The 2nd Statistical Account
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PARISH OF KILLEARNAN
(PRESBTERY OF CHANONRY, SYNOD OF ROSS)
Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty
By the REV. JOHN KENNEDY, MINISTER
II. – CIVIL HISTORY
I am favoured by Kilcoy with the following measurement of the two estates in this parish.
Imperial standard measure
1. Barony and lands of Redcastle
2. Lands and barony of Kilcoy and Drumnamurg
Total of parish
Eminent Men –
The late General Mackenzie Fraser was born in the castle of Kilcoy, now a ruin, but, at the time of his birth, the seat of that family. The General was the second son of Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, then the representative of that family. He distinguished himself at the siege of Gibraltar in early life, but his character as a military man is so fully known to the public that it is unnecessary to give it here. In several successive Parliaments he represented his native county. He died in the rank of Lieutenant General, regretted, esteemed, and beloved by all who knew him.
There is another distinguished officer, a descendant of the Kilcoy family on the maternal side, Lieutenant-General Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, who has lately taken the name of Douglas of Glenbervie. His military character is well known.
General Sir George Elder was born in this parish, of humble but respectable parents, near the Castle of Kilcoy. By his merits alone, he overcame all difficulties, and raised himself to his present distinguished rank and station.
Parochial Registers –
The parochial register of this parish has been regularly kept from the year 1744.
Modern Buildings –
There is little in this parish to interest the antiquary. There are no modern buildings in the parish, except some very excellent and substantial farm-houses, built with in the last twelve years upon the property of Redcastle. There are two mills in the parish, one on each of the properties, where oats, barley, pease, and beans are ground, and which pay a yearly rent to the proprietors. In ancient times, there were two mansion-houses, built in the form of castles, one on each of the properties. In these houses, the representatives of the families of Kilcoy and Redcastle resided, originally Mackenzies. The Kilcoy Castle, as already observed, is now a ruin, but the castle on the other property, once used as a fortification, is at present in an excellent habitable condition, modernized inside, beautifully situated, and containing ample accommodation for a genteel family.
III. – POPULATION
The population of this parish, according to the census of 1831, is 1479. I find an increase of more than an hundred upon the whole population upon that of 1821, not withstanding of the depopulation which since then has taken place on the estate of Redcastle. This increase arises from the accommodation given by Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, on his properties in this parish, to tenants removed from the estate of Redcastle, and also, in a more especial manner, from the encouragement which the same gentleman gives to strangers expelled from various parts of the Highlands, to settle on his portion of the late Mill-Buie commonty, and on other woodlands on his property of Tore, where they are accommodated on liberal terms, and where it is expected they may make for themselves, in a few years, pretty comfortable settlements. Those who first settled in these parts of the Kilcoy property after I became minister of this parish are now able to keep a horse, a cow, with a follower, and a few sheep.
The number of families in the parish is
The number of inhabited houses
The number of uninhabited houses
The number of houses building
The average number of marriages for the last ten years may be from
8 to 10
The average number of baptisms from
16 to 20
The average number of deaths
There are three blind persons in the parish; none deaf or dumb. The language of the natives is Gaelic, and the greatest portion of the inhabitants can receive religious instruction through no other medium. The Gaelic, however, may be considered as on the decline. Nearly the whole of the young people understand and speak English well. And of late years, and in consequence of the new system of farming introduced, converting large tracts of land into one farm, strangers have come amongst us, who do not understand Gaelic, and must therefore bring along with them from other parts servants who can understand them. The inhabitants are cleanly in their habits, industrious and sober, religiously disposed, moral in their conduct, teachable and tractable, punctual in their attendance of public worship, religiously observing the Sabbath day, believing the Divine authority of the Bible, and taking it for the rule of their faith and practice. We have a few solitary exceptions, but they are few. There is no temptation to poaching; and smuggling is almost entirely abandoned.
Within the last three years, there has been but one illegitimate birth in the parish.