Old Statistical Account (1790) Parish of Dingwall

Dingwall Community Collage
Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in CaithnessSir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty

The First Statistical Account (1790)

On the 25 May 179, Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness wrote to over nine hundred Parish ministers throughout Scotland asking them to contribute to a Statistical Inquiry by answering as best they could,a series of one hundred and sixty-six Queries respecting each Parish.

The First Statistical Account of Dingwall (1790)

The following is a transcription of the actual Account of the Parish of Dingwall from the first or old Statistical Account of Dingwall.


By the Rev. Mr DANIEL ROSE

Situation and Boundaries - The parish of Dingwall, situated at the west end of the Frith of Cromarty, lies in the presbytery of Dingwall, of which the town of that name is the seat, and in the synod and county of Ross. It is bounded on the east by the parish of Kiltearn; on the north lie a vast tract of high mountains; and on the west and south by the parish of Fodderty. That part of the parish of Urquhart, called Ferrintosh, lies on the skirt to the south-east, but from it Dingwall is divided by the river Conan, which, at high water, is widened to about half a mile by the influx of the sea.

The Name and General Appearance - The name was formerly Dingnaval or Dingnavallis, and took its origin from the richness and fertility of the soil of the lower grounds, which form a considerable part of the parish. Excluding a small district, peopled by few inhabitants, and divided from the rest by a high hill, this parish forms nearly an oblong of one and a half by two miles. It consists partly of a pretty extensive valley, and partly of the sloping sides of hills, a great portion of which is in a high state of cultivation. The waste ground is not very considerable, and there are no commons in the parish; the great bulk of the land is in culture, and the whole forms a beautiful interchange of hill and valley, wood and water, corn-fields and meadows.

Soil - The soil over the whole parish is abundantly fertile, and the greater part is uncommonly rich. It generally consists of a deep loam, or clay mixed with a considerable quantity of vegetable mould, which, in seasons of any tolerable mildness, and with an ordinary degree of good culture, seldom, if ever, fails to produce luxuriant crops. Every kind of pulse, and all the culniferous grains are accordingly found to thrive well in this parish. But, from the flatness of the ground in the lower parts, and the steepness of the neighbouring hills, together with the nature of the soil, a wet season is always uncommonly pernicious to its produce. It retards the labour of the farmer both in spring and in autumn, to a degree not experienced in other places, which are neither more favourably situated with respect to climate, nor nearly equal in point of fertility of soil.

Climate - The climate of this part of the country is upon the whole tolerably good. It is not subject to any destructive inundations, nor has it more frequent rains than most other parts of the kingdom; but it is exposed to high winds, which, though never rising to any signally pernicious violence, are often inconvenient to the inhabitants, and sometimes hurtful to the growing corn. The winter is not attended with any peculiar degree of severity.

Diseases - This district has never been remarkable for the prevalence of any peculiar disease. To periodical visits of the small pox we are exposed in common with every part of the kingdom. It returns after unequal and uncertain intervals, but it seldom gives us a longer respite than from six to eight years. The last summer it was, in the natural way, extremely mortal. This distressful circumstance, however, was attended with some happy consequences. It opened the eyes of the lower classes of people to the advantages of inoculation, against which their prejudices had before been as violent as they were general.

Mineral Springs - All along the side of the hill, fronting the south, which forms the northern part of the parish, there are mineral springs strongly impregnated with sulphur. One of them at Drynie appears nearly, if not fully, as strong as a spring in the neighbouring parish of Fodderty, which has been found extremely efficacious in curing a variety of cutaneous diseases.

Rivers and Fishings - There are some rivulets in the parish, but no river except Conan. In these some excellent trouts are caught, but they are so few as never to be brought to market. The Conan is not, nor probably ever can be made, navigable for large vessels. On this river, however, there is a very productive salmon fishery. The time allowed by law for fishing is from the 30th of November to the 6th of August, but, on account of the frost in the winter, or the quantities of rain, which, by falling in the hills where the river has its sources, keep it too high to admit of hauling the nets, there is generally no regular fishing till the spring is well advanced. Though there are cruives (weirs) on the river, the water runs above them in the almost incessant floods which happen previous to that time, and most of the fish getting over the dyke (dams), a great number is seldom caught in the chest (lock) before March or April. When sold to the people of the country, 2d. a pound is the usual price of the fresh fish throughout the season.

There is belonging to the public good of Dingwall, a stell salmon fishery on Conan, or a fishery on that part of the river into which the sea flows. Five and twenty years ago, it brought no rent, but is now let at L.18: 10s. per annum.

Sea - The sea, at high water, washes a considerable part of the parish, running in apparent canals in several directions along the side of the town, and forms a beautiful variety of islets and peninsulas. But, even in this state, it is very shallow for several miles down the frith, and, at low water, it recedes to the distance of near four miles, leaving nothing but a slimy strand, which makes it unfit for the navigation of any large vessels, adverse to the production of fish of almost any kind, flounders excepted, and barren of all objects which merit the attention of the naturalist, the farmer, or the politician.

The goods imported to this place from London, Glasgow, Leith, and other manufacturing and trading towns are carried in the London and Leith smacks, which maintain a constant communication every three weeks, or month at most, between the southern and northern parts of the kingdom. There are in this parish only two boats, one of which is very small, plies at high water, between Dingwall and Ferrintosh; the other serves for the carriage of bulky articles from place to place.

Quarries - Three quarries have been opened in this parish. The stones in one of them, which is not now used, were of a very indifferent quality, being apt to moulder into sand, when long exposed to the weather. Another, the property of the public, and discovered within these fifteen years, is of a much better quality. Its stones, though hard, are extremely useful in all those parts of houses where hewnwork is not necessary, and lying within a quarter of a mile of the town, they have contributed not a little to its improvement and increase. The third quarry, which is of a fine light blue colour, is private property. It is of a still superior quality, as it is fit for hewn as well as for coarse work, and is capable of a very fine polish. It has, however, one disadvantage: there is a small intermixture of iron ore, upon which the rain in time operates, and stains in a very ugly manner the contiguous stones.

Domestic and Wild animals - The domestic quadrupeds and birds are such as are usually found in every other part of the country. There are plenty of hares, and, at a little distance, great numbers of red-deer. Once, and, only once, the minister saw two roe deer in the parish. They were probably driven by the sevcrity of the weather from the woods among the neighbouring hills to those in the lower part of the country, where better shelter and more easy access to pasture were found. There are some foxes, with the usual smaller kind of quadrupeds. Thc stationary birds are of the common kinds. Plenty of partridges, grouse, black game, plovers, and water-fowl of various species. The migratory birds are pretty numerous. They are the bernacle or rood-goose (note 1, see below), the woodcock, landrail, lapwing, cuckcoo, fieldfare, redwing, swallow, mountain finch or snow-flake, and sometimes the Bohemian chatterer (RSPB image library). The latter appears seldom, but then it comes in great flocks, feeding upon the berry of the mountain-ash; all the former are very plentiful in this parish.

Trees - The vegetable productions of the parish are such as are common to the whole country. There are few trees indeed of spontaneous growth, except alders, which abounded much some years ago, but are now rapidly giving place to corn and grass fields.

Population Table of the Parish of Dingwall, Anno 1791

Males in the parish 617
Females 762
Total inhabitants 1379
The return to Dr Webster in 1750 - 997
Increase   372
The town contains 745
The country part of the parish 634
Annual average of births * 38
Marriages 7
Proportion of males to females born * * 5 to 4
Under 10 years old - 329
Between 10 and 20 - 329
20 and 50 - 560
50 and 70 - 127
70 and 100 - 34
Above 100 - none
Average of births to the whole inhabitants - 1 to 36
Average of marriages to the whole - 1 to 15.3
Average of bachelors to married men and widowers - 1 to 21
Farmers, i.e. those whose sole dependence is on the produce of the ground they cultivate - 33
Mechanics of different kinds -  60
Their apprentices, about 21
Merchants or tradesmen - 7
Men servants of different kinds - 117
Women servants of different kinds - 132
Clergyman - 1
Physician - 1
Writers or attorneys, beside other inferior practitioners of the law *** - 6

* The following circumstances are somewhat curious. The year 1783 was a year of great scarcity, and the births of the succeeding year were 16 below the average, and 14 below the lowest number of any of the other late years. The year 1787, on the contrary, was a year of plenty, and the following year the births increased in a similar proportion. They were 17 above the average, and 11 above the number of any of the other years.

** In the year after the year of extraordinary scarcity, 1783, and in the year after the year of uncommon plenty, 1788, the deviation from this proportion was very remarkable. In the year 1784, there were born 15 males, and 7 females, and in the year 1789, 26 males, and 12 females.

***It may appear strange that there are so many attorneys in this town; but, as it is centrically situated, three times more business is done in the sheriff court of Dingwall than in all the other sheriff courts of the county. It is remarkable, however, that this business has greatly decreased since Ferrintosh was deprived of its exclusive privilege of distilling whisky without paying King's duties. During the continuance of that privilege, the quarrels and breaches of the peace among the inhabitants were very frequent, and often furnished a good harvest to the Dingwall procurators. But now that this course of business has in a great measure failed, the people have become much more peaceable.

All the inhabitants of this parish are of the established church, two Seceders excepted, and ten families, which are either partly, or wholly, of the Episcopal persuasion. These have here no fixed clergyman, but they have the ordinances of religion occasionally dispensed among them, by ministers from other parts of the country.

Houses and their Inhabitants -The inhabited houses of every description in the parish amount to 239, but of such as are well built, and have two stories, to about 40. Of the smaller and middling kinds, a good number has been built within these ten years past; but as many others of the same sort have been removed by the converting of several small into three larger farms there has probably been no very considerable increase of their number. Of the better kind of houses, which are let at from L.7 to L.16 per annum, about seventeen have been built in the above period. In this account, however, houses are not included which have been erected on the sites of others gone to decay, but such only as were built where no houses of the same size were before, and so make an addition to the total number of houses in the parish. There is no uninhabited house or cottage in the town or neighbourhood. The demand, on the contrary, for houses, particularly for the middling sort, is very great. At an average the number of inhabitants to each house is 5.

Agriculture, Produce, etc. - The greater part of the parish is arable, and produces corn of different kinds, chiefly oats, next barley, then pease, then wheat, a few beans, and occasionally a very little rye. The quantity of ground sown with oats is about 500 acres, with barley 200, with pease 50, and with wheat 10. About 100 acres are annually employed in the production of sown grasses for hay, and about double that quantity is pasture ground. Potatoes form a part of the food of all, and the greater part of most, of the parishioners. The culture of them is generally considered as favourable to the ground, and an excellent preparative for grass crops; because the necessity of keeping them clean destroys the weeds, and the general idea of much manure being requisite to insure a good crop serves to secure the melioration of the ground. This latter advantage is greatly increased by the populousness of the town. The people in general collect considerable quantities of dung, which they know not how to use to better purpose than the cultivation of this root. They accordingly manure the land, plant the potatoes, and keep them clear of weeds, in consequcnce of which the gentlemen or neighbouring farmers allow them to have ground rent free. Nearly 25 acres are annually employed for this purpose. The cultivation of flax is so inconsiderable an object, that it is left more to the charge of the housewife, than of the farmer. Small patches of hemp, a plant which always thrives remarkably well, are sometimes sown, but it is raised for the use of individuals only. Plantations of trees of different kinds cover at least 900 acres of ground. They consist chiefly of Scotch pines, oak, ash, beech, elm, plain, and larch. In all those plantations there is excellent shelter, and in many parts of them very good pasture.

Seed-time commences about the middle of March, but it is as irregular as the climate is variable. For it sometimes happens, from the severity of the spring, that no sowing takes place till a month later. The harvest is subject to the same uncertainty, yet it commences in general about the beginning of September.

Horses and Black Cattle - The horses of all descriptions amount to 374, of these 56 are of the larger sort, and 318 of the small country kind. The depth of the roads leading to the mosses, and perhaps the steepness of the ascent, make it eligible for the farmers and cottagers to prefer this breed of horses. Larger ones would certainly sink deeper, and perhaps not so easily climb the hills. The black cattle, great and small, somewhat exceed 600. Many of these are draught oxen, but they chiefly consist of milk cows and young cattle.

Ploughs and Carts - Scots ploughs are generally used; there are, however, about nine chain-ploughs in the parish. They are sometimes drawn by oxen, generally by horses but often by a mixture of both. About 18 are drawn by oxen, 48 by horses, and 27 by a mixture of both. The whole number of ploughs in the parish is 93. In the choice of the species of animals by which they are drawn, the farmers are regulated by the situation of the grounds, and other circumstances. There are only 24 carts, properly so called, in the parish. Of the smaller open kind used by country people in the north, there are about 2410; but these being seldom used, except in the season for drawing peats and in harvest, it is difficult exactly to ascertain their number. The farmers collect their manure into dunghills and spread it on their fields, by means of a kind of cart called kellachies. They consist of small solid wheels, on which a frame is placed, with trams for the horse; and in an opening of the frame, a conical coarse wicker basket is set, where the dung is carried. In hilly and uneven places, their lightness may be a reason for using them, but, in places differently situated, blind attachment to inveterate customs can only account for the use of them.

Rent of Land and Houses - The annual land rent of the parish is, I am informed, about L.1200. The rents of the houses are difficult to ascertain. It may not be improper, however, to observe, that such houses as day-labourers and servants occupy, are commonly let at from 15s. to 21s.

Church, etc. - The living of this parish is L.58; 32 bolls of oat-meal, 9 stones Dutch weight to the boll; and 16 bolls of barley, country measure, which is considerably larger than the Linlithgow. Eight bolls were the common rent of the glebe when it was let to a farmer. It consists of about eight Scots acres. The present minister is a bachelor, and has been settled in the parish upwards of 10 years. The King is patron. Within these two years, a commodious good manse was built. The church is nearly a ruin. It had connected with it, by wide arches, one large chapel, and several small ones, which were probably used both as cemeteries and places of devotion. They have long been shut out from the church, and used only as burying places. The heritors have it in contemplation to build a new church soon, which will be both convenient for the parishioners, and ornamental to the town. The heritors, including proprietors of burgage tenements, amount to 39. But, strictly speaking, there are only two, for there are only two separate valuations in the parish, viz., the valuation of the estate of Tulloch, and the magistracy of Dingwall. Upwards of four-fifths of these proprietors live in the town. Of the two wealthiest, one only resides occasionally in the parish, and the other has his principal family seat in the neighbourhood.

Poor - The number of poor in the parish who receive aid from charitable funds is 58, of which 8 are males, and 50 females. The annual amount of the weekly contributions for their relief is extremely, small, viz. about L.7 or L.8. A sum of money, however, at interest, yields L.35. In the number of poor are included those who, although not unable to work, are incapable by their labour to earn what is sufficient for their own or their families subsistence, are admitted. None are admitted on the poor's roll, or obtain occasional aid from the funds, without previously acknowledging the session to have a claim on the effects they may chance to leave, to the full extent of the sums they have received.

Prisoners - In the course of the year 1790, there were 18 persons confined in the jail of this town. Of these there were imprisoned for debt 11, for petty theft 5, for horse and sheep stealing one; and one woman, from a distant part of the country, has lain here under sentence of transportation, since the autumn circuit 1789. But in this parish no murder has been committed for these last 40 years, nor has an individual been banished.

School - The parochial is the only school in the parish. The schoolmaster's salary from the town and parish amounts to L.3; his emoluments as session-clerk, to L.3: 10; and the school-fees, communibus annis, to L.24. He has also a very good house with a garden from the town. The number of scholars is variable, from 60 to 80. The present master's knowledge fully qualifies him for his office, and his assiduity is unwearied.

Price of Provisions, Labour, etc. - The prices of provisions within these 30 years past have undergone a great alteration. At the commencement of that period, mutton, pork, even beef, &c. were sold in the lump, by the quarter, or the whole carcase. From 8d to 10d. was the usual price of a quarter of good mutton, 2s. 6d. of a quarter of pork, and 5s. 6d. or 6s. of an exceeding good quarter of beef. Now the average price of all these kinds of meat is 3d. per pound, which is at least double their former value. A good fat goose was then sold at 10d., a duck at 3d., and a fowl at 2.5d. They now fetch twice as much money. Butter was then bought at 6s. a stone; it is now sold at from 12s. to 14s.; common country made cheese at 2s. or 2s.6d at most; now it is never under 5s. Barley and oatmeal were commonly sold at that period for 8s. or 10s. a boll; they have not for many years been under 16s. How much soever these changes may evince the general increased prosperity of the country, they nevertheless bear very hard on individuals, whose livings are stationary at a certain allowance in money.

The wages of a common labourer are 6d. a day, and of masons and house-carpenters, from 1s. to 1s.6d. Supposing a labourer to have constant employment the whole year, he will earn L.7. 16s. His wife, though she should have the charge of a moderate family, will gain by spinning, with tolerable diligence, 1.5d. a day, which is near L.2 a year. There is no room for children to exert industry, as there are no manufactures. The whole earnings of the family, therefore, making no allowance for sickness, idle days, avocations, or any other exigences, cannot exceed L9.16s. Large families are, however, on such reared, and often on smaller incomes, with the assistance of a small field for potatoes, and perhaps a little patch of ground for greens, cultivated after hours of labour, or when other employment is not to be got. How this wretched pittance is distributed among the variety of objects which are necessary to human life in a very simple state, and how it is made sufficient for the subsistence of a family, is inconceivable. But habits of frugal management, taught by poverty to the indigent, are found to effect what the affluent do not imagine, and cannot easily believe.

Roads and Bridges - The routes in this parish are exceedingly deep in winter. Their badness may be attributed in part to the nature of the soil through which they pass, but it is owing also to the not adopting a proper method in the reparation of them. One public road leads across Conan, which forms a communication between the very populous district of Ferrintosh and this town. From a desire to save labour or time, the ford is often attempted, when the tide is too far advanced, or the river too high, and the consequence is frequently fatal. A bridge over this river would not only be a vast accommodation to travellers, but would also be a means of saving many lives. There are two excellent bridges on a rivulet, in the course of the public roads; two, however, are still wanted, one over each of the burns which form the south and east boundary of the parish.

Antiquity and Government of the Borough

This town had its charter of erection into a royal borough, from Alexander II in the year 1226. By this charter, which another, granted in the reign of James IV, confirmed, the town was empowered to chose a provost, two bailies, a dean-of-guild, a treasurer, and 10 counsellors. It was also entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities, possessed by the town of Inverness. The town is one of the five boroughs, constituting the northern district, and, in common with Kirkwall, Wick, Dornoch, and Tain, sends a member to Parliament.

The ancient size of the Town - There are some circumstances which would seem to indicate that the town was once much more extensive than it is now. The cross now stands at the east end of this borough, but a street of about 200 yards long runs from it to the north east, and a gentleman of the town, in digging some time ago for manure, found the remains of a causeway at the distance of 300 or 400 yards, in a line south east from the cross. The former had few houses built along it, till 30 or 40 years ago, and the latter has yet none near it. These circumstances however, afford some kind of presumption, that the antient might have exceeded the present size of the place.

Ruins of the Castle - The street north east of the cross, leads to the ruins of what once was the principal residence of the Earls of Ross. This building, situated close to the shore, had on three sides an extensive plain. It was situated at a considerable distance from any rising ground, and a little river with a deep slimy channel, into which the sea flowed, winded about two of its sides. It seems to have been a regular fortification, which in those days was well adapted for defence. The castle was built at the west end. A part of it, which still remains, has the stones so strongly cemented with the mortar that it is easier to break a solid rock, than to separate those of which it is composed. To the north east, but contiguous to the castle, there is an area of about half an acre which was enclosed. The whole was surrounded with a deep ditch and a regular glacis still remains. After the forfeiture of the Earl, the proprietor of the estate of Tulloch was appointed hereditary constable of the castle, and the trifling salary of 20 merks, or L.1. 2. 2-2/3 Sterling, is to this day annexed to the office. This Earl was once distinguished among the most powerful of the Scottish barons. He was proprietor of a great part of this country, and many of our most considerable families possessed their lands by charters from him, dated apud castrum nostrum de Dingwall.

About 25 years ago the annual revenue of the borough did not exceed L.7. It is now upwards of L.100. This vast increase arose chiefly from the feuing out of commonties to the gentlemen and other inhabitants of this place, for the purpose of their being converted into arable ground, or otherwise improved. Part of these were of excellent soil, perfectly level, contiguous to the town, and of easy culture; all of them were good subjects of improvement, of one kind or other. If the inhabitants of the town, some centuries ago were either as numerous, or as wealthy as they are at present, their wants must indeed have been few, or they themselves extremely ignorant and inactive, when they left waste such tracts of lands which were so easily convertible into fertile fields or thriving plantations. The town has of late been greatly enlarged, as well as improved in the appearance of its houses. This change appears to be chiefly owing to that superior taste and spirit of improvement which generally prevail, together with the accidental influx of money through private channels. Articles are now in universal demand, which were formerly unknown, and luxuries when once known, soon come into general use. To obtain these articles, the people resort to the town where they are to be found and, accordingly, a large retail trade is carried on here, considering the size of the place. This trade could not fail of introducing additional wealth, and its consequences luxury, and improvements of various kinds. Besides, the gentlemen of this neighbourhood are in general fond of a country life, and are happily attached to their own family seats. Their style of living, and their expences, are widely different from those of their ancestors. Much of the money they circulate must centre in the neighbouring town and men of trade or business seldom allow it to pass through their hands without retaining some portion of it. Those means of improvement exist much more in Dingwall than in either of the other two boroughs of the county. For these, lying at the extremities of the shire, do not feel so much the advantages of local situation, and have not been happy enough to experience in the same degree the favours of fortune. Of the three boroughs, Dingwall is accordingly by much the most flourishing.

Eighteen years ago, a very neat spire was built over the steeple of the town house, and it was furnished with an exceedingly good clock. And sevcn or eight years ago, the streets were new paved.

The town of Dingwall is the centre of the county of Ross, with respect to local situation, to the value of the property on all sides, and to the residence of the inhabitants. Nature, therefore, and common sense, both point it out as the most proper place for the transaction of all the most public business of the shire. The convenience of gentlemen, and the interest of the people, both require that it should have this privilege.

Miscellaneous Observations

This parish is very happily situated. Though the branch of the sea on which it lies is not navigable by large vessels, yet it furnishes a water communication with all the maritime parts of the kingdom; and though it does not produce much variety of fish, yet it supplies the means of an easy conveyance of the produce of the country to the markets of the town. Besides, the parish lies in the centre of a fertile and well inhabited country. It is conveniently situated in respect to the midland and western highlands. Most of the roads from them meet in this place, and of course it is often well supplied with their produce. From this view it must be obvious how well it is situated for most kind of manufactures. There is abundance of people in the parish and neighbourhood, who would be glad of employment; living is comparatively moderate; the home market for several sorts of manufactures would by no means be inconsiderable; and a communication with the foreign market would always be easy and open.

Gaelic is still the language of the common people, in which, therefore, the greater part of public worship is performed. But most of the parishioners now understand and speak English. There are comparatively few of the younger people who were not early sent to school, and taught both to read and to write.

In this parish there are two inns, and nineteen ale or whisky houses. The former are kept by well behaving respectable people; they are frequented by travellers, and used for public meetings. Of the ale houses only seven are regularly licensed. Most of this description, indeed, whether licensed or not, are the worst of nuisances. They not only endanger the morals of the people, by furnishing secret opportunities of indulging a propensity to drunkenness, but by encouraging theft in servants, and by diverting the earnings of mechanics and labourers, and the productions of farmers, from the support of their families. It is, therefore, a false and and pernicious lenity, which, under the pretext of charity, is sometimes shewn to such traders; for indulgence to them, often proves ruin to the innocence and welfare of thousands.

The lower order of people is not remarkable for any extraordinary degree of hospitality. Living in a country well inhabited, and much resorted to by strangers, and not enjoying those means of wealth which arise from extensive commerce, or regular manufactures, this virtue cannot have much room to exert itself among this class. According to their situation, however, they are by no means unwilling to share what they possess, either in the way of hospitality or charity. The more wealthy are noted for their hospitality and attention to strangers. Luxury is a vice with which the people cannot be charged; I, with truth permitted me, to say that they always had abundance of the necessaries of life. Indeed, total want is a thing little known in this part of the country; but between that and any approach to luxury, the distance is very great, and the intermediate stages are extremely numerous.

In general, the people arc sober and industrious, decent in their behaviour, and submissive to the laws. Every country furnishes some exceptions to the good character of its inhabitants. There are no temptations to any extraordinary expences; neither commerce nor manufactures have yet given scope for dangerous speculations; and the people still retain that fond attachment to patrinomial inheritances, however trifling, which the feudal institutions inspired. The lands, however, sometimes change their proprietors, and when sold, the price is high, perhaps 30 years purchase, and it is still daily advancing.

The parish is sufficient to supply itself and the town with provisions. Indeed, on this subject, it is difficult to speak with any degree of certainty, for most of the barley which the parish produces is sold to distillers, and many of the cattle are purchased by drovers. The Dingwall butchers are therefore often obliged to go to a distance for cattle, sheep, &c. and the mechanics furnish themselves with their summer-meal from other parts of the country. It is difficult to draw the balance between those exports and imports, but, on the whole, it is probably in favor of the parish.

Near the church an obelisk stands, which, though of no great antiquity, attracts the notice of all travellers. It is erected on an artificial mount, the bottom of which covers about two-thirds of an English acre. The obelisk is six feet square at the base, and rises in a pyramidal form to the height of 57 feet. It was erected by George, first Earl of Cromarty, Secretary of State for Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne, and was intended to ornament and distinguish this spot, which he designed to be the family burying-place.

Ross and Cromarty Heritage Editor's Notes

Note 1 - Received on 01.06.00 from Simon Cohen:
"I checked the Oxford Book of British Bird names last night for Bernicle and Rood-goose. The former is an older form of the Barnacle goose but the latter is an old Scottish term for the Brent goose. Rood appears to be from the old Norse for snore and is thought to relate to the call of the Brent Goose! Thousands of Brent geese used to winter in the Cromarty Firth until a wasting disease killed off a lot of the Eelgrass on which they fed. I'm not sure exactly when this happened."

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