New Statistical Account (1839) Parish of Kiltearn

Kiltearn 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.

New Statistical Account (1839)

The Second Statistical Account for Kiltearn

The following is a transcription ( by Duncan Murray, Evanton, with the help of some friends ) from the actual Account of the Parish of Kiltearn from the second or new Statistical Account of Kiltearn (dated August 1839).

PARISH OF KILTEARN, PRESBYTERY OF DINGWALL, SYNOD OF ROSS
THE REV. THOMAS MUNRO, MINISTER

1. TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.

Name - KILTEARN derives its name from two Gaelic words, Kiell Tighearn, the burying-place of the laird, though the particular circumstance which gave rise to the name is unknown; for the principal family in the district, the Munroes of Fowlis, had their burying-place at Chanonry, until the year 1588.

Extent, Boundaries - The parish is situated about the middle of the county, on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth. Its breadth along the shore, from Novar Burn to the rivulet of Altnalait, near Tulloch, is about 6 miles, but, as it extends for about 20 miles into the hills, its breadth becomes considerably varied. It is bounded by Alness on the east; by Contin and Lochbroom on the north; by Dingwall and Fodderty on the west; and the Cromarty Firth, as already mentioned, forms the southern boundary.

Topographical Appearances - The whole of the parish, with the exception of a part, varying in breadth from one to two miles along the shore, consists of one mass of hills covered with heath, or in some places planted with firs. Among these are some of considerable elevation, particularly Wyvis, which rises to the height of 3720 feet above the level of the sea. This hill is never without some snow even in the hottest summer, and the forest of Wyvis is held of the King on the singular condition of paying a snowball any day of the year, if required. In the valleys between these hills there is a great deal of heath and coarse grass, which at one time maintained numbers of cattle from the small farms on the low grounds. In one or two of these hollows, too, the mountain streams have formed small lakes, which diversify the scenery, and afford excellent sport to the angler.

Hydrography - The principal of these lakes is Loch Glass, at the distance of six miles from the sea, about five miles in length, and one in breadth. Its depth has not been ascertained; but from the circumstance that it is seldom known to be covered with ice, it must be considerable. Near the south end of it is a small island, where the lairds of Fowlis had at one time a summer house. The waters of this loch are discharged into the sea by the Aultgraad, a stream which, in its course, presents the most singular natural curiosity in the north of Scotland. Shortly after quitting the loch, it forms a succession of very picturesque falls, and, after winding for some distance in a valley, enters a deep and narrow chasm in the red sandstone rock, and flows through it for two miles. Its course is thus graphically described by the late Dr Robertson in the old Statistical Account: "The river continues to run with rapidity for about three-quarters of a mile, when it is confined by a sudden jutting out of the rock. Here, the side view from the summit is very striking. The course of the stream being thus impeded it whirls and foams, and beats with violence against the opposing rock, till, collecting strength, it shoots up perpendicularly with great fury, and, forcing its way, darts with the swiftness of an arrow through the winding passage on the other side. After passing this obstruction, it becomes in many places invisible, owing partly to the increasing depth and narrowness of the chasm, and partly to the view being intercepted by the numerous branches of trees which grow on each side of the precipice. About a quarter of a mile further down, the country people have thrown a slight bridge (There is at present a substantial wooden one.), composed of trunks of trees covered with turf, over the rock, where the chasm is about 16 feet wide Here the observer, if he has intrepidity enough to venture himself on such a tottering support, and can look down on the gulf below without any uneasy sensations, will be gratified with a view equally awful and astonishing. The wildness of the steep and rugged rocks; the gloomy horror of the cliffs and caverns, inaccessible to mortal tread, and where the genial rays of the sun never yet penetrated; the waterfalls, which are heard pouring down in different places of the precipice, with sounds various in proportion to their distance; the hoarse and hollow murmuring of the river, which runs at the depth of near 130 feet below the surface of the earth, cannot be contemplated without exciting emotions of wonder and admiration in the mind of every beholder." From the appearance of the opposite sides of this remarkable chasm it seems quite clear that the rock must, at some early period, have been rent asunder by volcanic agency. Anterior to this period, the hollow above the point where the river enters the rock must have been filled with water, for in some places the height at which the water stood is still quite distinguishable.

The only other stream in the parish worth mentioning is the Skiack, which is formed by the union of several mountain streams, and falls into the sea near the church, about half a mile from the mouth of the Aultgraad. In summer, particularly if the season be dry, these streams are so small that they can scarcely struggle among the stones to reach the shore, but after heavy rain or the melting of the snow in the hills, they swell into impetuous torrents, and require to be prevented, by embankments, from injuring the cultivated spots on their banks.

The Cromarty Firth, on the south side of the parish, lies on a bed of sandstone covered over with sand and the detritus of the different rivers which flow into it. The slime thus deposited covers the sand, in many places, to the depth of several inches. The water contains little salt, and the time of high and low water is a quarter of an hour later than at Cromarty.

In the heights of the parish, there are several extensive tracts of moss, where the inhabitants cut peats in summer to serve for winter fuel. In cutting out these, numbers of fir-trees are dug up, which, owing to the antiseptic qualities of the moss water, are perfectly sound, and remain so for a very long time when used for building. They are also very commonly used by those who live near the mosses for light. When split up into small pieces and carefully dried, they burn with much clearness, and add greatly to the comfort of the poor during the long winter nights. Clay and shell marl are found in trifling quantities; but have not been applied in any considerable quantity to the purposes of agriculture.

Mineralogy - There are indications of the existence of coal in different parts of the parish, and some attempts were actually made many years ago under the direction of the late Sir Harry Munro, to discover the most proper situations for working a mine, but were unfortunately abandoned. The reason alleged was, that though coal was found, it lay so deep, that, unless the bed was considerable, it would not pay the expense of working. In a rock on the banks of Aultnancaorach, a rivulet that falls into the Altgraad, some ore was discovered, which, when smelted, was found to produce good lead. The prevalence of chalybeate springs in different quarters clearly indicates the existence of iron, though the quantity is unknown. Some of these were frequented at one time for their medicinal virtues.

Climate, &c. - The climate of a district is of course greatly influenced by its situation and exposure; and, in a parish like Kiltearn, where all varieties exist, from the maritime low grounds to heights some thousand feet above the level of the sea, great differences are found to exist. During the prevalence of the southerly and westerly winds from the Atlantic, the weather, though often rainy, is not so cold as when they blow from the east and north-east over the frozen countries in the north of Europe. The air on the higher grounds is often cold and moist; but the cultivated district that rises gradually from the sea to the hills, enjoys a climate second to none in Scotland. A favourable testimony to the healthfulness of the climate is afforded by the many instances of longevity which have occurred. Persons have been known to attain to tbe great age of 100, 107, and even l 17 years. Several live to 80, and 70 is by no means an uncommon age. The prevalent disorders are colds, coughs, influenza, and rheumatism, and these are more severe during easterly winds.

(The gradual deterioration of the climate for many years is a subject of universal remark. Some seem disposed to regard this as an idle fancy, but it is apprehended without any just grounds. It is an undoubted fact, that several years ago, the crops were secured much earlier than at present; this is the more remarkable, as the system of management was then very defective, and many varieties of early seed have been since introduced.)

Zoology - There are no rare species of animals in the parish, but such as are common throughout the country. Wolves existed in former times; foxes were numerous till lately, and a few are yet occasionally seen. Badgers and Polecats are found, though in very inconsiderable numbers. Some rabbits were introduced a few years ago, and they have since that time multiplied so amazingly as to have become a serious annoyance. The hills abound with deer and all kinds of moor game, and on Wyvis are found ptarmigans and mountain hares.

Various kinds of shell-fish are found on the shore, as mussels, cockles, and welks. There are also some banks where, in the proper season, and at a certain state of the tide, good oysters may be gathered. The salmon tribe enter the streams about the end of June, and in the beginning of October ascend for the purpose of depositing their spawn. The fry descend to the sea with the floods in January and February, and reascend in autumn as salmon trout and grilses. In the lochs and streams are found several varieties of trouts, in considerable numbers.

II. CIVIL HISTORY

Family of Munro of Fowlis Tradition relates, that when Malcolm II feued out the lands of the country to those families who had assisted him in extirpating the Danes, the country between the burgh of Dingwall and the water of Alness was assigned to Donald Munro, and from that circumstance received the name of Ferindonuil, or Donald's land. Part of these lands was afterwards erected into a barony, called the Barony of Fowlis. From Donald Munro is lineally descended the present Sir Hugh Munro, Bart., who is the twenty-ninth baron of Fowlis, and proprietor of about two-thirds of the lands of the parish. This family has, at different times, produced individuals whose military talents reflect the highest honour on their country and name. In comparatively later times, many of them distinguished themselves by their firm adherence to the principles of the Reformation, and their devoted attachment to the House of Hanover. Buchanan mentions that, among those who assembled at Inverness to assist the unfortunate Queen Mary, were the Frasers and Munros, "who were esteemed among the most valiant of the clans inhabiting those countries". In the war carried on by Gustavus Adolphus against Ferdinand II there were so many of the name of Munro, that, among the officers of that name who served in that war, there were 3 generals, 8 colonels, 5 lieutenant-colonels, 11 majors, and above 30 captains, besides a great number of subalterns. Sir Robert Munro, the grandfather of the present Baronet, was a man who would have done honour to any age or country; being distinguished alike for the highest military talents and the most unaffected piety. When still a very young man, he served for several years in Flanders under the Duke of Marlborough, and there formed an intimacy with the celebrated Colonel James Gardiner. His father, also called Sir Robert, was still living at the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1715; and, though quite blind, actively exerted himself to support the Royal cause in the north. The Earl of Seaforth sent him word, that "he was now designed to execute what he had long determined, to set King James on the throne", and at the same time demanded his arms. Sir Robert returned answer, that "what arms he had were for the use and service of King George, whom he would defend while his blood was warm". Retaining a sufficient number to guard his own residence, he sent the rest of his people to unite with a body of the Sutherland Royalists at Alness bridge, where the whole encamped under the command of his son. They detained the rebels in the north, under Seaforth, from joining the main army of the insurgents at Perth for two months, and, as Mar was afraid to cross the Firth without this reinforcement, time was given for the adoption of those measures which afterwards frustrated that unfortunate attempt. Sir Robert served his country in various capacities for many years, and for thirty of them was a member of the British Parliament. In 1740, he passed over a second time into Flanders; and at the battle of Fontenoy, fully supported the character which he and his men had formerly acquired. The Elector Palatine, through his envoy at the British Court, tendered his thanks to the King for the excellent conduct of this regiment, "which," says he, "was owing to the care of Sir Robert Munro, their lieutenant-colonel; for whose sake," he adds, "he should always pay a regard to a Scotsman for the future". But it would be impossible to do any thing like justice to the character of this great man in a short sketch like the present. He ended his life at the battle of Falkirk. He had been shortly before promoted to the command of a regiment, which, unlike his brave Highlanders at Fontenoy, deserted him in the moment of attack, and left him enclosed by the enemy. From a letter of his son, Sir Harry, to President Forbes, it appears that he, for a while, fought single-handed with half-a-dozen of their number, and slew two or three, until one of them, seeing no prospect of overcoming the grey-headed hero by fair and open means, discharged a pistol-shot into his groin, and thus ended the life of a hero and a Christian.

("An old companion in arms, one day, when describing the closing scene in the life of his almost idolised chief, after pouring out his curse on the dastards who had deserted him started from his seat, and grasping his staff as he burst into tears, exclaimed, in a voice almost stifled by emotion, Ochon! Ochon! had his ain folk been there!" Miller's Scenes and Legends, p. 424)

It is much to be regretted that no one duly qualified has been found to undertake the biography of this eminent man, for it may be safely affirmed, that few ever led a more useful life, or transmitted a more unsullied name to posterity, than the late Sir Robert Munro. His son, Sir Harry, was an excellent classical scholar, and at his death left ready for publication a large critical work on Buchanan's Psalms, which met with the highest approbation from the celebrated Ruddiman. Having gone to Edinburgh for the recovery of his health, he died in 1781.

At the west end of the church, is buried the late Sir Hector Munro, of Novar, K.B., who, after spending much of his life in active military service, and acquiring the highest distinction as a brave and intrepid soldier in various parts of the world, passed the evening of his days in improving his estates and ameliorating the condition of his tenantry.

Parochial Ministers - Besides the Fowlis family, there have been several individuals, of considerable eminence in various departments, connected with the parish. One Donald Munro, minister of Kiltearn, and contemporary with Buchanan, furnished that historian with much information respecting the Highlands and isles, of which he was archdeacon, and is characterised by him as a pious and learned man. The ministers of the parish, as far back as is known, were Messrs T. Hogg, J. Gordon, Hugh Campbell, William Stuart, Andrew Robertson, George Watson, Harry Robertson, D.D. The present minister is Mr Thomas Munro. Mr Hogg was settled in the parish in 1655, but was obliged to leave it at the Restoration to make way for an Episcopal minister. He was one of five ministers in the synod who refused to conform, and was consequently subjected to a harassing persecution. After a tedious imprisonment in the Bass [i.e. Bass Rock prison in the Firth of Forth] he at length obtained his liberty, and retired to Holland, where his learning and piety acquired for him the greatest esteem. He appears to have united the most sincere and ardent piety to a strength of mind which no prospect of suffering could daunt. At a period when, to all appearance, his affairs were desperate, when he was obliged to fly from his parish and people without any prospect of ever seeing them, he declared, with the most assured confidence, that there should be such a revolution as happened afterwards, and that he should return to his charge at Kiltearn. And so it was. In consideration of his eminent worth, and as a sort of reparation for his sufferings, King William appointed him one of his chaplains for Scotland. He did not, however, live long to enjoy his honours and ease; for, exhausted by a long course of fatigue and suffering, he died in 1692. At the entry to the south-west door of the church, his grave is marked by a plain stone, which bears the following singular inscription: "This stone will witness against the people of Kiltearn, if ever they bring-in an ungodly minister here." (The Episcopalian minister settled in the parish upon Mr Hogg's ejection was a Mr John Gordon, who met with so much opposition, that the then laird of Fowlis, Sir John Munro, called for his adherence to the cause, the Presbyterian mortar-piece, refused to pay him any stipend.)

No historical events of any importance have, of late years, happened in the parish. The feuds which used at one time to cause so much bloodshed, are now happily unknown; and till very lately, the communication with the south was so imperfect, that the events which agitated the other parts of the kingdom, had always become matters of history, before the natives of the north had received any intelligence respecting them. It is only when events immediately affect a people's own interests that they fairly excite them; but even in a case of this kind, the inhabitants of a rural district are so scattered, that any temporary excitement soon passes away from want of the assurance and confidence inspired by members and union. Towards the end of last century, when sheep began to be generally introduced into the north, and numbers of the tenantry were ejected to make way for them, the minds of the people were so excited by witnessing such frequent instances of what they conceived to be wanton oppression and cruelty, that numbers of them assembled, and collecting together all the sheep in Sutherland and the north-eastern parts of Ross-shire, drove them in one mass as far as Kiltearn, when they were dispersed by a party of the 42nd Regiment, then stationed at Fort George, under the command of Colonel Sir Hector Munro. Several of the rioters were apprehended and tried at Inverness; two of them were sentenced to transportation, but afterwards escaped from jail.

Land-owners - The land-owners of the parish are five in number; Sir Hugh Munro of Fowlis; H. A. J. Munro of Novar; Captain E. B. Fraser of Balcony; Simon Mackenzie of Mountgerald; and Duncan Davidson of Tulloch; all of them, except Captain Fraser, non-resident in the parish. Two of them, Novar and Tulloch, though proprietors in this parish, have their residences in the neighbouring ones. It is much to be regretted, indeed, that absenteeism is become so very common throughout the whole country, and in too many cases, not even that.

.... Mansions once
Knew their own masters,
Now the legitimate and rightful lord
Is but a transient guest.

The people are remarkably sensible to any kindness shewn them, particularly by a countryman; and the presence of a landlord, by furnishing a stimulus to good conduct and honourable exertions, could not fail to be productive of the most beneficial results.

Antiquities - In all quarters of the parish were found, at one time, numbers of cairns or heaps of stones, usually covering a grave rudely formed of large flat stones. It has been conjectured that the object in collecting these heaps, was to protect the dead bodies from wolves, bears, and other ravenous animals which formerly infested the country. But this can scarcely be admitted for a probable explanation; for in that case these cairns would necessarily be much more numerous than they are, or several bodies would be deposited in each. This, however, is not found to be the case. There is reason indeed to believe that many of them owe their origin to a very different cause. The original cultivators of the soil, being ignorant of any better mode of getting rid of the stones which impeded their agricultural operations, collected them into those heaps, which have since furnished matter for so much valuable antiquarian disquisition. To the west of the House of Clyne, there was some time ago a very remarkable relic of former times, but which has lately been removed in the course of some agricultural improvements. It was supposed to have been at one time a Druidical place of worship. The following is Dr Robertson's description of it in the old Statistical Account: "It consists of a single row of twelve large stones placed upright, and so disposed as to form two ovals, which are joined to each other. The areas of these ovals are equal; they are 13 feet from east to west, and 10 feet in the middle from north to south. At the west end of one of them is a stone, which rises 8 feet above the surface of the earth; the other stones are from 4 to 6 feet long. There is also, in the middle of this oval, a flat stone, which was probably the altar; it seems to have stood formerly at the east end, but has been thrown down by some accident. Distant about three paces from the eastern oval, is a circular hollow, said to have been a well of considerable depth, but it is now filled up; its diameter at top is 8 feet. These ovals are situated on the top of an eminence, round which are marked out three concentric circles; one at the bottom, another 28 paces above the former, and the third 12 paces higher, immediately surrounding the ovals. The circumference of the first is 80, of the second, 50, and of the third, 35 paces." There are still remaining the ruins of five chapels and burying-places; and in the neighbourhood of one of them, near the shore, may be traced the site of the manse or minister's house. In some of the graves which have been dug up, were found small earthen pitchers; and this circumstance, along with the extreme smallness of the graves themselves, appears to furnish a strong confirmation of the opinion, that our ancestors were in the habit of burning their dead, and depositing their ashes in these rude urns.

III. POPULATION

The following is the population of the parish, at different periods, within-the last fifty years:-

In 1791 it amounted to 1616
In 1801 - 1525
In 1811 - 1552
In 1821 - 1454
In 1831 - 1605

The decrease in the period between 1791 and 1811 was mainly owing to the enlistment of numbers of the young men in the 42nd Regiment, under the command of their countryman, the late Sir Hector Munro of Novar. Between 1811 and 1821, a new system of farming was introduced, which sufficiently accounts for the extraordinary falling off in the numbers. In 1821, when, according to the annual increase of 25, the population should have amounted to 1800, it was found to be only 1454, shewing a falling off to the number of 346 persons. During that period, numbers of small tenants were ejected in order to make way for farmers from the south, possessed of some capital, who, by their superior management, were able to afford higher rents. The more elevated districts of the parish, which were altogether unsuitable for cultivation, were converted into sheep-walks; and numbers were thus deprived of all means of subsistence, and driven to seek in a foreign land for the shelter and protection which were denied them in their own. The right of landlords, however, to manage their properties according to their own pleasure, no one will pretend to doubt.

As no material changes have occurred since 1831 to affect the ordinary increase, the population at present (1839) must amount to rather more than 1800. Of these about 500 reside in the village of Evantown, and the rest in the country. The yearly average of births for the last seven years is about 40; of deaths, 15; and of marriages, 9. This last average has continued unaltered since 1702. The annual number of deaths should properly be no more than 12, hut the average for the last seven years has been raised to 15, by the great mortality in 1834 and 1837. In the former of these years, the number of deaths was 23, and in the latter no fewer than 28 died, chiefly old and sickly persons, who were cut off by influenza.

During the last three years, there have been 4 illegitimate births in the parish.

Character, &c. of the People - The language generally spoken is an impure dialect of the Gaelic; but it is rapidly losing ground. In the more Highland parts, it is better understood than English, but in the low parts and in Evantown, both languages are spoken indifferently. The Gaelic School Society, by establishing schools throughout the country, have done much to eradicate the language. This may appear paradoxical; but it is actually the case. Those children that had learned to read Gaelic found no difficulty in mastering the English; and they had a strong inducement to do so, because they found in that language more information suited to their capacity and taste, than could be found in their own. English being the language universally spoken by the higher classes, the mass of the people attach a notion of superior refinement to the possession of it, which makes them strain every nerve to acquire it; and it is no uncommon thing for those who have lived for a short time in the south, to affect on their return, a total forgetfulness of the language which they had so long been in the habit of using. The people are very temperate in their habits, and as most of the working people receive their wages only twice a year, they cannot have that command of money which would allow them any improper indulgence. They are extremely hospitable. However poor their own fare may be, they are anxious to have something good to offer a stranger; and thus a person entering one of their houses would scarcely believe that, with such apparent plenty, the inmates were probably struggling at the time with extreme poverty. This feature in the Highland character arises, it is to be feared, not so much from a principle of benevolence as from a love of ostentation, and a spirit of independence, which has sometimes exercised the wit of their more refined neighbours in the south, under the name of "Highland pride". Their dress differs very little from that of the peasantry throughout the country generally. The kilt and trews have been long since laid aside, and the south country dress universally adopted.

Many of the superstitious notions, once so abundant in the Highlands, still continue to linger here; but they too, like their expressive and poetical language, are fast retreating before the tide of improvement which has set in from the south. It is only in the very remote districts that ghosts are ever seen, and fairies are now known only by name. The belief in witchcraft, however, still continues deeply rooted. In former times, when families, owing to distance and other circumstances, held little intercourse with each other through the day, numbers were in the habit of assembling together in the evening in one house, and spending the time in relating the tales of wonder which had been handed down to them by tradition. A singularly wild story of this kind, which was just on the eve of being entirely forgotten, has been preserved by Mr Miller in his "Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland". (Pages 216, 222)

IV. INDUSTRY

The number of acres in the parish, which are either cultivated or occasionally in tillage, may be estimated at about 3000. The extent under natural pasture is unknown. It is believed that very little more could, with any prospect of profit, be added to what is already cultivated; and indeed, much of what is now in cultivation would turn to more advantage, if kept in pasture. There is an undivided common between the properties of Fowlis and Inchcoulter, containing about 600 acres. A very considerable portion of the parish was about the middle of last century planted with firs, larch, ash, elm, oak, and other trees, suited to the climate. Many of these trees, particularly the fir plantations, were cut down a few years ago on the Fowlis property, and proved a source of much profit to the proprietor. Some of the hard-wood had attained to such a growth as to be fit for the purposes of ship-building, and two ships were built and launched on the property. In other parts of the parish, there are some thriving plantations, which have not yet attained their full growth.

Rent of Land - The rent of arable land varies, according to the quality, from £1 to £2:5s. per acre.

The average charge for summering cattle, one, two, three, and four years old, may be stated at 15s., £1, £1:10s, and £2; and wintering, from £1 to £1:10s; but this must of course greatly depend on the feeding. The charge for grazing a full-grown sheep is from 2s. to 3s. a year. [To convert to present day currency: there were 12 old pence to 1 shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. Therefore 6 old pence, shown as 6d., = 2 new pence, and 1old shilling, shown as 1s., = 5 new pence.]

Wages - The following are the wages usually given to farm labourers and country artisans: a ploughman for yearly wages gets a house, £6 in money, 6 imperial bolls of meal, 6 bolls of potatoes, 10 barrels of coals, and a pint of milk for one half of the year, in all about £18. Maid servants are paid from £3 to £4 a year. A mason gets about 2s. 6d., and a cartwright 1s. 6d. a day. A sawyer gets ls. 8d. for the hundred feet; and a slater 14s. the rood for laying on slates. An iron plough costs £3, and a coup-cart from £8 to £10. (1 boll = 6 imperial bushels, an imperial bushel = 2219.36 cubic inches.)

Live-stock - The common breed of sheep in the parish is the black-faced or aboriginal sheep of the country, or sometimes crosses from them. In various parts, other kinds from the south, particularly Cheviots, have been introduced; but on the hill grazings, the black-faced are found to answer much better. On the low grounds, Cheviots are usually fed by gentlemen for their own tables or for the butcher. The common breeds of cattle are the Ross-shire and Argyllshire. The former are now kept only by some of the poorer people, and are usually small in size and very inferior. Ayrshire cattle were, for a considerable time, kept by gentlemen for their own dairies; but they were nowhere kept for the rearing of farm stock. Mr Sim, of Drummond, in this parish, was the first to introduce them on a large scale, and they were found to answer exceedingly well. This gentleman lately introduced some pure short horns, which, when their good qualities are become sufficiently known and duly appreciated, may be expected in time to be universally adopted through the country. Agriculturists are now generally beginning to see that it is more for their advantage to improve the quality, than to increase the number of their cattle.

Husbandry - The usual duration of leases is nineteen years. This period is considered quite long enough to afford the tenant the utmost security of reaping any profit which may arise from his outlays. The system of agriculture which has been pursued for many years back is very superior. No pains or expense have been spared in doing all manner of justice to the soil; and the consequence is that the crops raised are always equal, and often superior to any in the country. The most common crops raised are, wheat, barley, oats, and some peas. Turnip husbandry has of late years received a great deal of attention; as the general adoption of bone manure enables farmers to sow a greater quantity, which are used in winter for feeding hogs or for fattening stock for the south country markets. Draining and inclosing have been carried on very extensively, and in some cases very judiciously. Large embankments were made, some years ago, at Newton and at Balcony, and a considerable tract of land, formerly quite unprofitable, was thus redeemed from the sea, and rendered fit for the purposes of agriculture. The principal improvements which have been made, were usually at the expense of the tenants, without the prospect of any remuneration from the proprietors.

The late Mr Fraser, of Inchcoulter, a gentleman of great taste, expended large sums in the improvement of his property. He divided it into moderately sized farms, well fenced and enclosed. On all these farms, he erected steadings which are highly ornamental to the country, and very convenient for the tenantry. Thrashing mills are now erected on most of the farms, and, where that is practicable, they are driven by water. There are, at present, nine of them in the parish, and five of them are driven by water. The first flour mill in the country was erected in 1821, by Mr Sim. It is driven by the water of the Skiack. Besides the flour mill, this water drives one meal, two barley, and three saw mills. There are also meal, flour, barley, and carding mills on the Aultgraad.

Produce - The average gross amount of raw produce raised in the parish, as nearly as that can be ascertained, may be stated as follows:

Produce of grain of all kinds, whether cultivated for the food of man, or the domestic animals £8820
Of potatoes, turnips, beet, &c £2240
Of grass, including natural, pasture, and cultivated grass £3600
Gardens and orchards £60
Fisheries £10
Miscellaneous produce £200
Total yearly value of raw produce raised  £15090

Of course, this can only be regarded as an approximation, but it is believed to be very near the real amount. It is usually calculated that the gross produce of a property should be thrice the rental; and it will be seen that the above amount bears very nearly that ratio to the estimated real annual value of the land.

The valued rent of the whole parish is £3149. 9s. 6d. Scots. The real value in 1791 was estimated at £1500 Sterling; in 1810, at £3068. 8s. 5d..; and at present (1839), it is about £5300.

There is no manufacture carried on to any extent. Even the home-made Stuffs, which the peasantry used to wear, are now nearly discontinued, as they find it cheaper to purchase than to manufacture them. In many respects, it is very desirable that a manufacture of some kind should be established in the village of Evantown, where there are so many unemployed children, who might thus be enabled to assist their parents in providing for their support.

V.  PAROCHIAL ECONOMY

Market-Town, &c. - There is no market-town in the parish; and the nearest is Dingwall, at the distance of six miles. There is one village, called Evantown, containing about 100 houses, and a population of about 500. This village, which had no existence thirty years ago, is built upon a waste piece of land, and differs from all others in the country, by its regular and neat appearance.

Fairs - There are two fairs annually held in it, on the first Tuesdays of June and December; but, since the general introduction of shops into all the villages, they are not well attended.

Means of Communication - The means of communication enjoyed by the parish are very considerable. Ever since 1819, the mail-coach passes north and south through it daily; whilst there are, for the greater part of the year, smacks sailing to and from Leith, London, and Newcastle, principally in the corn, wood, and coal trade. The great line of Parliamentary road runs along the shore through the breadth of the parish, and communicates with the northern parts by means of excellent county roads. In the more remote parts of the mountainous districts, the roads are so wretchedly bad as scarcely to deserve the name. The Parliamentary line passes over two neat and substantial bridges, one at the east, and the other at the west end of the village of Evantown. There are no harbours in the parish; but there are two or three situations where they might very easily be erected, and where vessels of considerable burden could conveniently load and unload.

Ecclesiastical State - The church is situated on the coast, near the south-east end of the parish, and is distant about twenty miles from its north-west boundaries. The situation is particularly inconvenient for the attendance of the people. At the time when churches and manses were first built in this country, the small spots in cultivation lay principally along the shore, and this may account for the inconvenience of situation. At any rate, more attention seems to have been paid to the comfort of the minister than to the convenience of the people. Even that, however, has failed to be secured; for a clergyman who is in the habit of visiting his parish will find the labour of that duty greatly increased. The present church was built in 1791, and is a neat and very commodious, building, quite sufficient for the accommodation of the people.

It contains 78 pews, 786 feet in length, which, at the rate of eighteen inches for each sitter, would give accommodation to 524. More than 700, however, can find room with comfort, if necessary. No rents are taken by the heritors for the seats; and there are some forms exclusively devoted to the use of the poor. These can accommodate about 60 persons.

The manse was originally built in 1762, and was repaired and much enlarged in 1806. It is a very commodious building, containing several large and airy rooms, with all the necessary offices and out-houses attached in excellent repair. The extent of the glebe is about 9 imperial acres arable; but a considerable portion of it consists of land redeemed from the sea by the present incumbent. This part is always subject to encroachments by the sea and river; and the embankments require constant repairs. The grass glebe consists of one acre of very little value, separated from the rest of the glebe by the Skiack, and of a few detached pieces of carse ground covered at high water by the tide. The stipend consists of 16 chalders or 256 bolls, half oatmeal and half barley, for which the heritors pay according to the fiars' prices in the county of Ross. [Fiars - the prices of grain legally struck or fixed for the year at the Fiars' Court so as to regulate the payment of stipend, rent, and prices not expressly agreed upon.] All the ministers were settled by a popular call until 1770. Mr George Watson was, soon thereafter, settled by a Crown presentation; as were also his two successors.

There is one chapel connected with the United Secession in the village of Evantown. The minister is one of three paid by that body for preaching in Highland districts, and receives a salary of £80. Without such aid, no minister could live upon the voluntary support of the people, their earnings being barely sufficient to support their own families. The chapel can contain 400; but only about 170 attend regularly: and of these only two or three families are really Seceders. The average number of communicants in the Established Church is 28; and of these 14 are heads of families.

Education - There are two schools in the parish: the parochial school at Drummond, and an unendowed school in the village of Evantown. In the former, the following are the branches taught, and the quarterly fees, as settled by the heritors in May 1838, viz. English reading, 2s., with grammar, 2s. 6d., with arithmetic and geography, 3s. 6d.; Latin and Greek, 4s. The schoolmaster's salary formerly consisted of 1 chalder barley, 2 bolls meal, and 100 merks, but in 1828 it was fixed at £30, with a garden. The yearly amount of the fees is about £20. The heritors furnish the legal accommodations. The number of the young between six and fifteen years of age who are unable to read or write, cannot be precisely ascertained; but in the neighbourhood of the parish school, they are very few. By far the greater part of the people can read the Scriptures, and the few who cannot are aged people, who had no opportunity of learning in their youth. Were one to form a judgement from the small number attending the schools, it might be thought that the people are not in general alive to the benefits of education; but a closer view of the subject will lead to a very different opinion. Such is the general poverty that the parents find it necessary to employ those of their children who can do any work, to earn something for their maintenance: and it is only in winter, when no out-door employment is to be had, that the children can attend school at all. Smal1 though the expense of education be, it could scarcely be expected that a poor man, with £6 a-year, could clothe himself, a wife, and perhaps half-a-dozen children, and have any surplus to bestow on the education of his family. There are, it is true, some noble instances of parents submitting to the greatest sacrifices and privations in order to educate their children, and widows have been known to spend the day in hard toil, and the greater part of the night in spinning or knitting, with this laudable object in view. Such instances, however creditable to these individuals, cannot but indicate some defects in a system which requires such sacrifices, and presents such obstacles to the education of the poor. There is at least one-half of the population so distant from the school that the attendance of the children is rendered quite impossible: and two additional schools are in consequence required; one more, indeed, is absolutely necessary.

Poor and Parochial Funds - The average number of persons receiving parochial aid, for some years back, amounts to 63. At present, there are 57 on the roll. This reduction in the number has been partly occasioned by the great mortality among the aged and poor in the spring of 1837, and partly by a regulation adopted by the heritors and session in that same year, which has the effect of preventing all who can do anything for their own maintenance from applying for relief. This regulation requires of all who wish to be placed on the roll, to sign a disposition in favour of the kirk session, leaving all their effects to the poor after their lawful debts are paid. When a husband or wife is admitted, the effects continue in the possession of the survivor till death, when they fall to the session. The poor are divided into three classes. Those in the first class (at present containing 14) receive 8s. a year, the second class of 13 receives 6s.; and the third class, comprising chiefly those who can do something for their own support, contains 30 persons, who receive 3s. If any of the funds remain after this, they are given away in small donations to a few indigent persons who are not on the roll. The money thus distributed arises from various sums mortified, at different periods, by natives of the parish for the benefit of the poor, which at present amount to £400, laid out at 5 per cent; and from the church collections, which for the last seven years average £4. 11s. together with mortcloth dues and other small sums, in all amounting to about £28. The sum at the disposal of the session for distribution, after deducting clerk's salary, &c. usually exceeds £17. The miserable pittance thus allowed to each in the year, scarcely exceeding the weekly allowance of an able-bodied pauper in England, is totally inadequate to the relief of their distress. The greatest misery and want prevail in consequence, to an extent that would seem incredible to those who have not actually witnessed them. It is no uncommon thing for an unmarried female or lonely widow, who has survived all her friends, to live in a wretched hovel, without fire, bed-clothes, or food, in the depth of winter. Such a state of things in a country abounding with all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life, indicates a defect somewhere. One undoubted cause of the evil may be found in the low wages of labourers, which are barely sufficient to support a life of drudgery and toil, without enabling them, though they were so inclined, to make provision for an old age of misery and want. There is no assessment of the parish by the session for the relief of the poor; but some provision is absolutely necessary.

Those who can contribute any thing for their own support, manifest the greatest reluctance to receive aid from the parish, and regard it as highly degrading; but it is to be feared that this praiseworthy feeling is fast losing ground. It could scarcely be expected, indeed, that a spirit of independence could long resist the effects of absolute want and misery.

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS

It now remains only to mention briefly a few of the more striking differences betwixt the present state of the parish and that which existed at the time of the former Statistical Account. Since 1791, when the former Account was written, the face of the parish has physically undergone a very striking change. At that period, the low grounds were divided into small farms occupied by tenants, none of whom paid rent to the amount of £100. There were only two, indeed, who reached £80. These small farms have now been thrown together and improved, so as to afford rents of £300, £600, and even £700; and the land, instead of presenting a few detached spots, occasionally under crop, is now divided into large and highly cultivated fields. But it will be unnecessary to say any more on this subject, as the principal improvements have been noticed under the head 'Industry'.

The houses of the peasantry, some years ago, were merely wretched hovels themselves, their cattle, pigs, and poultry living under the same roof. At present, there are many neat and comfortable cottages in the country, and well built houses in the village.

It is not in the physical appearance alone of the parish, that a change is visible. Those who are old enough to remember the former period declare, without exception, that a change for the worse has taken place in the moral character of the people. Some ascribe this to the increase of villages throughout the country: others, laudatores temporis acti, are disposed to ascribe it to the gradual deterioration which this world has physically and morally undergone since men began to record their opinions of the times in which they lived. Whatever discrepancy there may be in the causes assigned, there is but one opinion as to the fact, that vice and immorality are now more common than formerly. The poverty and degraded state of the lower classes appear to furnish the only rational explanation. In the former state of the parish, many occupied that respectable rank in society which is now confined to a few. These felt an interest in maintaining a good character, and their conduct had a beneficial influence on all immediately under them. There are, however, few or no breaches of the law which require the interference of the magistrate; and only one case of criminal prosecution has been known to occur since the beginning of this century, and even that one was not of an aggravated nature.

In ancient times, before those useful members of society the legal functionaries had effected a lodgement in the vicinity (for happily none have yet been induced to settle in the parish), it would appear that when any misdemeanour was committed, they adopted a more expeditious process than the modern one for bringing the offender to justice. (A very striking example of the glorious uncertainty of the law was lately furnished in this parish; for a process that commenced in 1706 about marches between Cromertie and Fowlis, was carried on with various success, until it was finally settled by judicial arbitration in 1833.) A dispute having arisen at the beginning of the seventeenth century between the Baron of Fowlis and the Laird of Tulloch, about the boundaries of their estates at a part where they were conterminous, the matter was referred to arbiters, and witnesses were called and examined on the disputed ground. There was a large stone, which was alleged by the one party to lie in the line of the march. One of the Tulloch witnesses stepped upon the disputed ground, and declared that he was ready to swear that the ground on which he stood belonged to Tulloch. Either his manner of expression or his known character excited suspicion. The other party seized upon him, pulled off his shoes, and actually found that, to avoid all possibility of perjuring himself, he had taken the precaution, before leaving home, to line the soles of his shoes with earth from the Tulloch garden. There was no tedious trial by jury. The poor wretch was immediately dragged to the stone and his ears cut off either upon or beside it; and from this circumstance, it has ever since borne the name of clachnacluais, or the stone of the ear.

August 1839.

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