be delivered at Aberdeen at full as low a price as the
Foudland slates, which have to pay a heavy land and canal carriage, the
former being at the rate of 14s. per 1000, i. e. 1s. per mile per
1000 (the distance to Inverury being fourteen miles), the latter 9s. per
1000, or 6d. per mile per 1000, the distance from Inverury to Aberdeen
per canal being eighteen miles. The average quantity of slates annually
taken from these quarries amounted some years ago, to 900,000, but the
present average is scarcely a half of this; and it is to be feared that
the yield will be still farther diminished, unless some improvement is
made in the mode of working the quarries, either by the application of
machinery, or by clearing away the refuse, and laying bare the slate
beds to a greater depth, much evil having been done by commencing the
quarries too far up the hill, to save trouble and expense at the outset,
and working along the tops of the veins, or, at all events, not
quarrying them to their full depth, and so disposing of the refuse as to
increase the difficulty of working them out to greater depth now. The
prices of slates at the quarry mouth are as follows: first quality, L.
2, 7s. 6d. per 1000; second quality, L. 2 per 1000. The cost of labour
on first is L. 1, 10s. per 1000; on second, L. 1, 5s. per 1000. This
includes quarrying, splitting, dressing, &c. Splitters get 10d. per 100
slates; dressers, 2s. per 100.
Produce.Average gross amount of raw produce
raised in the parish:
There are two half-yearly markets at Insch; one for
cattle, horses, and grain, the other for the feeing of servants.
Formerly the town had its weekly market, but that may be said to have
ceased many years since, except that there is a regular supply of
butcher-meat every Friday.
The feuars of Insch are heritable proprietors of
their houses and small gardens, paying a small feu-duty to Sir A. Leith
Hay, their superior, from whom they also rent about four acres of ground
The present population is about 220. There are
several shopkeepers who deal in groceries, cloth, hard and stone ware,
drugs, &c. There are also two watchmakers, a baker, a saddler, and other
tradesmen. Most of the shops and dwelling-houses have been for some
years lighted with gas.
There is no post-office nearer than Old Rain, which
is three and a-half miles off, the letters being at present conveyed to
and from that by a runner (not a servant of the post-office), who is
paid by a penny on each letter. A post-office at Insch would be a great
boon to the neighbourhood.
There are from six to seven miles of turnpike road in
the parish, including parts of three lines, one, the mail-road from
Aberdeen to Huntly, which intersects the parish on the north side of
Foudland, the other two, variations of this, taking, the one, a nearer
course over the west shoulder of Foudland, the other a more circuitous
but more level course through Kennethmont and Gartly.
Ecclesiastical State-The parish church stands in
the town of Insch, close on the southern boundary of the parish, so that
the parishioners in the Glens of Foudland, i. e. on the northern
boundary, have to travel from five to six miles to it, and this by a
very difficult road, over the east end of the hill.
The date on the belfry of the church is 1613, and the
common belief is, that the church itself had been built in that year.
The building, although it has at various times undergone considerable
repairs and alterations, and has therefore been in some sort modernized,
still bears indications of considerable age. The walls are about four
feet thick. It was new roofed in a very substantial manner in 1789, and
new seated in 1793; and the roof is still excellent. But it is to be
regretted that so much should have been expended in repairing a
building, one of whose walls was even then bulged and out of plumb, and
which, though perhaps at that time large enough, the population having
previously undergone a considerable decrease, from which it was but
beginning to recover, is now, as might have been expected, far too small
for the accommodation of the people. About fifteen years ago, there was
a meeting of Presbytery for the purpose of examining into the state of
the building, when it was proved on the part of the heritors, that,
though the state of one of the walls was such as has been described,
yet, as it had been exactly the same for a long period of years, it
could not be considered as incompatible with the safety of the
congregation. It is to be hoped, however, that, notwithstanding this
finding, the heritors will soon of themselves see the propriety of
erecting a new church on a scale adapted both to the comfort and
convenience of the parishioners. The present one is neither ceiled nor
plastered, and is seated to contain only 460 people.
There are 60 free sittings in the area of the church,
under the control of the kirk-session, who let them at low rates, viz.
from 1s. to 2s. per annum, for behoof of the poor.
The present manse, which is about half a mile distant
from the church, the old site in the village having been relinquished,
was built in 1771, and enlarged and repaired about sixteen years ago.
The glebe is 12 imperial acres in extent, and about L.25 yearly value,
having been got in exchange for one-half the quantity of very superior
ground, on the site of the manse being changed.
The stipend was last modified in 1833, when an
augmentation was obtained. It now amounts to 15 bolls of victual, half
meal, half barley, commuted into money at the fiars' prices. By an
arrangement entered into between the present minister and the heritors,
and sanctioned by the Presbytery, the latter pay him L.9, 3s. 6d.
annually instead of 550 back-loads of peats, which they were
formerly bound to deliver to him, the back-load being as much as
a horse could carry on a pair of panniers, or creels, the usual
mode of conveying fuel from the moss in olden times.
There is no chapel of ease nor Government church in
the parish, nor any Dissenting place of worship, properly so called.
There is in the village of Insch an Independent preaching station, (or
rather a hall given for this amongst other purposes), in which there is
a sermon every second Sunday in the afternoon, the same being supplied
by two Independent clergymen from neighbouring parishes.
The number of families in the parish that attend
Dissenting or Seceding places of worship is about 26; the number of
individuals, about 70 or 80. All the other inhabitants capable of church
attendance come to the parish church, there being no Episcopalians or
Catholics in the parish. The parish church is very well attended. The
average number of communicants is 575.
There are two societies for religious purposes in the
parish, a Bible Society, and a Juvenile Missionary Society. The
contributions of both together may average about L.'25 per annum.
The church collections for religious and charitable
objects amount, on an average, to L.42 per annum.
Education.There are four schools in the parish,
one of which is parochial, one endowed from the General Assembly's fund,
and two unendowed. At the two first mentioned, in addition to the
ordinary branches,reading, writing, and arithmetic,instruction is
given in English grammar, geography, and mathematics, as also in Greek
and Latin when required. In all, the Bible is daily read, and the
Assembly's Catechism taught.
The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of L.27, and
receives on an average L. 16 per annum in the shape of school-fees. His
income has of late, however, been greatly improved, by his participating
in the benefits of Mr Dick's Bequest, along with his brethren in the
three counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray. The present parochial
school-house possesses ample and superior accommodation, having been
built a few years ago, when also a detached dwelling-house was built for
The teacher of the General Assembly's school receives
a salary of L.25 out of the fund for increasing the means of education
in Scotland,and draws about L.l4annually intheshape of school-fees. He has the usual accommodation stipulated
for by the Assembly's Education Committee, viz. besides school,
dwelling-house, and gar-den, a croft of three acres of ground, rent
free, with fuel cast and driven. This school has been established for
about twelve years, and has proved a source of immense benefit to the
people in the district where it is situated, viz. the Glens of Foudland,
comprehending, besides a detached part of the parish of Insch, peopled
in a great measure by quarriers, parts also of the parishes of Forgue,
Drumblade, and Gartly, all distant from their respective parish schools.
It cannot be said that there is now any real
deficiency of the means of education in any part of the parish.
The general expense of education is 10d. or 1s. per
month, according to the branches taught, for each pupil.
Children are now generally sent to school by the time
they are five years of age, which was far from being the case in the
more remote parts of the parish previous to the establishment of the
Assembly school above referred to.
There are none upwards of fifteen years of age, and
that are natives of the parish, but are capable of reading, although
there may be some aged women who have not learned to write.
Charitable Institutions.A. Savings Bank has been
established for some years, called the Insch and Upper Garioch Savings
Bank, being for the accommodation of agricultural labourers and others
in Insch and the neighbouring parishes. It is in a thriving condition,
and promises to be of great benefit to the classes whose interest it was
intended to promote. The deposits have been at the rate of L.528 per
annum, while the sums withdrawn have averaged only L.177 per annum.
Poor and Parochial Funds. The average number of
persons receiving constant parochial supply is 24. The rate of allowance
per week varies from 9d. to 2s. 6d.; but is sometimes higher in the case
of widows left with young families, or bed-rid persons requiring hired
The annual amount of contributions may be specified
as under: Collections at church, L.34; seat-rents in church, L.4, 12s.;
legacies, L.l, 10s.; interest of money funds, L.5, 10s.; rent of a piece
of ground near the village of Insch, called the Bass, purchased with
poor's funds about 160 years since, L.16, 10s.; making in all, besides
casual donations from heritors, &c, L.62, 2s. In the distribution of the
funds, the kirk-session are sometimes at a loss how to act, in order to
prevent the risk of extreme distress, without, at the same time,
encouraging habits of idleness and profligacy. Fortunately, however,
such cases are not very common; while instances frequently occur of a
reluctance to accept relief; and, generally speaking, the recipients are
persons who have become such from actual necessity.
Fairs.The two half-yearly fairs that are held
have already been referred to. The one for cattle, horses, &c. is held
on the third Wednesday of May, and third Tuesday of October, old style.
The feeing market is held on the Fridays preceding 26th May and 22d
Inns, &c. There are no fewer than five
public-houses in the parish,three of these being in the village, and
one closely ad-joining to it. Such a number as this is altogether
unnecessary, and their decrease is much to be desired, as there can be
no doubt but that, by furnishing people with additional facilities for
indulging to excess in ardent spirits, they are productive of most
injurious effects to the morals of the neighbourhood.
Fuel,Peat and turf from Foudland has hitherto
formed the principal part of the fuel used in the parish. As the mosses
in Foudland, however, are getting pretty much exhausted, and the peat is
of inferior quality, it is probable that the people will soon become
more dependent on English coal, the use of which, to a small extent, is
already almost general. The feuars of Insch have the privilege of fuel
from the Hill of Melschach in Kennethmont, where the peat is of better
quality than on Foudland; but the length of carriage is upwards of four
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