New Statistical Account (1836) Parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden

Resolis 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 (1836) Kirkmichael and Cullicudden Parish (Resolis)

The following is a transcription of the actual Account of the Parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden from the second or new Statistical Account of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden (dated Sept 1836). 

UNITED PARISH OF KIRKMICHAEL AND CULLICUDDEN

PRESBYTERY OF CHANONRY, SYNOD OF ROSS
 
THE REV. DONALD SAGE, MINISTER
 

I. - TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY

Name - Of this united parish the eastern division is Kirk Michael. Its Gaelic name is "Kill a' Mhichail" or the Cell of St. Michael; but this name is by the inhabitants usually given only to the church and burying-ground. The district which the ancient parish of Kirkmichael comprehended is called "Sgire' a' Mhichail" or the parish of St. Michael.

Cullicudden forms the western district of the united parish. Its Celtic name is Coull a Chuddinn or Chuddegin, signifying the Cuddie Creek, that species of fish being formerly, though not now, caught in great abundance in a small creek on the shore of Cullicudden, and a little to the west of the old church. It is probable, however, that St. Martin's, or Kirk Martin, and not Cullicudden, was the name originally of this small but ancient parish. It is still called by the natives Sgire a' Mhartinn, or the parish of St. Martin's; and at the place of St. Martin's, a small farm near its western extremity, the foundation of a church, surrounded by a burying-ground not now occupied, may still be seen. The probability is, therefore, that the parish church, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, was originally at the place of St. Martin's, but the church being afterwards removed to the more centrical place of Cullicudden, the parish from this circumstance came to be so called. The union of the parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden must have taken place subsequent to the establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland in 1688, for, about the middle or rather towards the beginning of the seventeenth century, and during the sway of Scottish Episcopacy, the three adjacent cures or parishes of Cullicudden, Kirkmichael, and Cromarty were served by three Episcopal clergymen, viz. Mr Robert Williamson, curate of Cullicudden; Mr Charles Pope, curate of Kirkmichael; and Mr Gilbert Anderson, curate of Cromarty; each of these curacies being in the gift of the Urquharts of Cromarty as patrons. The united parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, though still so called in old deeds and in the records of presbytery, is better known by its more modern name of Resolis (Ri-sholuis, i.e. the field or ridge of light), and the united parish got this name from the circumstance, that the manse first, and a few years afterwards the church, was built, and the glebe designated by excambion at the place of Resolis, as the most centrical for the convenience of the parishioners, about the year 1767. Previous to that period, the minister had his residence at Cullicudden, while he preached every Sabbath alternately at the churches of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden. After the present church was built, the two old churches were suffered to fall into decay. The gables of both are still standing. That of Kirkmichael contains the old bell, which is occasionally tolled at funerals.

Situation, Extent, &c. - The united parish lies partly in the county of Ross, and partly in the county of Cromarty, within the district called an Eilean Dubh, or the Black Isle, on the south side of the Cromarty Frith. It extends in length, from east to west, about 8 miles, and between 3 and 4 miles in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the Cromarty Frith; on the east by the parish of Cromarty; on the south by the parishes of Rosmarkie and Avoch; and on the west by the parish of Urquhart or Ferintosh.

Topographical Appearances - Its form is that of an oblong square. From the shores of the Frith, the land rises gradually for nearly two miles, then sinks down into a valley, on the south side of which, it again rises rather abruptly until it terminates in the summit of a hill called the Maole-Buidhe (i.e. the yellow brow or ridge). The top of this hill, which is the precise boundary of the parish to the south, is called the Ard Meadhonach, or high midland, as it runs through the very centre of the Black Isle, and is equidistant from the Friths of Fort George and Cromarty, by which that district is bounded to the north, south, and east. This is the only elevation in the parish which most nearly approaches to any thing resembling a mountain range. It may be about 800 feet above the level of the sea. The valley at the base of it contains nearly all the arable land of the parish, and runs almost through the whole of it. The extent of coast from east to west, including all the sinuosities of the frith, may be about ten miles. The shore is gravelly, interspersed with low flat rocks, and below flood-mark.

Meteorology, Climate - There is nothing very peculiar in the climate. It is usually moist and cold about the middle of spring. The snow during the winter months, owing to the almost insular situation of the district of the Black Isle, does not lie long upon the ground. The coldness of the spring, the prevalence of rain and easterly winds, and a sour damp soil, retard the labours of spring, and protract both sowing and reaping nearly a month longer than in those parishes in the immediate vicinity to the south. Dry weather, often frosty at night, commences about the middle or end of May, and the wind shifts to the north-west, from which, with but few intermissions, it continues to blow during the rest of the season, sometimes with great violence, and heightened by the valley through which it rushes, so that trees planted in hedgerows which have not a firm hold of the soil, all over the parish, have a cast to the east. In autumn, the high west winds occasion much loss to the farmer by shaking, more especially in those more elevated localities which have neither woods nor hedges to protect them. Thunder storms usually occur about the beginning of July, after a long course of dry scorching weather. They have been known in some seasons, though not with any degree of violence, to continue for a week, beginning at noon and ending at sunset. Any instances, however, of houses being struck by lightning or of loss of life thereby, whether of man or beast, the oldest persons living never saw or heard of. In winter, when loose and open, thunder storms have occurred but very seldom. The polar lights are visible almost every night after the autumnal equinox, often before. They were distinctly visible this year about the 1st of August, or even about the middle of July. It has been ascertained, by observation, that when close to the verge of the horizon, they indicate loose stormy weather; when more elevated, fair but frosty weather. About four years ago, the aurora assumed here an unusually striking and magnificent appearance. It was observed at midnight and about the middle of October, shooting along the whole extent of the upper region of the sky; and, after assuming various fantastic shapes, it formed itself into an immense arch resembling a rainbow, diffusing over the heavens a pale but vivid light, and giving a most unearthly appearance. The climate in general, however, is certainly salubrious. The people are healthy, and many among them attain to a very advanced age. The oldest man in the parish is now entering his 109th year. Epidemic distempers are rare, and the Asiatic cholera, which, in 1882 so fatally visited the surrounding parishes of Avoch, Cromarty, and Kilmuir Wester, and Suddie, appeared in this parish only in the case of one man, who recovered after a comparitively short but severe illness.

Hydrography - Friths - The only Frith or arm of the sea in this parish is, as already mentioned, the Frith of Cromarty, or perhaps, more properly speaking, the estuary of the river Conon, a large and beautiful stream, which runs into the Frith 11/2 miles above Dingwall, and about 7 miles beyond the western boundary of this parish. The extreme length of the Frith from the town of Dingwall to the Sutors of Cromarty, may be about 231/2 miles. Its depth varies, but does not exceed 20 fathoms. Its waters, particularly at the west end of the parish, are brackish, and, during the winter floods and at low water, almost fresh, and of a deep brown colour. There are no quick-sands on this side of the Frith, with the exception of a single spot from which clay formerly had been dug, immediately below the House of Poyntzfield, but there are very dangerous ones on the opposite side, particularly in the bay of Nigg, where many lives have been lost.

Springs, Rivulets, &c. - The north side of the parish is totally destitute of springs, in consequence of which, during the summer drought, the inhabitants are very ill supplied with water. Such as can afford it are under the necessity of digging wells and erecting forcing-pumps at a considerable expense. A well of this description was dug by the present incumbent, about four years ago, behind the manse, to the depth of thirty feet, and it is remarkable that the water issuing through a red species of rock has the smell and much of the taste of the celebrated Strathpeffer mineral. Strong springs, and of excellent quality, abound in the south side of the parish. The only stream of fresh water is what is called the Burn of Resolis, which, issuing from a small lake at Kinbeachie, at the western extremity of the parish, runs throughout its whole length, drives two or three mills in its course, and, after receiving four small tributary streams, falls into the Frith at the village of Gordon's mills. There are no mineral springs of any note in the parish.

Geology, Mineralogy - The prevailing rock in this parish is sandstone or freestone. Geologists refer it, in greater part, to the old red sandstone formation. The soil, with but few exceptions, is poor and unproductive. A black light loam covers a hard till on a substratum of clay. The till itself is a composition of clay and gravel, and the inveterate foe of vegetable life. In trenching, it is necessary either not to reach the till at all, or to go at least a foot and a-half beyond it, in order to break it up altogether, and place the substratum of clay on the surface. In many places, the till is so far below the surface, or so very thick, that this is impracticable, and in any case the expense is so great, that it has never been attempted. The effect is that, in spring, which is usually rainy, the soil is so wet as entirely to prevent early sowing, whilst the summer drought hardens it almost to the consistency of rock, and the growth and grain are miserable. On the west and north-west side of the parish, and close by the shore, the soil forms an exception to this almost general character of it. It is there kindlier, and of a sharper and better quality. The baneful till is absent; the bottom is chiefly freestone. The soil, however, is so light after all, that sowing must commence before the moisture of the spring rains be exhausted by the too near approach of summer drought and warmth. Lime answers well, provided the surface be properly drained, which, owing to the inequalities of the ground in the greater part of the parish, is attended with considerable difficulty and expense. Simple minerals are either wanting, or at least undiscovered. The lead ore found in the freestone rock to the south of the mill of St. Martin's, by the late Mr Gordon of Newhall, in 1786, has ever since been unnoticed. Some indications of coal were a few years ago observed near the freestone quarry at Cullicudden, but a closer investigation has never been attempted. It is highly probable that coal exists in the parish, but the expensive, though ultimately unsuccessful, efforts of the late Marquis of Stafford at Brora, in the neighbouring county of Sutherland, pretty clearly prove that both the quality of the coals, and the enormous expense of mining, are insuperable obstacles to any thing like a profitable coal trade so far north, and probably even north of the county of Fife. At Cullicudden, a freestone quarry has been opened, and in operation for many years. The materials of many public buildings and of stone piers have been taken from this quarry. The freestone varies both in quality and colour, from red to a deep yellow. The quality of the red freestone is seldom good. If taken, as too often it has been, near the surface, it blasts, and, by the action of the weather, it very soon crumbles down. The yellow is rather better, but is often almost equally friable under the action of a northern climate. To secure the good materials which this quarry affords, the only way is to quarry at a considerable depth - perhaps nine or twelve feet.

Zoology - No animals of the rarer kind are found in this parish. Moor-fowl or grouse, though very scarce, is to be found on the Maoile Buidhe. Partridges and hares are very numerous. Rabbits were introduced a few years ago, by a gentleman who had a temporary residence in this parish, and have now so much increased as to have become a public nuisance. In most cases, they burrow under ground, but the east end of the parish being overgrown with furze or whins, when burrowing is not practicable, they find shelter and nestle in them. Roes are found among such of the plantations as are not yet cut down, though not very numerous. The fish caught in the Frith by stake-nets and yares, are chiefly salmon of excellent quality: they are sent to the London market. Skate and whitings or cuddies, are caught by nets laid during the silence of night. Herring-fry, salmon, and salmon-trout, as well as the cuttle-fish, and other species of the rarer kind, are often caught in a yare, the property of Major Munro of Poyntzfield. Shell-fish is also found on the rocks, but more abundantly in a small bay or creek below Poyntzfield, on the sands at low water, and at springtides.

Trees - There is no natural wood in this parish, with the exception of a few patches of birch, quaking-ash, and hazel, growing on the banks of the rivulets, running through the estates of Poyntzfield and Braelangwell. The surface of the parish where it has not been planted is generally bare and moorish, yielding only furze, and a stunted kind of heather. Very extensive plantations of Scotch fir have been cut down on the estates of Newhall and Braelangwell. The larch fir in small patches, or rnixed with the Scotch pine, has been lately introduced by such of the proprietors as have considerably improved their estates. It is much to be regretted that the larch is not more universally cultivated, not only on account of the rapidity of its growth and the value of its bark and timber (excellent for ship and boat building) but also, as it is a well established fact, that plantations of larch, which will grow equally well on any kind of soil, instead of impoverishing, as the Scotch pine always does, actually improve it by the fall of the leaf at the end of autumn. Hard wood does not altogether thrive in this parish. The climate and soil are against it. At the policies of Newhall and Poyntzfield, it is true, there are fine old trees of ash, beech, and elm, nearly one hundred years old (and which a few years ago made a very narrow escape from the axe), but in most other parts of the parish where hard wood has been planted, it is stunted in its growth, and bark-bound. Comparatively young trees of ash are covered with seed, an almost infallible sign that their natural growth is checked. The leaves, too, fall off about the beginning of September.

Botany - Of plants, either rare or medicinal, there are scarce any in the parish worthy of notice. On the banks of the rivulets, and among the patches of natural wood, the Oxalia Acetosella, the Primula veris, the Anemone nemorosa, and the wild hyacinth, so common to the Highlands of Scotland, grow luxuriantly. The Orchis maseula, very rarely, and the Orchis Morio, rather abundantly, are found in the woods of Poyntzfield. The Saxifraga oppositifolia is found in the west end of the parish. The rag-weed, as in most parishes in the lowlands of Ross-shire, is the great nuisance of the pasture field, about the close of summer.

II. - CIVIL HISTORY

There are no records, either printed or in manuscript, of the history of this parish. Even the scanty, and often not very agreeable information to be derived from the church session records, is wanting; these repositories of past irregularities having been committed to the flames, soon after the induction of the late incumbent. The only historical event worthy of notice is the plague of 1694, so fatal in the south of Scotland, and which found its way, it is said, the same year to this parish. It raged with unrelenting fury; whole villages were depopulated, and the living were so much wearied with burying the dead that they ceased at last to perform that office at all. *

* Two affecting incidents connected with this terrible visitation are handed down by tradition. One is that, when persons found themselves attacked by the disease, aware that their bodies after death would remain unburied if they did not themselves take some previous measures, so long as they had any strength remaining, they actually dug their own graves, and laid themselves down in them until they expired! Another is that a poor maniac, the only survivor, not only of his own family, but of a whole village, after waiting beside the body of his mother, the last victim of the plague in the place, took up the corpse at last on his shoulders, carried it to a neighbouring village, and left it standing upright against a wall in the parish.

Eminent Men - Eminent characters, in a parish comparatively so remote and obscure, may scarcely be expected; yet they are not entirely wanting, though their honour was not that which "is of this world". Mr James Fraser of Brae, whose memoirs present us with a simple but vivid sketch of a mind deeply imbued with vital piety, and the force of truth, and which are already so well known to the religious world, was a native of this parish, and the only son of Sir James Fraser of Brae, one of the heritors, and third son of Hugh, seventh Lord Lovat. The house in which he was born in 1639 is still standing, and is occupied at present by a tenant on the estate of Newhall. Several passages of Scripture are carved, in capital letters, on the west gable. This eminent man, from his earliest years almost to the close of his well-spent life, was the object of human malice and persecution, in no ordinary measure.

We willingly assign a place, among the characters now referred to, to the Rev. Hector M'Phail, who was minister of this parish from 1748 to 1774 - a man of primitive simplicity, fervent piety, and most eminently successful in his ministerial labours. His resolution was never to meet any of his parishioners, or indeed any individual whatever, whether high or low, young or old, without opening up to them, and pressing upon their consideration, that ministry of reconciliation with which he was intrusted, and which he had the happy talent of doing in a manner as striking and impressive as it was easy and familiar. Many persons still living, now very old men, recollect well, and better than more recent circumstances, the very words of those solemn and affectionate exhortations which were addressed to them, when children, by this eminent man of God.

Antiquities - The antiquary, though not perhaps to be much gratified, would not be altogether disappointed in his researches into the few relics of ancient times still extant in this parish. On the moors, traces almost everywhere may be observed of ancient encampments, and of monuments of hard-fought fields. A tradition is still current among the people, of a sanguinary conflict fought on the moor which stretches from the place of Resolis to Cullicudden on the north side of the public road to Dingwall, and of another on the north shoulder of the Moile Buidhe at the southern extremity of the parish, and on the south side of the public road to Kessock Ferry; and certainly these moors, thickly covered as they are with tumuli, bear testimony to the truth of the tradition.

About twenty years ago, a large barrow or cairn was opened up by the late Sir Alexander M'Kenzie of Avoch, at the farm of Woodhead in this parish, from which to get materials for building a farmhouse, and in the centre of it was found a rude sarcophagus made up of large flags, containing a quantity of human bones of immense size, which, on being exposed to the air for a very short time, crumbled down to the finest powder.

An earthen tumulus or mound being broken into, at Jemimaville, by Major Munro, to procure gravel for metalling a road, an earthen urn of a very antique form was found in it, and which is at present in the possession of that gentleman. The present incumbent, about two years ago, employed a man to trench a piece of moor on the upper part of his glebe; the circular base of an ancient Pictish house occupied one particular spot, in trenching which a stone vessel was found imbedded in the soil about a foot and a-half below the surface, resembling a cup about four inches in diameter, and three quarters of an inch thick, and made of a piece of hard whinstone. It appears evidently to have been a spoon, a small protuberance on one side intimating where the handle was. This curious relic, now in the possession of the present incumbent, is perhaps as old as the days of Druidism.

Ancient Buildings - The only remains of ancient buildings are the ruins of Castlecraig or Tigh na Craig (the house of the rock) at the west end of the parish. It is built on the edge of a precipice close by the shore of the Cromarty Frith, and was originally surrounded by a wall which might be about twelve or thirteen feet high, but the fragments of which now only remain to the north, east, and west of it. Only a single wing of the building is now standing, and evidently the oldest part of it, as, like many other castles in the north of a similar description, it received additions at different times.

Session Records &c. - The lay members of the session are eight in number, all regularly ordained as elders. The parish is divided into districts, and an elder appointed to officiate in each district, all of whom give in regular reports to the session. The register of births and marriages has been regularly kept from the year 1748. A register previous to that period evidently did exist, but only a few leaves of it remaining, its contents were carefully transcribed into the present register. A very elegant and massy service of plate, consisting of two handsome silver communion cups, and a large silver flaggon, was lately gifted to the session by the late Mrs M'Leod of London, a native of this parish, daughter of the late Mr Urquhart of Kinbeachie, a venerable and truly pious and excellent person. The session records have been duly kept only since the induction of the present incumbent in 1822. Previously, and for the space of forty-seven years, there was neither a regularly constituted session, nor, of course, any records whatever, the books containing the minutes of session before that period having been burned.

Heritors - Improvments - The united parish is divided among nine heritors, three of whom only are resident. The rest either do not reside in it at all, or visit it only occasionally. Colin M'Kenzie, Esq. of Newhall, is patron of the parish, and proprietor of about the one-half of it.

The number of acres imperial in the parish cannot be exactly stated. The property is occupied chiefly by small tenants having farms not exceeding 40 or 50 acres. There are only three large farms, the largest not exceeding 130 acres. Much of the latter is waste land, capable of improvement either by trenching or planting, but which has been suffered to remain in this state in consequence of the property having been long encumbered with debt, and in the hand of trustees for the behoof of the creditors. The present proprietor, though in easy circumstances, is advanced in life and unmarried; and the estate, being strictly entailed, passes after his death, into the possession of a distant relation, circumstances which prevent him from projecting any improvements whatever. The mansion-house is a chaste and elegant modern building. The present proprietor has built a very commodious and handsome square of office-houses, with which he has burdened the heirs of entail.

The next property in point of extent is that of Poyntzfield. The present proprietor is George Gunn Munro, Esq. This estate may be about one-fourth of the extent and rental of the parish. The policies around the mansion-house were much improved by the first proprietor of the name of Munro, upwards of half a century ago, by trenching and planting. The trees have since attained to a great size, and are a very great ornament. Major Munro, since his accession to the estate, has very much added to those improvements. There is only one farm of any extent occupied by a tenant. The remaining part of the estate is in the hands of small tenants and crofters. The other properties in the parish are those of Braelangwell, belonging to Duncan Davidson, Esq. of Tulloch, a small property once highly improved, but of late much neglected; Drimcudden, another small property lately improved, and at present in the hands of the Trustees of the late Donald M'Kenzie, Esq. of Newhall, consisting principally of church lands, and paying a heavy rent to the Crown; Kinbeachie, the property of Thomas Urquhart, Esq. who has also much improved the lands, and intends soon to build a handsome mansion-house upon them; East Culbo, the property of Dr M'Kenzie, occupied until very lately by small tenants, but all of whom are now removed, and the whole property thrown into a large farm, which Dr M'Kenzie has highly and judiciously improved by trenching and planting; Woodhead, a small farm occupied by a tenant and crofter, the property of Lady M'Kenzie of Avoch;* West Culbo, a part of the estate of Sir James W. M'Kenzie of Scatwell, Bart. on which no improvements have been made; Gordon's Mills, a part originally of the estate of Newhall, the property of John M'Leod, Esq. On all these properties the tenants are rack-rented, and the old rule of meliorations, so great a bar to agricultural improvement, is rigidly adhered to; by that rule, the incoming tenant at entry pays to the outgoing tenant a sum of money, being the valuation of the dwelling-house and farm-steading, and it not infrequently happens that the houses are valued at a very high rate when they are so ruinous as scarcely to be habitable.

* The late Sir Alexander M'Kenzie, her husband, began to improve this property about fifteen years ago, but since his death nothing further has been done.

III. - POPULATION

The population of the united parish, about seventy years ago, appears to have far exceeded its present amount. The reasons of this are very obvious. Small farms and even crofts have been, since that time, thrown into large ones. The present incumbent has been in the practice of taking a list of the population annually, during his annual course of catechising. The population of the parish for this year, that is, from January to September 1836, is as follows:

 Village of Gordon's mills

 42

 Village of Jemimaville

 147

 Remaining part of the parish

 1319

 Total population of united parish 1836

 1508

 Number of families

 349

Average number of children in each family

 4

Yearly average of births for last seven years

 10

Yearly average of marriages for last seven years 

 6

During the last three years there have been 8 illegitimate births in the parish.

IV. - INDUSTRY

Manufactures - At Gordon's Mills, many years ago, the proprietor of the estate of Newhall established a snuff-manufactory, which, however, did not continue for any length of time, as the expenses far exceeded the profits. The premises have ever since been occupied by machinery for carding wool driven by a water wheel. The business is, however, on the most limited scale, and of late scarcely anything has been done.

A lint-manufactory, established at Cromarty, upwards of half a century ago by an English company, had been, and still is, a great benefit to the poorer class of females in this and the neighbouring parishes, by giving employment to them as spinners. The prices of labour are now low and much lower than they have been, but [end of sentence omitted]

During the drought of summer, the roads are barely tolerable, but in winter, particularly after a long continuance of frosty weather, they are almost impassable. And yet, notwithstanding this wretched state of the public roads, the commutation money for statute labour has been, year after year, most punctually and even rigidly exacted. The blankets have been often taken off the beds of old bed-ridden people, by the merciless exactors. This state of things evidently arises from mere mismanagement as well as from a want of public spirit.

Schools - There are three schools in the parish, each of which is well situated for the convenience of the inhabitants. The parochial school is in the centre. A very substantial and commodious school-house, with schoolmaster's apartments, has been lately built by the heritors. The present teacher also holds the office of session-clerk. The average number of scholars attending may be about 30. The salary was, in the year 1829, increased from L.16. 17s. 8d. to L.30. The school fees scarcely, at an average, amount to L.10 annually. There is another school at Drimcudden, established, in 1823, by the Inverness Education Society. The school-house and schoolmaster's apartments were built by subscription, and by collections made at the church doors, at several different times. The society at Inverness appointed the present teacher, and agreed to pay him a salary of L.19, but afterwards, when their funds were reduced, in consequence of the increased demand for schools, and a number of subscribers having withdrawn, they reduced the schoolmaster's salary from L.19 to L.10. The average number of scholars may be about 20. The fees are very irregularly paid; the greater part of them is paid by equivalents instead of money, that is, by any commodity which the people who are very poor are best able to give. This school at present is in rather an unprosperous state. The other school is at the village of Jemimaville. This is one of the Assembly's schools, taught at present by Mr Gilbert M'Culloch, and is certainly one of the most efficient and best taught seminaries in the north. The intellectual system has been adopted, and with great success.* Many young men taught at this school are now the teachers of subscription schools through the country, very much to the satisfaction of their employers.

* For the establishment of this school, the parish is greatly indebted not only to the Assembly's Committee, for the readiness with which they granted so great a boon, but also, and especially, to the exertions of Major Munro, the present proprietor of Poyntzfield, who not only applied to the Assembly's Committee to establish one of their schools here, but at his own sole expense built the school-house and schoolmaster's apartment, and has repeatedly repaired them, when necessary. Every application which he made to the conterminous proprietors for aid in so laudable an undertaking was fruitless, and if he had not been at tbe sole expense of it himself, the school never had been established.

Ecclesiastical State - A new manse, office-houses, and garden wall were built here about five years ago by the heritors, on a most liberal plan. The accommodations thus afforded for the minister may, without any exaggeration, be asserted to be among the very first of the kind in Scotland. The manse is both a handsome and a most convenient one. The office-houses are adapted to the size of the glebe, and contain almost every possible accommodation which the minister can require. Being built, too, on the slope of a hill, the necessary drains were properly attended to and effected, so that instead of being damp and uncomfortable, as formerly, the place is perfectly dry. The church is more than sufficiently large for the accommodation of the stated congregation which assemble in it. It is not, however, at present either sufficiently drained or lighted. The windows are numerous, but they are very small. The glebe is 32 Scotch or about 40 English acres in extent. There were two glebes belonging to the minister previous to 1774, one at Cullicudden and the other at Kirkmichael, containing the very best land in the whole united parish. In the excambion, made about the year 1764, quantity was given for quality at Resolis. The late incumbent reclaimed six acres of moor by ploughing. The present incumbent has reclaimed all the rest by trenching, which may amount to about sixteen or seventeen acres, subdivided the glebe into fields of about four acres each, enclosed and planted them with hedgerow trees of various kinds, which by their growth have very much improved the appearance of the place, which, from being the bleakest and dampest in the whole country, is now nearly one of the driest and certainly the most cultivated of any glebe in the two counties. The soil, however, is in general, and notwithstanding every effort and expense to improve it, but very thin and unproductive. It may here be observed, that the heritors derive no annual rent from the church seats. The seat rents are according to the old plan, viz. a sum of money about 14s. or 16s., paid by every incoming to every out-going tenant, for his seat in the church, and which sum for each seat was originally paid by the tenants to the heritors, in order to cover the expenses of seating the church when originally built. The minister's stipend amounts to 28 chalders, half barley and half oatmeal, Linlithgow measure, together with the sum of L8. 6s. 8d. for communion elements. The augmentations which raised the stipend to this amount were procured by the late incumbent in 1819.

There are at present no Dissenting or Seceding families in the parish.

Poor - Those who, from indigent circumstances, are at present on the poor's roll, amount in number, this year, to 50. The funds for their support are derived from weekly collections, fines paid by delinquents, and donations from private and benevolent individuals, and which, at an average, may amount annually to nearly L.30. The average yearly amount of church collections is L.22. 7s. 10d.; of dues of mortcloth, &c. L.2. 3s. 2d.; of alms or legacies, L.3. 2s. 2d. In distributing the funds among them, the poor are divided into various classes, receiving more or less according to their circumstances. The heritors pay no stated sum annually to the poor, excepting one, viz. Thomas Urquhart, Esq. of Kin- beachie, who, in lieu of the share allotted to him of the Maoil Buidh common in this parish, pays to the poor two bolls of oatmeal. This he does, not in consequence of any legal prescription, but entirely of his own good will, and in order to set an example to the other heritors, which, it is to be regretted, they have not as yet followed. The non-resident heritors give nothing whatever. Those who do reside in the parish give occasional donations, chiefly of meal.

September 1836.
 

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