Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed.
Glenora Single Malt Whisky

Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.
Scottish Review

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

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


PRESBYTERY OF ELLON, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. GEORGE CRUDEN, MINISTER.

I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name.—The name Logie is understood to signify a low-lying place, and has been aptly applied to an estate of about 300 acres, on the south bank of the Ythan, upon which, as situated near a principal ferry, the church and manse have been built. From this circumstance that small property has given its name to the parish. To distinguish it from others, Buchan is the addition made to the name, from its lying wholly or in part in that district. It is generally considered that Buchan, the most easterly land in Scotland, comprehends all that tract of coast which lies between the mouths of the Doveran and the Don, bounded for a certain length at least in the interior, by the courses of these rivers. But for two centuries back there have been some who considered Buchan as not extending south of the Ythan.

[Buchania ab ostiis Doverini initium habet, secundum littus in ortum tendens ad principium sinus Varar (Moray) dicti, unde littora circumflectuntur ad meridiem; in Mediterraneis fines incerti; quibusdam consentientibus earn Dona flumine ad meridiem finiri; alii non excedunt Ythannam flumen. Quicquid terrarum Ythan-nam et Donam flumina interjacet, Formartini nomine apud incolas audit., qui se Bu-chaniae aceenseri dedignantur. See Gordon of Straloch's Map of Aberdeenshire in Bleau's Atlas, and Dr Anderson's Report of the State of Agriculture in Aberdeenshire, 1794.

It is probable that, from this ancient local prejudice of the Formartins, may have arisen the following common adages, "Your friends live in Buchan," i. e. "far off," said of a man who praises himself. "He is like Buchan victual, twa part and third," i. e. "not better than he should be," alluding to the large proportion of bear formerly mixed with oatmeal in Buchan.]

Probably the most ancient division of Scotland was into thanedoms, of which more than twenty-seven are enumerated on the east coast, [See Robertson's Index of Scarce Charters, Notes, p. xxxix.] of which Formartin, lying between the Ythan and the Don, is one. Earldoms are spoken of as existing in the tenth century, and included several thanedoms, which were of less extent. That the Earldom of Buchan included Formartin, may be inferred from this, that the diocese of Aberdeen comprehended five deaneries, of which Buchan constituted one, including among others the following parishes: Philorth (Fraserburgh), Rathen, Tyrie, Lonmay, Crimond, Langley (St Fergus), Deer, Inverugy (Peterhead), Cruden, Slains, Forvie, Logie-buchan, Ellon, Foveran, Methlic, Tarves, and Bethelnie (Belhelvie). [See Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen.] Now, as a considerable number of these parishes lie south of the Ythan, we must conclude that the deanery, and of course the earldom, of Buchan extended beyond it also. It is known that the Earls of Buchan held their courts at Ellon, as being most centrical for Buchan and Formartin. [See a charter of Fergus, Earl of Buchan, in 1211, a copy of which was in the custody of the late Dr Skene Keith. See also the Statistical Account of Ellon parish.] In the foundation charter of Marischal College, dated 1593, the Buchanenses, one of the quatuor nationes, comprehend all the students within the district bounded by the Doveran and the Don. From all which we conclude that this parish lies wholly in Buchan.

Extent, &c.—The parish of Logie-Buchan consists of two parts of nearly equal extent, meeting at a considerable angle at the Ythan, opening to the. west. The length of the north division is 3½ English miles, that of the south 5|. Its breadth is from ¾ of a mile to 3 miles; its mean breadth may be 1½. It is bounded chiefly by four small tributary streams of the Ythan, two on each side, separating it from the parishes of Ellon, Cruden, and Slains on the north, and from Ellon, Udny, and Foveran on the south. The number of Scotch acres it contains is 5084, or 6412 imperial acres. [By Robertson's recent map of the county it contains no less than 8242.65 Scots acres. What egregious folly to pretend to give its dimensions to hundredth parts of an acre, when there is an error of upwards of 3000 acres in the integer!] Upon the erection of the parish of Udny in the end of the sixteenth century, it appears from our Presbytery records that the lands of Logierieve, Allathan, and Bonitown were taken from this parish. Before the Reformation there had been a well endowed church, called "Christ's Kirk," where the church of Udny now stands, and the reconstruction and endowment of it was a work of great difficulty, and occupied the attention of the Presbytery for thirty years.

Tarty, one of the highest hills in the parish, is only 135 feet above the level of the sea. The Ythan enters the parish through a barrier of rocks (gneiss), which in a calm evening reverberate short sentences very distinctly. At particular stations the echo is double. On the south side are some considerable indentations in the rocks; and adjoining these is an opening through the superincumbent masses, called the "Needle's Eye," the threading of which is rather a dangerous amusement for young people. The shelving rocks lie in the direction of W. 10° N. inclined to the horizon in an angle of 35°.

Hydrography.—The most remarkable feature in this parish is the river Ythan, the Ituna of the ancient geographers. [See Ptolemy's and Richard of Cirencester's maps of Britain, and General Roy's corrected map of Scotland accommodated to ancient times. Richard says, "Oceani littus ultra horum fines accolebant Taixali. His urbium princeps Devana; fluvii autem Deva et Ituna." No mention is made here of the intermediate river Don ; nor is any such river delineated in the maps of Ptolemy or Richard, or even mentioned in their tables ; while the Deva or Diva and the Ituna, in the district of the Taixali, are particularly laid down. There is reason, therefore, to believe, that, so late as the period when Richard wrote, (the thirteenth century,) the Don formed a junction with the Dee, a short way before it flowed into the bay of Aberdeen. In the earliest records of that burgh the Don is merely named "Aqua Borealis," i. e. "The North Water." See Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen.] Taking its rise in the parish of Auchterless, after a pretty direct course of about thirty miles, it discharges about 55,000 [It is difficult to specify the exact quantity, it differs so much at different times and seasons. The above is the mean of two measurements.] cubic yards of water per hour into the sea, about three miles below the church of Logie-Buchan. There, according to the season of the year, and the age of the moon, the ordinary tide rises from two to six feet, and occasionally, when aided by a land flood, seven or seven and a half feet above extreme low-water mark, at which time it is perceptible at the village of Ellon, two miles above the church of Logie-Buchan. "In the year 1642," says Spalding? "the tide rose so high as to extinguish the fires in some houses both in Newburgh and in Ellon." No such tide is now heard of at Ellon; but whether the sea, as is alleged, [See Thorn's History of Aberdeen.] be receding on this part of the east coast of Scotland, as it undoubtedly has done on some others, [Ubi exiguus sinus est "Strathbeg" (twenty-four miles north of the Ythan) olim portus nobilis nunc arenis pene obrutus. Manent hic oppidi Rattray vestigia, quaenunc portus fortunam sequntur. See Gordon of Straloch's Dissertations.] appears to be doubtful. That it has made, if any, a very slow and almost imperceptible retreat of late years in this quarter, is very certain. For in a very accurate plan of the estate of Tarty, drawn in the year 1762, the contents of a small island, called Inch-Geck, situated about a mile and a half from the sea, are 3 acres, 1 rood, 11 falls, and now but 3 acres, 2 roods, 10 falls, the addition of 39 falls being off the river side, where, from the increased cultivation on its banks of late years, it is not wonderful that some additional soil should be deposited. [Dr Anderson, in his report, before quoted states that he had observed the Sleek of Tarty (a glossy space of 92 acres, on the south side of the Ythan, surrounding Inch Geck on three sides, and overflowed every tide by the sea,) to have risen some feet during the thirty years he resided at Monkshill, in the neighbouring parish of  Foveran. But, though a man of learning and genius, in this he must have been mistaken, for the oldest residenters assure me that they know no perceptible rise in it. The filling up of the Sleek of Tarty would indeed be a serious injury to the sea-port of Newburgh, as it is the discharge of the tide from it and the other sleeks on its banks that serve to keep the mouth of the Ythan so open as it is. An expe-rienced sea captain of Newburgh thinks, that the sinking of two or three old ships filled with stones would serve to improve the entrance to the Ythan. ] I have measured the present height of the central point of the green surface of this island, above the bottom of the Ythan, and found it to be eight feet three inches. As the highest tide now just reaches this point (not quite the highest of the island), Inch-Geck may be considered as a gauge to after generations for ascertaining the rate at which the ocean recedes from this part of the east coast of Scotland. That it has receded little or nothing at the mouth of the Ythan for many years back is farther confirmed by the observation of Gordon of Straloch, that it was in his days only navigable for small craft; (minoribus navigiis solum pervius). If pervius alludes to the entrance of the river, it would seem that its mouth, which is still much obstructed by a moveable bar of sand, is yet more open than it was two centuries ago, for the shipping of the New-burgh at present consists of vessels from seventy to ninety tons burden. But as it is more likely he alluded to its interior navigation, then also lighters, carrying from six to twelve tons, now ply up and down with the tide, aided, when the wind is favourable, by a sail, and always by a set (or pole), twenty feet long, in the hands of the lightermen. Eight or nine of these, belonging to the ship-owners of the Newburgh, are employed in carrying lime, coals, and bones to different landing places on the banks of the river, the highest of which is about four miles from its mouth. Whether the Ythan might not be rendered navigable to a greater height, by dredging or otherwise, (of the advantage of which to the interior of the country there can be no doubt), I pretend not to say; but I am happy, that, through the favour of William Gordon, Esq. of Fyvie, (who, a few years ago, employed a very ingenious servant of his own to take the levels of the Ythan, with a view to ascertain the dip of the horizon at his observatory in Fyvie Castle), I am enabled to furnish one of the data for the solution of that problem. By him it was found that the ordinary current of the Ythan at Watertown, a little above Boat of Logie, three miles from the sea, is equal to the level of the sea at half flood.


The water of the Ythan is brackish, more or less, for nearly four miles, but abounds with trout of various kinds, as the sea-trout, bull-trout, yellow or burn-trout, finnock, salmon, eels, flounders, &c. The salmon and sea-trout are said by the overseer to ascend the river for spawning in summer, and to return towards the sea with their fry in the months of March and April following. The salmon-fishing, which belongs to the Honourable William Gordon of Ellon, has been very unsuccessful of late years. Mr Buchan of Auchmacoy has right to a private net for flounder-fishing, which he occasionally exercises with success. The river is much resorted to by gentlemen from Aberdeen for rod-fishing. Otter hunting has lately been practised by parties from Haddo House, with Lord Aberdeen's hounds. Seals sometimes make their appearance in the river, opposite the church.

The pearl muscle is found in the Ythan; and the pearl-fishery seems to have been, in former times, an object of more attention than it is now. My predecessor mentions, that, in the list of un-printed acts of the first Parliament of Charles I., there is an act for repealing the patent for the pearl-fishery in the Ythan, granted to Robert Buchan. This gives countenance to a prevalent tradition that the large pearl in the Crown of Scotland was procured in the Ythan, it is said, by a person of the name of Jamieson, and the very spot is pointed out where it was found. About the middle of last century, a gentleman in Aberdeen got L.100 Sterling, from a jeweller in London, for a lot of pearls found in the Ythan. [See Dr Keith's Survey.] No wonder, then, that the Ythan has been called "the rich rig of Scotland." Pearls of considerable value are yet occasionally found in it, during both the droughts of summer, and the frosts of winter. A very valuable and extensive mussel and cockle-fishery exists on both sides of the river, near the sea, beyond the bounds of this parish.

Attracted by the abundance of food found in the river, and on the mussel beds and adjoining sleeks, the Ythan is frequented by a greater variety of sea-fowl than perhaps any other river in Scotland. The following list of them has been furnished me by Charles Gordon, Esq. of Auchleuchries, who has paid much attention to ornithology, viz. the heron (Ardea major); wild swan (Anas Cygnus ferus); wild goose (varieties); Solan goose (Pele-canus Bassanus); moss-duck (Anas Boschas); teal-duck (A. Crecca); shieldrake (A. Tadorna); golden-eyed duck (A. Clan-gida); eider-duck (A. mollissima); goosander and merganser (Mergus Merganser and M. minutus); oyster-catcher (Haemato-pus ostralegus); redshank (Tringa erythropus); great northern diver (Colymbus glacialis); red-throated and lesser divers; black guillemot and foolish guillemot (Uria Grylle and Troile); little grebe (Podiceps minor); land and water-rails (Rallus); gulls, five or six species, as Larus ridibundus, L. canus, L. argentatus, &c.; kittywake (L. tridactylus; cormorant or scrath (Pelecanus carbo); greater and lesser terns or sea-swallows, &c. In the river the diver and duck tribe are to be found chiefly in the winter season; and others only occasionally.

Salt-marsh club-rush, here called star-grass (Scirpus mariti-mus), and common reed (Arundo phragmites), grow on both sides of the Ythan for half a mile downwards, from the point where its ordinary current is equal to the height of the tide at half flood. They are cut and used for thatching corn-stacks. Below this vegetation ceases, and the sleek commences.

The stoat is found in this parish; rabbits and hedgehogs are multiplying; foxes are decreasing; badgers almost extirpated.

After emerging from the rocks before-mentioned, where its breadth is about fifty yards, the Ythan gradually expands between clay and loam banks, till it forms, at high-water mark, a splendid bason upwards of 600 yards in breadth. Opposite the church at low water its breadth is about 60 yards, where a small boat is stationed for passengers, and a large boat for conveying the parishioners to church from the north side of the river. There a chain-bridge [The need of this would be superseded by the erection of a lately projected stone bridge of three arches about a furlong below the ferry, by which the turnpike road, both from Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen, would be shortened upwards of two miles. The estimated expense of the bridge and road leading to it is about L. 5000. It is hoped that this very desirable improvement will not be lost sight of.] would be of great service. A little below the church a raik dike has been formed in the middle of the river, in the shape of a horse-shoe; and this, with other rude constructions for the convenience of the salmon and flounder-fishings, are all that the hand of man has done for the improvement of this interesting but much neglected little river. At its mouth there is neither pier, nor wharf, nor quay for the accommodation of the increasing shipping. [I am happy to announce, that Mr Robert Black, ship-owner, Newburgh, has just completed a substantial wharf, 120 yards long, upon ground on the south bank of the Ythan, which he has feued from Lieut.-Col. Udny of Udny.]

II.—Civil History.

Nothing is known as to the history of this parish prior to the sixteenth century; but during the civil and religious contests that prevailed during the seventeenth, between the Covenanters and the Anti-covenanters, this parish had its full share of suffering, most of the proprietors being attached to the royal cause. Upon the 23d February 1644, (when every estate was compelled to raise a certain number of men to recruit the Scottish army, then in England), "the committee in Aberdeen sent forty musketeers to plunder the lands of the lairds of Rainieston, Tipperty, Tarty, and the Good-wife of Artrochie, non-subscribers of the covenant in this parish." Mr William Innes of Tipperty having obtained the assistance of the lairds of Gight, Haddo, and other gentlemen, to the number of eighty horse, met the Covenanters on the bounds of Tarty, defeated, disarmed, and dispersed them, to the great offence of the Earl Marischal and Committee. "Such alarm did this occasion," says Spalding, "that the town of Aberdeen took instant measures for the defence of the city." The consequences of this skirmish give it an importance beyond what itself merits; for it was the immediate occasion of that hasty rising of the Gordons, the ill success of which compelled the Marquis of Huntly to flee his country, and brought Sir John Gordon to the block; [He was executed at Edinburgh by the Maiden, on the 19th of July after.] and for his behaviour, Mr Innes's house of Tipperty was plundered in May following, and his meal-mill burned.

Nor were the proprietors of the above named estates the only heritors of Logie-Buchan who opposed the Covenanters: for Spalding farther informs us, that, "upon the 27th April of the same year, forty-four soldiers belonging to Mr William Seton of Shethin, Mr James Buchan of Auchmacoy, and Mr James Seton of Pitmedden," (who then had lands in this parish), "lay in Aberdeen four days, upon the charges of the poor Old town people," while the Marquis of Huntly was there.

The family of Auchmacoy continued steady in their attachment to the house of Stuart, and, in particular, the services of Major-General Thomas Buchan deserve notice. He was third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy, by Margaret Seton, daughter of Alexander Seton of Pitmedden. He was born about the middle of the seventeenth century, and after serving in subordinate ranks in France and Holland, in 1682, was appointed by King Charles II. Lieutenant-colonel, and in 1686, by James VII., Colonel of the Earl of Mar's Regiment of Foot in Scotland. Having received the thanks of the Privy-Council for various services, he was in 1689 promoted by King James to the rank of Major-General, and after the fall of the celebrated Dundee at the battle of Killiekrankie, and the repulse of General Cannon at Dunkeld, obtained the chief command of King James's forces in Scotland. [At this time Simon Lord Lovat served under him.] Although in that high command, he fortunately failed in retrieving the fortunes of the fallen monarch, yet there are letters to the General, and other documents, in the custody of the present Mr Buchan of Auchmacoy, from King James, his Queen, their secretary Melfort, and others, which demonstrate their undiminished confidence in his military skill, and his attachment to their cause.

[In evidence of this, from among other correspondence, we shall copy verbatim a holograph letter to the General from the Marquis of Huntly, not many days before he set out to join the Earl of Mar's army.

"Sr,—It was with singular pleasur I heard from Dr Gordon of yr kind frank-nes to go with me in our King and cuntray's caws, wherein so many other bray gentilmen ar venturing thir livs and fortuns to indevor to serv thir King, and reliev thir poor opresd cuntray from ever being in slavery, thes motivs hav inducd our noble predecessors to doe things brav as history can boast of of any cuntray, and I hope the noble vew wil be acomplishd ere long. I intend to bee in motion next weke with my people, who as I shal wil be all ready and willing to yield to yr command, conduct, and experience. You have given such proofs of yr loyalty that all will be fond to have you with them ; besides it will be very much for the good of our King to hav such worthy, brav, experiened offeshars on his side as you ar. I shall send you twenty-four hours advertisment wher to meet mee and mine. More you cannot expect in such a busy time, therfor ends at present this letter, with ashurances of my being,—Sr, Yr most affecat and most humble Servant,

Gorn Cale, (Signed) Huntly."

22d Septr 1715.]

There can be little doubt that General Buchan, though not in command, was present with the Marquis's troops at the battle of Sheriffmuir, on the 13th November following: but when the Marquis, to save his life and estates, withdrew from the rising a few months after, it is doubtful whether the General followed his example, as, by a letter from the Countess of Errol, dated 15th May 1721, it appears he was still in communication with the exiled family. His picture is in the house of Auchinmacoy.

It appears from Robertson's Index of scarce Charters, that the Buchans of Auchmacoy were proprietors of that estate so far back as the year 1318, holding it of the Earl of Buchan until the forfeiture of the too powerful Cummings in the reign of King Robert Bruce. In 1503, James IV. gave Andrew Buchan of Auchmacoy a new charter, and erected his lands into a free barony, which has been inherited by his lineal male descendants ever since. Mr Buchan lately built an elegant turreted mansion, after a plan by Mr Burn, Edinburgh.

John Gordon Gumming Skene of Pitlurg and Dyce, proprietor of Birness in this parish, claims even a higher antiquity for his family than that of Auchmacoy, tracing their origin from Adam de Gordun, who first settled in Scotland in 1057. During the 785 years which have elapsed since that period, there have been, according to Burke's History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, twenty-seven clear and uninterrupted descents in the lineal male line of Pitlurg, the present proprietor being the chief representative of the family.

I cannot here omit taking particular notice of one of the Pitlurg family, who greatly distinguished himself as a literary character, I mean Robert Gordon, commonly designated "Gordon of Stra-loch," from his having purchased that estate lying in Formartine, to which district he seems to have been very partial. I notice him the rather that I have in this account quoted so largely from his most celebrated work, "Theatrum Scotiae." He was born in 1580, and educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, of which University he was the first graduate.

At the request of King Charles I. in 1641, he undertook an Atlas of the different counties of Scotland ; and by two Acts of the Scottish Parliament, was, on that account, exempted from military burdens, while his labours were held in such general estimation, that he received a recommendation from the General Assembly to the clergy, to give him all the assistance in their power in the execution of his work. This undertaking, the first of the kind in Scotland made from actual survey, was completed in 1648, and published by the Bleaus of Amsterdam, and to this day remains a monument of his industry and accurate knowledge of practical mathematics. Mr Gordon wrote several other works, some of which are said still to remain in manuscript. Two pictures of him remain, (believed to be by Jamieson of Aberdeen,) one in Marischal College, the other at Parkhill, the residence of the present Mr Gordon of Pitlurg.

Parochial Registers.—As to parochial registers, the sessional record of doctrine and discipline is extant, and regularly kept from 1698, with some fragments so far back as 1630 and 1640. Registers of marriages and baptisms are also kept, and extend from 1698; but the latter by no means comprehends all the births. [I would beg to suggest, that the registration of births and baptisms, of marriages and burials, should be connected with the population Act of 1800, to which they naturally belong ; that the entries in the registers should be gratis, but the extracts from them chargeable ; and that every tenth year, when the schoolmaster or session-clerk makes the population returns to Parliament, he should be required also to give in upon oath an extract of the number of births, burials, &c. for the like period, attested annually, if thought necessary, by the presbytery or officiating clergyman and that he should be handsomely paid for each entry by the State, By the hope of reward, and the dread of an oath, regular registration would, in my humble opinion, be secured in an infinitely simpler and less expensive manner, than by the clumsy Registration Establishment Bill, not many years ago proposed to Parliament. A du-plicate of the register, when filled up, to be deposited with the county records.]

The deficiency of our session records is in so far supplied by our presbytery registers. These begin five years after the institution of presbyteries (1592), the first meeting of the Presbytery of Ellon being held, as it is expressed in the record, "on the penult day of November 1597." It may be noticed, what is known in other cases, that in our Presbytery records the beginning of the year was reckoned from the vernal equinox, or 1st of April, O.S., and continued to be so till the year 1600, when it commences with the 1st of January. The eight parishes of which this Presbytery consists previously belonged to the Presbytery of Aberdeen. From our records chiefly the following list of the ministers of Logie-Buchan is made up. 1. Mr Alexander Arbuthnot, settled in 1568. 2. Mr John Read, probably on Mr Arbuthnot's death in 1583. 3. Mr Thomas Mitchel, 1622. [Mr Mitchel, previously minister of Udny, and afterwards minister of Turriff, received a presentation to Logie-Buchan, but was not inducted.] 4. Mr Patrick Guthrie, 1626. [Mr Guthrie was also Sub-Principal of King's College.] 5. Mr William Seton, 1635. 6. Mr George Buchan, 1671. 7. Mr Robert Udny, 1699. 8. Mr John Rose, 1726. 9. Mr William Paterson, 1774. 10. Mr George Cruden, the present incumbent, in 1817.

The first of these ministers, Mr Alexander Arbuthnot, was by far the most distinguished. Though the honour of his ministry has been assigned by Mr Kennedy and some others to the parish of Logiepert, yet the highest authorities concur with Dr M'Crie, in his Life of Melville, that he was minister of Logie-Buchan. And this is put beyond all doubt by an insertion lately discovered in an old missal or obituary, in the possession of the present Viscount Arbuthnot; which also corrects another error into which almost all his biographers have fallen, viz. that he was the son of Baron Arbuthnot. In the manuscript he is stated to be the son of Andrew Arbuthnot of Pitcarles, the baron's brother. He was born in 1538, educated at King's College, Aberdeen, and in the year 1560 his name [See Calderwood] appears in a list of young men of promising talents for the ministry, given in to the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. After further studying civil law, (as was then usual for students of Divinity,) four or five years at Bourges in France, under the celebrated Cujaccius, he returned to Scotland in 1566, and was soon after licensed as a minister of the reformed church. On the 15th July 1568, he received a presentation to the church of Logie-Buchan, one of the common kirks of the Cathedral of Aberdeen. On the 3d of July 1569, he was appointed Principal of King's College, Aberdeen, and three weeks after was presented to the church of Arbuthnot, "provyding he administrat the sacraments of Jesus Christ, or ellis travell in some other als necessar vocation to the utility of the kirk, and approvit by the samen." The emoluments of his two parochial charges' were probably his only support as Principal, the funds of the College having been greatly dilapidated by his predecessor, Principal Anderson, in the view of his deposition for his adherence to Popery. To the University, Principal Arbuthnot rendered the most important services, both in the augmentation of its funds, and by his assiduity and success in teaching. Besides being an eminent divine, he is said to have been a good mathematician, jurist, physician, and poet.

To the Church of Scotland Mr Arbuthnot's services were in-valuable. He took an active part in the leading ecclesiastical questions of his time, was frequently a member, and twice moderator, [In 1573 and 1577.] of the General Assembly. In 1578, he was appointed one of a committee to attend the King and Queen about the affairs of the church, and along with John Knox he revised the Second Book of Discipline, and assisted in drawing up that solemn and missive form for the ordination and admission of ministers of the gospel which is still in use. How he discharged his duties as minister of this parish, there is no tradition nor record, our presbytery registers commencing fourteen years after his death, and our' parochial forty-seven. By his learning, his great candour, and power of persuasion, he is said to have been instrumental in opening the eyes of many to perceive and renounce the errors which had crept into the Christian church during the dark ages: and in this parish I have discovered no remnant of Popery since his time, except that, about the end of the seventeenth century, Alexander Buchan of Auchmacoy took priest's orders in the church of Rome, and resigned his estate in favour of his younger brother, Major James Buchan.

Mr Arbuthnot died unmarried, "at night, on the 16th October 1583," in the forty-sixth year of his age, and sixteenth of his mi-nistry in this parish. The only book his active life left him leisure to publish, was "Orationes de Origine et Dignitate Juris," at Edinburgh, in 1572. How amiable his life was, and how sincerely lamented his early death, will appear from the following lines extracted from his elegy, written by the celebrated Andrew Melville,—-

"Flerem ego, nec flenti foret, aut pudor aut modus, eheu!
Flerem ego te, te eheu! flerem ego perpetuo,
Deliciae humani generis, dulcissime rerum,
Quem Musae et charites blando aluere sinu;
Cujus in ore lepos, sapiens in pectore virtus;
Et suadae et sophiae vis bene juncta simul;
Cui pietas, cui prisca fides, constantia candor
Et pudor et probitas non habuere parem."

[For Mr Arbuthnot's Life see Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, Irvine's Lives of the Scottish Poets, M'Kenzie's Lives, Dr M'Crie's Life of Melville, Calderwood, MS. in possession of Viscount Arbuthnot.]

Mr Read, the second minister in the above list, seems to have been an active man, and to have taken a particular interest in the erection of the parish of Udny. Yet it appears a complaint was lodged against him, as contained in the following minute of Pres-bytery, which is too curious to be omitted:

"Logie Buchan, 1st September 1620, convenit the Bishop of Aberdeen and Presbytery of Ellon, with the gentlemen of the parish of Logie, and elders thereof, for visitation [of the kirk of Logy-buchan. Mr John Read, minister at Logy-buchan, being challengit of non-residence, answerit the want of peits and want of ane sufficient gleib was the cause thereof. The gentlemen and elders of the parish foresaid consulting about the matter, and admitting partly that it might prevent Mr Read, they advised, at the instance of the bishop and presbytery, to allow him 'sax leit of peits, of 24 feet in length ilk leit, and 12 feet in breadth, with height effeirand, which would be sufficient for him, yearlie;' the parish being willing likewise to lead said peits, and 'Mr Buchan to give the coble.'" That so respectable a body of men should have allotted, or that the tenantry should have agreed to carry, so enormous a quantity of fuel, (nearly 300 modern cart loads,) is not easily accounted for. The allotment, indeed, was soon necessarily discontinued; but it would be unpardonable in me not to record the ready consent both of the heritors and people that their minister should have a warm fireside.

III.—Population.

In the year 1607, by a note in our Presbytery records, the number of communicants is estimated at 400, which exceeds, by about fourscore, the average number who have been admitted to the Lord's table of late years. The greater population at that time may be ascribed to the Ferry of Logie being then the great thoroughfare from the north-east part of Buchan to Aberdeen,— the principal road being along the sea-shore of Belhelvie. There was then a considerable kirktown where markets were held, and one or more alehouses kept. There had been also more resident heritors, smaller farms, and a more numerous tenantry. The number of parishioners which, in Dr Webster's time, had fallen to 575, was, in 1797, so low as 509. But, from the extensive agricultural improvements which then commenced, and an unlimited power of subletting on some estates, it has been gradually increasing.

Character of the People.—The people, on the whole, enjov, in a reasonable degree, the comforts of social life, according to their stations. The use of tobacco is excessive, but of ardent spirits rare. There is a remarkable annual change in the population owing chiefly to servants changing their places. My lists show that it amounts to one-fifth of the inhabitants. This migratory nature of the population is certainly not favourable to religious instruction. Public worship and diets of catechising are well attended; religious ordinances are very rarely neglected. The average number of young communicants for the last seven years is 15, and their average age nineteen years.

In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Presbytery took vigorous measures for suppressing tulzying (wrestling), football, and even holding markets at churches, on the Lord's day! The athletic exercises of former times are seldom heard of here, even on week-days. The point of honour now among men-servants is, who shall be the best ploughman? Music is cultivated. "Boat of Logie" is still a well known tune; but to the beautiful song of "Logie o' Buchan" we can lay no claim. [The hero of that song was a gardener at Logie in Crimond, about the middle of last century; the heroine, a good looking little woman, whom I have often see in my early years, then married to a respectable farmer; and its author, said to be Mr George Halket, a poetical genius who taught a school in that neighbourhood, and whose rise in life was probably prevented by his Jacobitical principles.. He is reputed to have written some of the popular songs that greatly aided the Pretender's cause in Scotland.]

IV.—Industry.

The parishioners are, with few exceptions, very sober, and most industrious in their respective callings, which are almost all connected, directly or indirectly, with the cultivation of the soil. The amount of their labours is estimated as follows:—

The number of Scotch acres in the parish in tillage, 4566 = 5759 imperial; ditto improvable, 251 =316 do.; ditto unimprovable, including Sleek of Tarty, 267 = 337 do. Total, 5084 = 6412 imperial. Of the above there are under wood 66 imperial acres.

Rent.—Average rent of arable land per acre, 15s.; do. of grazing an ox, L.2, 10s.

Improvements—Various are the agricultural improvements that have taken place during the last forty years. From the commencement of that period, we date the introduction of a regular rotation of crops upon inclosed farms, which gradually extended itself to unenclosed ground. The most common rotations are those of five or six years, with one grain crop, and of seven years, with two grain crops, after lea. The introduction of various species of early oats and greater attention to seed-corn in general have been going on since the late and calamitous harvest of 1782. The introduction of bone manure and the short-horned breed of cattle, and the contemporaneous opening of the English markets for fat cattle by steamers, have been productive of the greatest benefit to the agricultural interest. The general sale of grain by weight has redeemed Buchan victual from its ancient reproach, and given oats, its staple produce, a high character in the London market. Another very important advantage has been gained to the agriculturist by the abolition of services, and particularly of thirlage and multure, which, with the improved state of meal-mills having drying kilns attached, and the low rate of 6d. or 7d. for milling the imperial boll, are considered to be a gain of no less than 20 per cent. upon the return of meal.

The universal adoption of the scythe in place of the sickle in harvest is likewise considered here as a very great improvement, both as to expedition and expense. Under favourable circumstances, one scythe will cut two acres in a day. The fields are all rolled after sowing. Besides these advantageous changes in the general system of farming, there have been many improvements in the implements of husbandry, which need not be enumerated here. [One, as yet peculiar to this parish, may be mentioned, viz. a simple, cheap, and efficient "self-acting flood sluice," for placing in embankments on the side of a river, Particularly of a tide river; for which the Highland and Agricultural Society voted their silver medal. See their Transactions in 1837.]

There is a field of excellent clay, of considerable extent and depth, on the farm of Westfield of Auchmacoy, upon which, in the year 1834, Mr Brown, the tenant, erected a brick-work. At this place drain-tiles were first made north of the Tay. The quality is approved of, and the demand is considerable, and progressively increasing.

V.— Parochial Economy.

Market-Town, &c.—The church of Logie Buchan is situated fifteen miles north of Aberdeen, the nearest market-town. The nearest post-town is Ellon, which lies two miles west. There are three portions of turnpike road in the parish, amounting together to about five and a half miles. Two portions of these are on the great north road to Aberdeen, on which the mail, and other public coaches, travel twice a day. On the other portion, leading, to the shipping port of Newburgh, there is a great traffic carried on by the tenantry in lime, grain, &c.

Ecclesiastical State.—Considering the great length of the parish, the church is as conveniently situated as it could be. It was built in 1787 to hold 400 persons, and is in good repair. The sittings are all free, except about 50 in a gallery lately erected by the kirk-session, with consent of the heritors, out of legacies left by Mr Paterson, late minister of the parish, and his widow, to purchase coals for the poor. The sittings are rented at from 6d. to 2s. 6d. each.

The manse was built in the year 1775, and is needing no repair. The extent of the glebe, as laid down in the plan of Tarty, before-mentioned, is 5 acres, 2 roods, 33 falls, including the toft, besides the usual privileges. Its value is estimated at L.12, 10s. The stipend is 14 chalders. Mr Buchan is patron.

The number of persons attending the Established Church is* 685 ; Episcopalians, 7; members of the United Associate Synod, 20; [These had a church in this parish, which was removed about ten years ago.] Independents, 1. Total, 713.

Education.—It was not till at a meeting of Presbytery, on the 30th of August 1721, that the heritors of this parish agreed to erect parochial schools, one on each side of the river, and to divide the minimum salary of 100 merks Scots equally between them. This arrangement was carried into execution immediately after, and continued till 1803, when the sum necessary, by the new Act, for keeping up two schools being deemed too burdensome for so small a parish, the school upon the north side was brought nearer the river with the view of accommodating both sides of it. Agreeably to the tenor of that Act, the salary is now L.25, 13s, 4d., with accommodations. By an arrangement lately made with Mr Dick's Trustees, the school is in charge of an assistant teacher. All the usual branches are taught, and the fees are from 2s. to 5s. per quarter, and may amount, at an average, to about L.20 per annum. The average number of scholars is just now about 50.

Considering the changeable state of the population, it is impossible to give an exact account of the general attainments of the people in learning; but it is believed that few or none cannot read, and almost all can write a little, and all seem alive to the benefits of education. On the south side of the river, a few children cross the ferry to the parochial school. Some are taught by a woman about a mile from the church; but the greater number are compelled to attend the schools in other parishes most adjacent. The late Mr Donaldson of Rosebank (a part of whose property lies in this parish), bequeathed the bulk of his fortune for religious and educational purposes, and from his trustees the minister lately received the sum of L.5 Sterling for purchasing books for the Sunday school and parish libraries, now amounting to 400 volumes.

This parish is in connection with the district Saving Bank, lately established in Ellon.

Poor.—The number of persons receiving parochial aid has greatly increased within these few years, for which no particular reason can be assigned. The following account of the receipts and disbursements of the kirk-session for the year 1837 will answer all the particulars required concerning the poor and parochial funds:—

Alehouses.—There is only one alehouse in the parish.

Fuel.—As to fuel, the mosses in this parish are almost exhausted ; but a considerable quantity of peat and turf are brought from other parishes. Coals imported at Newburgh are the principal fuel.

Miscellaneous Observations.

Being one of the few whom it has pleased God to spare to assist in drawing up a second Statistical Account of Scotland, I may be allowed, more than others, to express my satisfaction at the vast improvements in agriculture which have taken place in Buchan since I transmitted to Sir John Sinclair an account of the parish of Old Deer in the year 1794. When I look around me, I seem to live not only among a new race of men, but in a new world. Cultivation, like the gradual spreading of a garment, has changed the external face of the earth, and every locality wears a new appearance. The irregular patches, and various denominations of arable land which were then interspersed amidst the uncultivated waste, are now absorbed in regular enclosures or extensive fields, the dark expanse of moss [In 1810, Dr Keith, in his Account of the Soil of Aberdeenshire, says, that "one-tenth of the surface of Buchan consisted of peat moss."] is greatly diminished, and the sombre herds of our native brown and black cattle are enlivened by a mixture of the white and speckled Tees-water. The low-thatched farm-houses and long continuous rows of barns and byres are now converted into slated dwellings of two stories, and adjoining courts of offices; and, where necessary, the steep and rugged tracks that led to them into smooth roads of easy ascent. One great and indispensable means of these changes has been the formation of turnpike roads, and of commutation roads upon improved principles. [These were unknown in Buchan when the last Statistical Account was compiled.] Besides their other advantages, these have formed most convenient and gently sloping base lines in the process of fielding, which process comprehends, in one word, the sum of the agricultural improvements which have taken place in Buchan during the period I have before mentioned. In this parish that process is nearly completed; and in most others it is very far advanced.

Although there is no doubt that the moral improvement of his hearers ought to be, and I trust is that, in which a minister of the Gospel most rejoices, yet surely the inferior gratification of seeing the soil of one's native country so greatly meliorated is not to be denied him, especially as it is not doubtful that the temporal advantages which it confers have a happy influence even on the manners of the people. From the perusal of the records of our Presbytery, [In the records of the seventeenth century, I observe cases of adultery, incest, and forgery, marked on the margin of three consecutive pages. It is also recorded, March 1621, that three men having gone into an alehouse at Tillycorthy, and consumed all the stale " beer that was upon the gantrees, two of them drank themselves dead out of a fat of new ale, and the third narrowly escaped with his life." The sense of shame became so acute towards the middle of last century, that the public appearances to which certain offences were exposed could no longer be enforced with their former severity. That it was time to modify them is evident, from the act against child murder being appointed by the Presbytery in 1762 to be read at least twice every year from the pulpit. Yet many after this left the church on account of alleged laxity of discipline.] I am disposed to think that the commission at least of heinous crimes is less frequent, and the propensity to low vices less general, than they were during the seventeenth and greater part of the eighteenth century, and also that a higher tone of morals now prevails.

Revised 1842.


Return to our Aberdeen Index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast