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


PRESBYTERY OF DEER, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. CHARLES GIBBON, MINISTER.

I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name.—The name of the parish, from the oldest records, appears to have been Lonmey, [See Inventory, dated 7th July 1559, Keith's Catalogue of Bishops, p. 74, 4to edition. It is also found written Longmey in the kirk-session record, beginning anno 1709. Lonmay was a parsonage.]—an appellation, it is presumed, of Celtic etymology, and, perhaps, descriptive of the flat superficial character of the parish, and more especially of its northern half, where the church has always been situated.

Extent, &c.—It extends about 9½ miles from north north-east to south by west; its breadth varies from 3½ miles to half a mile; its superficial contents amount, at least, to 23 square miles. It is bounded on the east and north-east, by the German Ocean (which begins here to trend westward, forming the great estuary of the Moray Frith); a streamlet divides the parish on the east northeast from Rathen, with which it is also conterminous on the north and north-west and west; on the west also, and west-south-west, lies the parish of Strichen (misprinted Brechin in the last Statistical Account). On the south-west and south are the parishes of Deer and Longside, from both of which it is divided partly by a branch of the Ugie, and partly by a streamlet which flows into it. It is touched by St Fergus also on the south, and is bounded by Crimond on the great line of south and south south-east.

Topographical Appearances.—The parish is very irregular in its figure, having unequal sides much indented and curved. The line of coast to the eastward, and the short course of the Ugie through its southern extremity, are alone well defined ; towards the centre of the parish, the opposite lines converge, forming a narrow neck, which separates Crimond from Strichen. There are two or three unimportant ridges, which run from east to west through the parish, besides the benty hillocks, and one or two green braes which skirt the links near the beach. These run from north and by west to south south-east, or thereby.

There are two extensive plains, comprehending the bulk of the parish. The northern plain contains the estates of Lonmay, Cair ness, Craigellie, Blairmormond, a small part of the estate of In-veralochy, and part of Crimonmogate. This plain consists chiefly of cultivated land interspersed with plantations of wood. The waters of the loch of Strathbeg here also cover, it is supposed, upwards of 410 Scotch acres, besides near 140 more in the parish of Crimond. The southern plain is somewhat more elevated, and is broken by rising grounds. It comprehends a considerable part of Crimonmogate, the estate of Park, and the estate of Kinninmonth. Here are two very extensive peat-mosses, part of the last-mentioned property and of Crimonmogate: They are connected together, and with other extensive mosses in Strichen and Crimond. The coast extends about four miles from the fishing village of St Combs, to near Rattray rocks. The Lonmay shore is a sandy beach, without bay or headland.

Meteorology.—The temperature of the atmosphere may be illustrated by the following tables, shewing the monthly mean of the range of the thermometer; also a partial series of observations of the hygrometer; and the pressure of the atmosphere is ascertained by observation with the barometer; and there is annexed an account of the prevailing winds:

Hydrography.—The estuary of the Moray Frith may be said to commence on the eastern boundary of this parish, as the land trends to the north-west and west north-west to nearly west, and by north.

Perennial springs are not numerous, either in the north or south ends of the parish. A good deal of the water is of a brownish colour, as it passes through sand intermixed with iron ores: where rock is found which is prevailingly sienite or greenstone, there, and wherever clay is met with between the upper soil and bed of the spring, the water is pure, cold, and excellent. Towards the southern extremity of the parish, wells are dug to the depth of 30 feet through shingle and broken slate-stones of a red colour.

There are various mineral springs—chalybeates.

Lakes.—There is only one considerable lake, viz. the loch of Strathbeg, covering, as is said, about 550 Scotch acres, of which more than three-fourths are in this parish, and the rest of it within the parish of Crimond. The average depth of its water is about 3½ feet: its greatest depth does not exceed 6½. This lake, as stated in the former Statistical Account, was originally formed by means of the sands being drifted by the wind so as to block up the outlet of the stream called the burn of Strathbeg, which flowed some 200 years ago into the sea, near the village of Rattray in Crimond, which was also overwhelmed with sand. But there is no legitimate basis whereon the gigantic calculation might rest which was proposed by the ingenious writer of the account now referred to, and whereby he proposed to prove " that the evaporation from the Caspian sea is sufficient to counterbalance all the water poured in from the rivers which empty themselves into it." It is believed, however, that till of late years there was little apparent outlet of the water of this lake into the sea; but then a constant filtration was visibly taking place, occasioning deep and dangerous shifting quicksands. For some years past, a distinct watery line can be traced by the eye through the sandy beach, along the margin of which the sand is saturated with the oozing water; and to this additional means of escape is to be attributed the fact of the comparative diminution of the waters of Strathbeg. In the year 1817, the water was four feet higher than it now is at a gangway placed near a boat-house, built by the present proprietor on the west side of the loch in 1809. It is matter of observation to old persons, as well as of tradition, that the sea has receded considerably, and left a much greater extent of sandy beach on the eastern boundary of this parish. In 1796, the number of Scotch acres of sandy ground between the sea and the links is stated, on the plan of the estate of Lonmay, to be, per measurement, 398, exclusive of bents. There is now found to be 1126 acres 5 roods: and, allowing for any little inaccuracy in either of the measurements or both, the increase is doubtless great. An attempt was made by a Mr Sellar, forty-four years ago, to drain this loch: Several thousand pounds were spent in this attempt, which proved a complete failure. The open canals which he constructed were soon blocked up by drifting sand. It would seem that any after operation of this kind, to afford the probability of success, must be conducted by covered conduits, and, after all, perhaps, the expense would be more than commensurate with the profits to be drawn from cultivating the present bed of the loch. This bed consists, for the most part, of sandy soil, enriched somewhat by the decomposition of fishes, by the shells of the large mussel, and also by the alluvial deposits conveyed during occasional swells of the stream which constantly flows into the lake. Indeed, it seems unlikely that any proprietor of taste would choose to part with a natural object of considerable interest in the landscape, as well as a source of many days of summer amusement in pleasure-boat sailing and fishing, for all the pecuniary advantage which, at a distant period, his heirs might come to enjoy. There are a few islets on the loch, but there has been much neglect in leaving these, as well as the ground which skirts the margin of the lake, unadorned with planting. A small patch near its edge was tried a few years ago, the rapid growth of which will, it is hoped, encourage the proprietor to proceed on a more extended scale. The scenery at present around the loch can scarcely be termed picturesque. It is bounded on the east by a line of benty sand hillocks : to the north there is a fine grassy extent of downs or links, covered with cattle for six months of the year, and affording constant pasturage for sheep.

Geology and Mineralogy.— The prevailing rock within the parish is sienite and greenstone. There is a vein of limestone in the northeast end of the parish, on the estate of Craigellie, which runs westward through Rathen to Strichen, &c.

Rolled blocks of granite are occasionally found. Gravel abounds in one of the ridges intersecting the estate of Kinninmonth, in the south end of the parish, as also occasionally on the estate of Craigellie. Clay of fine quality abounds as subsoil on Cairnglass, along the north-west bank, near the sea; and also from the surface to a considerable depth along the ridge which divides the upper from the lower part of Crimonmogate. In other parts of the parish, occasionally a thin layer of coarse clay is found, mixed with coarse sand, about six or eight inches from the surface. Bog iron ore abounds on the estate of Lonmay, and peat in larger masses in the extensive mosses in Crimonmogate and Kinninmonth; and in these mosses are many remains of oak, common and black. Of the last some fine specimens have been preserved, and made into cabinet furniture by Mr Bannerman of Crimonmogate. There are likewise found many remains of birch trees, hazel-nuts, alder, and fir. Almost everywhere decomposed roots of plants in great variety are found, below the till or pan which abounds in the flat part of the parish.

The upper soil of this parish is, for the most part, a dry, light, black, sandy soil, very slightly cohesive, resting on a coarse hard bed of red sand in the north plain of the parish. This red sand is full of iron ore, and is so hard as to require repeated blows of the pick-axe to pierce it, and thereby it is detachable in large masses from the finer white sand beneath. The clay soils have been already mentioned. There are some intermediate kinds on the estate of Crimonmogate, the south side of Craigellie, and on part of Park, Blairmormond, and Kinninmonth. There is, however, a very small portion, indeed, of a loamy nature, and little or no marl has been found. There are no mines of any kind within the parish.

Fishes.—The loch of Strathbeg abounds with trout, both red and yellow; with perch, (first introduced by the present proprietor from the late Mr Ferguson of Pitfour's pond); also with freshwater flounders, and eels of great size and in great numbers. The sea affords on this part of the coast the finest cod, both white and red ling, and sometimes tusk, haddock, whiting, skate, holibut, turbot, sea-trout, flounders, including plaice and soles, which last, for want of the trawl-net, are but rarely caught. Cat-fish and John Dories, both of fine quality, are occasionally taken, though rarely. Herring are met with, but the fishing ground is chiefly within the Moray Frith. Shoals of dog-fish are seen during the herring-season, and the whale called Finner; also the grampus and porpoises in considerable number. The coal-fish is in swarms, and in two of its first stages of growth is tolerably good food.

Botany.—The writer of this is indebted for a very extensive, and, it is believed, correct list of the indigenous plants proper to this parish, to a medical practitioner residing in this neighbourhood, (Dr Cow,) who is proposing to publish a work on this subject, comprehending the district of Buchan. There are 237 plants mentioned in this list, but, as the greater portion of them are common to all parts of the country, and none peculiar to the parish, it is not thought necessary to insert it. A few specimens of the sea holly have been found by the above-mentioned gentleman.

Forests and Plantations.—Although the soil in this parish, when disturbed to any depth, almost universally affords proof of the continuity of the forest here in olden times, yet there were not forty trees to be seen above ground within its bounds, fifty years ago. There are now 222 Scotch acres under wood, a large proportion of which has been planted within the last twenty years, and a good extent within the last three or four years. Scotch firs were first tried, being thought best adapted to the soil and climate; but experience has proved that idea erroneous, where there is but little previous shelter. Alders, willow, elder, and poplars, should be first planted, and thickest on the outer borders of the plantation. The other kinds proper for this parish are found to be larches, ash, elm, and especially beech, which last is unquestionably the tree of Buchan. It has the following peculiar advantages over others —its roots pierce more readily and effectually through the hard iron sand, and agree with the under soft sand; it grows free of fog or tree fungus; thrives under the drop and branches of other trees; it puts out a number of leading shoots, and these are seldom or ever blighted,—not being so early as to suffer from the cold and often frosty winds of spring. The beech, moreover, is feathered with branches from top to bottom, and in the course of thirty years overtakes all other trees in height. Where there is previous shelter, pines of various species may be planted with advantage; and, after being three years in the ground, push rapidly, and assist by their shelter the growth of their neighbours. Oaks also thrive well, and have been too sparingly planted here. The sycamore, or pseudo-platanus, and the rowan or mountain-ash are both hardy trees, and are said to be indigenous. The birch thrives well, but is not a lofty tree here, Limes look healthy, and come to tolerable size. The horse-chesnut does well where sheltered. Most flowering shrubs and evergreens which have succeeded north of the Tay, seem to agree with our light soil, but require most of them protection from the climate, especially from the cold winds of March and April. But, above all others, May is our trying month, which "brings down many wounded by her."

II.—Civil History.

Land-owners.—The land-owners at present are, Thomas Gordon, Esq. of Buthlaw, proprietor of Lonmay and Cairness, principal heritor and patron; [He is now a general officer in the Royal Greek army, and author of a book which deserves to be generally read, The History of the Greek Revolution.] 2. Charles Bannerman, Esq. of Cri-monmogate; 3. James Russell, Esq. of Kinninmonth; 4. William Shand, Esq. of Craigellie; 5. John Lumsden Sheriffs, Esq. of Blairmormond; 6.-George Fraser, Esq. of Park; [Deceased since the above was written. ] and 7. Colonel Charles Fraser of Inveralochy.

Parochial Registers.—The parochial register begins anno 1709. The first sentence following the title is worthy of attention: "1709, Sept. 24, This congregation having for near two years been without an Established minister since the death of Mr Houston, late Episcopal incumbent here, the people and heritors several times endeavouring to have a gospel minister among them, but still differing and dividing in their choice of the person: at length a young man, Mr Thomas Gordon, Preacher of the Gospel, by appointment both of synod and presbytery, preached, &c. whereupon the presbytery did legally and orderly call the said Mr Gordon to be minister."

The entries made in the session record are very full during Mr Gordon's incumbency, which ended at his death in 1743. Besides the ordinary account of poor's money and matters of discipline, there are some notices of a miscellaneous character, which serve to illustrate times past. Collections are reported for repair of roads, bridges, the harbour of Banff; in 1718, for the distressed Protestants in Lithuania; in 1726, fasting and humiliation on account of scorching drought; in 1723, thanksgiving for deliverance from pestilence raging in foreign countries, and especially in France. [In 1737, Provincial Synod of Aberdeen appoint a day for humiliation on account of abounding sin, and particularly bloodshed, under which this province groans. In 1741, King and Church appoint a fast on account of threatened famine.] Inquests on the bodies of murdered persons seem sometimes to have been left to the kirk-session. 1727, April 9, the minister reported that "he understood there was a design among the heritors of this and the two neighbouring parishes of Rathen and Crimond to erect ane Episcopal meeting-house near to this church, as yt place most centrical to them all; and it was found by the unanimous sentiment of the session that this designed meeting-house was promoted from very malice and splen to the established government of church and state, and to instil into the people of this corner, principles of rebellion against the Government, and favour for a Popish Pretender; and as they were persuaded of this from weighty reasons, which are not proper to be insert here so particularly from this consideration, yt all the common people of these three parishes, and especially in this, had always been most punctual and precise attenders upon, and partakers, of all gospel ordinances dispensed by yr respective ministers, had frequently signified their satisfaction with yr ministers, and resolution to adhere to yr ministry, unless they should be compelled (as they feared) to attend a worship fringed with ceremonies (by yr respective masters)," &c. And it was found that the principal promoters of this division, and intenders to have the meeting-house near this church, were " Mr Fraser, present heritor of the barony of Lonmay, who was engaged in the late rebellion, and still continued in yt same strain against the Government and Gospel ministry; and also William Cruden, one of the Fraserburgh posts, a nottour Bourignian in his principles," &c. &c.

1732, Dec. 10, The minister reported "that qun the fore wall of the church was taken down, yr was a little cut stone above the big door, containing an account qun and by qum yr church was built, with ye ministers' names and entry there in office: and yt ye cutting of the sd stone was very bad, and so defaced yt it was scarce legible, and yrefore he had caused buy, cut, colour, and set up another stone, containing what was written on the former." This stone is built into the present church-yard wall, and contains what follows; "This house was built for the worship of God by the parish of Lonmay, 1607—Mr Thomas Rires being minister then, and three years before at the old church. After him, Messrs William Rires, James Irvine, and John Houston were ministers successively—next, Mr Thomas Gordon was ordained minister of the Gospel by the Presbytery of Deer, with consent of all concerned in the parish, September 24,1709," &c.

The last mentioned minister died in 1743. His successor, Mr Sim, died in 1752; and Mr Lundie, the third Presbyterian minister from the Revolution, died in 1807, May, after being five years pastor of the parish. Mr Shearer, the fourth in order, died in 1810, February, and the present minister was settled in May 1810.

Antiquities.—There are no antiquities in the parish, unless we mention a Druidical circle, which is very entire at Newark, in Crimonmogate. The centre stone is of great size, and (as well as several others composing the circle) must have been brought from a great distance. We may also mention the site of an old castle, called the Castle of Lonmay, in the Links thereof, near the sea, from which all the stones have been carried off, and employed in building farm-houses, &c.; but, except the name, all tradition respecting this building is lost.

Modern Buildings.— Of modern buildings, the principal one is the House of Cairness, founded some years ago by the father of the present proprietor: the plan by Mr James Playfair, Architect, Edinburgh. It was finished in the year 1799, at an expense of about L.25,000. The porch, which is a very chaste construction after the Grecian model, having four Ionic pillars, is of granite, as also the carved cornices. The granite was brought from the neighbouring parish of Longside. The body of the house is built of greenstone, or what the masons call heathen, quarried on the estate. It is truly a fine house, both in design and execution. Another elegant building has been erected a few years ago on the neighbouring estate of Crimonmogate by Mr Bannerman, the proprietor, at an expense exceeding L. 10,000.

III.—Population.

Number of insane, 2; fatuous, 1; deaf and dumb, 3.

* A great many burials take place of persons dying in Kinninmonth in the adjacent burial-grounds of other parishes.

Character of the People.—The habits of the people are quiet, orderly, and industrious. Their meals are frugal in the extreme, consisting almost wholly of farinaceous food, milk, potatoes, greens, &c. Fish are, however, occasionally used, especially skate, and at the approach of winter, a fat small-sized ox or heifer (often of the Shetland breed, bought for the purpose,) is not unfrequently shared between three or four families. Undoubtedly the people are disposed to be content and satisfied with a very moderate supply of the humbler comforts of life; but for some years past, difficulties have increased in the way of their procurement. There is little or no capital left amongst them, owing to the deterioration of the value of agricultural produce, including cattle, and which is wholly disproportioned to any reduction which has taken place in the cost of rent, labour, and other farm charges and expense of necessary articles of consumption. Depression of circumstances has more and more prevailed in the case of those who were moderately provided with the means of life, and the reduced state of each class acting disadvantageously on its inferior, has occasioned the increase of poverty to be felt in rather an alarming manner, so that great exertions have become necessary to keep up the system of voluntary provision, so as to be effectual for the help of the sick poor, the aged, and unemployed females.

The people are in general creditably attentive to their religious and moral duties; they are well informed considering their opportunities. Perhaps we ought not to omit remarking in this place, the injurious tendency of the excise laws at present in force, which discourage the making of home-dried malt liquors, and, consequently, reduce the use of these, to the great detriment of temperance and health ; whilst the more intoxicating distilled spirit is sold at a cheap rate, tempting farm-servants and others to dram-drinking, and affording facilities to all who are so inclined to evening meetings for gossip and tippling, and thence to thriftless and improper habits.

IV.—Industry.

Grazing Rent.—The average rent of grazing at the rate of L.2 per ox, of 40 stone English weight grazed, is over the parish infield and outfield inclosed, about L. 1, 4s. per acre.

Wages—The rate of labour for different kinds of farm-work is, per diem, 2s. harvest; without board, 1s. 3d. during winter, and 1s. 6d. during summer; masons, 2s. 6d. summer-work, and 1s. 8d. winter-work; carpenters, 2s. 3d. summer, 1s. 6d. winter; smith-work charged per piece, and very high.

Cattle and Sheep.—It is well known that Buchan has long been celebrated for its cattle. Formerly an improved cross from the Highland small-horned bull, with the larger cow of this country, was in high esteem both for symmetry, compactness, and weight. The polled or dodded cattle succeeded, and for the last twenty years preceding 1830, were in great demand, and indeed still bear a high price in the southern markets, and the top price in London. The short-horned cattle, however, are beginning to supplant our own Buchan breed. A considerable difference of opinion prevails as to their comparative merits. One disadvantage belongs to the large short-horned ox, that he is too heavy in the carcase for driving to a distant market. His superiority consists in his feeding to a greater weight, and coming sooner to the home-market for the flesher.

Sheep.—The sheep of this country are the produce of a mixed breed. They carry a weighty and tolerably fine fleece, and their mutton is well flavoured, but inferior to the black or the white-faced Highland six year-old wethers. These last are imported annually, and fed for the table. Mr Bannerman of Crimonmogate has imported some South Down and Lincolnshire sheep, and has a large stock of fine half-bred English sheep in his lawn.

Horses.—Great attention has been paid for some years past to the rearing of horses. There is a very striking change in this respect between the present strong, fine built draught horses, ploughing in pairs, and the dwarfish small-boned beasts, six or even eight of which used to be seen, forty years ago, attached to the clumsy plough then in use. Every year, prize stallions, both draught and blood, travel through this and the neighbouring parishes. General Gordon of Cairness, six years ago, brought three fine Arab stallions from Greece, two of which have got stock in the parish, which promise well for the saddle.

Pigs.—Pigs are raised in considerable number, and of a good kind, being improved by a mixture of the Bedford and Westphalia, Orkney and Chinese. The close-hoofed kind have been also tried, but have been given up on account of the redness of their flesh.

Husbandry.— The husbandry in this quarter deserves a very different character from that bestowed on it in the former Statistical Account of the parish, being in general both laboriously and skilfully conducted. Neither does it owe its advancement, as the writer of the first account supposes, to the introduction of lime as a manure, which in general does not suit, the soil being sandy; but bone dust has been applied for the last five or six years, with very great success both for green crops, for which it is chiefly used, and for surface-dressing pasture, or for laying down with sown grasses. Near the coast, sea-ware is mixed with compost for fallows, and applied to the inferior soils unmixed before the ley is broken up for white crop. In certain cases, it is applied to the stubble field, when a second white crop is taken ; and it is universally esteemed as surface-dressing for pasture. It is needless to remark, that a regular rotation of cropping has been long observed. A seven shift is now most approved in this quarter. There is a good deal of bear or big, raised after the green crops, and but little barley, except on some few patches of fine infield near the sea-side. Rye has been raised with success on the poorest soils if dry ; but there is no home demand either for the grain, or straw for hat manufacture. The soil of Lonmay is best adapted for raising grass, (which is very early,) and turnips. A small proportion of the soil is capable of producing above seven or eight returns.

The best illustration we can furnish of the improvement which has taken place on the face of this part of the country, is by stating the number of acres reclaimed from waste, as under:—

* Much has also been done on the other estates, but the above examples will serve.

Besides the above, about 260 acres, styled arable pasture, is now under the usual rotation of cropping. [What is called outfield does not support the sown grasses above two or three years, after which the inferior and coarser natural grasses return. This remark applies to much of the thin land in the parish, which must, therefore, be surface-dressed, with a view to continued pasturage ; or else be broken up frequently, and laid down of new with sown grasses. Mr Bannerman is now making extensive experiments in burning peat moss, with a view to reclaim waste ground.] Another test of the increased value of the land is obtained from the comparative rental. In 1795, according to the former Statistical Account, the rent of the parish was two thousand guineas, it is now L. 5395.

There are two water meadows in the parish, one on General Gordon's, and the other on Mr Bannerman's estate. The general endurance of leases is for nineteen years. On the supposition that a seven years course of rotation is the most proper, the term ought to be extended to at least twenty-one years.

The enclosures are almost all of stone, of which dikes, without cement, are built of great strength, and with much neatness. As, however, outlying stones are scarce, enclosing is attended with much outlay of capital. Where roads intervene a sloping face of earth is left outside, which is sometimes planted with thorn or beech. The farm steadings have been much improved ; but there still remains a good deal to be done in that department.

Improvement.—What may be termed the grand improvement introduced of late years, is trench-ploughing, with four oxen or four strong horses, once in the rotation. By this operation a greater depth of soil, and fresh soil has been procured, and by this means the growth of plants has been in many places favoured by the pan or till being pierced. By trench ploughing, greater moisture is obtained in dry seasons, for the roots of plants are thus allowed to descend, and, on the other hand, in rainy seasons the surface water is not kept up, but is speedily absorbed by the finer and softer sand subsoil.

Obstacles to Improvement.—Want of capital is the crying grievance, and its effects are felt yearly more and more. Small farms, in consequence of this and the deterioration in the value of produce, cannot afford profits, after payment of rents, sufficient to maintain the occupiers and their families. It is truly wonderful how any of them can continue on their present footing. They work hard, and live with the utmost frugality; and they contrive to appear in decent clothing at church, and to give their children Christian education. I am sorry to say, their comforts, which were visibly increased, are again reduced.

Fisheries.—We may mention three kinds: the cod-fishing, salt-cured, and sold wholesale. The fish is sold in retail from house to house for food. St Combs is the only fishing station in the parish. The St Combs fishermen go with their herring-boats to Fraserburgh.

The whole rent paid for houses and gardens to the proprietors of St Combs is L. 61, 4s.

Average gross amount of raw Produce.—Strict accuracy is hardly attainable in furnishing information on this head. Few agriculturists in this part of the country make regular entries of returns of produce in their farm accounts, or of sales, so as to furnish an average valuation thereof, and the same holds true of their live-stock. Details of profits cannot be obtained, so as to enable us to treat the subject otherwise than hypothetically. The following table' has, however, been framed after due inquiry and consideration, and will be found perhaps to approach the truth as nearly as the nature of the case will admit.

* Oats of 1st quality, 19s. adding 6d. additional for bear grown, of which the real average price is 22s. per boll; 2d quality of oats fiar prices.

t This total value exceeds what is realised, as the writer finds, on more extensive inquiry, something should be set down for wasted and lost; but the rent being, as per common computation, one-third, L. 5500 X 3 = L. 16,500; (L. 18,000 may be near the truth.)—Jan. 1840.

Manufactures.—Kelp was the only article manufactured in the parish, and this unfortunately is now at an end, in consequence of the free importation of barilla. There used to be about 30 persons, chiefly women, employed here for eight weeks in the year, at 1s. per diem each, and about 20 tons of kelp was annually made and sold. The rent of the kelp shore used formerly to average L. 50 per annum, and is now gone.

Navigation.—Number of boats from St Combs employed in the herring fishery, 13; and perhaps as many smaller boats for ordinary white-fishing.

V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Town.—The nearest market-town is Fraserburgh, four miles distant from the north-east boundary of the parish. Peterhead is about eight miles from the south-east boundary.

Means of Communication.—One receiving-house for letters and newspapers, about one-quarter of a mile west of the western boundary of the parish, at Cortebræ. One turnpike-road from Peterhead to Banff, by Fraserburgh, traverses the parish for a mile and half; another from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen, by Mintlaw, extends from north to south nearly six miles through the parish. One daily mail-coach runs from the south to Fraserburgh, and ' one stage-coach from Peterhead to Banff, by Mintlaw, three times a week. [We have now also a stage-coach between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, which runs through the parish - Jan. 1840.]

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church is situated within two miles of the north-east boundary, and upwards of seven from the south end. From the south end much inconvenience, amounting in many cases to absolute hindrance from attending any place of worship, has long, too long, resulted from this arrangement. In March 1836, a petition was given in to the presbytery of Deer, and signed by 103 heads of families, which describes so graphically the spiritual wants of the people that it is here inserted: "The petition of the householders in the southern district of the parish of Lonmay, comprehending the whole of Kinninmonth, part of Belfatten (in Crimonmogate), and of others residing on the borders of the contiguous parishes of Strichen, Old Deer, Longside, and St Fergus,—Humbly sheweth, That your petitioners labour under the grievous disadvantage of want of opportunities of public worship, and of adequate pastoral superintendence, by reason of the great distance which intervenes between their places of residence and their parish churches, aggravated by the impracticability of accommodation in others less remote. Adhering to the Church of Scotland, your petitioners cannot but feel distressed that they are themselves so frequently, and the young, the aged, and infirm of their families, almost entirely, deprived of the means of attendance at the house of God; and all of waiting on the ministry of a pastor residing among them: That your petitioners inhabit a district not less than from six to eight square miles in extent, so disadvantageously situated in the respects above shewn, that no less than 78 families, consisting of 416 souls, in Lonmay alone, and upwards of 60 other families, adhering to the Church of Scotland, are from four to seven miles distant from their respective parish churches. These families have, moreover, many of them, no seats in any other church of the Establishment, others but one sitting, and a considerable number have even taken sittings in a place of worship, belonging to a body not only unconnected, but disagreeing, with the Church of Scotland ; having often no choice between this occasional departure from their own church, or absenting themselves wholly from a place of worship. That the number of Dissenters in this district from the Established Church is, at present, exceedingly small, but will undoubtedly increase deplorably, unless an additional church shall be forthwith erected in connection with the Church of Scotland. That your petitioners have, therefore, joined together in subscription to contribute to the expense of erecting a suitable building, capable of containing from 350 to 400 persons." &c. &c. By means of the aid afforded by the Church Extension Committee of the General Assembly, amounting to L. 150, and local contributions, L. 250 and upwards,a church has been built; the whole expense defrayed; and a preacher located having a neat cottage hard by the church; and the gratifying spectacle may now be seen of groupes of families every Lord's day, passing thickly to and from this additional house of God. In theori-ginal parish church every vacant sitting is taken, and this new church is filled, illustrating in this part of the country the benefit of church extension. The present parish church was built on a new site in 1787. The old church stood on the present burial-ground since 1608, previous to which the parish church was by the sea-side, hard by where the village of St Combs now stands. It appears to have been of small dimensions. The present church is in good repair. All the public buildings are annually inspected by competent tradesmen, and defects supplied, in consequence of standing resolutions of the heritors. The church was originally seated for 860. There are once every year 800 persons within its walls. Seats were allowed by the heritors to be fitted up in the centre of the area, at the expense of the kirk-session, by whom they are annually let for sums of from 1s. to 4d. each, for behoof of the poor. A good many of the tenants are accommodated with seats free of rent. Others, I understand, are charged by their landlord a small sum per seat,—a practice which ought to be discontinued, for obvious reasons.

The present manse was built in the year 1824, and has already undergone some overhauling, and will soon probably require more, as is common with cheap manses.

The glebe consists of 13 acres, two of which have been reclaimed by the present incumbent from whinny moor-land. An ex-cambion took place in 1810 of the old glebe at St Combs, for some additional ground adjoining the present glebe. The stipend, by decreet of the Lords Commissioners, was modified in 1814 to 13 chalders of victual, half barley, half meal. [Now modified to 16½ chalders, half barley, half meal, with L. 10 for communion elements. - Jan. 1840.]

There is one additional church at Kinninmonth; the preacher, Mr C. Cordiner, is resident there, and visits and catechises in his district. There is one Dissenting chapel, viz. an Episcopalian, the minister of which is paid by seat-rents, which make up a very small salary to him. There is no Popish chapel, and only one person of that communion in the parish.

The two Established Churches are both well attended. The number of communicants has been yearly on the increase. The average for the last three years is about 780. Since Kinninmonth church was built the communicants exceed this number considerably. The number of families who belonged to the Established Church in 1837 was 036; of persons of all ages, 1621. In the parish attending the Dissenting Episcopal chapel, 33 families, and 154 persons; of Seceders attending meeting-houses in other parishes, 5 families, and 23 persons. Total, 1798.

Education.—Total number of schools in the parish, 6; of parochial schools, 3; of unendowed or private, 1; of dames' schools for girls, sewing, &c. 2. Branches of education taught are English reading, English grammar, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping; also additional at the first parochial school Latin and mathematics and navigation, which last is also taught in the St Comb's school.

Salaries of Schoolmasters.—Of the 1st, or Lonmay estate school, L.28; of the 2d, or Kinninmonth school, L. 13, 6s. 7d.; of the 3d, or St Comb's school, L. 10: Total paid by heritors, L. 51, 6s. 7d.

Amount of Fees.—Latin per quarter, 5s.; mathematics and geography, 6s.; arithmetic, 4s.; English and writing, 3s.; English reading alone, 2s.; all paid at the end of the quarter, and the total amount per annum of said fees to each schoolmaster is reported by them to be: For first school, paid to the assistant (the schoolmaster being superannuated, and allowed to retire upon his salary) L. 21, 16s. (The heritors also subscribe L. 4 per annum to said assistant during the life of the schoolmaster.) Second school, amount of fees, L. 21, 4s. 9d. Third, St Combs, L. 16. Fourth, private school, said to be only L. 8. For the first school there is sufficient acommodation provided. The Kinninmonth school was built by general subscription, and the teacher rents a house and small piece of ground. The St Comb's school and schoolmaster's apartments were built by the proprietor, General Gordon, at his own expense. The ordinary expense of education is shown by the foregoing statement of fees, to be from 8s. per annum for children, to L. 1, 4s. per annum for scholars learning Latin and mathematics. There are only four or five persons between six and ten years of age who have never been at school, and these will be educated at the public expense. There are some old persons who cannot read or write. As a proof how much alive the people are to the benefits of education, we shall state in addition, the number of scholars now in attendance at the several schools in the parish :—

Total number at present at Lonmay school, 58; Kinninmonth, 68; St Combs, 52; parochial private school, 52; girls' schools, 23; dames' school, 14; scholars belonging to Lonmay at other schools in different parishes, 8; scholars belonging to other parishes attending schools in Lonmay, 27; total scholars belonging to Lonmay, 248, being upwards of one-eighth of the whole population.

When the present incumbent came to his pastoral charge here about twenty-three years ago, there was but one school, attended on an average by 47 or 48 scholars yearly. The heritors in 1820 having complied with the supplication made to them, and additional means of education having been provided, the schools were no sooner opened than they were filled with scholars, and the private schools followed thereafter. Then was afforded the present happy result, well worthy of the observation of every well-wisher to the interests of Christianity and of general civilization, who has it in his power "to go and do likewise."

Friendly Society.—There was a Friendly Society instituted at St Combs. Considerable trouble was taken in forming it; but after the fishermen had almost all joined, and the infant institution was advancing prosperously, came the ill-judged legislative interference proposed by Mr Kennedy, M. P., which upset this useful scheme, along with a hundred others throughout Scotland; and it is feared no persuasion will be available for their re-construction. Poor and Parochial Funds.—The average number of persons receiving parochial aid for the last four years, 44 ; total funds, including collections at church, penalties, and interest of about L.250 lent out, and voluntary donations from heritors, L. 66.— Charge upon the funds : session-clerk and officer, doctor's bill and coffins, say L. 10, 10s., leaving L. 55 amongst 44 persons, L. 1, 5s. each.

The munificent bequest of the late Mr Burnett of Aberdeen to the kirk-session of the several parishes in the county of Aberdeen for behoof of the poor, affords a payment to each parish once in about eight years. This has been employed by the kirk-session of Lonmay as a floating fund to meet exigencies. Very few applications are made personally for aid. Support is professedly not the system, and relief is afforded in as quiet and efficient a manner as possible, so as to go hand in hand, without interfering, with private charity. The field, however, we are sorry to observe, has for some years past been growing more extensive, and difficulties are sensibly felt in dealing prudently with the evil. There is now introduced a very guarded observance of the law of settlement, which has occasioned a great watchfulness of the characters and regard to the circumstances of new comers, both on the part of the kirk-sessions and heritors.

Fairs.—There are two held annually on the same ground, one in spring and the other in autumn, for cattle and sheep, and also for feeing farm-servants. [It is most desirable that order should be taken to remove by sunset the booths for the sale of spirits, &c. and that the constabulary force should clear these markets at that time.]

Inns, Alehouses, &c.— Of petty public houses there are few. Yet these, and the licensed whisky shops, five or six in number, are to be considered an evil in the parish, and they are in general truly a curse to the country, affording temptations to intemperance, which are by no means withstood.

Fuel.—Peat moss is used generally for fuel, brought from the estates of Crimonmogate and Kinninmonth. The tenantry on the other estates purchase it at a price which the proprietors have been, from time to time, advancing; so that, if along with the present high price of this article, its carriage also was to be estimated at its proper cost, it would be found to be much dearer than (as it is certainly a much inferior fuel to) sea-borne coal.

Miscellaneous Observations. The principal changes in the state of this parish since the last Statistical Account was published, consist, I. In the great extent of agricultural improvements: 1st, On waste land reclaimed : 2d, Wet land drained : 3d, In very extensive and substantial inclosures: 4th, In an improved system of cropping, of breeding stock, and general management: 5th, In additional plantations, which now begin highly to adorn the face, especially of the northern half of the parish : 6th, In the increased value of the land, the total rental being nearly treble of what it was in 1796. II. In the provision made for the intellectual improvement of the people, which is vastly increased. III. In the additional accommodation for the worship of God, by an additional church and preacher. IV. In the external comforts of the people, as to lodging, neatness of dress, and others which meet the eye. But then, on the other side of the picture, is to be noted, straitened circumstances of late years, and want of capital. The tide of prosperity is at present ebbing, and credit is decreasing as well as cash. There is a decreased currency, and low prices for produce,—but high rents, high charges for labour and implements, and a heavy charge for wear and tear on the farm accounts. Great industry and the greatest possible frugality are requisite to obtain the means of bare subsistence.

Drawn up in 1835, Revised January 1840.


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