The 2nd Statistical Account

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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

The Second Statistical Account (1840)
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.

By the Rev. Allan McKenzie* * Drawn up by the late incumbent, the Rev. Roderick M'Kenzie.


KILMUIR signifies in Gaelic “a church dedicated to Mary” and Suddy “a good place to settle in”. The parish is now commonly called Knockbain, from the name of the spot on which the kirk and manse are built. It is bounded on the south by the Moray Frith; on the north-west by part of the parish of Killearnan. Its length from east to west is 5 to 6 miles; and from south to north from 6 to 7.

The rocks in this parish belong to the old red sand-stone formation of geologists.


It is generally understood that a battle took place in this parish, in the thirteenth century, between the Macdonalds and the inhabitants of Inverness. The field on which it happened is called Blair-na-coi, and it still bears the vestiges of many cairns placed there as a monument of the event.

Eminent Men
Among the distinguished characters born in this parish, may be mentioned the late General Mackenzie. John Randall Mackenzie was the son of Mackenzie of Suddy, a very old family in this county. He early entered into the marine service of his country, and afterwards went into the line, where he rose to the rank of major-general.

He was a man of the highest honour, most pleasing disposition, and agreeable manners – a universal favourite.

For a considerable period he was Member of Parliament for the county of  Sutherland, and died most gallantly while supporting one of the wings of the British army at Talavera. A monument was, with great justice, erected to his memory in St Paul’s by the Government of the county.



Population in 1811






No nobility reside within the bounds of this parish, but there are several persons of independent fortune, besides the heritors, who are accommodated with large farms, good habitable houses, and commodious squares, built at the expense of the proprietor, Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy.

The number of families in the parish


The number of families chiefly employed in agriculture


The number of families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, or handicraft


The people are remarkably healthy, and subject to no other diseases than those common to the country.


The number of imperial acres in cultivation is 3050, on which are grown wheat, barley, oats, pease, grass, turnip, and potatoes. There is no undivided common. The remainder of the land is covered with plantations of Scotch fir, larch, trees of various descriptions, and a large plantation of oak lately made by Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy.

The parish of Kilmuir Wester and Suddy comprises part of the lands of several proprietors, and contains nearly as follows, imperial standard measure:-

1. Belmaduthy, Knockbain, Muirends, Munlochy, Wester Kessock, and Drumderfit, belonging to Colin Mackenzie, Esq. 1643 acres, 0 roods, 15 poles, arable; 7 poles, pasture; total 5660 acres, 3 roods.

2. Allangrange, belonging to George F. Mackenzie, Esq. 1007 acres, 0 roods, 4 poles, arable; 943 acres, 1 rood, 30 poles, wood; 397 acres, 2 roods, 8 poles, pasture; total, 2348 acres, 0 roods, 2 poles.

3. Easter Kessock, belonging to the trustees of Sir William Fettes, Bart. 187 acres, 2 roods, 23 poles, arable; 406 acres, 1 roods, 15 poles.

4. Drynie, belonging to George Graham, Esq. 620 acres, 1 rood, 30 poles, arable; 465 acres, 0 roods, 21 poles, wood; 539 acres, 1 rood, 14 poles, pasture; total 1624 acres, 3 roods, 25 poles.

5. Suddie belonging to Sir James W. Mackenzie, Bart.- the exact number of acres not known.

In such an extent of arable land, every variety of soil and sub-soil is to be found, but the following statement may be considered nearly correct: clay loam, three twelfths; sandy loam, four; moory soil, two; alluvial deposit, one; moss, one; gravel, one.

The soil is, in general, good, but great part of the subsoil is rather retentive, probably five-twelfths of it.

The plantations are chiefly fir (common fir, with a mixture of larch) but upon Allangrange and at Belmaduthy House all the varieties of hard wood are to be found growing to maturity; and upon Kilcoy’s property, there is a considerable extent of planted oak, for which he received a premium from the Highland Society. Upon a great part of the pasture- ground, a stratum of iron crust intervenes betwixt a shallow vegetable mould and a deep clay soil, with a mixture of loose gravel or broken sandstone; and without the process of trenching, no species of trees would grow to maturity, but, if trenched to the depth of from eighteen to fourteen inches, the whole would be well adapted for arable cultivation.

The property of Allangrange was laid off, enclosed, and improved in the most judicious manner (previously to the date of the last Statistical Account, in which the improvements are particularly detailed) by the proprietor himself, whose strong mind and vigorous understanding, made him loom beyond the age in which he lived. He left but few acres of his property in an unproductive state, and, as he anticipated, his son now reaps the full benefit of his judicious application of capital. On Easter Kessock, the late Sir William Fettes had not commenced on the same scale in which he carried on at Redcastle, in the parish of Killearnan. But upon Muirends, Munlochy, and Bellfield, of Wester Kessock, to the great credit of the proprietor,considerable improvements have been completed. Belmaduthy, Kilcoy’s present seat, was previously improved. On Muirends, which forms an extensive tract of very fine land, the farms have been made of convenient size, with regular boundaries. All the waste ground, after laying off ornamental clumps, has been reclaimed at a considerable expense by the proprietor himself, and new leases of nineteen years have been granted without any rise of rent; and the tenants, who now labour according to the rules of good husbandry, are farther encouraged by an advance of money for the purchase of lime. At Munlochy, similar improvements, to be executed by the tenants, have been conditioned for on the renewal of leases, at rents proportionally moderate, according to the outlay required. and, in particular, upon a large farm of fine alluvial soil, a lease of thirty years has been granted, and a considerable allowance given to a gentleman of capital and enterprise, on condition of his bringing into cultivation about twenty acres of wet land, at present lying waste, and of reclaiming from the sea, by raising proper embankments, between thirty and forty acres of excellent carse land, the proprietor being, besides the allowance, at the whole expense of enclosures and suitable buildings. At Bellfield, or Wester Kessock, the same proprietor has let another considerable farm to a gentleman of property, at the same rent previously paid, although he has been at the great expense of erecting a most complete new set of offices, and handsome dwelling-house, and has agreed to enclose the whole with hedges and stone dikes, and to allow the tenant L.5 per acre for reclaiming waste land. This part pays stipend to Killearnan, although it was annexed quoad sacra to the parish of Kilmuir Wester. But, of all the farms in the parish, Drumderfit is the one which pays the greatest rent, being the most extensive and conspicuous. It has been for centuries in the possession of the same family, of whom the present occupant, Robert Logan, Esq., banker, London, is the lineal descendant and representative. This gentleman has brought it to the highest state of improvement, at a great expense of capital, but he will be entitled to receive from his landlord, at the end of his lease, a very liberal sum for meliorations. The various and extensive properties of Colin Mackenzie, Esq. of Kilcoy, will soon, in consequence of the judicious outlay of capital, present a very beautiful and highly cultivated appearance, and will, in a great degree, reward the proprietor himself, although the full benefit of them can be expected to be reaped only by his family; and it is hoped that his example will b followed by the other proprietors, neither of whom has so much to do as he has already executed in the parish.

United Parish of Kilmuir Wester and Suddy continue reading

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