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


I.—Topography and Natural History.

Name.Torra or Turra, as the name was anciently written, and is still vulgarly pronounced, is said to signify in the Gaelic language a mount or height, which is descriptive of the situation of the town; while Turreff or Turriff, derived from the same language, signifies, we are told, "turrets or towers;"—in the memory of persons alive till lately, the remains of towers were to be seen, and those of one of them still exist in the gateway and vaults of an old and now almost ruinous building, known by the name of "Castle Rainy."

Extent and Boundaries.— The mean length of the parish from north to south is 6 1/6 miles; and the mean breadth from west to east, 5 5/12 miles,—thus making its superficial extent about 33½ square miles. From the site of the church to the extremities of the parish, the distance, on all sides except to the west, is so nearly equal, that a circle, of which the town is the centre, and the radius 4¼ miles, would include the whole of this parish, with a large part of that of Forglen, from which it is separated by the river Doveron. The other neighbouring parishes are Alvah and King Edward, on the north; Monquhitter, on the east; Fyvie and Auchterless, on the south; and Inverkeithnv, on the west.

Topographical Appearances.— On the river banks and level grounds, the prevailing soil is an alluvial deposit of clay-slate or clay. In some places, it is sharp, light, and gravelly, and is very early and fertile. The aspect of the parish is, upon the whole, beautiful; the ground rising from the Doveron towards the south and east, till it terminates in gently undulating fields, bearing in general, in favourable seasons, abundant crops. The hills of Vrae on the north, Cotburn on the east, Darra on the south, and Ardmiddle on the west, are the most elevated. The town is very pleasantly situated, with a fine southern exposure; and although it cannot boast of its spacious and well-formed streets or its public buildings, the houses are substantial, neat, and commodious, and surrounded by little gardens, tastefully laid out, display a degree of comfort and convenience which the inhabitants in general enjoy. Indeed, it has often been remarked by strangers, that Turriff exhibits fewer instances of poverty and wretchedness than most places of the same size. Within the last fifteen years, a considerable addition was made to the extent and population of the town by two streets which were opened ; and it is rumoured that additional feus are to be given off upon a more uniform and improved plan than has hitherto been followed.

Longevity.—In the course of last summer, a woman died in her 99th year; and there are now living in the parish, and in tolerable health, a few persons above 90, and a good many from 80 to 87 years of age. Two of the present members of the kirk-session are in their 87th year, and still take an active part in the discharge of their duties as elders.

Hydrography.— The river Doveron, at its source called the Blackwater, takes its rise in the Cabrach, on the confines between the counties of Aberdeen and Banff. When it first enters this parish, after many beautiful windings from west to east, it changes its course below Mill of Turriff, and, taking a sudden turn towards the north, continues to flow in that direction till it discharges itself into the Moray Frith at Banff. The only other stream of consequence which runs through the parish, is the burn of Turriff, which has its source on the farm of Little Byth, in the parish of Aberdour, and which, before it reaches its termination and falls into the Doveron, is of considerable size. In its passage of about two and a-half miles through this parish, it works two meal mills, two carding and one flax mill, and the machinery of a bleachfield. In the memorable flood of 1829, this burn became flooded to such a degree, that in the mill-house at Mill of Turriff, and in some of the premises about the bleachfield, the water rose eight feet above the door-soles, or eleven feet above its ordinary level. There are some minor streamlets which divide this from the neighbouring parishes, and which afford a sufficient supply of water for the various mills which have been erected in the line of their course. Throughout the parish, there are numerous perennial springs, and an abundance of excelleut water, amply sufficient for all the purposes of life and industry. There are several mineral wells, but none of them of any great celebrity. One of them, in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, has been rather famed for its medicinal properties, and has been denominated the "Physic Well." Another, on the opposite side of the burn, in the braes of Kinner-tnitt, is slightly impregnated with carbonate of iron, and of use as a tonic, while on the north side of the parish, on the farms of Clay-mires, Hilton, and Fernystripe, there are springs of the same quality, but more powerful, as indicated by the dark and iron colour of the water which issues from them. There are other wells which are called Saints' wells, as one at Slap, known by the name of St John's Well, and St John's Well Stripe flowing from it, and dividing the farm of Slap from that of Slackadale. There is also a well on the estate of Gask which had been notable, and the virtues of which could not be secured but by a pecuniary offering to its patron, and hence the name of the farm where it exists, "Silverwells." In the brae of Laithers, and in the neighbourhood of a chapel, the foundation of which was some years ago removed by the plough, there was a well which was annually resorted to, on a particular day, by crowds from all quarters, the water of which was supposed to insure a continuance of health to those who enjoyed it, and to impart the blessing to such as were deprived of it. To these wells, and others scattered over the district, several peculiar qualities were ascribed, as being specially favoured by the saint to whom they were dedicated. But the time has gone by when such fanciful and superstitious notions have been in any degree entertained.

Geology. [The writer begs gratefully to acknowledge his obligations to John Shier, Esq. Professor of Agriculture in Marischal College, Aberdeen, for the article on Geology, and the greater part of that on Botany.]—The only two groups which form the parish are grey-wacke on the west, and old red sandstone on the east,—the space occupied by the former being about three times as large as that occupied by the latter.

Graywacke.—This group differs in many respects from its equivalent of England and the south of Scotland. In our locality it consists of numerous alternations of greywacke, greywacke-slate, and clay-slate, all regularly stratified, inclined at high angles, and frequently traversed by veins of milk quartz. The imbedded fragments in the graywacke consist of quartz, felspar, and occasionally clay-slate. The fragments are mostly angular, rarely water-worn, and never large. The basis is highly siliceous and compact, and never arenaceous, as is the case in the south. The greywacke-slate consists of the same minerals; but the fragments are small, and the basis partakes more of the nature of the clay-slate, into which the graywacke graduates. Fine sections of this group occur in the cliffs that skirt the Doveron, in the southwestern angle of the parish, as well as in many of the gullies cut by the smaller streams, and in numerous quarries, where the rock is worked as a building stone, paving-flag, road metal, or for building drains,—a purpose for which its slaty character renders it especially fit. The graywacke does not in this district contain any of these subordinate layers of limestone so common in the south; and no organic remains have hitherto been discovered in it. From the observations indicated on the sketch, it is apparent that the direction of the dip is very uniform over the parish, being in almost every instance east-south-east, at angles varying from 20° to 50°, 45° being about the average.

Old Red Sandstone.—Along the whole eastern side of the parish, the greywacke is overlaid by sandstone and conglomerate. Fine sections of these rocks are seen in the various quarries, opposite to Delgaty Castle, where they have long been worked as a building stone. Although, in this parish, no single locality has been found where the denudation is extensive enough to show the greywacke and old red sandstone in conjunction, there can exist no doubt that the latter rests unconformably on the upturned edges of the former,—a circumstance of which there is abundance of proof in the coast sections of the neighbouring parish, Gam-rie. The sandstones are of a dull-red colour, often micaceous, and with small spheres of a pale grey colour scattered through them. The conglomerates which are interstratified with the former consist almost entirely of primary boulders, and gravel imbedded in an ironshot arenaceous basis. The direction of the dip varies from north-north-east to west-south-west, perhaps west-north-west is the most frequent. The angle of the dip varies from 15° at the-south Delgaty quarry, to 40° on the Craigston burn. These sandstones and conglomerates obviously belong to Dr Malcolm-son's lowest subdivision of the old red termed the great conglome-

rate. No representative of the Gamrie fish bed has been met with in the parish, although, from the close resemblance of the dark inherent conglomerate seen at Darra and Gask, to that which overlies the fossiliferous strata of Gamrie, it is not improbable that future researches may be rewarded by the discovery of this most interesting deposit. The sandstones and conglomerates of Delgaty afford the greater part of the building stone of which the houses in the town of Turriff, as well as those of the neighbouring proprietors, are composed. Coping stones, and ashlar for mill courses, are also quarried for the use of many adjacent parishes. In Conn's quarry fifteen men on an average are employed, and the tacksmen drive a considerable trade. Quarriers earn 12s. to 14s. per week, and dressers L.1. Dressed rybats and corners are sold at 6d. per foot; copings, 7d. per running foot; stones for mill courses, 6d.; rubble for dikes, &c. 3d. per load.

Superficial Layers.— To give a detailed account of these layers would exceed the limits of the present notice. They are in general similar to those occurring along most of the east coast, and are, according to some, the moraines clay and gravel left by glaciers. According to others, they are chiefly the produce of vast water currents. On an eminence west-north-west of Delgaty Castle, there is found a rather peculiar bed of gravel. The surface of the pit presents a covering of three feet of light-brown ochry clay, under which rests the gravel bed, eight to ten feet thick. The boulders are all water-worn, and consist chiefly of the purest milk quartz, mixed with very white micaceous sand. Among the moss, water-worn chalk flints occur, sparingly containing the usual chalk fossils. This forms the western termination of the Buchan chalk flints discovered by Dr Knight, and considered by him as transported by ice. This interesting deposit deserves more attention, as likely to modify considerably the recent views of Professor Agassiz.

Attempts at different times, and very lately, have been made to open on the Craig-brae of Laithers a quarry of roofing slates; but, though appearances were favourable, and slates of tolerably good quality were obtained, the labour and expense were found to be so great, that the business has not been prosecuted to any extent.

Botany.—The Flora of the parish has not been so accurately investigated as is desirable. From the variety of soil, situation, and exposure, it cannot fail to be rich; while, from the circumstance of the parish being in a high state of cultivation, and of pretty uniform elevation, the field of the botanist lies chiefly in the woods and water sides. The following list contains plants worthy of notice, either as regards the district or the parish. Most of them occur on the south bank of the Doveron, and on the richly-wooded steep, the Craig Brae of Laithers. The marks are those used by the Edinburgh Botanical Society.

To the above list may be added, as the less common species which are found in Aberdeenshire, and which have been met with in this parish by Mr Alexander Murray, the intelligent tenant of Burnside of Delgaty, and well known for his botanical taste and general information :—

Zoology.—This parish is not distinguished by any of the rarer species of animals. Roe-deer are frequently to be seen in the woods, and during winter do much injury to the trees, by stripping them of their bark. Of late, since the Earl of Kintore had a hunting-seat at Gask, foxes have become numerous; and although occasional depredations are committed, the kindness of the Noble Lord, and his attention to the interests of the tenantry in other respects, with his generosity to the parochial poor, make ample atonement for any loss sustained by the attacks of the wily enemy of the poultry yard. Wild cats, badgers, and some of the weasel tribe, with mice, rats, and moles, are common, and the hare and rabbit in very great abundance. Grouse are not plentiful; though, on the Waggle Hill, in the immediate neighbourhood, a young gentleman, this season, bagged twelve brace on the 12th of August. Partridges are numerous ; and of late, that beautiful bird, the pheasant, has found its way from Duff House Park, or the grounds at Fyvie Castle, and is now frequently to be seen.

Ichthyology.—The Doveron contains salmon, trout, and the other varieties of river fishes; and the burn of Turriff affords excellent sport to the angler, and is much resorted to by the schoolboy find several of the more aged inhabitants, who show astonishing dexterity in an art which, in their early days, had been a favourite recreation. At one time, the salmon-fishing in this parish was of considerable value ; but, owing to the indefatigable exertions of the fishermen at the river mouth, and the difficulty of escape by the construction of the cruive dikes, the fishing is not now prosecuted to any extent or advantage.

Plantations.—There are nearly 3000 imperial acres under wood, 700 of which have been planted within the last thirty years. The trees most generally planted, are, larch, spruce, Scotch firs, and alders, intermixed with several kinds of hard-wood; as beech, oak, elm, ash, &c.; while around the more ancient seats of the proprietors, there are some fine old planes, horse-chestnuts, and elms of great height and beauty. At present, there prevails among the different heritors, a great taste for planting; and there can be no doubt, from the congeniality of the soil, and its adaptation for the various species of trees, as proved by their rapidity of growth, and the thriving condition of the wood, with the judicious situations chosen for planting, that, in the course of a few years, the face of the parish will assume a very different aspect, that the soil and climate will be most materially improved, and the interest of the proprietors most essentially advanced. In regard to management, it is pleasing to observe that greater attention is being paid to the mode of planting at first, and to regular thinning afterwards than formerly was the case; that the plants are not so much crowded on each other; that those of an inferior or of a less healthy kind are carefully removed in due time; and that the pruning-knife is freely applied when necessary, and the ground always properly protected from the inroads of cattle.

II—Civil History.

Antiquities.—From the absence of historical documents, it is impossible to say when the town of Turriff was founded; but it is evidently a place of considerable antiquity, and had been of some note in a former age. "It is highly probable," as mentioned in the last Statistical Report, "that Lathmon, the Pictish prince, whom Ossian celebrates, had his seat in this parish. Not only do Laithers and Dorlaithers bear a strong resemblance to Lathmon and Dunlathmon, but the landscape drawn by nature exactly corresponds with the description of the poet. We may observe, on the bank of the river, 'the green dwelling of Lathmon.' We may wander 'with the blue-eyed Cutha in the vales of Dunlathmon:' 'high walls rise on the bank of Durranna, and see their mossy towers in the stream.' A rock ascends behind them with 'its bending firs.'"

There is every reason to believe that the Knights Templar who, though they had but one settlement in Scotland, St Germain in Lothian, yet enjoyed the funds of several churches and houses in other parts of the country, were established here. On the south side of the town, there is a spot of ground called the Temple Brae, and a house called Temple Feu, the old proprietors of which held their charters from the Lords Torphichen, to whom a considerable part of their lands had been given by the Crown, after the order of the Knights Templar was dissolved in the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Some houses called Abbey Land, (Maison Dieu), or house of refuge, point out the situation of an hospital or alms-house, which was founded in 1272 by Alexander Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, with consent of Hugo de Benham, Bishop of Aberdeen, for maintaining a warden, six chaplains, and thirteen poor husbandmen of Buchan. It was dedicated to St Congan, (Sancto Congano), supposed to be the tutelary saint of the place, from whom one of the annual fairs held here is called Cowan Fair. It was afterwards endowed by King' Robert Bruce, by a charter granted by him at Kinkell in 1329, and the twenty-third year of his reign, with the lands of Pets, "in puram et perpetuam eleemosynam pro anima Nigelli de Bruys fratris nostri." In 1412, Bishop Greenlaw erected the wardancy here into a prebend. Mr William Hay, Canon of Aberdeen, and Prebendary of Turriff, the first master who enjoyed these titles, built the mansion in the chanonry for the residence of himself and successors, and of which the trades of Old Aberdeen are now the proprietors.

In the year 1446, William Hay of Errol obtained the patronage of the church of Turriff in lieu of that of Errol, of which his grandfather Sir William Hay of Errol had been deprived. There is a confirmation of this grant by James II., dated 16th May 1450. In 1497, the lands of the hospital were alienated by Alexander Wans, parson of the parish, to Gilbert Hay of Delgaty, with consent of the Earl of Errol the patron. In 1511, James IV. out of love and favour to Mr Thomas Dickson, then prebend of Turriff, granted him a charter erecting Turriff into a burgh of barony, constituting the prebend superior of the burgh, and titular of the teinds, and giving power to the burgesses, with the consent of the prebend, to choose yearly, bailies and other office-bearers, for the government of the burgh, with a right also to the burgesses and inhabitants to hold weekly markets at the Market Cross on Sunday, and public fairs at the fast of St Peter, called Lammas, and at St Congan, with the whole tolls, liberties, and privileges of free markets. In 1546, Master William Hay succeeded to the prebend of Turriff, in which he continued until his death in 1582, and was buried in the north-east side of the church, where his tombstone may still be seen. Among the professors whom Erskine of Dun ejected from the University of Aberdeen in 1568, was Mr Thomas Austin, Augustinus or Ogston. He retired to his native place, Turriff, where he died in 1592, having acted for twenty-four years in the double capacity of clergyman and schoolmaster. It would appear that James VI. passed a night in Turriff on the 22d April 1589, but, as his Majesty's visit was rather accidental, with the exception of the honour conferred on the town by the King's presence, we do not find that he showed his favour for it by any other mark of royal regard.

Down to 1627, certain lands were held by the parson of Turriff as kirk lands, but in that year Mr Thomas Mitchell, parson of Turriff, with the sanction of the Bishop of Aberdeen, the Earl of Errol and others, granted a charter of these lands to Francis Hay, son of Francis, Earl of Errol. Mr Mitchell was formerly minister at Logie-Buchan, and, in consideration of his being presented to the parish kirk of Turriff, he, in thankful remembrance thereof, obliges himself to ratify his feu infeftment of the town and lands of Turriff, Knockiemill, and others, as also his tacks of the teinds of said parish, and not to come in the contrair under the penalty of L.3000. The obligation is dated 29th June 1624. Mr Mitchell was an Episcopalian and Royalist in the beginning of the civil wars. In the volume of sermons and elegies on the death of Bishop Patrick Forbes, we find some dolorous verses by Mitchell. One of the couplets runs thus,

"Some for their David dool'd, some for their temple grat,
Some for Josias shouted, in the valley of Josaphat."

Soon after this period, he became a zealous Covenanter. Spalding, the local annalist of the proceedings of the day, states, that at the "Trot of Turriff" in 1639, (at which skirmish by the way, the first blood was shed that flowed so abundantly during the next twenty years,) the loyalist barons, after dispersing the Committee of the Tables there assembled, "comes immediately back to Turriff, takes meat and drink at their pleasure, and fears Mr Thomas Mitchell, minister at Turriff, very evill." In 1642, we find from the same chronicler, that the said Mr Thomas Mitchell was accused before the provincial assembly of Aberdeen, of a very heinous offence against religion and morality, and that the assembly appointed a committee of thirteen ministers and eight ruling elders to take cognizance of this matter. After due investigation, it is satisfactory to be informed "that Mr Mitchell was absolvit from this scandall, and found a good barne."

The grammar school of Turriff seems at an early period to have enjoyed a considerable reputation. The celebrated Dempster, who was born in 1579, received the first rudiments of his education at Turriff, "tum Turraviae sub ferula plagiosi Andreae Ogstoni tircinium exercuit." On the 7th October 1546, Andrew Hay, rector of Turriff, with consent of George Earl of Errol, and William Hay, canon of the cathedral church at Aberdeen, granted a charter on seven roods of land lying on the west side of the town, to the chaplain and master of the grammar school in Turriff. And at a subsequent period, Mr Andrew Skene, prebend, to promote the interests of education, made over the customs of the markets to the Earl of Errol, on condition that he should pay annually L.100 Scots, as salary to a schoolmaster, which salary has been regularly paid by the proprietors of Delgaty, who have the right of presenting to the office.

The Earls of Errol, who resided at the castle of Delgaty, had also, it would appear, a lodging in the town of Turriff, which probably was the "forehouse, hall, and chambers, disponed by Thomas Mowat," and which, after changing many occupants, is now the property of Mr Norman Gordon, bank agent, and still retaining, by way of distinction from any other premises, the characteristic name of "the Lodging." For about 350 years immediately preceeding 1762, the family of Errol were superiors of Turriff, and from that family several of the present feuars hold the charters which give them a right to the tenements they possess, and ground attached thereto, and for which they pay an annual feu-duty of six denarii, or one half-penny Sterling.

Ancient and Present Proprietors.—The Cumines, Earls of Buchan, are the most remote proprietors of whom any thing is known, but the precise time when they acquired their extensive estates in this parish cannot be exactly ascertained.

Delgaty, by much the largest and most valuable property in the parish, when it went out of the hands of the Errol family, eighty years ago, was bought by Peter Garden, Esq., and sold by his son, Francis, in 1798, to the late James Earl of Fife.

In 1723, the estate of Balquholly was sold by the Mowats, (to whom Robert I. granted the lands of Lescragy, Colp, &c.) to Alexander Duff of Hatton, whose grandson, Garden Duff, Esq. is the present proprietor.

In 1726, the estate of Fintray, then belonging to the Forbeses of Touchon, was bought by Lord Braco, and is now the property of his grandson, the Earl of Fife.

The estates of Laithers and Dorlaithers, which had been long in the possession of Dempster of Auchterless and others, and more recently of John Morison, Esq. is now subdivided, and has become the property of Alexander Stuart, John Adam, Alexander Rae, Alexander Bremner, James, Donald, and George Chalmers, Esquires, and of the Reverend Messrs William Robinson Pirie, James Milne, and John Webster.

The estate of Towie, which had been the property of the Barclays for 400 years and upwards, was sold by a descendant of that family to the Earl of Findlater, whose son sold it in 1762, to the managers of Gordon's Hospital, and the Infirmary at Aberdeen, and it continues to be held by them.

In 1767, the estate of Muiresk was disposed of by James Bro-die to Alexander Diron, sheriff-substitute of Banffshire, and, after passing through different hands, now belongs to James Brodie Spottiswood, Esq.

Gask, which belonged of old to the Forbeses, and more lately to the Fordyces, afterwards to J. Mackie, G. Robinson, and William Rose, Esquires, was purchased by James Earl of Fife about forty years ago, and remains in his family.

The lands of Plaidy in this parish are the property of William Urquhart, Esq. of Craigston, whose principal estate and residence are situated in the adjoining parish of King-Edward.

The valued rent of the parish is L.5159, 2s. 10d. Scots, and is divided as under :—

The real rent of the parish, valuing 697¾ bolls of meal, at 15s. per boll, and 16 bolls, 2 firlots, and 2½ pecks of bear, at L.1 per boll, amounts to L.8387, 2s. 8½d.

Old Church.—The date of its erection is not certainly known, but it is supposed to have been built by Malcolm Canmore in the eleventh century. At all events, it evidently had been used as a place of worship before the Reformation. It was so constructed, that, however strong the lungs and powerful the voice of the speaker, the great body of the worshippers could not possibly hear distinctly, the length being 120, and the breadth 18 feet. In 1794, a new church, of which notice will be afterwards taken, was erected, and there now only remain of the ancient fabric, around which is the burying-ground of the parish, the eastern part of the building called "the quire," and the belfry, which is rather a handsome piece of architecture, and contains a fine-toned bell, bearing the date 1557, and which, after having been removed for thirty-four years to the present church, was restored to its former position in 1828, when a clock was purchased by public subscription.

In the churchyard are several ancient monuments, chiefly with Latin inscriptions, worthy of record and preservation.

[There is also a handsome monument, which had been placed within the church on the north wall, in memory of one of the barclays of Towie, and which, though somewhat mutilated, bears the following inscription in capital letters:—


The most interesting are those to the memory of Barbara Mowat, who died 3d May 1558, and her husband, William Lindsay, 28th March 1579; and of the Rev, Messrs William Hay, 22d May 1582, Walter Hay, 20th August 1589, Thomas Mitchell, 23d July 1649, Andrew Skeen, April 1678, and Arthur Mitchell, 23d October 1695.

On the haugh of Laithers, opposite the Boat of Magie, were lately to be seen the remains of a chapel, which was said to have been dedicated to St Carnac. May not this St Carnac have been the Carnac who was one of the bishops of Mortlach before the Episcopal seat was translated to Aberdeen, and when this parish was probably in the diocese of Mortlach? Carnac died anno 1125.

Tumuli, upright stones, and cairns are visible on the more elevated ground of the parish, and on the hill of Ardmiddle on the south-west side, of Colp on the south-east, and of Braccans and Burnside of Delgaty on the east, urns, with calcined bones, have been found; and, as it is well known, that, about the end of the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century, this district was much molested by the hostile invasions of the Danes, it may be supposed, that, to commemorate the victories gained over them by the chief of Buchan, Indulf, and Malcolm II., these monuments were erected to mark the spot of some signal achievement, or the resting-place and dust of some distinguished combatant. Flint arrow-heads and fragments of arms have also been dug up in various places, with silver and copper coins of great antiquity and curious character.

Parochial Registers.— The register of baptisms commences in 1697, and of births and baptisms in 1797. These registers, it is to be regretted, are very defective, and, notwithstanding the numerous advantages of a correct record, and the trouble, expense, and loss to which parties are frequently subjected by the neglect, there is such remissness in this respect somewhere, that it would perhaps be well if a legislative measure, somewhat similar in its provisions to the Registration Act for England, were extended to Scotland. The register of marriages begins in 1727, and is kept with regularity. There is a register of discipline commencing in 1816, but none of deaths.

There is a cross in the principal street of considerable antiquity, at which, it would appear, the sheriff of the county occasionally held his courts in former times. In the year 1557, an inquest was held "apud Crucem de Turreff," and, among the jurors, we find Patrick Mowat of Balquholly; James Dempster of Auchterless; George Crichton of Little Forg; Alexander Con of Auchry; Thomas Con, his son; John Grant of Ballindalloch; Patrick Grant of Dalvey; and John Irvine in Turreff. Through the lapse of time, the structure, consisting of an upright pillar of hewn stone, raised on a pedestal of circular steps, and measuring 20 feet from the ground to the top, had become almost ruinous; but, with a due regard for this remnant of antiquity, it was last year repaired, with a slight alteration on its form, and may now long remain to mark a spot which, perhaps, in a former age, had been of no mean importance.

Mansion-Houses, &c.—Delgaty Castle, the residence of General the Honourable Sir Alexander Duff, is a fine specimen of an old baronial mansion. This ancient and venerable pile, which is situated on the eastern side of the parish, has been built at different periods. One of the dates of its erection is 1579. The original style is still happily preserved ; and, while it exhibits all the grandeur of a feudal age, now affords, under its gallant and hospitable occupant, all the comforts, conveniences, and refinements of modern times. It consists of a lofty castellated square building, 66 feet high. The walls are 7 feet 4 inches thick, with collonades and wings recently and judiciously attached. The view from the top of the castle is commanding, the grounds tastefully laid out, the gardens extensive, and the green-house rich with choice flowers and plants. There is a lake well stocked with fish, and a small island in its centre, approached by a rustic bridge, all in such excellent keeping as to render Delgaty one of the most beautiful seats in Aberdeenshire. The rooms are spacious and handsomely furnished, particularly the two drawing-rooms, one of which is 34 feet in length by 20 feet in breadth, and the other 24 by 14 feet, and connected by folding doors. There are a few good paintings by ancient masters ; and two portraits, one of Alexander last Earl of Fife, and another of his second son, Sir Alexander Duff, which are good likenesses.

Hatton Castle, the seat of Garden Duff, Esq. lies on the southeast side of the parish, and is delightfully situated. It is a very substantial and commodious edifice, of a quadrangular form, with corner turrets. A remnant of the ancient residence of the proprietors of Balquholly was preserved when the castle was completed in 1814; and, while its outward appearance is handsome and attractive, the internal accommodation is no less convenient and elegant. The lawn in front of the castle is here and there adorned with trees and clumps tastefully arranged. The grounds, shrubberies, and garden are well laid out, and contain a variety of such plants and shrubs, native and exotic, as are hardy enough to withstand the severity of the winter. Two approaches, which meet at a well chosen point, with two neatly constructed lodges and artificial lakes, in which the stately swans and cygnets are seen moving majestically on the surface of the water, happily unite in giving to this domain much to please the eye and gratify the taste. It may be here remarked, that, if the etymology of the ancient name "Balquholly" be correct, viz. "the house in the wood," Hatton Castle has a just claim to its former' appellation, being embosomed in wood of rich variety, and sheltered, in a great measure, from every wind that blows.

Muiresk.-—On the south bank of the Doveron, and about a mile to the west of Turriff, stands the mansion-house of Muiresk, which, though not large, is, from natural situation, and the recent improvements of the present proprietor, in and out of doors, a most desirable residence.

Scobbach House, which is erected on a commanding situation about a mile farther up the river from Muiresk, is a modern building, but in a style of ancient architecture. At present, it has rather a bare and dingy appearance; but when the wood gets up, (and it is very thriving,) from the splendid view which it presents on all sides, the richly cultivated fields with which it is surrounded, and the taste of its judicious owner, this place will, at no distant period, vie with any of the same extent on the run of the Doveron.

Gash.—This romantic seat was long an object of admiration to the traveller when the high road, before the introduction of turnpikes, passed through "the den," and now forms a delightful retreat, for a few of the winter months, to the Earl of Kintore, who, while he pursues with spirit his favourite amusement of fox-hunting, keeps the house and place in excellent order.

Near to Gask, and taking advantage of its picturesque scenery, is set down Mr Donald's beautiful little cottage of Maryfield. The only other mansion-house in this parish, deserving special notice, is that of Towie Barclay, which was, for generations, the residence of a distinguished family, whose descendants still exist in this district, The lofty hall, with its remains of architectural grandeur, is in tolerable preservation, and is a fine specimen of the Gothic vaulted style. The ornaments are elaborate, and this remnant of a structure, which, in its original state, had been on a magnificent scale, shows the rank and status which, in a former age, its proprietors enjoyed.

Over the once chief entry to the house of Towie is the following inscription :—

Sir Alexander Barclay of
Tolly Foundator decessit Anno Domini 1136.
in tim of valth all men
Sims frendly—an Frind is not
knawin but in adversity, 1593.

Notwithstanding of the first-mentioned date in the above inscription, it is believed that the castle was not built before 1593, while there are dates 1604 and 1695 on the more modern parts of the building. The Barclays seem to have mingled in the frays of the time, and are frequently mentioned in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials. They also produced some learned men, and have risen to eminence and distinction in Russia, where Prince Barclay de Tolly, an offshoot from the house of Towie, illustrated and extended the fame of this ancient Scottish name and family.


In the town and parish of Turriff, the population has been progressively increasing. According to the census of 1821, it amounted to 2406; in 1831, it rose to 2807; and, by the last survey, which was taken with the utmost care, it appears that there were in the town 571 males, 738 females, total 1309; and in the landward part of the parish, 925 males, 912 females, total 1837,—making the entire population 3146; so that an increase to the amount of 740 has taken place within the last twenty years.

Belonging to the parish there are 2 persons subject to aberration of mind, but not furious or unmanageable; 1 person fatuous; 2 blind; and 1 deaf and dumb.

Character of the People.—In general, the people are moral in their conduct, obliging and neighbourly among themselves, kind and charitable to the poor, and attentive and hospitable to strangers.

The great majority are strongly attached to the Church of Scotland as by law established, and, to their credit, we record the facts, that, while they are regular in their attendance on the public services of the sanctuary, and the ordinances of religion, they live in the utmost harmony with those who differ from them, and have hitherto been able, amid much contention, to preserve "the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace."


Agriculture.—Contents of the parish in imperial acres :—

The whole parish occupies a rising ground of greater or less degrees of elevation. In some places, the ground ascends to a considerable altitude above the surrounding valleys, and descends by an easy inclination, presenting a variety of table-land, sloping in different directions. Some of the farms are of large extent, under the management of enlightened, enterprizing, and skilful tenants, who have not failed to introduce the numerous improvements in the science of agriculture, which experience has proved to be advantageous. The crops commonly cultivated are, sown grasses, oats, bear and barley, turnips and potatoes, with occasionally a few tares. The course generally pursued is the five and seven shift, but especially the latter, being three grasses and two white crops for the seven, and two grasses and one white crop for the five; the ground being carefully cleaned by turnips or potatoes, followed by a crop of oats or barley, and laid down with grass and clover seeds.

Turnip husbandry is very successfully practised, and the Swedish variety, so beneficial in the end of the season, thrives particularly well.

Waste Land.—The improvement of waste land has been carried on in this parish for the last twelve years, with great vigour. Mr James Murray, brother of the present tenant at Burnside of Delgaty, received the silver medal from the Highland Society of (Scotland, for the extent of waste land he brought into a state of cultivation, while the tenants on the Delgaty property and elsewhere have successfully followed his example.

Machines and Implements.—When the last Statistical Report was drawn up in 1794, there were only three thrashing-mills in the parish; now there are sixty-three, and when it can possibly be obtained, they are driven by water. Since their first introduction into this quarter, a variety of improvements in their construction have been progressively made by native mechanics,—all tending to simplify the labour, and to augment the quantity of the work performed. The different processes of thrashing, shaking, and winnowing by the same machinery, are now all at once performed, and the corn immediately prepared for the public market. The quantity of grain thrashed in a given time must of course depend on its quality, the length of the straw, and the power by which the machine is wrought; but a thrashing-machine was a few years ago erected by Mr William Murray, Slap, a very skilful practical farmer in this parish, which will easily thrash and clean in an hour from eighteen to twenty quarters of oats.

The fanners, which at no remote period were unknown, the grain having been separated from the chaff by the action of the wind between the two doors of a barn, are now in common use. Harrows and rollers, drilling and sowing-machines, and wheel-carriages, have been much improved, and from the ingenuity and skill of the mechanics, have tended, in no small degree, to diminish the labour, and render the land more productive. Ploughs, both of iron and wood, though more generally of iron, have been brought to a great degree of perfection by the artisans of the district. A simple, but exceedingly beneficial improvement on the common plough has been made by Mr Rae of Ardmiddle, and, as it may be easily adopted, his own account of it is subjoined in a note. ["It occurred to me, a few years ago, that an improvement might be made on our common plough, for the purpose of stirring up the bottom of the furrow, where in many soils, there was a considerable depth of good mould that had lain for ages unproductive; and from the action of the sole of the plough, when ploughed in a damp state, it is skimmed over, and thus rendered more impervious to air and moisture. With a view to get a sort of second coulter attached behind the heel of the plough, by straightening the beam a little, so as to admit of a similar bore to that in which the foremost coulter is fixed, and by a knee upon it, it is made to work in the middle of the bottom of the furrow to the depth of from four to six inches, as may be necessary. Latterly, I have improved on it, by having what may be called a shoe or feather of steel attached to the end of it, about two inches wide at the back, tapering to a point, which now stirs up the whole breadth of the furrow. When inserted to the depth of about five inches to make her work steady, a wheel is attached, which being removable at pleasure, as well as the additional coulter, she then becomes a common plough again."]

Manures.—Lime, as an extraneous stimulant, has long been extensively employed. It has sometimes been injudiciously ap-plied, and, by an overdose, the land in some places has been literally burned. Now, however, its power and qualities are better understood, and the good effects of a moderate application sufficiently evident. Of late, bone-dust has been much used, and variously and successfully applied; sometimes by itself, and sometimes along with a proportion of farm-yard dung or sulphuric acid. Splendid crops of turnips have been raised, followed by a good green crop, and a rich and close crop of grass; and as hence a greater number of cattle can be maintained, there is at the farmer's command a much larger portion of sure enriching matter. Guano, which is so highly recommended, is being introduced.

Breeds of Cattle.—Great attention has been lately paid to the improvement of the breeds of cattle. Several of the proprietors and farmers have, at a very considerable expense, procured animals of the first quality, and of well known and acknowledged pedigree. The far-famed Aberdeenshire dodded breed, originally from Fifeshire, generally prevail, and are carefully preserved by many of the tenantry in all their purity. Within the last few years, the Teeswater or short-horned have been introduced, and a cross betwixt the Aberdeenshire cow and short-horned bull highly prized. In consequence of the conveyance by steam, and the triumph of science over time and space, feeding for the London market has become common ; and as the great object of the farmer must naturally be to select such breeds as promise in the shortest time to bring the highest remunerating price, this system of crossing, which brings cattle in three years to a greater weight and a higher price than those of the native breed can reach in four years, prevail over this parish and district to a considerable extent. But many intelligent agriculturists, doubting the propriety of persevering in this system, and being apprehensive of such a degeneracy in the stock as might ultimately destroy the purity of both breeds, are at pains to keep them quite distinct, and will no doubt be guided ultimately by the result of their experiments.

Oxen are now rarely yoked in the plough, though about the end of last century, it was not only the general practice, but an indication that the owner was a person of substance when he had ten of these in a plough, and, besides the ploughman, had a gadesman whistling by their side.

Horses.—The improvement in the breed of horses has kept pace with that of black-cattle, and no trouble or expense has been spared to raise their character to a level with those of Clydesdale. The Highland Society of Scotland and district associations have, for a good many years, been giving premiums for the best horses; and several of our public spirited agriculturists have, at these exhibitions, brought forward animals of such bone and symmetry as have entitled them to receive the promised prizes. There is also to be found a considerable number of an old breed of small-sized horses, for which this part of the country was at one time famous, and which were strong, healthy, and long-lived.

Sheep.—The parish is not a sheep district. Those in it are mostly of the Cheviot breed. During the winter, shepherds come from the Highlands of Aberdeenshire with considerable flocks of black-faced sheep, and occupy the hilly ground in this and the adjoining parishes, moving from the one to the other as the weather and keep may direct.

As a large proportion of this parish is of a dry and open texture, it would probably be well if a portion of the turnips were consumed on the ground by sheep.

Pigs.—Pigs are reared in considerable numbers, and form an important article of produce. They are mostly of the small Chinese breed, and are sold to pork-curers in Turriff, and by them sent to the London market. Last season, Mr Alexander Morrison, who carries on an extensive general business, cured and exported pork to the value of upwards of L.3000 Sterling.

Wages and Rate of Labour.— The wages of good ploughmen, who are chiefly unmarried, and live and eat in their master's house, are, for the winter half year, from L.5 to L.6; and during the summer half year, from L.6 to L.7. Foremen, and those who are expected to have a certain superintendence over the other servants, though not exactly holding the situation of grieves or overseers, realize a little more. The wages of boys, lads, and other supernumeraries, range from L. 1, 10s. to L.3, 10s. Women's wages vary according to their character, to which, at the time of engagement, a much greater regard is paid than to that of the other sex. Notable female servants, either for domestic or out-door work, may get L. 2, 5s. or L. 2, 10s. in the half year; and those of an inferior grade about one-half that amount It is matter of regret that this very interesting portion of the population is by no means in a healthy state, and that a demoralizing system, adopted, no doubt, for convenience and, perhaps, economy, has in several of our large agricultural establishments been introduced,—we mean "the bothy system,"—which, if not abandoned, or checked and placed under proper control, must eventually bring with it a train of evils alike prejudicial to the temporal interests of master and servant, and assuredly most injurious to the spiritual interests of the latter, a large and valuable class of the community.

Jobs, such as trenching, ditching, harvesting the crop, &c, are sometimes undertaken on very low terms, and are not always very well executed ; though when the contractor is not limited to time, he can regulate his hours at pleasure, and take advantage of such favourable circumstances as may occur for fulfilling his bargain.

The wages of tradesmen are the same here as throughout the country. Masons generally get 2s. 6d. or 2s. 9d. per day; carpenters, 2s. or 2s. 3d.; and tailors, shoemakers, &c. in proportion to their diligence and skill.

Enclosing.— Some of the largest and best farms in the parish are enclosed; and this improvement, so important to the mixed husbandry, is in the course of being extended. The fences are dry stone dikes, about four feet high, the materials of which are mostly dug from the quarries. Wooden paling is sometimes used, and thorn hedges have, in a few instances, been planted; but the latter, though forming a beautiful fence, and giving a soft and clothed aspect to the country, as shown by the Earl of Fife's hedges between Turriff and Banff, require such care, and labour, and skill in keeping, which the tenant cannot easily afford, that they have not thriven where attempted, and are now very seldom planted.

Draining.—Drains have been executed to a considerable extent, both open and covered. For the latter, small stones are collected off the fields, tumbled out of a cart into the drain, and over a covering of brushwood, the earth is restored to the surface. But as draining is unquestionably the first of a long series of improvements, which it would be vain to attempt without it, as it is considered equivalent, not only to a change of soil, but also of climate, both in reference to the growth of plants and the health of the population, it is to be hoped that the practical benefits of draining will lead to a more efficient system than has hitherto been adopted. The discovery of Lord James Hay, and which has stood the test imposed by the Highland Society, will, we doubt not, give a stimulus to draining, and be found to be one of the most valuable of modern agricultural improvements. The ingredients of his Lordship's drain-tiles are, lime, sharp sand, and gravel or small stones, and in the following proportions: one bushel of lime-shells, two and a-half bushels of sand, and four bushels of gravel, will give eight bushels of the composition (allowing half a bushel for the swelling of the lime by the application of water), and will make 120 tiles of one foot in length. These tiles can be easily and cheaply manufactured, and come recommended by every consideration that the agriculturist could desire.

Farm-Houses. — The farm-houses and buildings have been greatly improved of late years, many of them being built with; stone and lime, and slated. The internal accommodation has also undergone a favourable change. The"arrangements between the proprietor and the tenant in regard to houses are not uniform. In some instances, the tenant is allowed a sum equal to two years' rent; but as this is either not paid till the termination of the lease, for if advanced by the proprietor at the commencement, interest is charged at the rate of five per cent., such encouragement cannot be considered great. A more common practice, however, is, that the heritor allows the necessary rough wood, while the tenant executes, at his own expense, all the other parts of the work, receiving an obligation for payment at the end of his lease, according to the valuation at that time. By this plan, much the larger amount is advanced by the tenant, which, if he has sufficient capital, may perhaps answer as well for him, but if he has not money at command, it may be the means of crippling him at the outset, and creating a burden which he is ill able to bear. The cottages scattered up and down the parish scarcely correspond with the comfortable dwellings of the farmers. They are in general built of mud, ill-constructed, ill-ventilated, and ill-roofed; and when a Mrs M'Clarty, as sometimes happens, is the presiding inmate, neatness and cleanliness are not their characteristics. There are, however, exceptions to be found even among the most lowly habitations, and the tidy mother and healthy offspring, with the well-swept hearth and white-washed wall and sanded floor, give an air of comfort and contentment exceedingly pleasing.

Leases, &c.—The ordinary duration of leases is nineteen years, and the rents paid generally in money, with a small proportion of meal, sometimes in kind, but now very commonly at the fiar prices of the county. The tenant is bound to the rules of good husbandry; but is not much interfered with in his mode of management, unless when some unfair dealing appears.

Produce.—It is somewhat difficult to state correctly the gross value of the produce of this parish, as the land in different localities varies so much in quality and value; but the following may be taken as not far from a fair estimate of the annual average amount of produce of the arable land:—

* The calculation is, for common oats, with fodder, at the average fiar prices of the county for years from 1834 to 1840 inclusive, and for bear from 1834 to 1840 inclusive, with the exception of 1836, for which no price of bear with fodder was struck.

Since the commencement of the current leases, a considerable quantity of waste land has been brought under the plough, which, although it cannot, till the termination of these leases, add to the rental, has materially increased the produce of the parish.

This amount, large as it seems to be, when applied in payment of rent, wages, and maintenance of servants and labourers, tradesmen's bills, interest of capital invested, and wasting of capital for tear and wear, for manure and seed, and for oats, hay, and grass for horses and cattle, &c. &c, must, we fear, present such a result as to show that the profits of the agriculturists are not so great as at first sight might appear, or their condition so prosperous, as, for the best interests of the country, the philanthropist could desire. One consequence of which has been, that, within these few years, six of our enterprising farmers in this parish have abandoned their leases, and are now engaged in various pursuits in the far distant west; three of them superintending or connected with trading companies established by British capital, and three of them in commercial and agricultural undertakings in different parts of the United American States.

Dairy.— The dairy is an object of considerable interest and importance on some of the principal farms. Little cheese is made; butter is of excellent quality, though of late the quantity is not so great as formerly, from the practice now frequently pursued of allowing the calves to be suckled at their mother's foot, instead of receiving milk from the dairy-maid's hand. The butter, except what is required at home, or prepared for private families in the neighbouring towns, is bought by the shopkeepers in Turriff, carefully cured, and sent by them to the best market.

Eggs.—There are several aged but active females who make a scanty livelihood by travelling over the parish and purchasing eggs, which are packed and sent to Aberdeen. At some seasons of the year, the carriers belonging to the town will take twelve boxes weekly, each box containing 175 dozen. This branch of business may seem trifling, but, as an article of parochial produce and industry, we deem it not altogether unworthy of notice.

Thirlage, &c.—The system of thirlage is now entirely given up, and the operations of drying and milling generally conducted by the miller at about one thirty-second part, or 6d. per bolt of grain manufactured. What was termed bondages to the heritor, which embraced the labour of man and beast, long and short carriages, and the yearly payment of poultry, and in some cases of sheep, butter, and tallow,—are now abolished, and a money rent substituted, which has been found more agreeable to landlord and tenant, as well as advantageous to both.

Fairs.—Lying in the centre of a large and populous district, there are no fewer than eight annual fairs held in Turriff, for the sale of cattle, horses, sheep, and a few articles of merchandise. They are well attended, and much business is transacted. Fee-ing-markets have also been established at the terms of Whitsunday and Martinmas, for the engagement of male and female servants; and if these have been found an accommodation in some respects, it has, we conceive, been dearly purchased, by their corrupting influence on the morals of a large class of society. At all events, if these markets are to be kept up, it would be well if the Scots statute of 1605 were acted on, and any other day than Saturday chosen for holding them.

Manufactures:—Some years ago linen yarn was manufactured to a considerable extent by Messrs John Adam and Company, who gave employment to a number of flax-dressers, and industrious female spinners throughout the country. A good spinner, when sitting steadily at her wheel, could then earn with ease 6d. or 8d. a day. Now 1d. or 2d. can with difficulty be made out for the same quantity and quality of thread. If, therefore, the great improvements in machinery have increased the power of production, and the wealth of the country, they have at the same time abridged the comforts of many of the female population, and driven them to out-door work ill suited to their constitution and character. Bleaching has been long carried on here, and well managed by R. Pearson and Son ; but, from the falling off of the linen trade, the business at the bleachfield is not now very considerable. Woollen cloth is manufactured at Turriff, and Mill of Gask, as also at Plaidy. At the two former, some business is done in dyeing both woollens and silk. Messrs Richards and Company, Aberdeen, have established a small branch of their business in Turriff. Previous to 1841, 28,000 yards of linen cloth were annually woven by the workmen here; but in that year there were only 15,470 yards; and during the current year a much smaller quantity.

The knitting of worsted stockings is still practised by several of the more aged females, at a miserably low rate of remuneration. To keep themselves in some kind of employment, these poor women weave stockings for the hosier, who pays them a monthly visit, and receive from him 3d. for a pair of the largest size. As the operation will fully occupy two days, it is not surprising that the business is not prosecuted with much energy.

V.—Parochial Economy.

Market-Town, &c. and the nearest Sea Ports.—There is no weekly market in Turriff, but a regular supply of butcher-meat, and of the other necessaries and conveniences of life. All sorts of clothiery and haberdashery goods, groceries, hardware, &c. can be got of the best quality, and the number and even elegance of some of the shops for retailing these commodities, show that the demand is great, and that the shop-keepers have the support and encouragement of the country. The spirit of enterprize in the place is very considerable, embracing a share of various sorts of mercantile speculation. Tradesmen and artisans of all descriptions, masons, carpenters, shoemakers, tailors, weavers, blacksmiths, slaters, &c. are here established, and by their skill and character command steady employment. The nearest sea-ports with which the parish has daily intercourse, are Banff and Macduff, the former at the distance of eleven, and the latter of ten miles from the town of Turriff. The disposable grain is sent to the one or other of these ports, which supply us with coals, lime, bone-dust, and different other articles of merchandise and consumption.

Means of Communication.—Turriff enjoys the advantage of a local post-office, with a free delivery of letters twice a day from north and south. Previous to the introduction of the penny post-age, the revenue of the post-office was about L.450; since the reduction in the rate of postage, the amount may be L.300 per annum. A well-conducted stage-coach from Aberdeen to Banff passes through Turriff in the forenoon, and returns in the afternoon, every lawful day,—and, besides carriers to these towns which leave and arrive with the utmost regularity, there is a steady and convenient intercourse by carriers belonging to the adjoining places.

Roads.—A turnpike road, as already noticed, passes through the parish from one extremity to the other, but, as at the time of its formation, road-making was not so well understood as now, and as perhaps the best line was not chosen, this road, beneficial as it is to the country, is in some places not easily kept in repair, and yields but a poor return for the money invested in it. The roads, not turnpike, are made and repaired by an assessment levied under an Act of Parliament for converting the ancient statute labour into money. The amount to be raised is fixed, and the application appointed by a general meeting of the trustees of the district, held generally in the end of May. The assessment on lands in this parish for a considerable number of years has been L. 103, 3s. 8½d. being at the rate of L.2 for L. 100 Scots of valued rent, leviable from the heritors, who are entitled to relief from the tenants to the extent of three-fourths of the assessment. In the town of Turriff, an assessment by the same authority is levied from proprietors or occupiers of houses, persons keeping horses and labourers, to the amount of about L.12 Sterling. The assessment on the lands is generally ordered to be laid out at the sight of the respective heritors or their agents, and that on the town by a committee appointed by the general meeting. The accounts of expenditure are annually audited by the district trustees, at a meeting for that purpose in the month of April.

Bridges.—A bridge was erected in 1826 over the Doveron, about a quarter of a mile below the town. It is a substantial piece of mason work, and opening up a communication with the county of Banff, and with Portsoy, Cullen, &c. is of great utility to the parish and public at large. The expense of this erection amounted to upwards of L.2500, and was defrayed partly by subscription, and partly by borrowing a certain sum of money, the interest of which is paid by a fixed pontage. The bridge over the burn of Turriff, and other smaller bridges, are kept in good condition.

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church, which is on an elevated situation, was built in 1794, and though by no means an elegant structure, is convenient and comfortable. From the increase of the population in the town, it became necessary to enlarge the church, and in 1830, an aisle was built and seated for 300 persons, so that now there is the legal accommodation for the whole parishioners. The sittings for those residing in the landward part of the parish are all free, and the right of possession arises from the families living on the properties of the different heritors to whom seats were appropriated in proportion to their valued rents. In the town the feuars who were not called on, and did not come forward to contribute towards the building of the church, were accommodated by their friends in the country, who had in general more room than they required, or by the payment of a small rent to the superior of the burgh for a limited range of sittings which he had provided for them. They now occupy the aisle on payment annually of 1s. 6d. on an average for each sitting, to the kirk-session, who, on the petition of the inhabitants, and with the sanction of the heritors, laid out about L,300 Sterling of the poor's funds,— an arrangement which, in every respect, has answered the wished for purpose, and has proved alike beneficial to a respectable body of hearers, and a numerous body of their poorer brethren.

The manse was originally built in 1775, and was thoroughly repaired and enlarged in 1822, without any intervention of the civil or ecclesiastical courts. The glebe and garden contain about four and a-half acres, which, with a grass glebe of nearly three and a-half acres, may be worth L.15 per annum. The stipend was modified in 1837 by the Court of Teinds, with the unanimous concurrence of the heritors, and is now 17 chalders, Linlithgow standard, half meal and half barley, convertible into money at the fiar prices of the county, with L.10 Sterling for communion elements. There is a respectable congregation of Episcopalians, consisting of about 265 members, who, in 1824, built a very neat place of worship, and disposed of their former chapel to some individuals professing the principles of Independency, who meet every Sabbath for public worship, which is conducted by a worthy and unobtrusive pastor of their own communion. The number of persons who are decided Independents or Congregationalists may be 14 or 16, but others avail themselves of the preacher's ministrations. There are a few families of Roman Catholics, who occasionally meet together for worship on the Lord's Day, and are under the pastoral superintendence of a talented priest, whose residence is at Strichen; and there may be a few others who worship their Maker, according to the dictates of their own con-sciences, without belonging to any particular denomination of Christians.

The number of communicants belonging to the Established Church this year amounted to 1264. The Earl of Fife is patron of the church and parish ; and it is somewhat singular, that, between Mr Andrew Kerr, who was ordained and inducted to the charge in 1731, 111 years ago, and the present incumbent, there has been only one minister, Mr William Stuart, who was translated from Auchterless, and, after serving the cure here forty-six years, died in November 1820.

Baptisms.—The ordinance of baptism was, at one time, generally administered "in presence of the haill congregation," as directed by the Act of Assembly 7th February 1645; but as parents now, for the most part, prefer its celebration at their own houses, their wishes are complied with. The practice may be liable to objections, and, as being not in strict conformity with the rules of the Church, is disapproved of by many of the clergy; but it has its advantages, inasmuch as it affords frequent opportunities to the pastor of direct intercourse with all classes of his flock,—takes, in some measure, the place of visitation of families,—is gratifying to the mother's feelings,—and is fitted, according to peculiar circumstances, to make a stronger impression on the heart and conscience of the father.

Education.—Besides the parochial school, there are four other schools conducted by male teachers; but of these none are endowed or supported in any way but by school fees. In the parochial school are taught, and with great success, Greek, Latin, mathematics, arithmetic, geography, English reading, and grammar. The pupils are numerous, generally above 100. During last summer, the number on the roll amounted to 130. The master, who is a licentiate of the church, has, for some years, employed a well qualified assistant, and has not failed to introduce the so much approved of intellectual and monitorial systems, with several other judicious plans well fitted to promote the improvement of the young. The school is regularly visited every year by a committee, of Presbytery, who make out a report, and transmit it to the General Assembly. In a private school in the town, the same course is pursued as at the parochial school, and the teacher having received an academical education, is well qualified to instruct those placed under his charge in all the branches usually taught at the endowed schools of the country. This school is attended by about 70 scholars, who are annually examined by the minister of the parish, in presence of their parents or guardians. On the eastern extremity of the parish, on the estate of Fintray, and at a point where the parishes of Turriff and King-Edward meet, a school was established some years ago, which has been found exceedingly useful; and on the estates of Hatton and Gask, there are schools for the more elementary branches. We have also a well-conducted female school under the charge of an accomplished instructress, with several dame-schools for children of both sexes.

There prevails on the part of the parents an anxious desire to afford their children the advantages of education. About 400, or an eighth part of the entire population, are at present enjoying this blessing. It is believed there are none between five and fifteen who cannot read, and very few above fifteen who cannot write. The education of the young commences at a much earlier age than formerly, and it is a gratifying circumstance to know, that the different teachers pay due regard to the religious instruction of their pupils, and make religion the basis on which rests every other species of education. The yearly salary of the parochial schoolmaster is L.34, 4s. 5½d., and the probable amount of fees L.44. He also enjoys the benefit of Mr Dick's noble bequest, and the emoluments of session-clerk, which may be about L.7, with a mortification, elsewhere noticed, of L.8, 6s. 8d., and one acre and a-half of land. To his assistant he allows an annual salary of L.28. The school-room and schoolmaster's house, which are distinct buildings, were built about fifteen years ago, and do great credit to the liberality and public spirit of the heritors, who, by the superior and airy accommodation provided, have contributed much to the comfort and health of master and scholars.

There are three Sabbath schools in the town, and two in the landward part of the parish, which are well attended. Of the beneficial effects of these institutions in leading the young to a more intimate acquaintance with Gospel truth, the writer is duly sensible, when, in the months of May, June, and July, he catechises the parishioners, and when, during these months, those who present themselves for admission to the communion for the first time, attend his classes.

The Episcopal clergyman meets with the young of his congregation every Lord's Day, and conscientiously discharges the other duties of his sacred office; and the pastor of the Independents imparts, we believe, with faithfulness, and without any tincture of Sectarianism, religious instruction to all who choose to avail themselves of his services.

Library, &c.—A parish library was instituted four years ago, and is managed by a president and librarian, with a committee of its own number, chosen annually. To promote and encourage a taste for reading, the rate of subscription was fixed on a low scale; —1s. per quarter for books of the first class, and 6d. per quarter for those which had been in circulation for the previous year. This very moderate payment has been found to answer well. The books have been carefully selected, and consist of standard works in divinity, history, voyages, and travels, and general science and literature. The number of volumes now in the library is 567, and the subscribers last season amounted to about 100. The newspapers of the day, of all shades of politics, with a few of the cheaper periodicals, are also eagerly read by all classes of the community; and if some publications of a noxious tendency are countenanced by any individuals, their number and character are not such as to affect, in any sensible degree, the sound moral and religious principles which guide the opinions, and direct the conduct of the parishioners at large.

Poor and Parochial Funds.—There are at present 56 persons receiving a stated allowance out of the poor's funds, at an average of L.2, 3s. 10d. a-year each, and 18 receiving temporary supply, averaging L.l each per annum. The ordinary collections in the parish church have of late risen considerably, and last year amounted to L.105, 11s. 6½d. The interest of money belonging to the session yielded L.20, 10s. 4d.; from the letting of the seats in the aisle there was drawn the sum of L.20; and from a collection by the Episcopal congregation and other sources, the session had also at their disposal, L. 10, 1s. 6d., thus making the income for the relief of the ordinary poor, L.156, 3s. 4½d., while the expenditure, with the charges of management, clerk's, officer's, and precentor's salaries, came to L. 148, 14s. 9d. The surplus, however, L.7, 8s. 7½d., was more than required during last year for the support of a lunatic in the asylum at Aberdeen. Collections are also annually made in aid of the General Assembly's schemes, the Aberdeen Infirmary, and other pious purposes, and last year amounted to L.26, 4s. 6d. But, liberal as these contributions are, aided by frequent donations from the Noble and generous patron of the church and parish, the resident heritors, some of the neighbouring gentry, and the more wealthy inhabitants, there is still much room left for the exercise of the benevolent affections, and many cases of poverty and suffering which loudly call for sympathy and support. It would be well if such were voluntarily extended ; for if the time should come, and, with regret, we see symptoms of its approach, when a compulsory assessment for the maintenance of the poor shall be resorted to, heritors and tenants, merchants and mechanics, would all feel the pressure of a tax which, in the southern part of the island, and in some parishes in our own land, has been found peculiarly burdensome and grievous. Happily that feeling of independence and reluctance to ask or to receive parochial aid, which was so characteristic of the people in former days, is not yet altogether extinct; but it requires to be cherished and kept alive, and every one who loves his country, and has the real interest of the poor at heart, will be anxious to do so. In an especial manner we hold this to be a duty peculiarly incumbent on the ministers of parishes, who can never be more usefully employed than in endeavouring to mitigate the sufferings of the indigent, by encouraging among them feelings of self-respect, habits of industry, and the Christian virtues of contentment and resignation, and, at the same time, of pointing out to those in the higher ranks of life, whom a kind Providence has blessed with abundance, the claims which God and man have for a due portion of the gifts and good things they so liberally enjoy.

Coal Fund.— This fund was established about eighteen years ago. It is supported by an annual collection in the parish church on the first Sabbath of every year, by the interest of a bequest of L.200 in 1829, by the late Dr Hall, long a respectable physician in this place, and the interest of a donation of L.50 in 1834, by Mr John Johnston, merchant in Aberdeen, whose father was a native of the parish, and by some minor contributions. It is managed by the kirk-session, and such householders as choose to attend their meetings; and such is the public confidence in its usefulness, that the coals are now generally brought from Banff and Macduff by the farmers, free of all expense, and distributed among the poor on the roll, and any other indigent families or individuals who are deemed fit objects of the charity. In connection with this fund, and from its resources, the paupers also get a triennial supply of warm clothing. During last winter, (1841-2), of rather unusual severity, there was expended on coals, and on bed and body-clothes, upwards of L.37 Sterling.

When sick, the poor are attended by the medical practitioners, who not only cheerfully render their gratuitous advice and assistance, but frequently give medicines. In cases that require particular treatment, advantage is taken of that valuable institution, the infirmary at Aberdeen, where, it is but justice to add, the patients from this parish have uniformly experienced every attention and comfort that professional skill and humanity car bestow.

Friendly Societies.—There were at one time several Friendly So cieties in this place; but, from a combination of untoward circum-stances, they did not afford the benefit expected at their formation. After the passing of the Act 10th George IV., which made it imperative on societies to remodel their rules, and adopt tables founded on the scheme of mutual assurance, three of the Societies have been broken up, and the funds divided among the members. Agricultural Association.—There was formed, about twelve years ago, a Turriff Agricultural Association, and which is well supported by landlords and tenants. It is under the management of a committee chosen by the members, who hold two public meetings annually ; one in the spring, for the exhibition of seed oats, and barley, grass-seeds, and bulls; and another in the beginning of August, for a show of cattle and horses. This Association has done much to excite and keep alive a spirit of generous emulation among the agriculturists of the district, and, by an impartial award of premiums to those who excel, has materially improved the different species of seeds that are brought forward for competition, as well as the live-stock on which the farmer mainly depends. By the liberality of its kind and philanthropic patron, the Earl of Fife, the Association has lately given premiums to deserving farm-servants, and, in furtherance of this important object, a registry office is about to be established, which eventually must have a salutary moral effect upon the labouring classes. This Association has also lately directed special attention to the application of science to agriculture, and is believed to be the first which has, with this view, proposed to institute a series of experiments and inquiries in a thoroughly scientific manner upon the different soils and localities within its bounds, and, after accurately ascertaining their results, to report the same to the members. Should this scheme be accurately carried out, it cannot fail to produce much valuable local information, and to answer all the ends of an experimental farm.

Savings' Bank.—A bank for savings was opened in August 1817, and has more than realized all the hopes entertained by its projectors. The depositors are chiefly tradesmen, labourers, and men and women servants. The accounts are kept, and the business almost wholly managed by the treasurer, who is parish schoolmaster, and who receives, or gives out to those concerned, on every alternate Thursday evening, any sum from 1s. to L.20 Sterling. When the savings reach L.20, the depositors are obliged to withdraw their money, and, if so disposed, to open a new account, and operate upon it according to their inclination. It is worthy of remark, that several of them have actually transferred their earnings six times over to the provincial banks of the country, or otherwise invested them, and have thus, by prudent economy, been able to make honourable provision for themselves and their families in a safe and easy manner. The funds in the bank at 1st November 1841, when the last balance was struck, amounted to L.2289, 18s. 2d.; the amount deposited for the year previous, L.594, 12s. 8½d.; and the amount withdrawn during the same year, L.552, 17s. 4½d.

Public Banks, &c.—There is a branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland in Turriff, one of the North of Scotland Banking Company, and a sub-branch of the Aberdeen Banking Company. They are all conducted by respectable agents, and have been found to be exceedingly convenient, as, before their establishment, all bank business in the district was transacted at Aberdeen or Banff, which could not be effected but at considerable expense and risk.

There are also agents for different insurance companies; and as the advantages of fire and life insurance begin to be better understood, a corresponding support may be anticipated.

Gas Company.—In 1839, a joint-stock company was formed for the manufacture of gas. The capital, L.750, is held in shares of L2, 10s. each. The buildings are conveniently situated, and the concern, now that the shares are nearly sold, will yield a moderate return for the outlay of capital, and give a brilliant beautiful light to the consumers. The quantity of gas consumed in the year ending June 20th 1842, was 188,000 cubical feet.

Inns, &c.—In the town there are respectable inns and taverns, where travellers and the public can enjoy every necessary comfort Besides these, there are numerous ale-houses and spirit-shops, which, to a certain extent, may be convenient, though several of them might with great propriety be suppressed, as affording an undue facility to tippling.

Courts.—One of the Sheriff-substitutes of the county holds a quarterly small-debt court here, for sums not exceeding L.8, 6s. 8d.; and from the number of cases brought up for judgment, it may be supposed the establishment of this court has been found advantageous to the lieges. The justices of the peace and lieutenancy of the district also meet in Turriff when necessary; and this being the Presbytery seat, the ordinary meetings of that body are held here.

Police, &c.—One of the most crying evils, and which was sensibly felt by the inhabitants, was the overwhelming concourse of vagrants and travelling mendicants, to whom a well-meaning but mistaken liberality afforded a temptation to make this place a favourite haunt. Since the institution of a rural police and the activity of the district constable, with the terror which his baton and uniform inspire, this annoyance has been much lessened; and, notwithstanding that the town is a great thoroughfare, there is not one for ten of the visitants that formerly infested it, and diverted the charity of the parishioners from known and deserving objects at home. In this locality, therefore, though a feeling of opposition has been manifested in some quarters to what is something like a. gens d'armes, the general desire is, that the force may be kept up in all its efficiency.

Prison.— The only place of confinement is a lock-up-house, consisting of two very small apartments, in which criminals may be lodged for a single night, preparatory to their being sent to the county jail, or in modum paenae of those smaller offences which occasionally occur, particularly at the feeing markets.

Fuel.-—There is very little moss in the parish. Turf in some places is to be got; but English coals are commonly used as fuel.

November 1842.

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