The 2nd Statistical Account

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PARISH OF FORTROSE AND ROSSMARKIE

(PRESBYTERY OF CHANONRY, SYNOD OF ROSS)

Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness (Image taken from Raeburn painting) with background of west coast outline

Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty

By the REV. ALEXANDER WOOD, MINISTER.

III. POPULATION

The population in 1755 was

1140

The population in 1793

1262

The population in 1811

1312

The population in 1821

1571

The population in 1831:

1799

.. males

863

.. females

936

Taken in 1838

1813

In 1793,

Fortrose was

445

Rosemarkie

296

country part,

521

In 1821,

Fortrose was

618

Rosemarkie

314

country part,

639

Average of births for the seven years preceding 1831, inclusive is

47

Average of marriages for the seven years preceding 1831, inclusive is

14

Average of deaths for the seven years preceding 1831, inclusive is

26

Number of families

358

Inhabited houses

331

Unhabited houses

9

Building

4

Families chiefly employed in agriculture,

108

Families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, etc.

133

All other families

117

Number of illegitimate births in the course of the last three years

5

Character of the People
The people in the parish are, generally speaking, sober, cleanly, and industrious; and appear in every respect contented with their condition, and the  circumstances in which Divine Providence has been pleased to place them.

IV. – INDUSTRY

Agriculture and Rural Economy
The parish being divided among a great many small as well as several principal heritors, the number of acres cultivated or occasionally in tillage cannot be satisfactorily obtained without actual admeasurement. Neither can the number of acres of waste and pasture land with any accuracy be ascertained. It is supposed that the greater part of the waste ground might, by the proper application of capital, be kept in occasional tillage, or in permanent pasture. There are under planted wood about 837 acres imperial measure. The application of lime in husbandry, the use of bone manure in the raising of turnips, which are generally ate off the ground by sheep, and which has been found very much to improve the soil with due attention to a proper rotation of crops, and resting the fields in grass are becoming daily more prevalent here. The farmers living near the shore avail themselves of the advantage of using sea-ware as often as they can procure it; which they either spread at once upon the lands, or mix in a compost, the latter process being found to be the best mode of applying it. Some of the tenants keep still a few sheep of the small country kind, which are pastured on heath, and among whins and broom. Leases of nineteen years endurance are general.

Rent of Land
The rent of land in the country part of the parish vary from L.1. 1Os. To L.2 per acre; the lands about the united burgh draw per acre from L.3 to L4 and upwards. The state of farm-buildings would admit of great improvement, and the subdividing and enclosing with proper fences, the different arable fields, hitherto greatly overlooked, would be highly desirable as well as beneficial.

Farming Society
A society denominated “The Black Isle Farming Society”, consisting of proprietors and the more respectable farmers in the district, was formed about two years ago at Fortrose, where they regularly hold two meetings in the year, the one for a competition of the best qualities of grain, and the other for an exhibition of live-stock. The members of the society contribute annually for the formation of a fund, out of which premiums are awarded at the said meetings, by competent judges, for the best samples of grain, and for superiority in the breed of cattle. The object, farther, is to excite a spirit of emulation among the practical farmers who have thus an opportunity of communicating to each other their observations and experiments, which may be the means of introducing valuable improvements.

Though large tracts of the parish were of old covered with wood, it has long since become exhausted. But, in later times, considerable plantations of Scotch firs have been raised, which are very thriving, and as the parish is but poorly supplied with moss, these might be a useful fund for fuel. Coals, however, are now so readily obtained, and at such a moderate rate, that they are found to be the cheapest, as well as the most agreeable fire, so as to supersede, in a great degree, the use of any other article of firing. The fir plantations, when cut down, are generally exported to England as coal props. In getting these to the shipping-place there is every facility, with a commodious harbour at Fortrose for trading vessels of moderate size, and where, during any state of the weather, they are completely protected.

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