Old Statistical Account (1790) Parish of Killearnan

Killearnan 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 following is a transcription of the actual Account of the Parish of Killearnan from the First or Old Statistical Account of Killearnan (1790).

PARISH OF KILLEARNAN (Presbytery of Chanonry. Synod and County of Ross)
By the Rev. Mr David Dunoon, Minister.

Situation, Name, and Extent - It is bounded on the west by the Parish of Urray; on the north by a range of common, dividing it from Ferrintosh; on the east by Kilmuir Wester and Suddy; and on the fourth by the Firth of Beauly, along which it is pleasantly situated.

The origin of the name is uncertain. Tradition makes the burying ground, which gives it to the parish, to be that of Irenan, a Danish prince, who fell in battle on its confines, where cairn Irenan still exists. The greatest length, from north-west to south-east is about 5 miles, and the greatest breadth about 2. It is wholly the property of two residing heritors, Mr Grant of Redcastle, and Mr McKenzie of Kilcoy.

Soil:  In this there is a considerable variety. Light loam, gravel, and deep blue clay, are to be found on the same farm. Some fields are covered with small stones in remarkable abundance; 100 cart loads have been thrown off an acre, yet on the next plowing, a similar source of amusement has presented itself to the farmer. A considerable track covers a remarkably thick stratum of reddish free-stone, which extends almost due north to the Firth of Dingwall. It is easily hewn, and, when properly selected, very eligible for buildings of any description.

Several small veins of wilks, and other shells, are found. There is neither marle nor lime stone, nor have the effects of either (with very immaterial exception) been hitherto tried on the soil. This will lead the reader to infer, that the state of

Agricultural Improvement is backward in the extreme. Of this a just idea will be formed when it is mentioned, that although about 2000 acres are in culture, there is not a two horse plough in the parish, and very few, iron included, worth above six or seven shillings, those of the proprietors excepted. The farms are almost entirely under a constant succession of corn crops, barley and oats alternately, a very small extent being altogether for pease, and an inconsiderable proportion, which exhausts a large share of the manure of the year, appropriated for potatoes. The farmers have no inclosures, and of course consider the vicinity of any as an intolerable grievance, so that their fields from autumn, until the briar appears in April, are one undistinguished common, through which horses, oxen, and sheep range promiscuously.

To a person unacquainted with the circumstances of the country, this statement will appear unaccountable; he will look on the inhabitants as labouring under obstinate prejudices, or stupidly incapable of learning the beneficial systems of others, but to neither of these causes is it to be attributed. 1st. The proprietors do not appear to have looked on the introduction of the modern system of farming, as an object adequate to (what they conceived) the unpleasant necessity of granting long leases, to the tax on their properties of an increased melioration, as well as the inducement which they would probably require to hold out to improving tenants in a diminution of the rent. No man of this description can commence his operations on a proper scale, without a capital equal to at least 5 years rent, for reasons obvious to every person in any measure acquainted with husbandry; and no man, who is in possession of a capital to this extent, will be induced to take a farm, unless he can have the prospect of a comfortable maintenance, and full melioration for his expenditure in building and improvements. The rent that can be afforded by such a farmer must of course be proportionally low, as the sum which he advances on entering as the value of his stocking (say, the necessary horses, farming utensils, &c.) together with the probable requisite expenditure, are high; because he has to add the annual interest of these, being at least 8 per cent. to his rent. It is therefore evident, that the difference betwixt the value of melioration, expenditure, and stocking, necessary for the present mode of conducting husbandry, and the value of those as requisite for effectual introduction of the more generally approved system, must be altogether against the proprietors. This difference is very considerable.

Let us view both in a few particulars, as in their probable consequences affecting the lands in this parish. First, by the present system of farming, it is believed that the full melioration does not exceed two-thirds of the rent, say (for the sake of even numbers), 1400L. the interest of which is an annual tax on the different properties of 70L. But by the modern system, 3 years' rent for melioration will be requisite, say 6300L. raising the tax to 315L. per annum.
Farther, by the present system, the different operations of husbandry are principally carried on by oxen. Horses are (I believe with very few exceptions) used for conducting the modern system. Suppose that 200 horses may be able to labour what is now done by 600 oxen. Suppose the value of the necessary stocking to be thus much the same, calculating each pair of horses as equal in value to 6 oxen, say 24L. which, for the above number, supposed necessary for the purpose of husbandry in this parish, is 2400L.

The interest of this sum, sunk in a stocking of oxen, may be 6 per cent per annum - L.40. 0. 0 
The interest of the same sum, sunk in a stocking of horses, is at least 10 per cent per annum -  L.240. 0. 0
The smith and ferrier's charge cannot be under 10s for each horse per annum - L.100. 0. 0 
Suppose the consump of oats to be a peck per week for each horse at an average of, i.e. 3 bolls 1 firlot per annum, or 650 bolls for the above number, valued at 12s per boll - L. 390. 0. 0

In all - L.730. 0. 0

From this take as above - L.140. 0. 0

The supposed difference betwixt the expence of labouring with horses, and that of labouring with oxen, is - L.590. 0. 0

Ditto betwixt that of melioration, as above stated, is - L. 245. 0. 0

So that these two articles, which are moderately rated, make a clear annual balance against the proprietors, of - L. 835. 0. 6

Note - We have a number of small horses, even by the present system of farming; but these are maintained at a considerable expence; and it is presumeable, that any losses to which they subject the farmer, is more than compensated, in general, by the number of supernumerary cattle which he is able to rear. 

which in this parish would be near 40 per cent. of the rent.
Add to these, the very material difference in the expenditure for farming utensils, manures, and improvements, the material deficiency in the article of manure, together with the prodigious public loss* which would result from the universal adoption of the modern plan of using horses instead of oxen.

*Note - An 100 oxen must, one year with another, be sold and slaughtered out of 600.

These circumstances show that the introduction of the more approved plans of husbandry would not, in a pecuniary view, be so advantageous to the proprietors as might at first be imagined. And, indeed, it is a well known fact that very distant as farms in this part of the country most unquestionably are from improvement, yet that from the inconsiderable necessary expence of an intrant tenant, the average rent of some of them equals that of some in the country of Essex.

But other circumstances have contributed to that backwardness in agricultural improvement, too evident in this and the neighbouring parishes.

Before any persons can be induced to deviate from established practice, they must have access to observe the superior advantages of a new system; they must have the prospect of reaping the fruits of that system by long leases; and also (as already observed) a sufficient stock to enable them to persevere until their farms are brought to proper heart.

The farmers of this parish have never had the advantage of the first of these. It is true, the proprietors have occasionally introduced the improvements of modern husbandry, but from the efforts of proprietors as examples, the peasantry never will act. These generally improve more for pleasure than profit. If fond of a country life, their expenditure in hedging, inclosing, trenching, with a thousand et ceteras, is endless. I have known the first crop, of little more than half an acre, cost the improving proprietor above 20L. How can a poor tenant imitate this? He will laugh at what he considers the enthusiasm that leads to it, and it will rivet his prejudices against improvement.

An intelligent actual farmer, whose bread depends upon his industry, and who is little removed from their own sphere in life (the Hugh Reoch, mentioned in the very ingenious statistical account of Alloa), is the man who will most essentially contribute to introduce an alteration of system, and a spirit of improvement into any district. His neighbours will observe, and are, in very few instances, so blind to their interest, as if able, not to imitate his exertions.

But the agricultural state of this parish will farther be accounted for, when it is mentioned that leases are, with very few exceptions, unknown. The farms on the most considerable property have for many years been held only from year to year. The longest lease recollected, with the exception of the life-rent of one small farm, is 10 years, and very few have exceeded 5. What inducement does this present for improvement? How can that man embark in any plan for ameliorating his farm, who knows that he only hangs out a bait for the grasp of avarice, and that ingenuity and industry tend only to ruin him? It is to be hoped that the more enlightened policy of the southern counties will soon be more generally adopted in ours, and that the proprietors will delight in receiving " he blessing" of them that are ready "to perish"; the just recompence gratefully paid to the lord of their manor, by industrious, flourishing, useful members of society, and accompanied, let it not be thought of little value, by their prayer for his enjoying the blessing of the Lord of lords. From the above statement it will be inferred, and with justice, that the farmers in this parish, and indeed throughout this country, are, in general, poor; so much so, that although leases should be granted, it would take some considerable time before they possibly could adopt an improved system of husbandry. What! will a mere theorist in farming exclaim, is not one system of husbandry as easily followed as another? Does not the modern system require fewer servants, and less feed; and does it not yield more luxuriant crops? Let all these be granted; but what this reasoning is to a poor tenant, the following facts will tend to illustrate. By the present system, it requires the utmost exertion of his industry, and an almost uninterrupted succession of crops, to pay his rent and servants, and afford a maintenance, very sober indeed, to his family. It may be affirmed, that on a farm of 30 acres, 2l. per annum has not been cleared, at an average, by any one farmer, for 20 years, by farming alone. Let us suppose a man in this predicament, from observing the success of others, anxious to lay a fifth part under grass, say 6 acres; before he can possibly do this an inclosure is necessary, which, if built by the proprietor, exhausts, by the payment of 7 per cent. interest, the supposed, or rather real average, profit. Let him, however, persevere to manure this properly, he starves the rest of his farm.

The grass is notwithstanding sown at an extra expence of 20s. per acre, and cut the second year; but when he calculates profit and loss, he finds a deficiency of 24 bolls, the usual average produce of 6 acres; the same the second year of the improving aera, 48 bolls and 6L.; so that before he can experience the benefit of a grass crop, his corn yard may be probably sold to the highest bidder. It will be asked, why not sell the grass at 6d. per stone? For the best of all reasons, because he has no market. This is not mere theory, it is founded on fact; and the circumstances are mentioned merely for the purpose of pointing out to speculatists in farming the almost insurmountable difficulties which must be encountered by poor men, whose backwardness in ameliorating their farms they are too often disposed to ascribe to ignorance, indolence, and obstinacy. Let not the generous heart, therefore, load them with invective, or treat them with severity, for thinking once and again before they enter on measures which, however sensible they may be of their good effects when persevered in, may eventually prove their ruin. To the benevolent mind, on the contrary, it will afford pleasure gradually to lay open to their view what may be most conducive to their benefit, to stimulate their exertions by suitable encouragement, and to see them contented and happy in the possession of these comforts which are suited to their sphere in life. To this mode of conduct, it is to be hoped that the farmers in this parish may have the comfort of looking forward. It is with much pleasure mentioned that the present proprietors offer premiums to encourage the industrious; pay the expence of small temporary inclosures, to enable them to experience the utility of sown grasses; and allow melioration for comfortable houses. A number of farms have undergone judicious divisions of from 20 to 60 acres each. Customs and carriages have been converted; run ridges have been abolished; and, it is not doubted, that proper leases will be given to those who discover a wish to improve. Nor will they experience that this treatment of their inferiors will run in opposition to their interest. The above mentioned division of the farms they will find particularly beneficial. From the too prevalent practice of uniting small farms, it is confessed that a proprietor may have his rents collected with somewhat less trouble, and his property may be brought with more rapidity to its utmost value; but this plan is certainly objectionable, for two reasons of indisputable importance. 1st, suppose the mode of farming the same, it is clear that the occupier of 30 acres, being the actual labourer, is able to pay a higher rent than can be afforded by those who employ servants at extravagant wages, and are often, through their negligence or villainy, exposed to imposition and considerable losses. The different operations of husbandry are performed on farms of this extent, not by the careless menial, but by the united exertions of a family, happy in themselves, and each feeling an interest in acting his part. But, 2dly, in a national view, the consolidation of farms is still more seriously objectionable. Its effect is immediate depopulation. It compels the poor aborigines, "Patriae fines et dulcia linquere arva", to emigrate, friendless and unprotected, to other countries, or to crowd into towns, with the view of grasping at the casual sources of earning their pittance, which may occur.

"Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade,
A breath can make them as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supply'd.
Their best companions, innocence and health,
And their best riches, ignorance of wealth."

[Goldsmith's Deserted Village]

Were it possible to introduce the improvements of modern husbandry on farms of the above extent, just sufficient to occupy the attention, and incourage the exertions of the actual labourer, aided by his family (and possible it surely is by degrees), that point, it is conceived, would be attained, which would happily combine humanity with public utility, and the real interest of the proprietors with the happiness of thousands of their fellow creatures.

Rent - The valued rent of this parish, including that of Wester Kessock, annexed, quoad sacra, to Kilmuir Wester, is 1873L. 12s. 7d. Scots. The real gross rent exceeds 2000L. Sterling.

Population - In order to ascertain the comparative population betwixt the years 1755 (when the return was made to Dr Webster) and 1795, it is necessary to observe that its boundaries have undergone considerable alterations, in consequence of a decreet of the Court of Teinds, passed in the 1756, annexing the neighbouring parish of Suddy to those of Killearnan and Kilmuir Wester. The most accurate method will therefore be to compare the returns of the three parishes of Killearnan, Suddy, and Kilmuir Wester, as stated in the 1755, with those of Killearnan and the united parishes of Kilmuir and Suddy.

The exact population of this parish was, in February 1794,

Males, above 7 years of age - 505
Females above 7 years - 517
Males below 7 years - 68
Females below 7 years - 57
The number of souls was, on the above date - 1147

As there are many of the inhabitants of this parish of the Episcopal (formerly the Nonjuring) persuasion* by
whom it is believed no register is kept, and as a considerable number from other parishes are interred in the burying ground of this one, and vice versa, it is impossible to state with precision the number of births, marriages, or burials. It may, however, be remarked, that from 1st February 1794, to 1st February 1795, there is an increase in that of each beyond any thing recollected. As far as the session register goes* the births have been

Anno Males Females Total
1764 14 12 26
1765 21 8 29
1771 12 14 26
1775 11 12 23
1780 10 10 20
1785 8 6 14
1790 13 12 25
1794 21 20 41

* It includes only those who were baptized by the established minister.

But, through the prevalence of a putrid fever, the burials for the year 1794 have borne a striking proportion.

There are in the parish, paying from 6L. to 60L. rent,

Farmers 61
Shoemaker 14
Weavers and apprentice 21
Taylors and apprentice 14
Smiths and apprentice   7
House carpenters, cart and wheel wrights   9
Millers and servants   5
Masons   8

Antiquities - Under this head there are few particulars worthy of notice. There are two considerable antient structures, Kilcoy and Redcastle, the manor places of the heritors, which have evidently been built more for defence than for elegance, or comfortable accommodation. The latter (probably thus denominated from the colour of the stones of which it is built) was annexed to the Crown, with the lordship of Ross, anno 1455, has the rights of a burgh of barony, with those of a free port, holding weekly markets, levying tolls and anchorage dues, together with all other baronial privileges, not expressly abrogated by the jurisdiction act, 1748. At the beginning of last century, Redcastle was a place of considerable strength. In the 1646, soon after Montrose was forced, or rather permitted, by Middleton, to raise the siege of Inverness, Rory McKenzie of Redcastle joined him, together with his chieftain and clan, in that remonstrance against the procedure of the Covenanters, for which Seaforth was soon thereafter excommunicated.

In the 1649, the McKenzies, exasperated at the King's death,* and vowing revenge, projected an expedition to the south. Joining a party of Sutherlands, they, in number about 1500, crossed Kessock and Beauly on Sunday the 3rd May. Coming to Inverness in time of divine service, the ringing of bells was soon succeeded by the noise of drums and bagpipes. The alarmed inhabitants, hastily summoned from church, were obliged to provide the best entertainment. Their guests, however, were so delicately nice, that it was found necessary to bribe their teeth into exercise, by laying on every man's cover what they called argiod cagnidh, chewing money.

* The writer finds the following lines in an old manuscript, said to have been written by Montrose on the sea beach, with the point of his sword, on receipt of the intelligence of Charles's fate.

Great, good and just, could I but rate,
My griefs, and thy so rigid fate,
I'd weep the world to such a strain,
As would deluge it o'er again.
But since thy loud tongu'd blood demands supplies
More from Briarus's hands than Argus's eyes,
I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds,
And write thy epitaph with blood and wounds.

From Inverness they marched through Murray, and, crossing the Spey, encamped near Balvany Castle, the property of the Marquis of Huntly. But amidst the revelry which resulted from considerable plunder, and unsuspecting security, they were suddenly attacked by Colonels Strachan and Kerr, defeated, and almost all made prisoners. Strachan, improving his victory, lent a party to besiege Redcastle, which was garrisoned, in the proprietor's absence, by his sons and dependants. A Lieut. McBean was sent to summon it to surrender, but he was fired at from the walls, and killed. This so enraged the assailants, that they stormed, took, and burnt it to the ground. McBean's covenanting friends looking on the McKenzie territory as unhallowed, conveyed his remains to have the privilege of Christian interment among the Fraser's at Kirkhill, where a flag still covers his grave, bearing this inscription, "Here layes one of David's Worthies"*

* David Leslie.

Cairns - There are on the confines of this parish astonishing numbers of these, some of them of uncommon magnitude.  The servants of a neighbouring proprietor, when lately taking away the stones of one for an inclosure, found a stone coffin in the centre. This, with several other circumstances, evidently mark them as indexes of the ferocious spirit of ancient times. The most considerable were probably gathered in memory of the chieftains or those who had been most illustrious for deeds of valour. Curidh mi clach ar do chaarn; I shall add a stone to your cairn, was, among the Highlanders, the valedictory expression of gratitude or esteem.

There is one Druidical temple, Cairn-Irenan, formerly mentioned, probably the most complete in this country.
To the south-east of Redcastle, about 400 yards within flood-mark, there is a cairn of considerable dimensions. Many of the stones, notwithstanding their collision through the violence of the tide, still bear the marks of art, and indicate the existence of a considerable building at some very remote period. There are several cairns of this description in the Frith, about the origin of which even tradition is silent. Were there any vestiges of tumuli on which they could have been built, or any other circumstances which should indicate the eligibility of the sites on which they are placed, we might be induced to look on them as temporary asylums from the predatory incursions of rude and barbarous tribes; but none such exist. Urns have been found in one of them, which, with other circumstances, induced Dr Campbell* to be of opinion that the Romans must have been thus far north. The cairns he supposes of Danish origin. An ingenious countryman** has gone farther, and supposes that a considerable part of the area which is dry at ebb tide, but covered with from 2 to 16 feet water when it flows, being at least 10 square miles, must have been inhabited.

* Polit. Survey, vol. I p.217

** Mr. Fraser, minister of Kirkhill No. 2 Philosoph. Trans. I cannot recollect the precise number, it may be about 250.

Whatever may have been in this, the proximity of this arm of the sea is of very considerable utility to this and the neighbouring parishes, as, exclusive of the facility with which coals, lime, wood, and other necessaries are conveyed, it furnishes a variety of fish, and particularly herrings, in their season, which have been sometimes sold 100 for 1d. Sprats, sandals, shrimps, flounders, and other small fishes are taken during summer and harvest in what we call yares, a contrivance so common as not to require description.

Distilleries - There are 7 licensed stills, of 30 gallons each, in this parish, yielding an annual revenue of 315L., but consuming a very considerable proportion of the produce. It is much to be regretted that the price of ardent spirits has not risen in this part of the country, in proportion to the advance of tax. The distillers, having in general no capital, are frequently under a necessity of selling their whisky at a considerable disadvantage, and the number who are thus situated, supply our confined market so abundantly, that those who are possesses of capitals cannot avail themselves of them by a retention of the commodity, until the advance in price should yield a reasonable profit. Of consequence, while barley sells, as it now does, at a guinea per boll, the price of the gallon is only 3s. and it is actually retailed in our dram houses at 3s. 8d. which is no more than it sold for before the last additional 50 per cent. was levied on each still. Hence it is evident that that tax has no effect in rendering spirits more inaccessible to the lower ranks and that it is principally, if not altogether, paid by the distiller out of his profits, not by the consumer; how far he is able to afford this will be seen thus:

The quantity of barley allowed to be distilled by each
possessor or a 30 gallon still is 188, so that 4 bolls, the
quantity usually distilled at a time, pay about
L.0.19. 0
The price of barley may be averaged at 19s. being
for this quantity
L.3.16. 0
Fire, without including carriage for 3 or more miles L.0.10. 0
Candles, bandages, tear and wear of distilling utensils L.0.05. 0
Attendance for 8 days and 8 nights, carriages to and
from mills, expence of malting, the kiln-drying etc.
valued at 
L.0.10. 0
Total expence L.6.  0. 0

The average produce of each 4 bolls is highly rated at 9 Scotch, or 36 English gallons, and the average price equally so at 13s. 4d. per Scotch, or 3s. 4d. per English, say 6L. The refuse for cattle may be worth 5s. which is in fact the only profit to be derived from distilling in this country.

It will be asked, Why then so many distilleries? For these reasons: distilling is almost the only method of converting our victual into cash for the payment of rent and servants; and whisky may, in fact, be called our staple commodity. The distillers do not lay the proper value on their time and trouble, and of course look on all, but the price of the barley and fire added to the tax, as clear profit; add to these the luxury of tasting the quality of the manufacture during the process.

A very beneficial alteration in the distillery law would be a more frequent renewal of licences; suppose 6 months instead of 12. As it now exists, the distiller becomes bound for 45L. for a 30 gallon still, from the 1st December to the 1st December, let the prices of barley and spirits be what they may; of course, he is under the necessity of continuing to distil, however exorbitant the first, or cheap the last. This has two bad consequences, when a crop is unproductive, it raises the price of meal on the one hand, and renders spirits a dangerous drug on the other. The above alteration, without injuring the revenue,* would, in a great measure, prevent both. The price of spirits would find its level in proportion to that of grain, and the mean of intoxication would not offer itself to the lower ranks, with such pernicious facility as it now does in consequence of a glutted market.

*Any possible injury to the revenue could arise only from the diminution of the quantity, and of course the consumpt of ardent spirits. By the law, exportation is not permitted; and consequently, however much the market may be overstocked, the inhabitants of this district of country are literally compelled to drink the superabundance.

Fuel - The only firing in this parish is a yellow spongy moss, now almost entirely exhausted, and the wretched turf pared off the common. Newcastle coals are used by those who can afford the outlay of cash, together with burn wood and peats, subjecting such a family as the incumbent's for a fire in a room and a kitchen, and occasionally in bed rooms, to an annual heavy expence of from 10 to 14L.*

* We have hitherto, from the advance in freight, seamen's wages, etc experienced very little benefit from the suppression of the partial Red-head tax.

Several circumstances indicating the existence of coals have occurred in different parts of this country, but a peculiar disadvantage which prevents discoveries of this kind is that the persons who are best qualified to make them, and who are of course employed, are in general, notoriously interested in crushing the attempt. Until some man of skill and spirit shall be induced, by a participation of the profits, or otherwise, to make proper experiments, we shall probably remain as we are, in the want of this essential comfort of life.

Improvements - Under this head, it is pleasing to remark that the progress, in some particulars, has of late been rapid. To Mr Grant of Redcastle the succeeding generation will be much indebted for his extensive plantations of oak, larch, planetree, ash elm, and Scotch fir, fenced by at least 20,000 yards of an inclosure; but, however great the exertions of individuals may be, a bar has hitherto presented itself to the general improvement of the country, in an extent of unappropriated muir, perhaps the most considerable in Great Britain. It is lamentable to observe that the peninsula formed by the Firths of Beauly and Dingwall (commonly designed the Black Isle) contains, it is believed, from 30 to 40 square miles, abundantly capable of improvement by agriculture or planting, which still continued in their natural state, not worth one penny per acre, yet a continual source of jealousy betwixt the coterminous proprietors. It is the more so, as the propriety of a division is admitted on all hands as the power of the Court of Session, under the act 1695, to carry it into effect is undoubted, and as nothing is wanting but co-operation.

Some of the proprietors are now induced to look to the well known philanthrophy of the Agricultural Board, for that effectual interference for carrying this very desirable object into effect, which might prove tedious, vexatious, and irksome, to any private individual. It would be an object highly deserving of their attention, which, without subjecting them to a shilling of expence, would most materially contribute to the good of their country.

Ecclesiastical State - The present incumbent was admitted assistant and successor to his father on the 3rd March 1790, in consequence of a sign manual from the Crown, and a presentation from Kenneth McKenzie, Esq, the representative of the family of Cromarty. He inclines to believe that the right of patronage belongs to the latter.

The stipend of Kilmuir Wester, and Suddy, and that of this parish are precisely the same, being nine chalders and one boll of bear, three chalders and three bolls oat meal, and ninety eight pounds nine shillings and eight pennies Scotch money. It is, however, marked by these peculiar circumstances, that the lands of one heritor do not pay a boll more than they did anno 1695, nor those of the other proprietor more than in the year 1721; and, however paradoxical it may appear, the last is in fact considerably the gainer by the quantum of stipend payable by his property. It was purchased at a judicial sale; a full fifth of the property, or what is the same thing, of the rent, was previously struck off by the Court of Session as teind. While the purchaser was under the necessity of taking a tack of the free teind, he was of course not a shilling in advance for the exhausted part, (i.e.) for the lands paying stipend. But while the living remains, in statu quo, the minister's portion of the property, (may not this name be given it on paper?) bears its proportion of a considerable augmentation of rent, suppose 20 per cent.

The glebe may be about 6 acres arable and pasture. The names of two villages in the parish, Chappletown and Spittal,* corroborating some confused traditions, indicate the existence of two religious houses at some remote period, one dedicated to a Popish Saint, the other belonging to the Knights of Malta. There are at present none of the Roman Catholic persuasion, nor any who profess to differ from the established church, the Scotch Episcopals (who are rather more than a fourth part of the number of inhabitants) excepted.


Poor - We have no parochial assessment for their support. There are, at an average, 35 on the roll, who, for several years, have only had the scanty weekly collections distributed among them, seldom amounting to above 5L. when session clerks and officers' dues are deducted; 150L. belonging to the poor of this parish were given to the late proprietor of Redcastle on personal security; his property was sequestrated, and judicially sold, anno 1789; and while these creditors who had heritable bonds were all paid, principal and interest, and such as accepted of them, liquidated penalties, the widow and orphan have not, for many years, received a penny of either, and are now involved in a process of ranking, of which the termination and result are yet uncertain.

The poor of the two neighbouring parishes are in the same predicament, which is mentioned as a caveat against overstrained delicacy in the requisition of proper security, by all who are intrusted with the management of public funds; and particularly by those who act for the indigent and the destitute. The number of itinerant poor has undergone a very pleasing decrease of late, by the introduction of a branch of the Inverness hemp manufactory. An agent distributes hemp to be spun for sail-cloth, and pack-sheeting, furnishing an easy employment even to the aged and infirm, by which they can earn from 2d. to 6d. per day. What renders this of peculiar utility to them is that as they are not restricted in time, it does not prevent their attention to other necessary business; they can occupy, in spinning, those hours which would otherwise pass in idleness, and stimulas to exertion is found in immediate payment on performing their engagements with fidelity.

Manners of the People - These have, during the currency of the last 40 years, undergone a very pleasing alteration. The generality of the inhabitants were then ignorant in the extreme, and much disaffected towards our civil and ecclesiastical establishments. As a striking instance of this the following circumstance is mentioned. The late incumbent was settled minister of this parish in May 1758; he, 8 months thereafter, publicly intimated, after sermon, his intention of catechising the inhabitants of a particular district on the following Tuesday, but, on going to the house which he had fixed on as the place of meeting, not above three miles from the church, he found a convention of only a few old women. Having never before seen their minister they appeared much agitated, telling him, however, that he might have saved himself the trouble of coming to their town as they had no whisky. They retired, one by one, and alarmed the neighbourhood, by saying that a strange Exciseman had just come to such a house. Since that period the change is striking; the assiduity of the minister, in the discharge of his parochial duties, was attended with much success; his exertions were, as he has often gratefully acknowledged, powerfully aided by the introduction of a school* (supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge) at which from 60 to 90 children have been taught gratis. The house of God is now attended with regularity and devotion; they have learned, not indeed the chearless refinements of modern Philosophy, but in the perusal of the gospel of peace, to find a healing balm to sooth and to comfort them under the pressure of all the calamities of life.

May they increase in those virtues which are pure, peaceable, gentle, of good report, and easy to be intreated!

* The very inadequate salary payable to the parochial schoolmaster is much against the parish; it is only 8L. 6s. 8d. The office of schoolmaster has been vacant from Martinmas because no qualified person can be got to accept it. What a pity it is that the pecuniary reward of a description of men, among the most useful in society, should exceed only, in a mere trifle, the wages of a common hireling.

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