Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume XII - Aberdeen
Parish of Kinellar
The Rev. David Smith and The
Rev. R. Fiddes, A. & S. Ministers
I.Topography and Natural
Kinellar is situated in
that division of the county called Mar. Mar is considered as consisting of
four divisions, Braemar, Cromar, Midmar, and Mar the most easterly
portion. It is in this last part where Kinellar is situated, at the
distance of nine miles from Aberdeen, and ten from the German Ocean.
Boundaries and Extent.The
parish has Dyce and Newhills on the east; Skene on the south; Skene and
Kintore on the west; and Fintray (from which it is separated by the Don)
on the north. Its length from south to north is rather more than four
miles, and its breadth from east to west nowhere much exceeds two. It
contains about 4000 acres, on an undulating surface, no part of which
rises very high, or sinks very considerably. The greater part of the
parish is much exposed to wind and storms, not having any shelter from
woods or neighbouring hills, except a little from Tyrebagger on the east.
Antiquities.There is an
extensive heathy common between Kinellar and Kintore, in which are a great
number of tumuli, which indicate it to have been, at some distant period,
the principal scene of a most sanguinary conflict; but at what time, and
between whom, tradition is silent. It seems very probable that the battle
had taken place between the Scots and a party of Danes, who may have
landed about Don mouth, and met with the first opposition here; but at
what period it is difficult to conjecture, as they made frequent landings
on both the north and east coasts. Such of the barrows as have been
examined contained no urns, fragments of weapons, nor marks of burning,
but bones and skulls in good preservation. Some barrows which have been
found in the northern quarter included urns of baked clay, containing
ashes and calcined bones, placed on beds formed of clay, hardened by fire,
and the hillocks made up of soil from a distance. The stones of
Cairn-a-veil being removed a few years ago, it was found to contain a
stone coffin, about six feet long, of six flags, holding neither bones nor
ashes, but some black dust. The churchyard has been the site of a
Druidical temple, several stones of which, of great size and weight,
though fallen, yet remain above ground, and others have sunk in the earth.
It is matter of surprise by what process such weighty masses have been
transported from such distances as they must have been. Cairn-semblings
occupies an elevated spot on the hill of Achronie, and is visible over a
great extent of country to west and north. Near to this place is a large
stone on which Irvine, the much redoubted Laird of Drum, sat, and made his
testament, on his way to the battle of Harlaw, where he fell.
Parochial Registers.The oldest register begins in 1640, containing the
texts and discipline: but no separate register for marriages, baptisms,
and burials was kept till a dozen years ago. An unwillingness to register
baptisms is but too prevalent among parents. The following entry appears,
under date "May 4th 1684, This day was read from pulpit an act of his
Majesty's Council, for a solemn and religious fast, upon account of the
rigour of the last winter, the coldness of the present spring, and the
great mortality of bestial, to be observed on Wednesday the 7th." It is
mentioned in a note, that the snow and frost continued without any
relaxation eighteen weeks.
proprietors are, Mrs Brebner of Glasgow Forest, valued rent, L. 315, 2s.
2d.; Dyer Society, Kinellar, L. 152, 6s. 8d.; Incorporated Trades of
Aberdeen and Glasgoego, L. 133, 6s. 8d.; William Tower, Kinaldie, L. 127,
13s. 4d.; Mr Crombie, Auchronie, L. 107, 13s. 4d.; King's College, Cairn-tradlin,
L. 100; Dr Ewing, Tartowie, L. 84, 13s. 4d.
The population is smaller
than that of any parish within the synod. For a considerable number of
years previous to 1777, the number of persons exceeded 400; but from that
time to the census in 1831, it was considerably less. In 1821, 359; in
1831, 449; 218 males, and 231 females. The increase betwixt 1821 and 1831,
was owing to a large distillery being set on foot at Blackburn, and an
attempt to raise a small village, neither of which have succeeded.
Number of illegitimate
births during the last three years, 5.
Less than twenty years ago,
illicit distillation was almost universally practised among the lower
orders; but for many years, nothing of the kind has existed.
last twenty or twenty-five years, both the theory and practice of
agriculture have experienced a great and favourable alteration. The ridges
then raised in the middle, and with deep valleys between, are now straight
as an arrow, and level as a turnpike road.
The numerous ploughing
matches established in most parishes, where small premiums are given to
the best ploughmen, have greatly contributed to this salutary change, and
have excited a laudable spirit of emulation among the young farm-servants,
which is attended with many good effects. These ploughing competitions
were principally set agoing by the proprietors of Garioch district, who
formed themselves into a Farmer Club in 1808. They were soon joined by
other proprietors and gentlemen farmers around, who, by judiciously
bestowing prizes contributed by the members, have done great benefit to a
considerable extent of country. This club still exists.
Except a few acres under
wood, and a patch or two of rocky moor, the whole parish is under the
plough. The long teams of ten or twelve cattle in a plough have long since
given place to the pair of horses without a driver. There is a large
heathy undivided common between Kinellar and Kintore; but whether it
should belong to the Earl of Kintore, to the burgh, or in general to all
the contiguous proprietors, has never been decided.
When Mr Tower purchased
Kinaldie about sixteen years ago, the greater proportion of it consisted
of poor, thin, heathy, stony ground, which, by judicious management and
great expense, he has converted into well laid out enclosed fields, which
produce very fair crops of grain and turnip.
[The situation of this
place forbids the supposition that its name is derived from the Gaelic.
Kin,, in that language, signifies the head, whereas Kinaldie is situated
at the Inver, or mouth of a stream. Its name is probably derived from
Kenneth, the Scottish King, whose name is written Cinadius in many ancient
records. History informs us that one of the kings of this name was forced,
during the troubles which disturbed his reign, to betake himself to the
northern parts of his kingdom, where he was engaged in frequent contests
with the Danes. The place which we have already mentioned as being the
scene of a conflict, at some distant period, may have been the held on
which on some occasion Kenneth or Cinadius may have encountered the Danes.
This supposition receives confirmation from the circumstance, that in the
part of the ground referred to, which lies nearer to Kinaldie, there have
been found tumuli containing urns, &c. It has also occurred to the writer
that this is the most likely way of accounting for the origin of the name
Farm-houses and steadings
have been of late very much improved, and, in general, are comfortable and
commodious. Most leases extend to nineteen years, which is in the tenants'
favour; one or two are of long duration, and except in these, all the
rents are by far too high. Some very good land lets at L. 3 per acre, and
the average rent is L. 2.
Wages. Good ploughmen get
from L. 5 to L. 7 half yearly ; next class from L. 4, 10s. to L. 5, 10s.;
boys from L. 2 to L. 3 ; females from L. 1, 10s. to L. 2 in winter, and L.
2, 10s. to L. 3 in summer,all with victuals. The connection between
farmers and their servants is now very different from what it was forty or
fifty years ago. Most servants then remained with the same master till
they married and got possessions; they thus became attached to the master
and the farm, and felt an interest in every thing about the town. Now,
they rarely engage but for a half year, and, delighting to move from place
to place, they contract little attachment either to persons or places.
This roving disposition is much fostered by the great number of
feeing-markets, which promote idleness and dissipation.
Rent, &c.It is scarcely
practicable to state with accuracy the real rent of the parish. It may be
about L. 3000. Its valued rent is L. 1020, 15s. 6d. Scotch.
Turnips are universally
sown, and their management well understood. The turnip fly is often very
destructive, but the writer has never lost a crop, by sowing seeds of
several years growth,a practice which, on his recommendation, has been
followed by many with advantage. By this plan, as the seeds of the
different years vegetate at different periods, and as the fly does not
continue long, a crop may be depended on. Where the manure raised is
deficient, it is easily procured from Aberdeen, and bone-dust is getting
into use. There is very little rata baga sown. The scythe is universally
employed to cut both oats and bear, and a month frequently finishes the
harvest. Six years shifts of crops are most general; and every farmer has
a thrashing-mill. There is only one flock of sheep, and the number of
black-cattle varies every month with the markets. A disease called red
water has lately appeared among new-calved cows, which, in many cases,
proves fatal. A great improvement in the breed, both of cattle and horses,
has taken place within the last twenty years, which is encouraged by many
local associations bestowing premiums.
Kintore, at the distance of
two miles, was the post-town till 1837, when an office was established at
Blackburn. The nearest market-town is Inverury, distant seven miles, where
there are twenty fairs yearly. An excellent turnpike from Aberdeen to the
northwest, divides the parish into two equal parts, from east to west.
Besides the mail, three stage-coaches from, and as many to Aberdeen, run
every lawful day, whose fares are very moderate. The cross-roads, except
one, which leads to a single farm, are in very bad order; part of the most
frequented one, as leading to the church, has not had a farthing of the
parish money expended on it for twenty years. A small canal, made in 1797,
runs from Aberdeen to Inverury, at about a mile north of the church; on
which is a passage boat, and other boats, which bring coals, lime, and
manure from Aberdeen to the country; and take grain, slates, wood, &c.
from the country to Aberdeen. Though it has not yet been a profitable
concern to the proprietors, it has been of considerable advantage to a
large tract of country.
church was built in 1801; it is not centrically placed, being only a mile
from the Don on the north side, and nearly four from the southern boundary
of the parish. It is in tolerable repair, and may contain nearly 250
sitters. It is well attended by all, except one Roman Catholic family. The
communicants vary from 194 to 210 in number.
Kinellar, during Popery,
was a vicarage belonging to the parsonage of Kinkel, along with Kintore,
Kemnay, Dyce, Skene, and Drumblade. The patronage and tithes of all these
were bestowed by Archbishop Sharpe on the Dean of the University of St
Andrews, to present to them with consent of the Archbishop. After the
abolition of Episcopacy, the university exercised this right till 1761,
when these patronages being all sold, Kinellar, with four others, was
bought by the Earl of Kintore, who is now patron. The manse was built in
1778, is in tolerable repair, but not commodious. The glebe is 5 acres in
extent, very good land, and the minister receives a trifle above L. 60
from the Exchequer, to make his stipend L. 150. He has L. 20 Scots for
grass-money, and an equal sum for moss-money, there being no moss in the
built a few years ago, is pretty conveniently placed; the salary L. 26,
with house and garden. All the ordinary branches, with Latin and geometry
when wanted, are taught, and the fees are very moderate,2s. for English,
3s. for arithmetic, and 3s. 6d. for Latin, all per quarter, and
book-keeping, 10s. 6d. per course. The fees amount to about L. 13 per
annum. The average number of scholars may be 25 in summer, and 45 in
winter. The schoolmaster, who is also session-clerk and a preacher,
derives benefit from Dick's liberal bequest to the parochial schoolmasters
of the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray, which the heritors reckoned
upon when the salary was fixed. There is also a Sabbath school, with a
small library attached to it, and a general desire for instruction
Poor and Parochial
Funds.The average number on the poor's roll is 6, of whom some get 10s.
and some 25s. quarterly, as their circumstances and the times require; but
many others occasionally receive relief. The annual collections and
penalties average from L.12 to L.15; and it is to be remarked that this
comes from the farmers, cottars, and servants,for the heritors, not
residing, contribute very little; so that the weekly collections
demonstrate the benevolent dispositions of the parishioners. Most of the
poorer class are rather shy of applying for, and need to be sought out and
offered, assistance. During the present incumbency L. 100 have been added
to a small sum previously at interest for behoof of the poor, obtained by
savings and two small mortifications ; and a small sum is also kept in a
bank, to be ready in case of any sudden emergency. The parish has twice
received its proportion of a legacy left by Mr Burnett, a merchant in
Aberdeen, to every parish within the shire. The least sum given to any
parish is L. 20, and the greatest L. 50. The management is under trustees,
and the inspection of the synod, and the sums paid, are proportioned to
the various circumstances (strictly inquired into) of the respective
parishes. The order in which the several presbyteries receive their
allowances, was at first determined by lot.
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