PRESBYTERY OF ALFORD, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. ALEXANDER REID, MINISTER.
I.—Topography and Natural History.
Name.—The name is of Gaelic origin, signifying
the little burial mount.
Boundaries.—The parish is bounded on the north,
by Achen-doir; on the south, by Towie and Leochel Cushnie; on the, east,
by Tullynessle and Alford; on the west, by Towie and Strathdon.
Parochial Registers.—A register of discipline,
marriages, and baptisms, with an account of the poor's money, was begun
in 1675, and has been kept irregularly, blanks occurring occasionally
for several years.
Land-owners.—These, with their rentals, are the
Mansion-houses.—There is a mansion-house at Clova,
built in the modern style; also a cottage, built by Colonel Gordon,
brother to the laird of Wardhouse, in the immediate neighbourhood of the
castle, and separated from it by a beautiful ravine, built in the
Antiquities.—The castle among the objects of
antiquity claims the first regard. Tradition bears, that it originally
consisted but of one great circular tower, of five stories or floors;
distinguished by the appellation of the Snow Tower, in the western
corner of the present fabric, which was afterwards carried round a
pretty spacious court, forming an unequal pentagon, in which six other
towers, differing in magnitude and form, rose for the protection of the
intervening buildings, which appear to have been but two stories in
height. Two of these towers were for the security alone, of the only
gate placed in the western wall, occupying the whole space between them;
the walls were four feet thick, built of run-lime, and the outside
courses of freestone, regularly squared; the western wall was reared on
the verge of the acclivity at first described, which rose, however, in
such a gentle slope, as to afford space for the garden, which, though
warm and finely sheltered, would, in the present age, be accounted too
small. The northern side was secured by the steep banks of the brook,
and round the east and south were deep artificial ditches, the whole
fortification occupying nearly three Scots acres; besides a draw-well.
There may be still traced from the interior of the fortress, a
subterranean vaulted passage, of height sufficient for horses, opening
in the bank, now much above the present bed of the brook, although it is
believed, its channel was then on a level with the exterior opening of
this covered way. In the middle of the eastern wall, the chapel may be
still distinguished by the peculiar form of the window above the altar,
consisting of three very long and very narrow slits. Tradition reports,
that the chapel was occupied as a magazine of forage, during the noted
siege by the forces of Edward I. in the year 1306; that when Robert I.
and his wife and daughter, were understood to have made their escape, by
means of the covered way to the county of Ross, the besiegers despaired
of success, when a piece of red hot iron thrown through this window into
the forage, occasioned such distraction by the conflagration, that the
castle was won by surprise and storm. (Vide Old Account.)
Number of illegitimate births within the last three
Agriculture.—The average rent of land per acre is
from L.1 to L. 1, 10s., according to quality. Real rental of the parish,
from L.1200 to L.1500 per annum. The parish is entirely agricultural.
The Kildrummy oat is well known as a light, thin oat,
having plenty of straw, ripening about a week earlier
than second-rate oats, and very suitable to high situations.
V.— Parochial Economy.
Ecclesiastical State.—Number of families
belonging to the Established Church, 88 ; Dissenting or Seceding
families, 6. Amount of stipend, L. 150. Glebe about six acres Scots in
extent, and valued at L. 10. The manse was built in 1724, and received
an addition in 1804. It is now in very bad condition.
Education.—There is but one school, the
parochial. Salary the minimum fees probably from L.8 to L. 10 per annum.
But the teacher has the benefit of the Dick Bequest.
Poor.—Number receiving aid, 10. Amount for their
relief, about L. 39, whereof from church collections, L. 19; from alms
or legacies, about L.20.