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


I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name and Boundaries.—The ancient name of this parish was Logie Durno or Durnock, which is said to signify a low or hollow place. Before the Reformation, it would appear that there were three places of public worship in the parish, viz. Logie Durno, Fetternear, and a chapel, formerly called [Chart. Aberdon, p. 31.] Capella Beatae Mariae Virginis de Garryoch, where the present parochial church is now built. Early in the seventeenth century, the parsonage of Fetter-near, lying on the north side of the river Don, was annexed to that of Logie Durno on the north side of the Ury. The church was then transferred from Logie Durno to its present situation, at the east end of the hill of Benochie, on account of its being the most centrical part of the parish, and appointed to be called Chapel of Garioch, in a decree respecting the stipend obtained about that time. It is the seat of the Presbytery of Garioch, which consists of fifteen members, and forms one of the most convenient and compact presbyteries in Scotland ; no clergyman being farther distant from the usual place of meeting than nine miles.

The parish of Chapel of Garioch is 10 miles in length from north to south, and from 2 to 5 from east to west. It forms an irregular figure. Its greatest breadth at the northern extremity is 5 miles, and at the southern 3; from whence it contracts, as it approaches towards the centre of the parish, where its greatest breadth does not exceed 2 miles. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Rayne and Daviot; on the east, by Bourtie, Keith-hall, and Inverury; on the south, by Monymusk, and that part of the parish of Kemnay which lies on the south side of the river of Don; and on the west, by the parish of Oyne, and hill of Benochie.

Topographical Appearances.— The surface of the parish is uneven ; but can neither be said to be mountainous or hilly. There are two ridges of rising ground to the north and south of the Ury which stretch from west to east, in a direction nearly parallel to it, and which are either planted or cultivated up to their summits. On the ridge to the south of the Ury the church is built; by which the old road from Aberdeen to the upper part of the Garioch and Cabrach went, previously to the present turnpike road being made. About half a mile to the east of the church, there is an eminence which commands an extensive view of the Garioch, and from which nine parochial churches, with as many manses, may be seen; all of which, with the exception of Kinneller, are in the Presbytery of Garioch.

Soil, Climate, &c.— The soil is of various characters. In some parts of the parish, it consists of a rich black loam, and in other parts, it has a considerable mixture of clay on a tilly bottom. On the banks of the rivers, it is generally of a strong gravel, intermixed with vegetable mould. These soils produce fine grain, and early crops, considering their elevated situation; and as an instance of the fertility of this district, it may be mentioned, that the Garioch has been considered and called the granary of Aberdeenshire. The climate is reckoned temperate and salubrious. There are no diseases peculiar to the inhabitants of this parish, who are in general remarkably healthy, and instances of longevity are numerous. Many persons in the parish have attained to the age of seventy, eighty, and even ninety years and upwards; which may in a great measure be attributed to the dry and bracing climate, and to the temperate habits of the parishioners.

Hydrography.—This parish is well supplied with excellent springs of water, which issue from gravelly soils. The only two rivers of any consequence connected with it are the Ury and the Don. The river Ury takes its rise in Strathbogie, and, after a course of about sixteen miles, following its windings, it enters this parish, and runs through it for about five or six miles. After leaving the confines of the parish, it moves onwards in its course for a mile and a half farther, dividing a part of the parish of Keith-hall from that of Inverury, and then falls into the Don, immediately below the said burgh. It is one of the finest trouting streams in the north of Scotland, and trouts have been caught in it weighing from one to five pounds.

The river Don, which rises in the mountains between Aberdeen and Banffshire, about three miles above Corgarff, and empties itself into the German Ocean about a mile from Aberdeen, forms the southern boundary of the parish for about three miles. Following its turnings and windings, from the source to the mouth, it is about sixty-one miles in length, and in an ideal straight line about forty-two miles. It also abounds with salmon, eel, trout, and pike; but the rod-fishing for salmon has been in this neighbourhood, for some years past, greatly deteriorated, in consequence of part of the water having been diverted from the channel of the river, to supply the various manufactories on the banks of the Don, in the vicinity of the city of Aberdeen. The salmon come up the river to spawn in the end of the month of September, and return again to the sea about the beginning of the month of April.

Geology and Mineralogy.—The rocks consist chiefly of granite and whinstone. Their direction is from east to west, and they dip towards the north. Detached masses of these are also to be found scattered over the face of the country. It is rather a singular circumstance, that almost the whole of the rocks to the north of the Ury, and for two miles to the south of it, are of whinstone; whilst the remainder of the parish, for three miles to the south of a small stream called Burnervie, which issues from Benochie, is < granite. Cairngorums have been occasionally found here of considerable magnitude, and portions of the rock are sometimes studded over with very minute crystals of it, which are generally very complete in their formation. The principal stones used for build ing mansion-houses and farm-steadings in the neighbourhood, are obtained from the hill of Benochie, and also at its base in this parish. The chimney-pieces in the two drawing rooms of Logie Elphinstone are of Benochie granite, and the crystals of these specimens are similar to the Egyptian granite, which, although not so large in grain, yet admit of an equally good polish. A quarry of limestone was opened, some years ago, upon the estate of Pittodrie; but, owing to the distance from coal, and as it was found to be neither pure, nor remunerating, it was soon given up.

Zoology.—There are none of the rarer species of animals to be found in this parish; but, under his head, the writer may remark that, among others more common, the following quadrupeds and birds have been seen in it, viz. red-deer, roebuck, hare, rabbit, fox, hedgehog, badger, polecat, weasel, otter; wild goose, wild duck, teal, pheasant, woodcock, blackcock, fieldfare, raven, heron, snipe, magpie, jackdaw, swallow, sparrow hawk, bluehawk, corn-rail, grey owl, goldfinch, bullfinch, blackbird, thrush, and cuckoo. Some years ago, there was shot at Pittodrie, a great northern diver or ember goose, which was stuffed, and is now in the possession of Colonel Knight Erskine.

II.—Civil History.

Pictures.—Amongst many others, there are at Logie Elphin-stone, portraits of Bishop Elphinstone, of Charles Lord Elphin-stone, of Sir John and Sir James Elphinstone of Logie Elphinstone, and other patrons of the parish of the same family; of Viscount Dundee, of Count Patrick Leslie of Balquhain, and of Sir James Leslie of Pitcaple.

Eminent Characters.—Sir Walter Farquhar, Bart. who was born at Peterhead, was son to the late Rev. Robert Farquhar, for many years minister of Chapel of Garioch. Having gone through a course of classical learning at the parochial school of that parish, he went to the University of Aberdeen, where, having finished his academical studies, he took his departure for London, and afterwards became one of the physicians of King George IV. whilst Prince Regent.

Land-owners.—The land-owners, according to the valued rent of their respective properties, are as follows:

Parochial Registers.—The records of the kirk-session begin on the 9th of May 1714, and from that time to the present period, they appear to have been accurately kept. There are four volumes of these records. There are two volumes of baptismal registers, which have been rather irregularly kept till within these few years. They begin upon the 6th of May 1763. The register of marriages only commences in the year 1817; and there is no register of burials.

Antiquities.—About half a mile to the south-east of the church is to be seen the old ruinous castle of Balquhain, the ancient seat of the Leslies of Balquhain. In it Queen Mary spent a day in her journey to the north, which terminated in the battle of Corrichie; and at which time, it is said, she attended mass in the church of Chapel of Garioch. This castle is of so great antiquity, that there is no tradition of its erection; but it is said to have been burnt to the ground by the Duke of Cumberland in the year 1746. The walls are six feet thick, and the cement almost as hard as the stone. From it, there is one of the finest echoes in Scotland. There is also, at a short distance to the east of it, a Druidical circle, which is very entire. About a mile to the north of it, the tenant in Mains of Balquhain, about three years ago, in trenching a piece of barren ground, called the Gallow Hill, dug up three human sculls, which, from the name of the spot, were supposed to have belonged to criminals or vassals in the fedual ages.

The Castle of Pitcaple, which is situated on the south bank of the Ury, is also an ancient building; but a considerable addition was recently made to it, according to a plan prepared by Mr William Burn of Edinburgh, whose taste in this department of architecture is generally acknowledged. There are various historical traditions connected with the old castle, some of which may be mentioned.

The celebrated but unfortunate Marquis of Montrose, after making his final attempt to support the royal cause in the northern part of Scotland, was defeated by the Covenanters in Sutherland, and obliged to borrow the clothes of a poor Highlander, in the hope of escaping from his enemies. In this habit he traversed the mountains for a few days ; but, being at length exhausted by hunger and fatigue, he was induced to throw himself on the honour and humanity of Macleod of Assynt, to whose castle he repaired, not doubting that Macleod, who had been formerly amongst his followers, would afford him an asylum in this period of adversity. Macleod betrayed his commander, and delivered him up to Generals Leslie and Strachan.

In the course of their progress southward, they arrived at Pitcaple, on which occasion this illustrious nobleman, in his miserable costume, was seated on a Highland pony, having his feet tied underneath with straw ropes. Before him rode a herald, exclaiming "Here comes James Graham, a traitor to his country."

The Laird of Pitcaple's wife, who was cousin to Montrose, humanely offered her assistance towards facilitating his escape. She showed him a hole in the wall, resembling a chimney vent, communicating betwixt the room where he was detained, and a subterraneous passage, and she advised him to creep down through it. But on examining the place, he said, "Rather than go down to be smothered in that hole, I will take my chance at Edinburgh." The room in which he was confined is called Montrose's room to this day.

The circumstances now detailed must have taken place in the month of April 1650, as Montrose landed in Orkney in the beginning of March, and was executed at Edinburgh upon the 21st of May that year.

In the month of July, the same year, King Charles II. having sailed from Holland, landed at Garmouth upon the Spey, from whence he proceeded to rest at the Bog of Gight, now Gordon Castle. When on his journey southward, the King sent notice to Leslie of Pitcaple that he was to dine with him. Pitcaple received the communication in the market called St Sair's Fair, and hearing that his Majesty was attended by a considerable number of followers, he was apprehensive of his stock of wine not being sufficient, and he purchased all the claret in the market, to aid in entertaining the Royal party.

When Charles crossed the Ury, near the Castle of Pitcaple, he is said to have been struck with the luxuriancy of the crop, observing that it reminded him of dear England. The farm, to which this remark was applied, has ever since been called England, and is still known by this name.

On the occasion of the Royal visit, a ball took place here, and the party danced under the thorn tree which still stands on the lawn, and which is said to be one of the largest thorn trees in Great Britain. [Dr Keith's Agricultural Survey of Aberdeenshire, p. 117.]

When Charles took his departure from Pitcaple, the Duke of Buckingham was on his right hand, and the Marquis of Argyle on his left. It will readily be believed that so interesting a spectacle would attract a great number of the people in the neighbourhood. Among the multitude, and perched on the top of a dike, was the "good wife" of Glack, who, nothing daunted by the presence of Argyle, exclaimed with a shrill voice, "God bless your Majesty, and send you to your ain; but they are on your left hand that helped to tak aff your father's head, and if ye tak na care, they will hae aff your's next."

There is also another tradition, that, upon a certain occasion, when there was a garrison of Covenanters in the Castle of Pitcaple, they expected a party of their friends to celebrate a marriage on the lawn. The opposite party having become aware of this circumstance, very ingeniously availed themselves of the information, by decking themselves out as people attending a wedding; and having brought with them a piper, they commenced dancing on the green. The garrison speedily went out to join them, when their enemies dancing around to intercept them, pulled up the draw-bridge, and thus obtained possession of the castle without violence or bloodshed.

The traditions now detailed were communicated by the late Miss Lumsden of Pitcaple, the great grand-daughter of the laird who received King Charles as above, and who afterwards accompanied the King to Worcester.

Battle of Harlaw.—Upon the 24th of July 1411, on St James's Even, the memorable and bloody battle of Harlaw was fought in this parish, between Alexander Earl of Mar, who commanded the Royal army, and Donald, Lord of the Isles. Donald having passed through Ross-shire, and having afterwards ravaged Moray, Strathbogie, and the Garioch, promised his followers a rich booty in the plunder of Aberdeen. The Duke of Albany, then Regent, alarmed at the progress of Donald, sent a commission to Alexander Earl of Mar to levy forces and oppose him. The Earl, [Tytler's History of Scotland, Voll. iii. pp. 173-74-75.] in a very short time, found himself at the head of the whole power of Mar and Garryach (Garioch,) in addition to that of Angus and the Mearns; Sir Alexander Ogilvie, Sheriff of Angus; Sir James Scrymgeour, Constable of Dundee, and hereditary Standard-bearer of Scotland; Sir Alexander Irvine, Sir Robert Melville, Sir William de Abernethy, nephew to Albany, and many other barons and esquires, with their feudal services, joined him with displayed banner; and Sir Robert Davidson, the Provost of Aberdeen, and a troop of the stoutest burgesses, came boldly forward to defend their hearths and their stalls from the ravages of the Island King.

Mar immediately advanced from Aberdeen, and, marching by Inverury, came in sight of the Highlanders at the village of Harlaw, on the Water of Ury, not far from its junction with the Don. He found that his little army was immensely out-numbered, it is said, by nearly ten to one; but it consisted of the bravest barons in these parts; and his experience had taught him to consider a single knight in steel as a fair match against a whole troop of ketherans. Without delay, therefore, he intrusted the leading of the vaward to the Constable of Dundee, and Ogilvy, the Sheriff of Angus, who had with them a small but compact battalion of knights and men-at-arms; whilst he himself followed with the rearward, composed of the main strength of his army, including the Irvines of Drum, the Maules, the Morays, the Straitons, the Leslies, the Stirlings, the Lovels, headed by their chiefs, and with their banners and penoncelles waving amid their grove of spears. Of the Islesmen and Highlanders the principal leaders were, the Lord of the Isles himself, with Macintosh and Maclean, the heads of their respective septs, and innumerable other chiefs and chieftains, animated by the old and deep-rooted hostility between the Celtic and Saxon race.

The shock between two such armies may be easily imagined to have been awful,—the Highlanders, who were 10,000 strong, rushing on with the fierce shouts and yells which it was their custom to raise in coming into battle, and the knights meeting them with levelled spears, and ponderous maces and battle-axes, which inflicted ghastly wounds upon their half-armed opponents. In his first onset Scrymgeour, and the knights and bannerets who fought under him, with little difficulty drove back the mass of Islesmen, and, cutting his way through their thick columns, made a dreadful slaughter. But, though hundreds fell around him, thousands poured in to supply their place, more fierce and fresh than their predecessors; whilst Mar, who had penetrated with his main army into the very heart of the enemy, found himself in the same difficulties, becoming every moment more tired with the slaughter, more encumbered with the numbers of the slain, and less able to resist the increasing ferocity and reckless courage of the masses that still yelled and fought around him. It was impossible that this should continue much longer without making a fatal impression against the Scots, and the effects of fatigue were soon seen. The Constable of Dundee was slain; and the Highlanders, encouraged by his fall, wielded their broadswords and Lochaber-axes with murderous effect, seizing and stabbing the horses, and palling down their riders, whom they dispatched with their daggers. In this way were slain some of the best and bravest soldiers of these northern districts. Sir Robert Davidson, with the greater part of the stalwart burgesses who fought around him, were amongst the number; and many of the families lost not only their chief, but every male in the house. Leslie of Balquhain, a baron of a noble and ancient lineage, is said to have fallen, with six of his sons slain beside him. The Sheriff of Angus, with his eldest son, George Ogilvyj Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, [There is a tradition in the family of Irvine of Drum that the Laird of Maclean was slain by Sir Alexander Irvine. Genealogical Collections, MS. Advocates' Library, Jac. v. 4, 16, Vol. i. p. 180. Irvine was buried on the field, where in ancient times a cairn marked the place of his interment, which was long known by the name of Drum's Cairn. Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, Vol. i. p. 51. This cairn is still in existence (1834) upon the field of battle, and is known by the name of Drum's Cairn.] Sir Robert Maule, Sir Thomas Moray, William Abernethy, Alexander Straiten of Lauris-ton, James Lovel, Alexander Stirling, and above five hundred men-at-arms, including the principal gentry of Buchan, shared their fate;  [Fordun a Hearne, pp. 1175-76, Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia;, MS. fol. 257.] whilst Mar himself, and a small number of survivors, still continued the battle till nightfall, when the slaughter ceased, and it was found in the morning that the Island Lord had retreated, [Here it may perhaps be. considered as not out of place to remark, that, in describing the result of the battle of Harlaw, Mr Tytler has fallen into an important topographical error in stating that the army of the Isles retreated "by Inverury and the Hill of Benochie,"—Inverury being in fact two miles south of the field of battle in the rear of the Royal army, and directly on the road to Aberdeen, and the Hill of Benochie being nearly due west from the field; whereas there is every reason to suppose that the retreating army retraced their steps by the common route to the north, passing through the gorges of the Foudland hills, and that they fell back upon those districts, from which their force had been so considerably increased, on their advance southwards.] checked and broken certainly by the desperate contest, but neither conquered, nor very effectually repulsed. Mar, on the contrary, although he passed the night on the field, did so, not in the triumphant assertion of victory, but from the effects of wounds and exhaustion. The best and bravest of his friends were stretched in their last sleep around him, and he found himself totally unable to pursue the retreat of the Islesmen. Amongst those of the Highlanders who fell, were the chiefs of Maclean and Macintosh, with upwards of nine hundred men; a small loss compared with that sustained by the Lowlanders. From the ferocity with which this battle was contested, and the dismal spectacle of civil war exhibited to the country, it appears to have made a deep impression on the national mind. It fixed itself on the music and the poetry of Scotland. A march called the Battle of Harlaw continued to be a popular air, down to the time of Drummond of Hawthornden; and a spirited ballad on the same event is still repeated in our own age, describing the meeting of the armies and the death of the chiefs in no ignoble strain. [Battle of Harlaw, Lang's Early Metrical Tales, p. 229.] Soon after the battle, a council general was held by the governor, in which a statute was passed in favour of the heirs of those who had died in defence of the country, exempting them from the feudal fines usually exacted, before they entered upon possession of their estates, and permitting them, although minors, immediately to serve heirs to their lands. Bruce, on the eve of the battle of Bannockburn, encouraged his troops by a promise of the like nature. [The fact mentioned in the text is proved by a retour in the Chartulary of Aberdeen, fol. 121, in favour of Andrew de Tulidef, whose father, William de Tulidef, was slain at Harlaw.]

Buchanan also observes, that, in the Battle of Harlaw, there perished more noble and illustrious men, than had fallen in foreign warfare during many years; and a village, formerly obscure, became distinguished to after ages.

In the immediate neighbourhood, two cairns were opened a few years ago. In the first, nothing was found but ashes; and in the other, a stone coffin of rude workmanship, containing human bones, and also ashes. There are other two cairns upon the field of battle, still left untouched. The one, as formerly mentioned, is called Drum's Cairn, and the other Maclean's Grave. [In the year 1837, when the tenant at Harlaw was trenching a piece of barren ground, about a quarter of a mile to the north of the field of battle, he dug up the bones of about twelve human bodies. Part of a scull, and of the thigh bones, are in the possession of the writer hereof. The place in which they were found was a trench about 3½ feet deep, 4 feet wide, and 12 feet in length.]

The field upon which, it is said, the battle was fought, is about a quarter of a mile to the south-east of the farm of Harlaw, and still goes by the name of the Pley Fauld. About a hundred yards to the west of said farm, is to be seen a large whinstone, about 7 feet in height and 2 in breadth, which is called the Liggar's Stane, and which is said to have been put up in its present situation, to mark the spot where the females who followed the soldiers, and who were slain in the battle, were buried. A few years ago, there were two of these stones; but at that time, one of them was removed by a farmer in the neighbourhood; and after being broken down, was put into his house which was then building.

In the Genealogical Collections of Macfarlane, preserved in the Advocates' Library, [MS. Jac. V. 4, 16, Vol. i. p. 180.] (as mentioned by Tytler,) there is a manuscript account of the family of Maclean, which informs us that Lauchlan Lubanich had by M'Donald's daughter a son, called Eachin Rusidth ni Cath, or Hector Rufus Bellicosus. He commanded as lieutenant-general under the Earl of Ross at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, where he and Irvine of Drum, seeking out one another by their armorial bearings on their shields, met and killed each other. He was married to a daughter of the Earl of Douglas.

In the manuscript Geographical Description of Scotland, collected by the same industrious antiquary, (Advocates' Library, Vol. i. p. 7,) it is mentioned, that to the west of the field of battle about half a mile, is a farmer's house, called Legget's Den, [There is a tradition still prevalent in the parish, that this farm was so named, in consequence of a conference having been held here, between one of the Kings of Scotland and a Pope's legate.] hard by, in which is a tomb built in the form of a malt steep, of four large stones covered with a broad stone above, where, as the country people generally report, Donald of the Isles lies buried, being slain in the battle, and therefore they call it commonly Donald's Tomb. So far the manuscript. It is certain, however, says Tytler, that the Lord of the Isles was not slain. This may probably be the tomb of the chief of Maclean or Macintosh, both of whom fell in the battle. It is more likely to have been Macintosh's tomb, as Maclean's grave, as formerly mentioned, is still pointed out on the field of battle. Some of the stones composing this tomb, were in the situation as above described, till about thirty years ago, when the tenant unfortunately removed them. One of them is still shown as forming part of an embankment to prevent the river of Ury from encroaching upon the farm of Mill of Pitcaple; but what became of the others is unknown.

To the north of the House of Pitcaple, there are traces of an ancient camp; immediately adjoining to which, the foundation of an old bridge across the Ury was, some years ago, discovered.

It is said that Lollius Urbicus, the gallant general of Antoninus Pius, crossed the Don at Inverury, passing Harlaw and Pitscurry in Chapel of Garioch, near to the latter of which places are the remains of a Roman post, placed there, as is supposed, to keep up their communications between the camps of Peterculter and Glen-mailen, about twenty-six statute miles from each other.

Chalmers in his Caledonia observes, that there is indeed reason to believe, that there are traces of roads which may have been made by Roman hands, farther north than that which went across the moor at Brechin, where vestiges of it appear pointing to Keith-ock. In Aberdeenshire, between the rivers Don and Ury, on the eastern side of Benochie, there exists an ancient road, [The traces of this ancient road are still visible. ] which is known in the country by the appropriate name of the Maiden Causeway. [Some of the Roman roads in the north of England are distinguished by same name of Maiden Causeway.] It proceeds from Benochie, whereon there was a hill fort, more than the distance of a mile, into the woods of Pit-todrie, where it disappears from the most inquisitive sight. It is paved with stones, is about 14 feet wide, and has every appearance of a vicinal way of the Romans. This Maiden-way (says Colonel Shand) is on the west side of the ninth Iter on its course from the Don to the springs of Ithan, (the Ituna of Richard, where the camp of Glen-mailen was placed,) the station of Rae-dikes. If this way were continued in its appropriate direction, it would join the tract of the Iter near the river of Ury, and contiguous to the supposed Roman post.

About a quarter of a mile to the north of the supposed Roman post, there was dug up about two years ago, within four inches of the surface, a stone coffin of rude workmanship containing human bones, and a Roman urn of baked clay filled with ashes, which is now in the possession of Sir Robert Dalrymple Home Elphinstone, Bart. The scull and jaw bones, together with the teeth, were very entire. The coffin was composed of five stones. It had on each side and on each end of it, a rude granite flag, and was covered with a slab of the same material. It was four feet in length, two in breadth, one and a half in depth, and the cover one stone, measuring five feet by three. Another Roman urn of baked clay, containing human bones, which had been exposed to the action of fire, was dug up, in 1S38, betwixt Pitcaple House and the Urv, and is now in Mr Lumsden's possession.

To the west of the House of Logie Elphinstone, and about a quarter of a mile distant from it, the tenant of Craigmill, about three years ago, when trenching a piece of barren ground, dug up a stone coffin, in which ashes only were deposited. Nothing, however, was found to elucidate the time and occasion of its being placed there; but as it was surrounded by a cairn of stones, it marked, in all probability, the spot where one of the chieftains of Donald of the Isles was buried, in his retreat to Ross-shire and the Isles from the battle of Harlaw.

About half a-mile to the north-west of the church, is to be seen a large stone, called the Maiden Stone, which is ten feet high above ground, two feet and ten inches broad, and about ten inches thick. It is supposed to be about six feet below the surface of the ground. Upon it there are several curious hieroglyphical figures cut. The occasion of its erection is unknown; but there is a tradition that there existed a feud betwixt the Laird of Balquhain, and the neighbouring proprietor of Harthill, which was carried to such a height, that they had no intercourse with each other. Notwithstanding of this, it is reported that the daughter of the former and the son of the latter became attached to each other. Upon an appointed day, the young people set off together, when their flight being immediately communicated to the Laird of Balquhain, he pursued them with as many of his vassals as he could collect, and having overtaken the fugitives at the place where the stone is erected, a rencontre took place, in which the young lady was unfortunately killed. Afterwards, this stone was erected to her memory, and from hence called the Maiden Stone. In the opinion of some antiquaries, the heiroglyphics upon it are Danish. It might have, also, had some connection with the Maiden Causeway on the hill of Benochie, as it is about equidistant betwixt it and the supposed Roman post near Pitcaple House.

The ruins of the Church of Logie Durno, in the lands of Logie Elphinstone, and of Fetternear, [It appears that there was a chapel built at Fetternear in the year 1109, which received from his Majesty Malcolm IV., a charter dated 20th August 1160. ---Orem's History of Old Aberdeen.] in the lands of Balquhain, with their accompanying cemeteries, completely surrounded with wood, are still visible.

Mansion Houses.—There are four mansion-houses in the parish, viz. Logie-Elphinstone, the residence of Sir Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone, Bart.; Pittodrie, the residence of Colonel Knight Erskine. Balquhain, the residence of Ernest Leslie, Esq.; and Pitcaple, the residence of Hugh Lumsden, Esq. Sheriff of Sutherlandshire. Logie Elphinstone is upon the north, and Pitcaple upon the south bank of the Ury. Pittodrie is upon an elevated situation on the east side of Benochie, and commands an extensive prospect of the rich valley of the Garioch. Fetternear (once the residence of the Bishop of Aberdeen, [The House of Fetternear was built in 1329, by Alexander Kininmonth, Bishop of Aberdeen, for a summer lodging to the Bishops of Aberdeen, when coming to survey the canons and priests of Fetternear Chapel, about 230 yards from the Bishop's lodging—Orem.]) is upon the north bank of the Don. They are all elegant, commodious, and spacious mansions, surrounded by fertile fields, and well-wooded; and have excellent gardens, avenues, and fields laid out with great taste.

Mills, &c.—There are in the parish seven corn-mills, with five barley mills attached to them; another barley-mill; two mills for carding and spinning wool; a lint-mill; and three saw-mills.

The mansion-houses of the resident proprietors, together with the church, manse, and school-house are built of granite. Some of the mills and farm-steadings are also built of granite, and others of them of whinstone.

III. Population

The increase of the population seems chiefly to have arisen from the hitherto uncultivated parts of the parish having been converted into arable land, and cottages built for the occupants; and also from the improved system of husbandry which is now followed in this part of the country.

The oldest woman, at present, living in the parish is ninety-eight years of age ; the oldest man, ninety-one; and both are enjoying good health. One woman died last year aged ninety-four, and another two years ago, aged ninety-two.

The people in this parish are, in general, a tall, robust, hardy race, and patient of fatigue.

There are two fatuous persons in the parish.

In their general character, the people are sober, cleanly, industrious, and charitable to the poor; decent and exemplary in their attendance on religious ordinances; and appear to be quite contented with their situation and circumstances. Their ordinary food consists of the different preparations of oatmeal, of potatoes, of greens, and milk, and occasionally of a little beef at Christmas,—at which period the generality of farmers kill and salt a mart for family use. The parishioners are neither addicted to poaching in game, nor in the salmon-fisheries.


Agricultural and Rural Economy.—The number of acres in this parish cannot be correctly ascertained; for whilst some of the proprietors have accurate plans of their estates lately made out, there are others whose plans are from sixty to one hundred years old, and they cannot be altogether relied upon; besides, there are some farms which have never been measured; at any rate, no plan giving the amount of their contents, can be found. The writer hereof, however, has done all that was in his power to remedy this defect, by inquiring at tenants and others who could give him any information upon the subject, and if there are any mistakes, he is quite satisfied that they have been unintentional on the part of those to whom he has applied.

[* If the east front of Benochic to the top of the hill was to be included in the measurement, it would make an addition of from 1000 to 2000 acres to the waste lands of the parish; but as it is somewhat doubtful whether it belongs to the parish of Oyne or to that of Chapel of Garioch, it has not been taken into the calculation.]

The general kind of trees planted consists of larch, spruce, and Scotch firs; but the mansion-houses and lawns of the resident proprietors are ornamented with fine old trees, such as ash, elm, beech, birch, horse-chestnut, and plane. The soil appears particularly congenial to all kinds of trees.

Rent of Land.— The rent of arable land per Scotch acre is from L.2 to L.2, 10s. for infield, and from 8s. to 16s. for outfield, averaging about 17s. 6d. per acre, and giving a rental for the parish of L.6000.

The average rent of grazing is about L.3 for a cow or full-grown ox; L.l, 10s. for a two-year old; and L.1 for a year old.

Rate of Wages.—A good ploughman gets from L.10 to L.14 per annum, and a woman servant, L.3 in summer, and L.2 in winter, with victuals. In the time of harvest, men's wages are from L.2 to L.2, 10s., and women's from L.1, 10s. to L.2, with victuals. Common labourers have from 1s. 6d. to 2s. in summer, and from 1s. to 1s. 6d. in winter. A mason and carpenter's wages is about 2s. 10d. in summer, and 1s. 10d. in winter. An excellent wooden plough fully mounted costs L.3; a cart, L.10; and a pair of harrows, L.l.

Live-Stock.— To the improvement of the breed of cattle in this parish, great attention has been paid. A great proportion of them are of the Aberdeenshire and Buchan polled breeds, with a cross betwixt both. There are very few of the old Aberdeenshire horned cattle in the country; but the proprietors of this county propose next year to give premiums, in order to encourage farmers to rear a greater number of this breed, which were always much admired, both for their symmetry and many valuable qualities; and which would make their total loss a matter of serious regret to the agricultural interest. Aberdeenshire cattle are held in high estimation by the English graziers, who fatten for the Smithfield market, and during the winter a great many in this parish are fed upon turnips and straw, and are either sold to the butcher, or sent by sea to London.

Husbandry.—The system of husbandry pursued is, in most cases, a seventh rotation. In breaking up the lea or pasture ground, which has lain in grass for three seasons, the first crop is oats; 2. oats; 3. turnips or potatoes, having the soil well manured; 4. oats, bear, or barley, sown down with rye-grass and clover seeds; 5. hay; 6. pasture; 7. pasture. A few acres of wheat are also sown annually after potatoes or summer-fallow, and good crops of it are produced. It has not been hitherto much cultivated ; but as there have been such fine seasons of late, and the climate having been much improved by extensive drainage, farmers are finding the culture of it profitable, and several of them have sown small patches of it, this year, who never before attempted to raise such a crop.

Turnips have been for many years cultivated largely in the parish, and the introduction of bone-manure has enabled the farmer to raise a greater quantity of them, and by this means to improve his ground, and also to rear and fatten more cattle for the butcher.

A large extent of waste ground has been reclaimed within the last fifty years, and a considerable proportion of the fields have been enclosed with stone dikes.

The duration of leases is nineteen years, and every encouragement has been given by the proprietors to respectable and industrious tenants. The greater part of the farm-buildings are excellent, commodious, and suitable to the occupants. The landlords are not much given to change, and consequently the tenants are seldom turned out of their possessions. Indeed, many of the ancestors of the present generation for more than a century have been inhabitants of the parish, and, in several instances, were tacksmen of the same farms which their descendants now occupy. There are at present living upon the lands of Logie Elphinstone three brothers and two sisters, all above seventy years of age, and whose united ages amount to 390 years. With the exception of eleven years residence in a neighbouring parish, they, together with their paternal and maternal ancestors, have been tenants in the parish for about 120 years.

Produce.—The average gross amount of raw produce yearly raised in the parish, as nearly as that can be ascertained, is as follows:—

V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Town.—The parish contains neither village nor town,; The nearest market-town is Inverury, which is distant from the church about four or five miles. There is now a post-office at Pitcaple, which is of great advantage to the neighbourhood.

Means of Communication.—The parish is well supplied with roads. There are four miles and a half of turnpike road, and thirty-five of statute-labour. The roads and bridges are kept in a good state of repair. The south mail from Aberdeen, and the north mail from Inverness, generally meet each other daily in the parish about ten o'clock every morning. There are also three stage coaches, which pass every lawful day to and from Aberdeen through the parish; besides carriers from Huntly, Keith, and other parts of the country on their way to Aberdeen.

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church was built in 1813. It is a substantia] edifice, built of granite, and in very good repair. It is situated as nearly as possible in the centre of the parish, as to its territorial boundaries (being about five miles from the southern, and the like distance from the northern extremities); but it unfortunately happens that the most populous parts of the parish are at the two extremities, and near to the old church of Logie Durno, and the parsonage of Fetternear.

The Established Church is the only place of public worship in the parish, and accommodates from 750 to 800 persons. With the exception of the minister's and elders' seats, each of the heritors has his proportion of the church allotted for his own family, and also for his tenants, so that it may be said that all the seats are free. [In 1839, a very neat church, capable of containing .500 sitters, was erected at Blairdaff, in the south side of this parish, about four miles and a-half distant from the church of Chapel of Garioch. It is placed in a beautiful situation, and completely surrounded with wood. Besides the portion of this parish lying to the south, a part of the parishes of Oyne and Monymusk, containing in the three parishes a population of more than 1000 souls, are accommodated by this erection. The expense of the church was about L. 500, and was defrayed by subscriptions from some of the heritors and parishioners of Chapel of Garioch, Oyne, and Monymusk; from the ministers of the presbytery of Garioch, and other charitable individuals connected with this part of the country; and also from a liberal grant from the General Assembly's Church Extension fund. The ground on which the church is built, and that intended for a burial ground, containing in whole about a Scots acre, was most handsomely conveyed over by Robert Grant, Esq. of Tillyfour, to the minister and elders of the parish of Chapel of Garioch, and their successors in office, the minister and elders of said parish, in all time coming, for the payment of one penny Scotch, in name of blench farm at Whitsunday yearly, upon the ground, if asked only. There is no debt upon the building. The church was opened for public worship upon the 9th day of June 1839, and since that period has been always well attended. At the dispensation of the sacrament of our Lord's Supper this year (1840) in the new church, there were 318 communicants. It is much to be regretted that an endowment cannot be obtained for this church, as the hearers in the neighbourhood are in general so poor, that they can afford to give but little for the support even of a preacher to officiate each Lord's day.]

The manse was built in the year 1789 : an addition was made to it in 1814, and another addition in 1831. It is now a large, comfortable, and commodious house, and one of the best manses in the country.

The glebe is 18 imperial acres in extent, and is worth about. L.25 Sterling per annum.

The stipend is 16 chalders Linlithgow measure, half meal, half barley, according to the fiar prices of the county, together with L. 8, 6s. 8d. for communion elements. The average amount for the last seven years, exclusive of communion elements, is L. 216, 12s. 1¾d.

The last augmentation was obtained in 1826, leaving the teinds unexhausted.

The numbers belonging to the Established Church are, of families, 367; of individuals, 1763. The numbers belonging to Dissenters and Seceders are, of families of Episcopalians, 9; of Roman Catholics, 6; of Independents, 3; of Seceders, 1. Of individuals, including parents and children, Episcopalians, 52; Roman Catholics, 29; Independents, 19; and Seceders, 10.

Divine service in the Established Church and in the new church is exceedingly well attended.

The number of communicants in the church of Chapel of Garioch, at the last dispensation of the sacrament, was 807. There are from 34 to 40 young communicants annually, and they generally communicate for the first time, when they are about sixteen years of age.

Education.—The total number of schools in the parish six,— one parochial; two receive each from the heritors annually L.3, 3s.; another unendowed: two are schools taught by females, one of whom has a salary of L. 20, and the other a salary of L. 10 from two benevolent ladies connected with the parish.

The branches taught in the parochial school, besides the ordinary ones, are, geography, practical mathematics, Latin, and Greek. The salary is L. 27 per annum, and the school-fees amount to about L. 20. A very commodious school, and dwelling-house has been lately erected for the schoolmaster.

At the other schools, the ordinary branches of education are taught. The teachers' emoluments in whole may amount to from L.15 to L.18 per annum. The parochial school is quite close to the church. The first of the three other schools is situated about a mile and a half, the second about three miles and a half, and the third about four miles and a half from the parochial school. There are no persons in the parish above seven years of age, who cannot read, and only a few of the old who cannot write. The people are fully alive to the benefits of education, and would rather want some of their little comforts, than that their children should not be instructed in the ordinary branches taught at parochial schools.

Besides the weekly schools, there are four Sabbath-schools, one of which is taught by the minister of the parish.

Library.—There is a small parochial library, consisting principally of religious books.

Poor and Parochial Funds.—There never has been an assessment for the poor in this parish. They are supported by church collections, interest of capital, mortcloth, proclamation-dues, and a mortification of L. 10 annually. The church collections for the support of the poor for the last seven years, including the sacramental ones, average L. 58, 0s. 7¼d. yearly; and when it is considered that the population is entirely agricultural, the writer has great satisfaction in recording the amount, as it evinces the liberality of the parishioners, and also the regularity with which they attend public worship. The interest of capital [The capital when the former Statistical Account was published was L. 106, and till within these eighteen years no farther addition was made to the funds. Since that period, however, it has been increased by legacies, collections, &c. to the sum of L. 425, and about a month ago, another legacy of L. 90 has been added, so that the capital for the support of the poor is now above L. 500.] (L. 425, at 3½ per cent.) is L. 14, 17s. 6d. The mortcloth and proclamation-dues average L. 5, 6s.; and a non-resident heritor gives to the poor annually a donation of L. 5. In addition to these funds, there is L. 10 annually mortified to the poor by Dr Anderson, late of St Christopher's, a native of this parish. He also, at same time, mortified L. 20 annually for a free-school to be kept within the parish of Chapel of Garioch; but unfortunately for us, added, " or elsewhere in North Britain, as my aforesaid trustees shall think it most expedient." This addition has hitherto deprived the parish of the benefit of this school; for although it is much wanted by the distant population, for whom teachers can with great difficulty be obtained, as the remuneration is so small,— yet Dr Anderson's Trustees have never as yet seen the expediency of implementing this part of the testament so far as Chapel of Garioch is concerned; but have, as I have every reason to believe, opened a school in some other part of the country, and pay the schoolmaster this mortified sum.

The average number of poor persons receiving parochial aid is 35, [The number of poor upon the roll is now 64, and the expenditure has increased proportionally.] and almost the whole of them are old persons. The allowance to each averages from 9s. to 15s. per quarter, and in the quarter in which the sacrament is dispensed, all of them receive 2s. additional. There is also a fatuous pauper, who receives annually from L. 7 to L. 8. Occasional aid is likewise given to poor persons, who are not upon the roll. Some of the resident heritors are very attentive to the poor upon their estates, and give to several of them from one to two bolls of meal annually, together with a free house, garden, and fire ; indeed, the whole of the parishioners who can afford it, are ever ready to alleviate the distresses, and to supply the wants of their poorer brethren.

The income for the last seven years (exclusive of L. 15 of legacies) has been L. 652, 8s. 8¾d., giving an average annually of L. 93, 4s. l¼d. for the use of the poor. The expenditure during the same period has been L. 605, 9s. 7½d., giving an average annually of L. 86, 9s. 11¼ 3/7d. There is also an annual collection for the Aberdeen Infirmary, which gives free admission to all parishioners recommended by the session. The seven last collections amounted in whole to L. 66, 11s. 6d. giving an average annually of L. 9, 10s. 2½ 2/7d. During the same period, there have been three collections for the pauper lunatic fund, under the management of the Presbytery of Garioch, amounting in whole to L. 18, 10s. and two collections for the Propagation of the Gospel in India,—the first amounting to L. 7, 7s. and the second to L. 5, 5s., so that the church collections of this parish for the poor, and for religious and charitable purposes, during the last seven years, exclusive of proclamation dues, mortcloth, donations, and mortification, have amounted to the sum of L. 503, 17s. 11d., averaging annually L. 71, 19s. 8 3/7d.

It is with reluctance that the poor, in general, seek for parochial aid; and there are individuals in the parish who would submit to any inconvenience rather than apply for it; but this spirit of independence is not so prevalent as it was some years ago. [An orphan family receives at the rate of L.13 per annum from the poor's funds; and although the parishioners give as liberally at the church as usual, yet the poor have increased so much (about double) within these five years, that the expenditure has considerably exceeded the income, and in consequence, it has been found necessary to draw from the capital. There has also been collected for the two by-past years L. 8 annually for four of the General Assembly's schemes, viz. Church Extension; Colonial Churches; Education in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and the Propagation of the Gospel in India, i. e. L. 2 annually for each scheme.]

Inns, Alehouses, &c.—There is one inn, and two houses licensed to sell ale and spirits in the parish, which, although they are kept in an orderly manner, yet, to a certain extent, are prejudicial to the morals of the people.

Fuel.—The expense of fuel, and the difficulty with which it is obtained, is one of the greatest drawbacks under which this parish lies. The tenants upon the estates of Logie Elphinstone and Fetternear, at the northern and southern extremities of the parish, are well supplied with peats from the mosses of Warthill and Fetternear; but, as the great majority of the parishioners have no claim upon these mosses for fuel, they are obliged to have recourse to the hill of Benochie for their peats, by a very steep and dangerous road, which, in a rainy season, is almost impassable. The moss is about 200 yards from the top of the hill, (which is about 1440 feet above the level of the sea) ; and as it is about four miles distant from the centre of the parish, two cart-loads can only be brought home by one horse during the day. The cost of a cartload to the consumer is reckoned about 4s. English coals are also very expensive. They are to be procured at the canal basin of Port-Elphinstone, near Inverury, which is about five or six miles distant from the church, and when brought here, including all ex penses, cost from L. 1, 6s. to L. 1, 8s. per ton. English coals can be bought cheaper at Aberdeen ; but when it is considered that it is twenty miles distant, a greater expense for cartage is thus incurred ; so that the ton of coals from Aberdeen, and from the canal basin at Inverury, may be reckoned, when laid down at Chapel of Garioch, about the same price.

Miscellaneous Observations.

Since the last Statistical Account was published, great improvements have taken place in the parish. The system of husbandry is greatly changed for the better, and a great proportion of the land that was then waste, has been either planted or improved. Instead of (as there stated) sown grass and turnips being little cultivated, excepting upon the farms in the possession of the proprietors, every farmer, and even cottager, has at present his rotation of these crops, and where nothing but heath formerly grew, are now to be seen well cultivated and enclosed fields. Thriving plantations are rising up in every direction, beautifying and improving the face of the country. All the resident proprietors have had large additions built to their mansion-houses. The church, schoolmaster's house, and parish-school have been rebuilt. Most of the tenants' houses have also been rebuilt, and many of them covered with slate roofs. Their manner of living is more comfortable, and a change for the better has taken place in their dress. The population is nearly doubled. The number of poor upon the roll was at that period, 30, with an income of L. 35. The average number at present is 35, with an income for their support of L. 93, 4s. 1¼d.; so that it is pleasing to observe, that they have not increas-ed in the same proportion as the population; whilst their means subsistence are nearly tripled. A new turnpike road has been made through the parish, along which the mail and three other coaches daily pass to and from Aberdeen. In former times, there was no similar conveyance. The people are more desirous of knowledge, and anxious for the education and instruction of their children. Upon the whole, they enjoy many blessings and advantages, of which their forefathers had not the most distant prospect, and it is to be hoped that they duly appreciate and are grateful for them.

Written in 1835,
Revised in 1840.


Antiquities.—About half a mile to the south-east of the church, is to be seen the old ruinous castle of Balquhain. In it Queen Mary spent a day in her journey to the north, which terminated in the battle of Corrichie; and at which time, it is said she attended mass in the church of Chapel. This ancient castle was long the seat of the present proprietor, Count Leslie, twenty-third Baron of Balquhain. Of this venerable building the only remains are a few shattered fragments of the court or quadrangle of which it originally consisted, and the noble square tower or keep, which was erected about the year 1530, by Sir William Leslie, seventh Baron of Balquhain, to replace the more ancient castle, which had been burned down in the memorable feud with the Forbeses in the year 15'26. The walls are six feet thick, and the cement almost as hard as the stone. From it, there is one of the finest echoes in Scotland. There is also, at a short distance to the east of it, a Druid's circle, which is very entire.

Modern Buildings.—There are four mansion-houses in the parish, viz. Logie Elphinstone, the residence of Sir Robert Dal-rymple Horn Elphinstone, Bart.; Pittodrie, the residence of Colonel Knight Erskine; Fetternear, the residence of Count Leslie, twenty-third Baron of Balquhain; and Pitcaple, the residence of Hugh Lumsden, Esq. Logie Elphinstone is upon the north, and Pitcaple upon the south bank of the Ury; Pittodrie is upon an-elevated situation.

In the house of Fetternear there is a well known relic of the Leslie family, called "John of Blairbowie's chair." This massy and gigantic chair excites the admiration and wonder of the degenerate men of modern times, on account of its tremendous strength and dimensions. It is of such weight that the strongest man could scarcely lift it from the ground; and derives its name from one of the family of Balquhain, noted for his gigantic stature, and famous in northern song and legend for his many daring exploits and adventures.

It may not be unsuitable here to mention that a club of gentlemen of Aberdeen, (the Maryculter Club), who generally pay an annual visit for a day or two to some of the more interesting localities of the county, and whose present president (1841) is Thomas Blaikie, Esq. chief magistrate of Aberdeen, selected this parish as their rendezvous on the 24th of July of this year, on purpose to visit the field of Harlaw. Among the party were several of the members of the Town-Council; and the writer of this account of the parish had the pleasure of accompanying them over the scene of combat, and of pointing out Drum's cairn, Maclean's crave, and the other memorials still existing. Thus, after the lapse of 430 years, and upon the anniversary day of the battle, a Provost of Aberdeen led a body of his townsmen to render upon the spot their respects to the memory of his gallant predecessor, and the other brave men who had there died in defence of their burgh.

August 1841.

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