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

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

Rate of Wages
Farm-servants are hired at the following rate, viz., ploughman from L.7 to L.8 of wages annually, 6 bolls of meal, with as much potato land as he can cover with manure, 6 barrels of coal, with a free house and free lodging; female servants for L.3 a-year; boys and girls in proportion.

The farmer’s stock consists of cows and horses. No sheep are kept but such as gentlemen use for their own tables. For several years back, the heritors have been in the habit of liming their fields. Some of them use bone-dust for turnip, and so convinced are the people of the benefit of lime, that even the smallest farmer has begun the use of it. When I wrote the former Statistitical Account, there was only one tenant in this parish who paid a rent above L.60, but now there are several who pay from L.200 to L.300 a-year. The leases in general are of nineteen years duration, some even of thirty, upon improving leases.


The heritors in this parish, as before noticed, are 5 in number: Mackenzie of Allangrange, who is principal heritor; Mackenzie of Kilcoy, who has purchased, since last Report, part of the estate of Belmaduthy, where he has built a princely domicile, with a fine square of every other suitable accommodation; Graham of Drynie, who lives in France; Sir James Mackenzie, proprietor of the two Suddies, the one acquired by marriage with the daughter of Mackenzie of Suddy, the other by purchase from Matheson of Bennatsfield; and the Trustees of the late Sir William Fettes, Bart.

The heritors are very active in improving their lands, by draining, irrigation, and embanking, especially Mackenzie of Allangrange. Sir William Fettes was at great expense in building piers at the Ferry of Kessock, one on each side, with suitable houses for the accommodation of the public The ferry is now supposed to draw in the way of rent L.800 a-year, being a rise of L.650, since the time when the former Statistical Account was drawn up.


A steam-boat was attempted on the ferry, but as it did not succeed, it was necessary to return to the use of the former boats, slightly improved. There is no ferry in Scotland better attended to.

There are no market-towns in this parish, but no inconvenience arises from this, as Inverness is so near. Several other markets are held in the neighbourhood.

There are two villages, one at Munlochy,the other on the coast, laid out by the late Kilcoy, opposite the north entrance of the Caledonian Canal, and greatly encouraged by the present Kilcoy.

Means of Communication
There is one post-office in the parish. Carriages daily pass on the Parliamentary roads, through the parish, with great safety; no interruptions occurring from want of bridges, which are all in good repair.

Ecclesiastical State
The minister’s stipend amounts now to 15 chalders, half bear, half meal, with L.10 for communion elements, instead of 9 chalders and 1 boll of barley, 3 chalders and 3 bolls of oatmeal, with L.3. 6s. 8d. for communion elements, which it was formerly, making the present stipend of less value than the former. The church was repaired about twenty years ago, when it received an addition which contains 250 hearers, so that the church now holds from 700 to 800, and is in perfectly good repair. There is no Government church in this parish, and neither missionaries, seceding chapels, nor Roman Catholics. There is one Episcopal chapel attended by 130 persons belonging to this parish, and as many more from the neighbouring parishes. The minister is supported by the seat rents.

There are two established schools. The one is parochial, and the schoolmaster’s salary is L.33, with suitable accommodation; the other, commonly called Principal Baird’s school, is supported by the General Assembly’s Committee. The salary is L.25; and there are school fees. In these schools, are taught English reading, writing, arithmetic, and the lower Latin classics. Besides, there are other two schools, one taught at the Episcopal chapel, the other an itinerating school supported by the farmers who live at a distance from the parish school. The inhabitants are sensible of the advantages they derive from these schools, but another is very much wanted.


Since the former Statistical Report was given in, the face of the parish has been greatly changed for the better, so much so that, between agriculture and plantations of various kinds of wood, there is scarcely and acre remaining in its natural state.

I cannot omit mentioning a plan which Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy has lately adopted for the improvement of his uncultivated moors; he has let them for thirty years at a small rent, beginning with 1s. per acre, with an increase at the end of every seven years of 6d. per acre to the end of the lease, and at that rent to continue for the remainder of their lives, by which means the parish is supplied with a sufficient number of labourers and a total stop is put to emigration from his estate.

For several years, a constant trade has been carried on in this parish with Newcastle and Hull, fir props being exported to both these places, and the returning ships bringing lime and coal. This not only affords constant employment for the people, but supplies their families with abundance of brushwood, of which they stood much in need
There is no complaint arising from the want of labour.

The rent of this parish at last report was L.3545. It now amounts to L.6000.


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