PRESBYTERY OF STRATHBOGIE, SYNOD OF MORAY.
[From notes furnished by the Rev. Thomas Wright. The proceedings
consequent on the presentation to the parish of Marnoch in 1837, led to
the deposition, by the General Assembly in 1841, of the Rev. William
Allar-dyce, minister of this parish; in which Mr Allardyce and a
minority of the General Assembly do not acquiesce. They have obtained a
suspension and interdict from the Court of Session.]
I.—Topography and Natural History.
The old parish of Essie was, very long ago, united to
that of Rhynie.
Boundaries.—The parish is bounded on the north by
Gartly; on the south, by Auchindoir; on the west, by. Cabrach. Its
figure is nearly square.
The soil is various. There is but one mountain in the
parish : it is called Noth, about 1000 feet above the level of the sea.
Parochial Registers.—These have been irregularly
kept. Land-owners.—The sole land-owner in the parish is His Grace
the Duke of Richmond.
Antiquities.—The most remarkable of these is on
the summit of the hill of Noth, and considered by MacCulloch to be the
remains of a vitrified fort. What appear to have been the walls are, in
some parts, more than ten feet in thickness. It is very difficult to
conceive how such a mass of loose stones could, by any artificial
process, be cemented together by fusion, and, supposing that the
requisite heat could be excited, it is difficult to conceive it possible
so to regulate the heat throughout so great a mass, as that only so many
of the stones should be fused as were required to cement the others. The
conducting power of earthy matter is so very low, that the outer surface
would be run before the centre could be warmed. The result of such a
process would be case-hardening; but the fact is, the cementation is as
perfect in the centre as on the surface more immediately exposed to the
At the foot of the hill, on the north-west, there are
several tumuli commemorative of an engagement fought in
the year 1057, between the brave M'Duff and the usurper Lulach, who, for
the brief period of six months, assumed the title of King, withholding
the sceptre from Malcolm Canmore. Here Lulach was slain by Macduff. From
this engagement it derives its name Mildewne, (grave of a thousand.)
To the west of the Noth, on the low grounds, there
still exist the ruins of the castle of Lesmore, a stronghold once
possessed by an ancient branch of the Gordon family. These, with some
monumental, stones scattered throughout the parish, rudely carved with
hieroglyphics much defaced, constitute the only relics of antiquity to
There are two villages, one of which has a population
of 240, and the other of 150.
Agriculture.— The average rent of land per
acre is 15s. The real rental of the parish is L.2204, I3s. 6d. There has
been recently a considerable increase of activity in farming operations.
Large portions of waste land have been reclaimed. Lime to a large extent
has been introduced, also a small amount of bone-dust. The produce of
the parish has been doubled since 1820.
Ecclesiastical State.—There are only about a
dozen Dissenting families in the parish. Stipend in money, L.130, 10s.
9d.; value of grain stipend, about L.25. The manse was built in 1821.
Education.—There are two schools in the parish.
The salary of the parochial teacher is L.24, 7s. 8d., with 8 bolls of
Poor.—Average number of poor on the roll, 16;
average amount of funds for their relief, from church collections, L.
24, 2s. 6d.; of other contributions, L.6, 13s. 4d; of mortifications,
mort-cloth dues, &c. L. 20, 7s. 8d.