The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
PRESBYTERY OF ALFORD, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
I.—Topography and Natural History.
Name.—The present parish of Leochel and Cushnie consists of the two old parishes of these names, with the addition, ecclesiastically, of the lands of Corse, which are civilly in the parish of Coull. In ancient documents, the following varieties of spelling are found: Loychel, Loquhell, Lochel, Lochal, Leuchell, and Leochell: Cussenin, Cusschene, Cusseny, Cuischnie, Cusney, and Cushney. The etymology of Leochel, given in the former Statistical Account, is evidently untenable. It is there derived from Leath-Chuil, signifying the " half of Coull." But there is no trace of the termination oul in any of the ancient forms of the word, and the separate and independent existence of the parish of Leochel can be established from about the year 1165, the beginning of the reign of William the Lion. A much more probable account is, that, as the parish takes its name from the burn or water of Leochel, and as this stream rises from a cleft or hollow in the Hill of Cushnie, near an eminence called Crag-Leoch, Leochel, or Leochal, is compounded of Leoch, the name of this crag, and ale, signifying a "clear stream." But perhaps the most probable derivation of all is from the Celtic Lli, signifying a "stream," and uchel, signifying "high," a character very applicable, in consequence of the elevated ground from which the Leochel descends in its course to the Don. Cussenin, the oldest form of Cushnie, seems to be derived from Cosh, foot, and Fainn, height, in composition Coshnainn, "the foot of the height or hill," which is exactly descriptive of the place.
Extent and Boundaries.—The form of the parish is irregular. The middle portion may be considered as approaching to the figure of a parallelogram, 5 miles from east to west, by 3½ miles from north to south. To this there is added, on the north-west angle, a projection, running to the Don, of two miles by one; and another on the east side, extending south-east, of like dimensions. This will give an area of about 21 square miles, or 13,440 imperial acres, a result very nearly corresponding with actual survey. It is bounded on the east by Alford, Tough, and Lumphanan; on the south, by Lumphanan and Coull; on the west, by Tarland and Towie; and on the north, by Kildrummy and Alford.
Surface.—The surface of the parish is much diversified. The western boundary is the Soccoch, or Hill of Cushnie, rising to an altitude of 2000 feet above the level of the sea; and from the base of this hill, there are four mountainous ridges, running from west to east, through the whole length of the parish, and as many valleys, each watered by its own little stream. The crests of these ridges are barren, and the cultivated ground lies on the southern and northern slopes, and in the bottoms of the valleys. The lowest parts of the valleys are 500 feet above the level of the sea, and the cultivation is in some cases pushed up the acclivities of the hills, to the height of at least 500 feet more. The prospect from the summit of the Hill of Cushnie well repays the toil of the ascent. To the south are seen the fertile vale of Cromar, with the lofty chain of the Grampians beyond, among which Mount Keen and Lochnagar rise preeminent; to the west, Morven and Benavon; to the north-west, the windings of the Don through the valley of Towie, and Belrinnes in the distance; to the north, the Buck of the Cabrach and the Tap of Noth, with the upper part of Strathbogie; and to the north-east and east, the vale of Alford, highly cultivated and richly wooded, with its bounding mountains, the district of the Garioch, and the flat country extending even to the Buchan coast. Various other points afford pleasing, though much less extensive views ; and to look down from the Hill of Corse on the south, the Hill of Crai-gievar on the east, or the Hill of Fowlis near the centre of the parish, on a summer afternoon, when the heat has been tempered by a refreshing shower, and the soft light of the setting sun reposes on the uplands gray with heath, the slopes green with corn and grass, and the hollows sparkling with their winding rivulets, gives a lively idea of "a land of hills and valleys, that drinketh water of the rain of Heaven."
Meteorology.— A thermometer has been registered at 9 o'clock morning and evening, since the 1st January 1842; and the direction of the wind noted, with the days on which rain or snow fe]] and the following are the results obtained:
fell, 159. The wind blew from the E. 8 days, S. E. 82, S. 23, S. W. 116, W. 10, N. W. 83, N. 7, and N. E. 36. It thus appears that our prevailing winds are the S. W. the N. W. and the S. E. winds. The S. W. is the genial point, the N. W. the stormy one, and the S. E. the wet one. The strongest gales are from the N. W., of which there was a remarkable instance on the night between the 11th and 12th March 1842, when it blew a perfect hurricane, overthrowing corn-stacks, damaging the roofs of houses where not slated, and laying prostrate trees, to a melancholy extent. Upwards of 200 trees fell in the wood of Craigievar, though by no means a large plantation.
Climate.—Both Leochel and Cushnie have long had an evil report, on account of the coldness and lateness of the climate, and the consequent uncertainty of the crops. When Gilderoy and his gang of freebooters haunted the hills of Cushnie in the beginning of the seventeenth century, they are said to have declared them to be the coldest in Scotland.
There can be no doubt that, on account of the great elevation of the district, and its mountainous character, together with the nature of the soil, the seasons are from ten to fourteen days later than in the lower part of the vale of Alford, and the adjoining vale of Cromar. The air is also keen and bracing, but, on the whole, conducive to health and longevity, of which the fifty years' incumbency of Mr Thomas Reid at Leochel, and Mr Francis Adam at Cushnie, in the last century, was no unsatisfactory proof. In confirmation of this, and also in illustration of the prevalent diseases, it may be stated, that, of 49 persons who have died in the parish during the last four years, 1839, 1840, 1841, and 1842, twenty-one have died from old age and general decay of nature, chiefly mianifested in derangement of the digestive and respiratory organs, 11 of consumption, 2 of dropsy, 2 of epilepsy, 2 from accidents by burning, ] of apoplexy, 1 of hydrocephalus, 1 of inflammation of the bowels, 1 of constipation, 1 of hooping-cough, and 6 of obscure and unknown complaints ; and of these 49, 6 died in infancy, 3 in childhood and under twenty, 9 from twenty to thirty, 4 from thirty to forty, 1 from forty to fifty, 3 from fifty to sixty, 5 from sixty to seventy, 9 from seventy to eighty, 8 from eighty to ninety, and 1 at the age of ninety-five. Urinary complaints seem not uncommon among men in advanced life, and chronic rheumatism prevails to some extent. Last season, two or three cases of small-pox appeared, fortunately not fatal, which were clearly traced to infection and neglect of vaccination. Hydrography.—The district is very well supplied in general with perennial springs of excellent water. The burn or water of Leochel, already mentioned, is the principal stream in the parish. It rises at the south-west angle, from a cleft in the Hill of Cushnie, runs east for three miles through the south part of Corse, then turns north-east and north for other three miles, partly bounding and partly intersecting the parish, and then north-west and north for four miles more till it falls into the Don at Alford. The other rivulets are almost all tributaries to the Leochel, and run from west to east. The burn of Rnmlie rises in the moss of Confunderland, waters the "Howe of Corse," and, after a course of three miles, falls into the Leochel at Muirton. The burn of the Sheal rises at the head of the "Howe of Leochel," and runs through it for three miles till it joins the Leochel at Knockan-doch.- The burn of Cushnie, the next in size to the Leochel, rises from the Glen of Cushnie, at the eastern base of the hill, and has a course of four miles east, to its junction with the Leochel at Brigton of Ininteer, and the Droich's Burn runs from the south-eastern slope of the Hill of Caillievar, and divides the parish from Alford on the north. From the deep and narrow valleys through which they flow, and the high and steep grounds on either side, all these rivulets are liable to sudden floods, and, in 1839, did no little damage in demolishing bridges, and carrying away patches of the haugh land lying along their course. Most of these little streams abound with trout, especially the Leochel, which is reputed the best trouting stream in the whole district, At the south-eastern extremity of the parish, a tiny streamlet, which divides it from Tough, and the property of Lynturk from that of Tonley, passes through a deep and well-wooded dell and forms a picturesque little waterfall. It is called the Linn of Lynturk, and has the reputation of being haunted by the apparition of a lady in green or white; but the oldest living inhabitant not having had ocular demonstration, the colour of the dress remains doubtful. [The last instance of her appearance, which tradition has handed down, is the following: The Laird of Kincraigie had dined with his neighbour, the Laird of Tulloch, and as he returned home late at night, mounted on a spirited horse, and attended by a faithful dog, he was passing along the brink of the dell above the linn, when suddenly the apparition seized the bridle of his horse and exclaimed, "Kin-craigie Leslie, I've sought you long, but I've found you now." The dog, however, fiercely attacking the spectre, it quitted the bridle for a moment, and the horse dashed off at the top of his speed, while his terrified master could see the spectre and the dog tumbling down in mortal struggle to the very bottom of the dell. Kincraigie was thus saved, and his generous canine friend returned next day, showing evident marks of the perilous strife in which he had been engaged.]
Geology.—The rocks are almost exclusively granite. Towards the west and north sides of the parish, its colour is gray, and on the south side of Corse it inclines to red. Where it is met with at or near the surface, it is generally in a state of decomposition. Boulders are by no means frequent; and waste land, when reclaimed either by the plough or by trenching, yields but a small quantity of stones, and these so diminutive, as to be mostly unfit for fences. There is, consequently, a great dearth of stones both for dikes and houses, and they must often be brought from a considerable distance for the latter purpose. The soil, in general, has a strong admixture of clay ; in some places it is a rich loam; and at the bottoms of the valleys, and along the courses of the rivulets, occasional plots of an alluvial nature are found. The subsoil is commonly a retentive clay.
Zoology.—In the parish are found the fox, badger, polecat, wildcat, weasel, stoat, hedgehog, common hare, mountain hare, rabbit, roe-deer, rat, water-rat, mouse, water-mouse, shrew-mouse, earth-mouse, mole, and otter; the blackcock and gray-hen, moorfowl or grouse, partridge, golden-plover, gray-plover, green-plover, common pigeon, wood-pigeon, woodcock, heron, wild-duck, teal-duck, pigeon, water-ousel, mire-snipe, jack-snipe, curlew, land-rail, water-rail, water-hen, water-crow, raven or corbie, black carrion crow, gray-hooded crow, rook, magpie, barn-owl, horned-owl, sparrow-hawk, pigeon-hawk, falcon or game-hawk, goshawk, ring-tailed hawk, moorland hawk, cuckoo, titlin, jackdaw, common swallow, fork-tailed swallow, black-martin swallow, corn-bunting, blackbird, mavis or thrush, lark, rose-linnet, green-linnet, whin-linnet, heather-linnet, goldfinch, bulfinch, chaffinch, common wren, gold-crested wren, common sparrow, heather sparrow, yellow hammer, robin redbreast, bluebonnet, oxeye, and fieldfare. [This list was obligingly furnished by Mr Wilson, gamekeeper to Sir John Forbes, whose names are retained as being most intelligible to the common reader.]
Botany—In Murray's Northern Flora, Culmelly is given as a station for a hairy variety of Veronica scutellata, the banks of the burn of Lynturk for Asperula odorata, and the parish generally for a variety of Campanula rotundifolia with white flowers. Py-rola secundn is found in the wood of Craigievar, near the castle, and the Aivron or cloudberry, abounds in a part of the glen of Cushnie, hence called the Aivron brae.
Plantations.—In former times planting was much neglected here, though wood tends so greatly to beautify and improve a a country, especially when high, mountainous, and exposed as this is. Its advantages are now fully understood, and about 1500 acres imperial have been planted, mostly within the last twenty years. Of this about 950 acres are on the property of Craigievar and Corse, 260 on Lynturk, 230 on Cushnie, and 70 on Hallhead. All these late plantations consist almost exclusively of Scotch fir and larch. The former promises well, but the latter, after thriving very well for ten or fifteen years, is all but universally going to decay. The stem becomes covered with a grayish or whitish parasitic production like moss, the top shoots wither, and the plant in a few seasons perishes altogether. This prevails widely at present among the young plantations of larch all over the district. The ash, beech, and plane seem very well adapted to our soil and climate, and attain a large size. Of this we have proof in some fine old ashes and beeches near the Castle of Craigievar, an avenue of planes leading to the mansion-house of Cushnie, and a magnificent beech near that of Hallhead, the trunk of which is twelve feet in girth. Several of the plantations are already found very useful in supplying thinnings both for paling and fuel.
Accounts of the Parish.—There are short notices both of Leochel and Cushnie in a View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, MS. in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh; and a brief description of Cushnie contained in Macfarlane's Geographical Collections, MS. in the same repository, was published in the Edinburgh Magazine for 1761, Vol. v, p. 187.
Proprietors of Land.—The first possessors of land in the parish of Leochel, so far as can be ascertained from ancient records, were the Earls of Mar. Between the years 1165 and 1170, Gilcrist, Earl of Mar, gave to the church of St Mary of Monymusk and the Culdees there, the church of Leochel, with all its tithes and offerings, together with the half-davach of land in which the church is situated. The date is fixed by the terms of the gift which is said to be for the safety and prosperity of his Lord King William and those dear to him. Now William the Lion came to the crown, Dec. 9, 1165, and Gilcrist, the donor, died about 1170. This gift of Gilcrist was twice confirmed by John, Bishop of Aberdeen, from 1200 to 1207; it was renewed by Duncan Earl of Mar, son of Morgrund, and as it seems, grandson of Gilcrist, in the reign of Alexander II. about 1234, and this king confirmed it by a royal charter; Colin Durward, the Lord of Oneill, in that century, granted to the same Culdees of Monymusk, the said half-davach of land in which the church of Loychell was situated, with all its pertinents and privileges, and among others the common pasturage of 15 cows and 100 sheep, with their following of two years old, and of 4 horses; and this was confirmed by Anna, daughter and heiress of the said Colin, and her husband, Philip de Monte Scicheter. In a rental of the priory of Monymusk, in 1260, the value of the church of Loychell is stated at 15 chalders and 12 bolls meal, and of the land of Loychell at 2½ merks. [The charters relating to all these grants and confirmations are printed at length from the chartulary of St Andrews, in the appendix to Jamieson's History of the Culdees, 4to, Edinburgh, 1811, pp. 390-395]
Corse.—The lands of Corse formed part of the barony of Coul and Onele, which in the thirteenth century belonged to the family of Durward. In 1389, this barony was resigned by Isabella, Countess of Fife, daughter of Duncan, Earl of Fife, and bestowed by Robert II., on his son, Robert, Earl of Fife, and Menteith, better known as Duke of Albany. On the downfal of the house of Albany, after the restoration of James L, and the forfeiture of their possessions, this barony appears to have remained attached to the crown till 1476, when James III. bestowed it on his armour-bearer, Patrick Forbes, third son of James, second Lord Forbes, who, in 1482, had a charter under the great seal of the "barony of Oneil, viz. the lands of Coule, Kincragy and le Corss." In 1510, his son and successor, David Forbes, had a charter of the lands of Onele-cross, Kincragy, le Mureton, with the mill and alehouse thereof, (the lands of Coule being now disjoined therefrom,) and uniting and incorporating them into a haill and free barony, to be called the barony of Onele in all time coming. David was succeeded by his son Patrick, infeft in 1554; Patrick, by his son William, infeft in 1568, who acquired in 1593 the lands of Wester Corse and Norham, which, in 1512, belonged to Pan-toun of Pitmeddan, in 1531, to Fraser of Staniwood, and in 1540, to Urry of Pitfichie; William, by his son Patrick, Bishop of Aberdeen, who died in 1635; Patrick, by his son John, Professor of Divinity in King's College, Aberdeen, who died in 1648; and John, by his son George, who, having, in 1656, sold that part of the barony lying in Lumphanan, consisting of Easter and Wester Kin-craigie, and pendicles to Duguid of Auchinhive, sold the remain-der in 1670, to Sir John Forbes, Bart. of Craigievar, to which property it is still united.*
Craigievar.—This property belonged for upwards of 200 years to a family of the name of Mortimer. In 1457, Edmund Mortimer had from James II., on his own resignation, a charter of the lands of "Craigievar, Ballindene, Innyteire, and Wester Loch-ale;" in 1503, Alexander Mortimer resigned these lands in his own favour, into the hands of James IV.; in 1600, Alexander Mortimer, eldest son of James Mortimer, fiar of Craigievar, had a charter of confirmation of these lands from James VI.; and in 1610, John Mortimer, fiar of Craigievar, sold the property to William Forbes of Menie. He was the second son of William Forbes of Corse, already mentioned, was educated in Edinburgh, and having acquired a large fortune by commerce, he had charters of the lands of Menie in Aberdeenshire, in 1607, of Craigievar in 1610; of the barony of Auchtertoul in Fife, in 1617; of the barony of Finhaven and Carreston in Forfar, in 1619; and of the lands of Fintray in Aberdeenshire, the same year. He has been commemorated by the celebrated Arthur Johnstone in an epitaph, who says of him,
Quas possedit opes, et terrae jugera, nemo
He was succeeded by his son William, who, in 1630, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, and having embraced the side of the Covenanters, took an active part in the troubles which followed. He was appointed one of the committee for stating the national debt, one of the commission for planting of kirks and valuation of teinds in 1641, one of the commissioners for conserving the Rippon treaty in 1644, one of the committee of estates in 1645, one of the commissioners for selling the estates of malignants in 1646, and sheriff of Aberdeen in 1647. He is frequently mentioned by Spalding, who styles him "a great Covenanter," and "a prime man"—and represents him as "a rick-master" and commander of a troop of horse. He was succeeded by his son Sir John ; Sir John by his son Sir William ; Sir William by his son Sir Arthur, who represented his native county in Parliament, and was the bosom friend of Sir Andrew Mitchell, well known as British Ambassador to Frederick the Great of Prussia, who left to Sir Arthur the bulk of his property, including his valuable library and his estate of Thainston; Sir Arthur was succeeded by his son Sir William, Sir William by his son Sir Arthur, and Sir Arthur by his brother Sir John, the seventh baronet and present proprietor. [Douglas, Charters at Fintray House.]
Easter Fowlis or Fowlis Mowat.—This small property belonged in the fourteenth century to the Earls of Mar, and was given in 1377, by William Earl of Douglas and Mar, to James Mowat. The Mowats appear to have held it for about a century ; and there is to be seen, in a hollow on the hill of Shiel, a curious memorial of the last Mowat of Fowlis. This is a little mound, overgrown with grass, called Mowat's Seat, and a field near is named from it the "Mowat Seat" park. The name is accounted for by the tradition, that when the funeral procession of this last Mowat of Fowlis, whose usual imprecation had been, that "he might be buried beyond sight of kirk or mill," had reached this sequestered spot, the corpse suddenly became preternaturally heavy, and the bearers were obliged to inter it there, whence accordingly no view can be obtained of either of these objects of his animosity. In 1479, Robert Lumysden of Madler, had a charter from the Earl of Rothes, superior, of the Halflands of Fowlis-Mowat, in the barony of Cusny; in 1628, Robert Lumisdane, fiar of Cushny, with consent of his father, John Lumisdane, sold these lands to Andrew Birnie, merchant-burgess of Aberdeen; in 1635, Andrew Birnie sold them for 14,000 merks Scots to "Capitan James Forbes, son of umquhile Robert Forbes, commendator of Monymusk, whose only daughter and heiress, Margaret Forbes, with consent of her husband, Peter Forbes, second son of Sir John Forbes of Craigievar, sold them to Sir John in 1696; and since that time they have remained united to the Craigievar estate. [Charters at Fintray House.]
Wester Fowlis.—This property, including Easter-Leochel and Craigmill, belonged about the middle of the sixteenth century to the Earl of Huntly, who, in 1554, sold it to George Gordon of Beldornie; his son Alexander, in 1607, sold it to Abraham Forbes of Blacktoun; his grandson Walter, in 1659, sold it to John Robertson of Clunie; [He presented two silver communion cups to the church, bearing the inscription DEDICAT FOR THE CHVRCH OF LEOCHEL, 1659.] and he, in 1675, sold it to Sir John Forbes of Craigievar, to which property it is still attached. It held of the priory of Monymusk, and the feu-duty of it is now paid to the Deans of the Chapel-Royal, in consequence of the priory having been annexed to the bishoprick of Dunblane by James VI. in 1617, the bishop of that see being made Dean of the Chapel-Royal by the same king. [Charters at Fintray House.]
Lynturk.—This is the only other property in the old parish of Leochel, and belonged, at an early period, to a family of the name of Strachan. In 1407, the Regent Albany confirmed a charter by Alexander de Strathechine de Ledynturk to David Barclay de Durna of an annuity of five merks from the lands of Pitgerwy, in the Mearns. [Reg. Mag. Sigilli, p. 245.] The family kept possession of this property for about 200 years, but the crimes of John Strachan, younger of Lenturk, seem at length to have caused its downfal. In 1526, he was art and part with John Master of Forbes in the "cruel slaughter" of Alexander Setoun of Meldrum, for which, and for "hereschip and spuilzie of goods and slaughter," committed at the siege of Kildrummy with John King, younger of Bourty, he obtained remission from the king in 1531; but, in 1537, he was again accused of participating in the alleged conspiracy of the Master of Forbes against the King's life, for which the Master was condemned and executed; while Strachan "came in the King's will, and was warded beyond the water of Dee." [Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, Vol. i. pp. 200,* 246.*] The whole history of this matter is singularly obscure; and there are not wanting writers who affirm, that the conspiracy was the invention of Strachan, in concert with the Earl of Huntly, in order to destroy the rival house of Forbes, with which his own had been so long at feud. Strachan is said to have gone afterwards abroad, and to have led at Paris a most abandoned life. [Buchanan, Lesley.] He was dead before 1588, in which year his son Alexander succeeded him. But the part which he had acted drew down upon him the hostility of the Forbeses. In 1544, they invaded his lands, and slew his allies, Duguid of Auchinhive and Ross of Auchlossan; and about the end of the century, the lands of Lynturk became the property of the eldest cadet of the ancient family of Irvine of Drum. They continued In possession of the Irvines for about a century ; and it may deserve mention that Katharine, daughter of Alexander Irvine of Lenturk, was the wife of the famous Robert Gordon of Straloch, by whom he had eleven sons and six daughters; the fifth son being James Gordon parson of Rothiemay, author of a "History of Scots Affairs" from 1637 to 1641, and of "A Description of both Towns of Aberdeen," with a map thereof, which he delivered to the town-council on the 16th October 1661; and in consideration "that he had been at great paines in draughting" it "upon ane meikle cairt of paper," and that it was "weill done," they ordained him to receive "ane silver piece or cup wechtand twentie unce, and ane silk hatt, with ane silk gown to his bedfellow." Both these works have lately been printed for the Spalding Club. [Gordon's Scots Affairs, Vol. i. pp. Pref. 29, Ixiii.] About the middle of the eighteenth century, Lynturk had come into the possession of Gordon of Cairnfield. It was purchased from that family in 1816 by Peter M'Combie, late merchant in Aberdeen; and by him it was left to his nephew, William M'Combie, Esq. the present proprietor.
Cushnie.—In 1222, a person of the name of Adam de Cusse-nin is a witness to a deed of the Earl of Mar; and he probably derived his surname from the lands conferred upon him, according to the custom of that time. Nisbet states, that he had seen a charter of Hugh de Abernethy of the lands of "Owrebenchery" to William de Federeth, in the reign of Alexander III. If this be the same with 'Corbanchory,' in the barony of Cushnie, which seems very probable, it would serve to connect the Abernethies with the Leslies as proprietors of Cushnie. For, in the reign of Robert I. Alexander de Abernethy left three daughters coheiresses, one of whom was married to Norman de Lesly, and brought to him the barony of Ballinbreich, [Jamieson's Culdees, pp. 128, 129.] in which Cushnie is often said to be by annexation ; and we find Andrew de Lesly in possession of the barony of Cusheny in 1374, when a grant of his of the lands of Culmelly and Ald Culmelly to Bernard de Ker-gyll was confirmed by Robert II. Again, in 1390, Robert Ill-granted a charter to Norman de Lesly, son of Andrew, of the barony of Cusschene, with other lands. [Reg. Mag. Sigilli, pp. 100, 187.] These were the progenitors of the Earls of Rothes, and the lands of Cushnie appear to have remained in their possession till the early part of the fifteenth century, when they were acquired by the Lumsdens, of whom we have had occasion to mention Robert in 1479 as proprietor of Easter Fowlis, and John and Robert in 1628, as proprietors of Cushnie, and to whose descendant, the Rev. Henry Thomas Lumsden, vicar of St Peter's, Ipswich, they now belong.
Hallhead.—Towards the end of the fourteenth century, this property was acquired by George Gordon, fourth son of Thomas Gordon, in Daach of Ruthven, whose descendants, in uninterrupted succession, have possessed it to the present time. The relict of the last proprietor, Major Gordon, now by a second marriage Mrs Ferguson, is the present proprietrix.
In addition to the proprietors above-mentioned, the Honourable Walter, Master of Forbes, has a small part of his estate of Brux in the parish. The valued rents of the different properties are,
Eminent Men—Patrick Forbes, Bishop of Aberdeen.—William Forbes of Corse, already mentioned, a most zealous supporter of the Protestant Reformation, as his father Patrick had been, ["Guid, godlie, and kynd Patrick Forbes of Cors."—Melvill's Diary, p. 18. Wodrow Soc. Ed.] had seven sons, four of whom were remarkable men. Of the second, William, the founder of the family of Craigievar, we have previously given a short account. The eldest was Patrick, born in 1564, and educated first at the grammar-school of Stirling, under Thomas Buchanan, a nephew of the more celebrated George, and afterwards both at Glasgow and St Andrews, under the famous Andrew Melville, his cousin, where he made distinguished attainments in learning. On succeeding to the family estate about 1598, he did not allow its cares to put a period to his studies; and being accustomed to read and expound the Scriptures in his own family, the great dearth of religious instruction then prevalent, and the solicitations of the Aberdeen clergy, induced him to transfer his ministrations to a vacant church in the neighbourhood, in all probability that of Leochel. This was condemned by Archbishop Gladstanes, and, in 1610, Patrick Forbes addressed a letter to the King in his own vindication, from which the following extract will show at once the excellence of his motives, and the lamentable want of pastors in this district at that time: "Being cast in these parts, where, within the precincts of two presbyteries, at least twenty and one churches lay unplanted whereby our state were little from heathenism, I began in a simple and private manner (necessity enforcing it on my conscience) to catechise my own family. Thereafter, the churchmen of that province dealing earnestlie with me, to accept of some publick charge in the ministrie of the church, which, upon divers respectfull considerations, I could not as then yeild to, they next, with all instance, requested that, at least for the gude of others, I wold be content to transfer my domestic paines to ane void church, now joining to my house; [The old church of Leochel was within a mile of the Castle of Corse, while no other was within four miles. ] whairto having for a space condescendit, they afterward, by thair commissioners from thair synod, directed to me for that effect, yet more earnestly entreated that I wold still hold on that course which (as they judged) had been in some degree fruitfull. Now, Sir, as this made my voice to be heard in any public place, so all my uther carriage therein hath been such, both in respect of the place, ane obscure corner of any in all your Majesty's kingdoms, and in respect of my quiet manner, so far from all pretences, as I never opened my mouth in any uther part (albeit oftener than once, either seriously-entreated, or curiously tempted) and except ane ordinary lecture on the Lord's day, never meddled with any part of that calling in private or publick assembly." [Spalding Club Miscellany, Vol. ii. pp. 153, 154.] He was afterwards, however, persuaded to enter into the office of the ministry, and, in 1612, was settled at Keith, whence, in 1618, he was translated to the see of Aberdeen. He discharged the duties of his office with great diligence and faithfulness, being, according to Burnett, in his Life of Bishop Bedell, "in all things an apostolical man." He reformed many abuses in the University and King's College, of which he was ex officio Chancellor, and, by means of subscriptions from the synod of Aberdeen, he founded there a chair of divinity, which was first filled by his son, Dr John. He died on the 28th March 1635, at the age of seventy-one, and was buried in Bishop Dunbar's aisle, in the cathedral, where a flat stone with a Latin inscription may still be seen over his grave. He was the author of a "Commentary on the Revelations," London, 1613; Middleburgh, 1614; and, in a Latin version by his son, Dr John, Amsterdam, 1646; and also of "Eubulus," or a Dialogue, wherein a rugged Romish Rhyme is confuted, Aberdeen, 1627; together with a "Defence of the Lawful Calling of Ministers of the Reformed Churches against the Cavillations of Romanists," appended to the Latin edition of the Commentary in 1646. On his death in 1635, a volume of funeral sermons, elegies, and other eulogistic compositions, in prose and verse, and in various languages, by the most learned men of the time, was published at Aberdeen, entitled "Funerals of a Right Rev. Father in God, Patrick Forbes of Corse, Bishop of Aberdeen." Portraits of the Bishop by Jamieson are in King's College, and at Fintray House.
John Forbes, Minister of Alford.—This was the third son of William Forbes of Corse. He became minister of Alford, and, in 1605, the Synod of Aberdeen and Moray "maid speciall choise of their loving brother, Mr Johne Forbes, baith for his fidelitie and uprichtness, and for his sincere affectioune borne to the advancement of the kingdome of God, his Majestie's service, and peace of the land," as their Commissioner to lay before the King "all their proceedings and present difficulteis quhairwith they were straitit." [Commission, Spalding Club Miscellany, Vol. ii. pp. 149, 150.] The commission is dated at Aberdeen the 21st February; and in March, he "past to the King, and wes verie weill acceptit of his Majestie, and wes sent back with diligence, carie-ing lettres and credit against the Erle of Huntlie and all Papistis, with certificatioune of the King's constancie in that religioune he wes brought up into, and concerning the order of the kirk, that his Hienes wes not myndit to alter ony thing thairin." He was chosen "with uniforme consent" Moderator of the General Assembly which met at Aberdeen on the 2d of July following; and in consequence of the proceedings there, he and all the brethren present were "denunceit rebellis and put to the home." The tyrannical measures of the court which followed are well known. The minister of Alford was imprisoned "in the dungeoune of Blacknes," and various others in the "prissounes of Dumbartan, Stirling, and Doune." [Forbes was supported in his firm adherence to Presbytery by the other two commissioners from Alford to the Aberdeen Assembly, Mr James Irwin, minister of Tough, and Mr Robert Youngson, minister of Clatt, who were also confined at Blackness, and brought before the Council on the 24th October.] They were called before the Lords of the Secret Council on the 24th October; and on the 10th January 1606, he and five others were brought to trial at Linlithgow for treason. They made a resolute defence; and "Mr Johnne Forbes and Mr Johnne Welsche, to quhom the rest gave the place of speich, spake very powerfully and unveighingly." Forbes especially distinguished himself; for he "rememberit thame of the Confession of Faith, quhilk they had sworn and subscryvit to profess mantein, and defend to their uttirmost; and thairwithall, taking the same Confession of Faith in print out of his pockett, the oath quhairof is maist fearfullie conceivit, he red the same distinctlie and moveinglie; and thaireeftir directit his speich to the nobillmen and counsellores thair presently sitting in judgement, he gaive thaime ane maist grave admonitioune, with horribill threatenings;" and in conclusion, "maist pithilie reassouneing from les to moir and directing the admonitioune and threatneing most terribill, maide all the heireris astonischit, and their hairis to stand!" But notwithstanding the "assyse,'' by a majority of nine to six, found them guilty, sentence of banishment was pronounced against them on the 23d October, and finally, on the 7th November, they embarked at Leith, in presence of "a guid number of peiple waiting on to tak the guid-nicht at thame, and to see thame, quhois de-pairtour wes beith joyfull and sorrowfull to many; joyfull, in that many guidfolkis quho were present saw thair constancie and courage to stand for the guid caus they had in hand, but sorrowfull, because the land is deprivit of sua notabill lightis as they wer." [James Melvill's Diary, 1605-6, pp, 570, 620-26, 669.] Mr John Forbes was afterwards minister for many years at Delf in Holland, and died about 1638. He was author of many tracts on religious subjects, and had a son, Patrick, who subscribed the Covenant in presence of the famous Glasgow Assembly of 1638, but was subsequently Bishop of Caithness from 1662 to 1680; [Gordon's Scots Affairs, Vol. ii. p. 4, note. But Row states, that the person who thus subscribed was "a minister of Holland, Mr John Forbes, son to Mr John at Delf, banished for the cause of God."—Hist, of Kirk of Scotland, p. 504, Wodrow Soc. Ed.] and another, Arthur, a captain of horse under Munro, in the army of the Covenant in 1640, who, according to the parson of Rothiemay, was "none of the wysest nor best commanders. [Gordon's Scots Affairs, Vol. iii. pp. 196, 197. Several of his exploits are also commemorated by Spalding.] was rather a singular circumstance that, in 1668, a grandson of the exiled minister, John Forbes, should come back to lay his ashes with those of his ancestors in the churchyard of Leochel. [25th October 1668,—"The said day, John Forbes, Commissar of Catness, son to Patrick B. of Catness, departed this life in Craigivar in the morning, being the Lord's day, before sermon. His burial was upon the Fryday yrafter, the penult of October, at night, with torches, in the Laird of Craigivar his yle and burial-place at Leochell"—Burial reg. of Leochel. In the same record of mortality we find that ' Mr John Young, some time minister at Birss and Keig, died at Miltonbank, October the 18th 1671, and was buried in the Laird of Craigivar his yle at Leochell October 24th." He was one of the commissioners from the Presbytery of Alford at the Assembly of 1638, and no doubt ejected by the re-establishment of Episcopacy after the Restoration, when upwards of 350 churches were summarily rendered vacant by the Act of Conformity.]
Sir Arthur Forbes.—This was (he fourth son of William Forbes of Corse, who, having entered the army, served in Ireland, was created a baronet in 1628, and became proprietor of Castle Forbes, in the county of Longford. His son was raised to the dignity of Earl of Granard by Charles II. after the Restoration.
Dr John Forbes, Professor of Divinity in King's College.—He was the second son of Patrick Forbes of Corse, Bishop of Aberdeen, and Lucretia Spence, daughter of Spence of Wormiston, in Fife, of whose marriage, in 1588, Mr James Melvill states himself to have been the occasion. ["This wintar (1587) I past ower to Dalkethe,—and in retourning, of mere Providence, was the occasion of the marriage of Patrik Forbes of Cors with Lucres Spence, sistar to the Lard of Wilmerston, married in Anstruther in the simmer following."—Diary, p. 260, Wodrow Soc. Ed. ] John Forbes was born in 1593, and having passed through the usual course of study at King's College, Aberdeen, he went abroad, and attended several of the universities of Germany, especially Sedan and Heidelberg, in the latter of which he studied theology under the famous Paraeus. In 1619, he was called to the office of the ministry at Middleburgh, and having soon after returned to his native country, he was appointed in 1620 to the newly established chair of theology in King's College. He was also for a short time one of the ministers of St Nicholas. In 1635, his elder brother being already dead, he succeeded his father in the estate of Corse. In 1638, he and the other Aberdeen doctors opposed the commissioners of the Covenant both by their preaching and writing; and this soon involved him in trouble with the dominant party. He appeared frequently in synods and committees appointed to deal with him; and "muche panes was tackne upon him by some of his neer relationes, who stood for the Covenanters, for to draw him to sub-scrybe ; but it wold not bee. Therefor he was conveened before ther comittye, (viz. of the General Assembly at Aberdeen in 1640), at Marshall's house, and ther interrogated concerning his doctrine and beliefe; to all which he answered so readily, so learndly and orthodoxly, and with such candor and modestye, that the moderator of that comittye was forced to tell him, that they had nothing to say to his lyfe, but that they founde him piouse learnd, and fully orthodoxe, and to disagree with them in nothing but in poynt of churche governement; and earnestly beseeched him he wold be pleased to tacke the Covenant, shewing him that it was ther greefe if they wer necessitated for to putt him from his statione upon his refusall." [Gordon's Scots Affairs, Vol. iii. p. 233.] He was deposed in 1641, and obliged to leave his native country in 1644, when he took refuge in Holland, and remained for two years, preaching frequently in the churches, and employing himself in the publication of his father's commentary, and his own greatest work, the "Instructiones His-torico-Theologicse." In 1646, he obtained leave to return home after which he lived in retirement at Corse, and died there 29th April 1648. He applied to the presbytery of Aberdeen, a short time before his death, for permission to lay his remains beside those of his wife and father, but this being refused, he was buried in the church-yard of Leochel. The hardships which he underwent from the Covenanters were not the only misfortunes which fell to his lot. His lands of Corse were repeatedly plundered by the Highland caterans, and in 1638, they carried off his own cousin, threatening to put him to death unless ransomed at a heavy sum, and also to take his own life if he complained against them to king or council, or sought peace otherwise than by the payment of black-mail. On the face of the Hill of Corse, nearly opposite to the castle, there is still to be seen a small excavation, known as "the Laird's hiding-hole or chawmer," where he is said to have concealed himself on such occasions of danger. A collected edition of his works was published at Amsterdam in 2 vols. fo. 1703, with a copious memoir by Dr Garden; and, in the words of Dr Irving, "his learning was such as to obtain the warm approbation of these eminent scholars, Vossius, Usher, Morhof, Ernesti, and Cave ; and to this it would be superfluous to add any other commendation." [Ibid. Vol. iii. pp.234, 235.] It only remains to be stated, that "His Diary, or as he himself entitles it, Spiritual Exercises," in his own handwriting, is still preserved at Fintray House. It extends from the 3d of February 1624 to the close of 1647. Its allusions to public events are not very numerous ; but it contains many interesting particulars of private history, outlines of sermons, expositions of passages of Scripture, meditations and prayers, all characteristic of the varied learning and fervent piety of its author. It was include in Dr Garden's edition of his works, but in a Latin dress, which much impairs, in many cases, its highly expressive phraseology.
Alexander Irving of Lenturk.— This gentleman was a lawyer of eminence, and the author of a treatise "De Jure Regni," published at Leyden in 1627, and again at Helmstadt in 1671,—a work which is held in good esteem. He died before 1641, when Robert Irving, his cousin-german, was served heir to him in the lands of Lenturk.
Matthew Lumsden of Tilliecairn.—He was the brother of the Laird of Cushnie, the proprietor of Tilliecairn, in the parish of Clunie, where an old castle still stands, and the author of a "Genealogical History of the House of Forbes," published with continuations in 1819. He died the 27th June 1580.
Andrew Lumsden.—This gentleman was private secretary to Prince Charles Edward ; and in an account of his family given by himself, and published in the Analecta Scotica, he traces his descent from the house of Cushnie. He is the author of "Remarks on the Antiquities of Rome and its Environs," Lond. 1797, 4to, —a work which called forth the praise of the learned Matthias, and is still in considerable estimation. Several interesting papers by Father Innes, author of the justly celebrated "Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of Scotland," preserved in the hand-writing of Andrew Lumsden, with some notices of the life of that eminent antiquary, have been included in the last publication of the Spalding Club. Mr Lumsden died at Edinburgh on the 26th December 1801, at the age of eighty-one. [Spalding Club Miscellany, Vol ii. pp. cxiv-cxxi. 353-380.]
John Lumsden of Cushnie.—He was the second son of John Lumsden of Cushnie, and highly distinguished himself in the civil service of the East India Company. After filling various subordinate situations with great "credit and ability," he was called in 1805 to be a member of the supreme council, an office which he held for seven years "with eminent advantage to the public service." When he embarked for Europe in 1813, after having served the Company for nearly thirty-six years, he obtained from the Governor-General, in a letter to the Directors, an honourable testimony to the "unsullied purity of his character both in public and private life, his official knowledge equally useful and extensive, and the ability with which he had discharged the functions of the different situations (even the highest and most arduous) in which he had been placed." In 1817, he became a candidate for the directorship, to which office he was chosen; and on that occasion, the Marquis Wellesley addressed to him a letter, in which he expressed himself in the highest terms of his talents and character, and the important public services he had performed in India. By the death of his elder brother, Mr Lumsden succeeded to the family estate, and having died in London in December 1818 in the fifty-eighth year of his age, his only son, the Rev. Henry Thomas Lumsden, became proprietor.
Dr Matthew Lumsden.—This was perhaps the most eminent person of his name. He was the youngest brother of John Lumsden of Cushnie, last mentioned, and having received his education at King's College, Aberdeen, also sought his fortunes in India. He turned his attention to the oriental languages, and became assistant Professor of Persian and Arabic in the College of Fort-William. In 1805, the fruit of his studies appeared in an elaborate "Persian Grammar," and, in 1808, he succeeded Captain Baillie as Persian and Arabic Professor. In 1810, he published a new edition of his Persian Grammar; in 1812, he was appointed secretary to the Madressa, and superintendent of the various translations of English works into Persian, then in progress; in 1813, he published an Arabic Grammar, in two vols. folio; in 1814, he received charge of the Company's press at Calcutta, which he retained for three years; and, in 1818, he added to all his other duties that of secretary to the Stationery committee. But his health failed under these multiplied labours, and a journey to his native country was deemed essential to his recovery. He travelled to England through Persia, Georgia, and Russia, and his health being improved, in 1821, he returned to India, and, in the early part of 1822, resumed the duties of his professorship in the College of Fort-William, and the superintendence of the Calcutta Madressa. Having finally retired from public life, with the highest commendations from the Madressa Committee and the Government of Bengal, he returned to England, and died at Tooting Common, Surrey, on the 31st of March 1835, in his fifty-eighth year. His own, and many other oriental works, in the publication of which he was concerned, were presented by himself to the Library of King's College, where he and all his family were educated, and from which, as a testimony of his high acquirements, he received his degree of LL. D. Other two of his brothers, Colonels David and James, served in the Indian army, the former of whom, then Captain, presented to the Library of King's College, a very remarkable roll, nearly twenty feet long, beautifully written* in Sanscrit, and containing an account of the Hindoo mythology, with grotesque paintings of their gods. This is generally shown to visitors of the college, as one of the curiosities; as well as another memorial of the Cushnie family, a complete suit of mail, said to have been worn by their ancestor at the battle of Harlaw in 1411.
Parochial Registers.—These records amount to eleven volumes, as follow: 1. Register of baptisms, marriages, and burials of Leochel, from the 22d December 1657, to July 27, 1709. 2. Register of discipline, collections, and debursements of Leochel, from 23d November 1707, to 30th December 1739. 3. Register of baptisms of Leochel, from 4th June 1715, to 30th December 1768. 4. Register of discipline, collections, and debursements of Leochel, from 6th January 1740, to 25th June 1768. 5. Register of baptisms of Leochel and united parish, from 3d September 1768, to 28th December 1829 ; and also of marriages, from 12th July 1769, to 7th July 1806. 6. Register of collections and debursements of Leochel, from 6th July 1768, to 27th July 1801; and also of marriages and deaths of united parish,— the former from 1st August 1813, and the latter from 21st January 1823, to the present time. 7. Register of discipline of Leochel, and minutes of session of united parish, from 8th September 1782, to 10th April 1841. 8. Cash-book of united parish, from 19th October 1798, to the present time. 9. Register of baptisms of united parish, from 15th January 1830, to present time. 10. Register of discipline, collections, distributions, and baptisms of Cushnie, from 25th April 1731, to 31st December 1769. 11." Register of discipline, collections, distributions, and baptisms of Cushnie, from 7th January 1770, to 27th July 1801. No register of marriages or deaths in the old parish of Cushnie is extant; and, except in a few cases, it is only since 1822, that the date of the births as well as of the baptisms has been entered.
Antiquities—Cairns.—At one time these were numerous. Nine are specified in the former account of Leochel; but in the progress of cultivation and building, most of them have disappeared. A large one still remains, on the highest of several remarkable indentations, rising the one above the other, from the Mill of Brux towards the elevated ground of the farm of Corbanchory, and looking like the steps of a gigantic stair.
Ancient Coins.—About sixteen years ago, a gold coin, of the Roman Emperor Constantius, was ploughed up in a hitherto uncultivated piece of ground on Mains of Cushnie, which was sold in Aberdeen; and, in 1839, there was found, near the manse, a silver piece of James VI. in fine preservation, struck after the union of the crowns.
Picts' Houses.—Several of these subterraneous abodes are found on the farm of Cairncoullie. When first discovered, they contained a quantity of ashes, and fragments of half-burnt wood, clear indications of their having been once inhabited. They are about five feet high and eight feet wide, and roofed with large flat stones.
Entrenchments on Hill of Corse.— Near the summit of this hill, there are two or three long trenches, with a considerable number of small tumuli beside them ; and on its south-eastern aspect, looking towards Milmad, in Lumphanan, there is a long earthen rampart with a ditch, facing a similar one, on the opposite brow of Milmad. Tradition connects these with the closing scenes of Macbeth's career, whose cairn, marking the spot where he fell, is still to be seen, about a mile north from the church of Lumphanan. Ancient Chapels.— It is stated in the "View of the Diocese of Aberdeen," that there was formerly a chapel at Lenturk. There is now no trace of the building; but there is a spot still known as the "chapel croft," a little way south-east from the site of the castle. A small bit of ground, on the farm of Corbanchory, still untouched by the plough, and called the "Chapel Yard," was no doubt attached to another place of worship. The ruins of a third, named "Terry Chapel," on the farm of Newton of Corse, are still distinguishable; and the good taste and feeling of Sir John Forbes, the proprietor, have led him to enclose and plant the spot.
Ancient Buildings.—The Castle of Lenturk, the most ancient of these, was probably built by the Strachans, if it did not exist before their date. In Monipennie's Brief Description of Scotland, appended to his Abridgement of the Chronicles, 1612, he enumerates the castles of "Lenturk, Corsse, and Cragywar," among the strongholds of "Marre." In the Old Account, in 1792, the Castle of Lenturk is described as in ruins, and having a large deep broad fosse around it. The very ruins have now disappeared, and a farm-house occupies their site ; but still a considerable portion of the circular fosse is distinctly visible.
Castle of Corse.—The date of this structure is pointed out by the inscription on the lintel over the door; wf. 1581. es. The initials are those of William Forbes, father of the bishop, and of his wife, Elizabeth Strachan. It is traditionally reported, that his former dwelling having been plundered in his absence by some Highland freebooters, he vowed, "If God spare my life, I shall build a house, at which thieves will need to knock ere they enter." The castle has long been unroofed and ruinous, but a good part of the walls is still standing.
Castle of Craigievar.—The Mortimers are said to have begun this building early in the seventeenth century; but the embarrassed state of their affairs prevented them from completing it. William Forbes, who purchased the estate from them in 1610, carried it on, and finished it in 1626. It is still perfect, and affords one of the very finest specimens of the Flemish style of castellated architecture. In 1826, Sir John Forbes, the present proprietor, expended L.600 in giving the castle a new roof of the best Memel timber; and since that time, various internal improvements have been made, all, however, in strict keeping with the original style, which render it a commodious residence for the family during the summer months.
Mansion-Houses of Hall-head and Cushnie.—The former of these was built in 1688, and the latter in 1707; but having both been uninhabited for a considerable time, they are hastening to decay.
Historical Incidents.—On the 26th August 1580, John Gordon of Blelack and others carried off James Mortimer, "apperand of Craigievar, and detained him captive and prisoner in the wood of Kilblene for ten days," for which they were afterwards brought to trial. About 1590, Gradoch, a reputed witch in Coldstane, "took in hand to haif destroyit the Laird of Craigievar, his son, and utheris," for which, and many other like crimes, she suffered death. [Pitcairn's Crim. Trials, Vol. i. pp. 94, 208,] A few years after, in 1596-97, an active inquiry for witches was instituted all over this district. Commissioners at Aberdeen were appointed by his Majesty, for "tacking and apprehending of witches, sorceraris, consultaris, and traffiquaris with witches," who directed precepts "to all and sindrie ministeris of Godis word, elderis, and deaconis," charging them "to convein and tak up dittay" against all suspected persons in their parishes; "the quhilk persones being delaittit as said is," these commissioners could "do na less for the advancement of Godis glory, and dounethraw of the kingdome of sathan, then to put tham to the knawledge of ane condigne assize." [Spalding Club Miscellany, Vol. i. Trials for Witchcraft, pp. 83-193.] In 1620, William Ga-rioche, son of James Garioche of Kinstair, and Thomas Anderson in Awfurd, were tried for "carrying John Bonar, in Tullichetlie, twa myles to the water of Lochell, and douking him dyverse tymes thairin, and compelling him to yield to the furnissing of 500 merks money." [Pitcairn, Vol. iii. pp. 489-90.] In February 1636, seven of the followers of Gilderoy, who were "notorious limmers, and did great oppressions in the lands of Corse, Craigievar, and other parts, were taken in Athol, by persuasion and advice of the Laird of Craigievar and Corse, and hanged altogether at the Cross of Edinburgh, and their heads cut off, and set up in exemplary places." In July after, their leader, "and five other limmers," shared the same fate ; and on the 8th August 1638, in revenge of Gilderoy's death, a band of freebooters " came to the Laird of Corse his bounds, and spulzied the ground, and Mr Thomas Forbes, minister at Lochell's House, and oppressed the King's lieges grievously, taking their horse, kine, and oxen, and causing the owners pay for their own gear." In April 1644, "the Laird of Craigievar takes to Craigievar, and transports his haill victuals of Fintray to the place there, to be kept from plundering." In 1745, Harry Lums-den of Cushnie, George Gordon of Hallhead, and Jonathan Forbes of Brux, all took the side of Prince Charles. In July 1746, the Duke of Cumberland granted a lease during pleasure of the lands of Essilmont and Hallhead, belonging to George Gordon, to James Chalmers, printer in Aberdeen; and his house in Aberdeen was plundered by the Duke and General Hawley.
[It may not be improper to add here the following notices of husbandry and manners. These are entirely derived from the records of the Barony Court of Craigievar, two volumes of which, extending from 1710 to 1766, are preserved at Fin-tray House. From 1710 to 1714, the price of a boll of meal was ten merks Scots: of a boll of bear, L.8: of a boll of corn and straw, seven merks; of an ox, L.18; and of a horse, twenty-six merks; the harvest fee of a woman, L.4 ; and of a man, eight to ten merks. In 1711, the officer was ordered to search out all the men and women capable of service, who are idle, that they may be obliged to enter to service immediately ; and to summon all in actual service who are taking extravagant fees, that they and their masters may be punished. The same year, the heritor corn-plaining that the tenants were wasting their lands, in not "gooding" them once in the three years, it was ordained that none should let the third year pass "ungooding the third of their barlands yearly;" or if any "pretend that their land would bear four crops of bear and oats without gooding, then they shall pay at their outgoing whatever their lands are made worse, or else continue their tacks and pay their duties, aye and while their respective lands should recover the said loss. In 1725, another complaint was made against certain tenants for taking six crops of their outfield land, and they were henceforth restricted to five. None but millers were al lowed to keep swine, and all were free to kill them if found in their corn of grass and the millers to have them upon chain as soon as the corns begin to fill. In 1726, all the crofters in Corse were limited to a stack each, 8 feet broad, 12 long, and 5 high, under a penalty of L.4 ; the kindling of fire in any moss was forbidden, under L. 20; and four tenants were fined L. 10 each for labouring moss-ground never laboured before. To the following offences, the following punishments were awarded: Louping and breaking down park dikes, a fine of 40s. toties quoties; applying to any other judicatory than the laird's court, "where they will get reason," L.20 ; breaking and destroying young trees in the churchyard of Lochell, one merk for each tree ; letting cattle into mosses and breaking peats, 40s.; beating, bruising, blooding and wounding, L. 50; making a ply betwixt families, L. 50 to the laird, L.5 of assythment to the party injured, and the party offending bound to keep the peace in L.100; giving opprobrious language, L.10, and to satisfy the party offended, or be put in the stocks ; putting fire to a neighbour's door, and calling his wife and mother witches, L.100; a man for blooding and wounding, and preventing all peace where he lives, is ordained to flit, red, and remove himself, his haill goods and gear, wife, children, and all that belongs to him, out of the lands of Craigievar and Corse within seven days ; another for abusing the minister, and cal-Hng him a liar, and saying in the church-yard that he would prove him a liar, is put in the stocks during the baillie's pleasure ; two neighbours, betwixt whom there are strifes, which cannot be accommodated, are obliged to cast lots, and the one on whom the lot falls to flitt at the next Whitsunday 1725; the same year, a man for offering a charged gun to shoot the officer, when warning him to do his master's lawful orders, is amerciate in L.5 Sterling for keeping and wearing a gun contrary to act of Parliament, and L.4 Scots for his contumacy and disobedience; and, in 1736, a man for "dading" another man's wife to the ground, blooding her at the nose, and taking up her clothes and belting her, is fined L.50, and L.4 to the husband and wife for the indignity. By far the most common of these offences is that of beating, blooding, and wounding. The two stations where the court met were the Hall of Craigievar, and Briggs of Leochel. The officials were the baillie, clerk, procurator-fiscal, officer, and dempster.
Wood.—With the exception of a small extent, near the Castle of Craigievar, now almost exhausted, the wood is of recent plantation the greater part, indeed, within the last twenty years. It consists mostly of larch and Scots fir. The larches in many places are failing, but the firs are vigorous.
Rent of Land.—The average rent may be stated at 15s. per acre imperial. This would give a real rental of about L.4000 which is believed to be very near the truth. The period of lease is now uniformly nineteen years.
Husbandry, &c.— What is called the seven-shift rotation is generally in use, but the six-shift is now recommended by some competent authorities, and partially adopted. The soil and climate are well adapted for grass and turnips, but not so favourable for grain especially in late seasons. Very few sheep are now kept, and the Aberdeenshire horned or polled breed of black cattle is that generally reared.
Farm-Steadings, &c.— These have been very much improved of late years. There are four meal-mills in the parish, and one carding and spinning-mill, where woollen fabrics for blankets, plaids, &c. are manufactured to a small extent. There are now 45 thrashing--mills in the parish; nineteen driven by water, and twenty-six by horses. The ploughs are all drawn by two horses or two oxen; and of the former there are 104; of the latter, 18.
Recent Improvements.—It may be safely asserted that no parish in Aberdeenshire has of late made more rapid advances in every branch of agricultural improvement. It is equally certain, that Sir John Forbes, Bart. of Craigievar, who, on the death of his brother Sir Arthur in 18*23, succeeded to the family honours and estates, has been the mainspring of the improvements effected. Sir John is truly a model of a country gentleman. The Rev. Mr Lumsden of Cushnie has, for several years, paid us an annual visit, and shown himself anxious to encourage his tenants in improving their farms. William M'Combie, Esq. of Lenturk, has lately got the mains or home-farm into his own possession, and, by beginning to plant and furrow-drain, has already given a sample of those extensive and tasteful improvements by which he has so much embellished his beautiful seat of Easter Skene. About 700 acres of barren ground have been reclaimed within the last thirty years.
Produce.— The yearly produce may be briefly stated in round numbers at 8000 quarters of grain at L.1, . . . L.8000 0 0 And 500 black-cattle at L.8, . . . 4000 0 0 Carry over, Total, L.12000 0 0 Brought over, L.12000 0 0 Rent, . 4000 0 0 Balance to pay expense of cultivation, and afford a return for capital invested, . . . . L.8000 0 0
Manufactures.—At the carding-mill already mentioned, plaids, blankets, &c. are manufactured to a small extent; and a considerable number of women, chiefly of the aged and poorer class, employ themselves in knitting stockings from worsted, furnished to them by the Messrs Hadden in Aberdeen, and thereby earn annually from L.70 to L.l00.
Market-Town.—Aberdeen, the county town, though not quite so near as Kintore and Inverury, is the market, to which almost all the produce is carried; and the carts generally return laden with lime or coals. The distance is twenty-eight miles from the centre of the parish. There is a pretty good commutation road of about six miles, which joins the Alford turnpike at Whiteley, in the parish of Tough. The Government road from Donside to Dee-side, the best road in the district, intersects the lower part of the parish, running along the western bank of the Leochel for about three miles; and the Tarland turnpike passes for about two miles through the southern border of the lands of Corse. The bridges on these and the other roads in the parish are generally in good repair, with the exception of that over the Leochel at Scuttrie, on the Whiteley road, which was carried away by the flood of 1839. The nearest post-offices are Alford on the north-east, and Tarland on the south-west, each six miles distant from the centre of the parish.
Ecclesiastical History.—The old church of Leochel was dedicated to St Marnan, that of Cushnie to St Bride. Marnoch fair, at the kirk-town of Leochel, was long held on the first Tuesday of March, and the small farm adjacent to the old church of Cushnie is still named Bride's Well. The sites of both the old churches were, according to tradition, supernaturally pointed out. Portions of the walls of the old churches are still standing; no date is visible at Leochel, but at Cushnie the date 1637 is to be seen, and on a broken stone, 14—, indicating an erection in the fifteenth century. For some time after the Reformation, there were only readers at Leochel and Cushnie as spiritual instructors of the people. In 1576, the reader of Leochel had a stipend of L. 16, with the kirk land, and in 1593, Mr Gilbert Brown was reader there. In 1567, Mr James Patersoun was reader of Cushnie, with a salary of L. 20. In 1618, the parishes of Leochel and Cushnie were united by a decreet of the Lords of Plat, and the tacksmen of the teinds were ordained to build a centrical church at Culmellie, and provide a manse and glebe, on the condition that, if this was not done within three years, the union should not take effect. Accordingly, the condition was not fulfilled, and by the exertions of Bishop Patrick Forbes, about 1621, the union was dissolved, and the churches separately planted with ministers. It is highly probable that the annexation of the lands of Corse quoad sacra to Leochel took place at this time.
In 1793, a process of annexation of the parishes of Leochel and Cushnie was raised by the heritors. The people of Leochel seem to have been passive, but those of Cushnie, with their minister, and a party in the presbytery, strenuously opposed the measure. But, notwithstanding this opposition, decreet of annexation was passed by the Court of Teinds on the 28th January 1795, and two years after the centrical church was built.
Ministers of Leochel since the Reformation.— 1. Mr Thomas Forbes, 1638-47. 2. Mr George Watson, 1651-81. 3. Mr John Paton, in 1682, transported. 4. Mr Alexander Seatoun, [Mr Seatoun and his contemporary, Mr Copland at Cushnie, were both of Episcopal principles.] collated 5th April 1683, died 6th April 1707. 5. Mr George Middleton, ordained 2d March 1708, transported to Keig, and admitted there 27th June 1717. 6. Mr Thomas Reid, ordained 24th April 1718, died 3d January 1767. 7. Mr George Forbes, admitted 6th July 1768, died 30th August 1799.
Ministers of Cushnie.—1. Mr James Leisk, in 1614. 2. Mr James Pontie, in 1628. 3. Mr Alexander Garioch, in 1631. 4. Mr William Glass, 1651-60. 5. Mr Patrick Copland, in 1674, died 1710. 6. Mr Patrick Gordon, ordained 31st January 1711, transported to Lumphanan, and admitted there 27th June 1717. 7. Mr William Bidie, ordained 26th August 1720, died 2d February 1730. 8. Mr Alexander Orem, [Mr Orem was settled in opposition to the wishes of the great majority of the people, who carried the case to the Assembly ; but as they themselves candidly acknowledge, in their answers to the reasons of transportation, this was entirely "ow-ing to the groundless stories and false reports which they had heard concerning him," he was " but a short time settled among them when they were perfectly reconciled to him;" and they declare, that the people of Forbes and Kearn "neither are nor can be more harmonious and united in seeking him from them, than they all and every one of them are to have him who is so universally acceptable to all concerned, heritors, elders, and people, continued fixed pastor amongst them." Mr Orem and his immediate predecessor, Mr Bidie, are still remembered in Cushnie as two of the "best ministers" whom the parish ever enjoyed.] ordained 28th April 1731, transported to Forbes and Kearn, and admitted there 22d May 1745. 9. Mr Francis Adam, ordained 9th July 1746, died 30th March 1795.
Ministers of United Parish.—1. Mr George Forbes succeeded to the whole charge on the death of Mr Adam in 1795. 2. Mr James Kelly, admitted 7th May 1800, died 12th December 1804. 3. Mr George Anderson, ordained 21st August 1805, died 23d December 1820. 4. Mr William Malcolm, admitted 8th August 1821, died 24th August 1838. 5. The present incumbent was ordained and admitted 3d January 1839.
Present Ecclesiastical State.—The present church and manse were built in 1797-98, in a new and centrical situation for the united parish. They do not seem to have been very substantially executed, and are now in a state of very considerable disrepair. The church was built to hold 500, but, notwithstanding some temporary expedients to obtain additional sittings, is too small for the congregation. The glebe, obtained in excambion for the two old glebes, including the site of the manse and offices, consists of 19 acres, 33 falls Scotch, and may be worth L.18 a-year. The stipend, by decreet of locality in 1829, which exhausts the teinds, is L. 140, 7s. 3¼d., 79 bolls, 1 firlot, 1 peck, and 2 lippies oatmeal at 8 stones; and 2 bolls, 3 firlots, and ¼ lippy bear, Aberdeenshire measure; with L.4, 16s. 2d., consisting of a payment of 50 merks, and the conversion of certain services paid by immemorial usage by the proprietors and tenants of Corse. The average amount of the whole in money, at the fiars prices, for the years 1839-41, is L.209, 17s. 5¼d. The Bishop of Dunblane presented Mr Alexander Seaton to Leochel in 1683. Sir William Forbes presented Mr Thomas Reid in 1717; and since that time the Craigievar family have exercised the patronage of Leochel. In 1727, the Earl of Rothes was patron of Cushnie, and presented Mr Francis Adam in 1745. In 1762, the patronage of Cushnie was acquired by John Lumsden of Cushnie, and has continued in his' family since. Sir John Forbes, Bart., and the Rev. Henry Thomas Lumsden, as patrons of the respective old parishes, are alternate patrons of the united parish.
Nearly at the eastern border of the parish there is a chapel, in connection with the United Associate Synod. The emoluments of the clergyman are L.60, a house, and five acres of land, paid by the hearers. Six or seven families in the parish attend this chapel; and there are besides, 3 Independents and 1 Baptist. No other Dissenters are known.
The number of families worshipping at the parish church is 244, and Divine service is remarkably well attended. The number of communicants for some years has been about 700. Collections are annually made for the Aberdeen Infirmary, Pauper Lunatic Fund of the Presbytery of Alford, and the General Assembly's schemes, to the amount of L.12 to L.14.
Education.—The parish is well supplied with the means of education. There are five schools, two parochial, one in connection with the General Assembly's Education scheme, and two endowed. Each of the parochial teachers has the minimum salary, and legal accommodations of house and garden, with an allowance from the Dick bequest of about L. 30, and the fees may average from L. 12 to L. 15. The school situated near the old manse of Leochel, with a comfortable school-house, was built by Sir Charles Forbes, Bart. of New and Edinglassie, who, for several years, allowed to the teacher a salary of L. 20. The salary was withdrawn in 1837, but the late Charles and Peter Ritchie, in Wester Leochel, have since bequeathed L. 300, the interest of which is to be given to the teacher of this school, and another benevolent person contemplates a bequest of L. 200 for the same purpose. Sir John Forbes allows him a garden, and the fees may average from L. 10 to L. 12. Another school is situated in the eastern district of the parish, and was endowed by the late Peter M'Combie, Esq. of Lenturk. The emoluments of the teacher are, a commodious house, garden, half-an acre of land, and a salary of L. 20. The fees may yield from L. 10 to L. 12 annually.
Libraries.—There are two small parochial libraries, one belonging to each of the old parishes, and consisting chiefly of religious works.
Poor.—The following table shows the state of the poor for six years:
Benefactions.—About 1730, Charles Gordon of Hallhead mortified 1000 merks Scots for the poor of Cushnie. In 1735, Dame Margaret Rose, Lady Dowager of Craigievar, mortified 1000 merks for "depauperated tenants and their widows" on her son's lands of Craigievar and Corse ; and since her death in 1742, four bolls of meal have been distributed annually as the interest of this bequest. In 1761, John M'William, in Briggs of Leochel, mortified 500 merks for the poor of Leochel. In 1812, Sir Charles Forbes, Bart. gave L.l00 to the poor of the united parish, and, since 1816, has continued an annual donation of L.10, amounting in whole to L.270. In 1827, Miss Anna Forbes, sister of Sir Charles, left L.l00 to the poor of Leochel and Corse. In 1833, Peter M'Combie, Esq. of Lenturk, left L.l 00 to the poor of the united parish. In 1841, Major Mitchell, whose first wife was another sister of Sir Charles Forbes, left L.200 to the poor of Leochel, payable after the death of his second wife: and, in 1842, Peter Ritchie, in Wester Leochel, left L.l00, the interest of which is to be applied to purchase meal for the poor on the lands of Craigievar and Corse. In addition, there have been received from the fund of Mr Burnett of Dens, in 1809, L.25; in 1824, L.20; in 1834, L.24; and, in 1842, L.39, making a total of L.108. It is also proper to state, that much charity is given in private.
Fairs.—Five of these are annually held in the parish, in the months of April, May, July, August, and September, at a convenient station on a moor near Scuttrie, on the Craigievar estate. They are well frequented, and a considerable amount of business is done in cattle, horses, sheep, and wool.
Inns.—There is but one regular inn in the parish, excluding Corse, where there are other two.
Fuel.— The mosses in the parish are nearly exhausted; and peat and turf are procured at a great expense of time and labour; the latter chiefly from the Red-hill of Lumphanan and the Glen of Cushnie, both distant, and of difficult access. In consequence coals from Aberdeen are more and more used. They cost from 8s. to 10s. per boll, including the price of carriage.
In preparing this account, the writer was much indebted to the unrestricted access which he had to the extensive and valuable series of charters and documents in possession of Sir John Forbes at Fintray House; to a short account of Leochel and Cushnie, privately printed by Joseph Robertson, Esq., author of the "Book of Bon-Accord;" and to communications, both written and oral, from William M'Combie, Esq. of Lenturk; Messrs Lumsden, Advocates in Aberdeen, factors on the Cushnie property; Mr George Strachan, factor to Sir John Forbes ; Mr William M'Combie at Tillyfour House; Mr Andrew Ross Tarland, factor on the Hallhead estate; and Mr John Gray in Ley of Cushnie.