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Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Old and New Statistical Accounts

BervieBenholmeSt CyrusGarvockLaurencekirkArbuthnotMarykirkKinneffDunnottarGlenbervieFordounFettercairnFetteressoBanchory-DevenickNiggMaryculterDurrisBanchory TernanStrachan
Arbuthnot Garvock


Banchory-Ternan Kinneff
Benholme Laurencekirk
Bervie Maryculter
Dunnottar Marykirk
Durris Nigg
Fettercairn St Cyrus
Fetteresso Strachan
Fordoun 1

The text below is mostly summaries with some extracts from the original text. The links are to Google Books, usually to the first item of interest rather than the first page of a parish. The NSA for Kincardineshire is volume 11. Some notes from MacFarlane's Geographical Collections have been added - these are useful as they date from the 1720's. See here for further information and links.

More information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site and on Scotland's Places.

The map is based on the quarter-inch OS maps for The Eastern Highlands and the Forth and Tay, 1923. With thanks to Ordnance Survey. The image of Gannachy Bridge is from Forfarshire Illustrated, Gershom Cumming, 1843. The old photographs of the Bridge of Feugh at Banchory-Ternan, and Stonehaven are from the Detroit Publishing Company's Views of Landscape and Architecture in Scotland - see thumbnails on Library of Congress site here.


Some features of interest from the Accounts. The dotted line is the course of a supposed Roman road ("Romanum Iter Suppositum") shown on Robertson's map. The continuation northward can be seen here. Parish centres are shown as red dots as are a few other places of interest and some of the main bridges.
Forfarshire and Kincardineshire (Angus and Mearns) are well known for the Mounth passes which cross from Strathmore over to Deeside. Four of these are shown here (there are others), namely: the Causey Mounth road which had two stretches of causeway across boggy land; the Slug road, still used today; the Cryne's Cross Mounth that gave access to the Paldy Fair and St Palladius's shrine at Auchenblae as well as further south; and the Cairn a'Mounth road so familiar from weather reports for being closed due to snow in winter (Banchory to Fettercairn).

As with Forfarshire there are mentions of Roman camps though not roads although Robertson's map obligingly shows the line of a supposed road through Strathmore. As so much research as been carried out in this area it is better to rely on this rather than on the statistical accounts: overviews can be seen on Scotland during the Roman Empire (Wikipedia); www.Roman-Britain.org, The Roman Gask Project - see also the map of Roman advances on the Forfarshire page.

There are several references to St Palladius, an obscure saint to us but seemingly a focus in the middle ages and later for pilgrimages to his shrine in Fordoun.

There were two early routes to Aberdeen, one running through Strathmore from Perth and the other near the coast that passed through Montrose; these joined near Stonehaven. Near to Aberdeen, this road passed over a moss and two lengths of causeway were built across this, hence the name Causey Mounth. A toll-point and barrier was erected at a place called Causeway Port, as well as one in the city of Aberdeen. There were also roads over other Mounth passes, for example the Slug Road between Stonehaven and Banchory, the Crynecross road (sometimes called Cryne's Cross road) that gave access from Durris and the north to the Paldy Fair and St Palladius's shrine near Fordoun and on to Laurencekirk and the south, and the well-known military road from Fettercairn over the Cairn a'Mount pass. Oddly enough, although this road is mentioned, the role of the military in its making is not referred to. All of these routes date from at least the middle ages, and no doubt earlier. They were long used for droving. In the Old Deeside Road, G M Fraser says that there was a 30 yard stretch of paving on the Cryne's Cross road.

There are several references to early bridges and to the fords and sometimes ferry boats that preceded them. These were often dangerous and many lives had been lost over the years.

There were a number of ports along the coast such as Johnshaven, Gourdon, and Stonehaven where coal and lime was landed and grain exported. In some places smaller vessels would simply unload their cargoes on the beach. By the time of the NSA steamships were starting to take cattle to London and the south, a development that undermined the traditional droving trade.

The two main roads mentioned above were made into turnpikes early on, and other roads made under the statute labour. As elsewhere roads were poor at the time of the OSA but had greatly improved by the 1830's and now carried considerable traffic.


Other sources
RCAHMS Canmore search for "roads" in Kincardineshire - 93 records, mostly of bridges; also search for "track" - 6 records.
A general view of Kincardineshire or The Mearns, George Robertson, Board of Agriculture, 1810
Section on roads.
The Parish of Fordoun, Charles A. Mollyson, 1893
Heritage Paths - see Grampian and Angus and Tayside for details of paths over the Mounth
Grampian Ways, Robert Smith, John Donald Publishers, 2002
- details of the Mounth passes
The Old Deeside Road, G M Fraser, 1921, reprinted 1983 - details of the Mounth passes. Also The Mounth Passes over the Grampians, G M Fraser, Scottish Geographical Magazine, Volume 36, 1920, pages 116 - 122 and continued on pages 169 - 180
The Mounth Passes: A Heritage Guide to the Old Ways Through the Grampian Mountains. Nate Pedersen and Neil Ramsay, with photographs by Graham Marr. This is an eBook and is a compilation of a series of articles the authors wrote for Leopard magazine in Scotland between 2011 and 2012. Published: January 2014. The British version is available here.


OSA Vol.17, page 385
Page 387 The farmers use coal from the Firth of Forth. Those who cannot afford this have to use very poor quality turfs and peats.
Page 389 Produce. He notes: “A great bar to improvement in this parish, is the want of roads, there being hardly a track in it which deserves that name.”
Page 390 One carrier, two ale houses.
Page 392 Antiquities. He says that there are vestiges of ramparts at Castledykes near Bervy river that are suggestive of Roman fortifications.

NSA 11/153
Page 163 Parochial Economy.
Market-Town, Post-Office, etc.
Bervie has a post-office and is the nearest market town. The great road that leads through Stonehaven and Laurencekirk runs through the north part of the parish for 2½ miles. A new road runs 5 miles between the bridges of Bervie and Whiteriggs.
Inns. Five.
Fuel. Coal obtained at Gordoun. Some turf is also used.

Vol.4, page 450
Page 451 Mention of granite quarries - the stone is used for buildings in Aberdeen and is also sent to London.
There are about a dozen public houses.
Page 452 Peats are sold in Aberdeen.
Page 453 River, sea coast etc. Details of fishing at Findon and Potlatches - the catches are sold in Aberdeen.
Page 456 Miscellaneous Observations. He remarks: “We have in general good materials for making roads, but the statute-labour, which is partly commuted, and partly paid in kind, is not sufficient for keeping them in repair. I am persuaded we never shall have good roads till turnpikes are established. Many of the country gentlemen are, I believe, sensible of this; but the measure would be strongly opposed by the town of Aberdeen, which would be severely affected by it, and which has an interest in the parish.”

NSA 11/178
Lime and coal is landed at Portlethen; however, the road up from the shore is very steep.
page 184 Parochial Economy.
Market-Town—Means of Communication.
The nearest market-towns are Aberdeen and Stonehaven.
The Aberdeen to Edinburgh turnpike and the Deeside turnpike pass through, as does a commutation road on the south side of the river.
The present incumbent has had a suspension bridge built over the Dee so that those on the north side of the river can more easily reach the church. It cost L1400 and another L50 for an embankment on the south side. Its total length is 305 feet.
A turnpike road is being made on the south side of the Dee and will replace the commutation road.
Public houses. Eight. Only the one at Bourtreebush on the road between Stonehaven and Aberdeen is necessary along with two others in coastal villages as wrecks sometimes occur.
Fuel. Although peat is available, coal is preferred as it is cheaper.

Banchory Devenock in Aberdeen and Merns 1725
Vol.1, Page 107 Banchory Devenock church is one mile from the Bridge of Dee leading to Aberdeen close by. Parishoners pay for a ferry boat to take them across the river on the Sabbath.
“To the north of Auchorties 1½ mile is the Caulsay port with a large Caulsay which pass throw a large moss and the port was built and the Caulsay laid 1684 by the City of Aberdeen and the said town setts in tack the said port to a man who gathers up from every horse that passes throw the port eight pennies Scots. At the north end of the said Caulsay passes throw the Grampian hills which goe straight to the sea, and there is a large highway passes from Aberdeen to Edinburgh along this Caulsay.” - see also Causey Mounth
Highway from Aberdeen to the Highlands on the north side of the river.

Vol. 7, page 369
Page 371 Coal is brought some 18 miles for burning lime - there is an unjust tax on it.
Page 372 Mr Russel of Blackhall has made a fine bridge over the Freuch near to its confluence with the Dee close to Banchory, along with some fine and useful roads.

Bridge of Feugh - Detroit Publishing Company NSA 11/323
Page 329 Mention of a bridge over the Dee at the confluence with the Feugh. Bridge over the Feugh below a waterfall.
Page 330 Mention of bridge of Potarch.
Page 335 Civil History. He describes the remains of a large encampment at Cairnton which commands a pass between the heights of Inchmarlo and the Dee, through which the present road lies. Some think it Roman in origin.
He refers to the Cairn o’Month pass that must have been long used to cross from the Mearns into the Garioch and Buchan. It would also have been used by pilgrims to the shrine of Palladius at Fourdon.
Page 348 Modern Buildings. The Bridge of Dee was built by public subscription in 1798 (note: this is a different "bridge of Dee" from that in Banchory-Devenick, just south of Aberdeen, which dates from 1527). It had a central wooden arch and side arches of stone. Having been damaged in the flood of 1829, the central arch was replaced with one of iron by the trustees of the Stonehaven road. The bridge of Feugh is also of note.
Page 355 Parochial Economy.
A few buildings near the church are all that remains of the old village of Banchory. He says: “The only road from Aberdeen on the north side of the Dee, forty years ago, passed through it, and it had then a flourishing inn.”
The new village, Arbeadie was set up in the early 1800’s. Among details of interest he notes that it had a post office, three inns, a coachman, a carrier, a letter-carrier, and a road-contractor.
Fairs. Six fairs spread throughout the year. The oldest of these is St Ternan’s Fair. They are somewhat in decline as there are so many fairs elsewhere.
Roads. In describing the roads he says:

“The village is distant from Aberdeen exactly eighteen miles, with which it communicates by a direct central road passing through it, and extending to Braemar. Parallel to this, and communicating with it near the church by a cross road from Raemoir, is a turnpike running along the base of the Hill of Fare for five miles, and connecting the northern parts of this and the neighbouring parish of Kincardine with Aberdeen through Skene, &c. Another turnpike leaves the village on the south, and passing the Dee immediately below, and shortly afterwards the Feugh, by the bridges already noticed, it occupies the south bank of the river for about a mile, and then diverges across the Grampians to the county town, Stonehaven, sixteen miles distant, while from the point of divergence a new turnpike continues along the Dee to Aberdeen. From the Bridge of Feugh a county road passes up the side of that stream for two miles, and, crossing the Grampians at the pass of Cairn o' Month, reaches Fettercairn, seventeen miles distant. A considerable transit takes place on this route during summer, in driving cattle from the fairs in Garioch and Buchan to the southern markets. A mail-coach passes through the village daily; and a stage-coach during one-half of the year leaves it for Aberdeen every morning, and returns at night. There are also eight carriers who leave the parish weekly for that place, most of whom generally take with them a load of timber, and bring back coal, lime, and other goods in return. Wood, both in rafts and in single pieces, are transmitted hence by the Dee in every favourable state of the flood; and large quantities are seen passing this from the upper districts.”


Description Upper Banchory, Doors and Strachan in Merns with notes of Mary Culter etc 1724
Upper Banchory
(Banchory Terman/Banchory Trinity)
Vol.1, Page 259 Two passage boats near Banchory.

Vol. 15, page 217
Page 226 The parish is “much infested with vagrants, especially from the North.”
Page 234 Coal along with some lime imported and grain exported through Johnshaven. Until recently Montrose was the only grain market in the area but one is now established in Johnshaven which is much nearer.
Page 235 Among the trades mentioned are 4 inn-keepers, 5 chapmen, 4 carriers, 1 penny post between Bervie and Johnshaven. There are 48 two-wheel carts and 3 four-wheel carriages.
Page 237 Roads and Bridges. The post road between Montrose and Aberdeen runs parallel to the coast, about a mile inland - there are two bridges on it but it is quite hilly near these bridges. It is in poor condition due to the soil and the difficulty of bringing gravel up from the shore. The cross-roads are also very poor, the statute labour is performed reluctantly. A turnpike road has often been mooted through the county.
Disadvantages.—The parish has bad roads and a poor harbour. Despite the high price of coal a better harbour would remove any shortages by allowing them to be landed throughout the year.

NSA 11/51
Page 60 Parochial Economy. Market-Town. Montrose ten miles away and more recently Bervie where there is a grain market. The grain is shipped at Gourdon.
Means of Communication. Post town is Bervie. Three miles of the Aberdeen to Dundee turnpike pass through and parish roads are improving.
The Royal Mail (Edinburgh to Aberdeen) and the New Times between Dundee and Aberdeen pass through and sometimes a light coach from Montrose to Aberdeen.
There are 2 fine bridges on the turnpike and 2 on the old post-road.
Alehouses. Ten.
Fuel. Coal, mostly from England. Scotch coal is brought in to Johnshaven once a year.

Description of Aberluthnet Parish, Benholm, Garvok, Cyris, Glenbervie in Merns, Edzel in Angus 1724
Vol.1, Page 263 Highway runs north-south with bridges over streams.

Vol. 13, page 1
Page 3 Details of smuggling, which was now declining.
Page 5 Five ale houses and a tavern used by travellers.
There is a weekly market, set up about 18 months ago and two fairs held last year on the town’s moor are to be continued. They are for livestock, grain and the hire of servants.
There is a small port at Gourdon at which coal and lime is landed. From there grain is exported to the ports on the Forth or to Glasgow and Greenock by the canal.
Page 9 Tenants are required to carry out services such as carrying grain, coal and peat for the two proprietors in the parish.
Page 11 There is a bridge over the Bervie and a new one planned. Turnpikes are currently being considered.

NSA 11/1
Page 9 To the north-east of the town there is a fine bridge 80 feet high, that has proved resistant to flood damage.
There are 3 carriers, and several carters.
Page 15 Navigation. The Port of Gourdon lies in the parish. Coal, lime etc brought here and grain exported. Cattle and ponies are sometimes brought in from Orkney and Shetland.
Page 15 Parochial Economy.
Burgh of Inverbervie.
Linen trade carried out in the town. There is a large grain market, most of which is shipped through Gourdon.
The Fishing Village of Gourdon. Details of the fishing trade. There are large storage sheds for grain, coal, lime etc.
Means of Communication. Post office. Turnpike road with 2 daily coaches - the Royal Mail between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and the Times between Aberdeen and Perth. These change their horses at the main inn.
Page 20 Fairs. Two fairs, one a cattle market. In 1834, three additional markets were set up.
Inns. There are several of these. At the main inn, the King’s Arms, a post-chaise and gig can be hired.
Fuel. Coal from Sunderland and the Forth.
Miscellaneous Observations. Since the last account the bridge has been built, as well as excellent roads.

Description of the Parishes of Dunotar, Katerline and Kineff, Bervie, Arbuthnot in Merns 1724
Vol.1, Page 266 Handsome stone bridge.

Vol. 11, page 214
The parish stands at the north-east end of Strathmore along which invaders have always come using the fords over the Tay above Perth and being blocked by the Grampians to the west. There are a series of Roman camps at the foot of the hills and it is thought that the battle of Mons Graupius was fought near here as it fits the description given by Tacitus. In the parish of Fetteresso, 3 miles to the north of here there are remains of an irregular camp thought to have been that of the natives and a Roman encampment near the beach, the traces of which have been affected by agricultural improvements.
There is a harbour at Stonehaven which has great potential for expansion. At present some coal and lime from Sunderland and the Forth, and some Baltic cargoes of wood, iron and flax passes through it.
Page 220 Four fairs. Although coal is expensive because of a tax, people believe it is cheaper than peat which have to be brought from 6 miles away.
Page 222 Produce. Bear, barley and meal sent to Aberdeen.
Page 226 Roads. The Perth road and the Edinburgh post-road by Dundee, Arbroath and Montrose run through the parish and join at Stonehaven. The statute labour roads are very bad as the system does not operate well; it would be better if commuted. The need for turnpikes is becoming apparent and an act of parliament is to be sought as well as a commutation of the statute labour.

Stonehaven about 1900 - Detroit Publishing Company
NSA 11/212Trade and Shipping.—Details given of the imports at Stonehaven.
page 228 Parochial Economy. Means of Communication. The excellent post-road along the coast from Edinburgh and the great Strathmore road pass through - they meet at Stonehaven.
The statute labour roads are excellent and have greatly helped the improvement of the parish.

Description of the Parishes of Dunotar, Katerline and Kineff, Bervie, Arbuthnot in Merns 1724
Page 265 Highway goes close to Bridgeford towards Stonehaven.

Vol. 3, page 258
Page 259 Hills. At the foot of Cragg Beg there is a cavern where a band of robbers sheltered and committed many depredations. A road to Stonehaven passes nearby - it is called the Stag-road (note: presumably the Slug road which passes to the east of Cragg Beg - the Crynecross road passes to the west of this hill - see Kincardineshire 6"map sheet XI).
Page 260 Fuel. Peat and turf.

NSA 11/170
Page 175 Parochial Economy,
Means of Communication.
Produce is taken 13 miles to markets in Aberdeen and Stonehaven. The nearest post office is Banchory but farmers find Aberdeen more convenient as they are often there on business.
A turnpike called the Slug Road runs between Stonehaven and Banchory - 4 miles pass through this parish. There is also a good commutation road running to Aberdeen on the south side of the River Dee, and some cross roads are currently being formed.
A new turnpike road is being made between Aberdeen and Banchory Ternan, 5½ miles of which will run through this parish.
Fairs. Three small cattle fairs.
Inns. Four.
Fuel. Mostly peat and turf.

Description Upper Banchory, Doors and Strachan in Merns with notes of Mary Culter etc 1724
Vol.1, Page 261 Within a mile from the church there are two passage boats over the Dee on a public road that passes over the Cryncross-Mouth. There are three bridges south west of the church within 1½ miles.

Description of some paroches in Merns and Aberdenshire
Vol.1, Page 429 Two boats on the Dee, ½ mile east and west of the church. Public highway goes north by the Cryn crosmonth.


View Larger Map Cairn a'Mount Road

Vol. 5, page 330
Page 333 Roads and Bridges.—The two main roads and their bridges are in excellent condition, owing in great part to the efforts of the principal heritor.
Gannachie Bridge on the west side of the parish crosses the North Esk and was funded by a James Black, tenant of Wood Farm, some 60 years ago (1732).

NSA 11/111
Page 111 Topography And Natural History.
“This parish is supposed, by some, to have derived its name from its vicinity to the Cairn-o-Mount, a part of the Grampian mountains, over which the public road to Aberdeenshire passes, and to which it begins to ascend, at a small distance, to the north of the village.”
Page 118 Antiquities. He writes:

"The only other antiquity, to be noticed, is the Gannachy Bridge. It is built across the North Esk, on two steep rocks, and forms the communication between Fettercairn and Edzell. The arch is about 30 feet high, and 52 wide; and yet the quantity of water in the river, in August 1829, almost completely filled it. The original bridge was built by James Black, tenant in Wood, parish of Edzell, in 1732, at an expense of 300 merks Scotch. Being too narrow from parapet to parapet, it was widened by adding another arch to the side of it, so as to make it about 20 feet wide. This was done in 1796 by Lord Adam Gordon, and the Honourable William Maule, now Lord Panmure, at their own expense, said to have amounted to L.300."


Gannachy Bridge, from Forfarshire Illustrated, Gershom Cumming, 1843

Improvements. Several miles of road have been made on the estate of Arnhall.
Page 124 Parochial Economy. Means of Communication etc. The nearest market town is Montrose, 12 miles away. There are two fairs at Fettercairn and a post-office served from Montrose.
A carrier goes to Montrose and Aberdeen and a stage-coach between Aberdeen and Dundee runs through every day except Sunday. It goes through Forfar, Brechin, Slateford, Fettercairn, Auchinblae, Drumlithie, and Stonehaven.
There is no turnpike road but there are good commutation roads and bridges.
Page 127 Inns. Three.
Fuel. Peat and turf are used in the higher parts of the parish but it is obtained with some expense and difficulty. In the lower parts, coal is brought in from Montrose.

Description of the Parishes of Fettercairn, Fordun, St Laurence and Mary Parish in Merns 1725
Vol. 1, Page 267 Mention of “Northesque water bridge”, and another bridge.

The History of Fettercairn: A Parish in the County of Kincardine (1899), Archibald Cowie Cameron.
Chapter XXI, Bridges, fords and ferries, page 151; see also page 133 Roman road


OSA Vol. 12, page 591
Page 593 Mention of the post-road near the coast.
Page 596 Antiquities. The camp of Ree-Dykes or the King’s Dykes is thought to be a Roman camp and used by them just before the battle of Mons Graupius.

NSA 11/244
Page 249 Antiquities. He refers to vestiges of an old camp at Re-dykes, thought by some to be Roman, and to other remains near Stonehaven also thought to be Roman.
He says:

“The Romans, in their incursions to the north, seem to have proceeded from the Tay along the great valley of Strathmore, which runs parallel to the Grampian mountains, from Perth to Stonehaven. In this direction, at about twelve miles distance from each other, the stations they occupied appear to have been Strageth, Grassy walls, Meigle, Battledykes, Keithock, Fordoun, Stonehaven, Norman dykes, in the parish of Peterculter, a station also somewhere near to the burgh of Inverury, and Glenmailen (called also Re-dykes,) in the vicinity of the source of the Ythan. By this course, it is supposed that Agricola, having subdued the most southern parts of Scotland, led an army of 26,000 men, during the seventh campaign, through the country of the Horesti (Angus) towards the north, and fought the great battle, " ad Montem Grampium" against the Caledonians, who mustered 30,000, and were led by their chief Galgacus.”

He then discusses the possibility that the battle of Mons Graupius was fought near to Re-dykes.
Fisheries. He gives details of the fishing trade. Smoked haddock “is carried by cadgers to Forfar and Perthshire, and by coaches and sea-carriage to Edinburgh and Glasgow; a great deal also by steam-vessels from Aberdeen to London.”
Page 261 Means of Communication. The turnpike road from the south to Aberdeen was made about 1797. This was followed in 1800 by the turnpike from Stonehaven to Banchory-Ternan, and recently from Stonehaven to the Dee by Netherly. There are also good roads under “the commutation Act of Parliament.”
Post-Office etc. There are regular mail deliveries at Stonehaven. Stagecoaches run to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow and there are “carriers in constant employment in every direction.” Steamers sailing between Edinburgh and Aberdeen call in at Stonehaven.
Markets. Dairy produce is sold at the weekly market in Stonehaven with grain and cattle at certain times of the year. Hiring of servants also takes place.
Cattle and horse fairs, formerly held at Megray, have moved the 2 miles south to Stonehaven.
Inns etc. Forty licensed premises.

Description Parish of Fetteresso (Kincardineshire)
Vol.1, Page 247 The Edinburgh to Aberdeen road runs the length of the parish.

Vol. 4, page 494
Page 495 Population etc. A weekly fair, mostly for cattle, is held in Auchinblae between Michaelmas and Christmas.
Page 498 He describes the remains of what appears to have been a Roman camp.
He relates the tradition of Kenneth III being killed by Finella on pilgrimage to the shrine of St Palladius. St Palladius had been sent to Scotland by the Pope in the 5th century to oppose Pelagianism and may have appointed the first bishops in Scotland.
A mount called the Green Castle is thought by some to have been a residence of Finella, by others a refuge of cattle thieves from the Highlands.
Page 499 Eminent Men. Chapel of St Palladius which was a place of pilgrimage from all over Scotland.
Miscellanous Observations. In the south of the parish, coal is brought some 10 miles from Stonehaven or John’s Haven. In the northern part, peat and turf are brought from the Grampians.
The post-roads and bridges are statute-labour, which is exacted in kind. He says: “The cross roads are very much neglected. The inhabitants in general are much averse to turnpikes, thinking they would render their travelling from place to place, and the carrying their goods to market, much more expensive than at present.”
Mention of a great storm the previous year that hit the Paldy Fair and made the Bervie river impassable for several hours.

NSA 11/66
Page 66 Topography And Natural History. Name. He refers to the chapel of St Palladius and suggests that the saint did not live here but that monks from Italy were responsible for the chapel and establishing it as a place of pilgrimage.
He gives details of the tradition that Finella killed Kenneth III as he was on a pilgrimage to the shrine in 994. This was in revenge for the death of her son who had risen against Kenneth.
One of the largest markets in the Mearns was held at the chapel. It still continues at a different location and is known as the Paldy Fair.
Produce of the parish is taken to Stonehaven, Bervie and Montrose, all from 10-15 miles distant.
Much gravel from the streams is used for making and repairing the roads.
Peat from the Grampians is used as fuel.
Page 80 Maps. He refers to Garden’s map of 1774.
Mention of the road by Cairn o’Mount.
Causeway across a moss at Kincardine Castle.
Page 85 He describes the remains of a Roman camp sited near Fordoun House.
Page 87 Phesdo. Many roads have been made in this estate.
Many walks made through the estate of Drumtochty Castle.
Page 95 Live-Stock. Details of livestock are given.
The practice of cattle being bought by dealers and driven to England for grazing before being sold is declining with many cattle now taken to London by steam vessels. Other cattle are taken to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In the parish there are 48 carriage, post, gig, and saddle horses. There are 9 carriers' horses.
Page 103 Parochial Economy.
Stonehaven, Montrose and and Gourdon are easily reached from Auchinblae by turnpike and good commutation roads. There is a daily post to Stonehaven and Montrose. Forty miles or more of commutation roads have been made and the bridges are in good condition.
Three miles of the Aberdeen to Edinburgh turnpike through Strathmore passes through the parish. The Defiance and the Union coaches run on this every day.
Page 108 Fairs etc. The Paldy Fair is held 2 miles north of Auchinblae for cattle, sheep and horses. Another fair has been revived in the west part of the parish. There are also 2 busy fairs in the village and 2 hiring fairs. Weekly markets are held here in winter for grain and cattle. The only other fairs are two small ones on Camack Muir.
Inns or Alehouses. One in Kirkton of Fordoun and 5 in Auchinblae.
Fuel. Coal from Newcastle in the lower part of the parish, and peat and turf from the Grampians in the upper part.

Description of the Parishes of Fettercairn, Fordun, St Laurence and Mary Parish in Merns 1725
Vol.1, Page 267 Bridge near Auchenblay and near Fordun.
Page 269 Bridges at Auchenblay and near Fordun.

Vol. 3, page 545
Page 547 Fairs. A very large horse and cattle fair called St James’s Fair is held each year. (For an entertaining description of this fair see here - from A general view of Kincardineshire or The Mearns, George Robertson, Board of Agriculture, 1810)

NSA 11/22
Page 25 St Palladius, opponent of the Pelagian heresy, lived in Auchinblae. His chapel was the resort of many pilgrims. Kenneth III was murdered by Fenella daughter of the Thane of Angus on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Palladius in 994.
Page 29 Peat moss. Most of the peat has been exhausted.
Page 38 Much of a large cairn at the farm of Arthurhouse removed for road metal.
Page 44 Livestock. It will soon be possible to send livestock to London by steam vessels which is eagerly anticipated.
Page 45 Parochial Economy.
Market town.
The nearest is Montrose to where grain and dairy products are taken. Also used is Bervie for the sale of grain - it is then shipped from Gourdon.
Means of Communication. Post-office in Laurencekirk served from Montrose by a foot-post. Travel to and through the parish used to be difficult because of the hills and the soil. Fifty years ago there were only cart roads, formed by the passage of carts and horses. However there are now two commutation roads, one from the turnpike at Laurencekirk and another from the same road four miles east. Both of these run to the turnpike on the coast.
Page 49 Fairs. St James’s Fair on Hill of Garvock. It used to be a general feeing fair but has declined somewhat since two special feeing fairs were set up.
Inns and alehouses. None. He hopes that these “poisonous pests of society be kept at a distance from Garvock!”
Fuel. Coal obtained at the ports of Gourdon, Johnshaven or Montrose. Soime peat, moss and turf is still used. Lord Kintore’s tenants are allowed to bring peat and turf from a locality in the Grampians but it is too far away to be useful.

Vol. 11, page 449
Page 453 The village of Drumlithie lies on the road from Laurencekirk to Stonehaven.

NSA 11/165
Page 167 Parochial Economy.
Market-Town—Means of Communication.
The nearest market town is Stonehaven, 7 miles away, reached by excellent roads. Two stage coaches between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and a daily post pass through most days.
Fairs. One cattle fair.
Alehouses. Five.
Fuel. Coal obtainable from Stonehaven and peat in the upper parts of the parish.

OSA Vol. 6, page 197
Page 199 Coal and lime etc are unloaded on the beach at Braddan-bay.
Page 201 Many cattle sold at market for the south. English dealers are sometimes seen at the markets.
Page 202 The post road runs parallel to the coast through the length of the parish. Farmers can obtain lime from small barks that land on the beach at the two or three places where carts can get access.
Page 203 Grain and meal is sent to Bervie, Johnshaven and Montrose and then taken to the (Forth and Clyde) canal for the west country. In the more northerly parts of the parish and county there are ready markets in Stonehaven and Aberdeen.
Page 206 Fish and Fuel. Details of the fishing. Coal is brought from the south of Scotland and England. Although there is a high tax on coal, it is still used as it saves the time and trouble people had to go to 20 years ago to obtain peat from the hills 12 miles away.
Page 210 Miscellaneous remarks. Smuggling used to be prevalent. The public and private roads are very poor. Four miles of the Bervie to Stonehaven post road runs through here. The statute labour system has not worked well and the gentlemen of the county are considering obtaining an act to either commute the statute labour or establish turnpikes. The general feeling is in favour of the first of these.

NSA 11/309
Page 317 Parochial Economy.
Market towns.
Stonehaven and Bervie.
Means of Communication. Excellent roads. In addition to the great coast road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and the Strathmore road, there are 18 miles of parish roads.
He refers to a survey made for a railway between Aberdeen and Crieff passing through Strathmore.
A pier has recently been constructed at Catterline which will allow coal and lime to be off-loaded.
Page 318 Ecclesiastical State. Mention that there was no bridge on the river of Bervie in 1608.
page 322 Inns. Three.
Fuel. Northumberland coal along with some broom, peat and whins.

A Geographical Description of the Parish of Kinneff & Caterline, Kincardineshire
Vol. 1, Page258 The King’s highway from Montrose to Aberdeen passes through - see also 266 below.

Katerline & Kinneff
Vol.1, Page 266 (see also 258 above) “Highway betwixt N.water bridge to the North parts goes ½ mile North of Bridgefoord.”

OSA Vol. 5, page 175
Page 177 Grain produce sent to towns of Stonehaven, Montrose and Brechin.
Page 178 Details of the growth of Laurencekirk and mention of the king’s highway passing through the village. Weekly markets and an annual fair are held there and it has an inn convenient for travellers.
Page 180 Roads, Bridges, Minerals, Fuel. The roads, which are statute labour, are reasonably good. The bridge at the village has recently been widened and raised at the expense of Lord Gardenstone.
Peat etc. and coal from Montrose are used as fuel.
Miscellaneous Observations. The great road from Edinburgh to the north, through Perth, Aberdeen, Banff, Elgin, Inverness, etc. passes through and is very busy with travellers.

NSA 11/128
page 141 New roads have been made in the parish with many parish roads. Two roads make access to the coast much easier.
Page 144 Parochial Economy. Markets, etc. The charter obtained by Lord Gardenstone (in 1779) erecting Laurencekirk into a burgh of barony states its limits to be 838 yards on each side of the King’s Highway as it passes through his lands.
Fairs. Seven fairs including the long-established Laurence Fair. These are for the sale of cattle etc. and hiring of servants.
Means of Communication. There is a daily post and two coaches between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. One comes by Dundee, the other by Perth. There are weekly carriers to Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and local towns. Frequent carriers go to Montrose. There are four miles of turnpike road.

Description of the Parishes of Fettercairn, Fordun, St Laurence and Mary Parish in Merns 1725
Conveth or Lawrencekirk
Vol.1, Page 268 The village is three miles north of “north water bridge”, Timber bridge at Phesdou and stone bridge at Bridge of Lepit on the Kings highway between Lawrencekirk and Stonehaven. - see also page 270.

OSA Vol. 6, page 80
Page 81 There is a ferry over the Dee near to the manse which can carry carriages and horses.
Page 82 Peat which is now scarce can be bought in Fetteresso, or coal at a cheaper rate in Aberdeen.
Page 83 There are 40/50 carts, one waggon and one carriage in the parish.
Page 84 The road on the south side of the Dee is in good condition. The statute labour is both commuted and in kind. Turnpikes are not needed or desired for this parish.

NSA 11/189
page 193 Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication
. Excellent roads and two miles of turnpike road. No public carriage.
A new turnpike, 15 miles long, is almost complete and runs through this and nearby parishes on the south side of the Dee.
Page 195 Inns. One.
Fuel. Peat and coal.

Description of some paroches in Merns and Aberdenshire
Mary Culter
Vol.1, Page 430 Passage boat over the Dee. Timber bridge on Mary Culter Burn.

OSA Vol.18, page 608
Formerly known as Aberluthnot, it was made a burgh of barony in 1543 with the right to a weekly market and annual fair.
Page 610 The village of Ladykirk lies on the road between Montrose and Laurencekirk. The village has two inns and the streets are narrow and irregular. A broader (main) street is being planned and subscriptions have lately been taken up for a bridge over the North Esk. He notes that: “within a few years, 2 persons have lost their lives at the Ford, and Ferry-boat; and many other individuals, by not being acquainted with the proper entry to the Ford, or by the inattention or ignorance of some drivers of carriages, have been exposed to the most imminent danger.”
Page 616 Poor. The former proprietor of Caldham left money to keep a bridge over the Luther Water at Caldham in repair.
Page 623 Most farmers bring their lime from East Mathers which is 7 or 8 miles away.
Page 627 Mention of the post-road from Brechin to Laurencekirk that passes through the parish.
Roads, Views, Rivers, Bridges, Rivulets.—There are 3 public roads, made by the statute labour and in good condition (he notes that much of the credit for this must go to a local landowner who took a keen interest in these matters); and several private roads that allow access to the church, mills and nearby markets. The turnpike from Brechin to the North Esk Bridge at Inglismaldie runs through some fine scenery.
From this bridge, there is a public road to the Bridge of Dy, by the gate of Inglismaldie and from the same gate, the post-road to Laurencekirk, again through fine scenery. In the nearby woods there is a stone bridge over the Luther.
The Luther is also crossed by a bridge at Caldham built in 1783 which is on the public road between Marykirk and Fettercairn.
Near to Laurencekirk “the road is much lengthened by a disagreeable turning.”

NSA 11/297
Page 301 Modern Buildings. The bridge over the North Esk, near the village of Marykirk was built between 1811 and 1813. The bridge over the same river on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen road is very old - it is currently being repaired.
Page 306 Parochial Economy. Market town. The nearest is Montrose, 6 miles distant.
Means of Communication. Post-office in Marykirk, serviced from Montrose. The Aberdeen to Perth turnpike passes through, on which the Defiance coach runs to Edinburgh most days. The commutation roads which serve the various parts of the parish are in good condition, as are the bridges. There is a need for a bridge over the Luther at Mill of Barns.
Page 308 Fairs. St James’s Fair for livestock and hiring harvest shearers used to be held at Hill of Garvock but was moved to Balmakelly Moor recently for the convenience of dealers.
Inns and Alehouses. Six.
Fuel. Coal from Montrose as well as brushwood. Peat and turf can be obtained from the moss of Arnhall in Fettercairn but not many farmers do this.

Description of Aberluthnet Parish, Benholm, Garvok, Cyris, Glenbervie in Merns, Edzel in Angus 1724
Aberluthnet or Mary parish
(Marykirk parish)
Vol.1, Page 262 Bridges over North Esk and other streams - see also 268 below.
Mary or Aberluthnot
Vol.1, Page 268 (see also p 262) Mention of bridges, viz. “North water bridge”, bridge over the Luther and bridge below Englishmadie.

OSA Vol.7, page 194
Page 196 The harbour of Aberdeen is at the mouth of the Dee. On the south side is the pier of Torry where lime is landed and stones taken on. The Dee is tidal beyond the bridge for two miles but is navigable for only a mile because of shoals.
Page 199 Ancient Population, and State. In discussing reasons for a decline in population since 1740 he says that the trade of carrying peats for sale to Aberdeen stopped because of a prohibition, and the mosses being worked out.
Page 200. Cultivation. Carts were introduced here about 30 years ago and are now widely used.
Page 201 Manure. As well as animal dung and ashes, fish remains and seaweed are used as manure. Lime is also used.
Sixty nine carts and carriages are used for carrying stones.
Causeway stones. Stone is sent to London, Maidstone, Ramsgate etc for use as paving.

NSA 11/195
Page 202 Population. The quarrying of paving stones for London was carried out here to a great extent some 70/80 years ago but has now almost ceased. Apart from keeping the quarriers in work it was beneficial for those with horses and carts who transported the stones to Aberdeen. At the present time the parish supplies milk to Aberdeen each day.
Page 206 Recent Improvements. Thirty years ago a turnpike from the Bridge of Dee southwards was made and 5 years ago another, running south in the middle of the parish. It has a suspension bridge which gives access to Aberdeen. It cost about L10,000 Sterling and has a pontage on it.
There are other cross roads. One made many years ago runs from the Bridge of Dee to the Bay of Nigg. Last year a road one mile in length was made off the middle turnpike to the coast.
Page 210 Parochial Economy. Market town etc. Aberdeen. There are two bridges over the Dee, the old bridge of Dee made by Bishop Dunbar some 300 years ago and Wellington Bridge, the suspension bridge mentioned above.
Page 211 Inns and Public Houses. Ten or so.
Fuel. Peat and turf obtained from the higher parts of the parish and from Nether Banchory. It is also used for smoking and curing Finnan haddocks. Coal is also used.

St Cyrus

Looking towards St Cyrus parish from Montrose

OSA Vol. 11, page 89
Page 90 The Montrose to Aberdeen road passes through the parish.
Page 92 River and Bridge. The North Esk used to be crossed by a ferry boat and a dangerous ford on the way to Montrose but 20 years ago a bridge costing 6500L was built.
Page 95 There is a bridge over Den Fenel on the post road between Montrose and Aberdeen.
Page 96 Roads etc. The dens in this parish (narrow, steep-sided valleys) have made the forming of high roads very difficult. Even 35 years ago a journey to Montrose in a carriage required crossing the North Esk by a dangerous ford then climbing a “steep water-worn path” to higher ground, with 3 other dens with their steep sides to negotiate. There was no made road at all on this route, just paths.
However, things are much improved with bridges over the North Esk and Den Fenel, the Burn of Woodston, and the Den of Laurieston. The Bridge of Laurieston is soon to be heightened as it is still difficult. The provision of turnpike roads is under consideration and these will be of great benefit.
Page 98 Minerals. There are limestone quarries here. The limestone from East Mathers “is carried to the distance of 12 miles, by steep, rough roads, over the Hill of Garvock, into the How of the Mearns, (part of the valley of Strathmore); and is found to answer all the expence a considerable way up the sides of the Grampians.” Other quarries supply building stone to Montrose and elsewhere.
Page 110 Black cattle sold at market.
Page 114 Markets at Hill of Garvock and Laurencekirk.

NSA 11/269
Page 270 Mention of North water Bridge.
Page 271 Small harbour at Sea-greens which can service small vessels.
Page 286 Eleven carters in the parish.
Page 289 Details of quarries.
Page 291 Parochial Economy.
Market town.
Means of Communication. Branch post-office at Bush of Woodston with daily deliveries. Prior to this, mail was taken through Montrose which was time consuming and expensive. The mail coach between Edinburgh and Aberdeen passes through. There are regular steam boats at Johnshaven which sail to Aberdeen, Inverness, Leith etc. Boats also go between Montrose and Newhaven.
Roads and bridges are good. The bridge over the North Esk was built in 1775 and cost L6500. It lies on the great north road as does another bridge built in 1817 at a cost of L600.
Page 296 Ale-houses. Three. One is at the North Water Bridge toll.
Fuel. Coal brought from Montrose and Johnshaven.

Description of Aberluthnet Parish, Benholm, Garvok, Cyris, Glenbervie in Merns, Edzel in Angus 1724
Vol.1, Page 264 Mention of North Esk bridge and passage boat on this river. Mention of highway.

Vol. 5, page 375
Page 375 An excellent road over Cairnie-mount with fine bridges makes it easy to travel from the south to the north and east of the country. It is used by many travellers.
Page 375 Lime available locally. Peat is the common fuel.

NSA 11/231
Page 239 Parochial Economy.
Aberdeen, Stonehaven, and Montrose. There are carriers to Montrose and Aberdeen.
Post office at Banchory.
Roads. The roads are turnpiked and in excellent order though narrow and needing side parapets on some stretches. The farm roads, however, are very bad.
In a footnote he tells a story about an attempted robbery on the Cairn o’Mount road, “the great line of road across the Grampians.” The story was set about 150 years before, hence the late 1600’s.
Bridges. The bridges are in good condition although that at Whitestone was destroyed in the great flood of 1829. A temporary wooden bridge is replacing it, one mile from the old location.
Page 243 Fairs. There is an old fair at Cuttieshillock but as there as so many markets in the area it is now poorly attended.
Inns. Four. They are all on public roads: Scoliescross, one mile north of the Bridge of Dye; Cuttieshillock 2 miles north of this on the Cairn road - this is one of the oldest inns in the north; Whitestone; and near Strachan church on the Banchory road.
Fuel. Peat and wood.

Description Upper Banchory, Doors and Strachan in Merns with notes of Mary Culter etc 1724
Vol.1, Page 260 Public highway runs over Carne of Month and has stone bridges on it, over the Dee, three miles SW of the church at Spittleburn. There are also bridges on the Feuch and Burn of Camie.

Description of some paroches in Merns and Aberdenshire

Vol.1, Page 428 Public highway passes through to the Cailuementh. Bridges on Fench, Dy, Spitel Burn.