Old Statistical Account (1790) Rosemarkie Parish

Fortrose and Rosemarkie 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 Rosemarkie

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

PARISH OF ROSEMARKIE (County and Synod of Ross - Presbytery of Chanonry)

By the Rev Mr Alexander Wood, Minister
Name and Extent - The name of this parish was anciently spelled Rossmarkie, and sometimes Rosemarknie. The most probable account of the origin of the name is this: to the parish church, in former times, was annexed a steeple, in an elevated and conspicuous station, which being one of the first objects observed by mariners in coming up the Murray Frith, they would naturally say to one another, "Mark ye Ross!" which, for the sake of better sound, was turned into Rossmarkie. The extent of the parish, from E to W, is about 6 miles in length; and 3 miles in breadth, from S to N.

Situation, Soil, Climate and Diseases - The situation of the parish is very fine and pleasant, as it rises gradually from the sea, and the hills, both on the S and N, are for the most part arable, in summer covered with verdure, and producing rich and early crops. The nature of the soil is various. In the neighbourhood of the town, where there is a large and beautiful flat, well cultivated, it is a fine black mould upon light gravel which, in moderately rainy seasons, never fails to yield a luxuriant produce of barley and pease, which are the grain principally sown here. In other parts of the parish, the lands lie generally on a deep clay bottom, producing oats in great abundance, that make excellent meal. As the country lies dry, and has the benefit of fine sea breezes, the air is pure and salubrious, so that few contagious distempers make their appearance, and when they do, their progress is quickly checked. The smallpox, that in former times used to make the greatest ravages, is now alleviated by inoculation, to which even the lower ranks of the people begin to be reconciled. In this parish very few children have died of that distemper for the last 20 years.

Coast, Shell, Fish, and Caves - The coast all along, between Rosemarkie and Cromarty, is bold and rocky. It abounds with romantic views, and frightful precipices. Along these the ivy creeps in ragged cliffs, where hawks and wild pigeons nestle, and

"Low brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deep."

Crabs and lobsters are dragged from holes among the rocks, with old corn hooks, by country women; and seals are often seen on them, and otters shot, though not very numerous. There are likewise a variety of curious natural caves along the shore, some of them very deep, and one that runs quite through the rock, for about 50 yards, affording an open passage to such as wish to examine it. Some of these have been used as a temporary lodging by fishers, when there was a great run of herring, and others resorted to by smugglers as fit places for concealing of their prohibited articles.

Woods, Fisheries, Ferry, etc - Though large tracks of the parish were of old covered with wood, it had become quite exhausted. In the course of 20 years back, some considerable plantations of firs have been raised, which are very thriving; and as the parish is but poorly supplied with moss, these will be a useful fund for fuel. There is a salmon fishing at the Point of Chanonry Ness, where the salmon are caught, fresh from the sea, in their highest perfection. About 40 years ago, it was rented at a 100 merks Scotch. It now produces £70 Sterling. The Point here projects a good way into the sea, and forms a fine curve, which makes it a beautiful object. It terminates the Links of Fortrose, about an English mile in length, and smooth as a carpet. This is fine ground for the golf, which is often played here by the gentlemen of the town and country. The Point is the situation for the ferryboat that passes to Fort George, and so safe is the passage that there is not an instance of any being lost on it in memory of man.

Agriculture, Produce, and Cattle - The common Scotch plough is for the most part used in the parish, but some farmers begin to prefer that with the feather sock, as most convenient, especially for turning lee or meadow ground. The number of ploughs in the country and town is reckoned to be about 60. These are commonly drawn by 6, and sometimes 8 middle sized, or rather small oxen, which are found best adapted for steep or hilly lands, and go through their labour with much steadiness. Small horses are employed in carrying manure, yoked in a sort of light sledge, rolling on wooden wheels. But where the ground is tolerably level, many farmers now begin to use coups, drawn by a couple of oxen, which make the work much easier and more expeditious. Horses are chiefly employed in cultivating the lands about the burgh. The method of farming there, for time immemorial, has been remarkably uniform. It consists of a constant succession of barley, and though the lands be seldom or never rested, it is surprising how much they produce, bearing commonly six or seven returns. When a quantity of sea ware and tangles are thrown ashore (which often happens in a storm), the farmers, in spring especially, are very attentive in gathering it, and spreading it upon their lands, and they reckon it an excellent manure for a barley crop. They seldom take time to mix it in a compost dunghill, though that might better answer the purpose. Of late, they have begun to use the roller, which in light soil they find to be an advantage. In the country part of the parish, the tenants are not so accustomed to raise green crops, but frequently sow oats in the same fields for several years running, which renders them much less productive. A large quantity of potatoes is raised here, of a very free and sweet quality. Some of the farmers have flocks of sheep, of a small kind, which are pastured on heath, and among whins and broom; but their flocks are not numerous.*

*The prices of labour, servants' fees, and articles of provision, are much the same as in the neighbouring parishes. Most of them are nearly doubled since the present minister was settled.

Improvements - Here it may not be amiss to take notice of a small improvement lately made by the minister of the parish, which, in similar operations, may serve as an example and encouragement to others. Very near the manse, on the side of the public road to Fortrose, there was a lake, covering between 3 and 4 acres, in winter filled with water, running down from a hill above it, and kept in by a rising ground on the side contiguous to the king's highway. Owing to this, it was, in the middle, at least four feet deep, and a small boat has been seen paddling through it, with persons in quest of wild ducks. By the stagnation of the water in the heat of summer, and the steeping of lint by the people (which raised a most disagreeable and unwholesome smell), it was often an intolerable nuisance. Many schemes had been formed for draining it, but they were generally thought impracticable. However, the write of this, considering that his glebe, which lay directly opposite to it, on the other side of the road, was upon a bank of gravel (having first taken a feu of it from the town, at a reasonable feu-duty), determined to cut a very deep drain across the road into his glebe, so as to command the level of the water (which required about 14 feet in depth), and then to let it off by degrees, in hopes the gravel bank might swallow it. The experiment answered his expectation, and, in the course of less than a month, there was not a drop left in it. He then cut a wide deep ditch by the side of it, to receive the water as it fell from the hills, and, besides a number of cross drains, filled with stones, he dug under ground an open drain, faced with stone and covered with flags, communicating with the bottom of the ditch, and conveying the water, for more than 150 yards, into the bank of shingle, where it sinks, and never more appears. Sometimes, indeed, on a sudden thaw, or a violent rush from the hills, the drain cannot immediately command the water, and so it breaks out upon the surface, but in a short tract of fair weather it goes down, and leaves a slime, which serves to enrich the soil. These operations were attended with considerable expense, but the success has amply repaid it. From a single boll of Essex oats, sown here in 1789, in scarce an acre and a half, there were actually reaped 22 bolls and 2 firlots, a very extraordinary return. The stalks in many parts were from 6 to 7 feet long. Last season a part of it was laid down with large glossy black oats, from a farm in Aberdeenshire,* and though the feed happened to arrive rather too late, it produced a good return. This species of black oats is a new grain in this country, but they are said to meal remarkably well, and a few bolls of them have been circulated to give them a fair trial. It is hoped the length of this article will be excused, as it may incite others to make the like useful experiments.

*Viz. Monkshill, a farm belonging to Dr Anderson, Editor of the Bee, which in an essay on the different species of oats, strongly recommends these black oats as of excellent quality, which was the reason of sending for them.

Population - An exact enumeration of the inhabitants of the parish was made out last spring. From the loss of some of the old registers, and the negligence of the people in registering the births of their children, the baptisms cannot be stated with perfect accuracy. No register of burials has been kept in the parish, but as its situation is uncommonly healthy,* these rather fall below the ordinary proportion. In most years, the births of males and females are nearly equal, but upon the whole the males are most numerous. All the inhabitants are of the Established Church, excepting one or two families in the town of Chanonry, who are of the Episcopal persuasion.

*In the memory of the present minister, within little more than 20 years 10 persons have died in the parish, aged 90 and upwards; 3 are now living 90 years old, and about 30 between 70 and 80. One vigorous old man of 87 put off his wig last year, and has now a set of venerable grey locks. He was in Edinburgh at the hanging of Captain Porteous, which, he says, he well deserved, as a sweetheart of his was wounded by the firing.

The statement, therefore, for 1793, stands thus:

Number of examinable persons 1069
Number of souls at and below 7 years of age 193
Total number of inhabitants 1262
The return to Dr Webster, in 1775, was 1140
Increase 122
The town of Chanonry contains 445 
The town of Rosemarkie contains 296
The country part of the parish contains 521 

Annual average of births 34
Tailors 4
Annual average of marriages 7
Masons 2
Proprietors, great and small 22
Glovers 2
Merchants in the towns 7
Smith 1
Shoemakers and their apprentices * 32
Butchers  2
Weavers and their apprentices * 35
Writer  1
Square-wrights 4
Teachers 4
Mill-wrights 2
Minister 1

*It has been remarked, that for ages past, the greater part of the inhabitants, of the lower class, in Chanonry, have been shoemakers, and, in Rosemarkie, weavers, and they commonly train their children to the same occupations. The shoemakers not only furnish shoes for the parish, but carry a parcel weekly for sale to Inverness, though they complain that the tanners enjoy almost all their profits. The weavers are constantly employed in working linen, a considerable quantity of which is sold at the two annual fairs, which circulates a good deal of money in the place. They raise and manufacture the flax themselves from which the linen is made.

Heritors and Rents - The principal heritors are: Alexander Ross, Esq. of Cromarty; the heirs of Abraham Lesly, Esq. of Findracy; Sir Roderick McKenzie of Scatwell, Bart.; Andrew Millar of Kincurdy; Roderick McKenzie of Flowerburn; and about the burgh, Seaforth; the heirs of the late Sir Alexander Grant of Dalvey, Bart.; Duncan Forbes of Wellfield; and about 14 other small heritors, who are possessed of burgage lands and tenements. None of the principal heritors reside in the parish. The total valued rent is £3753. 13s. 4d. Scotch; the real rent is about 1350 bolls of grain, and above £500 Sterling in money. About the burgh, lands are rented from 30s. to 40s. per acre (though not inclosed), and, in the country, good arable ground draws from 15s. to 20s.

Burgh - The town of Rosemarkie, though not large, is of considerable antiquity. It was erected into a royal burgh by Alexander King of Scotland; which of them is not specified, but it was probably Alexander II. About a mile to the west of it stands the town of Chanonry, so called from its being the chanonry of Ross, where the bishop formerly had his residence, and which is now the presbytery seat. It was united to the burgh of Rosemarkie by a charter granted by King James II, anno 1444, under the common name of Fortross, now softened into Fortrose; which charter was ratified by King James VI, anno 1592, and confirmed in a still more ample form by the same monarch in the year 1612. These charters bear that it was to be "entitled to all the privileges, liberties and immunities, granted to the town of Inverness". Fortrose is then spoken of as a town flourishing in the arts and sciences, having been at that time the seat of divinity, law and physic, in this corner of the kingdom*.

*About 6 years ago, a parcel of silver coins were found in a small cairn of stones, in a moor, about a mile from Rosemarkie. They were mostly shillings of Queen Elizabeth, with a mixture of other coins, and particularly some beautiful ones of James I and Charles I of different sizes. It is probable they were deposited there in the time of the civil war, and may have been brought to the country by the gallant Marquis of Montrose, or some of his followers. Most of them are in the possession of Mr Wood, the minister of the parish. About 200 more silver coins were found lately, in a massy copper jug of an antique form, in digging up the foundation of an old house at Chanonry. They were coined in the reign of Robert King of Scots, and are nearly of the size of a British shilling.

Court Hill - Above Rosemarkie there is a circular hill, quite level on the top, which seems to have been artificial. It has been always called the Court Hill. In ancient times it was probably the place where courts were held, for the administration of justice.

Cathedral etc - Only a small part of the ancient cathedral* now remains. This seems to have been a wing that ran from E to W, with an arched roof, about 100 feet in length and 30 in breadth. It had communication, by entries or porches, with the main body of the cathedral. It was preserved and repaired by some of the bishops, since the Restoration, as a place for public worship; but now it has gone much to decay,** and as the roof is in danger of falling in, it is quite deserted. It is still used as a burial place by the McKenzies, and other old families in this country. No inscriptions are to be found about it worth notice, excepting one on a large old bell, now hung in a small modern spire. It bears the name of Mr Thomas Tulloch, as bishop of Ross, and declares the bell to have been "dedicated to the most holy Mary and the blessed Boniface,*** Anno Domyny 1460". There are some stone coffins in niches**** by the inside of the wall, with figures of the bishops in their canonicals, elegantly cut in stone, but they are much defaced by time, and no name or year is to be seen on them. In the direction of the main body of the cathedral at the E, and detached from its remains, stands a house that was probably a vestry. It contains a vault below, with a strong arched roof, now converted into a prison, and the upper part of it, lately repaired, is the Council Chamber of the burgh.

From the traditional account of St Boniface annexed, there is ground to think the present parish church had its foundation laid by him. In repairing it, anno 1735, in a vault, under a very ancient steeple, there were found some stone coffins of rude workmanship, one of which might probably contain the bones of this venerable apostle. To perpetuate his memory, we have here an annual market, called St Boniface Fair, and a well of excellent water is also distinguished by his name. Nay, what is still more, the seal of the old cathedral is yet preserved, and used as the public seal of the burgh, with this inscription, in Saxon characters + SCAPITULI SCOR***** PETRI ET BONEFACII DE ROSMARKIN. St Peter stands on it with his keys, and Boniface with his crook, in capital order.

*Though the Bishop of Ross was originally styled Episcopus Rosmarkiensis, the cathedral church stood in the town of Chanonry, in a spacious square. Here the bishop resided, with a number of his clergy, so that there is scarce a house in the burgh, of any great value, but was formerly a manse belonging to some of the chapter, as appears by the ancient charters and infestments. The episcopal see was founded by David I King of Scotland, but there is no certain account at what period the cathedral was built, though it is said to have been a fine one, with a lofty steeple. Bishop Leslie also takes notice of the palace, which stood at a little distance from the houses of the canons, and he represents it, in his time, as a splendid and magnificent building.

**It is highly probable that this cathedral, at the Reformation, had suffered the fate of many others, though it be a current tradition in the place that the greater part of it, together with the bishop's palace, already mentioned, was pulled down in the time of Oliver Cromwell. By his order, the stones were carried by sea to Inverness, about the distance of 8 miles, for erecting a fort there, called Cromwell's Fort, whereof the ditch and ramparts are still discernible. No chartulary belonging to the bishopric has been found in Scotland. It is probable that Lesly, the last Popish bishop of Ross, and the zealous advocate for the unfortunate Queen Mary, when he was forced to go abroad, carried all the writs of the diocese with him, either to France, or to Brussels, where he died, and where these parchments may still be mouldering in dust and solitude.

***The favourite saint and patron of the place, by every ancient monument, appears to have been St Boniface. This is quite a different person from St Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, consecrated by Pope Gregory II, and erroneously supposed, by some of our Scotch writers, to be the same with the other. The history of our saint, according to tradition, is simply this. In the year 693, or, as others say, about the year 697, Boniface, an Italian, a grave and venerable person, came to Scotland, to make up our acquaintance with the church of Rome. He built, to the memory of St. Peter, a church where he landed, at the mouth of a little water, betwixt the shires of Angus and Mearns, erected another church at Felin, a third at Restennoth, and a fourth at Rosemarkie, where, being taken with the pleasantness of the place, he thought fit to reside, and was buried there. Bishop Lesly speaks of Rosemarkie as decorated with the relicts of the saint, and the very ancient sepulchres and monuments of him and his parents; whence it would seem that he had brought his parents from Italy with him, in this pious expedition.

****Besides this famous saint, tradition reports that there was buried in this place a Danish chief, of a large size, who fell in battle fought in the Mull Buy, an extensive moor about 3 miles distant. There are, indeed, evident marks of graves and battles, and some huge piles of stones, in digging among which several stone coffins have been discovered. In this moor, it is probable, the inhabitants of the country fought the Danes, after they had landed at Cromarty. In the churchyard, too, lies the body of Andrew Murray, a very brave man, regent of the kingdom in the reign of David II, who, after defeating the English in many battles, and quieting the state of the nation (according to Buchanan), having gone to the north, to take a view of his possessions there, died in 1338 and was buried at Rosemarkie.

*****This seems to be a contraction for SANCTORUM.

Church etc - The minister's stipend is 6 chalders and 8 bolls of bear, and 3 chalders of meal. But with respect to the payment of it, there are some things a little uncommon. Above 2 chalders are drawn in teind sheaves, or in kind, from the lands about the burgh, which, when the decreet of locality was passed in 1716, was beneficial to the incumbent; but the tenants, for many years, having turned at least a fourth part of the lands into potatoes and grass (from which the minister receives nothing), his living is thus diminished. He has likewise, on account of these drawn teinds, a valuation in the parish of £104 Scotch, by which he pays cess, and is burdened with a proportion of the expense of kirk and manse, and schoolmaster's salary. This he reckons a hardship, and as the drawing of the teind from the fields is very troublesome and disagreeable, for this and other reasons, he has been obliged to apply to the Court of Session, to have these teinds paid in another manner, and his living put upon a better and more certain footing than it now is.* Kenneth McKenzie, Esq. of Cromarty, is reckoned patron of the parish. The present manse was built in 1756, on a rising ground, directly opposite to Fort George, and commands a fine extensive prospect of the Murray Frith, Inverness, Nairn, and the adjacent country. It is just about to be repaired, and is surrounded with the glebe, consisting of about 4 Scotch acres. The church stands about a quarter of a mile distant, in the town of Rosemarkie, on a dry bank of sand, near the sea shore. It was built upon the old plan, uncommonly long and narrow, which is very disagreeable to the preacher, but when the present roof fails, it is hoped the heritors will have it rebuilt, in a more proper and commodious form.

*The present minister succeeded his father in 1775. He has 10 children, 4 sons and 6 daughters.

Poor - The list of the poor in the parish is above 60. In this, however, are included a good number, who, though able to work for themselves, receive small annual supplies, especially when they are known to have young families. These the minister and kirk session endeavour to proportion to their real necessities. Few or none of them travel about to seek charity in other parishes. The fund for their support arises from the weekly collections in the church, which may amount, throughout the year, to between £81 and £91, and a small capital of above £200, laid out at interest, with some rents of seats in the church. In the late hard years they were forced to encroach upon their capital, for the subsistence, not only of their ordinary poor, but of many other families, then reduced to very straitened circumstances. Besides this, there are two mortifications for the poor of Chanonry; the one by Barbara McKenzie Countess of Seaforth, anno 1680, of 17 bolls 2 firlots land rent, under the administration of the ministers of Rosemarkie and Avoch; and the other of 27 bolls, from some lands disponed by Bishop Paterson, and others purchased with money mortified by Sir Alexander McKenzie of Coul, whereof the magistrates are administrators. These are no doubt useful, but would be much more so had they been destined, or could they be regulated, so as to operate as an incitement and reward to industry. John Fowler, Esq., a native of this place, who died last year in Jamaica, has also bequeathed £100 to the poor, and 100 guineas to the academy.

Academy - The origin of this institution is a little singular, and will require a particular detail. In the year 1699, Thomas Forbes, bailie of Fortrose, who seems to have been a good and pious man, mortified (sunk) a bond of 1800 merks Scotch, or £100 Sterling, for a salary to a catechist and examiner of the inhabitants, until, by the charitable donations of others, such a sum might be contributed as might produce an annual stipend for a minister of the Established Church, serving the cure in that burgh. This bond was granted to him by Isobel Countess of Seaforth, and, in the deed of mortification, the ministers of Rosemarkie and Avoch are left sole administrators of the fund; John Dallas and Hugh Baillie, then writers in Fortrose, having been nominated during their lifetime only. At what time this money was first received, or how it was applied for many years, there is no evidence to be found. It is certain, however, that the mortification was much neglected, and in danger of being entirely lost. Its recovery was greatly owing to the exertions of Mr Alexander Ray, minister of Avoch, with the assistance of Mr Nicol Spence, then agent for the church, who were forced to raise a process against those principally concerned in it, which began in 1717, and continued till 1731, when they recovered what they could, and got the money settled to bear interest. On the death of Mr Ray, in 1735, the fund fell chiefly under the management of Mr John Wood, late minister of Rosemarkie, who bestowed on it the utmost attention; and, notwithstanding some misfortunes, to which all human affairs are liable, by the power of accumulation, and the care of the administrators, in laying it out to the best advantage, it is now brought up to a capital of about £2,000 Sterling. And, since the year 1746, a small salary of 30s. yearly has been also paid from it to a catechist in the town of Fortrose.

The present administrators, Mr Alexander Wood, minister of Rosemarkie, and Mr James Smith, minister of Avoch, finding the fund in so thriving a state, from their own attention to it, as well as the fidelity and diligence of their predecessors, began to think in what manner they might apply it to the most useful purpose. With a view to this, it occurred to them that it could not be employed better than in the establishment of an academy at Fortrose. To this they were invited much by the healthy situation of the place, free from temptations to vice, and abounding with many fine walks and places of exercise for the students. They saw likewise, that this could be effected, so as fully to answer the intention of the pious donor, and to be productive of the best effects to the community. This institution has been accordingly formed. With the aid of a liberal subscription from the gentlemen of this county, and many others (to the amount of above £600 Sterling), the administrators purchased a new house and garden, in a very agreeable part of the town, commanding a most pleasant prospect, and have built another house in the same square, with excellent rooms for teaching, and other accommodations. One of these houses is destined for the rector, and the other for the teacher of mathematics, and both are very fit for lodging boarders.

In this business the administrators are happy in having the assistance and support of several very respectable gentlemen of the county of Ross, who are named Visitors of the Academy, to observe that the regulations be properly attended to; and each of these has the privilege of sending to it any young man they please, to be educated without paying fees to the masters. The institution is yet in its infancy, but, from a variety of circumstances, there is little doubt of its success. A finer or healthier situation for such a seminary is not to be found in Scotland; and, as there is now a very frequent intercourse by trading vessels, this afford a cheap and easy conveyance to Fortrose from London, Leith, and other principal sea ports, and students who attend here, among many other advantages in point of health, may have the benefit of excellent sea bathing.

The present visitors are, Sir Hector Munro of Novar, K.B.; Francis Humberston McKenzie of Seaforth; Sir Hugh Munro of Fowlis, Bart.; Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, Bart.; Sir Hector McKenzie of Gairloch, Bart.; Donald McLeod, Esq. of Geanies, sheriff depute of Ross and Cromarty; Charles McKenzie, Esq. of Kilcoy; Kenneth Murchison, Esq. of Tarradale; David Urquhart, Esq. of Braelangwell; and Robert Bruce AEneas McLeod, Esq. of Cadboll. To these, other gentlemen will be added from time to time, who prove benefactors to the academy.

The administrators will require about £300 more to complete their plan in finishing the buildings, purchasing mathematical instruments, and making up a decent library, which they hope yet to be supplied with by the liberality of the public. They find that this business occupies much of their time, and has been attended with no small personal trouble, but this they will not regret, if it turns out, as they expect, for the general utility. The rector teaches the Greek, Latin, English and French languages; the second master, arithmetic, book-keeping, geography, all the branches of mathematics, navigation, perspective drawing, etc.; and a third master is employed for initiating children in the elements of the Latin and English languages, writing and arithmetic.

Language - It is somewhat remarkable that in this, as well as the neighbouring parishes of Cromarty and Avoch, the ministers preach only in English, which is the common language of the people, and it has been remarked by travellers that even the lower sort of them pronounce it with ease and propriety. In this parish no Gaelic is to be found, but among a few servants who come from the Highlands; and they soon acquire the English by their residence here. From this, it should seem, that these parishes were not originally peopled with natives of these northern regions, but by persons who came by sea to settle here, invited by the pleasantness and fertility of the country. Among these, there has probably been a mixture of Danes.

Eminent Men - Sir George McKenzie of Rosehaugh, that eminent statesman and able lawyer, passed a part of his time at Fortrose, and had a particular attachment to it, on account of its delightful walks and prospects. Dr George McKenzie, too, the laborious compiler of The Lives of the most eminent Writers of the Scotch Nation, resided here, in an old castle belonging to the Earl of Seaforth, and lies interred in the tomb of that family in the cathedral. And Dr James McKenzie, who writes The Art of preserving Health is said to have been for some time employed in teaching the grammar school of the burgh.

Disadvantages - It is to be regretted that the state of improvement, in this and the neighbouring parishes, is still so far behind, though most of the heritors have set a good example to their tenants. This proceeds from different causes. The principal one is the want of leases, sufficiently long to encourage the people to improve their farms. What inducement can a farmer have, to be at any extraordinary pains in improving his possession, by inclosing, raising turnips, sown grass, etc. when, at the expiration of a short tack, he must either pay an additional rent, or be deprived of all the fruits of his toil and industry? Another serious grievance, to the farmer, is the scarcity of servants, and the increase of their fees. The young fellows, for the most part, either go into the army, or travel to the south, where they meet with better living, and higher wages. It is certain, however, that every man has naturally a strong attachment to his native place, which makes him very unwilling to abandon it. Surely, then, it must be the interest of all concerned to induce the people to remain at home, by every reasonable encouragement. This will always be found the most effectual method.

Circumstances attending the Scarcity in 1782-83 - In this country, the crops in a great measure failed in 1782 and 1783, which were remarkable hard for the farmers. Yet none here, at that time, were supposed to have died of real famine. The white pease and other grain from England, on the event of the pease, afforded a most seasonable supply to many poor families. One thing remarkable was, that in these years, severe as they were, fewer were sick among the parishioners than have been observed before or since, which may in a great measure be attributed to their being unable to spend their money in drinking spiritous liquors, and thus being obliged to live soberly. Another good effect proceeded also from this temporary scarcity: that various kinds of grain having been then imported, from England and other countries, they were sown in various soils, and on different farms, and according to the goodness of the produce, they were preserved and continued in the country. The early oats were particularly distinguished, which, upon late farms, are found to be of the greatest benefit. This has rendered those farms far more valuable than they were formerly.

Farming Society - It gives pleasure to the writer of this to observe that, within these few months, a society has been formed, under the name of the Ross-shire Farming Society, of which he and some other clergymen are members, that promises to be of service to the county. It consists already of above 50 members, who have contributed a sum of money for the public benefit, and as it is proposed to branch it out into several committees, it will probably prove more extensively useful. In a little time, it may excite a spirit of emulation among the practical farmers, who will thus have an opportunity of communicating to one another their observations and experiments, which may be the means of introducing valuable improvements. Now that the duty is taken off the coals imported to the north, this will tend much to forward the views of the society, and facilitate the operations of the farmers.

Proposed Improvements - The parish of Rosemarkie is exceedingly well situated, for a manufacture of coarse linens or Osnaburghs, which might be carried on here to great advantage. To this branch the inhabitants are already much accustomed. The price of spinning is cheap; on which account flax and tow are brought here from Aberdeen, to be given out to spin, and the yarn returned by the merchants to their correspondents, being allowed a certain rate for commission. A good deal of flax is raised in the parish, which would no doubt be increased, but for want of a lint mill to dress it. It would be of considerable service to the people to have a proper one erected, by encouragement from the trustees for improvements and manufactures, or by any of the proprietors.

Ale Houses - There is every reason to complain of the number of obscure tippling houses, in this as well as the adjacent parishes. These have the most baneful effects in injuring the health, wasting the substance, and debauching the morals of the people. Many, by haunting them too often, bring ruin on themselves and their families. It is much to be wished that some effectual course were devised and put in execution to crush them.

Character - The minister, however, has the satisfaction to say that the inhabitants of the parish, in general, especially those of the better sort, are sober and industrious, moderate in their principles, and decent in their conduct; and free from those contrasted notions and religious prejudices which are still so prevalent in more northern parishes, and some other parts of Scotland.

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