The 2nd Statistical Account
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PARISH OF LOGIE EASTER
(PRESBYTERY OF TAIN, SYNOD of ROSS)
Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty
The Second Statistical Account (1836)
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. NEIL KENNEDY, MINISTER
I. – TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY
The name Logie is of Gaelic derivation (Laggie), signifying a hollow; and in this case it seems to have been applied to the spot on which the ruins of the first Presbyterian church in the parish are still to be seen.
The parish is bounded by Kilmuir Easter on the south; by Nigg on the east; on the north-east by Fearn; by Tain on the north; and by Edderton on the west. It is 7 miles in length, and about 3 miles in breadth. It is called Logie Easter, to distinguish it from Logie Wester, which was situated on the banks of the Conon, but is now united to the parish of Urquhart or Ferintosh. Logie Easter lies partly in the county of Ross, and partly in the county of Cromarty. The manse is within five miles of the town of Tain, the Presbytery seat, and every third year the seat of the Synod of Ross.
The climate is in general mild; but during the prevalence of easterly winds, the cold is most intense. But westerly winds prevail most. The inhabitants of the parish are in general healthy, and some of them live to extreme old age.
The prevailing rocks in this parish belong to the old red sandstone formation of geologists.
The particular diseases to which the people appear most subject are coughs, asthma, and rheumatism. It is probable that the climate and their mode of living may have some influence in producing those complaints. Lately, we had a transient visit from the small-pox, which, in a few instances, proved mortal, even subsequent to vaccination, the prejudices against which have now almost disappeared. Scarlet fever prevails much, generally in spring, and often proves very fatal.
The soil in some places is a strong deep clay, in others a rich black mould, and in others a light earth on an open sandy bottom. Hence the produce must vary according to the different seasons.
II. – CIVIL HISTORY
In this parish are a number of cairns, indicative, it is said, of a battle fought betwixt the Scots and Danes, wherein the former were victorious. (See former Stat. Account.)
The only modern building worthy of notice in the parish, is a very neat, well-finished, and commodious church, erected upon Chapel-hill, near the manse, at a considerable expense to the heritors, and fitted to accommodate 700 sitters.
III. – POPULATION
In 1811 the population was 928; 1821 – 813; 1831 – 934.
There is a considerable decrease in the population since the time of the former Statistical Account. This is to be ascribed chiefly, as far as I can learn, to the system adopted by the northern proprietors in general (and this parish in particular) of letting large farms, and thus dispossessing the small tenants, some of whom remove to neighbouring towns, some to America, and others to cultivate waste moors where they best can. Logie Easter, it is well known, has suffered more in its population from this cause, than most other parishes in the north. And though the system has greatly beautified the face of the country, and perhaps raised the rents of the land, it cannot be denied, that it is at the expense of the comfort (in most cases) and, I am sorry to add, the morals, of the poor people in general. Necessity is a friend to virtue.
The number of families in the parish,
The number of families chiefly employed in agriculture,
The number of families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, and handicraft,
IV. – INDUSTRY
Agriculture is carried on in the parish according to the most approved modern system. There is more wheat raised in the parish than any other grain, and the quality is very superior.
The whole parish at present is in possession of four landed proprietors, viz. Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, Bart.; Hugh Rose Ross of Cromarty; the Honourable Mrs Hay Mackenzie of Cromarty (patroness of the parish 😉 and Charles C. Ross of Shandwick. Mr Rose Ross and Mr Charles C. Ross have residences in the parish, at Calrossie and at Shandwick. Valued rent, L.1514 Scots.
V. – PAROCHIAL ECONOMY.
There are no market-towns in the parish. A cattle-market holds at Blackhill in the month of May annually, at which hundreds of cows change owners. Parkhill post-office is within two miles of the manse, but is situated in Kilmuir Easter. The mail coach passes and repasses daily through the parish. But, except three miles of turnpike road, the upper part of the parish is ill supplied in that respect.
Ecclesiastical State –
The parish church is now situated in the most convenient place for the accommodation of the people, with the exception of Scotsburn, on which some families live at the distance of about six miles, with very bad access, especially in winter. The church is in excellent repair, and hitherto the seats have been rent free, which is a great convenience to the parishioners, many of whom are extremely poor. The manse commands a most extensive, rich, and variegated view, embracing very thriving plantations, which afford both shelter and ornament, and something more substantial to the proprietors.The manse was built upwards of fifty years ago, and is at present in a tolerable state of repair. The glebe consists of about 22 acres of surface, including the stance of the manse and office houses; but the quality of the soil is very light, and some of it of little value. The present incumbent has been at considerable expense upon it, but the returns have not remunerated. The stipend is 14 chalders, half barley, half meal. There is no Government church, chapel of ease, nor dissenting church in the parish. We have a few Seceders that came here some time ago from the parishes of Nigg and Edderton; but they give us no molestation; and we dwell together in unity. There is a catechist in the parish that visits each family, and is paid almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
The parishioners in general, young and old, are most punctual in their attendance upon divine ordinances; and some of them, I am thankful to say, exhibit in their temper and conduct the sanctifying practical influence of those revealed truths to which they listen with attention; though, at the same time, we have reason to lament how few have received our report, to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed.
The number of communicants averages from 60 to 70. The number of baptisms averages 25; of deaths, 12.
There is a parish register of marriages and baptisms kept regularly by the session clerk.
We have had a parish Bible Society in operation for some time back, and have distributed many copies of the sacred Scriptures in the parish, and assisted, as we were able, other kindred societies, from our slender funds. We give the Scriptures to the parishioners gratis.
The average number of persons receiving parochial aid depends on the abundance or scarcity of the seasons, and the amount of the funds at the disposal of the kirk-session. We have had no poor assessment hitherto in the parish; but the heritors are proposing to assess themselves according to their respective valuations, in a fixed annual sum, to be given to the poor generally. There are upwards of 40 upon the list of the poor, besides more than 30 that receive, at the yearly distribution, whatever in the way of donations can be afforded them. There are at present no resident heritors in the parish; and the collections at the church seldom exceed L. 15 Sterling, in the course of the year. There is a small fund of L.110, the interest of which is distributed once a year, with the above sum. Mr Rose Ross of Cromarty gives the session L.2. 10s. annually, as the interest of L.50 generously gifted to the session for the benefit of the poor on his own property, upon his eldest son’s attaining his majority. Except what may be given occasionally in private, individual charities, these are all the funds at the disposal of the kirk-session; and it is evident they are utterly inadequate to afford the poor any material relief. And yet it is seldom that any of the poor are seen begging from door to door, though it is evident that they endure great privations. The principal fare of the lower order of society is potatoes, which, though wholesome, is not a very nourishing food, especially for aged people. The article of salt is so much reduced in price that the poor can procure it for use with their potatoes. I am happy, in this place, to bear testimony to the kindly disposition of the higher classes of society, in this place, towards their poorer fellow creatures.
There are two schools in the parish, the parochial school, near the church, and an Assembly school in the district of Scotsburn. Both are efficiently carried on and well attended. The Gaelic language is generally spoken by the people; and being itself one of the most ancient and expressive dialects known, I should feel sincere regret that it should become extinct. The young people all can speak English, and read the Scriptures in that language.
The salary of the parochial schoolmaster is the maximum, exclusive of school fees; and the Assembly teacher receives L.20 year]y. The fees of the latter amount to very little, as the parents cannot afford to pay them. I sincerely trust the Government of the countev will turn their attention soon to the duty of providing a more suitable remuneration to this most deserving class of society. We have also two Sabbath evening schools in the parish, one stationary, and the other migratory, to suit several districts. And Mr Charles C. Ross of Shandwick has given a house and a salary, to establish a female school for instructing the young women of the parish in the branches that are suited to their views and stations in life. This instance of generosity deserves to be imitated.
In conclusion, I am most thankful to bear testimony to the religious, sober, and industrious habits of the parishioners in general. At the same time, I cannot help regretting the unnecessary number of dram and alehouses in the parish, as affording a temptation to the unwary to squander away the fruits of their labour and industry, and acquire habits of dissipation and vice. I sincerely hope that those whose duty it is, will consider this matter seriously, and take steps for diminishing the number of these houses. As the parishioners (at least many of them) have no regular employment, except in harvest, they have not a sufficient spur to industry, and must consequently feel the uncomfortable effects of straitend circumstances. “But Godliness with contentment is great gain.”