New Statistical Account (1840) Edderton Parish

Edderton Community Collage
Raeburn Portrait (Exhibition Guide)
Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty
 

The Second Statistical Account (1834 - 1845)

The New (or Second) Statistical Account of Scotland built on the previous work carried out by Sir John Sinclair for the First Statistical Accounts by including the knowledge of local doctors and schoolmasters. The Second Statistical Accounts were published between 1834 and 1845.
 

The Second Statistical Account for Edderton

The following is a transcription of the actual Account of the Parish of Edderton from the second or new Statistical Account of Edderton (dated Nov 1840).

PARISH OF EDDERTOUN* Presbytery of Tain, Synod of Ross

The Rev Donald Gordon, Minister**

*The writer owes his grateful acknowledgements to Mr Rowand of the Theological Library, in the University of Edinburgh, and to the Rev Hew Scott, MA, minister of Wester Anstruther, for much useful information and friendly assistance afforded him while engaged in this Statistical Account.

**Drawn up by A.S.A. and revised by the Minister

I. - Topography and Natural History

Name - This parish derives its name from its situation, being surrounded on all sides except the north by hills, and those round towers called Dunes or Burghs. The Celtic orthography is Eadar Duin, which signifies between hills or dunes, and the word is compounded of the preposition eadar (between or betwixt) and duin, the plural of the substantive dun (a hill or fortified house). Eddertoun has been written at different periods Edirdoun, Edirdovar, Etherthane, Eddirtayn, and sometimes Nether-tayne

Extent - Boundaries - The parish, which is situated in the county of Ross, is 10 miles in length, and about 8 in its greatest breadth. It is bounded on the east and south by the parishes of Tain, Logie-Easter, Kilmuir-Easter, and Rosskeen; on the west by the parish of Kincardine; and the Dornoch Frith washes its coast on the north.

Topographical Appearances - The principal expanse of the parish, containing most of the arable land, consists of three ledges, surrounded by hills - the Hill of Eddertoun or Cambuscurry (Camus-Cari, the harbour of Carius) to the east; Cnoc-an-t-sabhal (the hill of the barn) to the south; Muidhe-Blarie (the churn of the plains) to the south-west; and the Hill of Struie (probably from Struidh, wasting or unproductive, which is just the character of the soil) to the west. The first of these, which is about 600 feet above the level of the sea, and the last, upwards of 1000 feet, are within this parish; and the other two, the former of which is about the height of Struie, and the latter nearly 300 feet higher, are, "as wind and water fall", boundaries betwixt this and the neighbouring parishes. Between these hills there are, together with the frith, six passes; by two of them, towards the sea, is the Parliamentary road from Bonar Bridge to Tain; by other two, below Muidhe-Bhlairie, the road from Bonar Bridge to Dingwall passes; the remaining two, Lairg (lorg, a footpath) and Strath-rory (Strath- ruaridh or uaradh, Strath of Roderick or Fox, or rather of Water-Spouts) have no roads, though the public advantage of a road in both, and especially in the former, has been much felt and generally admitted. A committee of the road trustees of Easter-Ross inspected the ground two years ago, and the principal hindrance in carrying this public and important improvement into effect is some difference of opinion about the exact line which ought to be adopted - a difference which no doubt the intelligent individuals concerned will ere long judiciously adjust for the public good. The lower ledge runs along the whole length of the parish, including the shore of the Cambuscurry bay eastward, and the Fearns (Fearna, the alder tree) beyond Struie, to the boundary towards Kincardine, westward, and bears evident marks, from the character of the soil and other circumstances, of having been at one period, though, perhaps, a very remote one, under the sea; accordingly the lower parts are rich alluvial soil, excepting near the shore, where it becomes sandy. The second ledge, especially on the higher side, is shallow and gravelly, but when properly cultivated it yields in average seasons sure and remunerating returns. Within this range there are hundreds of acres not worth a penny per annum, which if cultivated would pay to the proprietor at least five per cent immediately, and at no distant period ten per cent, for outlays judiciously made. The third and highest ledge contains in many parts, especially at Ramore (Rath-mor, the great circle or enclosure) and Little Daan (Daan Bheag, the smaller of the two flats or lower grounds), better soil for cultivation, but from its altitude there is such a difference of climate, that it is exposed in no ordinary degree to all the evils of late springs and uncertain harvests. In the years 1837 and 1838 the tenants there lost almost all their potato crop, and their oats were unproductive.

From the summit of each of the hills mentioned above, the view in clear weather is very extensive, picturesque, and interesting. The hill of Struie being most accessible from the public road is frequently ascended for this purpose, and from a pinnacle called the Lady's Seat, considerable portions of nine counties are within the range of an ordinary telescope. Beyond Struie, towards Kincardine, lies the beautiful and romantic valley of the Fearns; the hills of Corryfearn (Coire-fearna, the glen of the alder tree); Cnoc-lagan (the hill of ravines or hollows); and Garvary (Garbh-'Airidh, the coarse hill pasturage), on the summit of which last the parish terminates in that direction; and as these hills rise in some parts almost abruptly from the road, the effect is more imposing and impressive.

The shore is sandy, excepting where the Struie hill descends to the water's edge, and there it is rocky. Cambuscurry Bay, where a Danish invading fleet once anchored, is now not above a fathom deep at high water, and possibly the extent of land recoverable would compensate for the expense of shutting out the sea altogether. An enterprising gentleman, whose improvements in roads, cultivations etc are well known, and who possesses extensive estates in the county - Mr Ross of Cromarty - it is understood, proposed to undertake this task, if the other neighbouring proprietors would co-operate.

Meteorology - In Summer Fahrenheit's thermometer averages from 57 to 70, but in frost, the range is from 20 to 32. It has occasionally, though very rarely, been as low as 12, and February 1837, at eleven p.m., it actually fell to 6. The general range of the barometer is betwixt 28.5 and 30.5, so that the average may be stated at 29.5. It has been as high as 30.9, and as low as 27.8, but these are extremes which it approaches but seldom.

From the number and heights of the hills, already described as bounding the parish towards the east, south, and west, there falls a greater quantity of rain, particularly in the heights of the parish, than in any similar extent of Easter Ross. The general temperature of the atmosphere is, from the same causes, proportionably low. From the nature of the soil, however, this is of much advantage to the lower ground, which, to be productive, requires frequent showers, and the climate, generally speaking, is favourable and healthy.

It is remarkable how seldom storms of thunder and lightning occur, and especially when contrasted with the frequency of such phenomena in the neighbouring county of Sutherland. The aurora borealis or polar lights, when visible on the coast of the northern counties, appear to great advantage in most parts of this parish. That rare phenomenon, a lunar iris, was visible here about six years ago, and the beautiful colours of the rainbow, though subdued and chastened by the pale light of the moon, were distinctly seen.

For the gay beams of lightsome day,
Gild, but to float the rainbow's ray.


The prevailing and most powerful winds are from the west, a fact indicated by the inclination of the trees eastward, where the soil is light and the locality exposed. The hurricane which blew on Christmas-day, 1806, forced in, and totally destroyed two windows in the western gable of the manse, and otherwise damaged the roof, though the house had been built but a few years previously. The east wind is, however, very prevalent, and is colder and more disagreeable than any other, comparatively sheltered as the parish is on the eastward.

The district may be generally stated as healthy, and the most prevalent distempers, as influenza, bronchitis, pulmonary, rheumatic, and asthmatic complaints, are often aggravated, but seldom occasioned by the climate. Strictly speaking, the diseases caused by cold and variable climate are anasarca, dyspepsia, paralysis, scrofula, acidity, typhoid fevers, and oedematous swellings of the legs. Such cases, however, are rare in this parish, excepting dyspepsia and acidity, which are occasioned as much by other causes as by that of climate.

Hydrography - The Dornoch Frith runs along the whole of the northern coast of the parish, and after passing Bonar Bridge is commonly termed the Kyle of Sutherland, and navigation is quite safe for vessels not exceeding 100 tons burthen. Springs are numerous, and some break out quite fresh within high water-mark, when the tide recedes: such as appear throughout the interior of the parish are excellent for ordinary use. They are perennial, but whether of any peculiar quality is not known, as none of them have been analysed.

There are no lakes or lochs here. The rivers are four in number, viz. Eddertoun, Daan, Easter Fearn, and Grugaig (the surly stream) and are commonly known by the appellation of burns; in dry weather the flow of water is small, but during heavy rains they become suddenly swollen, and rush along with great violence and impetousity. On Sunday, 15 September 1839, the bridges of Easter Fearn and Grugain were swept away, and the other two so much undermined that they narrowly escaped a similar fate. These bridges have since been rebuilt, but it is a remarkable fact that the old bridge at Easter Fearn, which is situated about 500 yards further up the river, and is at least half-a century old, withstood the force of the current, while its more modern neighbour gave way, and that it was by it that the public road went, while the present bridge, which has only been opened the other day, was being rebuilt. The bridge of Eddertoun probably owed its escape to its having been very carefully built, as its predecessor was carried off in the year 1799, by a flood or speat, which rose to such a height as to enter at the windows of the manse - which was then situated on its banks, and close to the church - destroyed much of the minister's furniture, and occasion the abandonment of the house, and removal to its present site.

Geology and Mineralogy - The rock of Cambuscurry presents an extended front of considerable height towards the public road. It consists chiefly of red conglomerate sandstone, broken into distinct, truncated, and somewhat pyramidal masses; the fissures run from east to west, and the blocks lie at an angle of about 12o northward. In the hill of Struie, the strata are of various kinds, such as old red sandstone, gneiss, quartz, granite and whinstone, and the dip averages from 15o to 25o towards the north. It is remarkable that near the foot of this hill, and towards the shore, the dip is inward to the south, as if the strata in the valley had broken down in the centre. Here, too, the secondary stratified deposits of old red sandstone and conglomerate rise high up on the sides of the neighbouring gneiss hills, the upper part graduating into calcareo-bituminous slates, and the lower part composed of the debris of the neighbouring primary rocks, and generally resting uncomformably upon them. The aggregate thickness of these deposits is enormous, and their original extent was probably much greater than at present, as it perhaps once filled up a great hollow or trough of the primary rocks. At Meikle Dann, and in other places, are quarries of freestone, which are neither easily hewn nor durable, from being much impregnated with iron ore. At Daan there is also a bed of limestone of a hard kind, which has been occasionally burnt for lime, but was found to be rather expensive under ordinary management. The whole of the deeper mosses, especially in the heights of the parish, contain, as in almost all the Highlands, trunks and roots of trees, chiefly fir, but also oak, hazel, birch etc. Some of these are of immense size, indicating the existence of an extensive forest at some period, though probably a very remote one.

Soil - The soil is various, according to locality, as already stated. In the division nearer the sea the higher parts are gravelly; next comes deep alluvial loam; and the lowest turns quite sandy. The middle division is chiefly gravelly and mossy, with a mixture of clay and common soil. The highest is also a varied mixture of clay, gravel, moss, and common soil, but is deeper and more easily cultivated than the middle division of the parish. Cultivation has done very much for this parish within the last forty years, so that the general aspect is quite changed; much, however, still remains to be done. The principal land-owner, Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, has been liberal and encouraging to the larger farmers on his estate; and is giving considerable quantities of lime to the smaller tenants, according to the extent and quality of the lands they occupy. Such judicious liberality and kindness, benefiting as it does all parties, is worthy alike of commendation and imitation.

Zoology - The following are the Mammalia found in this parish, synoptically arranged according to their genera and species.

Cheiroptera Carnivora Rodentia
Plecotus auritus Mustela putorius Mus decumanus
Vespertilio murinus Mustela vulgaris Mus musculus

Insectivora Martes foina Mus sylvaticus
Sorex araneus Vulpes vulgaris Arvicola ater
Sorex fodiens Phoca vitulina Arvicola agrestis
Talpa Europea

Ruminantia Lepus timidus
Cervus capreolus Lepus variabilis

Rod deer are not very numerous, and red deer are not supposed to exist in the parish. Besides the above there are, of course, the usual domestic animals in great abundance.

Ornithology

Raptores Salicaria phragmites Linaria montana
Falco tinnunculus Sylvia trochilus Linaria minor
Accipiter fringillarius Paris caeruleus Pyrgita domestica
Pandion haliaeetus Parus ater Pyrgita montana
Buteo vulgaris Accentor modularis Fringilla montifringilla
Milvus regalis Montacilla boarula Fringilla coeleba
Circus cynacus Anthus pratensis Emberiza miliaria
Strix flammes Anthus rupestris Emberiza citrinella

Incessores Muscicapa grisola Emberiza schoeniculus
Cinclus aquaticus Corvus corax Alauda arvensis
Merula pilaris Corvus cornix Pyrrhula vulgaris
Merula musica Corvus monedula Troglodytes Europaeus
Merula vulgaris Corvux frugilegus Coculus canorus
Saxicola oenanthe Pica melanoleuca Caprimulgus
Saxicola rubetra Sturnus vulgaris Hirundo rustica
Saxicola rubicola Coccothraustes chloris urbica
Erithaca rubecula Carduelis elegans Hirundo riparia
Phoenicura anticilia Carduelis spinus Hirundo apus
Curruca cinerea Linaria cannabina

Besides the above, we have to notice the game birds which frequent this parish. This family, which are classed among the Rasores or Gallinaceous birds, are known as the Tetraonidae or grouses. Of these we possess two genera, 1. Perdix; common partridge (P. cinera), 2. Lagopus; red grouse or moorfowl (L. Scoticus); common ptarmigan (Tetrao lagopus).

Wood - At Easter Fearn there once existed an extensive oak and birch wood, which extended from the top of Struie Hill to the shore. Tradition relates that the whole was purchased, early in the seventeenth century, by two brothers from England, who got it cut down and manufactured into charcoal. The place still retains the name of Meike Wood, and is now covered with brushwood to a considerable extent. At Wester Fearn, on the estate of Balnagown, there is a fine plantation of Scotch fir, chiefly old trees, covering an extent of nearly 100 acres. At Mid-Fearn, on the Sutherland estate, there is a natural wood of birch of 60 acres, and a planted wood of fir, birch, oak, etc. of the same extent. There was also a fir wood of 78.5 acres on the hill of Eddertoun, which was on the estate of Cadboll, and was sold in 1838 for £680 Sterling. It is now nearly cut down, but is to be replanted whenever the ground is cleared of the old wood.

The soil here, in its present state, is best adapted for Scotch firs and larches, of which there are considerable plantations in the parish, as mentioned above, and two on the Balnagown property.

II. - Civil History

The first historical notice of Eddertoun occurs in the twelfth century when King William the Lion (who reigned over Scotland from 1165 to 1214) built a castle at Etherdover, Edirdona, or Edirton, as a curb upon the turbulent inhabitants of Easter Ross. The situation of this castle or "dune" was near the sea, and commanded the ferry betwixt the counties of Ross and Sutherland. There is mention made of it in the chronicle of Melrose, Bower's Scotichronicon, and in Macpherson's Geographical Illustrations of Scottish History.

Abbey of Fearn - The next event of importance in the history of this parish is the founding of the Monastery or Abbey of Fearn, which took place in the thirteenth century. Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, having, about the year 1227, accompanied his sovereign, King Alexander II to London, challenged a renowned French champion, then at the English court, to single combat a l'outrance; and made a vow before entering the lists to found a monastery in his own earldom, if he conquered his antagonist. It was very common for men in that dark and superstitious age to make similar vows, immediately before engaging in battle or any other hazardous enterprize, imagining, no doubt, thereby to interest the Almighty in their safety.* The Earl of Ross, having vanquished and slain his opponent, set about fulfilling his vow; and accordingly in travelling home he brought from the Priory of Whitehorn, or Candida Casa, in Galloway, Malcolm and his brother, two canons of the Candidus Ordo** of the rule of St Augustine; and procuring some of St Ninian's relics, founded and endowed an Abbey at Fearn, a place situated near the western extremity of this parish, and in the earldom of Ross. Malcolm of Galloway was appointed by the Earl first abbot of the new monastery, about the year 1230, and "by him the affairs of the abbey were conducted with great piety and judgment" until his death, which took place after an incumbency of fifteen years. "He was reverenced as a saint" in the monastery, "on account of his virtues".

*Hector Bosco, and Holinshed from him, places this combat in the year 1277, and asserts that for this deed the King conferred the earldom of Ross on Ferquhard or Farquhar Ross, who was before then a private gentleman; but there are incontestable proofs that Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, died in 1251, and of there having been a regular succession of earls of that surname from the period when the Parliament was held at Forfar by King Malcolm III (who reigned from 1057 to 1093) until the death of William, Earl of Ross, in 1371.

**This order was called Candidus Ordo, because their garb was entirely white; they were also called Praemonstratenses for their principal monastery Praemontre (Praemonstratum), which was situated in the diocese of Laon in France. They followed the rule of St Augustine, and were founded about the year 1120 by St Norbert, Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany. There were six monasteries of the order in Scotland, situated at the following places:-

1. Souls Seat (Sedes animarum, or Monasterium viridis stagni)
2. Holy Wood (Monasterium sacri nemoris, and in the Papal bulls Abbacia de Dorcondall)
3. Whitehorn (Candida Casa)
4. Tungland. These four, which were all in Galloway, were founded by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, during the reign of King David I (1124-1153)
5. Dryburgh, in Teviotdale, founded in the twelfth century by Hugh Moreville, Constable of Scotland.
6. Fearn, or Ferne (Abbacia de Nova Farina or Fernia) in Ross, founded as above, in the thirteenth century, by Ferquhard, Earl of Ross.

Malcolm of Nig succeeded as second Abbot of Fearn about the year 1246. In his time the devotions of the church, meeting with frequent interruption from the ferocity and savageness of the neighbouring inhabitants, and the situation proving otherwise unsuitable to the purpose, Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, with consent of the abbot and brethren of the convent, transported the abbey, "for the more tranquillity, peace and quiet thereof", to a place about twelve miles south-east of the former situation, where it continued ever after. Its new site received the name of Fearn, or, as it was styled in ancient charters, "Abbacia de Nova Farina", in allusion to the place where it was originally situated. Its founder and benefactor, the Earl of Ross,* granted many new privileges, and bestowed numerous munificent donations upon it, all which were confirmed by his son and successor, William, Earl of Ross, in 1258. The period of the removal of the abbey from this parish must have occurred betwixt the years 1246 and 1251, as Malcolm of Nigg, in whose time the transportation took place, became abbot in the former year, and Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, whose death occurred in the latter, was living at the time, and very instrumental in the removal.

*Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, was interred within the new abbey, and a stone effigy of a warrior, with his arms crossed on his breast, is still pointed out as his. An unsuccessful search was made for his remains on 17th September 1819, but was given up, after digging to the depth of eight feet.

From its previous connection with this parish, a catalogue of the mitred dignitaries who ruled the Abbey of Fearn may not be unacceptable. The following is therefore given from the best authorities:-

1. Malcolm of Galloway, 1280
2. Malcolm of Nigg, 1246
3. Matthaeus, or Machabaeus, who was Bishop of Ross 1272-1274 (Fordun)
4. Colin, "Colino Abbate de Nova Fernia", witness in 1298 to a charter (Deuchar)
5. Martin, a canon of Candida Casa or Whitehorn
6. John, also a canon of the Priory of Whitehorn in Galloway
7. Mark Ross, a knight. Abbey church rebuilt in his time, 1388.
8. Donald Piply, a canon of Fearn - "Donaldus Abbas de Nova Farnia", is a witness in 1350 to William Earl of Ross's entail of his earldom.
9. Adam Monilaw, who died at Fearn in the year 1407
10. Thomas Cattanach, presented by the Prior of Whitehorn, who assumed that privilege, but rejected by the convent of Fearn.
11. Finlay Ferrier, "grandson to Sir William Ferrier, vicar of Tayn", died 1440
12. Finlay McFead, who was held in great respect, so much so that the king commanded that he and his descendants should bear the name of Fearn as their family surname, which was accordingly done. This abbot died 17th March 1485, having enjoyed his benefice forty-four years, and was interred in St Michael's aisle, where his effigy in full pontificals, with the mitre on his head and crosier by his side, still exists in tolerable preservation; and under it is the following inscription in Saxon characters, "Hic Jacet Finlaius McFead, Abbas de Fern, qui obiit anno MCCCCLXXXV".
13. Thomas McCulloch succeeded, and was unjustly deprived by Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness, after which he resided at Mid-Geanies, where he erected a chapel for himself, until his death, which occurred in 1516.
14. Andrew Stewart of the house of Innermeath, having acquired possession of this abbacy, by a pretended bull from Rome, held it till his death, 17th January 1518. He was also Bishop of Caithness, 1490-1518, and Commendator of the wealthy Abbey of Kelso. (Rymer etc)
15. Patrick Hamilton, a natural son of the Earl of Arran, received this benefice when quite a child, and it is probable never resided at Fearn. He was the first called in question for religion at the dawning of the Reformation in Scotland, and having been found guilty of thirteen different articles of heresy, was burnt at the gate of St Salvator's College in St Andrews, 28th February 1527, at the age of twenty-four. (Spottiswood, Keith etc.)
16. Donald Dunoon, of the family of Dunoon, of Dunoon, in Argyleshire, succeeded Abbot Hamilton in 1528; he was a man of great learning, and died 9th February 1540.
17. Robert Cairncross, Bishop of Ross, 1539-1545, was appointed Abbot of Fearn, upon the king's recommendation to the Pope, as the building was out of repair, and the Bishop, a wealthy man, and so in a capacity to restore the edifice. He was Provost of Corstorphine, Abbot of Holyroodhouse, and chaplain to King James V. (Holinshed, Keith etc.) He resigned the abbacy, 1st April 1545, and died shortly after (Ep. Reg. Scot.)
18. James Cairncross having thus acquired the benefice by Bishop Cairncross' resignation, who was probably his brother or some near relation, enjoyed it only a few months, having also resigned that same year.
19. Nicholas Ross, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Tain, was appointed in 1546 to the Abbey of Fearn; but seems to have held it as a secular charge, for in the Parliament of 1560 he sat and voted for the abolition of the Roman Catholic religion in Scotland, and was an avowed Protestant. He died at Fearn in 1569.
20. Thomas Ross of Culnahal, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Tain, and vicar of Alness. He was forced, by troubles and oppression by the neighbouring barons, to reside for many years in Forres, during which period he received little or no benefit from the revenues of his monastery. Abbot Ross married Isobel, daughter of Alexander Kinnaird of Cowbin, and dying in 1595 was buried in St Michael's aisle at Fearn
21. Walter Ross of Morangy, and son of the preceding, was the last commendator of the Abbey of Fearn. It would appear that he was little more than titular abbot or commendator (as these titular were called), for in 1597 the lands belonging to the abbey were erected into a temporal lordship called the Barony of Geanies, and granted by James VI to Sir Patrick Murray, who was a great favourite of his; and in the year 1607 all the other lands not contained in that barony were, by act of Parliament, annexed to the bishopric of Ross. Whether Abbot Ross, who was not consulted in making these arbitrary grants, was living at that period, or when he died, is not known. Thus this venerable institution, after existing nearly four hundred years, became extinct. (Forbes on Tithes makes 1617 the date of its annexation to the Bishopric of Ross.)

Eminent Characters - Amongst the eminent characters of this parish, the names of the following individuals deserve to be noticed:

Mr John Sutherland - Mr Sutherland was son of Mr Arthur Sutherland, Episcopal incumbent or curate of Eddertoun, from 1679 to 1708, and at the period of his father's death (8th April 1708) was very young. He early embraced Presbyterianism, and having pursued the usual course of study, preparatory to becoming a candidate for the ministry in the Church of Scotland, was licensed by the Presbytery of Dornoch, within whose bounds he was residing. The parish of Eddertoun becoming vacant about this time, by the death of Mr Hector Fraser, his father's immediate successor, on the 17th of May 1729, and the patron omitting to present any person within the six months specified by law, the "right of planting the said parish" fell into the presbyteries' hands tanquam jure devoluto; and on the day appointed for moderating in a call, it appeared that there were three candidates - Mr Alexander Rose, a licentiate of the presbytery of Aberdeen; Mr John Sutherland; and Mr Robert Robertson, minister of Loth, in the county of Sutherland - a considerable number of the heritor, elders, and heads of families in the parish voting for each. After a variety of procedure, unnecessary to be recited here, a Presbyterial call was given to Mr Robertson, on the 16th April 1730.

Though Mr Sutherland was not the successful candidate for Eddertoun, yet his character as a preacher was so high that in a few months afterwards he received a call to another parish, Golspie in Sutherlandshire, and was ordained and admitted there 30th April 1731. That parish was for some time before the year 1688 a sanctuary, by means of the family of Sutherland's steady adherence to the interests of religion, and residence in the parish, to sundry eminent individuals persecuted from a neighbouring county, for their non-compliance with the impositions of the times. These refugees might with safety have returned to their native county immediately after the Revolution, yet such was their gratitude to the above-mentioned noble family that they chose rather to spend the remainder of their days in their respective callings, under the wings that covered them in their distress. During the forty years' ministry of Mr Walter Denune*, Mr Sutherland's immediate predecessor, religion flourished in the parish. Mr Denune had himself, previous to his settlement there, suffered considerably for non-conformity during the period betwixt the Restoration and Revolution, as related in Wodrow's History. At Mr Sutherland's admission to Golspie in 1731, there was a considerable number of devout Christians in the place, some of them being the posterity of these refugees; but during the period betwixt the years 1731 and 1744, nothing remarkable occurred under his ministrations, till in November of the latter year, when there was a considerable awakening and revival of religion, which extended through the parish. There is a full account of it given in a letter from Mr Sutherland, dated "Golspy, August 8, 1745", and addressed to Mr Robe of Kilsyth, by whom it was published in his "Monthly History" for 1745 (No. 5, p. 130), and also in "Gillies's Collections" (Vol. ii p. 387). After a ministry of twenty-one years in Golspie, Mr Sutherland was translated to the town and parish of Tain, and admitted there 29th July 1752. He died at Tain on the 25th November 1769, in the thirty-ninth year of his ministry. Mr Sutherland, who was twice married, left a numerous family. His eldest son, William, born 27th January 1738, was minister of the parish of Wick, in Caithness, for a period of fifty years (1765 - 1815).

*When the "United Presbyteries of Ross and Sutherland" were disjoined into three presbyteries, and erected in to a synod, by their own act, dated "At Tain, 11th December 1706", Mr Walter Denune, as the oldest minister in the roll, preached from the third verse of St Jude's Epistle, and was afterwards chosen moderator of the newly erected synod, at its first meeting, on the 18th of March 1707. The synod at that period consisted of the "Presbytery of Dornoch", with three members, the "Presbytery of Tain" with four, and the "United Presbyteries of Chanry and Dingwall" with three members; in all ten members, who were all ministers, the remaining parishes being either vacant, or possessed by Episcopal incumbents. There were also "correspondents" at this synod from the "Presbytery of Forress and Inverness" and from the "Presbytery of Elgin, Aberlour and Abernethy", which increased the number to fifteen. (Synod Book of Ross and Sutherland, Vol. i.)

Alexander Ross Oag

At the period of Mr Robertson's admission to this parish in 1730, there lived an aged Christian named Alexander Ross Oag (or Young, a very common patronymic when the father and son were of the same name), a man in indigent circumstances, and without the advantages of education, but of such uncommon natural talents, combined with fervent piety and Christian simplicity, that numerous anecdotes, well authenticated, illustrative of his eminent character, and the estimation in which he was held, especially by the religious public, are still related throughout the northern counties.*

Though this individual, obscure and unnoticed in all worldly respects, has entered "the land of forgetfulness" upwards of a century ago, such is the veneration and respect in which his memory is still held in this parish that there are several individuals living who were named after him, and even within the last three years there has been one added to the number. It was lately proposed to erect a monument to Alexander Oag's memory in the churchyard here, where a flat stone marks the place of his interment, but this proposal, though not abandoned, has not yet been carried into effect.

*One instance may be recorded exemplifying his confidence in the providential government of God. A sturdy beggar, one of a class very numerous at that period, came to his house late one evening, and asked for a night's lodging. Alexander met the man at the door, and expressed his willingness to receive him, excepting for his ignorance of the man's character for honesty, stating that he was a weaver by trade, and must be careful of the property belonging to other people which was under his charge. The "gaberlunzie-man" protested in the most solemn manner as to his honesty and principles, appealing at the same time to the Divine Omniscience as his witness and surety! "Your surety is accepted, and you are welcome to such entertainment as I can afford," was the reply. Here the "goodwife", who was of quite a different stamp - being a bold, irreligious, worldly woman - interfered, upbraiding her husband for his simplicity, and neglect of his temporal interests, in admitting a perfect stranger on such pretences. Here the beggar again protested, to quiet the fears and suspicions of his hostess, and the worthy master of the house repeated his entire satisfaction with the assurances given.

The beggar, discovering the character of his host, endeavoured to the best of his abilities to lead the conversation to religious subjects, and thus occupied the time till he retired to rest. The wife, however, less satisfied with the honesty of her guest than her unsuspicious husband, rose at an early hour on the following morning, and immediately went to her lodger's apartment to see if all was safe, but what was her alarm on finding the beggar gone, and one of the most valuable webs of cloth in the house carried off! The first expression of her feelings was to attack Alexander for his imprudence in admitting the beggar contrary to her express desire, but his calm and cool rejoinder was, "I appeal to the surety". The beggar, on starting from Alexander's house with his ill-gotten booty, at an hour before sunrise, made the best of his way towards Alness, over what was then a trackless moor, many miles in extent, but being overtaken by a dense mist (it was a morning in the "soute season"), he wandered about the whole day, without a glimmer of sunshine, or a path which might guide him to human habitation. At length, soon after nightfall, he observed a feeble rush-light at a short distance, and, overjoyed at the prospect of shelter, food, and rest, exerted his sinking energies, and reached the door of the cottage, at which he knocked several times. A voice which seemed familiar to him inquired from within, "Who is there?" To which the weary traveller replied, "A perishing man, who seeks admission in the name of mercy!" Upon this the door was opened, and the beggar, sinking under fatigue and the weight of his burden, threw himself down near the fire, and, with a groan, looked around to see where he was, and what reception he was likely to get from the inmates. The "gudeman of the house" now came forward, after closing the door, to untie the stranger's burden, which seemed to oppress him with its weight, and administer consolation to his dropping spirits, when he was startled by the shrill voice of his wife exclaiming, "Turn out the thieving villain, or he'll be making off with more of your webs, I'se warrant". "No, Peggy," was the reply, "our property is sent back by the Surety, and for His sake the poor man shall be sheltered and entertained this night too."

The incident was made the occasion of imparting reproof and Christian instruction by Alexander Oag to the poor beggar, who was deeply affected, and it is said permanently benefited under circumstances so remarkable.

Land-owners - Sir Charles William Augustus Ross of Balnagown, Bart.; His Grace George Granville Sutherland, Duke of Sutherland, K.G.; and Robert Bruce AEneas Macleod, Esq. Of Cadboll; are the land-owners in this parish, all of them being proprietors of land upwards of the yearly value of £50, and non-resident.

The following is the present valuation of their respective estates in the parish of Eddertoun - Balnagown, £1,138; Sutherland, £320; Cadboll £70, 10s.

Estate of Balnagown - The lands of Balnagown in this and the neighbouring parish of Kincardine have been in the possession of the family of Ross from remote antiquity, and may be seen in the account of the Abbey of Fearn in this parish, towards the beginning of the thirteenth century. But on the decay of that monastic institution after the Reformation, the lairds of Balnagown seem to have been resuming the grants of land etc. which their ancestors, the Earls of Ross, had been bestowing with so liberal a hand upon the abbey, for we find that in the year 1580, on the demission of Robert Colvil, prebendary of Cambuscurry (which was in this parish), Alexander Ross of Balnagown got a grant from the crown of that prebend for seven years, for the maintenance of his son, Malcolm, at school, and by its becoming afterwards the property of another son of Balnagown, it would appear that he got a perpetual grant of it. In 1601, a charter was granted by Sir Patrick Murray* to George Ross of Balnagown, and his heirs and assignees, of "the lands of Wester-Fearn, Downy, fishings of Bonar, lands of Easter and Wester Drum of Fearn, with the half of the manor-place and gardens of Fearn, commonly called the monastery of Fearn" etc; the other half of the abbey lands, possessed by Sir Patrick, fell to the share of Sir William Sinclair of Mey, son-in-law to Balnagown. The other lands belonging to the abbey not contained in the above grant were annexed to the bishopric of Ross, in the year 1607, and in 1609, David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, grants a charter to George Ross of the "Kirkton of Kincardin, lands of Ardgay, Eddertown" etc. From this it would appear that the revenues of the monastery were very great, when it was in the full possession of the rents of these lands, but at the time of the Reformation its revenues must have been considerably diminished; for as early as the time of Abbot McFead (or, as he was frequently called, Abbot Fearn), who ruled the monastery from 1440 to 1485, certain farms belonging to the abbey were feued off to the friends and relatives of the abbots and commendators (as the titular Protestant abbots of monasteries were commonly called after the Reformation), and every succeeding incumbent appears to have followed the same pernicious example, until the evil became past remedy.**

The barony of Westray is entailed property; but the small estates of Meikle and Little Daan, which also belong to the Balnagown family, and were acquired by purchase, the former in the last century, and the other in the present, are both unentailed. Meikle Daan originally belonged to the family of Foulis, a charter and disposition of those lands having been granted by Hector Munro, twenty-second Baron of Foulis, in August 1601, to "Andrew Munro of Foulis, his youngest brother-german" to hold of the said Hector Munro of Foulis and his descendants, on payment of a feu-duty of "x. merkis Scottis yearlie".

*In 1597, the Abbey of Fearn was erected into a barony, called the "Barony of Geanies", and given by King James VI to Sir Patrick (as mentioned in the account of the "Abbey of Fearn"), but this grant did not prove a very advantageous one, for the whole of the lands contained in it, having been either violently or by feus from the latter Abbots, kept possession of by the neighbouring gentlemen, he found it so difficult to recover them that he accepted 18,000 merks Scots from the Laird of Balnagown, and his son-in-law, Sinclair of Mey, for the whole barony. (Ancient Charters etc.)

**The correctness of these statements will appear more fully from the following facts: The descendants, collaterly, of Abbot Fearn were very numerous. David Fearn of Tarlogie, and Andrew Fearn of Pilcallion or Pitculzean, both claimed to be related to him, and both their properties having been originally "Abbey-lands", Abbot Dunoon (1528-1540) feued off the Barony of Cadboll in 1534 to his nephew, Andrew Dunoon, in whose family it continued till it was lost in supporting the cause of the unfortunate King Charles "the martyr". Dunoon of Pitogarty and Sir Andrew Dunoon were also of this family. In 1559, Mr Robert Melville, Prebend of Tain and Chaplain of Tarlogie, granted a "charter of confirmation of the lands of Tarlogie to George Munro of Dalcastle, with consent of Mr Nicholas Ross, Commendator of Fearn" (1546-1569). Abbots Nicholas and Thomas Ross (1569-1595) were compelled by the powerful neighbouring barons to give grants of the lands belonging to the monastery. This oppression reduced the latter personage to great straits, as related in the "Catalogue of Abbots". And, to conclude, "Walter Ross of Morangy, the last Commendator of the Abbacy of Fearn", procured a grant in his own favour of "Morangy and the mills thereof" and these lands belonged to his family for several generations. (Charters of Family of Ross, etc., and ancient MSS.)

Estate of Sutherland - The estates in this parish belonging to the Duke of Sutherland were acquired by purchase in 1832 from Murdo Mackenzie, Esq. of Ardross, who had inherited them from his maternal ancestors. Easter Fearn, which is part of them, was originally in the possession of a family of the name of Ross.

Estate of Cadboll - The Estate of Upper Eddertoun was acquired by Roderick Macleod of Cambuscurry, without heirs-male, as "heir of tailzie of the foresaid lands of Upper Eddertoun".

The land-owners of this parish were more numerous about a century ago than at present. The following are their names, with their respective valuations, in the year 1745:

The Laird of Balnagown £1045 Scots
Bailie Nicolas Ross, merchant in Tain, factor on the sequestrated estate of Easter Fearn £200 Scots
Alexander Ross, tacksman of Mid-Fearn £100 Scots
Roderick Macleod of Cadboll £73 Scots
David Ross of Priesthill, heritor of Meikle Daan £61 Scots
Alexander Ross, in Gray's Inn, London, writer to the Signet, or Francis Griffith, his Factor, for the lands of Little Daan £50 Scots
Total valuation of Eddertoun £1529 Scots

Parochial Registers etc. -The register of births, baptisms, and marriages commences 25th July 1799, and has been regularly kept since that period, previous to which nothing of the kind existed. It is contained in one volume. The session records only began to be kept by the late incumbent, the first entry being dated 26th September 1821. They consist of minutes of the proceedings of the kirk-session, poor's funds, etc. There is no register of deaths kept.

The kirk-session of the parish consists of ten members, all regularly ordained elders. The session-clerk at present is Mr Watson, the parochial schoolmaster.

Antiquities - Dunes - There is a complete chain of those round towers called Dunes surrounding this parish; none of them, however, in a state of even tolerable preservation. One of these, situated at Easter Fearn, and known by the name of Dune-Alliscaig (from Dun-fair-loisgeadh, or the beacon watch-tower), was about fourteen feet in height within the last thirty years, and had vaults and a spiral staircase within the wall. This interesting specimen of a Teutonic fortress was entirely destroyed about 1818, by the materials of which it consisted being used for building dikes and farm-houses at Easter Fearn, so that scarcely a vestige is now to be seen.

Sculptured Stones - There are several of these stones here. One behind the school-house, which is ten feet in height above ground, and tapers to a point at top, the breadth at the bottom being about four feet. This obelisk, which is of rough unhewn whinstone, has what seems to be a salmon sculptured very correctly on the north side, and below that two concentric circles, the one three inches below the other, but joined together and connected with the fish by a triangle running through this joining. These hieroglyphics, which perhaps allude to the circumstance of the chief who is interred under the stone, being one of the Vikings, or sea-kings of the middle-ages, are executed with great delicacy and beauty. There is a circle surrounding the obelisk, at the distance of three yards from it as the radius, and two feet in height above the surrounding plain; and the local tradition is that a battle was fought in this place betwixt the inhabitants of the country and a party of invading Norwegian pirates, in which the latter were defeated with the loss of their leader, Prince Carius, who was interred on this eminence, and the above-mentioned obelisk erected over him; accordingly, the name of the place to this day is Carry Blair, or the battle-field of Carius.

There is another sculptured stone in the church-yard, with a warrior on horseback in the lower compartment, and a large cross engraved above it; on the other side there are a number of curious circles and hieroglyphics, arranged in an indescribable manner.

In the old mansion-house of Meikle Daan, there is, above the fire-place of the principal apartment, a yellow stone, 5 feet 4 inches long, and 1 foot 7 inches broad, with three circles 16 inches in diameter. Above the middle circle, and betwixt it and the others, are the following initials, A.M.M.F. 1680; and below, the motto Soli. Deo.Gloria. There is in the middle circle a man in what seems to be a Geneva hat, cloak, and band, with the long peaked beard and mustachios of the seventeenth century, holding an open book in his right hand, in which is written "Fear . God . in . hairt . as . ye . my . be . bad". Surrounding this effigy, of what is in all probability a clergyman, are the following motto and initials, "Servire . Deum . est . regnare . M.H.M.E.R." In the circle to the right are three lions rampant in an escutcheon, surrounded by the motto, "Noblis . Est . Ira . Leonis"; and in the left circle an eagle, also in an escutcheon, and "Aquila . non . captat . muscas".

III. - Population

In 1755, the amount of population by return to Dr Webster was 780
In 1791, when the Old Statistical Account was drawn up 1000
In 1801, by census 899
In 1811, by census 846
In 1821, by census 915
In 1831, by census 1023
Number of families in the parish in 1831 - 216
Number of families chiefly employed in agriculture - 137
Number of families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, or handicraft 18

Language - The languages generally spoken is Gaelic, and though the inhabitants speak English less or more perfectly, and are desirous to give an English education to their children, the Gaelic language has lost scarcely any ground within the last forty years.

Character and Habits of the People - The habits of the people are cleanly, and their style and manner of dress conformable to what prevails among people of the same rank, and in the same circumstances, in the vicinity. With few exceptions, they retain the characteristics of the Gael, being patient under adverse circumstances, and, though not disposed to endure constant toil, resolute in every effort to better their condition and maintain their independence, they are, consequently, industrious, and contented under many privations and trials. They are also intelligent, moral and religious, and while the duty of family visitation has been observed at stated periods, that of catechising the whole parish is performed annually. There is an efficient kirk-session of pious and active elders, and the neglect of family worship is scarcely known in the parish. That instances of immorality occasionally occur, does not detract from the general character of the people, or sanction the imputation of that which is the very opposite, though such methods of generalizing have been frequently adopted, to the prejudice both of truth and of reputation; how unjust and illogical, for instance, to brand the religion of a whole district, as favouring fanciful and perverse views of the holy Scriptures and sacraments, because certain individuals were justly or unjustly charged with such principles and conduct. Or supposing cases of petty theft to occur, or instances be known of persons admitting the possibility of chasms or superstitious observances having some good or evil effect - the former, a crime rarely known among true Highlanders, and the latter now rapidly disappearing - would it not be gross injustice to distinguish the one people as thieves, and the other as grossly superstitious?

Perhaps in no part of Scotland have the ministrations of the Gospel been continued in greater purity and faithfulness for the last century and a half than in the county of Ross, and especially in the district of East Ross. Still, however, as might be expected, the power of vital godliness has not been uniform among its inhabitants, either in extent or degree; moral conduct and the decencies of religious habits were always observed, but Christians of talent, piety, and influence were becoming gradually few. This was for some time past a matter of deep concern to ministers and people, when they reflected on the number and eminence of the witnesses removed by death, and the comparative fewness of those raised up to fill their places. Various means, and especially that of prayer-meetings, in parishes and among ministers, were employed, and increasing attention and seriousness were observable, particularly on occasions of the celebration of the communion sacrament, for the last two or three years but nothing remarkable occurred till under the evening address of the excellent Mr Macdonald of Urquhart, on the communion Sabbath, at Tarbat, 5th July 1840, and again on Monday following, when there was an unusual impression and awakening over the whole congregation. The same pervading influence has rapidly extended over the neighbouring parishes of Tain, Eddertoun, Logie-Easter, Kilmuir-Easter, Alness, Urquhart, Kirkmichael, and others. The plainest sermons are often accompanied by the most extraordinary effects, and in all the above-mentioned parishes there are one or more week-day evening sermons and prayer-meetings in church; and the anxiety to attend on every such occasion continues unabated among the great body of the people. Congregations which formerly would appear to great advantage, when contrasted with others, throughout any part of the country, south or north, in respect to attendance on Divine service, and orderly demeanour during public worship, appear now quite altered - while many of those once comparatively careless are awakened to a deep and abiding concern. It is premature to judge as to the saving effects on individual cases, but there can be little doubt that the work is of Divine origin, and of a saving and permanent character in many instances.

This parish also shared in the benefits of a revival of religion, which took place towards the beginning of last century.

Poaching, even in olden times, was rare;,and smuggling has been extinct since the commencement of this century, to the marked benefit, temporal and spiritual, of the inhabitants of this parish.

IV.   Industry

Agriculture - It is impossible to give the exact number of acres in this parish, as there has been no survey taken of the Balnagown estates - the largest in the parish - for many years, the last being in 1808; and the many changes which have taken place since that period, especially in cultivation and tillage of the different farms on that estate, make it quite unnecessary and useless to give the measurement then taken. Even the total number of acres is unattainable at present, as large tracts of moor-land and hill pasturage seem to have been left unsurveyed.

The rental of the Balnagown estates here is as follows:

Barony of Westray (or West Struie) £1453. 4. 7
Estate of Meikle Daan £155. 19. 2
Estate of Little Daan £183. 6. 9
Total rental £1742. 10. 6

The following is the measurement of the property belonging to the Duke of Sutherland in this parish:

Arable land 134 acres 3 roods £175. 3. 6
Improvable pasture 25 acres 1 rood £10.2/-
Hill pasture 13.160 acres £221.5/-
Planted wood 60 acres           )£406.10. 6        
Natural wood 60 acres            )present value per annum
Acres Scots measure 13,440 )

The present enterprising farmer of the Sutherland estates in this parish - Donald Macleod, Esq. Gladefield House, Kincardine - has greatly improved the property since the year 1835, having added about 60 acres to the arable land, which was then but inferior pasturage, covered with broom and whins. He was also at the expense of building 8135 yards of substantial stone dikes, 3310 yards of covered drains in improved land, and of cutting 12,720 yards of hill or sheep drains. These extensive outlays, amounting to some thousand pounds, and which no doubt will be suitably remunerated by a landlord of wealth and distinguished liberality to his tenants, have, with other improvements, increased the annual value to at least £70 beyond what it was when the property was acquired.

The measurement of the estate of Cadboll:
Scots measure Acres Roods
Arable land 137 3
Pasture and moor 1077 0
Wood 78 2
Total 1293 1

The present rental of £219. 2s. 2d. Sterling; and the wood above-mentioned was sold in 1838 for £680, and is now nearly cut down, but is to be replanted.

Balblair Distillery - There is a whisky distillery situated at Balblair, in this parish, which was established about forty years ago, and was the first in this part of the country. It distils weekly 120 bushels of malt, which should give about two gallons of whisky each; the price averages 9s. 6d. per gallon; and they are permitted to sell at three strengths - 11 under proof (U.P.), 11 and 25 over-proof (O.P.) but the last is rarely, if ever, required or made.

The flavour and quality of these spirits is pronounced unequalled by connoisseurs in such matters; perhaps this may arise from the use of peats as fuel, and other secrets of distillation acquired from the old smugglers. The repute of this distillery has no doubt been considerably enhanced by the estimation in which the late Mr John Ross, who commenced it, was held by all his numerous acquaintances.

He was a man of most benevolent dispositions, Christian principles and strict attention to business.

V.   Parochial Economy

Means of Communication - There is no market-town or village in the parish, the post-town, which is five miles from the manse, being Tain. The mail-gig, which turns betwixt that town and Bonar bridge, passes here at 8 a.m. going to Kincardine, and at 6 p.m. on its return to Tain.

There is a good harbour at Ardmore, capable of accommodating vessels of 150 tons burthen, and ,during the summer season, a considerable number of schooners and smacks, and sometimes a brig, arrive there, with cargoes of coals, lime, etc.

Ecclesiastical State - The parish church is situated about a mile and a half from the eastern extremity of the parish, and eight from the western extremity towards Kincardine (which is marked by an immense rock of grey whinstone, extending from the public road to the sea, at a place called Ardcronie). It is exactly a mile from the manse, and is very inconveniently situated for the inhabitants, on account of the distance the greater part of them have to come. There are two dates on the church, "1743" being that on the west, and "1794" that on the east gable; the former is the date of its original erection, and the other of the last repair of any consequence which it received. Its length is 55 feet, breadth 18, and height of ceiling 7 feet from the gallery, and under gallery 6 feet 3 inches - the walls being only 10.5 feet high outside, and passages and floor sunk two feet. All the seats, excepting about half-a-dozen, are too narrow from back to front, many being only 21 inches, while the legal minimum width is 27 inches. The roof and galleries are much decayed, the west one being supported by props, the front gallery so ill constructed as to be but seven feet from the pulpit, and there are several rents in the back wall. In conclusion, the church is ill lighted and ventilated, and is situated in such a low damp place that the floor is frequently flooded; so that, on the whole, it is perhaps the worst constructed and most uncomfortable place of worship in the county.

The church seats are all free, and have never been divided by the heritor of the parish. They accommodate from 400 to 500 persons, though, if the legal seat-room were exacted, the number would not exceed 300 - very inadequate accommodation for the population.

The manse, which was originally close to the church, and had to be removed on account of a destructive inundation of the river, was built in its present situation in the year 1799; and received a considerable repair in 1838 - several small additions which contribute much to the comfort of the house, being then erected. A new set of offices was also built at that time.

The glebe was originally designed (as the fixing of its limits is technically termed) on 3rd July 1729, after a tedious and expensive process, which cost the incumbent, Mr Hector Fraser, upwards of £1000 Scots (a large sum in those days) and the benefit of which he never reaped, having been removed by death in the month of May preceding; but the situation proved so inconvenient by its distance from the manse that it was never taken possession of by the succeeding ministers, and remained in the hands of the proprietor, who paid rent for it, and provided them with a farm, until 6th June 1838, when an excambion took place, and the former glebe having been perhaps the best land in the parish, and the soil of a deep loam, quantity was on this occasion given for quality. The extent of the present glebe is as follows, being the measurement taken by Gregory Burnett, Esq., Land-surveyor, Ardross:

Part laid off, 6 June 1838, as above - Arable 21 acres 2 roods 14 falls;  Pasture 14 acres 1 rood 14 falls.
Ditto formerly occupied by manse, offices, garden etc Arable 2 acres 1 rood 4 falls;  Pasture 3 acres 0 roods 2 falls
Total contents of glebe of Eddertoun, 41 acres, 0 roods 34 falls imperial measure.


The place where the glebe is, now was, at no very distant period, a broom-moor, which its name signified in Gaelic, Fonn-bhealaidh, or the district of broom, but it is capable of much improvement, and a consequent increase of value. At present the value, including garden, is about £16 per annum.

The stipend is fifteen chalders, half meal, half barley, Linlithgow measure, and £8, 6s. 8d. Sterling for communion elements. The last augmentation which raised it to that having been awarded in June 1839, the modification took place 20th February previously. There is, however, a deficiency of eight bolls in the above at present, according to the interim locality. The annual value of the stipend of Eddertoun may therefore be estimated at £230.

Before the period of the Reformation, the sub-deanery of Ross "consisted of the two kirks of Tayn and Eddertayn, and the rental was £200. 6s. 8d. Scots (MS in Advocates' Library), and this had probably been the case since Popery became the established religion of Scotland. There is a tradition in the parish that the only copy of the Scriptures in use here, during Popish times, was a large parchment scroll, which was chained to the pulpit. In the list of parsonages in Scotland in 1562, given in the History of the Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, by the Right Rev. Bishop Keith, the name of "Eddirtoun" occurs.

In the Register of Ministers, Exhorters, and Readers, and of their Stipends, soon after the Reformation, which exists in manuscript in the Advocates' Library, there is the following notice of this and the neighbouring parish of Kincardine - "Kincardin - Etherhane. Farquhar Reid, exhortar, xl merkis, and xx merkis mair sen Lambmes 1569". From which it would appear that these two parishes were under the ecclesiastical charge and inspection of only one exhorter, the difficulty of getting Protestant ministers to supply parishes being very great at that remote period, when the nation was just emerging from Popery. The next ecclesiastical notice of Eddertoun occurs in the Register of Assignations of Ministers' Stipends for 1576 (MS in Register Office, Edinburgh), as follows: "Eddirtayn; Donald Symsoun, reidare at Eddertayn, his stipend xx merkis, with the kirk land thairof".

From 1576 to 1638, a period of sixty-two years, there is nothing known regarding the ecclesiastical history of this parish; but since the latter year there is a complete succession of parish ministers preserved.

Ministers of Eddertoun

Mr Hector Monro, whose name occurs in the list of members of the famous General Assembly which met at Glasgow, 21st November 1638, as one of the commissioners from the Presbytery of Tayn: thus, "M. Hector Monro, min. in Nether Taine". Mr Monro was second son of Mr William Monro, parson of Coulecudden* in Cromartyshire, about the end of the sixteenth, or rather beginning of the seventeenth century, and was proprietor of the small estate of Daan, in this parish, which descended to his son. He was translated to the parish of Kincardine about the year 1665, and appears to have either conformed to Episcopacy, or been one of the indulged Presbyterian clergymen of that period.

*The parson of Cullicudden was nephew of Mr Donald (or John as it occurs in some places) Munro, "High Dean of the Isles" or Archdeacon of that diocese, "Superintendant of Ross, and minister of Kiltearn", who travelled through the most of these districts in the year 1549, and wrote an interesting account of them in the Scottish dialect and orthography, the greatest part of which Buchanan adopted in his History of Scotland. He was appointed at the Reformation "Commissioner to plant kirkis in Ross, and to assist the Bischope of Caithness (Robert Stewart, Earl of March, who was, however, not in priest's orders) in semblate planting, to begyn at Lambmes 1563, stipend iiijc (400) merkis". The eldest son of the parson of Cullicudden was Mr Robert Monro of Coull, minister of Kiltearn, and thereafter in Strathnaver, and by his wife, Isobell Thorntown, daughter of the Laird of Dalgelly, had two other sons and a daughter. The family were cadets of the Munros of Foulis, being descended from George, thirteenth Baron of Foulis (1425-1452) and seem to have always had some of their sons in the church.

Mr William Ross, who succeeded, was Rector of Eddertoun about fourteen years. He died in 1679, and a tombstone in this churchyard marks the place of his interment.

Mr Arthur Sutherland, who was the last Episcopal incumbent or curate here, succeeded, and at the Revolution was allowed to remain in possession of his church, manse, and stipend, upon taking the oath of allegiance to the existing powers. Accordingly, he continued to preach, etc. undisturbed, though he never conformed to the Presbyterian form of church-government, until the period of his death, which took place 8th April 1708. Mr Sutherland having, at his own private expense, laid out considerable sums on repairing the manse, "which was in no good case when he entered to the place", and which was valued altogether at £481 Scots; and the Presbytery, "finding by a subscribed compriseing of the said manse, at the said Mr Arthur Sutherland, his entrie thereto, the old manse was comprised to the soume of ninety-seven pounds Scots money", ordered the heritor of the parish to meet at Eddertoun, on the 6th April 1709, and "stent and tax themselves, according to their several valuations in the forsd paroch, for paying to the heirs and executors of the said Mr Arthur Sutherland the soume of £384 Scots money"* which was accordingly paid; and shows that the heritor at that period considered themselves liable to the heirs of a clergyman for expenses necessarily incurred by him, though not laid out under the sanction of the presbytery. Besides his relict Mr Sutherland left a son, John, who was minister of Golspie 1731-52, and of Tain 1752-69, and of whom there is a sketch amongst the "Eminent Individuals" of this parish.
*Presbytery Records of Tain, Vol. i. pp. 69-70.

Mr Hector Fraser, who seems to have been a probationer of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, and was sent north by the Assembly 1699 to supply vacancies in the bounds of Ross. That year he was ordained to Kincardine, and on the 12th September 1706 an "act of transportability" (as the privilege of accepting a call to another charge, if such a call should be given, was termed) having been passed by the united presbyteries of Ross and Sutherland in his favour, Mr Fraser accepted "a call from the paroch of Eddertoun", which was presented to the presbytery 30th November 1708. He died, after an eminently useful ministry of twenty years, on the 17th of May 1729.

Mr Robert Robertson succeeded: he was previously minister of the parish of Loth in Sutherland, to which he had been ordained and admitted 10th May 1721. His settlement here was disputed for a considerable time, but at last, as before noticed, Mr. Robertson received a Presbyterial call, on the 16th April 1730, and the presbytery of Dornoch (in which Loth is), having agreed on the 7th May to "transport him to the parish of Eddertoun", he was accordingly admitted here on the 29th July 1730. From the various steps taken previously to Mr Robertson's admission to Eddertoun, it will be readily seen that, though the "act restoring patronage" had been passed nearly twenty years before, patrons of parishes were in the habit of allowing the people to choose their own ministers, without any reference to them whatever, or presentation to a particular person being issued. Mr Robertson was minister of this parish only ten years, and died 13th December 1740.

Mr Joseph Munro, son of Mr Robert Munro, minister of Kincardine (1711-41), was licensed by the presbytery of Haddington, 5th June 1739, and received a presentation* to this parish from the Right Honourable the Earl of Cromartie, dated 2nd June 1741, which he accepted; but on the day appointed for moderating in a call, the presbytery, finding that the heritors were unanimously for Mr Munro, while all the elders and some of the heads of families there petitioned for another (Mr G Robertson, then a probationer, and afterwards minister of Kincardine), they "referred the case simpliciter to the synod". The call to Mr Munro was sustained by the synod of Ross, at their meeting in April 1742, and the presbytery appointed to concur therewith, which was accordingly done, and Mr Munro ordained and admitted minister of Eddertoun on the 16th of September 1742. He died 16th March 1785, in the seventy-first year of his age, and forty-third of his ministry.

*This was the first instance of the patron exercising his right of presentation to this parish since the Revolution, and even at this period the presbytery seem to have proceeded more on the call of the people than the presentation. Ever since, however, presentations have been issued by the family of Cromartie, "undoubted patrons of the parish of Eddertoun".

Mr Alexander Munro was ordained and admitted minister of this parish on the 28th September 1785. During the earlier part of his ministry here he had to encounter considerable opposition from his having been settled without the concurrence of the majority of the parishioners. His high character, however, for piety, amiability, and diligence, secured to him the esteem of the public, and of those who were at first against him. Mr Munro died on the 30th October 1820, in the thirty-sixth year of his ministry.

Mr Alexander Cameron, AM, Rector of Tain Academy, was licensed by the Presbytery of Tain 12th August 1818, and ordained and admitted to Eddertoun, 13th September 1821. The patroness of the parish, Mrs Hay Mackenzie of Cromartie, in this instance, as in the general exercise of her patronage, consulted the interests and wishes of the people. Mr Cameron, accordingly, received a unanimous call (dated 21st July 1821), which contributed to his usefulness during an efficient ministry of fourteen years. He died at the early age of forty-two, 5th September 1835.

Mr Donald Gordon, MA, a licentiate of the presbytery of Tongue in Sutherland, was ordained assistant-minister of the parish of Edderachillis, 20th November 1822, admitted to the Parliamentary church of Store, in Assynt, 2nd September 1829;,and translated and admitted to Eddertoun, 7th April 1836; and though then a stranger to the patroness, he was presented (the date of presentation being 5th December 1835), in compliance with the unanimous petition of the heads of families, communicants, in the parish. Mr Gordon is the ninth minister of Eddertoun since the Reformation.

There is no catechist regularly employed in this parish at present, but arrangements are being made for procuring one, who will reside permanently.

There are two individuals belonging to the United Associate Synod, a remnant of the secession in Nigg, occasioned by a forced settlement there in 1756: they generally attend at a Dissenting meeting-house, which was recently erected in Tain. With the exception of these, the whole of the parishioners are connected with the Established Church, and are very regular church-going people.

The average number of communicants is 60, of whom 22 are male heads of families.

The probable average amount of church collections yearly for religious and charitable purposes is £30.

Education - There are three schools in the parish, a parochial, Gaelic, and female school, on the second patent of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge.

The parochial school has been established for upwards of a century, and the salary has been the maximum since 1836. There are at present two schoolmasters - Mr Finlay Matheson, apointed in the year 1790, who was superannuated in 1836, with a portion of the salary of £16 per annum; and Mr David Watson, elected in August 1836, who is the acting parochial teacher.

There is one additional school required in the heights of the parish.

Savings Bank - There is one connected with this parish, which was established in Tain, January 1840. The minister of the parish is one of the directors.

Poor and Parochial Funds - The average number of persons receiving parochial aid may be estimated at 60; and the average sum allotted to each is 7s. 6d. per week. The annual amount of contributions for their relief is about £26; of which sum £7 per annum is contributed by Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown; £3 by the Duke of Sutherland; £2 by Mr Macleod of Cadboll; and the remaining sum of £14 (which is the average for the last four years) arises from church collections.

There is generally a disposition among the poor to refrain from seeking parochial aid, as degrading, but the feeling is decreasing, from pecuniary distress and want of employment.

Inn etc. - There is no fair or market of any kind held in this parish, and there is only one small inn, or rather alehouse, which is situated on Struy road from Bonar Bridge to Stittenham.

Fuel - The fuel used by the lower orders is peats, and turf, which can be easily procured in the moors, and costs only the trouble of cutting, seasoning, and carrying home. Coals are burnt by the higher classes, and are sold by the Newcastle vessels, which come to the bay of Ardmore, at 16s. 6d. per ton.

November 1840.

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