Old Statistical Account (1790) Parish of Kiltearn

Kiltearn 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.

Old Statistical Account (1790)

The following is a transcription ( by Duncan Murray, Evanton, with the help of some friends ) of the actual Account of the Parish of Kiltearn from the first or old Statistical Account of Kiltearn

By the Rev Mr Harry Robertson

KILTEARN derives its name from two Gaelic words, viz. Kil Tighearn signifying the burying place of the laird or great man; but there is no record tradition from which we can learn what great man was first buried here. The Munros of Fowlis, the chief family in the parish, were buried for several centuries at Chanonry, and only began to bury at Kiltearn anno 1588. It is well known that many other places in Scotland owe their names to a similar cause, viz. their giving burial to some saint or eminent person; and the names of these places begin with Kil, being a contraction of Keil, as Kilmuir, i.e. Mary's burial place; Killin, Kilbride, Kilsyth, Kildonan, etc.

Situation, Extent and Surface - This parish is situated about the middle of the county of Ross, in the district called Ferindonald, of which we shall speak afterwards. It belongs to the Presbytery of Dingwall, and synod of Ross; and stretches along the north side of the bay that runs up from Cromarty to Dingwall, being about six miles long from Novar Inn at the east to a rivulet called Aultnalaid, near Tulloch, at the west. The breadth is various. That part of the parish which is well cultivated is about two miles broad, from the sea-shore on the south, to the foot of the hilly ground on the north. But there are several grazings and Highland possessions at the distance of five, ten and fifteen miles from the sea. It is bounded by the parish of Alness on the east, by Contin and Lochbroom on the north, by Dingwall and Fodderty on the west and by Cromarty Bay on the south. The Highland district of this parish is, for the most part, wild and uncultivated, consisting of high mountains, separated from each other by rapid rivulets, and extensive tracts of moors and mossy ground. In this district, there is a considerable strath called Clare, pleasantly situated in an inclined plain, upon the banks of the river Skiack, containing about 200 acres arable land and meadow ground. And, on the opposite side of the river, there is also a plain of about 30 acres, called Bognahavin. Though the houses in this remote district are in general very mean, yet there is one on each side of the river built in a style superior to the generality of farm-houses in the parish, being the goat-whey quarters of the minister of Kiltearn, and of Mr Munro sheriff-substitute of Lewis. In either of these houses, the weary traveller, or the fatigued sportsman, can find comfortable accommodations. This circumstance is only taken notice of, because it is a perfect contrast to the miserable huts, called Shealings, which the hardy Highlanders inhabit while they tend their flocks and herds, and live on the produce of the dairy. If we turn our eyes to the low district of the parish, which inclines gently from the foot of the hills towards the sea, a very rich and beautiful prospect opens to our view: viz. well cultivated fields, enclosed either with stone walls or with thorn hedges and belts of planting. In short, every traveller is struck with the natural beauty of the country, which of late years has been improved by art, which must give a favourable idea of the good taste and opulence of the proprietors. The gentlemen's houses are large and commodious and their gardens well stored with fruit trees. About eighty years ago there were few forest trees to be seen here except some natural alders and willows on the banks of rivers, and a few ashes, elms and limes surrounding gentlemen's gardens; but now there are extensive plantations of pines or firs, several miles in circumference, besides many oaks and other hardwood of every kind that is to be met in North Britain. The several proprietors seem to vie with each other in raising the finest plantations of timber. Some improvements are desirable on a double account: they adorn the face of the country while they promote the interest of individuals.

There are several hills in this parish which, being viewed from the plains below add much to the grandeur and variety of the prospect. Several of these hills are covered with fir plantations which cannot fail to please the eye, as the hill above Foulis, the hill of Swordale, and some others; Knockmartin, a small hill, compared to the rest, is situated on the east side of the hill of Swordale, and is seen from the seaside. Its chief beauty consists in its shape; it tapers gradually from its base to the highest point, forming a cone. This last mentioned as well as the higher hills beyond it are covered with heath. But the most distinguished hill in the parish is Ben-uaish, which towers above all the rest and must be extremely high as it is seen in Moray and Banffshire. Ben-uaish is always covered in snow even in the hottest day in summer. And in addition to this there is a remarkable clause in one of the charters of the family of Fowlis which is that the forest of Uaish is held of the King on condition of paying a snowball to his Majesty on any day of the year, if required. And we are assured that a quantity of snow was actually sent to the Duke of Cumberland when at Inverness in 1746 to cool his wine. There is a great deal of heath and coarse grass which is excellent pasture for cattle all around the hill; and the forest is well stocked with deer and a variety of moor game .

Air, Climate and Diseases - The air is generally clear and pure; and it has been observed in this, as well as the neighbouring parishes that the weather has been more changeable for twenty years past than in former times. That rain has fallen of late years in a greater proportion than it did formerly is a well known fact which has materially injured the crops, and occasioned late harvests over all the north of Scotland. And, that the air is more cold and moist upon the higher than upon the lower ground is found to hold true, in this district, as well as in other corners of the kingdom. But notwithstanding the variableness of the weather, the climate of Kiltearn is by no means unhealthful nor can the inhabitants impute the diseases they sometimes labour under to any noxious quality in the air, but rather to accidental causes. We are credibly informed, that the scarcity of bread in 1782 has impaired the constitutions of several people in the lower ranks of life, and entailed obstinate diseases on them. When an infectious fever attacks any family in the parish, it is generally communicated to some of their neighbours, and makes several breaches before it ceases. Its a providential circumstance, that the people are seldom visited with such a calamity. The epidemical disease most dreaded is the natural small-pox, which usually sweeps away a number of children once in seven years, and sometimes oftener. In the year 1777, above 30, and 1778 no fewer than 47 children died of this disease. There is not the least doubt that this great mortality was owing in part to the improper treatment of the patients, and the neglect of inoculation, to which the people are still averse, in spite of the earnest persuasion and example of their superiors, confirmed by a successful practice in almost every instance where it has been attempted. Rheumatic complaints have also been more frequent than formerly within these 30 years, owing probably to the substitution of linen for flannel shirts among the lower ranks; and a return to the use of flannel and woollen is found to be the most efficacious remedy for this complaint. Before we conclude this article, it may be proper to observe that the following instances of longevity, which seem to be well attested, afford a very favourable testimony of the healthfulness of the air and climate of this parish. About the year 1706, Katharine McKenzie died at Fowlis in the 117th year of her age. In 1782 Mr John Brown, the factor of Foulis, died in his 107th year. In 1775 Kenneth Munro, late of Inveran, died in this parish in his 100th year; and Mrs Munro his wife died a year after him in her 88th year. The only instance we shall add is a gentleman, a heritor in the parish, and who had been a member of the last Scotch and of the first British parliament who died about thirty years ago in his 94th year. And within these few years a sister and daughter of the same gentleman died here who were very little short of the same age.

Soil and Produce - The soil here is various as might be expected in so large a district of land. In the highland district, the soil is either mossy, or a cold clay, mixed with sand or gravel, very unfriendly to vegetation. On the banks of the rivers the meadows are covered with a tough, strong turf, producing a coarse sort of grass, fitter for pasturing young cattle than for fattening them, or producing milk. And it would probably be for the interest, both of landlord and tenant, that a plough were never used in this district; for though corn may grow, yet through the cold and moisture of the climate, it seldom ripens so as to make good bread. In the low district of the parish, again, the difference of soil is very observable. Towards the east it is light and gravelly. In the middle, for about two miles square, there is a rich loam fit to produce any vegetable with proper culture. As we proceed further on, the foil is black and spongy; but, by means of drains, it has of late years been greatly improved. The western division of the parish consists chiefly of a strong clay soil, some of it of a reddish hue, which, when well wrought, produces excellent crops. The seasons for sowing and reaping in this parish, are as different as the degrees of activity and the unaccountable prejudices of various farmers. Some lay it down as a maxim never to begin sowing till a certain day of the month when their fathers and grandfathers were accustomed to sow. Others, again, embrace the first opportunity, when the soil is sufficiently dry to receive the seed; and the effect is such as might naturally be expected. the spirited active farmer, who sows early, reaps an early harvest, and the best corn; while the others suffer all the inconveniences of a late harvest. But we must here remark what is very observable, that the farmers on the opposite side of the bay, in what is called the Black Isle, never fail to reap their corn a fortnight or twenty days earlier than the inhabitants of this parish and yet they are exposed to the north, while Kiltearn has a south aspect. The difference must certainly be owing to the quality of the soil. That on the opposite shore is a mould mixed with sand and gravel, chiefly founded on quarry. As to the productions of this parish, were we to mention them all, we would enumerate the several animals and vegetables that are most commonly to be met with in North Britain, with the addition of those productions peculiar to highland countries. The hills abound with red deer, and all kinds of moor game; and various birds and beasts of prey, as eagles, hawks, foxes, &c. in the extensive heaths of this district, a great variety of berries is produced, most of which are very grateful to the taste. During the winter storms there are shoals of sea-fowls on the coast here, such as wild ducks, and a species of geese called red geese which are esteemed good eating. Some shell fish are likewise found upon the coast, such as mussels, cockles, and whelks. The sea-coast being smooth and sandy for the most part, there is little sea-weed, and none at all fit for burning kelp. Bee-hives were formerly very plentiful in this parish but now it is probable that there are not above 20 in the whole district. The parish used to be greatly infested with rats but they are now almost extirpated. Whether this is owing to the industry of rat-killers who have been employed to destroy them, or whether they have emigrated to some other district, is not known. As the prejudice against eating swine's flesh is in a great measure overcome, a considerable number of pigs is reared here. Not only every farmer but every house-keeper, rears annually one or two pigs, and some, half a dozen; the greatest number of which are sold at the neighbouring markets, and, when tolerably well fed, fetch from 20 to 30 shillings a-piece. The breed of black cattle here is various. In the Highlands they were small-sized and hardy but not quite so small as the common breed of cattle in countries farther to the north. But the gentlemen and principal farmers have been at great pains to improve their breed of cattle by purchasing from Fife and Moray, which arc considerably larger than the common breed of the country. Some of the last mentioned when full fed, sell for £10 or £20. The horses of the parish are also of two kinds; some of a large Galloway size, which the gentlemen use in ploughing and carting, value from £10 to £20 each; and a few worth £25. But the greatest number of horses are what are commonly called Highland Garrons, value from £3 to £5 each. There are few goats in the parish and these are the property of two tenants, who occupy very remote possessions. The number of sheep at present is very inconsiderable and for the most part, of a very inferior quality, being of a small size, and producing very little wool. At present, there are only two or three farmers in the parish who manage their sheep properly and one of their sheep is worth two of any other farmer. The rearing of sheep has been rather discouraged for some time past, being found so destructive to young plantations of timber; but it is not doubted that, in a few years, the rearing of this useful animal will become a principal object both with the landlords and tenants. We shall conclude this article, by giving a list of the number of horses, black cattle and sheep in the parish, which, according to the best information, cannot be far distant from the truth.

Horses of the larger size - 60
Horses of the smaller size - 305
Black cattle, including oxen  - 1000
Sheep - 600

Inhabitants: Their Origin and Progress in Civilisation - It is well known, that in many parts of Scotland, particularly in the north, every district is inhabited chiefly by some one particular tribe or clan. So it is in this country. The name of Ross prevails in the east, Mackenzie in the west and Munro in the middle district; i.e. in the two contiguous parishes of Kiltearn and Alness, which district or country is commonly called Ferindonald, which name appears to be of very ancient date. Buchanan relates that, about the beginning of the 11th century, King Malcolm II of Scotland feued out the lands in the country to the great families in it, on account of their eminent services in assisting him to extirpate the Danes out of his kingdom. And, according to tradition, it was on that occasion that the country between the borough of Dingwall and the water of Alness in the shire of Ross, was given to Donald Munro, the progenitor of the family of Fowlis, from which all the Munros in this country are descended, and part of these lands were afterwards by the King erected into a barony, called the Barony of Fowlis. From this Donald Munro is lineally descended the present Sir Hugh Munro, Bart. who is the 20th baron of Fowlis, and proprietor of about two-thirds of the lands in the parish of Kiltearn. Under this head, we may observe, that, in ancient times, those tribes or clans who inhabited different districts of the country, looked upon themselves as a different people or nation, united together under their respective chiefs or leaders, who exercised a sovereign and, at the same time a parental, authority over them. They looked up to the chief as to their common father; he looked upon them as his children, whom he protected as well as governed. That there were constant feuds and conflicts maintained between the neighbouring clans or tribes, is a fact well known. Many circumstances concurred to occasion these conflicts and to support this warlike spirit. In those rude and remote ages when trade and commerce were little attended to, men of an enterprising spirit had no other field for distinguishing themselves but by their superior skill in the use of arms. This induced them to watch for every opportunity of displaying their martial achievements and hence it often happened that the slightest affronts were resented as the greatest injuries, especially from one of a different tribe or clan. And it was not uncommon, for the sake of a mere punctilio, or point of honour, to see the neighbouring clans marching out to battle, and maintaining the bloody conflict till victory was declared on one side. The conflict being over it was usual that the chief or leader bestowed some mark of favour upon those of his followers who had distinguished themselves by their valour. When both sides were wearied out with the fatigues of war there was usually a bond of amity or friendship entered into by their leaders, in which they bound themselves, and their followers, to maintain peace; which deeds were executed with all the solemnity of treaties entered into between two sovereign powers. But, even after the chiefs of the clans became more enlightened and humanised than to encourage the old feuds, they found it no easy matter to restrain the lower ranks among their followers from assassinating their neighbours, and committing depredations on their property. A striking proof of which we learn from a transaction that happened in this part of the country little more than a century ago, when there was a bond of friendship entered into between the families of Seaforth and Fowlis. An old record, which gives a character of Sir John Munro of Fowlis, speaks thus: 'He lived in good correspondence with his neighbours for there was a mutual condescendence past betwixt Kenneth Earl of Seaforth and Sir John Munro, therein designed John Munro younger of Fowlis, of which the tenor follows: "At Edinburgh the twenty third day of January, javie and sixty one years it is condescended and agreed as follows, that is to say, We Kenneth Earl of Seaforth, and John Munro younger of Fowlis taking to our consideration how prejudicial it hath been to both our families that there hath not been for along time so good a correspondence betwixt us as was befitting men of that conjunction and neighbourhood and of what advantage it wil1 be to us, to live in good correspondence and confederacy one with another, and to maintain and concur for the weal of either, for the which causes We the said noble lord, and John Munro younger of Fowlis, taking burthen on us for our friends, kinsmen, and all others whom we may stop or let, do by these presents bind and oblige us and our heirs faithfully upon our honours to maintain and concur with each other, for the good of both and our foresaids and to prevent as much as in us lies what may be to the prejudice of either of us or of any in whom either of us may be concerned in all time coming, as witness there presents subscribed by us the place, day, month and year above written and mentioned, before these witnesses Thomas McKenzie of Pluscardin, Colin Mckenzie of Pluscardin, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Munro, and Major Alexander Munro Commissar of Stirling. Sic subscribitur Seafort, John Munro."'

But notwithstanding this bond of friendship between the chiefs of both clans, it cannot be denied that a good deal of the old sprit discovered itself on various occasions among their followers and adherents, till it was so happily suppressed at the memorable era 1745-6. It is our good fortune to live in an age when we see those whose predecessors in rude and barbarous times seldom met but with hostile intentions, now living in habits of sincere friendship and social intercourse, much to their mutual honour and advantage.

Population - In order to ascertain with accuracy the population of this parish, a survey was made between the beginning of January and the middle of March 1791 from which we are enabled to give the following account of that important article.

Number of houses, or smokes - 385
Number of souls - 1616
Number of males - 694
Number of females - 922
Under 10 years of age - 448
From 10 to 20 - 308
From 20 to 30 - 219
From 30 to 40 - 204
From 40 to 50 - 173
From 50 to 60 - 145
From 60 to 70 - 81
From 70 to 80 - 29
From 80 to 90 - 9
Married persons of both sexes - 492
Unmarried women from 18 to 50 - 153
Unmarried men past 20 - 72
Unmarried women past 50 - 84
Widowers - 15
Widows - 96

From the foregoing list it appears first that many of the inhabitants of the parish live to what may be reckoned old age; sadly that the number of females far exceeds that of males; and sadly that the number of widowers is but small, while the number of widows is so great as must excite compassion in every feeling breast. If the number of houses or smokes shall appear considerable let it be conserved that most of them are miserable huts and that some of them are only inhabited by a poor solitary widow or by a single man who works for day wages wherever he can find engagement. At different periods of time the population of this parish has varied much, which can be rarely accounted for. We learn from good information that about the beginning of this century there were nearly as many inhabitants of this parish as there are at present. This fact seems to be further established by some old session registers of baptisms and marriages between the years 1700 and 1728, extracts of which are subjoined. It is to be regretted that there are several chasms in those records which prevents our giving the extracts so completely as might be wished, but to show clearly that the population here had gradually diminished between the years 1740 and 1770 lists are given of the baptisms and marriages celebrated about that period viz. from 1747 to 1752. The diminution of the number of inhabitants then can be very rationally accounted for. That martial spirit which has been a distinguishing characteristic of the Munro led persons of every rank and description in the parish to fly to arms as soon as the trumpet sounded the alarm of war. By this means the flower of the young men of Kiltearn were scattered abroad in all countries that have been the seat of war during that period; in Flanders, in Germany, in the East and West Indies and in America; besides several hundreds have gone as recruits to the Scots Brigade in Holland which establishment was at that time one of the chief fields of preferment for young gentlemen of family. It is no wonder then that a country which for a long time had been a nursery for the army should in a course of years decrease considerably in population. But at the peace of 1763 such numbers both of officers and private soldiers flocked home to their native country that the population is sensibly increased since that period. And to this that the various buildings and improvements which have been carried on in this neighbourhood within twenty years has induced many labourers and artificers to settle among us and considerably increased the number of inhabitants.

The following lists extracted from the session records will fully illustrate what has been advanced above by giving a view of the population at three several periods, viz. At the beginning of the century, about the middle of it and at the present time.

List during the first period
1702 from January 6 to September 17 - 33 baptisms, no record of marriages
1724 during the whole year - 42 baptisms, 8 marriages
1725 during the whole year - 30 baptisms, 8 marriages
1726 during the whole year - 18 baptisms, 4 marriages
1727 during the whole year - 21 baptisms, 19 marriages

List during the second period.
1747 - 23 baptisms, 8 marriages
1748 - 25 baptisms, 7 marriages
1749 - 27 baptisms, 7 marriages
1750 - 28 baptisms, 12 marriages
1751 - 26 baptisms, 9 marriages
1752 - 25 baptisms, 10 marriages
Totals - 154 baptisms, 53 marriages
Yearly average, nearly 26 baptisms, 9 marriages

List during the third period
1784 - 31 baptisms, 9 marriages 
1785 - 34 baptisms, 11 marriages
1786 - 34 baptisms, 7 marriages
1787 - 34 baptisms, 7 marriages 
1788 - 40 baptisms, 8 marriages
1789 - 36 baptisms, 8 marriages
1790 - 45 baptisms, 15 marriages
Yearly average, nearly 36 baptisms, 9 marriages, 27 burials

Though no public register of the burials has been kept here, yet from memorandums kept by private persons and the said information we could obtain on the subject, there is every reason to believe that the above is a correct statement for the last seven years.

Heritors, Rent and Farms - There are six heritors or proprietors of land in this parish and the two most considerable of them reside constantly in it; one resides occasionally and the remaining three live upon other parts of their property. About 60 years ago there were more than twice the present number of heriters but these were chiefly cadets of the family of Fowlis who had at different periods derived their possessions from that family; and when those small heritors had been obliged to sell off their lands they have reverted by purchase to the original proprietors. The valued rent of the parish is £3149. 9. 6 Scots; the real rent is about £11599 Sterling. Formerly the great part of the rent was paid in victual but a good deal of the victual is now converted. It is not easy to say what the rate of conversion is, being different on the properties of the several heritors. In stating the rent of the parish we have set no value on the extensive plantations of growing timber which must bring a considerable revenue to the proprietors in a few years and may probably be estimated at £30,000 As the greatest part of the lands in the parish have been measured by surveyors we can give a pretty exact account of the number of acres of arable ground which are reckoned to be about 2250 exclusive of woodlands and pasture ground that has never been cultivated. The lands have let at various prices, some acres at 20s, some at 17s, 15s, 12s, 10s and none below 8s; but as the arable and pasture grounds, both in the high and low districts of the parish, are usually let to tenants in the lump without distinguishing the value of each acre; the above estimate is but conjectural, though founded on the best information to be had. One third part of the whole land in the parish is now in the possession of the proprietors and has been occupied by them for several years past; but it is the prevailing opinion in this country that gentlemen of fortune and landed property rather lose than gain by extensive farms. No doubt much depends upon their being fortunate in getting skilful, active and faithful overseers. All the gentlemen's farms are at present managed either by natives of the south of Scotland or by persons bred to farming there. It may therefore be expected that the same implements of husbandry and the same rotation of crops will be found on those farms which are under their management as we see in Fife or East Lothian, except when a different mode of farming is pursued to gratify the views of the proprietor. The next in rank to the heritors are the better sort of farmers, who may be thus classed:

Tenants paying about £80 rent -   2
Tenants paying about £40 rent - 3
Tenants paying about £30 rent - 4
Tenants paying about £20 rent - 4
Tenants paying from £20 to £10 - 9
Tenants paying from £10 to £3 - 56
Total - 78

The principal farmers mentioned above keep good cattle and farming utensils; and of late years they sow some clover and rye-grass seeds, as well as their landlords. They are also ambitious to have their farms properly enclosed, on reasonable terms; but the other classes of tenants consider enclosures as a grievance, and would rather partake of everything in common. Their cattle are also of an inferior size; and they never sow grass seeds; but, instead of this, when their land is exhausted by a repeated succession of crops, they allow it to lie lea or untilled for two or three years; during which time they pasture it till it gets a turf again; and then till and sow it with oats, and leave another piece of ground lea in its turn. It is no wonder that these farmers should have poor returns from their lands, for nothing but scanty crops can be expected from such wretched management. Another class of people still remains to be mentioned, who, though they cannot be strictly called farmers, are so in part, as they occupy one, two, or three acres of ground. These are commonly called cottars, i.e. cottagers, or mailers, and often hold of the principal farmer. They do not depend on farming for their entire support, being, in general, artificers, mechanics, or day-labourers; and these last do more justice to their lands, and rear better crops on their small lots than the poor tenants do on larger possessions. We shall not attempt to give the exact number of all the cottars and mailers in the parish; but of such of them as are artificers and mechanics, together with their apprentices, the following is a complete list.

Blacksmiths - 3
Taylors - 8
Masons and Slaters - 14
Shoemakers - 9
Joiners and Coopers -   8
Millers -   3
Cart-wrights - 4
Shopkeepers - 4
Weavers - 6
Apprentices - 36
Dyer - 1
Bleacher - 1

We may observe that, as the above number of mechanics cannot be supported to find constant employment in the parish, they work occasionally in the neighbourhood, and employ their leisure hours in cultivating their small lots of land, where potatoes are always the staple crop. Among such a number of farmers as we have described, there must be various methods of culture. On the farms of the better sort, it is common so see two strong horses yoked in the plough, under the management of a single ploughman, or six oxen yoked in successive pairs, which require a driver. Others, again, join two horses and two oxen, believing that the sprightliness of the horses will carry forward the oxen with more alacrity. But the poorer tenants yoke in one plough, horses, oxen, and cows, promiscuously, which often exhibit a miserable spectacle, and clearly shows that they are more solicitous to increase the number, than improve the quality of their cattle. Within a dozen years, an improvement has been introduced, which deserves to be peculiarly attended to, as it has answered all the good purposes that were expected from it, viz., the oxen are now harnessed by many farmers in the same manner as horses, which they work in the plough; the consequence is that the animal draws with more power, and also with more seeming ease to itself, than when it was yoked by the neck. And, to prevent any inconvenience arising from the horns of the ox in putting on the collar, there is a strap and buckle used, by which the collar opens and shuts. The prevailing opinion seems to be in favour of labouring with oxen rather than horses, which are liable to so many accidents, and a certain loss in the end; but it has fared with this, as with many other just maxims, it is more readily assented to in speculation than reduced to practice. There are about 10 oxen wains now in this parish, besides 30 coops or box carts, drawn by two horses, employed by the proprietors and principal farmers. About twenty years ago, there were scarcely half that number. There are near 100 ploughs of all sorts, but many of them very light and trifling. Besides the carts now mentioned, there are about 300 small rung carts, as they are called, which are employed in leading home the fuel from the moss, and the corn to the barn-yard. These carts have, instead of wheels, small solid circles of wood, between 20 and 24 inches diameter, called tumbling wheels. It is also very common to place a coarse, strong basket, formed like a sugar loaf, across these small carts, in which the manure is carried from the dung-hill to the field. These kinds of carts are called Kellachys; and are not only used in this district, but over all the north country. To form some idea of the state of farming in this district, we subjoin the following abstract of the manner in which the ground is laid down, together with the proportions which the several crops bear to each other.

Sown with oats, about 1000acres
Sown with barley - 500 acres
Sown with pease - 120 acres
Sown with clover and rye grass - 300 acres
Sown with potatoes - 140 acres
Sown with turnips - 30 acres
Sown with wheat - 30 acres
Sown with beans - 10 acres
Sown with flax - 6 acres
Sown with rye - 20 acres
Sown with leas - 94 acres
Total 2250 acres

The average returns form the above are very inconsiderable. The barley yields only about 5, and the oats 4 returns. Hence, even in the best years, the parish can spare very little corn for the market. The reason why flax and wheat are so little cultivated in the parish, is the want of mills to manufacture these articles.

Price of Labour and Provisions - The wages paid to servants engaged in domestic employments vary according to the circumstances of their masters; but the wages of those servants who are employed in the labours of the fields can be more easily ascertained. Of these last mentioned, some eat in their master's house, but by far the greatest number live in cottages of their own, and receive 6 bolls of meal instead of board, and £3 Sterling of wages annually. This is the average rate for ordinary ploughmen and carters. From this rule, however, there are many exceptions. A ploughman who excels sometimes get £5 or £6 wages, and 8 or 10 bolls of meal. Besides the above, every man servant has the privilege of planting about half a boll of potatoes for his own use, rent free. The usual wages of female servants in farmers houses is from £1. 4. 0 to £1. 1. 10 yearly. The common method of managing the harvest work is to hire a certain number of shearers for the harvest quarter, proportioned to the size of the farm: This is the old custom. The men get about a boll and an half, and the women a boll of meal, instead of meat and wages, during the harvest season. But the active and intelligent part of the farmers begin to see the inconvenience of the above practice, because, while they are confined to a few hands, they may lose by one stormy day as much as would defray the whole charges of cutting down the crops. Hence, they now hire their shearers for the day, and increase or diminish their number according to the state of their crops. This is evidently the more rational plan of the two. The men receive 7d. per day, and the women 6d. The price of mowing hay is usually from 2s. 2d. to 2s. 6d. per acre. Day labourers receive for ordinary work 6d. per day all the year through, and something extraordinary if their labour is harder than usual. They are more willing, however, to work by the piece; and then they will earn, perhaps, 1s and upwards per day. Trenching ground about 18 inches deep, if it be free from roots and stones, costs 4d. the rood of 6 yards square; but, if the soil is rugged, and hard to work, it costs 8d. The price of grain meal, and all sorts of provisions, has been gradually advancing for several years, and is not likely to fall. Perhaps the average price of barley and oat-meal, for 20 years past, has been about 14s. per boll. This observation, and what follows respecting the price of provisions, holds true with regard to a considerable part of the county of Ross, as well as the parish of Kiltearn.

Nothing can give a better idea of the advanced price of provisions, than the following comparative view of the price of some necessary articles of living in 1760 and 1790.

  1760 1790
Boll of barley or oatmeal 10/- 16/-
Highland cow £1.16. 0 £3. 0. 0
Beef and mutton per lb.   1d 2.5d to 3d
Fowls each   1d 4d to 5d
Stone of butter, of 21 lb.   6d 12s to 14s 
Stone of cheese 2/4d 4s to 5s
The above advanced price of provisions musts be sensibly felt by persons whose incomes are stationary, and who have not means of improving them.

Poor - There is little difference as to the method of providing for the poor in the several parishes of this county, but what arises from the largeness or smallness of the funds appropriated for that purpose. It is truly matter of regret that no proper and effectual scheme has ever been devised among us to provide for the poor. At present they chiefly submit by begging from door to door, not only in the respective parishes to which they belong, but over all the county; and it would seem hard to prohibit them from begging, as they have no alternative but to starve. The weekly collections made in the churches are very inadequate to the purpose of supporting the poor in any of our parishes. In this parish, the collections never exceed L.8 or L.10 Sterling yearly. About L.6 arises from charitable mortifications, which, added to the above, makes the whole fund for the poor about L.15. After paying the session-clerk, and some other officers of the church, there remains only about L.10 Sterling, which is distributed once a year among the most indigent persons of the parish by the kirk-session, in presence of the heritors. But how small a relief can this afford, when there are usually above 100 persons upon the poor's list here, who have every claim to charity that indigence and infirmity can give them? Nor will it appear surprising that the poor's roll in this place should be so large, when it is recollected that there are 96 widows in it.

Rivers, Lakes, and Fisheries - Among the several streams of water which run through this parish, only two of them deserve to be mentioned. First, Skiak, which falls into the sea, close by the church. The banks on both sides are covered with brushwood and trees of various kinds, most of which grow naturally. This river being traced to its source, is found to terminate in a collection of small streams that meet together in the valleys, at the foot of the several mountains. The other river which we shall mention is Aultgrande, i.e. in Gaelic, the ugly water, or burn, so called on account of some rocks through which it runs down, that make a very formidable appearance, which will be more particularly described under the article Curiosities. This river falls into the sea about half a mile east of the former, and has its banks on each side covered with trees and shrubs. When the snow melts on the mountains, this river frequently pours down its streams with great rapidity, and often proves highly detrimental to the adjacent lands. It takes its rise in Loch Glass, a beautiful fresh water lake about 6 miles from the sea. This lake never freezes till about the spring season, and not even then, unless the frost be uncommonly severe. It is about 5 miles long, and near 1 mile broad, and navigable all the way. This, together with several other smaller lakes situated upon the north side of Ben-Uaish, affords abundance of fine trout, though they are not of a large size. There is a small island near the south end of this lake, where it is said one of the lairds of Fowlis had formerly a summerhouse. Besides the trout taken in the rivers and lakes, there are a good number of salmon caught on the sea coast, sometimes by nets and cobles, called a Still fishing, but chiefly by means of yaires, or small enclosures, built in a curve or semi-circular form near the shore. At high water the salmon comes within these yaires, and at low water is easily taken, having no way to escape. This is the simplest and cheapest mode of fishing that can be devised. There are usually four or five yaires kept up in the parish; and each proprietor takes fish enough to supply himself and a few friends. In a good fishing season he can send some to market. Flounders, herring-fry, or sprats, are frequently taken in these yaires.

Fossils, Mines, and Minerals - In digging for peats in the mosses of this parish, numbers of fir trees are found, which afford a clear proof that those extensive tracts of ground were once covered with trees, which must have added much to the beauty of the country, and have been shelter to the cattle. These trees that are dug out of the mosses are perfectly found, and last long when applied to the purpose of building. One chief benefit derived from them is, that they burn well, and afford excellent light to the country people, who cannot afford to buy candles. Clay and shell marl are to be found in this parish. The clay marl is met with in a moss called Boginturie, upon the estate of Fowlis, 3 miles distant from the sea shore. There is abundance of it; and it has answered well with those who have tried it. It will probably come into more repute in proportion as the true notion of farming prevails. The shell marl, though of an excellent quality, does not afford so rich a supply as the other, as there is only a small vein that appears near the church, and is found in the same direction about the west end of the parish. It is pretty remarkable that this shell marl is found at the distance of about 200 yards from the sea, and at least 30 feet perpendicular above its level. There are very flattering appearances of coal in all the western part of the parish, from the sea to the hills. Several years ago, one or two attempts were made to discover a proper mine, but it was not pursued with that ardour and perseverance which the importance of the object deserved. The persons formerly employed only bored in 2 or 3 places. They acknowledged that they found coal, but pretended it lay so deep, that unless the vein was considerable, it would not pay the expense of working; but we cannot help suspecting that they knew but little, and presumed a great deal. Considering, however, the public spirit and independent fortunes of several gentlemen concerned, it is to be hoped that they will once more make a fair trial of the coal mines in this district, by sinking one or two pits, and employing some skilful hands for a few months to work in the mines, and ascertain the value of the coal. The expense would not be very great: the attempt would at least be laudable, and most probably would be crowned with success. In a rock on the banks of Aultnacaorach, i.e. the Sheep burn (a rivulet that falls into Aultgrande), there are indications of lead ore. The only trial ever made of it was about 36 years ago, by one Charles Smith, a common miner, who smelted a piece of the ore taken from this rock, which produced good lead. Near the storehouse of Fowlis there is a chalybeate spring, which has been drank with salutary effects about 60 years ago. There is another spring at Teinleod, above Fowlis Castle, called St Colman's Well. Whether it has any medicinal virtue we have not heard; but it was common practice, in the memory of some still alive, for superstitious persons to frequent the well, and, after drinking the water, to tye some rags to the branches of the surrounding trees.

Roads and Bridges - Very particular attention has been paid of late years to the roads in this district; and the bridges have been widened for the conveniency of carriages. The new bridge over Aultgrande is remarkably neat, and well finished, and does credit to Mr Kyle, the architect, who built it. All the bridges are built and kept in repair at the expense of the county. The roads are kept in repair by the statute labour, which the inhabitants perform personally, and very seldom by commutation. An improvement is now making on the road that leads through this parish, which will add much to the pleasure and comfort of travellers. The chief heritor has, at a considerable expense, carried off the road in a sweep or curve, about a quarter of a mile farther south than it was formerly. By this means, travellers will not only pass through the middle of rich fields and fine plantations of trees, but will also have a full view of that ancient and elegant mansion, Fowlis Castle. This improved road was begun in 1790, and will be completed in the course of 1791.

Villages, Schools, & Manufacturers - There is only one small village in the parish, called Drummond, situated in a level field contiguous to the river Skiak. This village is yet in its infancy; but, as the situation of it is centrical, and agreeable, being on the post-road between Dingwall and Novar Inn, there is every reason to believe that it will increase considerably in a few years. At present, there is a public house, two shop-keepers, a dyer of woollen stuffs, who keeps a press and scouring-mill; and a few other mechanics. Two fairs or markets are held here annually, the one early in June, and the other the first week in December, where black cattle and other country commodities are sold; and, though the proprietor exacts no toll or custom, he maintains a guard while the market lasts, to keep order, and prevent riots. The fair in December is known by the name of the Goose-market. But, as no geese are sold at it, the name Goose-market has probably taken its rise from an entertainment usually given by the gentlemen of the parish to the principal inhabitants on the second day of the market, where a goose (being then in season) always makes a part of the feast. On this occasion, there is no excess in drinking encouraged; and the company meet merely for the sake of social intercourse. Adjoining to the village of Drummond is the parish school, which is commonly attended by 60 or 80 children, and often by a much greater number. The salary paid by the heritors to the master is a chalder of barley; and, as precenter and session-clerk, his emoluments will amount to about L.4, besides the quarter-fees paid by the scholars, which are as low and moderate as any where in Scotland; English being taught for 1s. per quarter; writing 1s. 6d; arithmetic 2s.; and Latin 2s. 6d. It is no more than justice to say that the education of youth is at present conducted at the school upon the most approved plan, and with correspondent success. To which we may add, that, besides what is usually taught at grammar schools, several other branches of useful science and literature are taught here, such as the French language, geography, geometry, book-keeping, and the different branches of practical mathematics. This deserves the more to be remarked, because so few country parishes are favoured with similar advantages for educating their youths. Within a quarter of a mile of the village of Drummond, to the east, on the farm of Upper Balcony, there is a licensed distillery for aqua-vitae or whisky, which pays £30, and consumes about 180 bolls of barley yearly; but it is much to be regretted that a great quantity of spirits, beside the whole produce of this distillery, is consumed within the parish. On the opposite side of the river, and close to the New Bridge, is Culcairn bleachfield, the only one in the county. This bleachfield was first established by the late John Munro, Esq., of Culcairn, father of the present proprietor of that name, in 1751. Though it promised well for several years, yet it afterwards declined much, while it passed through the hands of different managers. In the year 1779, it fortunately fell into the hands of the present manager, William Tait, from Salton Bleachfield in East Lothian. The proprietor, observing that Mr Tait was not deficient, either in skill or activity, resolved to give him every encouragement, granted him a lease of the bleachfield, and built a comfortable house for him. A clear proof of the rapid progress this field has made under the present manager is, that, in the year 1779, there were only 440 pieces of cloth bleached here; but, in the year 1790, the number of pieces amounted to 2242. The Honourable Board of Trustees, being well informed of Mr Tait's industry and success, were pleased, in 1786, to grant £50 for erecting a drying house. And it is not doubted that, on a proper representation, they will give some further aid towards setting up proper machinery, and a complete bleaching apparatus, at this very flourishing field.

Inns and Ale Houses - There are only two licensed ale-houses in the parish which pay excise-duty; one at Drummond, and the other at Wester Fowlis. These are necessary for the accommodation of travellers, and for transacting country business. But there are a number of blind whisky houses, situated in obscure corners, at a distance from the public road. These last are much frequented by tipplers, and dram-drinkers, who sometimes sit up whole nights at their debauch. Such tippling-houses have proved a great nuisance for several years past, and have been very prejudicial to the health, the morals, and the circumstances, of several inhabitants of this parish. It is not uncommon to see two mechanics, or day labourers, repairing once or twice a day to one of these ensnaring haunts, and drinking a choppin bottle of unmixed whisky at each time, with as great ease as their forefathers would drink a Scots pint of twopenny ale, or small beer. What adds to the grievance is that the keepers of these corrupting haunts are not always very scrupulous as to the mode of receiving payment for their drink. When money fails, they will receive meal and victual at a low price, which is often stolen from the mills, and farmers' barns. When this resource fails, they receive household furniture, and wearing apparel. An evil that has come to such a height loudly calls for the interposition of the civil magistrate; and it is a great pity that the gentlemen of the district who are justices of the peace, and are remarkably temperate themselves, have not made greater exertions to suppress this growing evil.

Advantages and Disadvantages - As it is the common lot of mankind to have their condition in this world chequered with a mixture of good and evil, so it cannot be denied that the inhabitants of Kiltearn have their own share, both of the advantages and disadvantages of life. It is a very favourable circumstance for this parish, that it is situated on a beautiful bay, and within four leagues of Cromarty; from which place there is a communication by sea once every fortnight to London and Leith. Besides, there are three several harbours in the parish, viz. at Balcony, Fowlis, and Ardullie point, where vessels from 80 to 100 tons burden may load and unload, and anchor with the greatest safety, as there are no dangerous rocks or shelves near the shore. Excellent freestone quarries, that are easily wrought, are to be met in every corner of the parish. This circumstance, added to the abundance of timber, affords great encouragement to carry on buildings, and other improvements. The advantages of education which are to be had at the public schools here, is a very encouraging circumstance to determine such as have rising families to settle among us. The prevailing taste for buildings and improvements among the gentlemen of the parish is a great blessing to artificers and day-labourers, which was particularly experienced in the hard years 1782 and 1783; being, under God, the mean of preserving many families from perishing for want of bread. But, as the gentlemen's improvements will soon be completed, many hands who are now employed will be at a loss to provide for themselves and their families, unless some manufacturers are speedily established; and, considering the great number of women in the parish, it would be desirable that some manufacture should be introduced to employ the females, and children of both sexes; for it is a hard case when a labouring man is unable to work, by age or sickness, that his family has no means of earning a subsistence, however unwilling to work. This leads us to mention another disadvantage which the poor women labour under here, which is, that they seldom have proper assistance when in child-bed, as there is no regularly bred midwife in the parish. This often proves of fatal consequence to women in that situation, which, of all others, require the most tender care, as well as skill. It is also much to be wished that the inhabitants in general were better lodged than they can possibly be in their present huts. In no country, perhaps, are the gentlemen better lodged, and the tenants worse accommodated, than in this parish; for who could suppose that, among the 385 houses in the parish, there are not forty, in which a person accustomed to a decent accommodation, would choose to lodge a single night. Perhaps their being so frequently obliged to remove their cottages makes them less solicitous to have them comfortably built. The greatest number are built of earth, and are usually razed to the ground once in 5 or 7 years, when they are added to the dunghill. Indeed, they cannot afford to build them of better materials, not even with clay and stone; and yet, as a proof of the late increase of population, when any of these mean huts become vacant, there are perhaps five or six candidates for them; and the successful one is supposed to owe the preference to superior interest. But, among the chief disadvantages of this parish may be reckoned the extreme poverty of many who become farmers. Too many assume this character who have hardly any flock to begin with; and the consequence is, that, after struggling for a few years to keep credit, they at last sink under the load of poverty, while the landlord has a long arrear of rent due to him. In a word, it cannot be denied that many among us have the name of farmers who ought more properly to be day labourers. Indeed, some of their own hired servants have the necessaries of life with a greater degree of comfort than their masters, the farmers. One circumstance very prejudicial to the farmers is that they are too much at the mercy of their servants. When a servant engages with a poor farmer, he bribes him with a promise of high wages; and, when money fails, he allows his servant to sow a quantity of corn for his own use, and to keep a cow in summer, and perhaps two or three in winter, on the farm, which brings certain ruin upon the tenant in the end. We will add, that it is a great loss to have so few justices of peace in the district to take cognizance of this and other grievances. The last particular we shall mention, under the head of disadvantage, is not confined to this parish only, but is equally felt in the parishes around us, viz. the personal service of the tenants. These, however, were formerly more grievous than at present; for it is not long since the farmers, their servants, and horses, must have been ready at a call from the laird when he had any operations to carry on his farm, or otherwise. They ploughed, harrowed, manured, and reaped, the landlord's farm, while their own were often neglected. Here, however, we must observe that, in former times, these services, though a burden, were not such a grievance as they would be now. The rents were then low, and money scarce. Hence the services made a considerable part of the revenue which landlords derived from their lands. But now the case is altered, and, wherever tenants are expected to thrive, personal services must be dispensed with, and commuted. That which has been longest kept up, is the providing a certain quantity of peats or fuel for the master yearly, which interferes much with the labours of the husbandman, as his whole time is employed in providing his own and his landlord's fuel, from the time the seed is sown till the beginning of harvest. Thus he loses all that time in which he ought to provide manure for his land. The personal services of the tenants are, however, always limited, and as exactly known as the rent of the farm. Some proprietors of lands in the parish have begun, of late, to accept of a conversion for all services, and also to grant leases to the industrious part of the farmers. If these conversions were moderate, and if the tenants were encouraged to build decent houses, it would conduce to the comfort of the farmer, and the interest of the landlord.

Language, and Etymology of Names - The language commonly spoken here is the Gaelic, or Earse; but, of late years, the English begins to be more cultivated than formerly, and is understood by the generality of the inhabitants. The church service is performed here, as in the greatest part of the county, in Gaelic in the forenoon, and in English in the afternoon.

The names of places seem, in general, to be of Gaelic original. For example, Balcony, that is, in Earse, a dwelling place. This is a beautiful seat, situated on the banks of the river Skiack, on a fine eminence, which slopes gradually towards the sea. This was formerly one of the seats of the ancient Earls of Ross. Hence it is called Balcony vie Dhonail, or MacDonald's habitation. Ketwal, that is, in Earse, Kead vail, or, the first possession, acquired by the Earls of Ross in this parish. Tennaird, that is, the house on the height. Mountgerald is a modern name given by Mr McKenzie, father to the present proprietor, to a place formerly called Clyne, being situated on an inclined plain. This name was given to allusion to Fitzgerald, who came from Ireland, and who was the progenitor of the McKenzies.

Antiquities and Curiosities - About half a mile to the west of the house of Clyne, and a quarter of a mile to the north of the post road, is a remarkable piece of antiquity, which plainly appears to have been erected by the Druids, and used by them as a place of sacred worship. It consists of a single row of twelve large stones, placed upright, and to 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 3 paces from the eastern oval is a circular hollow, said to have been a well of a 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, or highest circle, 35 paces. It is observable, that these curious remains have a great resemblance to many others in different places of Great Britain, particularly to those in the parish of Addington, near Malling in Kent (an account of which is given by Mr Colebrooke in the Archaeologia, vol. ii page 107), and the celebrated ones at Stonehenge in Wiltshire*. Large conical heaps of stones, or cairns, as they are called are to be met with on the tops of many of the hills and eminences in the parish. About 800 paces to the west of the above ruin is a circular cairn, in diameter about 30 paces, containing, in the centre, a grave 3 feet 6 inches long, 18 inches broad, and 14 inches deep, neatly lined with four flat stones, and covered by another. There are also at the circumference three graves of the same dimensions, on the east, south, and west, but they are in a more ruinous condition than the central one. It is probable that these were the sepulchres of a certain family or tribe; the chief was buried in the centre, and his relatives or dependents at certain distances around him. But we shall be at a loss to account for the smallness of these graves, unless we suppose them to have contained only the ashes or bowels of the deceased person. These, it is likely, were deposited in earthen pitchers or vases, as several vessels of that kind have been dug up by the plough in the neighbourhood of these cairns. There is also on the north side of the river Skiack, and nearly opposite to the village of Drummond, a grave of an oblong form, lined with stone in the same manner as those above described; it is called the Priest's Sepulchre, and is 7 feet long, 3 broad, and about 3 deep. It is evident from these remains, and many others of a similar nature, which abound in almost every part of the Highlands of Scotland, that it was the custom of our ancestors to cover their burying places with heaps of stones; and the reason probably was to prevent the bodies from being dug up, and devoured by wolves, wild boars, and other beasts of prey, which then infested the country**. There are ruins of five different chapels and burying places in this parish, viz. one at Balcony, called St Ninian's Chapel, one at Culnaskeath, one at Wester Fowlis, one at Kilchoan, and one at Limlair, near the sea shore, called St Mary's Chapel. Several families continue still to bury at the last named church yard, and there are some vestiges of the manse, or minister's house, contiguous to it. The last incumbent's name was Mr Henry Kincaid, who seems to have lived about the beginning of the last century; for it appears from some records that he disposed of certain teinds to the Baron of Fowlis in 1607.

* In order to make the above description more easily understood, Mr. Robertson subjoined a sketch of the form and situation of these stones; and the Editor is sorry that the plan of this work would not suffer an engraving of it to be made.

** "I'll add a stone to your cairn" was formerly a proverbial expression of friendship among the Highlanders.

The natural curiosity that chiefly deserves notice is the rock called Craig-grande, or the ugly rock. This is a deep chasm or abyss, formed by two opposite precipices that rise perpendicularly to a great height, through which the Ault-grande runs for the space of 2 miles. It begins at the distance of 4 miles from the sea, by a bold projection into the channel of the river, which it diminishes in breadth by at least one half. 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 farther down, the country people have thrown a slight bridge, 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 by mortal's trod", and where the genial rays of the sun never yet penetrated; the water falls 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; the fine groves of pines, which majestically climb the sides of a beautiful eminence, that rises immediately from the brink of the chasm; all these objects cannot be contemplated without exciting emotions of wonder and admiration in the mind of every beholder. The appearance of this singular and picturesque scene, will naturally bring to the recollection of the classical spectator those beautiful lines of Virgil, in which he describes the gulf, through which his Alecto shoots herself into the internal regions:

........... densis hunc frondibus atrum
Urget utrimque latus memoris, medioque fragosus
Dat sonitum faxis et torto vortice torrens.
Hic specus horrendum, et saevi spiracula Ditis
Monstrantur; ruptoque ingens Acherontse vorago
Pestiferas aperit fauces ..............

Critics may labour to convey the force and meaning of the author's words; and travellers may, by their ingenious descriptions, give us a still more lively idea of their beauty and propriety; but he who would see a living commentary on this noble passage, must visit the rock of Aultgrande. There is also a most delightful ride from the church of Kiltearn to Ardullie by the sea side, which is only fordable at low water. Here the traveller has the sea on the one hand, and a fine view of Ferintosh on the opposite side of the bay. On the other hand there is a bank covered with various trees and shrubs, as oak, beech, larix, spruce fir; and about half way there is a perpendicular rock, about 30 feet high, also covered with shrubbery. Here there is a natural cascade, or fall of water, and close to the fall an artificial grove, and seat, planted around with flowers, and some ornaments fixed in the face of the rock; all which is very gratifying to any one who takes a forenoon's ride for pleasure. But, as the fine plantations contribute so much to the beauty of this parish, we cannot avoid taking notice of it as a remarkable event, greatly to be regretted, that, upon the 17th day of January 1791, the high wind broke down, and tore up by the roots, about 6000 fine firs in the different plantations upon the estate of Fowlis. We must not omit to take notice of a place called Corrivackie, which is so situated behind the great hill of Uaish, that the sun does not shine there from November to the beginning of March.

Church - It has never been ascertained beyond a doubt who is patron of this parish. The only claimants are the Crown, and the family of Fowlis. All the ministers from the Revolution, down to 1770, were settled by a call from the heritors. The present incumbent, and his predecessor, were settled by royal presentations. Mr Harry Robertson was translated from Clyne to Kiltearn the 9th May 1776. He has been married since 1772, and has 8 children now living, 4 sons and 4 daughters. The church of this parish was handsomely rebuilt in 1790, at the expense of £700 Sterling. The manse and offices were built in 1762, at a very moderate expense. They require some repairs; and there is no doubt that they will soon be made comfortable. The stipend consists of 136 bolls, half oat-meal, and half barley, and £32 Sterling, with a glebe of 4 acres arable ground, without any grass.

Eminent Men - Though every age and every soil does not produce men of eminent talents, it cannot be denied that Kiltearn has given birth to several who have done honour to their native country. The Munros have distinguished themselves, at different periods, by their martial spirit and warlike achievements. This circumstance is taken notice of by Buchanan, in the 17th book of his History, where, after speaking of the difficulties in which Mary Queen of Scots was involved at Inverness, he adds, "That, as soon as they heard of their Sovereign's danger, a great number of the ancient Scots poured in around her, especially the Frasers and Munros, which (says he) were esteemed among the most valiant of the clans inhabiting those countries." And, in the war carried on by Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, against the Emperor 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. Many of them gained great reputation in this war, particularly their chief, Robert Munro, the 21st Baron of Fowlis, who so distinguished himself by his military conduct, that he was made colonel of two regiments at the same time, one of foot, and another of horse. It is not necessary, on this occasion, to enumerate the several illustrious characters that sprung from the house of Fowlis, as this has already employed the pen of a very learned and pious writer*. But, it would be unpardonable to omit mentioning the late Sir Robert Munro, who was killed at the battle of Falkirk on the 17th January 1746. There are still many living witnesses to attest how great an ornament he was to his name and to his country. His conduct at the battle of Fontenoy was heard with just applause through all Great Britain; and there is still extant a copy of a letter from the Elector Palatine to his envoy at London, desiring him to thank the King of Great Britain, in his name, for the excellent behaviour of the Highland regiment, while they were in his territories, "which (as he says expressly) 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." Sir Harry Munro, son to Sir Robert Munro just mentioned, was highly distinguished in another line, as a scholar of the first rank. In classical learning he was an uncommon proficient. He laid the foundation of his learning at Westminster school, and perfected it at the university of Leyden. He employed his leisure hours, for near 20 years, in writing a large critical work upon Buchanan's Psalms, which he finished, and left completely prepared for press. This work he submitted to the review of the late learned Mr Thomas Ruddiman, who gave his approbation of it, and paid the highest compliments to the classical knowledge and critical abilities of Sir Harry; which appears by a holograph letter of Mr Ruddiman's, still extant in the library at Fowlis. Sir Harry, having gone to Edinburgh for the recovery of his health, died there on the 12th June 1781. Some divines have also flourished in Kiltearn that would do honour to any parish; but we shall only mention two. The first is Mr Donald Munro. This eminent man, contemporary with the celebrated Buchanan, was descended of the family of Coul, a branch of the Munros. He was first Archdeacon of the Isles, and gave Buchanan a description of them, which he acknowledges in his History. He was afterwards appointed superintendent of Ross, and parson of Kiltearn. The other is Mr Thomas Hogg, who was settled minister at Kiltearn in 1655, but was turned out at the restoration to make way for an Episcopal minister. He suffered much persecution, being long imprisoned in the Bass [i.e. Bass Rock prison, Firth of Forth]. When he obtained his liberty he retired to Holland, where he was highly esteemed for his learning and piety. There is a pamphlet published, containing memoirs of his life, and many remarkable anecdotes of him. There are several facts well attested, which indicate that he had a remarkable presentiment of future events respecting the Church in general, and himself in particular. Even at a period when, to all human appearance, it was most unlikely, and when he was obliged to fly from his country and charge, he foretold, with the most assured confidence, that there would be such a revolution as happened afterwards, and that he should return to his charge at Kiltearn, and be buried there; which accordingly turned out as he had said. And, in consideration of his eminent worth, and great sufferings, King William was pleased to appoint him one of his Chaplains for Scotland; but he died very soon after his appointment, at Kiltearn, in 1692, and is buried at the entry to the south-west door of the church. Some person, out of respect for his memory, and zealous to express the sense he had of Mr Hogg's uncommon worth, caused the following singular inscription to be put on his grave-stone: "This stone will witness against the parishioners of Kiltearn, if ever they bring in an ungodly minister here." But, while we pay the just tribute of praise to those whose stations and advantages of education enabled them to distinguish themselves in the world, it would be unjust to overlook those blossoms of genius that shoot forth in the humble walks of life. Here, a watchmaker in this parish naturally occurs to our view. This man (now about 30 years of age) was born and brought up in the Highland district of this parish, and, although he never saw a watch or clock till he was grown up to manhood, yet, by mere intuition, has made several clocks of coarse materials, which go well. He only wants a little instruction and assistance to make a figure in his line. It is a pity that he can neither read nor write, and hardly speaks English. There is also a school-boy, about 16 years of age, who discovers a good taste for drawing, and promises to arrive at some eminence in that art, if his genius was properly cultivated: As he is of a weak constitution, he is not fit for any hard labour. Such instances of genius, who want the advantages of education, are frequently to be met with in the world, and naturally suggest to the feeling heart that thought which Mr Gray so beautifully expresses in his Elegy:

"Perhaps, in this neglected spot, is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre:
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unrol;
Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul."

* Vide an account of the antient family of Munros of Fowlis, in the Appendix to the Life of Colonel Gardiner, by the late Dr Doddridge.

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