The Second Statistical Account of Kincardine

The following is a transcription of the actual Account of the Parish of Kincardine from the second or new Statistical Account of Scotland (dated July 1840).



Drawn up by a parishioner, at the request of the Committee superintending the New Statistical Account



The name of this parish is of Celtic origin, being derived from Cinn-na'n-Airdean, signifying the extremities of the heights, several lofty ranges of hills coming to a termination here. The etymology of Kincardine, in the former Statistical Account is said to be Cinn-ua'-Chairdean, or the heads of the friends; the reason for giving that derivation being, that "the chief of the clan Ross, and his most powerful and confidential friends dwelt here, and fixed the name Kincardine to the place where they resided". But this is not nearly such a probable etymology as the first.

Extent, Boundaries, Etc

The parish extends from east to west upwards of 35 miles, and varies in breadth from 5 to 20. It is bounded by the parishes of Creich, Assynt, and Lochbroom, on the north and west, and by Eddertoun, Rosskeen, and Fodderty on the east and south. At the east end, where the church and manse are situated, it is very narrow, but it widens gradually to the western extremity, where the boundary between it and Assynt, and the counties of Ross and Sutherland, is a small rivulet called Alltan-na'n-Cealgach, or the burn of the deceitful, which flows from a long lake, with low and uninteresting banks, called Loch Boarlan. The reason of this rather extraordinary name having been given to the burn was that, in determining the boundary between parishes of Assynt and Kincardine, the witnesses encroached considerably on the Assynt side, and made oath that they stood on Ross-shire ground, having earth from Kincardine in their shoes! At this extremity the "forest of Balnagown" (a leafless one!) is situated; it is a hill of great extent, and remarkable for the large size of its deer. The parish of Kincardine is partly in the county of Ross and partly in that of Cromarty. It consists of several straths and glens, and abounds in hills and rivers.


The division betwixt this parish and the county of Sutherland is an arm of the sea, commonly called the Kyle; the tide flows twelve miles up this firth from Bonar, and receives three rivers, the Oikell, the Cassley, and the Shin in its course. These are all excellent angling streams, and in the Cassley, about a mile above Rosehall, there is a very remarkable waterfall, forming a salmon leap of great altitude. The lochs in the parish, though not of great extent, are very numerous, and some contain excellent trout.

Geology and Mineralogy

The prevailing rocks here belong to the granite and sandstone formation. This parish remains hitherto unexplored by any who have knowledge of mines. On the farm of Dibidale stands one of our highest mountains, called Carnchuinaig, on which stones have been found perfectly similar to those known by the name of Cairngorms; and Knockirny, where the parish marches with Assynt, abounds in marble, white and party-coloured. On the top of the highest mountain in Balnagown forest, which is called Sciulm-a-'Charra, and is distant many miles from the sea, shells of different sorts of fish are found, some of them deeply imbedded in the earth.


In the remote parts amongst the hills are red-deer (Cervus elephas), and roes (C. capreolus) also abound. Foxes (Canis vulpes) are exceedingly numerous, and destroy quantities of sheep, notwithstanding all the precautions that can be taken to prevent them. Badgers (Ursus meles) and wild cats (Felis catus feris) are also found. In the rivers, there are otters (Mustela lutra). Hares, rabbits, polecats, and weasels, are very plentiful, and farmers complain much of the operations of the mole (Talpa Europea). Squirrels are also found in the woods of Glen Ainaig.


Besides the several domestic kinds, there are a great variety in the fields, woods, hills and rivers, such as the wood and mountain thrush (Turdus), green linnet (Loxia chloris), blackbird (Merula), starling (Sturnus), cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), lark (Alauda arvensis), wild pigeon (Columba aenas), blackcock (Tetrao tetrix), moor-fowl (T. Scoticus), patridge (T. perdix), ptarmigan (T.lagopus), plover (Charadrius), etc. Among the water-fowls are gulls (Larus marinus), wild goose (Anser), swan (A cygnus), duck (A. boschas), crane (Grus), heron (Ardea), and kingfisher (Alcedo ispida). Birds of prey also abound - the eagle (Aquila), hawk (Falco), raven (Corvus), kite (Milvus), and hooded-crow (Cornix cucullatus).


Among the reptiles are the viper (Coluber berus), adder (Anguis eryx), lizard (Lacerta), frog (Rana), and toad (Bufo).


Among the rarer plants found in this parish the following may be mentioned: Eriophorum pubescens, which grows on a mossy height near the bridge of Oikell, and amongst the trees on the banks of that river, the Hieracium denticulatum occurs in great luxuriance, and sometimes upwards of four feet high. Dr. Greville found the very rare plant Ribes petroeum three miles east of Rosehall. Hieracium alpinum grows on some of the lofty hills, and Isoetes lacustris, Eleocharis multicaulis, Juncus balticus, and Betula nana also exist, and the last very abundantly.


The first era, to which reference can be made in the history of this parish, is the fourteenth century, in which the battle of Tuiteam-Tarbhach took place.

This serious conflict arose out of the following circumstances: Angus Mackay, the chief of the Mackays, had married a daughter of Torquil Macleod of Lewis, by whom he had two sons, Angus Dow (so termed from his black hair), and Roderick Gald (or Lowland). Angus died young, leaving his sons and his lands under the tutorage and government of his brother, Houcheon Dow Mackay; some dispute happening between the tutor, as Houcheon was called, and his sister-in-law, the widow of the late Angus, probably regarding the management of the estates and tutory, to which she claimed a preferable title, in right of her son Angus Dow. She complained to her brother, Malcolm, the chief of Lewis, who, in consequence, came to the Reay country accompanied by a number of chosen men, resolving to have his sister redressed, either by treaty or by force. He appears, however, not to have succeeded in his object, for he returned homeward in great displeasure, and in revenge laid waste Strathnaver, and a great part of the Breachat in Sutherland, in the Mackay's lands, besides driving off a great spoil of cattle. As soon as Houcheon Dow and his younger brother Neil Mackay, learnt this intelligence, they acquainted Robert, Earl of Sutherland, who immediately dispatched Alistair Ne-Shrem-Gorme (Alexander Murray of Cubin) with a number of resolute men, to assist the Mackays. They pursued the islanders with great haste, and overtook them at a place in the heights of this parish, upon the marches between Ross and Sutherland.

The pursing party at first attempted to recover the goods and cattle which had been carried off, but this being opposed by Macleod and his men, a furious battle ensued, in which great valour was displayed on both sides. It was "long, furious, cruel, and doubtful", says Sir Robert Gordon in his "Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland", and was "rather desperate than resolute". At last the Lewismen, with their leader, Malcolm Macleod, who was nicknamed Gill-callum-beg-Macbhowan, were slain; one man alone, who was sorely wounded, escaping to carry home the dismal tidings to Lewis, which he had scarcely delivered, when he expired. The place of the fight was thenceforward called Tuiteam- Tarbhach, which signifies the fertile full or slaughter. A little to the east of the field of battle, there is a lonely unenclosed burial-ground, picturesquely situated on an elevated bank, where those who fell were interred; its sequestered situation, its grey moss-covered stones, and its nameless graves all combine in increasing the natural solemnising influence of the scene. The period when this conflict occurred has not been accurately ascertained. Sir Robert Gordon says, "In the time of Robert, Earl of Sutherland, son of Nicholas, the terrible battle of Tutuim-Tarvach was fought. " Now as "Robert succeded to the earldom, by the death of his father, in the year 1399", according to Sir Robert, the battle must have taken place either in the end of the fourteenth century, or the beginning of the fifteenth, but from Sir Robert's not always being very particular in his dates, the year 1397 may be considered as about the time of this event.

From the fourteenth till the seventeenth century, there is no land-mark in the history of this parish. But about the middle of the latter century, the following incident occurred: in the month of April 1650 the celebrated Marquess of Montrose, in proseention of his chivalrous enterprize for placing Charles II on the throne of his ancestors, arrived in Orkney, and, crossing the Pentland Frith with about 1500 men, landed without opposition at the northern extremity of Caithness. He had calculated on collecting a considerable force in this country, but completely failed, succeeding, however, in securing the passes of the Ord, leading into Sutherland, and possessing himself of the castle of Dunbeath. The Earl of Sutherland retired before him as he advanced, and Montrose reached Straith Oikell, but with a force of only 1200 men, Lieutenant-Colonel Strachan, who had hurried forward with a party of horse, while General Leslie was pressing on with 3000 foot. It was resolved that the Earl should cross into Sutherland to intercept Montrose's retreat to the north, while Strachan advanced with 230 horse, and 170 foot, in search of him. Under cover of some broom they succeeded in surprising him at disadvantage, on level ground, near a pass called Invercharron, on the borders of this parish, on Saturday, 27th April 1650, having diverted his attention by the display of merely a small body of horse. Montrose immediately endeavoured to reach a wood and craggy hill at a short distance in his rear, with his infantry, but they were overtaken; the Orkney men made but little resistance, and the Germans surrendered, but the few Scottish soldiers fought bravely, though in vain. Many gallant cavaliers were made prisoners, and when the day was irretrievably lost, the Marquess threw off his cloak bearing the star, and afterwards changed clothes with an ordinary Highland kern, that he might endeavour to effect his escape. Having swam across the Kyle (an arm of the sea dividing this parish from Sutherland), he directed his flight up Strath Oikell, and lay for three days concealed amongst the wilds of Assynt, but at length, exhausted with fatigue and hunger, he was discovered and apprehended by a Ross-shire chief, Neil Macleod of Assynt, who happened to be out with some of his tenants in search of him. Montrose discovered himself to this man, thinking himself secure of protection, since Macleod had been once his own follower. His subsequent fate is too well known to require being mentioned here, and we shall conclude this article with the following extract from a modern historian of celebrity: "James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, died at the early age of 38, having acquired, during a short career of military glory, greater reputation than perhaps ever fell to the lot of any commander in ancient or modern times, within the same compass of time."

The ground where the battle was fought, and which lies in this parish, took its present name, Craigeaoineadhan, which may be translated the Rock of Lamentation from the event of that memorable day. The ancient name of the place is now lost.

Eminent Characters

In a parish comparatively so remote as Kincardine, eminent characters can scarcely be expected, yet they are not entirely wanting.

Mr Thomas Ross - The historian Woodrow remarks that, subsequent to the establishment of Episcopacy in1662, there were but few Presbyterian clergymen remaining north of the Tay, and only two or three who laboured in the work of the ministry in the shires of Ross and Cromarty. Amongst these he places "Mr Thomas Ross, minister at Kincardin" who, he says, "having continued at his charge some time after the establishment of Prelacy, owed his leaving them to a meeting with Mr McGilligen."* (Vol. iii. P. 437, 8vo edit.) Mr Ross's name also appears in the "roll of ministers who were non-conformists to Prelacy, and were banished, turned out from their parishes, or confined" as given in Wodrow (Vol. i. p. 329), though it is there erroneously placed in the presbytery of Dingwall, instead of that of Tain, and without the name of his parish prefixed. The same historian mentions that, in the summer of 1675, Mr John McGilligen, Mr Anderson (of Cromarty), Mr Frazer (of Daviot, or Teviot, as he spells it), and Mr Thomas Ross, "were very frequent, and much owned of the Lord in their work". On the 4th of November in this year Mr Ross was apprehended for conventicles (as the field meetings of the Covenanters were termed) and imprisoned in Tain. Here he remained until the 9th of October 1677, when the council "appointed Mr Thomas Ross, who is prisoner in the tolbooth of Tayn, to be liberate, upon his finding caution to compear when called, upon the pain of 2000 merks". It would appear that Mr Ross died soon after his liberation from the "tolbooth of Tayn", as there is no further mention made of him. He was minister at Tain for several years, having gone there about the year 1664. In the appendix to the "Memoirs of the Rev John Blackader" there is given a list of all the ministers who were confined to the Bass; and under the date "1675" is inserted "Thomas Ross, minister of Kincardine (Tain), for conventicles." (Wodrow, Vol.ii.393.) But it is more than doubtful if Mr Ross was ever imprisoned in the Bass.

*This was the Mr John McGilligine, or McGlligen, who had been minister of Fodderty before the Restoration, and was deposed by the Bishop of Ross in May 1663, for non-conformity, after which he resided on an estate he possessed in the parish of Alness and continued to exercise the functions of the ministry, notwithstanding the sentence of deposition. He was confined in the Bass for several years, but survived the Revolution and was appointed one of the ministers of Inverness; he preached a little there, and died on the 8th June 1689. He left a son John, who was served heir to his father in the paternal estate of Alness, 28th April 1691 (Retours of Services) and was for some years ruling-elder from that parish to the presbytery of Dingwall. "On the 7th April 1719, the Rev. John McGlligen of Alness was ordained and admitted minister of Lochailsh, by Mr John Morrison of Urray, and was then recommended to repair to his charge at Lochailsh quam primum." (Presb. Records Vol.iii.) The ordination took place at Dingwall, in which presbytery the parish of Lochailsh then was, but when the presbytery of Gairloch (now of Locharron) was erected by act of Assembly in 1724, it formed part of that presbytery, and the reference to Wodrow is incorrect, there being no mention of Mr Ross in "Vol. ii. 393".

In the preface to a work published at Edinburgh in 1738, entitled "Memoirs of the Life of the Very Reverend Mr James Fraser of Brea, Minister of the Gospel at Culross, dedicated by the author to the Very Reverend Mr Thomas Ross, Minister at Kincardine in Ross", it is stated that, "by the dedication to Mr Thomas Ross (a singularly pious minister in the north) the author gave permission to him to publish it", and that "the reason why Mr Thomas Ross did not cause publish it, was that at the time he received it from Mr Fraser, he was in prison at Tayne, and died there in prison or soon thereafter"; and in the publisher's address to the reader, there is the following: "Our copy, as you'll see by the preface" (as quoted above) "is dedicated to the Reverend Mr Thomas Ross, some time minister at Tayne, with power to publish it or not as he pleased." Mr Fraser, in the "dedication by the author to Mr Thomas Ross" (at p. 6) expresses himself towards Mr Ross in language glowing with gratitude and Christian friendship, and lets it appear from the terms he uses that he considered himself "much bound unto him" and was anxious to "kyth his gratitude" by something of that nature. Now this, coming from the pen of so eminent an individual as Fraser of Brea, is no small compliment to the worthy "minister of Kincardine", and shows the high estimation in which he was held by his contemporaries.

One other notice of Mr Ross: in the Scottish Acts of Parliament (Vol. ix. P. 217 A.D. 1690) there is an "Act in favours of Christian Ross, relict of Andrews Fearne of Pitcallion, anent her damages, which states, inter alia, that "her husband in his lifetime helped to entertain Mr Thomas Ross, a godly minister, and that she entertained him and others of that degree, and some other distressed people passing to and fro, in her familie; and that she was harassed, and persecuted, and informed against, with her twelve fatherless children, by the Episcopal minister of her parish, and compelled to flee in the middle of the night during the winter of 1683-4, her property and corn seized by the soldiers, and her familie scattered." Mr Ross, it appears, had occasionally preached to a small audience within her house, and for this offence her parish minister, contrary to the remonstrances of Lord Seaforth, obtained from the Privy-council a warrant to a military officer to seize all her goods, attach the rents of her small estate, and imprison herself. The two former were executed with the utmost vigour, and herself obliged to fly, as is mentioned above, in her narrative to the Parliament. She continued in concealment in Sutherland until the year 1686, when, by the interest of friends, the Council allowed her to return home to Pitcallion (or Pitculzean, as it is now spelt).

Dr Robertson of Kiltearn - Here, too, the name of the late Rev. Harry Robertson, D.D. minister of Kiltearn, is well entitled to a place, as connected with this parish by birth. Harry, eldest son of the Rev. Gilbert Robertson, minister of Kincardine, and Christian Bain, daughter of the Rev. John Bain, minister of Dingwall (1716-1736) was born at the manse of Kincardine on the 2d of November 1748. Having been licensed by the presbytery of Tain in the year 1770, he was ordained and admitted to the parish of Clyne 8th May 1771 and translated thence to Kiltearn, on the 9th May 1776. He died at Kiltearn manse, 28th July 1815, in the 67th year of his age, and 45th of his ministry.

Family of Ross - The clan Ross, as far back as tradition goes, were the proprietors and inhabitants of this district. They still retain three-fourths of the property of the parish, and are by much the most prevalent name in it. Vestiges of the ancient residence of their chiefs are to be seen in a beautiful field, between the church and the sea side. The field terminates in a steep bank hanging over the sea, called the Bank of the Gate, and at the bottom there is a spring of excellent water, which bears the name of the Lady's Well. The chief of the clan and his most powerful and confidential friends dwelt here; as pasture for cattle, with fishing and hunting, the favourite employment of the Highlanders, could be easily had in the greatest variety. The chief of the Rosses is mentioned at a very remote period in the neighbourhood of St. Duthus. This must have happened when he was invested with the power and jurisdiction of Thane, for the town, then a village, close by the sanctuary of St. Duthus, still retains the name if that holy man in Gaelic (Baile-Dhuthaich) and in English it is called in Tain.* The ancient earldom of Ross was created by King Malcolm III, when he held a Parliament at Forfar about the middle of the eleventh century; in the year 1221, Ferquhard Ross, who founded the Abbey of Fearn was possessor of the title, and from his death in 1251 there is a regular succession of that surname till the death of William, Earl of Ross, in 1371, without male issue; after which there were numerous claimants, and the title was possessed by individuals of different families, all claiming some right to hold it, until finally, in 1478, the earldom of Ross was annexed to the Crown; by whom, at different periods, it was conferred on members of the royal family. The present representative of this ancient title, and of the chieftainship of the clan Ross, is George Ross of Pitcalnie, whose ancestor, Monroe Ross of Pitcalnie, claimed the earldom in 1778, as lineal male descendant of Hugh Ross of Rarichies, and first laird of Balnagown, A.D. 1370, brother to William, last Earl of Ross. The estates of Amat, where there is a dwelling-house, Corrimuillie, and Amatnatua in this parish, belong to Pitcalnie.

*Duthac or Duffus was bishop of Ross temp. Alexander II, and died in 1249: he was of a noble family, and for his great piety was canonized, the 8th March being appointed as a festival day in honour of him.

The principal branch of the family of Ross settled at Balnagown. The chief of the clan about the middle of the seventeenth century was David Ross, the lineal descendant and heir of the Earls of Ross. He married, in 1666, Lady Anne Stewart, youngest daughter of James, third Earl of Moray, but died, without issue, 18th April 1711, when the chieftanship of the Rosses, in the Balnagown family, became extinct. Lady Anne, who was endowed no less with the gifts of nature than with those of grace, survived till the 16th August 1719. She bequeathed the sum of 3000 merks Scots, for the behoof of some "indigent persons, fearing the Lord, in the county of Ross". The estates of Balgown now descended to Charles, second son of George, eleventh Lord Ross, as next heir. He was born 8th February 1667, and having early embraced the military profession, rose to the highest rank in that service. He had a principal command, and was particularly instrumental in obtaining great honour to his country over the King of France, in two bloody wars for the liberty of Europe, during the reign of Queen Mary the second, and William of Orange. In the reigns of Queen Anne and King George I. he was colonel of a regiment of dragoons, and was in five parliaments knight of the shire of Ross. In 1721, he was a member of the Secret Committee for the affairs of the South Sea Company, and died at Bath, in the 66th year of his age, 5th August 1732. His remains were brought down to Scotland, and interred in a stone coffin within the Abbey of Fearn, where there is a neat monument erected to his memory, with an inscription in Latin. Having no family himself, the Honourable General Ross had entailed his properties upon the children of his sister, the Honourable Grizel Ross, wife of Sir James Lockhart of Carstairs, whose second son, Colonel Sir James Ross, accordingly succeeded. He enjoyed the estate of Balnagown till his death, in December 1760, when by the provisions of his uncle's will, Captain John Lockhart, his younger brother, obtained the property, and thereupon took the name of Ross in addition to his own. Captain Lockhart Ross was the fifth son of Sir James Lockhart of Carstairs, Bart. and was born at Lockhart Hall, in the county of Lanark, on the 11th November 1721, and having manifested a predominant inclination for the sea he entered the naval service in his fourteenth year. In 1756, he was posted, and advanced to the command of the Tartar frigate of 24 guns, with which, in the course of fifteen months, he captured, in the British channel, nine of the enemy's ships of war, several of them being of superior force. The last step of promotion he lived to attain in the navy was the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Blue, to which he was advanced on the 24th September 1787. By the death of his brother, Sir George Lockhart, July 1778, the baronetcy of the family descended to him, and the estate of Carstairs having been sold in 1762, he adopted the designation of Balnagown. As an instance of his amiable character in private life, the following deserves particular mention: there being a total failure of all means of subsistence, in consquence of a severe frost in summer 1782, which was a fatal and distressing year to the peasantry in Ross-shire, and especially to the inhabitants of this parish, Sir John, with a liberality which does him the highest credit, understanding the lamentable situation of the poor people, sent to be distributed to the sufferers on his own estates, a seasonable and bountiful supply of large quantities of pease, barley, flour, and potatoes, to which noble beneficence many hundreds owed their lives. He also ordered his factor to give to his Highland tenants in Kincardine, who did not save as much as would sow their crofts, seed from his farms in the low country, where the failure was not nearly so great as in the high grounds and straths, and upon his return home at the conclusion of the war, he discounted one-third of the arrears of rent over the whole of his estates. Sir John Lockhart Ross, Bart. died at his seat of Balnagown 9th June 1790, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, after a lingering and painful illness, which he bore with Christian fortitude and resignation. He was interred in the Ross aisle, forming the east end of the church of Fearn (formerly the first abbacy in the country), which has been the burying-place of all the respectable families of the name of Ross for several centuries. By his spouse, Miss Elizabeth Baillie of Lammingtoune, eldest daughter of Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord President of the Court of Session, (1760-1788), to whom he was married on 6th September 1762, he left a family of five sons and three daughters, and was succeeded in his title and estates by his eldest son, Sir Charles Ross, who for many years represented his native county in Parliament, and died a Lieutenant-General in the army, and Colonel of the 86th Regiment of Foot.*

*The following notice of his character and death is engrossed in the session-records of the parish: "General Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, Baronet, principal heritor in this parish died on Tuesday, the 8th day of February 1814, suddenly, and at Balnagown Castle, a loss irreparable to the country at large, and to this parish in particular. His many virtues as a husband, a parent, a master, a landlord, a patriot, and a friend, endeared him to all who had the honour of his acquaintance, and will embalm his memory on their hearts to the latest recollection. May the Almighty grant consolation to his afflicted lady, and spare his amiable daughters and his infant son to emulate his virtues."

Sir Charles Ross married, first, Matilda-Theresa, a Countess of the Holy Roman Empire, being daughter and heir of General Count James Lockhart of Carnwath, by whom he had a son who died in childhood, and a daughter, Matilda, who married, in 1812, Sir Thomas John Cochrane, Captain R.N., and brother of Archibald, ninth Earl of Dundonald; she died in 1819, leaving two sons and two daughters. Sir Charles married, secondly, 15th April 1799, Lady Mary Fitzgerald, eldest daughter of William Robert, second Duke of Leinster, and left, with five daughters, an only son, born in January 1812, the present Baronet. Bonninton House, the beautiful residence of his amiable widow, Lady Mary Ross, and the home of all hospitable kindnesses, is situated in Lanarkshire.

Janet Macleod, the Fasting Woman - A remarkable instance of abstinence occurred, about the middle of last century, in this parish. Janet Macleod, the person alluded to, was born about the year 1727 at Croick, in the heights of the parish of Kincardine, where her father, Donald Macleod, possessed a small farm. She continued healthy till she was fifteen years of age, when she had a severe epileptic fit; after this she had an interval of health for four years, and then another fit, which continued a whole day and night. A few days after, she was seized with a fever, which continued with violence for several weeks, and from which she did not recover for some months. At this time she lost the use of her eyelids, so that she was under the necessity of keeping them open with her fingers when she wished to look about her. In other respects, she continued in pretty good health, but she often spat large quantities of blood and at the same time it flowed from her nose. This continued for several years, but at last it ceased; and soon after she had another fit, and after that a fever, from which she recovered very slowly. Six weeks after the crisis, she stole out of the house unknown to her parents, who were busy in their harvest-work and bound the sheaves of a ridge before she was observed; but in the evening of that day, she took to bed complaining much of her head, and from that time she never rose for five years, but was occasionally lifted out of bed. She seldom spoke a word, and took so little food that it seemed insufficient to support a sucking infant; even this small quantity was taken by compulsion, and at last, about Whitsunday 1763, she totally refused every kind of food or drink. Her jaws now became so fast locked, that it was with the greatest difficulty her teeth could be opened a little in order to admit a small quantity of gruel or whey, but of this so much generally returned that it was not certain that any had been swallowed. About this time, some water was given to her from a noted medicinal spring at Braemar, some of which it was attempted to make her swallow, but without effect; these attempts were continued, however for three mornings, her throat being rubbed with the water, which ran from the corners of her mouth. On the third morning, during the operation, she cried out "give me some water" and swallowed with ease all that remained in the bottle: she spoke no more intelligibly for a year, though she continued to mutter some words, which her parents only understood, for fourteen days. She continued to reject all kinds of food till July 1765. At this time her sister thought that, by some signs she made, she desired her jaws to be opened, and this being done, not without violence she called intelligibly for drink and drank with ease about an English pint of water. Her father asked why she did not make some sign when she wanted drink? To which she answered, "why should I when I have no desire?" It was now supposed that she had regained the faculty of speech, and her jaws were kept open for about three weeks by means of a wedge, but this was afterwards removed. She still, however, continued sensible and when her eyelids were opened, knew everybody. By continuing attempts to force open her jaws, two of her under fore-teeth were driven out, and of this opening her parents endeavoured to avail themselves, by putting some thin nourishing drink into her mouth, but without effect as it always returned by the corners. Sometimes they thrust a little dough of oatmeal through this gap of the teeth, which she would retain a few seconds, an then return with something like a straining to vomit, without a single particle being swallowed. Nor was the family sensible of anything like swallowing for four years, except the small draught of Braemar water, and the English pint of common water. In this state she was visited, in the month of October 1767, by Dr. Mackenzie, Lord Privy-Seal of Scotland, on account of her remarkable case to the Royal Society, in the Journal of whose Transactions it may be found. He found her not at all emaciated; her knees were bent, and the hamstrings so tight that her heels almost touched her buttocks. She slept much, and was very quiet, and, when awake, kept constantly whimpering, like a new-born weakly infant. She never could remain a moment on her back, but always fell to one side or the other; and her chin was put close to her breast, nor could it by force be moved backwards. In October 1772, five years after his first visit, the doctor was induced to pay her a second by hearing that she was recovering, and had begun to eat and drink. The account given him was most extraordinary: her parents one day returning from their country labour, having left their daughter Janet fixed to the bed as usual, were greatly surprised to see her sitting on her hams, on the side of the house opposite to her bed-place, spinning with her mother's distaff. All the food she took at that time was only a little oat or barley cake, crumbled in the palm of her hand, as if to feed a chicken; she put little crumbs of this into the gap of her teeth, rolled them about for some time in her mouth, and then sucked out of the palm of her hand a small quantity of water, whey, or milk. This was only once or twice a-day, and even that by compulsion. She never attempted to speak; her jaws were fast locked, and her eyes shut. On opening her eyelids, the balls were found to be turned up under the edge of the os fruntis; her countenance was ghastly, and her whole person emaciated. She seemed sensible and tractable in everything except taking food. This she did with the utmost reluctance, and even cried before she yielded. The great change to the worse in her looks, Dr. Mackenzie attributed to her spinning flax on the distaff, which exhausted too much of the saliva, and therefore, he recommended to her parents to confine her totally to the spinning of wool.

She was visited again, in the year 1775, and found to be greatly improved in her looks, as well as in strength. Her food was also increased considerably in quantity, though even then she did not take more than would be sufficient to sustain an infant of two years of age.

This extraordinary woman continued to live to an advanced period of life, taking no nourishment except a little of the thinnest gruel, which she received through the aperture which had been made by breaking two of her fore-teeth for the purpose of feeding her. She died in the year 1796, in the seventieth year of her age.

There is a particular description of her case in the Journal of Philosophical Transactions, Vol. 1 xvii., Gentleman's Magazine for 1778, p. 22, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Pennant's Tour in Scotland, from which, as well as from authentic private sources of information, the above account is taken.


The landed proprietors of this parish, who are all non-resident, are as follows: Sir Charles W. A. Ross, Bart of Balnagown; Hugh A. J. Munro Esq. of Novar; John Hay Mackenzie, Esq. of Cromartie; George Ross Esq. of Pitcalnie, the chief of the Rosses; William Robertson, Esq. of Kindeace; His Grace the Duke of Sutherland; Robert Ross, Esq. of Invercarron; and Sir Hugh Munro, Bart of Foulis.

The subjoined table shows the valuation of the parish in 1840.

 Names of Proprietors

 Names of Lands

Valuation of each Property L. Scots

 Ross of Balnagown For all lands in the parish


 0  0
 Munro of Novar  Culrain, L.202. 15s.;
Achnagart L.100


 15  0
Mackenzie of Cromartie Dunic-larn


 0  0
 Ross of Pitcalnie Amat and Corrimuillie L.100 Amatuatua L.35


 0  0
 Robertsonof Kindeace Greenyards and Glencalvie


 0  0
 Duke of Sutherland Gladefield and Sallachy, L.35
Dibidale, L.34
Garvary, L.34


 0  0
 Ross of Invercarron Invercarron and Craigs


 0  0
 Munro of Foulis Corryvalagan


 10  0
   Total valuation  L.1852   5  0

As an instance of the change which a period of nearly a century makes in the ownership of landed estates, and of numerous small properties becoming merged in a few large ones, the names of the proprietors and their lands, in the parish of Kincardine, with the valuation of each property, in the year 1765, is here given:

 In the County of Ross

L. Scots

Captain John Ross of Balnagown, for his lands

 940 0 0

William Ross of Innercharrron, for his lands

 204 0 0

Charles Ross of Culrain, for his lands and interest

 202 15 0

Mrs Naomi Dunbar, alias Ross, widow of Alexander Ross of Pitcalny, as liferentrix of Amat and Corwillie

 100 0 0

Sir Harry Munro of Foulis, for his lands

 66 10 0

Robert Monro of Easter Achnagart, for his lands

 50 0 0

David Ross of Innerchasly, for his lands [Mr Ross, who was an advocate, was ruling elder from the Presbytery of Tain to the General Assembly from 1763 to 1769 inclusive.]

 35 0 0

Captain James Cuthbert of Milncraig, for lands

 34 0 0

Simon Ross of Gladefield for Gladefield.

 39 0 0

 In the county of Cromarty

Simon Ross of Gladefield for Dunie

 70 0 0

Walter Ross of Wester-Greenyard for his lands

 60 0 0

Captain John Tarbes of New, or the factor for the time on the annexed estate of Cromartie, for the lands of Drumvaich

 53 6 8

Roderick Macleod of Cadboll for the lands of Amat-ni-Eglisa

 35 0 0

 Total valuation 1889 11 8

The real rent of the parish, which is fluctuating, may be estimated at L.4500 or L.5000 Sterling per annum.

Parochial Registers, Etc. - The register of baptisms and marriages commences about forty-three years ago, the date of the earliest entry being August 21, 1797, since which period it has been regularly kept. It consists of two volumes; the dates of births have not been kept in the first, but commence with the second volume, in May 1804. The minutes of the kirk-session of Kincardine commence on the 21st of May 1804, when the late incumbent, Mr Macbean, was admitted, previous to which no session records exist. But they have been very irregularly kept ever since then, entries (anything but voluminous) being made only occasionally, and at intervals of sometimes two and three years. They have been regularly kept only since the induction of the present incumbent in 1821. There is no register of deaths or burials. The lay members of session are six in number, all regularly ordained as elders, and the parochial schoolmaster is at present session-clerk.

Antiquities - There are several of those round towers called dunes in this parish, regarding the origin of which it were vain to inquire, as there have been so many conflicting opinions upon the subject, some considering them the workmanship of Celtic tribes, while others maintain that they were erected by the Danes or Norwegians; but, as Dr Macculloch remarks "it is indifferent whether we ascribe the structures in question to the Picts or the Scandinavians, as there seems little reason to doubt that these were radically one and the same people". None of these dunes or burghs exist in a perfect form, for they offered too tempting a collection of stones for modern buildings to be left unmolested; they were not always placed in elevated sites, though in general they command an extensive view, and were often built in sight of one another.

In the churchyard, there is a stone about five feet in length and two in breadth and thickness; it is hollow, and divided into two cells, one considerably larger than the other the other. The ends and one of the sides are covered with carved figures and hieroglyphics, an imperial crown, and a man on horseback in the act of darting a lance or javelin, as also what appears to be a camel, are still plainly distinguishable. It is probable that it is the half of a sarcophagus or stone-coffin, and tradition describes it as the tomb of a prince of Loellin, who died of his wounds in the neighbourhood, and had his remains deposited there. This sculptured stone was examined several years ago by that celebrated antiquary, Dr Samuel Hibbert who took a copy of the inscription upon it.

There are also several of those circles of stone so frequently mentioned by Ossian, which were sacred to Loda, the favourite deity of the ancient Scandinavians.

In building a new wall round the church-yard two years ago, there was a small coin of the reign of James VI discovered, which is now in the possession of the writer. It is silver, and about the size of a sixpence. The inscription in the obverse, round the royal arms of Scotland, is "JACOB: 6. D.G.R. SCO." and on the reverse "OPPID: EDINB:" surrounding a thistle, surmounted by a crown.

The writer also lately found an antique seal, upon which was engraved a lion rampant, the arms of the Rosses. From the place where it was discovered, it is plain that it must have lain there for many years, and indeed the rudeness of its construction testifies its antiquity.

III. Population

The earliest census of the population of this parish, so far as is now known, is that procured by Dr Webster in the year 1755, the number then being 1743. In 1774, according to the author of the former Statistical Account, the population was upwards of 2000 above seven years of age. But by returns made to Sir John Sinclair, in 1790, there were not above 1600 examinable persons in the parish.

The chief cause of this great decrease in the space of sixteen years was that, in 1782, many were reduced to poverty by the loss of their cattle, and the almost total failure of the crop of that year, which occasioned such accumulated distress, that they were obliged to remove with their families and settle in the low country as day-labourers or domestic servants.

 Amount of population by census1801  1865
 ...........................................................1811  1666*
 ...........................................................1821  1811
 ............................................................1831  1887
Families employed in agriculture in 1831


........................ in trade, manufactures, or handicraft


All families otherwise employed


Total number of families


*The decrease in the population in 1811 was accounted for by the system which had been adopted some time before by proprietors of turning several small farms into one, and depopulating whole straths for the purpose of raising sheep.

The population of the parish since the last census has increased to 2000.

No nobility reside within the bounds of this parish, but many resort thither during the shooting season, and remain for two or three months. There are several respectable farmers, with good habitable houses and commodious squares, and also two gentlemen who are large sheep-farmers, viz. Donald Macleod, Esq., Gladefield House, and Ebenezer Mackay, Esq., Invercarron House, who farms the estate of Invercarron (the proprietor being in India).

As a proof of the healthiness of the climate, it may be mentioned that there is at present residing at Culrain, in this parish, an old pensioner of the name Donald Ross, who entered the 21st Royal North British Regiment of Fusileers in the year 1760, during the reign of King George II, being then twenty years of age. Though he completed his hundredth year last spring, this hoary veteran still enjoys pretty good health.
There are 2 insane (1 occasionally); 2 fatuous, and also deaf and dumb (a brother and sister); 1 blind (a woman); and 2 deaf and dumb (brothers).


The language generally spoken and understood is the Gaelic, and though most of the rising generation understand English also, yet the Gaelic can scarcely be said to have lost ground within the last forty years; as a proof of which, it may be mentioned, that, during the summer months, while the day is long, there are two Gaelic discourses and one English every Sunday, and the Catechumens are always examined in that language. The parish is well supplied with Gaelic Bibles and Psalm-books, every family in it being possessed of at least one copy.

Character, Etc.

The people here are generally moral in their lives, and, when occasion requires, of unremitting industry. In common with most Highlanders, they are his hospitable, of quick parts, great agility, inquisitive and fond of information, and extremely patient under hunger, cold, and other distresses from which their southern neighbours would shrink. They still retain a sacred regard for the clan or family they are sprung from, but it must be allowed that this feeling is on the decline. The tale, the song and the dance do not, as in days of yore, entertain the dreary winter nights. They are regular in their attendance on Divine worship, and in many instances, think nothing of coming ten or twelve miles to the parish church every Sabbath.

Poaching, Etc.

Poaching and smuggling may be said to be extinct in this district, though these crimes were once very prevalent, and had so corrupted by their influence the moral character of the people, that it was almost impossible to persuade them of their guilt.



There are considerable salmon-fisheries carried on chiefly with coble and net on the rivers Oikell and Carron. They belong to the Duke of Sutherland, who purchased all the fishings in this quarter a few years ago. The Carron is an excellent river for angling. The smaller streams and lochs, of which last there are great number in the parish, supply beautiful trout; one in particular, Loch Chorrh, in sequestered situation, contains trout of six pounds weight. Flounders are caught in abundance below the church of Kincardine at ebb-tide. In the former Statistical Account it is related that, during the great scarcity of 1783, great shoals of that species of fish, known in England by the name of white bait, came up, and in such astonishing quantities, as to contribute very much to the support of many families in this and the neighbouring county in that season of distress. There was formerly a yair or stake-net, belonging to Balnagown, in which prawns, small rock and ware cod, gurnard, turbot, and paddies were caught, and occasionally sturgeon, of which last there was one, of the enormous size of 13 1/2, feet taken some years ago. The country people think sturgeon of service to their cattle, in certain diseases, and were used to carry it home, and preserve it in their houses.

As a proof of the antiquity of salmon-fishing in this parish, the following is deserving of record: There is a charter granted by "William Earl of Ross, Lord of Skie, to his well-beloved brother, Hugh Ross of Rarichies" (who was afterwards styled of Balnagown, being the first laird thereof of that name) "of the lands of Kilmachalmack in Strathockwll, and Cadbisdile in Strathcarron, reserving the salmon-fishing of the Kyl of Ockell to the said Erle and his aires", dated before witnesses "Att Dingwel, 4 of Febrie 1370" (Ancient Charter), and Sir Donald Ilis of Lochalsh "disponed on 3 Novemr 1515, to Hector Munro, of Foulis, the salmon-fishing of the Kyle of Ockell."


Sheep-farming was introduced into this parish, and the neighbouring one of Creich, by Sir John Lockhart Ross of Balnagown, in order to employ his Highland tenants, and he had the erection of a village in contemplation. But being called to stand forth as a defender of his country's rights, and his sheep falling under bad management, he sold off his stock, and, at his return home, finding himself in the decline if life, he dropped his favourite idea. Since that period, however, sheep have been introduced in large numbers, and there are at present nearly 30,000 fleeces of wool shorn annually; but the system of turning whole straths, where formerly peaceful cottages were to be seen, into sheep-walks, is becoming too prevalent, and is productive of the worst consequences, for every succeeding summer sends the finest of our peasantry to a foreign shore, there to seek those means of subsistence which are denied them in their father-land. These evil consequences have not as yet, we are happy to say, been much felt in this parish.


There are few places better adapted for a manufacturing village than Kincardine. Situated in the near neighbourhood of two great corn counties, it has the advantage of water-carriage, and a choice of safe harbours for vessels of fifty tons burthen. It lies open to several very populous districts, and were manufactures once established it would be resorted to by many. The Highland boys and girls are, in the summer and harvest seasons, employed in herding cattle, and as the range of pasture is generally extensive, while tending their cattle, they might earn as much by knitting stockings as their parents and full-grown sisters at home, by the constant turning of the lint-wheel.


No ships or vessels of any description belong to the parish, but several vessels trade to Bonar, of from thirty to sixty tons burthen, and occasionally some of a larger size, though these last cannot come up to the bridge, owing to the shallowness of the channel. They import coals, lime, meal, salt, etc. and export wood, oak bark, corn, wool, and salmon.


Means of Communication, etc.

There is no market-town in the parish; the nearest is Tain, which is thirteen miles distant from the church of Kincardine. But the means of communication are ample: there is a post-office at Bonar Bridge in this parish, and a daily post. The mail is brought from Tain in a commodious double-seated gig, capable of containing four passengers, which arrives at the Balnagown Arms Inn, Ardgay, every morning at nine o'clock and is despatched at five in the afternoon. The mail-coach used to drive round by Bonar, but since May 1830, it has crossed the frith at Meikle Ferry, which is three miles on this side of Tain. This ferry, from the shoals in the channel, and its exposure to sudden squalls from the hill, is considered one of the most dangerous and inconvenient in the north, and many lives have been lost in crossing it. To avoid this ferry, the Parliamentary Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges, in the year 1812, built an iron bridge at Bonar, across a narrow part of the Dornoch Firth (where previously there had been a ferry), at an expense of L.14,000. Bonar Bridge consists of three arches, one of cast-iron 150 feet in span, and two stone arches of 50 and 60 feet respectively. The iron arch is on the Sutherland side, and the stone arches on this side. The fabric is as strong as it is beautiful, for the pillars have repeatedly withstood uninjured the shocks of united masses of ice and timber, and the collision of small vessels driven against them by the tide.
There is a good stone pier at Bonar, which was erected a few years ago by an enterprising individual in the parish, Mr. Ross of the Balnagown Arms Inn, solely at his own expense. It is chiefly used for shipping timber, and landing coals, lime, etc. or whatever cargo the few vessels which occasionally come up the Frith may contain. A good many fishing-boats come during the summer season.

The parish is not blessed with the convenience of good roads, for, with the exception of the road from the church of Kincardine to Ardgay, Bonar, and a few miles to Gladefield and Invercarron Houses, as also that which goes to Croick church, thirteen miles distant, the rest of the parish, for upwards of thirty miles, is totally destitute of what may be called roads; the only access to these remote districts, except on Highland ponies, being by the excellent county road on the Sutherland side, which skirts the Kyle, the division betwixt the counties to the extremity of Kincardine, where it marches with Assynt. The road to Croick winds through a beautiful vale, along the banks of the river Carron passing Braelangwell Lodge, the picturesque summer residence of Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, and Amat Cottage, the residence of Mr Ross of Pitcalnie.

Ecelesiastical State

The parish church is situated within a mile of the eastern extremity of the parish; its situation is therefore exceedingly inconvenient for the bulk of the population, its distance from the western extremity being no less the thirty-four miles. It was built in 1799, and affords accommodation for 600 persons, but it is too small for the congregation that usually attend. It is in contemplation, however, to add a wing; but a new edifice would be found cheaper in the end, as the present one is much decayed, and the timber becoming rotten. Its length is 68 feet 6 inches, its breadth 20 feet, and its height 17 feet. There is a large and well-toned bell attached to the church, which was presented to the parish by Admiral Sir John Lockhart Ross. It was a good deal injured by fire.*

*The following inscription, which was written by Mr Gallie, then minister of Kincardine, is on a marble tablet, under the belfry, and within the church:

"This Bell, captured in a French Ship of War
of 74 guns , was gifted
by Admiral Sir John Ross of Balnagown, Bart,
in the year 1776,
to the parish of Kincardine."

"When Britain's navies did a world control,
And spread her empire to the farthest pole;
High stood our hero in the rolls of fame,
And Lockhart then became a dethliss name,
This bell no more shall wintnes blood or gore,
Nor shall his voice mix with cannon's roar;
But to Kincardine by the hero given,
Shall call the sinner to the peace of heaven."

The sittings in the church have been divided by the heritors according to their valued rents, and the tenants on their estates have free access to them. There are no seat-rents exacted. The manse consists of two erections; the older part was built in 1769, and, in 1827, it was repaired and additions made to it, part of the former building being thrown down. Its shape is that of a cross, the old house being in the centre.

The minister's glebe contains about 6 Scotch acres, and has been valued at L.15 per annum.

The stipend is 17 chalders, at least that quantity was awarded by the last augmentation, which took place in the year 1825; but from the state of the teinds at present there is a very considerable deficiency in that amount. The stipend of Kincardine, in March 1710, was "four chalders victual, and four hundred merks money, yearlie"; in 1741, during Mr David Ross's incumbency, L.559. 6s. 8d. Scots; in 1770, during Mr Gilbert Robertson's incumbency, it was augmented to L.840 Scots (or L.70Sterling). In 1791, Mr Andrew Gallie, minister, received an augmentation of 4 chalders victual, one-third bear, two-thirds oatmeal, and L.1. 13s. 4d. Sterling, making it in all four chalders, and L.71. 13s. 4d. money. In 1807, Mr Alexander Macbean, minister, received an additional augmentation of 4 chalders victual, and L.3. 6s .8d. Sterling, making it 8 chalders, and L.75 Sterling; and in 1825, the present incumbent had awarded by decrect of Session, 4 chalders 5 bolls additional, including the sum of L.8. 6s. 8d. for communion elements, which made the stipend 17 chalders in all, as already stated.

Kincardine existed as a parish prior to the Reformation; and from that period till the Revolution the Bishop of Ross was patron. The patronage is now possessed by Mackenzie, Cromartie, betwixt whom and the Crown it was disputed for many years. The first ecclesiastical notice we possess of Kincardine occurs in the "Register of Ministers, Exhorters, and Readers, 1563-1576" (which was printed for the Maitland Club in 1830, and consists of two parts, or rather two separate lists, the one from 1563 to 1572, and the other from 1572 to 1576) where, under the head "Ministers in Ross" in the first list, is the following: "Kincardine, Farquhar Reid, exhortar, xl. merkis, and xx. Etherthane, merkis mair sen Lambmes 1569."

Ministers of Kincardine

1. Mr Hucheoun Ross was "minister at Kinken in Ross" or "Kincairn" (as Kincardine was originally written) from 1578 down to 1607; how much later has not been ascertained, and he was undoubtedly the first Protestant minister settled in the parish.*

*Rev. Hew Scott's MS Extracts

2. Mr Thomas Ross, of whom there is an account given amongst the "Eminent Men" of this parish. He was "minister at Kincardine" towards the beginning of the seventeenth century, and was in all probability the immediate successor of Mr Hucheoun Ross. He was minister here in the year 1655(Presb. Records of Dingwall, Vol. i.), and appears to have been translated to Tain about the year 1664, where he died shortly before the Revolution.

3. Mr Hector Monro, second son of "Mr Wm. Monro, parson of Coulecudden", in Cromartyshire, of the family of Foulis. He was minister at Eddertoun in the year 1637, and his name appears in the "List of Members of the General Assembly, which met at Glasgow, Nov. 21, 1638" as one of the Commissioners from the Presbytery of Tain, thus: "M. Hector Monro, min. in Nether Tayne" (Records of Kirk of Scotland). Mr Monro was "Min. at Eddertayne" in 1655 (Presbytery Records of Dinwall, Vol. i.), and was transported to Kincardine about the year 1664, where he died 18th March 1670.

4. Mr George Ross, was the next "minister at Kincarden". He died in February 1683, and was buried in Fearn church-yard.

5. Mr Kenneth Mackenzie, whose name appears in a "mortification by James, Bishop of Ross, with the dean and chapter of the Cathedrall Kirk thereof, to the school and schoolmaster of Fortrose" dated at Fortrose, 21st August 1686, for the "Parsonage of Kincardin" formed part of the chapter of Ross, during the time of Episcopacy. Mr Mackenzie's subscription to the above document is "Ken McKenzie, parson of Kincardine". He was translated to Fearn about 1686, having been but a short time minister of Kincardine. He was deposed soon after the Revolution by the united Presbytery of Ross and Sutherland.

6. Mr Walter Ross, who was also "Episcopall incumbent at Kinkardin" previous to the Revolution. He "voluntarily dimitted" his charge in 1695, and seems to have been a peaceable, inoffensive man. The next notice we have of him is in 1704, in which year, the General Assembly "recommend to all the Presbytries within the Synods of Lothian and Tweedale, Glasgow and Ayr, and Fife, to collect some charitable supply for Mr Walter Ross, late Episcopal minister at Kincadine in Ross" (Acts of Ass). And the Commission of Assembly, in the year 1714, "Payed to Mr Walter Ross, 100 lib. Scots, by order of the Church", after which there is no more mention made of him.

7. Mr Hector Fraser, sixth minister of the parish, and first Presbyterian minister after the Revolution, who was admitted here in 1699, the parish been vacant for four years. In the Acts of Assembly for that year we find the following mention made of him: "Reference to the Commission for planting vacant kirks in the north, anent Mr Hector Fraser, probationer, having the Irish language, his going to the bounds of the Presbytery of Ross". After being ten years in Kincardine, Mr Fraser was transported to the neighbouring parish of Eddertoun, 4th May 1709, where he died on the 17th May 1729.

8. Mr Robert Munro, brother to Mr Hugh Munro, successively minister of Tarbat (1699-1701) and Tain (1701-1744). He had studied at the University of St Andrews and was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Tain, 1st December 1708; he was ordained and admitted "minister of Kincardine" on the 29th of March 1711, by Mr Daniel Macgilligin of Kilmuir-Easter. The Rev. Joseph Munro, minister of Eddertoun from 1742 to 1785, was his son and was born in the year 1714. Mr Robert Munro died, after a ministry of nearly thirty-years, on the 10th February 1741, and was succeded by

9. David Ross, nephew to Mr David Ross, minister of Tarbat (1707-1748), who was parochial schoolmaster of Nigg and Tarbat successively, to the latter of which he was appointed in 1732. Having received "an unanimous call from the heritors and elders of the parish of Kincarden" Mr Ross was ordained and admitted minister there on the 7th April 1742, but died on the 10th of May following.

10. Mr Gilbert Robertson. After studying and taking the usual degrees of a Scotch University, Mr Robertson became "itinerant tutor to Sir Robert Munro of Foulis's eldest son" (afterwards Sir Harry Munro), and went with him to the Academy of the celebrated Dr Philip Doddridge at Northampton in England, where he attended the divinity lectures delivered by Dr Doddridge, and received license and ordination from a class of English dissenters in that town and neighbourhood, Dr Doddridge being moderator. On his return home, he resided at Limlair, in the parish of Kiltearn, and in 1740 received a presbyterial call to the church and parish of Dingwall which was, however, rejected by the Commission of Assembly, who declared their dissatisfaction with the presbytery, and appointed the moderator to write them a letter to that effect. His admission to Kincardine, which took place 31st August 1742, was a very harmonious one, the petition for him having been signed by the whole parish. After an eminently useful ministry of thirty-one years, Mr Robertson died on the 17th of March 1774.

11. Mr Andrew Gaillie, who succeeded, was ordained at Nigg by Mr John Sutherland of Tain, 27th July 1756, to the mission of ____. On the 6th September 1758, he was admitted to the parish of Laggan, in the presbytery of Abertarff, and transported to Kincardine, 11th October 1774. Mr Gallie died on the 15th of May 1803, in the twenty-ninth year of his ministry here.

12. Mr Alexander Macbean, who was schoolmaster of Cromarty, was ordained and admitted to this parish, 25th April 1804. He died on the 21st of August 1820. His successor was

13. Mr Hector Allan, the present incumbent, who is the thirteenth "minister of Kincardine" since the Reformation. Mr Allan was ordained to the mission of Fort-William, in Lochaber, in June 1819, and, having "received an unanimous call from the heritors, elders, and heads of families in the parish of Kincardine", was admitted minister there on the 12th of April 1821.

Government Church at Croick

There is a Government church situated at Croick, in this parish. The church and manse of this place, which were completed on the 13th June 1857, are in sequestered valley, about twelve miles from Bonar Bridge. Lady Mary Ross of Balnagown granted ground for glebe and garden, the extent of which is 6 acres, 3roods, and 39 falls Scotch land measure. The garden has been cultivated and neatly laid out, and the glebe has also been enclosed and improved. There were two places of worship besides the parish church, previous to the erection of the Parliamentary church; these were twelve miles apart, one (at Ochto), being fourteen miles from the parish church, and the other (at Amat), twelve miles. A missionary officiated at them once a month, or once in six weeks, as circumstances permitted; his residence was, till lately, in this parish. The proportion of the population attached to Croick is 452, the average congregation 200. A fifth part of the inhabitants of the district are shepherds, and the remainder small tenants or cotters. They are generally a devout people, and there has been only one instance of theft known amongst them since the induction of the minister. There is one school supported by the minister and people. About 35 children attend this school at present, the greater proportion of whom can read English and Gaelic, write and cipher.

The first minister appointed to the Parliamentary church of Croick was Mr Robert Williamson, who was ordained and admitted there on the 25th September 1828, and by the act of Assembly1833, "anent Parliamentary Churches and Ministers", he became a member of the presbytery of Tain, and had his name added to the roll on the 25th September 1833. In 1840 Mr Williamson was appointed minister of St Andrews Church, Pictou, Nova Scotia. This church is at present vacant.

Mission in the heights of the Parish

The mission of Rosehall, which is partly situated in this parish and partly in that of Creich, was established by the Committee of the General Assembly for managing the Royal bounty, about the middle of the last century; it extends over a space about twenty-three miles in length, and fifteen in breadth, and consists of two glens and a long strath; the glens are in the west part of the mission, and are separated by a lofty hill; the river Oikell runs through the strath, whence it is called Strath Oikell.

The population is about 1100, and is much scattered, particularly in the glens, which are chiefly inhabited by shepherds; the bulk of the people are located in small hamlets or farms on both sides of the strath. They are all of the Established Church. Their moral and religious principles are general excellent, and the Sabbath is well-observed; they labour under great deficiency of the means of education, an evil which the people themselves strongly feel, and are most anxious to have remedied.

The missionary possess a dwelling-house, cow-house, and garden; the people supply with fuel, and with provender for a cow in winter. The salary was originally L.20 from the Committee, and L.7 additional from the people, but it is now L.60 per annum, and the Duke of Sutherland gives L.5 more, as an equivalent for the deficiency of accommodation.

There is a place of worship at Rosehall, which was repaired in 1832, and the missionary preaches at Ochto, and Bailephuill (the hamlet of the pool), in Glen-Oikell, which are both on the Kincardine side of the Kyle, but there is no church at either of these places. Before the erection of the Parliamentary Church at Croick, there were three regular preaching stations, viz. Amat and Ochto in Kincardine, and Innis-na-lin (the island or plain of the nets) in Creich, at which the missionary was obliged to officiate in regular rotation; his residence was at Achnahuagh (the field of the graves) in this parish. The church at Rosehall can accommodate about 300, but is usually attended by 100 more. At Ochto nearly the same number attend, but not so many at Bailephuill. The bulk of the people are within six or seven miles of the church, and about the same distance from Ochto. Bailphuill is about seven miles west from Rosehall, but even that station is eight or nine miles from the most remote houses in the west end of the mission. In dry weather the access to public worship is easy, but generally very difficult in winter.

Baptism is regularly sought and administered, and the communion is held biennially. A shilling for every sitter is the nominal rent, and not easily collected. The collections, averaging 2s. 6d. weekly, are distributed annually among the poor.

The principal heritor is Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown; the others are Lord Cranstoun, Mr Munro of Novar, and the Duke of Sutherland.

Rosehall mission-house is thirteen miles from the church of Kincardine; Ochto is about the same distance, and Bailephill twenty-one miles.

Names of Missionary Ministers

  1. Hugh Rose, ordained first "Missionary minister in the heights of the parishes of Kincardine and Creich, 15th April 1757." He was translated to Creich, 26th September, 1759, and to Tain, 27th June 1770, where he died, 23d September 1774.
  2. George Rainy, after a vacancy of six years, was ordained here 8th May 1766; he was translated to Creich in 1770, and died in the year 1811.
  3. John Matheson, ordained 2d October 1771, translated to Kilmuir-Easter, 22d September 1775, and died 20th April 1814.
  4. John Ross, ordained here in 1776, translated to Logie-Easter, 22d September 1778, and to Rosskeen, 16th June 1813, where he died, 8th February 1824, in the 74th year of his age.
  5. Thomas Urquhart, ordained 1779, translated to Rosskeen, 1st September 1783, and died 16th May 1812.
  6. Robert Munro, ordained in 1783, translated to the mission of Ullapool in 1788, and died there.
  7. William Simson, ordained here in 1790, after a vacancy of two years. He was translated to the Gaelic chapel, Paisley, in 1796, and to Fearn, 7th July 1802, where he died 17th August 1808.
  8. John Mackenzie, ordained 24th May 1797, and translated to Eddrachillis, 6th April 1803, where he died 14th March 1837, in the 83d year of his age.
  9. Alexander Macleod, ordained in 1803, transported to the Gaelic chapel, Cromarty, in 1809, where he died 21st June 1821.
  10. Thomas Munro, ordained in 1810, translated to Kiltearn 27th June 1816, present minister there.
  11. Lewis Rose, ordained in 1817, translated to Nigg 24th Sept 1818, and to Duke Street Church, Glasgow, 21st January 1836.
  12. Hugh Macleod, ordained in 1819, appointed to Pictou Nova Scotia, in 1821, and is since dead.
  13. William Robertson, ordained after a vacancy of two years, 19th June 1823. Died in the mission in May 1829.
  14. Finlay Macpherson, ordained here in 1830, translated to Tobermory in 1833, and to Kilbrandon 3rd May 1838.
  15. John Downie Kennedy, son of the late Rev. Neil Kennedy, minister of Logie-Easter, fifteenth and present missionary minister of Rosehall. He was appointed to the mission after it had been vacant eighteen months, in September 1835, and was ordained on the 20th January 1836.


There is one catechist in this parish employed by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, from whom he receives a salary of L.7. 10s. per annum. This class of religious instructors are well calculated to be useful to the young, as well as to the more advanced parishioners, by examinations on the questions of the Shorter Catechism, and by their familiar conversational explanation of the same. This office of catechist has been established here for upwards of a century; for as far back as the year 1730, we find "Donald Ross continued catechist in the parish of Kincardine, with a salary of L.8 Sterling" (Presb. Records of Tain, Vol. iv.). Donald Ross was "catechist in the parish of Kincardine" in 1770 (Vol. x). The present catechist is a venerable and intelligent man in the seventy-seventh year of his age.
There is not a Dissenter of any description resident in this parish, and Divine service is always very well attended.
The number of communicants here is from 70 to 80, of whom 29 are male heads of families.

The average amount of church collections yearly for religious and charitable objects is from L.30 to L.35. Such collections in a parish which has not a single resident proprietor, shows what may be done by the influence of a good understanding between a philanthropic pastor and his flock. The collections, though rather under the usual average this season "for religious and benevolent purposes" are as follows: for the Jews L.8. 8s.; India mission, L.4. 10s.; Church Extension, L.4. 4s.; Assembly schools, L.3. 5s.; Colonial Society, L.3. 15s.; Inverness Infirmary, L.5; total L.29. 2s.


There are eight schools in this parish, which are all well attended. The parochial school is situated near the parish church, and is a comfortable dwelling-house. Besides the school room, it contains four apartments for the accommodation of the schoolmaster. The salary is the maximum, which, with an allowance for garden of L.2.2s.9 1/4d., makes L.36.7s.1 3/4d.

The school fees scarcely amount to L.5 annually. The average number of scholars attending may be about 60, but in winter they exceed 100. The branches of instruction taught are reading, writing, Latin, arithmetic, and mathematics. Amongst those who have held the situation Parochial schoolmaster of Kincardine, since its establishment, which took place a century ago, the following deserve to be mentioned: James Dallas, minister of Contin 1793-1825; David Carment, who was schoolmaster from 1789 to 1790, with a salary of L.5. 6s. 8d., present minister of Rosskeen; George Winehouse, from 1803 to 1805, present minister of Auchterhouse, in the presbytery of Dundee; Alexander Ross, from 1822 to 1829, in which latter year he was ordained by the late Dr Mackintosh of Tain, to the "Gaelic and English congregation at Dundas in Upper Canada" (now Aldborough, presbytery of Toronto); Charles Laing, from 1829, till his death, which took place at Aberdeen, while attending the divinity classes there in 1833; and the present "schoolmaster of Kincardine", Henry Macleod, who was appointed in 1833.

There is a school at Strathcarron supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, who give a salary of L.15 per annum. There is also a female school taught on the second patent of the same society, with a salary of L.5. Besides these endowed schools there are five through different parts of the parish, which are supported entirely by individual subscription. There are five additional schools required besides the above number, as in several populous districts the children are without the benefits of any education whatever.


There was a parochial library established here in 1823, intended principally as a Sabbath school library; the works contained in it are chiefly, Christian biography, accounts of missions, and tracts.

There was a reading-club also established lately, which promises to succeed well. The secretary purchases annually works of travels, biography, and general literature, and each member has them for about three weeks: at the end of the year, they are sold amongst the subscribers. The annual subscription is considerably less than a guinea; the number of subscribers at present amounts to sixteen.

Savings Bank

A Savings Bank was established this year in Tain, and is named "the National Security Savings Bank of Easter Ross". The minister of Kincardine is one of the managers. The lowest deposit is fixed at 2s. 6d. and the highest in one year at L.30, the rate of interest being L.3, 6s. 8d.per cent per annum. It is impossible as yet to say how this useful institution will succeed.

Poor and Parochial Funds

The number of individuals who receive parochial aid is 75, and the average sum allotted to each per annum is 5s. 6d. The amount of contributions for their relief, arising from church collections, for the year ending 24th November 1839, was L.20.2s.2 1/2d. There is a sum of L.5 sterling, given annually for the poor of the parish by Lady Mary Ross of Balnagown. Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, Mr Mackenzie of Cromartie, and the Sutherland family are also mindful of the poor. To the daily and constant liberality and sympathy ministered to the needy by the benevolent families at Invercarron and Gladefield, this extensive parish is under the deepest obligations, as well as to other resident farmers and neighbours, although the evils of non-residence are at the same time deeply felt in many of its districts.


There is one public fair held in this parish, which is called "Feille-Edeichan" or the market of the quartz-stone. It takes place in the last week of November, and some times on the first week of December; and continues for three days. There is commonly a fine show of Highland cattle; and quantities of cheese and butter, as well as merchandise, are to be had at it.*

*In the "Scottish Acts of Parliament, folio edit. 1820, (Vol. viii p.629, A.D. 1686) there is the following: "Ratification in favours of David Ross of Balnagown, of the land and barony of Balnagown, erecting the village of Ardgay into a burgh of barony, to be called Bonarness; and to make burgesses, and to build a market cross, and ane Tolbooth; and nominate and appoint baillies yearly, and to keep and hold Courts of Justice; and hold a weekly market on Friday, and two yearly fairs." It is very curious, descriptive local act, and is deserving of attention. It was never acted upon.


- The only licensed inn in the parish is situated at Ardgay, and is conducted in an exceedingly orderly respectable manner.


The principal fuel used by the lower classes is peats, turf, and brushwood. English coals are always used by the more wealthy portion of the inhabitants. They come by sea to Bonar, and are sold at 17s. per ton.


The more striking variations betwixt the present state of the parish, and that which existed at the time of the last Statistical Account, consist chiefly in the improved state of agriculture, and the increased facilities of internal communication by roads, conveyances, etc. The wages of labourers, and price of cattle, have also increased considerably. At present a boll of oatmeal of the same measure as then sells for L.1. 4s.; a boll of oats, L.1; and of barley, L.1. 10s. Butter, which was formerly 12s. the Scotch stone, and cheese 4s., now bring, respectively, L.1. 1s. and 8s. for the same quantity. A good ploughman gets from L.6 to L.9 a year of wages; a woman from L.2 to L.5 for the same period; and a day-labourer, who used to received 8d. in summer, and 6d. in winter, per diem, will now not be content with less than 1s. 6d. or 2s. This rise in the price of provisions and wages is very striking. There has also been a great improvement in the comfort of the cottages, and in the dress and habits of the people; and the system of farming in this parish is quite changed, and also the manner of letting farms.*

*The writer owes his grateful acknowledgements to Mr Rowand of the Theological Library in the University of Edinburgh, and to the Rev. Hew Scott, M.A., minister of Wester Anstruther, for much useful information and friendly assistance afforded him while engaged in this Statistical Account.

August 1840