The 2nd Statistical Account

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PARISH OF KILMUIR EASTER

(PRESBYTERY OF TAIN, 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. CHARLES R. MATHISON, MINISTER *

* Drawn up by Mr Donald Munro Parochial Schoolmaster of Kilmuir Easter and Preacher of the Gospel.

III. – POPULATION

The population in 1745 was

700

1755

1095

1795

1975

1801

1703

1811

1559

1831

1556

It will be observed that the population of this parish has decreased since 1795, that is, in thirty-six years, by 419. This is partly owing to emigration, but principally to the system of large farm-letting, which has of late years become so general. The number of the population residing in villages may be estimated at 456; the remaining 1100 reside in the country.

Yearly average of births for the last 7 years

30

Yearly average of marriages for the last 7 years

11

Number of families in the parish

373

Number of families chiefly employed in agriculture

190

Number of families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, or handicraft

95

There are three proprietors who generally reside in the parish; Mr Hay Mackenzie of Cromarty, Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, and Captain Robertson of Kindace. All the land-owners, of whom there are six, possess a yearly rental much greater than L.50 Sterling. The language generally spoken by the people is English, though there are not a few of the aged who are unable to speak it. The Gaelic language has very perceptibly lost ground within the last forty years, owing to the desire which is now very prevalent among parents of the lower classes to have their children taught to read and understand English; and it would be difficult to meet with many of the labouring people who cannot speak English with tolerable facility. The English language is daily taught in the Society School in the upper district of the parish, and this affords an opportunity of acquiring it to the poorest of the people. Along with the improved education of the lower classes, arising from their general acquaintance with the English language, there is a growing improvement likewise in their customs and habits. Those popular amusements which formerly engrosed much of their time, and dissipated their means and attention, and were the inlets to much low debauchery, are almost entirely given up, and when resorted to, occasionally, are not at all so keenly prosecuted as they used to be, in former generations. The habits of the people are cleanly and respectable. The ordinary food of the peasantry consists of potatoes and meal, with fish and milk occasionally; and in general they are sober, steady, moral, and disposed to pay a decorous attention and respect to the observances and ordinances of religion. Poaching in game is a crime almost unknown, and smuggling seems to have been entirely given up for several years.

IV. – INDUSTRY

Agriculture:

Arable land, about

2500

acres

Natural wood and plantations,

4500

acres

Moor, meadow, and pasture,

10000

acres

Total

17000

acres

Agriculture is well understood, and practised upon the most approved and scientific principles. Many of the farmers in the parish are connected with the Ross-shire Farming Society for the Improvement of Corn, and of the different Breeds of Cattle. The usual five-shift course is adopted: green crop, barley or wheat, two years grass, and oats, or beans, or pease. Proprietors appear anxious to improve their land, and lime and bone manure are generally employed.

Rent
Arable land averages from L.1 to L.1. lOs. per acre. The rent of grazing per ox or cow varies from L.2 to L.2. 1Os. per annum.

Wages
The rate of wages for farm-labourers is generally ls. per day without victuals; women 6d. per day. Masons and carpenters get from ls. 6d. to 2s. per day. Farm-servants who reside with farmers have an income, including all they receive, of from L.18 to L.20 per annum, besides a house.

The Cheviot and black-faced and Leicester sheep are common in the parish, and the polled Aberdeen black-cattle are in the course of being introduced on several farms. It is thought by competent judges that, by a proper application of capital, a considerable quantity of waste land might be advantageously reclaimed. Rents are considered as generally high, and the usual duration of leases is for nineteen years. Farm-buildings and enclosures are, upon the whole, in a good state of repair.

Produce
The following is an account of the amount and value of the raw produce of the parish, so far as they have been ascertained.

Oats,

2000 qrs. at L.1. 5s. per quarter,

L.2500 0 0

Wheat,

700 qrs. at L.3 per quarter,

L.2100 0 0

Barley,

800 qrs. at L. 1, 13s. per quarter,

L.1320 0 0

Potatoes,

1400 bolls at 10s. per boll,

L.700 0 0

Turnips

150 acres at L.5 per acre,

L.750 0 0

Hay,

40000 stones at 9d per stone,

L.1500 0 0

Rye,

30 qrs. at L.1. 14s. per quarter,

L.51 0 0

Pease and beans,

150 qrs. at L.2 per quarter,

L.300 0 0

Total amount

L.9221 0 0

Live-Stock
Horses of all sizes, 300; black-cattle, of all ages, and different kinds, 1000, more or less, sheep of all kinds, 2000; swine, 300; goats, 30.

There is no land in the parish in a state of undivided common. A considerable quantity of butter and cheese is annually made and sold, of which it would be difficult to estimate the exact amount and value. There are, in all, fourteen farms in the parish, besides a number of small holdings, averaging each from 2 to 10 or 12 acres. These small holdings are in detached spots, and in general on the outskirts of the larger farms.

Quarries
There is a quarry of fine white freestone at Kinrive, on the property of Kindace, resembling the Craigleith stone, capable of a high polish, and very durable. There are likewise several quarries of red stone, but much inferior in value to that of Kinrive. The quarry of Kinrive extends in a continued ridge to Camscurrie, to the north of Tain, a distance of ten or twelve miles.

Fisheries
There is no regular fishery of any kind in the parish, though there is a village (Portlich), the inhabitants of which were once almost all fishers. The descendants of these people have, in general, betaken themselves to trades, and probably finding a more certain livelihood by these means, have almost entirely abandoned fishing, though there are occasionally some boats which go from this village to the herring fishing.

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