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

[Drawn up by the late incumbent, the Rev. Alexander Cock, and revised by the present incumbent, 1840.]

I.— Topography and Natural History.

Name.— The name Cruden takes its rise from the battle fought there in the year 1005, by Malcolm II., and Canute, son of Sueno, King of Denmark and Norway.

Extent.— The length of the parish from the east, where it meets the parish of Peterhead, to the west, where it meets the parish of Ellon near the House of Dudwick, is about 11 miles. The breadth at the west end is about 7 miles, at the east end about 4 miles. The sea is the boundary along the south side: the parishes of Slains, Logie Buchan, and Ellon, along the west; Old Deer and Longside along the north; and Peterhead along the east. The sea-coast from the east end to Slains Castle is bounded by high and formidable rocks of red granite. Close by Slains Castle is the Ward of Cruden, a small fishing village, where vessels can occasionally bring coal and lime. From this place to Land End, a distance of about two miles, is the Bay of Cruden, a fine sandy beach, at the south end of which a range of sunken rocks runs far into the sea, called the Scares of Cruden. The rocks from this place, all along the south, are black basalts, and very formidable.

Climate.—The temperature of the atmosphere is, in general, sharp and piercing, especially when the wind blows from the sea-Not many years ago, a large mass of rock near Dunbay was shivered in pieces, and some parts of it thrown a considerable distance towards the land. There are springs of good water, and a few chalybeate ones.

In ancient times, there were large forests of oak and hard-wood surrounding the parish. But now, only a few old trees remain in different places, and these of very diminutive appearance. We have a few clumps of something like brushwood, and lately some plantations have been tried, which promise to succeed.

II.—Civil History.

Proprietors.—It is with grief that the writer of this has to mention that the Earl of Errol's property in this parish is now greatly diminished. His Lordship is still the principal heritor. But there are now on the estates which formerly belonged to his family nine other proprietors.

Parochial Registers.—The parochial registers reach back only to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Manufactories. — The thread manufactories, which were so flourishing in the beginning of my day, and employed so many people, are now completely gone. A carding and spinning-mill was lately erected on the estate of Aquaharney, and carries on business to a considerable extent.


There are no villages in the parish except those of Bullersbuchan, Ward, and Whinnyfold, which all belong to the Earl of Errol. There are only at present four residing heritors. The number of proprietors of land yielding above L.50 a-year of rent is 11.


Rent—The rental of the parish is about L.10,000 a-year.

The dwelling-houses and accommodation of the tenants have been much improved. They are all commodiously situated, and the farmers and people in general live very comfortably. Great improvements have been made by draining, and the general state of husbandry is in a respectable condition.

Quarries.—The quarries of red granite, which some years ago were worked to a great extent, and which contributed to the solidity and beauty of some of the fine bridges on the Thames at London, are now completely deserted and given up.

V.—Parochial Economy.

We have two markets in the year, one in April, and the other in May, none of them of much consideration. There is a post-office half-way between Ellon and Peterhead, on the turnpike road, the length of which in that direction is about seven miles. The harbour at the Ward can only be used in good weather. But a safe and useful one could be made close by.

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church, which was built in the year 1776, stands in the middle of the parish. The heritors lately came forward in the most handsome manner and enlarged it, so as to make the extent of church accommodation equal to the wants of the congregation. It is now one of the most commodious and elegant churches in the synod. The number of communicants last year was 840. The glebe and toft contains about 7 acres. There is one Scotch Episcopal chapel, and divine service is well attended there and in the Established Church. The amount of church collections yearly, for religious and charitable purposes, is above L.70.

Education.— There is only one parochial school. The salary of the schoolmaster is L.25. There are four other unendowed schools in convenient situations, as the parish school, being in the centre of the parish and near the church, is at too great a distance from many places. The parochial teacher shares in the Dick Bequest. A parish library was established several years ago. under the patronage of the Earl of Errol.

Poor and Parochial Funds.—The number of poor on the roll who receive parochial relief is above 70. There are now no funds for their support but the weekly collections, donations from heritors, fines, and casual benefactions.

Alehouses.—There are about 10 alehouses.

Fuel—The fuel which the parish supplies is peat, the mosses of which were once thought to be inexhaustible, but are now fast wearing away. In summer coal is brought, in at the Ward. At other times, it must be brought either from Peterhead or New-burgh.


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