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


I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name, Boundaries, &c.—Fyvyn is the name given to this parish in most of the old charters and public writings connected with it. It is of Gaelic etymology, and derived from Fia Chein, signifying Deer-hill. There is a hill in the parish which still goes by the name of Deer Hill, and the names of several of the estates and farms have also been clearly traced to Gaelic original. Fyvie is one of the largest parishes in Aberdeenshire. Its extreme length from northeast to south-west is 13 miles; and its extreme breadth 8 miles; the extent of surface may be stated at 42 square miles. It lies about half-way between Aberdeen and Banff, and the public road between these two places passes through the breadth of it for several miles. It is bounded on the east, by the parishes of Methlick and Tarves; on the south, by Meldrum and Daviot; on the west, by Rayne and Auchterless; and on the north, by Turriff and Montquhitter.

Topographical Appearances.—There are no mountain ranges in this parish; smaller hills rise up in different parts of it, and in general there is a very pleasing variety of surface. The hill of Eastertown, towards the south boundary, is the principal elevation. It is connected with, and may be considered a continuation of the ridge of the hill of Bethelnie, in the adjoining parish of Meldrum,. which is said to be the highest land over which the turnpike road passes between Edinburgh and Inverness. In the neighbourhood of the hamlet of Woodhead, there is a district which goes by the name of the "Windy Hills;" a small ridge of hill, along the bottom of which on the north there is a tract of moss, and some patches of moss also on the south side. The ground in this quarter bears marks of having been for a long period under water. Beds of quartz similar to those found along the sea shore lie in every direction, The substratum of the hill consists of decomposed sandstone. No organic remains, however, so far as I have heard, have been found in the locality.

Soil, Climate, Diseases, &c.—There is great variety both of soil and climate in this parish. Along the banks of the Ythan, and more particularly in what is called the Howe of Fyvie, where the parish church and Fyvie Castle are situated, the soil is early and fertile. A substratum of gravel runs along the whole vale, covered in most places with a sharp rich loam. The climate here also is very mild, and the harvest about a week earlier than in the country generally in this quarter. In the north district of the parish there are large tracts of moss. Here the climate is colder, and the soil in general poorer than in the middle and southern parts, and the crops used frequently to suffer a good deal from frosts; but, from judicious drainage and the selection of early seeds, much less damage has been sustained in this way than formerly was the case. The north-east is the quarter from which we have most frequent storms. In general, the air of the parish is pure and healthy; and I am not aware of any disease to which it is peculiarly liable. By a table which I have subjoined under the head Population, it will be seen that a fair proportion of the people have attained to an advanced age. Cases of fever occasionally break out, which the imprudent, though well meant attentions of neigh-Ibours to each other, often tend not a little to propagate.

Hydrography.—The small river Ythan, which rises eleven miles westward in the parish of Forgue, and, after a farther easterly course of about twenty miles, falls into the sea at Newburgh, a village in the parish of Foveran,—divides this parish nearly into two equal parts. It possesses some statistical interest from the circumstance of pearls being frequently found in it. In the years 1762-63, some were found of considerable value. There are two salmon-fishings on this river, one at the mouth of it, the other at the village of Ellon, about three miles from the coast. The Ythan is very slow and smooth in its course; from the extensive system of drainage that now prevails, it rises more rapidly, and overflows its banks to a greater extent than formerly. From the point of its entering this parish, it runs through a long extent of flat ground, and, previous to certain recent improvements, the haughs on each side were rendered in a great measure useless by it; but, by forming a new channel, much valuable land has been reclaimed, partly above, through, and below the private grounds of Fyvie Castle, and for the farther accomplishment of this object extensive works are now in progress. The parish abounds with copious and salubrious springs. Several of the wells still retain the names of those saints to whom they were dedicated in Popish times. On the south side of the hill of Eastertown, there is St Paul's well, which was long much resorted to by the people of this and the surrounding parishes, and the favour of the saint sought in the usual manner, by casting a small offering into the well, and a subsequent free use of the waters. In a field upon a farm on the estate of Minnonie, which still retains the name of St John's Well, there are other two sainted springs, one dedicated to St John, the other to St Catharine; and a little northward of where the parish church stands, there is St Peter's Well. None of these springs possess strong mineral qualities, and are remarkable only for the purity and sweetness of their waters.

Mineralogy.—There is abundance of whinstone in the parish well adapted for building. Upon the farm of Cammaloun, on the estate of Fyvie, there has also been found sandstone of the same quality and appearance as that obtained in the extensive quarry at Delgaty, in the adjoining parish of Turriff. A few years ago, a quarry was opened there, but from the great dip of the stone, and the consequent difficulty of working it, a few blocks only were extracted for a special purpose. A vein of this stone is supposed run from the coast through the intermediate parishes. It is found in abundance in Turriff and Montquhitter and partially in the coast parishes of Gamrie and Aberdour. None has been met with, as I have heard, farther west than the point above referred to at Cammaloun. There is also at Petts, on the estate of Gight, a quarry of whinstone, valuable for the large slabs obtained from it. Some of these have been extracted 10 feet long by 2 broad, and 6 feet by 4. They are used in the country for various purposes, and are remarkable for strength and tenacity.

Zoology and Botany.—The following is a list of wild animals which are to be found in this parish:—Of quadrupeds there are, roe-deer, hare, rabbit, fox, badger, polecat, stoat, weasel, hedgehog, otter, water-rat, and all the common varieties of the smaller vermin, as the mole, rat, field-mouse, &c. Of land birds there are,

Among the rarer species of plants found in the parish are the following:-

Among mosses are, Tortula muralis and tortuosa, Dicranum taxifolium, and H. undulatum. Among fungi are, Agaricus luteus, nitidus, confluens, semiglobatus, bulbosus, muscarius, and procerus.

The districts of the parish most favourable for the researches of the botanist are, the Braes of Gight, the Den of Rothie, and the old wood near Fyvie Castle. The most extensive plantation in the parish is that of the Den of Rothie, belonging to Mr Gordon of Fyvie. It runs west from the hollow of Fyvie, a distance of about two miles and a half. It consists chiefly of fir, and produces considerable revenue. In the parish altogether it has been calculated that there are 1735 acres in wood. A great part of this was planted by the late General Gordon of Fyvie, and his example has been followed by the present proprietor. A good deal has also been done in this way by the present Mr Leslie of Rothie, and by the former proprietor of Littlefolla; but still there are considerable* tracts of hill land, which in their present state are bad objects in the landscape, and are lost in a great measure as a source of revenue to the proprietors. It is much to be desired that these were clothed with wood. There is every encouragement to this from the thriving state of all the plantations within the parish, and the higher value to which wood must soon attain, in consequence of the rapid consumption of moss throughout the country, and the distance of this locality from the coast.

II.— Civil History.

No separate account of the parish is known, previous to that contributed by the late incumbent, the Rev. William Moir, to the old Statistical Account; but various interesting notices, especially in relation to the church, the priory, and the chapel of St Rule at Folia, are contained in the "Chartularies of Arbroath and Aberdeen," in the Advocates' Library of Edinburgh; in the Char-tulary of Aberdeen, and Chaplain's Register, in the Library of King's College; [For much that is contained in the department of Civil History, I have to ac-knowledge my obligations to Mr Taylor, late librarian of King's College, and Mr Gordon of Fyvie, who kindly permitted a full search of the old charters and other papers connected with Fyvie Castle.] and in a view of the Diocese of Aberdeen, manuscript, in the Advocates' Library, supposed to be written by Sir Samuel Forbes of Foveran.

Historical Events.—In the year 1296, the Castle of "Fyvin" appears to have been visited by Edward I. of England, in his progress through Scotland. [Edward I.'s Diary, Bannatyne Miscellany, Vol. i. p. 278.] In 1395, the "Castel of Fivy," which must have then been a place of considerable strength, was defended by the "gud lady" of Sir James Lindesay, though "as-segit straitly" by her undutiful nephew, Robert de Keith, son of the Marischal, till her husband came to her relief, and "quyte discumfyted" the said Robert and his adherents near the kirk of Bourty. [Wyntown's Chron. ii. p. 371-373.]

In 1644, Montrose took possession of Fyvie Castle; but not thinking it tenable against the superior force of Argyle, he retired to an eminence a little to the north-eastward, which he defended with great bravery for several days, and then marched by night to Strathbogie. The entrenchments are still distinctly to be seen, and the ground goes by the name of Montrose Camp. One of Argyle's encampments also on the lands of Ardlogie is still called the Camp-fold.

Fyvie Castle
Fyvie Castle (Picture by the Bard of Banff)

Papers and Charters.—Allusion has already been made to some documents in the Chartularies of Arbroath and Aberdeen, connected with the parochial history of Fyvie. Of these one relates to a perambulation held in 1325, in virtue of a brieve from King Robert Bruce, to fix the marches between the King's park of "Fyvin," and the lands of Ardlogie, belonging to the Abbey of Arbroath. Several others refer to a dispute between the Bishop of Aberdeen and the husbandmen of Formartine, in 1382, about payment of the second tithes; and a considerable number are occupied with the affairs of the church and priory. At Fyvie Castle the series of charters is numerous and extensive, beginning towards the close of the fourteenth century, and descending in an almost unbroken chain to the present time. The original charter of Sir Henry Preston, obtained from Robert III. in 1390, is lost, but an official extract is preserved. There are also preserved an extract of the appointment of Alexander Seton, Lord Urquhart, to be President of the Court of Session, in 1593; the charter of erection of the barony of Fyvie into a lordship, with all the privileges of a Peer of Parliament in his favour, in 1597; the signature under the hand of James VI., with the commission under the Great and Privy-Seal constituting him Chancellor of Scotland in 1604; and the commission and patent of his creation as Earl of Dunfermline in 1605; with his appointment as Keeper of Holyrood Palace in 1611. There is also an interesting set of about thirty documents relating to the public transactions between 1640 and 1770, in which Charles, the second Earl of Dunfermline, bore a part. Of these may be specified the Conference at Ripon, 1640; the General Assembly at St Andrews, 1642, to which Dunfermline was commissioner, and to which refers an order of the English Parliament to the Assembly; the instructions of King Charles I. to Dunfermline, the commissioner; two letters from the King to Dunfermline, and one from Dunfermline in reply, during the sitting of the Assembly; the gift of the Privy Seal of Scotland to Dunfermline; the King's leaving Holden-by, 1647; the negociations between Charles II. and the Commissioners of the Estates of Scotland, at Breda, 1650; and the meeting of the Scottish Parliament, 1661. It may also be stated, that at Fyvie Castle, there is a considerable number of paintings, both by ancient and modern artists, and an excellent library, in the departments particularly of Scottish antiquities, history, biography, topography, and poetry, well stored.

Proprietorship.—At one period the barony of Fyvie had the alias designation of Formartine, and the proprietorship can be satisfactorily ascertained from an early date; but the term Formartine is now applied to the second of the five divisions of the county of Aberdeen, while it also gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Aberdeen. The ancient barony of Formartyn or Fremartyn formed three-fourths of this district, the other one-fourth constituting the barony of Belhelvie. The term Fyvie is now restricted to the parish, and that part of it, amounting to a full third, which forms the property of Mr Gordon. The old orthography was "Fyvin," in correspondence with the etymology already assigned. It seems to have been a royal park down to the time of Robert II., and the castle was no doubt a royal hunting-seat. In 1325, mention is made of the "King's Park of Fyvin." Between 1370 and 1380, it was given by Robert II., to his eldest son, John, then Steward of Scotland, and afterwards king by the title of Robert III. He soon resigned it in favour of his cousin-german, Sir James Lindesay. It was acquired by the Prestons in 1390; by the Meldrums about 1440; by the Setons in 1596; and by the present family, the Gordons, in 1726. [Fyvie Charters.]

Eminent Characters.—Reginald le Chen or Cheyne.—This distinguished person was proprietor of the lands of Ardlogy and Leuchendy, which he gave to the Priory of Fyvie, in connection with the Abbey of Arbroath, in 1285. He is generally styled Pater, to distinguish him from his son of the same name. He was Baron of Inverugie, Strabrock, &c. and Great Chamberlain of Scotland from 1267 to 1269. He was one of the Magnates Scotiae who concurred in settling the succession to the crown on Margaret of Norway, grand-daughter to Alexander III., in 1284. He was one of the barons who addressed Edward I. on the subject of a marriage between the young Queen of Scotland and the Prince of Wales, with the view of uniting the kingdoms, in 1289. He made his submission to Edward I., at Aberdeen, on the 17th July 1296, and his name is found in the Ragman Roll. Of this ancient family of Cheyne of Inverugie came Henry le Chen or Cheyne, Bishop of Aberdeen from 1281 to 1329.[Crawfurd's Lives, p. 263. Documents and Records of the History of Scotland, Rec. Com. Vol. i. p. 175.]

James de Lindesay.—He was the ninth in descent of the family of Crawfurd, and is designed "Dominus de Crawfurd et Buchan." He was nearly connected with the royal family, his mother being Egidia, sister to Robert II. He was present at the coronation of his uncle at Scone 1371; and he was a commissioner to treat with the English in 1374 and 1381. About 1380, he became proprietor of Formartine, on the resignation of his cousin John, afterwards Robert II.; and in 1382, was involved in dispute with the Bishop of Aberdeen, about the payment of the second tithes. In 1383, he quarrelled with Sir John Lyon of Glammis, Chamberlain of Scotland, and son in-law of the King, and slew him in single combat. In 1385, his share of the French subsidy was 2000 livres. In 1388, he fought with the Earl of Douglas at. Otterburn. In 1395, as already mentioned, he raised the siege of Fyvie Castle, which his lady had bravely defended. He died 1397, without male issue, and was succeeded as Lord of Crawfurd by his cousin, Sir David Lindesay of Glenesk, while the Formartine property fell to his brother-in-law. [Douglas Peerage. Wyntoun.]

Sir Henry Preston.—He was of the family of Preston of Craig-millar, shared in the subsidy of 1385, and fought at Otterburn, in which battle he appears to have been the captor of Ralph Percy, as he had for his redemption a grant from Robert III., in 1390, of the lands and barony of Formartine, on the resignation of his brother-in-law, Sir James Lindesay. Sir Henry was a commissioner to treat with the English in 1390 and 1391, and he died about 1433, leaving, according to the most probable accounts, two daughters co-heiresses, one of whom married Forbes of Tolqu-hon, and the other Meldrum of Fyvie, thereby endowing their husbands with these respective properties. [Douglas, Fyvie Charters.]

Sir George Meldrum.—The Meldrums possessed Fyvie for about a century and a-half. Sir George, who lived about the middle of the sixteenth century, seems to have been the only one among them known in a public capacity. He is termed by Lesly "ane vailyeant and wyse gentleman," while he relates that, in 1544, Sir George was sent by the Governor of Scotland on an embassy to the King of England, then personally engaged in the siege of Boulogne in France. His instructions were " to commoune upon certane abstuouce, to the effect that Commissioners should meit, quhilk was aggreit qntill his returning in Ingland in the moneth of August thairaftir." [History, English ed. 1830, p. 187.]

Alexander First Earl of Dunfermline.—He was third son of George Sixth Lord Seton, and brother of Robert first Earl of Winton, and became proprietor of Fyvie by purchase from the Meldrums in 1596. In early life he studied at Rome for the Church, but the establishment of the Reformed Faith in Scotland led him to turn his attention to the law. He was in great favour with James VI. and successively attained the dignities of Prior of Pluscardine in 1585; Lord of Session, by the title of Lord Urquhart, 1587; President of the Court of Session in 1593; Treasury Commissioner, 1595; Peer of Parliament by the title of Lord Fyvie in 1598; Commissioner to treat of the Union with England in 1604 ; Lord High Chancellor of Scotland the same year ; Earl of Dunfermline in 1606; and Commissioner to the famous Parliament of 1612, which confirmed the proceedings of the Glasgow Assembly of-1610, and rescinded the act establishing Presbytery of 1592. He continued Chancellor till his death at Pinkie, near Musselburgh, in 1622, and was succeeded by his son,  [Crawfurd. Douglas. Fyvie Charters.]

Charles Second Earl of Dunfermline.—This nobleman took an active part in the transactions of the momentous period of our history from 1622 till his death in 1672. In 1639, he was twice sent from the Scottish Parliament to the King on missions of importance. In 1640, he was named a Commissioner to the treaty at Ripon, and in 1642, he was Royal Commissioner at the General Assembly of St Andrews. In 1649, he went abroad to Charles II. and accompanied him in his unsuccessful attempt to assert his rights in 1650. At the Restoration he was made a Privy-Councillor; in 1669 an Extraordinary Lord of Session; and in 1671, Keeper of the Privy-Seal. He died in 1672, and was succeeded by his son Alexander, third Earl, who survived but a short time, and the property fell to his younger brother. [Ibid.]

James Fourth Earl of Dunfermline.— He served in early life under the Prince of Orange in several memorable expeditions, but returned home on the accession of James II. in 1684. He joined Dundee in 1689, and fought at Killiecrankie. He is celebrated by the Jacobite author of the "Prælium Gilliecrankianum," as "Nobilis apparuit Germilodunensis Cujus in rebelles stringebatur ensis Nobilis et sanguine, nobilior virtute Regi devotissimus intus et in cute;" and his consequence and military reputation were such, that after the death of Dundee he would have received the command, but for the unwelcome commission produced by Colonel Cameron. He was outlawed in 1690, and died at St Germains in 1694 without surviving issue, and the Fyvie property passed by purchase in 1726 unto the present family. [Douglas. Hogg's Jacobite Relics, Vol. i. p. 30, 191, 201—Fyvie Charters.]

Gight.—The estate of Gight in this parish, now the property of the Earl of Aberdeen, formerly belonged to the maternal ancestors of the late Lord Byron. It was sold soon after the marriage of his mother, who was the heiress. The burial-place of the family of Gordon of Gight is in the parish churchyard. Formerly it was within the old church, and upon the new church being built, my predecessor acquainted the Honourable Mrs Byron of the altered situation in which it stood, as being now exposed, and put in her view the propriety of raising some protection around it, but without success. It is to be regretted that the application had not been renewed to the Noble poet himself, as, amid all his difficulties, it was one of such a kind as probably would have excited his interest, and both had the desired effect, and called forth from him some beautiful epitaph.

About the middle of the churchyard there is a more humble grave, but one possessed of a certain romantic interest, that of the heroine of the pathetic Scotch ballad called "Tiftie's Bonnie Annie." The original tombstone having become decayed, Mr Gordon of Fyvie, a few years ago, caused a new one to be placed upon it, a fac-simile in every respect. The name of the unfortunate damsel, the story of whose love is so finely told in the ballad, was Agnes Smyth. The common pronunciation of the Christian name was Nannie, which in the ballad is farther metamorphosed into Annie. On one of the turrets of Fyvie Castle there is a stone figure of the renowned trumpeter sounding his horn towards Mill of Tiftie. [As a curious specimen of the form of tenure of other days, the following is submitted, being the rent of William Smyth, the father of Annie, for 1672. "Of maill three score sax bollis, of money one pound, of wadderis three, of lambis three, of capounis three dozen, of hennis three dozen, of paittis one lait, one miln swyne, and one ston brew tallow."—(Rental at Fyvie Castle and Account-book.)]

Land-Owners.—The following are the present land-owners of the parish, with the names and valued rent of their several properties in Scots money: Lordship of Fyvie, William Gordon, Esq. L.2618, 10s. 8d.; lands of Gight, Crichie, and Minnonie, Earl of Aberdeen, L. 2005, 9s. 4d.; lands of Rothie and Midaple, George Leslie, Esq. L.685, 14s. 8d.; lands of Muirs of Fyvie, Mrs Rose Innes, L. 350; lands of Littlefolla, Alexander Gordon, Esq. L.155, 12s.; lands of Towie (Typortia), Gordon's Hospital, Aberdeen, L. 150; lands of Blackford (Typortia), John Forbes, Esq. L. 100; Lands of Monkshill, Heirs of the late James Hay, Esq. L. 80. Total valued rental, L. 6145, 6s. 8d.

Parochial Registers.— The early parochial registers are very imperfect, and do not extend far back. The first entries of baptisms and marriages are in 1685, and the register of discipline commences in 1721. There are chasms in both till about 1760, from which period they are regular. The accounts of the collections and disbursements for the poor are kept in Scotch money till the year 1763. While some of the entries are curious, the only point of public interest which could be gathered from them, is the great difference which they show to have taken place in the value of money within the last half century.

Antiquities—Priory.—This was a cell of the Abbey of Arbroath, said by Spotswood to have been founded along with a parish church, by Fergus, Earl of Buchan, in 1179, whose donation of it to the Abbey was afterwards confirmed by his daughter, Margaret, Countess of Buchan, and wife of Sir William Cumming. [Appendix to Keith's Bishops.] In another account, the foundation is ascribed to King William the Lion; and in a deed of date 1285, Reginald le Cheyne is said to have founded the religious house on the lands of Ardlogy, that is, the priory, while it appears from another deed, that he bestowed on this house his lands of Ardlogy and Leuchendy the same year. [Char. of Arbroath, Adv. Lib. i. pp. 17-21.] The truth may be, that the house was originally founded by the Earl of Buchan; that this was confirmed by King William; and that a re-endowment was made a century later by the Baron of Inverugie. The site of the priory was on the north bank of the Ythan, about a mile below the castle, and the outline of a part of it, said to have been the chapel, is still distinguishable on the crest of a gentle eminence, about 150 yards north-east of the present bridge of Lewes. In the memory of persons still living, a good part of the ruin was standing.

In 1285, Reginald le Cheyne gave to the priory, as above-mentioned, the lands of Ardlogy and Leuchendy; and the same year, Henry, Bishop of Aberdeen, at the instance of the abbot and convent of Aberbrothock, granted a deed, ordaining that the emoluments of the vicarage of Fyvin, then vacant, should belong henceforth to the priory, provided that 100 shillings were annually given to a perpetual chaplain, who should go about the parish and dispense the sacraments to the parishioners. [Ibid.]

In 1323, Albertinus was appointed to the cure and keeping of the House of Fyvin, and in 1325, a letter was addressed to him by Bernard, Abbot of Aberbrothock, for the maintenance of discipline, and enjoining him with that view, "to hold a chapter regularly three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, to correct the irregularities of his brethren; to reform the divine worship on Sabbaths and festivals; to keep the fasts according to the rule and canonical institution; and if any of the brethren should be found drunken, noisy, abusive, rebellious, and disobedient, to reclaim him, if possible, by good counsel, otherwise to punish him by silence, and bread and water, in a place of confinement beyond the access of the seculars, and if still refractory, to transmit him, with a statement of his delinquencies, to the parent institution." [Chartulary of Arbroath, Adv. Lib. ii. pp. 58,60.]

In the chartulary of Arbroath, various notices are contained regarding succeeding priors of Fyvie, and of leases granted of the lands which belonged to the priory. In 1470, one Alexander Mason is Prior, of whom it is stated that he exerted himself greatly for the increase and repair of the buildings connected with the establishment; that he rebuilt the chapel; added offices, and enclosed the garden with a wall. The prior of Fyvie is frequently mentioned in the Rolls of the Scottish Parliament. A little before the Reformation, the possessions of the priory are said to have been much dilapidated, though the lands which belonged to it in the neighbourhood rented L. 200 Sterling in 1792. [Fyvie, Chart.]

Parish Church.—The parish church of Fyvie, near to which the priory was situated, was dedicated to St Peter, the memory of which is still preserved in the name of Peterswell, in the immediate vicinity. William the Lion gave to the Abbey of Arbroath, the church of Fyvin, with the chapels, lands, tithes, oblations, pasturage, and other pertinents, between 1187 and 1200. [Chart. Arbr. i. p. 118.]

In 1382, the husbandmen of Formartine, including the whole parish of Fyvie, and part of Tarves, having incurred the penalty of excommunication by Adam, Bishop of Aberdeen, for non-payment of the second tithes, were obliged to repair in a body to the Bishop's chapel at Rayne, headed by John de Camera, bailie of Formartine, where, in presence of William de Spyny, cantor of Moray; William de Ormys, kirk-treasurer of Aberdeen; William Garland, sub-dean of Moray ; William Lang, vicar of Fyvie, and Thomas de Nory, sheriff of Aberdeen; having professed penitence, they were absolved by the Bishop, and solemnly sworn to obedience in future. [Chartulary of Aberdeen, Advocates' Library.]

The patronage of the church of Fyvie, of course, belonged to the Abbey of Arbroath, in consequence of King William's gift, and in the chartulary of that establishment, there are accounts of several presentations to it. In 1616, Alexander, Earl of Dunfermline, had a charter from James I. uniting the rectorage and vicarage of Fyvie into one benefice, and conferring on him the advocation, donation, and right of patronage of the parish church; since which time, the patronage has gone with the Fyvie property. [Fyvie Chart.]

Chapel of St Rule at Folia or Follarule.—This was founded at Folia or Follach, a Celtic term, signifying a place surrounded with mosses, in 1376, by Adam Pyngil, burgess of Aberdeen, with consent of Marjory Blackvatyr, his spouse, in connection with the cathedral church of Aberdeen. It was endowed with the lands of Folethrowle, which the founder acquired in 1364 from Hugh de Ross, Lord of Philorth, and brother of William Earl of Ross, and with the mill and multures of Folethrowle, and the foundation was confirmed by a charter of Robert II. in 1379. It is stated by Orem in his description of the chanonry, &c. that in his time the vestiges of the chapel were to be seen in the "town-land" of Meiklefolla; and that the chaplainry having been annexed to the King's College, the heritor paid L. 40 Scots of feu-duty to the College for the said land. [Description of Chanonry, &c. Edin. 1791, p. 87.]

Besides the religious houses already mentioned, there were also in different directions, and towards the extremities of the parish, other chapels, connected, no doubt, either with the church or priory. The vestiges of one are still to be seen on the farm of Eastertown, beside St Paul's well, already noticed ; of another on the farm of Fetterletter, on the estate of Gight, and probably there was one on the farm of St John's Well, on the land of Min-nonie, although no traces of it now remain.

Chaplainry of St Ninian, in St Nicholas' Church of Aberdeen. —This was connected with Fyvie by endowment and patronage. In 1490, William Meldrum, who became patron, granted by charter to the altar of St Ninian, and to Robert Leys, the chaplain, a perpetual annuity of L. 2 from his lands of Waterton of Ellon, L. 1, 0s. 8d. from the lands of Ordefork, and L. 2 from tenements in the Gallowgate and Green of Aberdeen.—(Fyvie Chart.) In this parish, indeed, the external machinery for the support of the Roman Catholic faith, appears to have been very complete, as there had, at least, been six or seven places of worship, or other Popish endowments connected with it. While, of late years, we have experienced a share of the great benefits of the scheme of Church Extension, on which the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland has now so happily entered, on the whole, as compared with former times, we have to remark a serious Church Contraction here.

The earliest Protestant incumbent of Fyvie whom we have seen mentioned is Mr George Sharpe, 1651 to 1663. Since that period the following have been ministers:—Mr William Jaffray, from 1654 to 1676; Mr George Seton, 1678 to 1684; Mr George Dalgardno, 1685 to 1717; Mr Robert Hay, 1st May 1718 to 1st July 1719; Mr Thomas Scott, 13th July 1720 to 3d July 1748; Mr William Moir, 27th April 1749 to 19th March 1794; Mr John Falconer, 3d December 1794 to 19th December 1828. John Manson, the present incumbent of the parish, was ordained July 7th 1829.

Burgh of Fyvie.—In course of the recent search among the papers at Fyvie Castle, a rather interesting discovery has been made, bearing upon the early history of the parish, of certain documents relative to a burgh of Fyvie. Tradition concerning it had been lost, nor can the site of it now be distinctly fixed, but from an early period mention is made of it. In the Brieve of King Robert Bruce in 1325, for fixing marches, already referred to, the rights of the burgesses of "our burgh of Fyvie," in the peat-moss of Ardlogie, are directed to be ascertained; and the finding of the assize refers to the privileges of these burgesses in the time of Reginald le Chen, between 1250 and the end of the century. From 1390 downwards, the "Villa seu burgum de Fyvie," with its customs, tolls, and burgh-mails, is regularly found in the charters of the Fyvie property. It has been supposed to have been a royal burgh, but no charter of erection is known, though, from the circumstance of the Fyvie property continuing a royal demesne till towards the close of the fourteenth century, and the king being thus the immediate superior of the burgh, perhaps it may have some claim to the above distinction. It, however, unquestionably became a "Burgh of Barony," of which the proprietors of Fyvie were superiors. There exists a charter granted to Alexander third Earl of Dunfermline in 1672 or 1673, reciting in the preamble, that his father, and grandfather, and their predecessors, had the privilege of keeping a weekly market on Thursday, and three annual fairs on the lands of the manor-place of Fyvie, one on Fastings-even, called Shrove-Tuesday; another on St Peter's day, the first Tuesday of July; and the third on St Magdalene's day, the last Tuesday of July;—stating that Fyvie is at least twelve miles distant from any royal burgh, and a convenient place for trade and merchandize;—ratifying all previous gifts, and erecting the Lordship of Fyvie into "ane free Burgh of Barony," to be called the "Burgh of Barony of Fyvie," and granting power to the said Earl and his heirs, to nominate and choose bailies and magistrates for the government of the burgh;—to possess and use "ane mercat cross;" and to admit masons, baxters, brewers, skinners, and all other craftsmen and artificers, to hold the above weekly market and three annual fairs; and for punishing and imprisoning malefactors and transgressors of the laws; to have and make a "tolbuith" in the said town; and to call, accuse, and execute justice on all committers of murder, and theft, and other crimes, within the said burgh limits; and annexing the said burgh of barony of Fyvie to the lordship and barony of Fyvie in all time coming. [Fyvie Chart.] The weekly market and annual fair on St Magdalene's day have been long in desuetude, but the other two annual fairs are still regularly held and well frequented, as will be afterwards noticed.

Ancient and Modern Mansion-Houses.—Gight Castle.—This ancient seat of the family of Gight is now a ruin, but, with its surrounding scenery, a very beautiful and picturesque one. It stands on the north bank of the Ythan, about four miles and a-half east of the parish church. The valley of the river on both sides is clothed with fine wood; on the north bank with natural wood of every variety of foliage; while the associations connected with the spot, as having belonged to the family of one who, during his short career, shed around him such a bright display of genius and fancy, (for himself and for the sake of mankind, it is to be deplored, so unhappily directed,) give to it an additional interest.

Fyvie Castle.—This extensive and venerable pile stands on the north-east bank of the Ythan, within a fine park, with the surrounding eminences on every side covered with beautiful and thriving wood. It has been built at different periods, but the original style is very happily preserved, and it combines now the imposing magnificence of a feudal age with the internal comfort and elegance of modern times. It consists of two sides of a square of turreted architecture. The south-east wing, still called the Preston Tower, must have been erected about 1400. The south wing has in front a tower called the Seton tower, with the arms of that family cut in freestone over the gate. The old iron door still remains, consisting of huge interlacing bars, fastened by immense iron bolts drawn out of the wall on either side; and in the centre of the arch above the door-way, a large aperture called the "murder hole," speaks plainly of the warm reception which unbidden guests had in former times to expect. The south-west part of the castle is called the Meldrum Tower, in the bottom of which is an inaccessible chamber, with neither door nor window; its only known or supposed use being that assigned in an old plan, of a concealment for arms. The west wing is terminated on the north by a tower, erected by the late Honourable General Gordon, on the site of the ancient chapel, which had become ruinous. The whole buildings are in good repair—the present proprietor has greatly improved both the castle and grounds. In every direction the views are very beautiful. There is an extensive lake within the park, well stocked with fish, and altogether this is one of the finest seats in this county.

About three miles west of the parish church, stands the mansion-house of Rothie, the residence of George Leslie, Esq. It is a modern building, pleasantly situated on a rising ground overlooking a little valley. The view is not extensive, but varied and beautiful. The house was built by the former proprietor, and the present one has laid out plantations around it with much taste, and added many improvements.

About one mile farther west is the House of Kinbroom, occupied by a member of the family of Rothie, a desirable residence, encompassed with thriving young wood, and commanding a fine view. There is no mansion-house on Monkshill, the estate of the other resident proprietor.

Cairnchedly.— There is a cairn on the outskirts of the farm of St John's Well, known by the name of Cairnchedly. It is greatly reduced now from its former dimensions, in consequence of most of the cottages in the neighbourhood having been built out of it. In digging about it, small earthen urns are frequently found. They have been cast up in all directions for a considerable distance. There is no appearance of lime or building of any kind about the cairn, nor does tradition, nor any record to which I have had ac-cess, tend to throw light upon what may have been the cause of its original formation. The common belief, in which I am disposed to acquiesce, is that some hostile encounter had taken place in the neighbourhood, at a period of remote antiquity. There would appear to have been a line of cairns in that part of the country. In the adjoining parishes of Tarves and Methlick, the names of many of the farms have either the prefix or affix of cairn. Within a distance of about ten miles there are several thus designated, as Cairnbrogie, Cairn-norrie, Conchercairn, &c. &c


I have not been able to ascertain much concerning the ancient population of the parish; but within the last half century, it has greatly increased. By the Government census of 1831 it was 3252; (males, 1586; females, 1666;) and there is a farther increase since that period. It is pretty equally spread over the country, and not concentrated in any quarter in a town or village; the chief cause of the increase is the reclaiming of waste land and the formation of new settlements. The yearly average of births for the last seven years is 93; of marriages, within the same period, 21. [It often happens that only one of the parties proclaimed resides within the parish. In the above estimate two such proclamations are accounted equivalent to one marriage.] There is no register of deaths kept, but for the last six years a register has been kept of burials within the parish churchyard, the yearly average of which during that period is 51. Several of these came from the neighbouring parishes; but it is probable that about an equal number of persons who died in this parish were buried out of it, so that the above may be held as a fair average of deaths.

The following table of the ages of the present population is drawn up from notes taken in course of a pastoral visitation in 1836.

There is 1 insane person, 5 fatuous, 3 blind, 3 deaf and dumb; —three of those who are fatuous are also deaf and dumb.

Of illegitimate births, including cases of antenuptial fornication, for the last three years, the average is 9.

All the heritors are proprietors of land of the yearly value of L.50 and upwards. As already noticed, three of them only are resident.

Character of the People.—The people generally are hardy, frugal, and industrious. They do not use much flesh at ordinary meals, the common food of the whole labouring class consisting of milk, meal, and a few varieties of vegetables. In consequence of the high duty on malt, and the excise restrictions of late years on private malting, many of them have been deprived of an indulgence which ' they formerly enjoyed of beer.


Agriculture is that branch of industry in which the great body of the people of this parish are engaged. By the returns made to the Government census in 1831, it appeared that there were in the parish:

* Most of those engaged in retail trade and handicraft also possess small holdings of land, and might thereby be properly added to the list of males engaged in agriculture.

Rental.—The present real rent of the parish, according to returns kindly furnished to me for the purposes of this account, by the several proprietors or their factors or other agents, may be stated at L 10,000 per annum. The following statement, made up from the same sources of information referred to above, shews the present scale of farm holdings : Number of crofts at and under L. 5 Sterling yearly rent, 130; between L. 5 and L. 10, 107; L. 10 and L 20, 76. Number of farms between L. 20 and L.50, 57; L. 50 and L. 100, 41; L. 100 and L. 150, 13; L. 150 and L. 200, 4; at L 200 and upwards, 4; total 432.

To this statement I desire to append the remark, that I consider the variety which it exhibits in the scale of possessions as favourable both to the temporal and moral interests of the community. The new improvements in agriculture, which are readily introduced by occupying proprietors or the higher class of farmers, soon find their way also among the more humble crofters, while the families of the latter, scattered pretty equally through the parish as they are, furnish a supply of native and hardy servants, whose early associations attach them to the district, and who are located often, during the first part of their service, at no great distance from the parental roof. The system pursued in some parts of the country of throwing large tracts of land into the hands of a few individuals, to the exclusion, in a great measure, of the smaller farmers, is, I conceive, in every point of view, of very doubtful advantage, and in some respects a positive injury. From the same sources of information already referred to, together with the assistance of a few experienced farmers within the parish, the following table, shewing the present state as to cultivation, farm-stocking, &c. with the value of the gross annual produce, has been made up with much care.

It is supposed that 3000 acres might be added to the present cultivated land.

Of the principal species of stock there are: cattle, 4400; horses employed in farm-work, 500; carriage, saddle, and young horses, 100; sheep, 1600.

There are 7 corn-mills and 80 thrashing-mills, of which forty-five are driven by water, and thirty-five by horses.

Husbandry.—As appears from the preceding table, the crops usually cultivated are sown grasses, oats, bear and barley, turnips, potatoes, and to a small extent may be added tares, pease, and flax. The rotation most prevalent is a seven course shift, of which three-sevenths are in first, second, and third grass, one-seventh in green crop, one-seventh in bear or oats, with grass seeds, and two-sevenths in oats after lea. A five-shift is also common, but chiefly on land of good quality, and under that rotation only one white crop is taken after lea, and the grass land is broken up at the end of the second year. Two consecutive white crops, as in the case of the seven-shift;—while it is a system but little followed in the southern and more improved districts of Scotland, yet, where the soil is not deep, and adventitious manure cannot be procured, the opinion of many experienced farmers is in favour of the system. They hold that the three years rest given to the land in the state of pasture, and the less frequent tillage of the ground, than under a quicker rotation, more than compensates for the apparent exhaustion by two succeeding crops of oats; and, indeed, it is often the case that the second, or what is provincially termed the "yavel crop," is better than the first. Nature, however, would seem to tire of any uniform system when pursued for a great length of time; and farmers occasionally allow part of their land to lie four in place of three years in grass, or take an intervening crop of pease or vetches, and plough them down, thus to some extent converting the seven into an eight course shift. Some farmers also take but one crop of corn after three years grass; a system well calculated to ameliorate and renovate the soil. How far the valuable discovery of bone-dust as a manure may make such experiments unnecessary, it is needless to conjecture. Uquestionably the application of this new stimulant is operating powerfully in the amelioration of the soil; already it may be said to have come into general use; and it is a remarkable fact, and given upon good information, that the value of bone-dust consumed in this county during the present season has not been under L 30,000. Animalized carbon, a recent Danish discovery, has also been tried, but it is believed with indifferent success.

Leases and Rent.—The ordinary endurance of leases in the parish is nineteen years. A large portion of the land is held by the proprietors under strict entail, but the usual effect of that tenure is not perceptible, either in the conduct of the tenantry or the condition of the farm-steadings. The rent of land is extremely various. Favoured spots bring as much as L. 2, 10s. to L. 3 the Scotch acre; old infields are generally rated at about L. 2; but the average of the whole arable land is supposed to be from 12s. to 14s. Upon some of the estates a part of their rent is paid nominally in meal at the fiars of the year, in the proportion of from one-fourth to one-third of the whole rent, but more generally wholly at a fixed money rent, and always so in the case of crofters and small tenants.

Live-Stock.—The cattle are chiefly of the old Aberdeenshire horned and dodded or hummel breed. Of late years the Teeswater has been introduced as a cross; and it is the opinion of some of the principal farmers, that the best stock are produced in this manner. Perhaps the advantages of the change have not yet been thoroughly tested by experience. The chief superiority of the new breed consists in their coming sooner to maturity; but their introduction upon any farm must be regulated by the keep which it furnishes. Horses are reared chiefly for draught, and the breed of late years has been much improved.

Roads.—Like all other inland parishes, Fyvie has to contend with the disadvantage of long carriages of produce and manure. The nearest harbours are Macduff to the north, and Aberdeen and Newburgh to the south, the distance varying according to the locality of the different parts of the parish, but on an average being about twenty miles. The roads, however, are good, and in addition to the harbours already mentioned, Inverury, situated at the termination of the canal to Aberdeen, has lately started into importance as a mart for all farm produce, and for lime, bone-dust, coals, &c. The commutation road-money of the parish, about L. 123, is expended at the sight of the heritors and their factors, under the direction of the district trustees, and the account of the outlay submitted to and sanctioned yearly by the general county trustees ; but, in addition to the assessment, the tenants very readily contribute the aid of their horses and carts in driving materials; and many useful roads have been made by the heritors for the general accommodation of the parish, without any assistance from the commutation funds.

Labour.—The corn crop is almost universally cut by the scythe-in place of the sickle, and the regularity and perfection of the work is the admiration of all who see it for the first time. The additional quantity of straw obtained by the scythe is of great importance, but perhaps the chief advantage, besides saving of expense, is the economy of time in an uncertain climate, as it is now well established, that, "owing to its being less compressed in the sheaf," the crop is ready to be carried to the corn-yard in a much shorter period. The farm-servants are very rarely married men, the system of having hinds being scarcely known in Aberdeenshire; and their wages vary from L. 5 to L. 7 in the half-year, besides victuals. They are generally hard-working men, and quite as good ploughmen as are to be found in other parts of Scotland. The common wages of women servants are L. 3 in summer, and L. 2 in I winter. Men engaging only for the harvest obtain from L. 2 to L. 2, 10s. besides victuals; women engaging in the same manner, L 1, 15s. A good deal of field-work is also performed by women in the hay and turnip seasons, for which they receive about 9d. per day, with victuals.

The thirlage system in respect of the manufacture of grain is now done away, and while the expense of milling is still paid by a certain proportion of meal for every boll of grain manufactured, it may be thus stated in a money charge, for drying and grinding per boll, 6d.; grinding alone per boll, 4d.

The following are the prices of the ordinary implements of agriculture: A one-horse box cart and wheels, with iron axle, is bought for, from L. 7 to L. 10 ; a cart and plough harness per set, from L. 3 to L. 5 ; an iron plough, from L. 3 to L. 4, 4s.; a wood plough, from L.2, 15s. to L.3, 15s.; harrows mounted per pair, about L.l, 15s. of best material and construction; but the price of this last article varies much.

V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Town, &c.—This parish is altogether rural. There is no village or market-town within it, nor manufacturing establishment of any kind. The nearest market-towns are Old Meldrum and Turriff, the former distant from the parish church seven and a-half miles, the latter nine miles.

Means of Communication.—There is a post-office about a quarter of a mile from the church, and we have the advantage of a daily post. A stage-coach also runs daily between Aberdeen and Banff. The only turnpike road at present within the parish is that portion of the Aberdeen and Banff turnpike which intersects it. A new line, however, is in course of being formed, leading from the parish of Forgue to the burgh of Inverury, and which is to cut through the western district of this parish. Another new line is projected, to lead from Aberdeen to Banff by Methlich, the village of Cuminestown, &c. which will run along the northeast boundary of this parish for a short distance, and tend much to facilitate communication in that quarter.

In the neighbourhood of the parish church the cottages are very neat; most of them have a small garden attached, and all the necessaries of moderate comfort; and throughout the parish the buildings are equal to those of most rural districts of this county, and an improvement is going forward.

Ecclesiastical State.—The great majority of the people of this parish belong to the Established Church. There are four places of worship within it, two of them in connection with the Establishment, and two with the communion of Scotch Episcopalians. The parish church was built in 1808. It is a large and commodious structure, well situated for the parish generally, and contains sufficient accommodation. The former unwieldy extent of this parish is now greatly improved by the erection, in the year 1833, of a new church at Millbrex, in the north-east quarter of it, and the annexation of a considerable portion of territory to it: Besides this there are two small annexations, quoad sacra, of portions of this parish to adjoining parishes, one on the south to the parish of Daviot, with a population of about 70, one on the west to the parish of Rayne, with a population of about 40. The gross population of the district that still remains under the charge of the parish minister is about 2500. The people are regular in attendance upon public worship. The average number of the congregation in the parish church may be stated at 1000.

The manse was built in 1830, and offices in 1831. They are very complete and commodious, and bear evidence of a liberal spirit in the heritors, and a desire on their part that the clergy should partake of the higher measure of comfort that now obtains in society. The present stipend is 16½ chalders of victual, one-half in meal, the other in bear, converted at the fiars' prices, with L.8, 6s. 8d. for communion elements. The glebe is small but fertile.

The church of Millbrex, built in 1833, enlarged in 1836, and containing about 500 sittings, is placed so as to accommodate the northern quarter of this parish, with a portion of the adjoining parish of Montquhitter. There is a population annexed to it of nearly 1000 souls, viz. from Fyvie, 739; from Montquhitter, 250. The Earl of Aberdeen, the principal proprietor of the district where it is situated, gave the handsome donation of L. 100 towards its erection, together with a site for the building, an allocation of land as glebe for the minister, and a privilege of fuel; and the people of the two parishes of Fyvie and Montquhitter contributed liberally. In the year 1835, a manse and office-houses were built at Millbrex, also by subscription, within the two parishes interested, with the assistance of the presbytery of Turriff. They are, particularly the former, substantial and commodious. The whole expense of the buildings, &c. connected with this establishment may. be stated at L. 600. It is entirely cleared, with the exception of a small sum now in course of liquidation. The Church Extension Committee of the General Assembly transmitted a grant of L. 70 towards this object. Millbrex is a mission sta-tion of the Committee for managing the Royal Bounty in Scotland. The present emoluments of the minister consist of an allowance of L.20 per annum from that Committee, the seat rents of the church, amounting at an average to L. 40 per annum, with his manse and glebe. He is ordained, and performs the pastoral duties within the district assigned to him, and the establishment forms a valuable addition to the ecclesiastical provision for this parish. It is to be hoped that, through the favourable interference of Government in behalf of the new churches, the Presbytery of Turriff may soon be enabled to perfect the status of the minister of Millbrex, by recognizing him in every way as a parish minister. Of the two Episcopalian chapels in this parish, one is situated at Woodhead, about one mile and a-half north-east of the parish church, the other at Meiklefolla, within a few yards of » the southern boundary of the parish. The former has but a small congregation connected with it; the latter is one of the largest country congregations in connection with the Episcopal communion in this county. It is supplied from the neighbouring parishes of the district of Garioch, together with the western division of this parish and the adjoining parish of Auchterless. From notes taken at the visitation already referred to in 1836, the respective numbers of the different religious denominations were found to be: Established Church, 2838; Episcopalians, 430; Associate Synod, 34; Roman Catholics, 3. The number of male heads of families upon the communion roll of the parish, as made up at the dispensation of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in August last, was 276; this exclusive of the Millbrex portion of the parishioners. In noticing the state of religion in this quarter, while there are many grounds of discouragement, I am of opinion, on the whole, that the spiritual standard of the community is rising. There is an improved observance of the Sabbath; the practice of family worship, once so pleasing a feature in the social condition of Scotland, is gradually being introduced again. May the Lord hasten the time when the incense of a pure offering shall ascend unto him, as of old, from the family altars, throughout the length and breadth of the land.

Education.—The total number of schools in the parish is 8; one of them only is endowed, the parish school, situated a little to the north of the church. It was improved and enlarged a few years ago, and, with the schoolmaster's accommodations, is now in good repair. The branches taught are, reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, English grammar, geography, with the elements of mathematics and Greek, and the principles of religion. The schoolmaster's salary is the maximum. The school fees may amount to L.25 per annum. He is also session-clerk, and enjoys the benefit of the Dick Bequest. Four bursaries belong to this school, bequeathed by the late Mr John Mather of Madras, by deed of testament, February 18th 1807. The value of the bursaries is L. 6, 5s. per annum during attendance at College; and L. 2, 10s. per annum at school. The magistrates of Aberdeen are trustees of the fund, and the selection of the young men is committed to the ministers of the parish. Several individuals, now filling with credit respectable stations in society, have enjoyed the benefit of this fund, and when its resources are fully developed, which is dependent on the death of a certain party, it will prove a valuable boon to this parish, and should tend not a little to give the school a footing as a classical seminary, and to promote its efficiency in other branches of parochial education. The unendowed schools are generally taught by individuals in humble circumstances, but assiduous and pains-taking. These schools labour under many disadvantages; but of late years, there has been an improvement in the manner in which they are conducted. In a large parish like this, they are absolutely necessary, and a great advantage to the community. The branches usually taught in them are, reading, writing, arithmetic, mensuration, and the catechisms of the Church. One of them is a girl's school, where, along with the other elementary branches, needle-work also is taught. A small endowment is very much wanted for these schools, so as to give the teachers some measure of that comfort to which the important duties which they fulfil to society entitle them.

The subjoined table shows the number of children who were receiving education at the different schools in the month of March of the respective years to which it refers, with the principal branches they were acquiring:

All the youth of this parish between the age of five and fifteen are able to read more or less perfectly, and almost all boys, and the greater number of girls between the same age, have been taught, or are now learning to write. The fees at the parish school are per quarter,—reading, 2s; reading and writing, 2s. 6d.; elementary arithmetic, 3s.; higher branches of arithmetic, 5s.; Latin, 5s.; course of book-keeping, 10s. 6d. In the unendowed schools they are much about the same rates.

There are five Sabbath schools, attended at present by about 250 children. One of these, the most numerous, meets in the parish church immediately after public worship; another in the church of Millbrex in the same manner; the rest are spread over different districts of the parish, and generally under the superintendence of the elder of the district where they are situated. As a stimulus to home instruction, and as initiating children in early life to a careful perusal of the word of God, and reflection upon its truths, and as leading them also to a more regular and attentive waiting upon the public services of the sanctuary, I have seen benefit from these schools. They are farther important in bringing the youth for a considerable period more directly under the eye of the Church, and thereby forming a bond of mutual interest between them and the pastor, which, in the intercourse of the latter with them, when they have attained to a more full status in society, will, I conceive, through the blessing of God, tend not a little to render his labours effectual. Measures are proposed to be taken as soon as possible to get a school on the parochial footing in connection with the church of Millbrex.

Charitable and other Institutions.—A Savings Bank has lately been established with every prospect of success. It is upon the old principle of these banks, and under the patronage of the heritors. The Aberdeen Town and County Bank have also lately opened an agency here, which will prove a great accommodation to the parish and surrounding district.

Poor and Parochial Funds.—There is a heavy poor's roll in this parish,—the average number receiving supply being from 60 to 65. More than three-fourths of these are females, most of them aged or infirm, and a few widows of farm-servants, whose husbands died young, leaving them with families wholly unprovided for. These last receive a supply according to their necessities, till the youngest of their children has attained the age of twelve years. Few occasional supplies are given from the poor's funds; nor are they applied for except in peculiar cases of family distress, arising generally from long-continued sickness. "When this or other domes-tic calamity occurs to a poor family, it is due to state the kindly spirit in which it is uniformly met in the neighbourhood. A lo- cal subscription is set on foot. In aid of this a small sum is ge-nerally given by the kirk-session, and the individual members of it. I have known three or four such subscriptions in course of a season, and sums realized at each of them of from L. 6 to L. 11. It is thought no degradation to receive aid in this way. Several have done so, who on no account would accept the regular bounty of the parish. There is still a good deal of the true feeling of independence here in regard to coming upon the poor's funds; but I have observed that the desire of parties once admitted is to get all they can. [Upon first visiting the parish after my induction about nine years ago, and before I was acquainted with the local habitation of the parties composing the formidable poor's roll, I remember entering a cottage, where, from the appearance of poverty and general want of comfort that presented itself, I asked the old woman who inhabited it, whether she received aid from the poor's funds? "Na, Sir, Guid be thankit I was never burden to Kirk nor King," was the characteristic reply. I have since known many honourable examples of humble but independent poverty.] The annual amount of disbursement to the poor for the last five years has been about L.120. Except in two cases where there is mental incapacity, and one in which there is another peculiarity, the highest allowance to any upon the roll, and this only to such as are bed-ridden, is L. 2, 16s. per annum. The greater proportion of those upon it is at the rate of from L .l to L. 1, 10s. per annum, and some are under L.l.

Collections, &c.—The subjoined table shews the annual amount of the ordinary collections made in the parish church for the support of the poor during the several years to which it refers. It is drawn up at intervals of twenty and ten years for the last half century:

And within the last two years the annual amount of the ordinary collections has been upwards of L.80 Sterling. In aid of the fund thus raised, there are mortified monies to the amount of L. 400 Sterling, left by benevolent individuals connected with the parish, under the management of the kirk-session, the interest of which only they may apply, and L.100 more at their full disposal. Occasionally a legacy of a few pounds is left. Mortcloth dues, &c go into the same fund, and a small annual donation has of late years been given by the three principal heritors. The collections at the church of Millbrex are also liberal, averaging L. 25 per annum. The whole of this may be considered reclaimed funds, since the collections at the parish church stand as high as when the parish was entire. In consequence, the kirk-session, in the meantime, allow the whole sum (with the exception of an annual collection for the poor) to go to the benefit of the new church. After payment of a few necessary expenses connected with it, the rest is applied to the liquidation of the debt. An annual collection is made in the parish church for the benefit of the Aberdeen Infirmary, so as to give the parish a title to send patients to it. A few are generally sent every year. The chief cause of pauperism is the greatly reduced rate of female domestic labour. The occupation in which the class of females on the poor roll are principally engaged, and the only one almost of which they are capable, is knitting. I am informed that, by their utmost exertions in this branch of employment, they would only be able to earn about 9d. per week; while it is in the recollection of many persons that the same class would formerly have had no difficulty in realizing at the same occupation the sum of 3s. 6d. per week. Under these circumstances, unless some more profitable channel is provided for the labour of the above class, I apprehend that we have no reason to look forward to a diminution of the burdens of pauper support.

Fairs.—Two fairs are annually held within the parish, both on the estate of Fyvie, by right of ancient charters. The proprietor within the last few years has greatly improved the stances where they are kept, and gives the farther indulgence of levying no custom. One of these fairs is held at Fastern's E'en, and is principally for the sale of horses. It has long been much frequented for this object. Fat cattle and cows also are now brought to it, and it is increasing. The other is held in the month of July, and is chiefly for the sale of small stock, such as calves, sheep, and young cattle, and for engaging servants for harvest work. Most of the farmers in this neighbourhood depend on engaging some extra hands for the harvest at this fair. [From inquiries which I have made, I find that there are no fewer than forty faire held annually within ten miles of the parish church, for the sale of farm stock and produce, or engaging servants; and by extending the radius a little, say to twelve or thirteen miles, a distance often travelled to a fair, there are upwards of 60. It is extremely questionable how far this great multiplicity of fairs is of advantage even to the temporal interests of the community; and as to their higher interests there can be no doubt that the effect is injurious. I have heard with much pleasure that there is some intention on the part of those who have influence in these matters, to bring about a new arrangement of the whole market system of the country. It would be worthy the serious attention of such parties whether the number of fairs might not be advantageously reduced.]

Inns, Alehouses, &c.—A small inn has long been kept at Lewes of Fyvie in this neighbourhood. Nine persons hold licenses for the sale of spirits within the parish. These do not all keep alehouses, some of them only retailing spirits along with other articles of merchandise; but their number might be reduced with advantage to the community.

Fuel.—The ordinary description of fuel used here is peat, the principal supply of which is obtained from the mosses in the north quarter of the parish. In consequence of our distance from the coast, coal is very expensive, the price of carriage being nearly equal to the original cost.

Drawn up October 1838—Revised February 1840.

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