1st. Statistical Accounts Queries

Statistical Accounts - Copy of the QUERIES

Copy of the Queries drawn up for the purpose of elucidating the Natural History and Political State of Scotland, which were enclosed in the preceding letter.

I. Questions reflecting the Geography and Natural History of the Parish.

  1.  What is the ancient and modern name of the Parish?
  2. What is the origin and etymology of the name?
  3. In what county is it situated?
  4. In what presbytery and synod?
  5. What is the extent and form of the parish?
  6. What its length and breadth?
  7. By what parishes is it bounded?
  8. What is the general appearance of the country? Is it flat or hilly, rocky or mountainous?
  9. What is the nature of the soil? Is it fertile or barren, deep or shallow?
  10. What is the nature of the air? Is it moist or dry, unhealthy or otherwise?
  11. What are the most prevalent distempers? And to what circumstances are they to be attributed?
  12. Are there any mineral springs? And in what diseases are they serviceable?
  13. Are there any considerable lakes or rivers in the parish?
  14. What species of fish do they produce? In what quantities? What prices do the fetch on the spot? And in what seasons are they in the greatest perfection?
  15. Are the rivers navigable? Or might they be rendered useful in navigation?
  16. Are there any navigable canals in the parish?
  17. What is the extent of sea-coast?
  18. Is the shore flat, sandy, high, or rocky?
  19. What sorts of fish are caught on the coast? In what quantity? At what prices sold? When most in season? How taken? And to what markets sent?
  20. What other sea animals, plants, sponges, corals, shells, &c found on or near the coast
  21. Are there any remarkable sea weeds used for manuring land, or curious on any other account?
  22. Is there any kelp? And what quantity, at an average, is annually made?
  23. What are the courses of the tides on the shore or at sea? And are there any rocks, currents, &c worthy of notice.
  24. Are there any lighthouses, beacons, or landmarks? Or could any be erected that would be of service?
  25. What are the names of the principal creeks, bays, harbours, headlands, sands, or islands, near the coast?
  26. Have there been any battles or sea fights near the coast? And when did any remarkable wrecks or accidents happen, which can give light to any historical fact?
  27. Are there any remarkable mountains? And what are their heights?
  28. Are the hills covered with heath, green, or rocky?
  29. Are there any volcanic appearances in the parish?
  30. Are there any figured stones, or any having the impression of plants or fishes upon them?
  31. Are there any fossil marine bodies, such as shells, coral, &c or any petrified part of animals? Or any petrifying springs or waters?
  32. Are there any marble, moor-stone, free stone, slate, or other stones? How are they got at, and what use is made of them?
  33. Are there any mines, particularly coal mines? What are they? To whom do they belong? And what do they produce?
  34. Is any part of the parish subject to inundations or land-floods? When did any remarkable event of that nature happen?
  35. Hath there been any remarkable mischief done by thunder and lightning, water-spouts or whirlwinds?
  36. Are there any remarkable echoes?
  37. Have any remarkable phenomena been observed in the air?
  38. Are there any remarkable caves or grottos, natural or artificial?
  39. What quadrupeds and birds are there in the parish? What migratory birds? And at what times do they appear and disappear?
  40. Is the Parish remarkable for breeding any species of cattle, sheep, horses, hogs, or goats, of peculiar quality, size, or value?


41. What was the ancient state of the population of the parish, so far as it can be traced?
42. What is now the amount of its population?
43. What may be the number of males?
44. What of females?
45. How many reside in towns?
46. Villages?
47. The country?
48. What is the annual average of births?
49. What is the annual average of Deaths?
50. Marriages?
51. Souls under 10 years age?
52. From 10 to 20?
53. 20 to50?
54. 50 to70?
55. 70 to 100?
56. Above 100?
57. Are there any influences of long lives well authenticated?
58. What may be the number of farmers and their families?
59. Manufacturers?
60. Handicraftsmen?
61. Apprentices?
62. Seamen?
63. Fishermen?
64. Ferrymen?
65. Miners?
66. Household servants, male and female?
67. Labouring servants, male and female?
68. Students at colleges and universities?
69. Merchants, citizens or tradesmen?
70. Artists?
71. Jews?
72. Negroes?
73. Gypsies?
74. Foreigners?
75. Persons born in England, Ireland, or the British colonies?

* It is of peculiar importance to have the questions 48 and 49 distinctly answered; for it is generally understood, at least on the Continent, that the population of any country may be known with sufficient accuracy by multiplying the number of birth by 26, or the number of deaths by 36. In Scotland, on the hand, Mr Wilkie, minister of Cults, supposes that the number either of births and burials, if they are equal, should be multiplied by 40; or, if there is in any difference, the half of the whole (both the births and the burials) should be multiplied by the expectation of an infant’s life, adapted to the particular districts, in order to ascertain its population. See Statistical Account, vol. II. p. 415. It appears, from Mr Wilkie’s calculations, that the expectation of a life in Scotland is much greater than in England, or on the Continent.

76. What may be the number of persons born in other districts or parishes in Scotland?
77. What may be the number of the nobility and their families?
78. Gentry?
79. Clergy?
80. Lawyers and writers or attornies?
81. What may be the number of physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries?
82. The established church?
83. Seceders ?
84. Episcopalians?
85. Roman Catholics?
86. Is the population of the parish materially different from what it was 5,10, or 25 years ago? And to what causes is the alteration attributed?
87. What is the proportion between the annual births and the whole population?
88. What is the proportion between the annual marriages and the whole population?
89. What is the proportion between the annual deaths and the whole population?
90. What is the proportion between the bachelors and the married men, widowers included?
91. How many children does each marriage at an average produce?
92. What may be the causes of depopulation?
93. Are there any destructive epidemical distempers?
94. Have any died from want?
95. Have any murders or suicides been committed?
96. Have many emigrated from the parish?
97. Have any been banished from it?
98. Have any been obliged to leave the parish for want of employment?
99. Are there any uninhabited houses?
100. What may be the number of inhabited houses, and the number of persons at an average to each inhabited house?


101. What kinds of vegetables, plants, and trees, does the parish produce?
102. What kinds of animals?
103. What at an average is supposed to be number of cattle, sheep, horses, hogs, and goats, in the district?
104. Is there any map of the parish? And has the number of acres in it been ascertained.
105. How many acres at an average may be employed in raising corn, roots, &c?
106. What number of acres to each sort respectively, as wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes, turnip, cabbage, &c?
107. Does the parish supply itself with provision?
108. Does it in general export or import articles of provision?
109. How many acres are employed in raising hemp or flax?
110. How many in sown or artificial grasses?
111. How many in pasture?
112. When do they in general sow and reap their different crops?
113. What quantity of ground may lie waste or in common?
114. What in woods, forests, marshes, lakes, and rivers?
115. Is there any chalk, marl, fullers earth, potters earth, ochre, &c?
116. Are there any bitumen, naptha, or other substances of that nature found in the soil?


117. Has the parish any peculiar advantages or disadvantages?
118. What language is principally spoken in it?
119. From what language do the names of places in the parish seem to be derived?
120. What are the most remarkable instances of such derivations?
121. What may the land rent of the parish be?
122. What the rent of houses, fishings, &c?
123. What is the value of the living, including the glebe? And who is the patron?
124. Who is now the minister of the parish?
125. How long has he been settled in it?
126. What are the names of his predecessors as far back as they can now be traced, and the time they respectively held that office?
127. Is the minister married, a widower, or single?
128. If with a family, how many sons, and how many daughters?
129. When were the church and the manse built or repaired?
130. What is the number of heritors, or possessors of landed property in the parish?
131. How many of them reside in it?
132. What is the number of the poor in the parish receiving alms?
133. What is the annual amount of the contributions for their relief, and the produce of alms, legacies, or of any other fund destined for that purpose?
134. What are the present or ancient prices of provisions, beef, veal, mutton, lamb, pork, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, butter, cheese, wheat, barley, oats, &c?
135. What is generally a day’s wages for labourers in husbandry and other work? And what per day for carpenters, bricklayers, masons, tailors, &c?
136. What is the fuel commonly made use of? Is it coal, wood, heath, peat, furze, or whins? What are the prices paid on the spot; and whence is the fuel procured?
137. What, at an average, may be the expense of a common labourer, when married? And is the wages he receives sufficient to enable him to bring up a family?
138. What are the usual wages of male and female servant in the different branches of husbandry?
139. What the wages of domestic servants?
140. How many ploughs are there in the parish? And of what kinds?
141. How many carts and waggons?
142. How many carriages; and of what sorts?
143. Are there any villages in the parish? And how are they situated?
144. Are there any crosses or obelisks erected in the parish?
145. Are there any remains or ruins of monasteries or religious houses?
146. Are there any Roman, Saxon, Danish, or Pictish castles, camps, altars, roads, forts, or other remains of antiquity? And what traditions or historical accounts are there of them?
147. Have there been any medals, coins, arms, or other pieces of antiquity dug up in the parish? When were they found? And in whose custody are they now?
148. Are there any barrows, or tumuli? And what has been found therein?
149. Have there been any remarkable battles fought in the parish? On what spot? At what time? By whom? And what traditions are there respecting the same?
150. Has the parish either given birth or burial to any man eminent for learning, or any man eminent for learning, or distinguished for any other valuable qualification?
151. Are the people of the country remarkable for strength, size, complexion, or any other personal or mental qualities?
152. What is the general size of the people?
153. What is the greatest height, which any individual in the parish has attained, properly authenticated?
154. Are the people disposed to industry? What manufactures are carried on in the parish? And what number of hands are employed therein?
155. Are the people fond of a sea-faring life? What is the number of boats and of larger vessels belonging to the parish? And what number of seaman have entered into the navy during any proceeding war?
156. Are the people fond of a military life? Do many enlist in the army? And principally in what corps?
157. Are the people economical, or expensive and luxurious for their own circumstances? Is property, particularly in land, often changing? And at what prices is it in general sold?
158. Are the people disposed to humane and generous actions; to protect and relieve the shipwrecked, &c? And are there any events, which have happened in the parish, which do honour to human nature?
159. Do the people, on the whole, enjoy, in a reasonable degree, the comforts and advantages of society? And are they contented with their situation and circumstances?
160. Are there any means by which their condition could be ameliorated?


  1. What is the state of the roads and bridges in the parish? How were they originally made? How are they kept in repair? Is the statute labour exacted in kind, or commuted? Are there any turnpikes? And what is the general opinion of the advantages of turnpike roads?
  2. What is in general the rent of the best arable and the pasture or meadow grounds, per acre? What the rent of inferior?
  3. What in general is the size and the average rent of the farms in the parish? And is the number of farms increasing or diminishing?
  4. Is the parish in general inclosed, or uninclosed? And are the people convinced of the advantages of inclosures?
  5. What was the situation of the parish anno 1782 and 1783? Please state any curious important circumstances connected with that era, or with any other season of scarcity.
  6. Are there any curious or important facts tending to prove any great alteration in the manners, customs, dress, and stile of living, &c of the inhabitants of the parish now, and 20 or 50 years ago?

N.B. If you reside in a town or city, please give an account of the history and antiquities of the place; of its buildings, age, walls, sieges, charters, privileges, immunities, gates, streets, markets, fairs; the number of churches, wards, guilds, companies, fraternities, clubs, &c. How the town is governed; if it is represented in parliament, to whom does the right of election belong, and what the number of electors? Together with a comparison between its ancient and modern state, in regard to population, commerce, shipping, fisheries, manufactures, more particularly at the following periods, about the time of the Union, since the year 1745, and at present.

It may be proper to add, that many important facts and observations may occur to those to whom this paper is addressed, not hinted at in the queries, which it would be particularly obliging in any gentleman to add to any answer which he may take the trouble of drawing up.

May 25 1790

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