The 1st Statistical Account

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(County 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. Mr DANIEL ROSE

Population Table of the Parish of Dingwall, Anno 1791

Males in the parish




Total inhabitants


The return to Dr Webster in

1750 - 997



The town contains


The country part of the parish


Annual average of births *




Proportion of males to females born * *

5 to 4

Under 10 years old


Between 10 and 20


20 and 50


50 and 70


70 and 100


Above 100


Average of births to the whole inhabitants

1 to 36

Average of marriages to the whole

1 to 15.3

Average of bachelors to married men and widowers

1 to 21

Farmers, i.e. those whose sole dependence is on the produce of the ground they cultivate


Mechanics of different kinds


Their apprentices, about 21

Merchants or tradesmen


Men servants of different kinds


Women servants of different kinds






Writers or attorneys, beside other inferior practitioners of the law ***


* The following circumstances are somewhat curious. The year 1783 was a year of great scarcity, and the births of the succeeding year were 16 below the average, and 14 below the lowest number of any of the other late years. The year 1787, on the contrary, was a year of plenty, and the following year the births increased in a similar proportion. They were 17 above the average, and 11 above the number of any of the other years.

** In the year after the year of extraordinary scarcity, 1783, and in the year after the year of uncommon plenty, 1788, the deviation from this proportion was very remarkable. In the year 1784, there were born 15 males, and 7 females, and in the year 1789, 26 males, and 12 females.

***It may appear strange that there are so many attorneys in this town; but, as it is centrically situated, three times more business is done in the sheriff court of Dingwall than in all the other sheriff courts of the county. It is remarkable, however, that this business has greatly decreased since Ferrintosh was deprived of its exclusive privilege of distilling whisky without paying King’s duties. During the continuance of that privilege, the quarrels and breaches of the peace among the inhabitants were very frequent, and often furnished a good harvest to the Dingwall procurators. But now that this course of business has in a great measure failed, the people have become much more peaceable.

All the inhabitants of this parish are of the established church, two Seceders excepted, and ten families, which are either partly, or wholly, of the Episcopal persuasion. These have here no fixed clergyman, but they have the ordinances of religion occasionally dispensed among them, by ministers from other parts of the country.

Houses and their Inhabitants
The inhabited houses of every description in the parish amount to 239, but of such as are well built, and have two stories, to about 40. Of the smaller and middling kinds, a good number has been built within these ten years past; but as many others of the same sort have been removed by the converting of several small into three larger farms there has probably been no very considerable increase of their number. Of the better kind of houses, which are let at from L.7 to L.16 per annum, about seventeen have been built in the above period. In this account, however, houses are not included which have been erected on the sites of others gone to decay, but such only as were built where no houses of the same size were before, and so make an addition to the total number of houses in the parish. There is no uninhabited house or cottage in the town or neighbourhood. The demand, on the contrary, for houses, particularly for the middling sort, is very great. At an average the number of inhabitants to each house is 5.

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