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Statistical Accounts of Scotland


Banff-shire
Old and New Statistical Accounts

BanffDeskfordOrdiquhillForglenGartlyMortlachAberlourAlvahInveravenFordyceCabrachRothiemayGlassBotriphnieInverkeithnieBoindieRathvenGamrieKirkmichaelCullenBoharmMarnochKeithGrange

Aberlour Deskford Inverkeithney
Alvah Fordyce Keith
Banff Forglen Kirkmichael
Boharm Gamrie Marnoch
Boindie Gartly Mortlach
Botriphnie Glass Ordiquhil
Cabrach Grange Rathven
Cullen Inveraven Rothiemay

The opportunity afforded by Google Books to quote extracts from books on their site has been taken here, so that the text below contains some original text as well as summaries - the summaries are given in italics. Links are provided to the relevant parishes.

The old photographs of Banff and Macduff are from the Detroit Publishing Company's Views of Landscape and Architecture in Scotland - see thumbnails on Library of Congress site here.

Map for Boat of Brig based on OS Lower Strathspey Tourist Map, published 1921. Aberlour and Inveraven maps based on quarter-inch OS map for eastern Highlands, 1923. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Additional information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site and on Scotland's Places.
Other Resources
Records of the County of Banff, 1660-1760, one hundred years of county government, James Grant, Aberdeen University Studies No.87, 1922. See chapter 3 for a very full account of roads and bridges between 1710 and 1760.


Aberlour
OSA
V4, P64
No mention of roads.


NSA

When the Spey flooded in 1829 the dry stone arches which formed the eastern approach to the metal bridge of Craig Ellachie (to be noticed hereafter,) were entirely swept away, leaving only a few yards of mason work to be a precarious support to that end of the arch.
Lime for use as manure is easily available at Mortlach and Glenrinnes.

Parochial Economy
Means of Communication. - The parish has enjoyed the advantage of a sub-post-office to Mortlach, ever since the year 1803; and in addition to this, a first-office was established, some years ago, at Craig Ellachie, which now communicates daily with a principal office at Ballindalloch through Aberlour, and also with the two sub-offices of Dufftown and Rothes.
A toll-road, built in 1817, runs through the parish from the bridge of Fiddich towards the hill of Carron; another was built last year through Glenrinnes from Dufftown to Glenlivat and Tomintoul.
There is a large whisky distillery at Aberlour, supplied with barley by local farmers. Two inns in Charlestown and a few public houses.
Fuel. - Peat. That supplied to the village and the east of the parish has to be brought some distance.

Miscellaneous Observations.

Craigellachie Bridge made by Telford The approach road
Craigellachie Bridge The approach road

The bridge of Craig Ellachie over the Spey, in the east of the parish, was built in 1815 at a cost of L.8000. It allows easy access to Elgin and Garmouth, the latter being the main grain market in the area and where coal is available. The bridge is of metal and has a span of 160 feet, and is approached by a deep cutting on the north side. In its surroundings it has a fine imposing appearance.
Of possible improvements, it would be beneficial if a road could be made to Glenrinnes to allow easy access to limestone and peat for those living in Edenvillie and near the Spey, and also for the Glenrinnie farmers to reach market. At present there is only a rough cart track through Edinville and Glackharnis, near impassable in winter floods and which (because a road is necessary) has had a lot of money spent on its maintenance. Fortunately, a road is now planned near this track that will run between the Aberlour toll-road, near the manse, over to the recently made road in Glenrinnes and will have a branch from Edinvillie towards the Carron district which will benefit the west side of the parish.

For further information see Harper Bridges for details of a suspension bridge built in 1900.


Alvah
OSA
V4,P393
Picturesque scene at the Craigs of Alvah where a ravine is crossed by a "magnificent arch."
Until carts started to be used (the minister started using carts about 1747) peat was carried in creels, and corn in curracks. Both are no longer used.
Roads and Bridges. - The principal roads here are made and maintained by the statute labour, mostly in kind but sometimes commuted. Bridges are being built, and more are envisaged when funds can be found. There are no turnpikes in the district and as the roads are not busy, are not needed so much as elsewhere.

NSA
The scenery near the Bridge of Alvah (1772) is spectacular. The bridge forms a majestic arch over the 'rocky and precipitous sides of a chasm', 55 feet above the Doveran.

The above map shows places mentioned in the commentary on the charter in the Statistical Account, as well as the likely course of the road - see also 6" map, Banff sheet X (NLS). It is not clear if it was local or gave access to places like Turriff to the south or Banff. The placenames containing "ford" are indicative of routes, albeit local, and "slack" was an old word that implied a pass or gap through a hill. Based on OS half-inch map, Aberdeen and Banff, 1912. With thanks to OS.
Civil History. Documents, Transactions, Etc.-There is a long discussion of a charter of donation dated 1314 - see here. In a description of the boundaries of the land grant, a road is mentioned 'ascendendo rivulem statent de lie Claretwell usque ad viam ascendendo slakmethy et inde descendendo per viam usque ad slacklethy descendendo ad fontem et rivulem ejusdem usque ad redbank'.

In determining the boundaries he states: 'A little farther up lies Knokkne, a place which still retains its ancient name. From this we are directed to ascend the stream which flows from Claret-well, until we come to the road ascending to Slakmethy.

The Claret-well is still known by the same name, and the stream which flows from it is only the upper end of the Meirburn - circumstances which confirm the opinion given in regard to the previously mentioned localities. The road ascending southward to Slackmethy, (although this name is now forgotten), can be no other than the road ascending to the place now called Berryhillocks, and the descent from thence to Slackmethy must be the continuation of the same slack to the place now called Kemplemire.' The charter also mentions a place called Scurryford of which he says: 'Still farther up is Scurryfurd, which is probably the place where an old road now crosses the marshy hollow north-west of Bythestown, near the Slacks.' These places are noted on the map.
Mills.- Nearly 40 mills in the parish: 31 thrashing-mills, 6 meal-mills, 1 malt-mill and 1 lint-mill.
Means of Communication, Etc. - The nearest market-town is Banff. There are post-offices at Banff, Abercherder and Turiff.
The parish has the following roads:


Turnpike from Banff to Huntly 4 ½
A branch from this at the Slacks of Tipperty towards Forglen parish 4
New turnpike from Burreldales towards Forglen House 1
Commutation roads
Portsoy to Turiff 2 ½
Banff to Turriff, by Sandlaw, Auchinbadie, &c. 4 ¾
Branch to the Henford ¾
Banff to Turriff by Inverichny and Dunlugas 4
Other commutation roads 5

Except for four and a half miles, all these roads have been made in the last 40 years, as have 16 bridges at a cost of L.730. At the time of the last Account the only bridges were at Blacktown, Alvah and Denmill. There are no public coaches here although unsuccessful attempts have been made to run a coach and a car on the Huntly road.
Inns. One.
Fuel. Peats are used in the inland parts of the parish; coal can be obtained in Banff.
1837, revised 1842


Banff

 

 


Click for larger image
General view of Banff
OSA V20, P319
Mention of the bridges of Alvah and of Banff.

About three miles from Duff house, where the river is considerably narrowed by the lofty and impending craigs of Alvah, a majestic arch is thrown across, which is highly picturesque.
Roads and Bridges. Post road in good condition but the country roads are less good. Turnpikes will benefit the country. The proposed line of new road from Banff to Turiff will not be much shorter in distance but will run through some fine scenery.
The former bridge over the Doveran was swept away by floods in 1768; another has now been built by the Government.
Details of the extensive trade carried on through the port.

Markets. Friday market and 3 annual fairs.
Post-Office.Banff has a post-office. It is hoped that the mail will arrive earlier from Edinburgh.
Comparative Statement
1748. A four-wheeled carriage was a luxury seldom enjoyed, unless by the nobility. A gentleman and his wife generally rode together on the same horse.
1798. Post-chaises are now in general use. Several private gentlemen keep their carriages.

NSA
The lower part of the town is sometimes flooded - in 1829, 3 horses on the mail coach were drowned in trying to pass through the Market-square.
Mention in 1647 of ferryboat and in 1698 of a party of "Egyptians", i.e. gypsies (page 24). Details of the extensive shipping trade with the continent and with London and other places in the south. Since 1826 live cattle have been exported to London; other animals are now sent.

Parochial Economy
Town.
- The streets are quite wide and straight. The High Street, Castle Road, and one near the battery form a continuous line for over half a mile. A new street was to have ran from Huntly Road to St Catherine Street but some of the proprietors could not agree on the proposed line. A gas-work was set up in 1831.
Means of Communication. - There is a post-office in Banff with 3 sub-offices: Aberchirder on the Huntly road, and New Sligo and Brucklaw on the Peterhead road. Macduff has a penny post office. The mail goes each day to Aberdeen, Inverness and Peterhead; Huntly and Fraserburgh have a service three times a week.

The Aberdeen - Inverness turnpike and the turnpike from the harbour towards Alvah each run through the parish for about 2 1/2 miles.

Every day stage-coaches run to Aberdeen and Elgin, the mail coach to Peterhead and an open car to Huntly. Twice a week there is a coach to and from Keith. Occasionally other coaches have run. The mails are carried by gigs or foot-posts, as well as by the Peterhead mail-coach.

There is a bridge over the Doveran near the town of 7 arches built by the government in 1779. There is also a bridge over the burn of Boyndie. Lower down this burn there is another bridge on the old road. The turnpikes are bordered by fences or hedges.
Fairs.- Only one of the four fairs is of any size. No cattle markets.
Inns and Alehouses.Thirty eight.
Fuel.- Coal; along with some peat.
Among the differences since the last Account are the exporting of live cattle, gas lighting, and the formation of turnpike roads.


Boharm

 

 

 

OSA V17, p358
Boat of BrigThe charter of Moray mentions a bridge over the Spey at this location (Boat of Brig) - see 25" map, Banff XIII.9. It is thought to have been of timber and the foundation of the southern pier can still be seen. There was an associated chapel of St Nicholas - "Ad receptionem Pauperum transeuntium." Both are mentioned in 1232 but little else is known of them.
The location is thought suitable for building a stone bridge at a cost of L3000 Sterling. He argues that if a road was made from the south end of Fochabers to this bridge it would give an easier, though longer, route between Cullen, Fochabers and Elgin.



NSA
Records and tradition tell of a very early bridge (NMRS record) over the Spey, near the confluence of the Orchil. It was of timber and suitable for pedestrians and horses. At its location the water is very deep on the eastern side but it quickly becomes shallow and tradition suggests that the deep water would have been spanned by large lengths of timber while shorter ones would serve to cross the shallower water, presumably supported by pillars. It would be easy to repair if damaged in a flood or suffered natural decay.
As the only bridge across the Spey for centuries it was very important for the north. It has been thought to have first been built by the Romans under Severus, and existed at the time of the Reformation. In fact, when the associated religious establishment was closed this may have led to the neglect of the bridge until it finally decayed or was swept away in a flood. Nothing now remains.
A ferry-boat was established and the crossing point became known as "the boat of bridge" while farm names retained a reference to the former bridge e.g. Upper Briglands. Just a few years ago a suspension bridge has been erected at a cost of L.3500, along with a toll house, by the Earl of Seafield and others. It comes under the Banffshire Turnpike Act and a moderate pontage is exacted.
Although the importance of the crossing is less since the bridges at Fochabers and Craigellachie were built, it is still very convenient to this neighbourhood.

Beside the bridge there was a religious establishment called " the Hospital of St Nicholas at the Bridge of Spey" and founded in the early 1200's for the reception of poor travellers. (Some details are given in the History of the Province of Moray, Lachlan Shaw, Elgin, 1827, pages 20 and 424.)
Parochial Economy.
The nearest market town is Keith.
A daily post passes through the parish on the route from Keith to Craigellachie, and there is a sub-office near the centre.
A good turnpike road leads from Keith to the suspension bridge and gives access to Elgin, Rothes, Garmach etc.
Another turnpike, the Boharm road, leads off the Great North Road halfway between Keith and Fochabers and leads up the valley to near its end where it divides. One branch leads to Mortlach (effectively Dufftown) and the other to Aberlour, Grantown etc with a link to the bridge of Craigellachie. The length of this road in the parish is 10 miles.
It is in a very bad condition and one of the bridges was destroyed in the floods of 1829 so that tolls cannot be exacted on the line. The bridge has not been replaced owing to a dispute among the trustees - it is hoped this will be resolved as the road is deteriorating badly and may end up with the road being completely ruined.


Inns, Etc. - Four, with the usual bad effects.
Fuel. - In the lower part of the parish, turf and peat is easily available but there is very little in the middle and higher parts although wood is easily available. Coal is used by those who can afford it and is brought from Port-Gordon or Garmach.
1834.
Addenda
5. The deficient bridge, on the Boharm road, has been replaced by the Earl of Seafield, and, instead of a temporary wooden bridge over the Fiddich, a very handsome structure of stone has been erected at an expense of L.450, supplied by the liberality of the gentlemen in the neighbourhood. It was opened in the end of last year. The road has also received some slight repairs, and is kept passable by the several gentlemen through whose properties it extends, but it is still in a very bad state, demanding a thorough repair, so as to permit tolls again to be raised for its support.
1842.


Boindie V19, P305
OSA

Fish taken from Whitehills to Banff and the surrounding country. No specific mention of roads.

NSA
The word Bouin in Gaelic is understood to signify a stream, and thus with aa, a ford, gives name to the parish of Boyne, at which there is a stream and a ford. Probably our name Boyn, which, in the reign of Robert Bruce, was spelt Bouyn, has the same origin.
A little beyond this, on the opposite side of the road, not far from the site of the old mansion-house of Buchragie, may be traced the huge remains of what may possibly have been a Roman camp
An episcopal seal was found in a field NE of the manse, on the line of an old road, and urns were found 30 yards east of the steading, on farm of Dallachy, below the old road.
The great Roman road to Burghead is believed to have crossed by the hill of Barry, near the Knockhill. A hypothesis is hazarded by some, and maintained on plausible grounds, that the Knock hill is the Mons Grumpius of Tacitus.
In discussing Minutes of Session records from 1698 - 1706 he mentions an entry that reads " building an bridge over Dee, at Pittarch."
He gives details of the fishing trade.

Market-Town, Etc. - Banff and Portsoy are the nearest market and post towns. The only village here is Whitehills.
The turnpike road from Banff to Portsoy extends above three miles within this parish from east to west; and the branch which diverges from it to Keith and Huntly on the left, extends a distance of about two miles to the point at which it joins Ordiquhill. These, and the several county roads pass the streams by which the parish is bounded by bridges mostly sufficient, at ten separate points.
Fairs. -A fair for the sale of cattle, &c. has been lately instituted at Ordens, in the western part of this parish, appointed to be held eight times in the year, and promises to be a great accommodation for the disposal of fed stock in the winter season.
Public-Houses. -Five in Whitehills and three elsewhere.
Fuel. -Peat.
1839 Revised 1842


Botriphnie V10, P187
OSA

Flax spun here and sold at an annual fair when it is bought by manufacturers in Keith and Huntly and sent to Glasgow and Paisley. Linen is also made here and sold at fairs in Keith and Huntly.
Trade in black cattle and in grain which is shipped from Garmouth and Buckie to the Forth or supplied to Strathspey, Strathaven and Badenoch.

Miscellaneous. - Excessive time is spent gathering peat from the nearby hills; if the coal tax was removed they could use coal and spend the time in husbandry. The roads here (statute labour) are better than in the neighbouring parishes.

(& Vol.18, page 644)
The same Minister (Alexander Angus) has another entry for the parish in a different volume. In it he talks about the flax trade and notes the great difficulties arising from the lack of peat and the time taken to gather it in. At the time of writing the (disadvantageous) coal tax had been removed.
There was no inn or ale-house in the parish. An annual fair was held in February.


NSA
There is also one merchant and innkeeper, who carries on an extensive trade in butter, eggs, &c . for the London market.



Cabrach
OSA
V7, P361
Climate, soil, produce etc. -They have an inexhaustible moss at their doors, and depend not more for subsistence on the produce of their fields, than on the profits of a traffic they carry on in sheep and black cattle.
Agriculture. -The practice of carrying dung to the fields in creels is wasteful compared to the use of carts.


NSA
Industry. -Two cattle markets started in 1824, and are well attended. The development of the parish is held up by there being few roads and bridges.With so much waste land here, not enough commutation money can be raised to make roads. A road which is very necessary for this district has been made from Rhynie to Mortlach but being unmetalled is near impassable at times.


Cullen
OSA
V12, P143
The town of Cullen lies on the post-road, which is in good repair. Post office.

NSA
Means of Communication. - There is a local post-office in Cullen and the mail goes daily to Aberdeen and Inverness. One and a half miles of the Banff to Fochabers turnpike passes through and there is a fine turnpike, opened in 1836, between Cullen and Keith - the toll-bar at Cullen raises L150. A stagecoach passes each day between Elgin and Banff, and carriers go weekly to Aberdeen and Inverness. Steam-boats call in on their passages between Inverness and Leith and London.
Fairs and Markets. - Three are held, mostly for hiring. Weekly grain market in spring.
Inns and Alehouses.- Two inns in the burgh, one of which is very good and has a posting department. Three public-houses in the Seatown.
Gas-Light. - Although a Gaslight Company was established in 1841 and was currently supplying 80 houses, there is no mention of street lighting.
Fuel. - In the past peat from a nearby moss was used but coal is easily available and sometimes peat from the nearby parishes of Rathven and Deskford, as well as firewood.


Deskford
OSA
V4, P358
Some think there is a Roman station in the parish.
Well frequented quarry of limestone at Craigstown.

Roads. -Two principal roads in the parish. Like most roads they were made too narrow and have not been kept in good condition. The nature of the soil makes them uncomfortable to travel on, especially in winter and wet weather. Statute labour work is carried out (grudgingly and carelessly) in spring and autumn. It would probably be better to raise money along with the rents and employ workers under good supervision during the summer months.


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication, Etc.
The nearest market and post town is Cullen, 4 miles away
It is only recently that a most convenient turnpike road has been made from Keith to Cullen through Deskford. The former road took so much of the commutation money to keep in repair that little was left for improving or making other roads; this can now go ahead.

Fuel. -Mostly peat and turf. One alehouse.


Fordyce
OSA
V3,P45
Kirktown and the Castle of Deskford in the old bounds of this parish, are supposed to have been a Roman station.
In summer 1772, some houses and a bridge were swept away, both at Fordice and Glassaugh. The same happened in November 1781.
The manufacture of linen seems to have existed in this parish 300 years ago, for amongst other privileges granted to the weekly market at Fordice, by charter from the Crown, that of selling Linteum latum et arctum, is given in 1400.
Miscellaneous: Fuel. - Peat and turf, with some coal available at Portsoy
There is one coach and two four wheeled chaises belonging to private persons.
The bridges are few, and not all in repair; they are mostly constructed and kept up by county assessments. The great road between Cullen and Banff is in excellent order, but the other roads are greatly neglected since General Abercrombie's death. The statute labour is generally exacted ; but by the lateness of the harvest, the exaction of the three last days being sometimes hindered, these days are frequently commuted for a day extraordinary in summer.
He describes the long held custom that continued after the Reformation of having a market in the churchyard after Sunday service, though this had gradually been suppressed.
Thirteen ale houses and three inns. At the time of the Sunday markets, there was a great deal of drinking. The Minister would allow a certain time for this then ring the Drunken Bell and visit the ale-houses to remove those who remained.


NSA
In discussing Gaelic placenames the writer mentions 'Keandrochit', the head or end of the bridge.
Navigation. Coal is landed at Portsoy and a trade is carried out with the Baltic with vessels bringing bone and returning with herring. Grain is also shipped.

Parochial Economy.Market-Towns, Etc. -Portsoy is the chief market-town, with a weekly market. It is also the post-town. There is a a daily coach between Aberdeen and Elgin and ample and excellent roads including 14 miles of turnpike to Banff, Cullen, Keith, and Huntly. Bridges are good but there are few fences.
Fairs. - Two fairs for cattle and sheep; feeing is carried out at one.
Inns. - Twenty-four in number.
Fuel. - Coal, and in the vicinity of Knock Hill, peat.


Forglen
OSA
V14, P530
Two boats, viz. the boat of Muirish and the boat of Ashoyle.
Peat is expensive because of the time taken to gather it in. The people have found using coal to be difficult as they were not using grates but this is changing. The removal of the tax on coal has been a great benefit.


NSA

Parochial Economy. - Banff is the nearest market town and Turiff the post-town. There are about 7 miles of turnpike road, and three weekly carriers to Aberdeen. The bridges are good; that over the Deveron on the way to Turiff was built in 1826 at a cost of L.2503.
Inns. - None
Fuel. - Mostly peat and wood, with some coal from Banff.
1836


Gamrie
OSA
V1, P469
No specific mention of roads.
Peat is becoming scarce and coal has to be used - because of the oppressive tax when sold beyond the Red Head it is very expensive.





NSA

Coast just east of Macduff
Details of the fishing trade. The cod, ling, and small fish are principally sold in the towns on the south and west friths, the herrings at Stettin, Hamburgh, Russia, Ireland, the West Indies, &c.
Parochial Economy.
Market-Towns.
-Weekly markets at Macduff and Banff. There is a weekly provision market at Macduff on Tuesday, and at Banff, in the immediate neighbourhood, on Friday.
Means of Communication. - A stage-coach, which used to carry the mail, passes from Banff to Peterhead daily, through the south district of the parish, for upwards of seven miles. A foot post goes on alternate days on the old coast road, the whole length of the parish from Banff to Fraserburgh, through Aberdour and Pitsligo, going one day and returning the other. A carrier also goes regularly twice a week from Gardenstown to Banff, and another carrier goes weekly between Aberdeen and Gardenstown.
The Fraserburgh postman has no house for the delivery of his letters in the parish, except at Macduff. An application is about to be made for a post-office at Dubford, which the postman passes, and where cross roads branch off in all directions..........
Inns. - There are too many low public-houses in Macduff and the villages.
Although the peat in the parish is exhausted there is plenty at Kinbean and Overbrae in Aberdour and King Edward parishes, where the farmers go in summer when not much else needs to be done. Coals from the north of England are landed at Macduff, Gardenstown, and occasionally Cullycan.


Gartly
OSA
V11, P138
No specific mention of roads.
Moss plentiful, which supplies the parish and the town of Huntly.


NSA
Antiquities. - There are remains of 4 Catholic chapels and burying grounds at Heathery hillock, Brawlinknows, Tillythrowie, and Kirkney.
Parochial Economy. - The nearest market-town is Huntly, 4 miles distant. Some of the byroads are difficult in winter or after rain but there are turnpike roads, viz. Huntly to Rhynie and Kinnethmont with 2 coaches each day, and one and a half miles through the Fouland hills joining on one side the Huntly to Aberdeen road and on the other, the road to Insch in the Garioch. These make access to local market towns easy for the farmers. There is one inn.


Glass
OSA
V7, P399
The roads, in general, are very bad; for, though the statute labour is exacted, yet it is very superficially performed; and, by the swampiness of the ground, the communication from place to place is little mended. Besides this, Dovern is frequently impassable, as there is no boat or stone-bridge over it: Hence many accidents happen. Not fewer than 7 persons have lost their lives in the river within these 30 years past.

NSA
No mention of roads.


Grange







OSA
V9, P550

Bowmen's Road, as shown on 6" OS Map (Banffshire, Sheet XV)

Antiquities. - In referring to battles between the Scots and the Danes in the 9th century he says that one of the battlefields was on the south side of the Knockhill "to which there leads a road from the encampments, over the hill of Silliearn, called to this day, 'The Bowmens Road.'

In the middle ages, Grange parish and part of Keith parish belonged to the abbey of Kinloss, under the name of Strathisla.

Note: Cosmo Innes notes in his Lectures on Scotch Legal Antiquities, p.266, that a Bowman was a person hired to look after a tenant's milk cows and their pastures. The road probably indicates a route to these pastures.

 


Roads and bridges.-There are 24 miles of statute labour roads as follows:

Banff to Keith 7 Miles  
Cullen and Portsoy to Keith 4  
Aberdeen, Huntly and Rothemay, through Grange, by Newmill, to Fochabers, &c 4 4 bridges
Private road from Rothemay to Edingight, by Knock, 3  
Private road from Braco-house to Knock 4  
Private road from Berryhillock to the house of Edingight 2  

On the Aberdeen road there are 4 good bridges, two built last year over dangerous streams.
There is also a bridge over the Isla, near the church, dating from 1699 when an Alexander Christie, who lived in Cantley funded its building to allow people from Cantley to reach the church. As it was not wide enough for carts, it was widened in 1783 but this work was not done properly and the new section is in danger of going to ruin. It would have been better if the old bridge, which was not on a public road and was adequate for its purpose had been repaired by a subscription, and the money (from a vacant stipend) included in a fund for a new bridge over the Isla where the public roads from Banff, Cullen, Portsoy, Keith, &c. all meet and cross.
The roads are very bad: the statute labour is done too late in the year when the weather is bad and the days short. Unless proper materials are at hand, earth and mud are just thrown into the middle of the roads which makes them impassable. The statute labour itself is an unfair imposition on the poor, and is generally carried out with great reluctance - a poor labourer with next to nothing and perhaps a large family to maintain, or even on the poor list has to work 6 days a year whereas a farmer, who is much more comfortably off, is only liable to do twice as much as the labourer. Servants are completely exempt though they are better off than many householders.

Following on from this he gives his views on how the system should be improved:
The statute labour ought therefore to be converted into money by act of Parliament, and exacted in different proportions, according to the circumstances of the person -; for instance, a poor householder, that has little or no crop, ought not to be assessed above 1s. a year; a servant that has no family ought to be assessed 1s. 6d.; tenants ought to pay according to their rent, or the number and kind of carts they employ; and heritors (who are at present entirely exempted, and whose rent rises in proportion to the easy communication by good roads) ought to be taxed in proportion to their rent:
If such a scheme was adopted, and the roads contracted for, they would soon be made, so as to save 50 per cent of the expense of transporting commodities, and also of the tear and wear of carriages and harness: And after the roads were once effectually made or repaired, the tax could be reduced considerably, and yet the roads be kept in excellent repair.
The act ought also to contain a clause, appointing a committee, of equal numbers of the most respectable tenants, as well as landholders in each district, to carry the act into execution, that there might be no improper exemption.

NSA
Our grain, and cattle, and pork, meet a ready market in London. Many fine cattle are here fed and shipped from the port at Banff for London yearly.
There is no village in the parish, but there is a clachan, called Nether-mills. There is a sub-post-office, and only one public-house in the parish.
In referring to the bridge leading to the church he adds that an inscribed stone ("built by Alexander Christie, tenant in Cantly, for the glory of God, and the good of the people of Grange") was now thought to be in the river, and that the new bridge had been built alongside the old one. When they threatened to separate they were bolted together.
Miscellaneous Observations. -Since the last Account there are now fine roads and bridges.
This parish has long been infested by cairds, tinkers, and sturdy-beggars; but it may be hoped that the evil will soon be removed by the county police.
1842


Inveraven

 




Inveraven parish map
Some places mentioned in the Inveraven accounts
OSA V13, P34 Bridges and Roads. In 1792, General Grant built a bridge at Ballendalloch, along with a road which makes travel from the low country to Strathspey and Badenoch much easier. There is also an old bridge over the Livet, near the mouth of Tervy.
General Grant also built a road suitable for carts and carriages about 16 years ago from Inveraven to Morange and Glenlivet. When it reached the Duke of Gordon's property it was continued by the statute labour. A bridge was built over the burn of Tommore which crosses this road but it was carried away by floods in 1782 which is a great inconvenience as the burn cannot be crossed when it is high. The Duke of Gordon also had a carriage road made from Glenrinnas, through Glenlivet to Tomantoul.
Miscellaneous Observations. Ferries on the Spey and Aven.
Peat used as fuel.

NSA
Timber is floated down the Spey from the forests of Abernethy and Rothiemurchus. The Aven is very transparent and dangerous to strangers fording it as it seems quite shallow.
The area was a major centre for the distillation and distribution of illicit whisky although this has changed since distilling was made legal.
Several mills in the parish.

Parochial Economy.
Market-towns
. Markets can be accessed at Tomantoul, Charleston of Aberlour, Grantown and Dufftown but there are larger markets at Elgin and Keith, 20 miles away. Carriers go each week to Elgin. Many supplies for the lower part of the parish and Glenlivet are had from Aberdeen by carrier. Dairy produce is taken to Aberdeen by the same carriers.
Roads. In the lower part of the parish there is 4 miles of toll-road, continued as a Parliamentary road for 2 miles beyond the bridge of Aven. Both have steep stretches. This road is crossed in Glenlivet by a county road from Dufftown to Tomantoul. Another road made by two of the heritors runs on the east side of Aven to Glenlivet and Kirkmichael; and a short road runs on the west of Aven. There are also a couple of branch roads from the toll-road to the Spey.

Old bridge at Bridgend of  Glenlivet
The old bridge at Bridgend of Glenlivet. Although its age is not known an information panel suggests it may have been associated with nearby Blairfindy castle which dates from the 16th century.

Bridges, Etc. -The old bridge over the Livet, severely damaged by flooding in 1829, was replaced in 1835. The bridge at Tomnavoulen was also damaged by the floods and could only be used by people on foot - it has now been repaired.
There is a new bridge over the Tommore Burn on the new Avenside road, and one at Craig-Achrochcan over the Aven. These were not damaged in 1829.
The nearest bridges over the Spey are 24 miles apart, at Grantown and Craigellachie with no good fords either here or in Knockando parish - there is one at Balnellan but it is very deep. There are two public ferry boats: at Blacksboat and Balnellan.

There are no public coaches; a few years ago one between Keith and Grantown went out of business. There is a post office at Ballindalloch at the Bridge of Aven that receives mail from Keith and Craigellachie, and a sub-office at Drumin. A runner goes from there to Tomintoul. Although it is only 14 miles to Grantown, letters have to go via Keith, some 70 miles.
Fairs. Four fairs for cattle, horses, grain etc and for hiring.
Inns, Etc.Two in the parish church district, 9 in Glenlivet which is too many.
Fuel. Excellent and plentiful moss from the higher part of the parish. Lower down it is of poor quality and in places worked out - those who can afford it bring English coal from Garmouth, 30 miles away.

 



Ladder  Hills

General Observations.
Among the improvements are roads and bridges, and the suppression of smuggling. Still required are 'bridges over the Tervay, Crombie, and smaller streams; cross roads in all directions, and a main one from Tomnavoulen to Achnara, round the country called Braes of Glenlivet, (which is utterly destitute of roads,) with a branch from Tomalinan to Tamintoul, and another, if practicable, to Glenbucket or Strathdon, - the present thoroughfare to the latter being only a pass so steep as to have obtained the very appropriate name of the Ladder (note: from Gaelic leiter, a slope). The much-talked-of line of road (which is nearly complete in this parish) from Perth to Elgin and Forres, with a bridge over the Spey at Tomdow, would also be highly beneficial to the parish.'
1836

See the Glenlivet Estate website for much interesting information.


Inverkeithny
OSA
V11, P505
Fuel,- As there are hardly any peats locally, they have to be brought from Foudland in Forgue parish and Auchintoul in Marnoch parish.. Coal can be had from Banff, 12 miles distant.


NSA
No mention of roads.



Keith
OSA
V5, P414
Peat and limestone available locally
.
Villages and Markets. -Of the 4 villages here, the oldest is the Kirk-town of Keith but it is much in decline. New Keith was founded about 1750 and is now thriving. It has 4 fairs, one long established that 60 or 70 years ago was 'the general mart for merchant goods from Aberdeen to Kirkwall', and is still the busiest market in the north for black cattle and horses.
Roads, Bridges, and Post-office.-The roads are, in general, in very bad repair; partly owing to the wetness and depth of the soil; partly to the injudicious and imperfect mode of repair, and partly to the statute labour not being regularly exacted, by which the roads in this corner were originally made, and which is the only means of their support.
Within these few years, Lord Findlater's factor in that district, has exerted himself in a very laudable manner to remedy that defect, has introduced a more judicious and perfect mode of repair, and is more regular and strict in exacting the statute labour; for which, though the inhabitants in the mean time, murmur a little, he deserves their best thanks; and were his commendable zeal properly seconded, by the other heritors and factors, the complaint of bad roads in Keith would soon be no more heard of.
The parish is tolerably supplied in bridges, mostly new and in good repair.
The new village has a post-office, serviced by runners from Fochabers three times a week, which is quite inadequate.


NSA
Parochial Economy. Villages.-Old Keith is a very ancient place, and, at no very distant period, was celebrated for an annual market held in September, to which merchants from Glasgow and the other manufacturing towns in the south repaired in great numbers, where they met those from the north, as far as Orkney, and exchanged their various commodities. So great was the concourse of people there, that the historian of Moray says, " There was not accommodation for them, and they occupied the barns and out-houses in the country for many miles round."
In describing New Keith, established in the 1750's, he says that it has 3 streets, a weekly market, six annual markets for cattle, horses and sheep, an inn at which the Mail and Defiance coaches stop daily, has gas-lighting. Other populated places are Fife Keith with four annual cattle markets, and Newmill with one market.

Note: There is a description of the fair in A survey of the province of Moray, page 300 (Google Books)
But this little town, scarcely covering the extent of 3 acres, was still more distinguished by the great fair, which was continued for a week about the middle of September. To it the whole merchants of Aberdeen, leaving their shops almost empty, with all their goods repaired, and very little unsold was carried back. They were transported on horseback, in packs of sacking, each making one load: no carriage or carriage road was heard of in the country before the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions. All the carriers, and many of the smaller farmers in the vicinity of Aberdeen, were employed for 10 or 12 days before the market: they travelled in caravans, from a dozen to 40 together; their approach was announced with joy, when first descried upon the brow of the distant hill— " There comes summer eve, and the foremost troop of the packers." Numbers of trading people, and manufacturers from Glasgow, Perth, and Dundee, and from other towns in the south, were met by all the merchants in the western-Highlands, and northerly parts of the kingdom, from the distance even of Kirkwall and the Orkney Isles, for settling accompts and arranging new commissions. To this fair also was brought the whole manufacture of coarse woolen cloths, with all the black cattle and horses, several thousands of each, from all the country far and wide around. For cattle and horses, it is still by much the greatest fair in the north. It is not now to be conceived in what manner such a vast concourse of people, and such store of merchant goods, could have been lodged in such a little place, where more strangers in black coats from the Highlands and Islands alone assembled than now make up the whole market together. Male and female, with such mutual accommodations as circumstances allowed, lay together in dozens and scores upon straw, with blankets, in all the pantries, barns, and kilns of the town, and of the farms, to the distance of miles all around :— such was then the simplicity of manners!


Kirkmichael
OSA
V12, P425
In the Gaelic, the vernacular idiom, it is called Strath-ath-fhin, from " Strath," a dale, "ath," a ford, and " Fin," the hero Fingal, so highly celebrated in the Poems of Ossian.
In winter the district can almost be cut off by deep snow.
The writer says that he obtains his peat from a moss 3 miles distant at the end of a bad road, often impassable.
Antiquities, Eminent Men, &c.-It is unlikely that the Romans were ever here; no remains of any kind have ever been found nor is there any tradition that they were here.
In the year 1715, a small fort was erected in the southern extremity, but soon after, it was abandoned, and now lies in ruins.*

*The great road that passes through the country, to facilitate the march of the troops between Perth and Fort-George, was not made till the year 1754; and now the stages are so bad, that few travel it. The roads here, in general, are wretched beyond description; and yet the people, in terms of the statute, are annually called out to work at them. This only can be imputed to their indolence, their want of the necessary implements, and the ignorance, or indifference of the persons appointed to superintend them. No good roads can be expected according to the present mode of

management. To effect this a commutation is absolutely necessary.
On the river Ath-fhin, there is a bridge, where it is crossed by the great road. Two other bridges, one at Delvoran and one at Delnacairn, a little E. of the kirk, would prove essentially useful, as they would facilitate the water-course, which at present is frequently interrupted, and render the communication safe and commodious. Another upon Ailnac at Delnabo, and one upon Conlass at Ruthven, would also be very necessary.
Cattle and sheep driven south; wool sold in Banffshire and Morayshire.



NSA

Village Green, TomintoulParochial Economy.
Village.
- Tomintoul is the only village in the parish. It is situated about five miles south of the parish church. It was commenced in the year 1750, and now contains a population of 530. It has five markets held annually in it. There is no system of police established.
Means of Communication. -Despite its potential for becoming a major route in the Highlands the parish is still shut off from surrounding districts, as it was 100 years ago. There are turnpikes a few miles away on the north and east but they do not run through the parish; on the south and west the nearest turnpike is 30 miles away. We have a daily post to Tomintoul, and weekly carriers to Elgin and Forres. Merchant goods come mostly from Aberdeen.
There are long-standing plans for a road between the Moray Firth and Perth which would run through this parish - this would allow easy communication and bring Perth and Elgin 50 miles closer. There are also plans for a road between Inverness and Aberdeen that would run across this parish and cross the other road at Tomintoul - it would be as short as the one through Keith and Huntly. Twenty one miles of road between Grantown and Strathdon remain to be built.
If the first road was built, the distance the mail has to take to Perth would be 100 miles less, via Braemar. The Commissioners for making Highland roads and bridges surveyed the route in 1810 and there were further surveys in 1832 by the Lord Lieutenant of Morayshire and others, and in 1839 by the Blairgowrie and bridge of Cally turnpike trust. The cost of the road is estimated as between L18,000 and L23,100, to be paid for by tolls and subscriptions.
It is unfortunate that the money has not so far been raised. It would cost only L8200 to open the line for wheeled carriages between Tomintoul and Castletown of Braemar, at present the only section unsuitable for carriages. The benefits would be great and it is hoped that progress will be made.

Inns. -Six.
Fuel. -Mosspeat.
Miscellaneous Observations. The parish could be improved by plantations, enclosures and road making
- in the last 10 or 12 years a road has been made along the Avon, and one by Glenlivat eastward.



Marnoch
OSA
V3, P94
Agricultural produce exported from Banff, Portsoy and Macduff.
The bridges were built, and are held in repair by the county, and the roads by the statute labour. There are about 500 work horses, and about 3000 cattle, in the parish. Six alehouses.


NSA
Parochial Economy.Markets, Etc.-In the village, there are regular markets for feeing servants at the terms of Whitsunday and Martinmas. During the winter, there is a weekly grain market on Monday, as also an annual market on the second Tuesday of March, for horses and cattle, called Marnoch fair.
There are six public houses in the parish, one in the country, and five in the village,- three too many. There are a branch of the North of Scotland Bank, and a stamp office in the village, as also a post-office, and regular runners every lawful day to Banff and Huntly.
The turnpike between these places runs through the village, and also the road between Turriff and Portsoy, the village being almost in the centre between these places, and from eight to ten miles distant from each.


Mortlach
OSA
V17, P413
Mention of the public road leading to Botriphny. No town or village.

Near the church the foundations of the bishop's palace can be seen; also nearby, part of the public road is called Gordon's cross. It may have been a market place or for some religious purpose but this is not certain.
Timber floated on the Spey.
Roads. - The writer is very critical of the roads noting how neglected they are, how badly made, and how overseers, being local are reluctant to impose on their neighbours. Commutation or turnpikes are needed. He also notes the wasteful time-consuming efforts needed to bring in peat and the benefits of coal, especially if the roads were improved or even a canal made.
Reference to journeys to Keith for the post-office, shops or the market.
At the end of the account, he discusses the bishopric that lasted between 1010 and 1139. There were four bishops.

NSA
Parochial Economy.
Village, Etc
.-There is no market in Dufftown but dealers call occasionally for grain. Five cattle markets are held each year. Keith, 11 miles distant, is the nearest market town.There is a post at Dufftown which receives the mail from Craigellachie. There are 6 miles of turnpike roads that lead to Elgin, Keith and Fochabers. No work has been done on the roads and bridges over the Dullen and Fiddich since the floods of 1829.
1836



Ordiquhill
OSA
V6, P348
The only village here is Cornhill - several markets are held near there in summer.
Improvements. - A bridge is needed on the Huntly to Portsoy road, over the Boyn. Several people have drowned including a woman and her horse.
There is one inn. Several hundred cattle, sheep etc are driven south from here.

NSA
Means of Communication. - Six markets are held near Corncairn. Eight miles of turnpike road with 4 bridges on these.
One inn.



Rathven
OSA
V13, P392
Cullen is the nearest post-town to the eastern end of the parish; and Fochabers to the western, from which it is scarce 4 miles distant.
Details of the extensive fishing trade.
Roads.- The roads are statute labour. The post-road runs across the parish for 8 miles, the first 5 miles from Cullen being good, the remainder poor in wet weather. A new route is planned for part of this road and it is hoped this will not inconvenience the public.
There is a fine bridge near Cullen House. For three miles after that the road is too narrow and needs parapets but passes through well-ordered countryside except for a moss. There is a bleak stretch of moorland near Rannachie.
There are several quarries in the parish.
Fuel.-Peat or turf has to be brought from a distance and is very dear and often scarce in winter. He notes that the tax on coal has now been removed.

NSA
Topographical Appearances - The Benhill (945 feet) is used as a landmark by the fishermen, being visible for 15 leagues. The Earl of Seafield has made a carriage road to the top.
Cattle bought by dealers from the south.
Details of trade (salt, coal, grain) carried on through Port Gordon, Buckie, Porteasy and Findochtie.

Parochial Economy. -Some years ago, two fairs were annually held in this parish; but now there is only one, which takes place in the end of July for cattle, sheep, cheese, &c. At Buckie Burn, there is a post-office, with a daily delivery. There is no regular market for butchermeat; but at Buckie, and the other villages, wheaten bread and groceries can be procured.
Details are given of the fishing trade - there are five fishing villages.
Means of Communication. -The roads and bridges are good and well-kept. The post-road passes through for 10 miles and the coach between Elgin and Banff runs on this road each day.
Since rural police were established, vagrancy is now under control.
Inns or Alehouses. -Thirty in all, which is far too many.
Fuel. -Peat or dried turf which is expensive because of the distance it is brought. Coal is available at Buckie and Portgordon.
Miscellaneous Observations. -Improvements to the roads and bridges.


Rothiemay
OSA
V19, P385
There is a large moss that supplies the parish and the town of Huntly with peat. Grain is shipped from Portsoy, Banff and Macduff.
Advantages Etc. To this advantage (peat and lime) I wish I could add good roads; but the proper method of making and repairing these is not even understood here. Instead of using for this purpose that abundance of metal and gravel which nature has supplied, the statute-labour is employed in throwing on the middle of the roads the contents of the ditches on their sides, which, being clay or soft earth, so far from improving them, (unless, perhaps, during the heat of summer), generally makes them worse than before.
Three ferry boats.

NSA
Parochial Economy. -Since the old Account was published, fifteen miles of commutation roads have been made in the parish, and that part of the Huntly, Banff, and Portsoy turnpike which passes through the parish. Were the line of turnpike from Inverury to Bognie Brae, extended to the Keith and Banff turnpike, past the Milltown of Rothiemay, and a bridge built over the Doveran at this village, these would add much to the improvement of the district, and to the convenience, comfort, and safety of the lives of the parishioners of Rothiemay on the south side of the Doveran, and of others who have occasion to cross the river in this quarter.
1842



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