A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.
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MELROSE, a market-town and parish, and anciently a burgh of barony, in the district of Melrose, county of Roxburgh; including the villages of Buckholmside, Darlingshaugh, Darnick, Gattonside, Newstead, and Newtown; and containing 5331 inhabitants, of whom 893 are in the town, 7 miles (N. W. by N.) from Jedburgh, and 36 (S. E. by S.) from Edinburgh. This place derived its ancient name, Mullross, of which its present is only a slight modification, from the Gaelic words Mull or Moel, bare, and Ross, a promontory, descriptive of its position on a peninsula formed by the river Tweed, and which at that remote period was literally a barren and rugged rock. In the beginning of the 7th century, a society of Culdees established themselves here from Iona, and a monastery was founded on a commodious site, which is now, in contradistinction to the present town, called Old Melrose. A monastery of greater extent was subsequently built in a more convenient part of the parish, to which were transferred the remains of the former establishment, and where are yet preserved the beautiful ruins of the venerable abbey. During the 7th century, Oswald, the Saxon king of Northumbria, at that time an exile among the Picts, who occupied the district to the north of the river Forth, was converted to Christianity by the Culdees of this place, and on his restoration to his kingdom prevailed upon certain of the monks to visit his dominions for the conversion of his subjects; he appointed Aidan to the bishopric of Lindisfarn, and built churches and planted missionaries in this parish and in various other parts of his territories. The church at Old Melrose, over which was placed one of Aidan's disciples, flourished in peace and security for more than two centuries, and produced many eminent characters, of whom St. Cuthbert, who was afterwards Bishop of Lindisfarn, and St. Boswell, who gave his name to a neighbouring parish, were the chief. In 839, the peninsula of Old Melrose was taken by Kenneth II., who laid waste the country as far south as the river Tweed; and the monastery, which was then destroyed, was never afterwards restored. It became the temporary residence of a few monks from Girwy, and ultimately was only a chapel dedicated to St. Cuthbert, having attached to it the privileges of a sanctuary, the road to which, called the Girthgate, may be traced over the moorlands. During the interval between the decay of the Old and the foundation of the New Melrose, a religious establishment was formed on a site nearly central to both: this, from the colour of the stone with which the church was built, was termed the Red Abbey, and the field where it stood is still called the Red Abbey stead.
In 1136, the magnificent abbey referred to above, and of which the ruins are so celebrated for their beauty, was founded by David I., in honour of the Virgin, for monks of the Cistercian order brought from Rivaulx, and then first introduced into Scotland. It appears to have been progressively enriched, and the character of the buildings to have been improved into a height of elegance and magnificence to which, at the time of its foundation, it had no pretensions; but there are no records of its history to show by what means, or under whose auspices, it attained that perfection in its architectural character which has rendered it celebrated as one of the most splendid ecclesiastical remains in the kingdom. Notwithstanding, however, that it made this progress during the whole period in which it flourished, it suffered very severely at different times. The English army, in its retreat under Edward II. in 1322, plundered and despoiled it to so great an extent that Robert Bruce felt compelled, four years afterwards, to grant the sum of £2000 sterling for restoring it and rebuilding those parts which had been destroyed. In 1384 it was burnt by the English under Richard II.; Evers and Layton sacked it in 1545; and again, in the same year, the structure fell a prey to the Earl of Hertford, while Queen Mary was an infant. It was sadly defaced in 1560, at the period of the Reformation; and, lastly, it was ruthlessly bombarded by Cromwell from the Gattonside hills. On its dissolution at the introduction of the Reformed religion, the abbey was annexed to the crown by a statute which provided that the sovereign should not have power to alienate it; but this was rendered nugatory by subsequent acts of parliament, and grants of different portions of the property were made to individuals favoured by the court. The whole, however, is now the property of the Duke of Buccleuch. The revenue of the establishment was stated in 1561 at £1758 Scots, and nearly 200 chalders of wheat, barley, oats, and meal, besides payments in capons, poultry, butter, salt, peat, and other articles. The monks received annually for their own consumption sixty bolls of wheat and 300 casks of ale; while for the service of the mass eighteen casks of wine were allotted; for the entertaiment of strangers, thirty bolls of wheat, forty casks of ale, and twenty casks of wine; and a considerable sum was set aside for the nourishment of the sick and infirm. The number of monks seems latterly to have varied from sixty to 100, with an equal number of lay brethren: in 1520 there were eighty monks; in 1540, seventy, and sixty lay brethren; and in 1542 the number of monks was 100.
The remains of Melrose Abbey, consisting chiefly of the ruins of the church, a stately cruciform structure measuring 258 feet in length and 130 feet in breadth, with part of a central tower eighty-four feet high, are situated about three miles to the west of the peninsula on which the old church was built, and in the most picturesque part of the vale between the Eildon hills and the heights of Gattonside, a quarter of a mile to the south of the Tweed. The nave, choir, and transepts, with a part of the cloisters, are still remaining, and exhibit a gradation of style from early to later English, but are principally decorated English; the conventual buildings have totally disappeared, and slight traces only of their extent and situation are perceived. The nave is separated from the aisles by elegant ranges of columns, supporting deeply-moulded and richly-sculptured arches in the most finished style; and the transepts and choir are of the same character, elaborately embellished, and lighted by windows enriched with tracery, of which the principal are of lofty dimensions. The grand east window has been particularly admired for its surpassing elegance, and is in the later English style, fifty-seven feet in extreme height, and twenty-eight in breadth; the south transept window is also remarkable, but is characterised rather by majesty than by the light elegance of the east window, than which it is rather loftier, though rather narrower. The principal buttresses terminate with pinnacles of the finest tabernacle work, and these, as well as the windows ranged along the sides of the edifice, are ornamented with figures admirably carved, and with niches highly sculptured; but the statues placed in the niches were demolished in the year 1649. The interior has some good ancient monuments. Under the east window stood the high altar, beneath which Alexander II., who died at Kerrera, upon an expedition to the Western Isles, in 1249, was buried; and a large marble stone is pointed out as the monarch's tomb, though some suppose it to be that of St. Waldave, the second abbot of Melrose, whose death occurred in 1158. Here, also, according to the best historians, was deposited the heart of the great king Robert Bruce, after an unsuccessful attempt to carry it to the Holy Land; the body having been interred in the abbey of Dunfermline. Michael Scott, who flourished in the 13th century, and whose discoveries in chemistry and other sciences led to the belief that he was a wizard, was buried in this monastery; as were, too, many of the renowned family of Douglas, after they became lords of Liddesdale. Among these may be named William Douglas, knight of Liddesdale, for his valour called the "Flower of Chivalry," who barbarously murdered the gallant Sir Alexander Ramsay, and was himself killed while hunting in Ettrick Forest, in 1353; William, first earl of Douglas, who was wounded at the battle of Poitiers in 1356, and who died in 1384; and James, second earl of Douglas, who fell at the battle of Otterburn. Their tombs, occupying two crypts near the high altar, were defaced by Sir Ralph Evers and Sir Bryan Layton, when they made their incursion into this part of the country, which has been already referred to; but the sixth earl of Angus, descendant of the Douglases, amply revenged this insult at the battle of Ancrum-Moor, when both the English leaders were slain, and their forces totally routed. In conclusion, the remarkable fact may be mentioned, with regard to these far-famed remains, that they were but little known as an object of interest to the tourist until the publication of the Lay of the Last Minstrel, which caused numbers to resort to them; while the prominent figure they occupy in The Monastery and The Abbot, in which the abbey is designated "St. Mary's" and the town of Melrose "Kennaquhair," gave additional charms to the district, previously described by Scott only in poetry.
The town is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Tweed, over which is a handsome suspension-bridge for foot passengers and single horses; but it is not remarkable for any peculiarity of character distinguishing it from a large rural village. It is in the form of a triangle, with small streets leading out at the corners, and contains several elegant modern houses; but many are of early date, and evidently built in part of materials from the abbey. The bridge leads to the antique and rustic village of Gattonside, surrounded by gardens and orchards; and the scenery generally near the town is of the most beautiful description, and attracts numberless visiters during the summer. The inhabitants are principally employed in trades requisite for the supply of the district, and in agricultural pursuits: the manufacture of linen formerly occupied a considerable number of persons in connexion with the commercial establishments of Galashiels, but has long since declined. In the centre of the town is an ancient cross, near the south entrance to the abbey, for the maintenance of which cross half an acre of land is appropriated; but the chief object of attraction is, of course, the ruin of the monastery. A subscription library, containing a good selection of books, is supported; and there are smaller libraries in the adjacent villages; also two branch banks established in the town, a few minor associations, and a couple of excellent inns. The market-day is Saturday, and three fairs are held, one in the begining of June, called, from the old style, the May fair, one at Lammas, and one at Martinmas; they are all great cattle-markets, and are numerously attended, and the Lammas fair has attained such celebrity for its sheep, as to rival the celebrated fair of St. Boswell's, in the adjoining parish. The regality of the burgh is vested in the ducal family of Buccleuch, whose bailie is the principal officer, and exercises jurisdiction in various matters originating in the fairs of Melrose and St. Boswell's, over both which parishes his jurisdiction as a bailie of the barony extends. No record of criminal cases has been preserved; the only delinquencies cognizable by the bailie or his deputy have been such as subject the offender to a fine of five shillings. Melrose is the head of the district, and has a fiscal, acting under the justices of the peace, who hold a court here on the first Saturday in the month.
The parish, which is one of the largest in the county, extends for ten miles in length, from the summit of the central of the Eildon hills to Upper Blainslie, and for four miles and a half in breadth, from the river Gala to the Leader; comprising an area of forty-five square miles. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Lauder, on the east by the parishes of Mertoun and Earlstoun, on the south by those of St. Boswell's and Bowden, and on the west by Galashiels and Stow. The Tweed enters the parish from the south-west, forming a boundary between it and the parish of Galashiels for more than two miles, and in its course receives the streams of the Gala, the Allan, and the Leader. The Allan, a beautiful stream, issues from an opening in the Langlee hills, and flows for five miles through the parish, in many parts concealed by overhanging woods. The surface is boldly diversified by the Eildon hills, which are partly within the parish, and by the heights of Gattonside, which, with the Langlee and Ladhope hills, form a ridge extending from the Leader to the Gala river. The Eildon hills are seen from the north with peculiar effect; the two highest summits alone are then visible, and appear with majestic grandeur, towering above the level of the adjacent country. The view from them is magnificent, commanding the windings of the Tweed through the vale of Melrose, with its banks thickly studded with villas, and the south front of the venerable abbey embosomed in woods: to the south is seen the whole of Teviotdale, bounded by the range of the Cheviot mountains, at the eastern extremity of which are Flodden hill and two other eminences of conical form. The valley of Melrose is supposed at some remote period to have been a lake, and the substratum of water-sand is still found by digging a few feet below the surface; the climate of the vale, sheltered by surrounding heights, is extremely mild, but the upland parts of the parish are exposed to severe northern gales. The soil is various. In the south a strong clay adapted to the growth of wheat is prevalent; on the banks of the river the land is light and dry, favourable to all kinds of grain; in the northern parts it is generally mixed with sand, resting on a substratum of gravel, but in some places clayey and wet, and in others a moss, under which marl is found. Fogs are very prevalent, and frequently assume a variety of picturesque forms: from the south of the Eildon hills, the whole vale of Teviot appears one continuous sheet of mist, above which are seen only the summit of Ruberslaw and the shaft of the Waterloo pillar. Of the land, about 11,500 acres on the north side of the Tweed are in tillage, and 7600 in pasture; and on the south side of the river the lands, consisting of one third of the parish, are wholly under cultivation. About 1200 acres are in plantations, mostly of modern date; the only natural wood is a few scattered trees, chiefly birch, on the banks of the river Allan. The system of agriculture is improved, and the crops in general favourable; the farm-buildings are substantial, commodious, and in good repair, and the inclosures and fences kept in proper order. Considerable advances have been made in draining and planting, and a large portion of waste land has been reclaimed and brought under profitable cultivation. The principal breeds of sheep are the Leicestershire, the Cheviot, and the half-bred and black-faced; the common breeds of cattle are the Teeswater, the Ayrshire, and the Highland, with an occasional admixture of other kinds. The salmon-fisheries of the Tweed, formerly very lucrative, are much reduced; the fish appear to be intercepted by the fishermen of Berwick, and few are taken in this parish. The chief fuel is, coal brought from the Lothians and Northumberland, the thinnings of the plantations, and peat from the mossy districts. The rateable annual value of Melrose is £20,671.
The parish is divided among numerous proprietors, of whom fifty hold lands each to the annual value of £50 and above; and within its boundaries, and chiefly near the Tweed, are numerous villas and handsome mansion-houses, among which is Abbotsford, the seat of the late Sir Walter Scott, whose memory will ever be cherished by his country, and by the admirers of literary genius. These residences are principally built of sandstone, of coarse pudding-stone from the neighbouring quarry-hill, and of greywacke, which abounds in the parish. The far-famed mansion of Abbotsford, "a romance in stone and lime," occupies a slip of level ground at the foot of an overhanging bank on the right side of the river, and looks out upon a beautiful haugh on the opposite bank, backed with the green hills of Ettrick Forest. It is in the south-western part of the parish, and about a couple of miles distant from the town of Galashiels. The house, garden, pleasure-grounds, and woods, were all the creation of the immortal proprietor; and thousands of the trees which adorn the demesne, and appear in beautiful clusters around the mansion, were planted by his own hands: the name, also, is recent, having been adopted by Sir Walter from an adjoining ford over the river. Resembling no other building in the kingdom, the house has a peculiar but picturesque and imposing appearance; and its walls have been enriched with many an antique carved stone, procured from old churches, castles, and seats in different parts of Scotland, in the course of their demolition or decay. The interior contains the innumerable curiosities in the collection of which the novelist displayed so refined a taste; and even were Abbotsford destitute of attractions in respect of scenery, there would be sufficient in the relics here arranged, the armour, the paintings, the books, and the furniture, to demand the prolonged visit of the tourist. But the rarities and the architecture of the mansion are not more worthy of the notice of the stranger than the beautiful features of nature which the spot presents to his view. The sweeping amphitheatre of wood in which the house is seated, the banks of the meandering Tweed graced for miles with ranges of forest-trees, the numberless serpentine walks through the woods, and the ravines, bowers, waterfalls, and mountain lakes, that enrich the vicinity, all unite to form a scene of surpassing loveliness. Nor does Abbotsford possess slight interest for those who can regard with feelings akin to veneration the abode of one of the master-spirits of our literature. There are, in addition to the town of Melrose, seven villages within the limits of the parish, of which Darnick, Gattonside, and Newstead are less than a mile from the town. Newtown about three miles to the south-east, and Darlingshaugh upon the river Gala, four miles to the west: Buckholmside is, like Darlingshaugh, an appendage of Galashiels, in the trade of which its inhabitants are engaged.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Selkirk and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. The stipend of the incumbent is £234; the manse was built in 1813, and is in good repair, and the glebe comprises four acres of land, worth about £10 or £12 per annum. The church, erected in 1810, is situated on Wear hill, a little to the west of the town. John Knox, nephew of the celebrated reformer, was the second incumbent after the Reformation. There are a Free church, and two places of worship for the United Associate Synod, one of them in the town, and the other in a romantic dell through which the Bowden rivulet flows into the Tweed. The parochial school affords an excellent education to nearly eighty children; the salary of the master is £30 per annum, with a house and garden, and the fees amount to about £44. The school-house was built with money arising from funds bequeathed by Bishop Fletcher, to whose memory is a tablet in the wall of the edifice. At Langshaw, is a small school with an endowment of £3 per annum; and there are six schools in the villages, for each of which a comfortable house has been built by the villagers. On the side of the Eildon hills is a tumulus of artificial construction and of large dimensions, supposed to have been the site of a pagan altar; the road leading to it, through a ravine named the Haxalgate heugh, is called the Haxalgate. A stone appearing to be part of a Roman altar was dug up lately in the parish, and is now in the possession of the Drygrange family; it is inscribed to the god "Silvanus," by Curius Domitianus, of the XX. legion, "pro salute sua et suorum." In the walls of several houses in the town are inserted stones sculptured with different religious devices, and the letters J. H. S., thought to have been removed from the ruins of the old abbey.
MELVICH, a village, in that part of the parish of Reay which is in the county of Sutherland; containing 253 inhabitants. This village is pleasantly situated on the western bank of the river Halladale, near its influx into the bay of Bighouse, and on the turnpikeroad from Thurso to Tongue; and is principally inhabited by persons engaged in the several fisheries, which are carried on here to a considerable extent. It is neatly built, and the surrounding scenery is pleasingly varied, and at many points boldly romantic; the hills command extensive prospects, embracing nearly the whole of the valley of Strath-Halladale, and the beautiful windings of the river from which it takes its name. The fish taken off this part of the coast are, herrings, cod, ling, turbot, haddock, skate, whiting, flounders, mackerel, sand-eels, and smelts; and in the river salmon are often caught in large numbers. The bay of Bighouse affords secure shelter to the boats employed in the fisheries. In the village is a commodious inn; a branch office under the post-office of Thurso, has been established, at which the mail calls daily; and a school, to which a small library is attached, has been founded under the patronage of the General Assembly.
MENMUIR, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 4½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Brechin; containing, with the hamlet of Tigerton, 732 inhabitants, of whom 641 are in the rural districts. This place, which is of remote antiquity, derives its name signifying in the Celtic language "the great moss," from the marshy nature of the lands, which appear to have been originally one extensive tract of bog. A church was founded here in the early part of the 7th century, by St. Aidan, to whom Oswald, King of Northumbria, whose subjects he had been powerfully instrumental in converting to Christianity, granted the Holy island of Lindisfarn, of which he became bishop, and where he laid the foundation of a see which subsequently, under his successors, was removed to Durham. The ancient Caledonians, previously to their battle with Agricola at the foot of the Grampians, are supposed to have been encamped at this place; and there are still extensive remains of the rudely-formed but strong fortress which on this occasion they occupied, on a hill in the parish. There are two nearly contiguous hills called Caterthun, on the south side of the river Westwater, forming the eastern extremity of a range of heights parallel with, and nearly at the foot of, the Grampians; one is termed the White, and the other the Brown, Caterthun. The White Caterthun is crowned with the fortress thought to have been occupied by the Caledonians, consisting of an immense pile of loose stones, inclosing an elliptical and level area of 150 yards in length, and seventy yards in transverse diameter. Within the area was once a spring of pure water; and on the eastern side are the remains of a quadrilateral building, surrounded with a stone dyke and a fosse that may be distinctly traced. Around the external base of this entrenchment is a deep ditch, below which, at the distance of 100 yards, are traces of another, encircling the hill. On the summit of the Brown Caterthun is a fortification of round form, consisting of concentric ramparts of earth, from the colour of which the hill takes its name; and on the declivity of the hill, which is inferior in elevation to the other, is a rampart extending to the White Caterthun, with which it appears to have been connected as a place of retreat. In the reign of James II., the proprietor of the lands of Balnamoon, in this parish, joined the Earl of Crawfurd at the battle of Brechin, to revenge the death of Douglas; but, a misunderstanding arising between him and the earl, he drew off a large portion of the forces, and, joining the loyalists under the Earl of Huntly, decided the contest in favour of the monarch.
The parish lies in the north-eastern portion of the county, and is about five miles in length and nearly three in average breadth, forming in the southern part of it a section of the fertile vale of Strathmore. The surface towards the south and east is generally level, but in the north hilly and almost mountainous; to the north-east are the Caterthuns, from which the range of heights already mentioned, and called the Menmuir hills, extends for nearly three miles towards the west. The principal rivers are, the Cruick, which flows in gentle windings through the whole of the southern district into the Westwater in the parish of Strickathrow; the Westwater, part of the northern boundary of the parish; and the Pelphrie burn, which having its source in the parish of Fearn, flows eastward along the remainder of the northern boundary of Menmuir, and falls into the Westwater. The soil along the banks of the Cruick is rich and fertile, and in the lower grounds generally productive; the prevailing quality is a sandy clay, alternated with gravel and loam. On the higher grounds and hills is much heathy moor. The crops include oats, barley, peas, potatoes, and turnips, of which the lands produce sufficient for the supply of the district; and on several of the farms small quantities of flax are raised, for which the soil appears to be well adapted. The system of husbandry is improved, and much of the waste land has been drained and brought into profitable cultivation; great attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, and large quantities of butter and cheese are sent to Brechin and other markets. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to returns made under the Income tax, is £5615.
The only seat is Balnamoon House, a handsome mansion, erected by James Carnegy Arbuthnott, Esq., the principal landed proprietor; and the hamlet or village of Tigerton, of recent origin, is the only village. The spinning of flax, for the dressing of which a mill was some years since built on the river Cruick, with the assistance of the Board of Trustees, has been discontinued, but the weaving of linen is carried on to a considerable extent; the articles chiefly manufactured are, sailcloth and duck, coarse plaidings, and some linen of finer quality for domestic use. There are several cornmills on the Cruick, in one of which large quantities of pot-barley are prepared for the London market. Facility of communication is maintained by the great road to Brechin and other roads, and by bridges over the river Cruick and the Westwater. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £180, of which a small part is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £35 per annum: patron, Alexander Erskine, Esq., of Balhall. The old church built in 1767 was taken down, and a handsome and substantial structure erected in 1842, containing ample accommodation for the parishioners. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction to about 100 children; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £16 per annum. On the removal of the wall of the old churchyard, two sculptured stones were found, on one of which were two equestrian figures with spears and round shields, having behind them a man on foot bearing a crook; and in another part of the same stone were figures of a deer and Roman eagle. Upon the other stone was an equestrian figure only. About a mile to the north of the church is a cluster of barrows, supposed to have been raised over the remains of those who were slain in a battle between the Picts and the Danes.
MENSTRIE, a village, in the parish of Logie, county of Clackmannan, 5 miles (E. N. E.) from Stirling, containing 518 inhabitants. This place lies on the road from Logie to Alva, and at the foot of the Ochils; and is the largest village in the parish, and in a flourishing condition. It has a woollen-manufactory, employing about fifty hands, in which, among other articles, serges and blankets are made; and at Dolls, in the vicinity, is a distillery. There is an excellent supply of water, affording an inducement for the establishment of works; and a good trade is already carried on. Menstrie House was formerly the patrimonial property of the family of Alexander, earls of Stirling. The church is situated about two miles from the village. A school is partly supported by an allowance from Lord Abercromby.
MERRYSTON, a village, in the parish of Old Monkland, forming part of the late quoad sacra parish of Gartsherrie, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 2½ miles (W. by S.) from Airdrie; containing 676 inhabitants. It is situated a short distance north of the high road from Airdrie to Glasgow, and on the banks of the Monkland canal; and is one of the numerous villages whose increasing population is engaged in the mines and manufactures of this rich mineral district.
MERRYSTON, WEST, a village, in the parish of Old Monkland, forming part of the late quoad sacra parish of Crosshill, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 1¼ mile (N. E.) from Baillieston; containing 493 inhabitants. This village, called also Marystown, is, like the preceding, situated on the banks of the Monkland canal, and owes its late increase in extent, and in the number of its inhabitants, to the flourishing condition of the mines and manufactures in its vicinity.
MERTOUN, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 4½ miles (E. S. E.) from Melrose; containing 722 inhabitants. This parish is about six miles long and between two and three broad, and comprises 7000 acres; it is situated in the south-western extremity of the county, and bounded on the south and west by the river Tweed, on the north by Earlstoun parish, and on the east by Smailholm and Makerstoun. The surface embraces several fine slopes and undulations, especially in the western quarter, where the scenery is extremely picturesque and beautiful: the prospect from Bemersyde hill, over which passes one of the public roads, is striking and magnificent, comprising wood, water, hills, and fertile fields. In the south, also, the lands are diversified by good inclosures, verdant hedge-rows, and flourishing plantations. The venerable ruin of the abbey of Dryburgh, viewed from the opposite side of the Tweed, whose banks are of red earth and unusually steep, is a fine object in the scenery; and a suspension-bridge here, a colossal statue of Sir William Wallace on a neighbouring hill, and the Temple of the Muses, a circular building erected by the Earl of Buchan on an eminence near the end of the bridge, also enliven and beautify the district in a very interesting manner. The windings of the Tweed add peculiar force to the general impression of the scenery; but there are no lakes and scarcely any springs, and the farmers are therefore occasionally much inconvenienced from a want of water for their cattle.
The soil bordering on the Tweed is a sharp loam, resting upon gravel; in the other parts of the parish, with few exceptions, it is a stiff clay, having a cold tilly subsoil. About 500 acres are under wood, and 3460 are sown with wheat, oats, barley, and peas, of which the barley is the most considerable in quantity; turnips are also produced, and, since the introduction of bonedust manure, have been of very fine growth. There is no common land; and it is supposed that of what is in pasture 300 acres might be cultivated with a profitable application of capital. Improvements to some extent have been made within the last few years, consisting principally in draining and liming; but the surfacewater is not so regularly and completely removed as good husbandry requires, some of the farmers neglecting to cleanse the ditches and to keep them in a fit state to receive the drainage. The farm houses and offices are generally convenient buildings; and a corn-mill upon an extensive scale has been erected, the machinery of which is of a superior kind, and suited to every description of grain. The sheep are the best Leicesters; the cattle are the short-horned breed, and great attention is paid to their improvement by annual purchases from the breeders in the south. The rocks on the banks of the Tweed consist of freestone of a reddish colour, very durable, and taking a fine polish; but, although the quality is so choice and the supply inexhaustible, no quarry has been wrought for many years, owing to the great expense necessary for this purpose. The rateable annual value of Mertoun is £6429.
The chief mansions of this delightful parish are, Mertoun House, an elegant residence near the church, the seat of Lord Polwarth; Dryburgh House, the seat of Sir David Erskine, a plain old mansion in the immediate vicinity of the abbey, and having excellent orchards and woods; and Bemersyde, an ancient but pleasant house belonging to the Haig family, three-quarters of a mile to the south of Old Melrose, in the adjoining parish. There are two small villages, Bemersyde and Dryburgh; but the parish is not intersected by any turnpike-road. The parish roads are for the most part good, and adapted for local convenience; and over the Tweed is the suspension-bridge already referred to, from which there is a direct road to the village of Lessudden, south of the river, where a post-office has been established; but this bridge is only constructed for foot passengers and single horses, and there is still a great want of a bridge for carriages in the southern part of the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lauder and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, Hugh Scott, Esq., of Harden. The stipend of the minister is £252, with a manse, built in 1767, and a glebe of fourteen acres, valued at £14 per annum. The church of Mertoun belonged to the canons of Dryburgh till the Reformation. The present building, erected in 1658, and repaired in 1820, is pleasantly situated in the midst of a grove, but stands inconveniently both for the minister and parishioners, being a mile from the manse and about the same distance from the centre of the parish. It is in good repair and well fitted up, with a pew assigned to every tenant. There is a parochial school, in which are taught the classics, the mathematics, and the usual branches of education; the master has a salary of £30, with about £9 fees, and the allowance of house and garden. The chief relic of antiquity is the abbey; but the remains, though deeply interesting, are not extensive. The nave of its church is nearly demolished, nothing being left but the foundations of the pillars; the most considerable part is the north transept, attached to one of the pillars that supported the tower. The refectory has fallen down, and the gable ends alone are now to be seen: in one of these is a curious radiated window, almost enveloped and obscured by ivy. The statue of Wallace, also, though not an antiquity, is yet worthy of notice on account of its being the workmanship of a common stone-mason who had never learned sculpture.—See Dryburgh.
METHILL, lately a quoad sacra parish, comprising the villages of Methill and Kirkland, in the parish of Wemyss, and part of the parish of Markinch, district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; the whole containing 1513 inhabitants, of whom 466 are in the village of Methill, 1 mile (W. by S.) from Leven. This village, situated on the northern shore of the Frith of Forth, was formerly noted for the manufacture of salt, which was carried on here to a very great extent, but since the removal of the duty has been altogether discontinued. The harbour is safe and commodious, and was once much frequented; but the pier was greatly damaged by a violent storm, and upon the abolition of the duty on salt, lay for some time neglected. It has, however, been recently restored at an expense of nearly £2000; and since the erection of an additional church, which has been completed at a cost of £1030, and is adapted for a congregation of more than 800 persons, the village has been much improved; and from its pleasant situation, and the facility of intercourse which it possesses with the neighbouring markets, it is likely to recover its former prosperity.
METHLICK, a parish, in the county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (N. by W.) from Tarves; containing 1737 inhabitants. This parish is said to derive its name from two Gaelic words signifying "the Vale of honey." It was anciently dedicated to St. Devenick, who flourished about the latter end of the ninth century, and in honour of whom an altar was founded in the cathedral of Aberdeen, of which see the church of Methlick was made a prebend in the year 1362, the rector residing at Aberdeen and officiating in the cathedral, and his place here being supplied by a vicar. The parish is intersected by the river Ythan, two-thirds of it situated on the northern side, in the district of Buchan, and the remaining portion south of the river, in the district of Formartine. A detached part on the east, of small extent, is separated by a tongue of land belonging to Tarves parish, and is called Little Drumquhindle, or Inverebrie, from its situation at the junction of the brook Ebrie with the Ythan; it is also sometimes named the Six Ploughs, on account of its measurement in ancient times by so many ploughs. The length of the parish is about eight miles, from north to south, and its breadth, exclusive of the detached portion, five miles; comprising between 11,000 and 12,000 Scotch acres, of which more than 2000 are plantations, and the remainder arable and pasture, with a large proportion of moss and moor. The lands north of the Ythan, which flows from west to east between well-wooded banks, are partly barren and heathy, consisting to a great extent of the hills of Balquhindachy, Belnagoak, and Skilmoney; but the southern portion is picturesque and beautiful, some of the lands in this quarter, which are finely undulated, being comprehended in the ornamental grounds of Haddo House. The river is not navigable; but it constitutes an important feature in the scenery, and affords not only good salmon and trout fishing, but much amusement to the young in seeking for pearls, for the abundance and value of which the Ythan was once so celebrated. The brook of Ebrie divides Methlick on the east from the parish of Ellon; besides which the lands are washed by the burn of Kelly, and by that of Gight, called also the Black water and the Little water, running along the western boundary. Upon a point of the latter stream the parishes of Methlick, Fyvie, and Monquhitter all meet; and at the distance of not more than a mile and a half, on the same water, the parishes of New Deer, Monquhitter, and Methlick also form a union.
The soil of the land stretching for about a mile and a half from each side of the river is the best in the parish, a yellow loamy earth on a gravelly or rocky bottom; in the other parts it is poorer, light, and moorish, of dark hue, and not so capable, from the peculiar character of its subsoil, of profitable cultivation. There is a great extent of peat-moss, which, though gradually yielding to the plough, still affords an ample supply of fuel. The grain raised comprises chiefly various kinds of oats; and some small quantities of bear, sown grasses, turnips, and a few potatoes, form the remainder of the produce. The five, six, and seven shift courses are all in operation, but the first of these principally on the small farms and crofts, which are numerous; and the land is in general under good cultivation, and partly inclosed with stone dykes. The farm-houses are mostly slated buildings of one floor; the tenements of the crofters are roofed with thatch. There are upwards of two hundred tenants under the Earl of Aberdeen, the sole proprietor of the parish; the best land averages in value from 16s. to £1. 5. per acre, and the rateable annual value of Methlick is £4233. The sheep reared by the farmers are very few in number, but in the grounds of the earl upwards of 1000 are generally kept, chiefly the black-faced and Cheviots: the cattle are numerous, and consist, in about equal quantities, of the Aberdeenshire breed and of a cross between that and the Teeswater. The prevailing rocks are gneiss and sienite, and a quarry of limestone was formerly in operation.
Besides the extent of land brought under the plough within the present century, amounting to more than 2000 acres, great additions have been made to the plantations, nearly an equal number of acres having been covered, within the same period, chiefly with larch and Scotch fir. A very large proportion of the wood is in the grounds of Haddo House, which comprise 1600 acres. This mansion, the seat of the Earl of Aberdeen, is comparatively a modern structure; the old edifice was besieged in 1644 by the Marquess of Argyle, at the head of the Covenanters, and taken on the 8th of May, and reduced to ruins. The park is ornamented with two lakes, a portion of one, however, being in the parish of Tarves; they are beautifully embosomed in wood, and enlivened by swans and a variety of choice water-fowl. Near the mansion runs the water of Kelly, which, at its junction with the Ythan in this parish, is said to have produced some pearls of great value; one of the crown jewels is reported to have been found here, and presented to King James VI. in 1620, by Sir Thomas Menzies, of Cults. In the grounds is an obelisk erected by the present earl to the memory of his brother, Sir Alexander Gordon, who fell at Waterloo acting as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington. The noble proprietor derives the title of Baron Methlick, Haddo, and Kellie, from this parish; the first property of the family was the barony of Methlick, of which Haddo was a part.
The facilities of communication are pretty good: there are commutation roads leading to New Deer, Fyvie, Ellon, Meldrum, and Tarves; and a mail-gig runs daily between Methlick and Aberdeen. To the latter place the dairy-produce is sent for sale; grain is also forwarded thither, and to Inverury and Newburgh; and from these two towns bones and English lime are brought for manure, and Scotch lime from the kilns of Udny, Aquhorthies, and Barrack. Two annual fairs are held, both for cattle and as feeing-markets for servants; the one early in May, and the other, called Dennick's fair, which is of great antiquity, at the end of November. The parish is in the presbytery of Ellon and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Aberdeen; the minister's stipend is £160, with a manse, and a glebe of six acres of arable and grass land. The church, situated on the southern bank of the Ythan, was rebuilt in 1780, and repaired in 1840; it contains 600 sittings, all of which are free; and adjoining the edifice is the burial-place of the family of Gordon. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, Greek, and mathematics, in addition to the usual branches: the master has a salary of £28, with a house, and £23 fees; he also shares in the Dick bequest, and receives a few pounds from Moir's bequest for teaching ten poor children, and an annual gift of £5 from the earl. The poor are entitled to the interest of £653. 6. 8. bequeathed for their benefit. Dr. George Cheyne, an eminent physician, was born in this parish in 1671; and Dr. Charles Maitland, who largely promoted the practice of inoculation in Great Britain, and who was sent to Hanover by George II. to inoculate Frederick, Prince of Wales, was also a native, and was buried here in 1748.
METHVEN, a parish, in the county of Perth; containing, with the villages or hamlets of Almond-Bank, Balwherne, Bellstown, Bragrum, Gibbiestown, Glack, Meckphin, Scrogiehill, and Wood-end, 2446 inhabitants, of whom 935 are in the village of Methven, 6 miles (W. by N.) from Perth. The name of this parish is derived from the Gaelic word Meodhan, signifying "middle," a term applied in reference to the situation of Methven in the middle of Strathmore, which extends from Stonehaven on the east, to Dumbarton on the west, and is here bounded on the north by the Grampians, and on the south by the ridge of the Ochil hills. The historical notices of the parish reach back to the year 970, when Colenus, reputed the 79th king of Scotland, is said to have been killed in this neighbourhood by Rohard, Thane of Methven, for violating his daughter. The lands, before 1323, belonged to the Mowbrays, whose ancestor, Roger Mowbray, a Norman, came to England with William the Conqueror. To one of this family, Sir Roger Mowbray, belonged the baronies of Kelly, Eckford, Dalmeny, and Methven, lying severally in the shires of Forfar, Roxburgh, Linlithgow, and Perth. These lauds, however, were confiscated by Robert I., for the adherence of Mowbray to Baliol and the English interest; and Eckford, Kelly, and Methven were given to the king's son-in-law, Walter, 8th hereditary lord high steward of Scotland, whose son, Robert, was afterwards king, and the second of the name, in right of his mother, Margery Bruce, daughter of Robert I.
The lordship of Methven was granted by Robert II. to Walter Stuart, earl of Atholl, his second son, after whose forfeiture it remained in the crown for a considerable time. It was part of the dowry lands usually assigned for the maintenance of the queen dowager of Scotland, and, together with the lordship and castle of Stirling, and the lands of Balquhidder, was settled on Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII. of England, and queen dowager of James IV., and who, in the year 1524, married Henry Stewart, for whom she procured a peerage from her son, James V., in 1528. On this occasion the barony of Methven was separated from the crown, and erected into a lordship in favour of Henry Stewart and his heirs male, the queen resigning her jointure of the lordship of Stirling. The Stewarts, lords Methven, however, very shortly became extinct. In the right of Margaret, as eldest daughter of Henry VII., James VI. of Scotland, her great-grandson, succeeded to the English crown on the death of Queen Elizabeth; she died at the castle of Methven in 1540, and was buried at Perth, beside the body of King James I. In 1584, the lordship of Methven and Balquhidder was conferred on Lodowick, Duke of Lennox; but it was purchased in 1664 by Patrick Smythe, of Braco, great-grandfather of the late Lord Methven, from Charles, the last duke, who dying without issue in 1672, his honours fell to Charles II., as nearest male heir, the king's great-grandfather and the duke's being brothers. While the estate was in the crown, various lands were granted in feu to different persons; and the feu-duties are now paid to Robert Smythe, Esq., successor to the late Lord Methven, as proprietor of the lordship. Among the other events connected with the parish is the defeat in this part of Robert Bruce, soon after his coronation in 1306, by the English army under the command of Aylmer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. The first religious establishment here was a collegiate church founded in 1433, by Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, who largely endowed it with lands and tithes; it consisted of a provost and five prebendaries; and an aisle which was connected with it is now the burial-place of the ancient family of Smythe.
The mean length of the parish is five miles, and its breadth between three and four. It contains 10,700 acres, and is bounded on the north and east chiefly by the river Almond; on the south by a small stream called the Pow, which separates it from the parishes of Madderty, Findogask, and Tibbermore; and on the west by the parish of Fowlis Wester. The surface consists of hollows and rising grounds, and from the good cultivation, and the several flourishing plantations, presents a pleasing, and in some parts a picturesque appearance. The Almond, the only river, crosses a small portion merely of the parish, but runs for a considerable distance along its boundary; it receives numerous streams from the steep and rugged mountains near which it passes, and after a bold and rapid course, joins the Tay two and a half miles above Perth. About 260 acres of natural wood ornament the vicinity of this river, consisting chiefly of oak, and are regularly cut and thinned as a coppice. The prevailing soil is clay; but there are considerable tracts of loamy and gravelly earth, with moorish soil resting upon till. About 8600 acres are cultivated or occasionally in tillage; the natural wood and plantations cover 1750 acres; 250 are moorland, and 100 moss. All kinds of grain are produced, as well as of green crops; the land is in general of tolerable quality, and subjected to the most improved system of husbandry. Bone-dust and guano are employed for turnips; but lime is the manure principally in use, and, as it is liberally applied, great advantages are derived from it. Potatoes, especially the Perthshire-red sort, are extensively cultivated for the London market; and mangelwurzel is raised in considerable quantities. Improvements have been long gradually advancing. Towards the north, a tract of 1000 acres, which fifty years ago was a common, is now divided and fenced, and in a high state of cultivation; and the extensive drainage carried on, and the plantations formed within the present century, have alike improved the appearance of the parish, increased its productive powers, and ameliorated the severity or insalubrity of the climate. The rateable annual value of Methven now amounts to £10,600.
The rocks belong to the old red sandstone or trap groups. In the line of the river Almond they are generally of a bright red colour, spotted with grey, but too soft and friable for the purposes of building, containing large proportions of clay and lime. At the bridge of Lynedoch, however, they are of a pale grey colour, thick-bedded and fine-grained, remarkably hard, and well suited for architectural purposes. Several trap-dykes, of the greenstone class, cross the country, and are usefully quarried for roads and causeways. Among the seats in the parish is Balgowan, a residence of the late Lord Lynedoch; and near the river is Lynedoch House, another mansion of his lordship's, romantically situated, and celebrated for the beautiful scenery by which it is surrounded. The chief seat, however, is Methven Castle, standing upon an eminence in the midst of the park, where it is said that Bruce was defeated by the Earl of Pembroke; it is an ancient baronial building, finished in 1680, and subsequently improved and enlarged by several proprietors. In the adjacent grounds is an oak of gigantic stature and great beauty, called the Pepperwell Oak; the trunk measures seventeen and a half feet in girth at three feet above the ground, and the solid contents of the tree amount to 700 cubic feet. The chief villages are Methven and Almond-Bank, near the latter of which, at Wood-end, is a weaving establishment fitted up with power-looms, in which a large number of persons are engaged. The population of the village of Methven are chiefly occupied in hand-loom weaving, the work being supplied by resident agents employed by Perth and Glasgow houses. The north road from Perth to Glasgow, via Crieff, passes through Methven, and, with the numerous county roads intersecting the parish, furnishes considerable facilities of communication; the mail travels daily on the great road, upon which, also, there is a daily coach to and from Perth and Glasgow. All the roads are kept in good order. There is a penny-post connected with the post-office at Perth; and markets are held on the first Thursday in May, and fourth Thursday in October, chiefly for the sale of cattle.
The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling; patron, Robert Smythe, Esq., of Methven Castle. The stipend of the minister is £274, with a manse, an elegant edifice built in 1830, and a glebe of fifteen acres of good land, valued at £30 per annum, besides ten acres of moor. The church, built in 1782, is a large, substantial, and convenient edifice, containing 1100 sittings: an aisle was built at the expense of the patron in 1825, when was also added a beautiful spire, nearly a hundred feet high, with a public clock. There is a meeting-house in connexion with the United Associate synod, as well as one belonging to the Free Church. A parochial school is maintained, in which Latin and practical mathematics, with all the ordinary branches of education, are taught; the master has the maximum salary, with a house, and fees amounting to about £25 or £30 a year. There is a school at Almond-Bank, supported by Mr. Smythe; also a school in the village of Methven, supported by the Secession Congregation. A public subscription library here is in a flourishing condition. As a curiosity, may be mentioned a noble and venerable ash known by the name of the Bell-tree, which stands in the churchyard, and is supposed to be coeval with the first religious establishment in the parish. It measures twenty feet in circumference at three and a half feet from the ground, and a few years ago exhibited much magnificent foliage, which, however, latterly has manifested symptoms of the withering hand of time. From the estate of Lynedoch, the late General Sir Thomas Graham took his title of Baron Lynedoch, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, to which dignity he was raised on the 3rd of May, 1814, in reward of his eminent services in the peninsular war, and particularly his brilliant victory at Barrosa, March 6, 1811. His lordship died on the 18th of December, 1843, in the 94th year of his age.
Mey, East and West
MEY, EAST and WEST, townships, in the parish of Canisbay, county of Caithness; the one containing 262, and the other 149, inhabitants. These places lie in the northern part of the parish, partly on the shore of the Pentland Frith, and derive their name from the early and luxuriant verdure on what is called the Bank-Head, in the spring months. The bay here abounds with lobsters, and a few boats are engaged in that species of fishery. On the coast are some curious rocks known as the Men of Mey, near which is one of two ferries in the parish to the Orkney Islands, the other being at Huna Inn. The loch of Mey, situated a little to the eastward of the Ratter burn, is a fine sheet of water, about three miles in circumference. The village lies on the main road from Huna to Castletown, and about eighteen miles north-north-west of Wick, and has a post-office. The population of both townships are chiefly fishermen.
Mid or Middle Calder.
MIDDLEBIE, a parish, in the district of Annandale, county of Dumfries, 2½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Ecclesfechan; containing, with the villages of Eaglesfield, Kirtlebridge, and Waterbeck, 2150 inhabitants, of whom 1482 are in the rural districts. This place, which consists of the united parishes of Middlebie, Pennersaughs, and Carruthers, derives its name from a Roman station in the old parish of Middlebie, which formed the central post between the stations of Overbie or Upperbie, in Eskdalemuir, and Netherbie, in the county of Cumberland. The station, situated at Birrens, is considered one of the most perfect and interesting remnants of Roman antiquity in Britain, and is identified with the Blatum Bulgium of Antonine. It occupies an eminence on the north bank of the Mein near its confluence with a smaller stream, and is of quadrilateral form, surrounded by five ramparts of earth and four fossæ; parts of it have been damaged by the inundations of the river, but the prætorium is still in good preservation. Within the area have been found a statue of the goddess of the Brigantes, and also of Mercury, with a votive altar dedicated to the latter, numerous inscribed stones, and various other relics of Roman antiquity; and nearly adjoining it was a less important camp, which, being situated on the lands of a small proprietor, has been completely destroyed.
The parish is partly bounded on the south-east by the Kirtle water, and is about nine miles in length and four and a half in breadth; comprising 30,000 acres, of which nearly 7000 are arable, 350 woodland and plantations, and the remainder (of which 2000 might be made arable) pasture, moor, and waste. The surface, though generally level, is diversified with gently-rising hills of moderate height, which, towards the eastern and north-eastern boundaries, attain almost mountainous elevation, and are finely contrasted with intervening valleys of great fertility and in a high state of cultivation. The Kirtle has its source among the hills near the north-eastern boundary of Middlebie, and, flowing southward, intersects it in part of its course for some distance, then forms its boundary for the remainder of its progress in the parish, and runs through much romantic scenery into the Solway Frith at Kirtle-foot, in the parish of Graitney. The river Mein has its source within the parish, and, after constituting a portion of its western boundary, joins the Annan at Meinfoot, in the adjoining parish of Hoddam. There are also several small rivulets, which, as well as the larger streams, abound with trout; and the parish contains numerous springs of excellent water. The soil is various, though generally fertile; in most places, clay alternated with loam and gravel; and in the higher districts, of inferior quality, but well adapted for pasture. The crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual variety of grasses. The system of husbandry is in a very advanced state, and has been greatly accelerated in its progress by the encouragement of the landed proprietors; much waste land has been improved by draining, and brought into profitable cultivation by a liberal use of lime for manure, of which abundance is made in the parish. The lands have been inclosed; and the farm-buildings, formerly of inferior order, have been generally bettered, and are now substantial and well arranged, more especially on the lands of the Duke of Buccleuch, the principal landed proprietor. The hills afford excellent pasture for cattle and sheep, of which considerable numbers are reared; the cattle are mostly of the Galloway breed, but the cows on the dairy-farms, of the Ayrshire. The sheep are usually the white-faced; and large numbers are bought in the autumn, and, when fattened in the pastures, sold in the following spring to dealers for the English markets, whither, also, many young oxen are sent annually. Swine are fed by the cottagers; and great quantities of bacon are forwarded to Newcastle, where it finds a ready sale, and returns a considerable profit.
The plantations consist chiefly of the various kinds of fir, interspersed with the usual forest-trees; they are mostly well managed and in a thriving state, and though not extensive, add much to the beauty of the scenery. The principal substrata are sandstone and limestone; it is supposed that coal, also, may be found at a considerable depth below the surface; and though some recent attempts have been made without success, they have tended rather to increase the probability of its being eventually wrought. The limestone is of excellent quality, and is extensively quarried for manure and also for building purposes; it has contributed greatly to promote the improvement of the lands not only in this parish, but in the surrounding districts, to which much of it is sent. The rateable annual value of Middlebie is £8192. There are some few seats, the residence of the smaller landholders; the principal are, Kirtleton, Blackwoodhouse, and Burnfoot, the first ancient, but the two last modern mansions. The several villages of Eaglesfield, Kirtlebridge, and Waterbeck are described under their respective heads. The cotton and linen manufactures are carried on, affording employment to a considerable number of the inhabitants; a circulating library has been established, and there are several friendly societies. Facility of communication is maintained by good roads, of which the turnpike-road from Glasgow to Carlisle passes for two miles through the parish; the statute roads have been greatly improved within the last few years, and are kept in excellent repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Annan and synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £218. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £40 per annum; patron, the Duke of Buccleuch. The church, erected in 1821, is a neat plain structure, containing 700 sittings; and there is a place of worship in the village of Waterbeck for members of the Relief Church. Two parochial schools are maintained, together affording instruction to about 150 children; the master of each has a salary of £25. 13., but without either dwelling-house or garden, and the fees average £25 per annum to each. There are still some remains of a stronghold called Blacket House, one of the ancient fortresses occupied during the border warfare; these consist chiefly of the tower and portions of the walls, but they are rapidly going to decay. Numerous fossils and organic remains are found in the limestone quarries; and there are several mineral springs, some of which are strongly impregnated, but they have long been disused for medicinal purposes. Among the most distinguished persons connected with this parish was the late Dr. Currie, of Liverpool, author of the Life of Burns and other works, whose father was minister. The Duke of Buccleuch takes the inferior title of Baron Middlebie from this place.
Middleton, and North Middleton
MIDDLETON, and NORTH MIDDLETON, villages, in the parish of Borthwick, county of Edinburgh, the one 12½, the other 12, miles (S. E. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing respectively 148 and 68 inhabitants. The first of these places was of some importance, and once the chief village in the parish, and one of the prebends which belonged to the collegiate church of Crichton. The great road to the south formerly passed through it; and it had a stirring population, many of whom were of the gipsy tribe, who made it one of their principal places of abode. It has, however, become remarkably quiet and retired, the inhabitants being occupied in agriculture and such handicraft trades as are necessary to small communities: there are two farm-houses in the vicinity. North Middleton is on the road side, and consists of a line of cottages, most of which have been built within the last twenty years. Two streams, called the North and South Middleton burns, unite at the termination of a neck of land on which the castle of Borthwick stands, when they assume the name of the Gore. Middleton House, built in 1710, is surrounded by an extensive wood of tall beech-trees, and has an air of genteel seclusion: the gardens attached to it are exceedingly admired.
MIDDLETON, a hamlet, in the parish of Orwell, county of Kinross, 3 miles (N. E.) from Kinross; containing 66 inhabitants. It lies in the eastern part of the parish, and is a small place, distant a little more than a mile from Milnathort, the chief village. The cottages of which it consists are built on the high road to Kinross.
MIDLEM, a village, in the parish of Bowden, district of Melrose, county of Roxburgh, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from Melrose; containing 185 inhabitants. It is situated in the south-western part of the parish, and consists of about fifty families, partly engaged in manufactures and handicraft trades, but chiefly employed in agriculture. The market-town of Selkirk is distant westward from the village about three and a half miles; and there is a weekly carrier to and from Edinburgh. The Associate Synod have here a place of worship; and a school on the parochial establishment is attended by about forty-five children, of whom those of paupers are taught gratuitously: the master, who instructs in the usual branches, has a salary of £21, and the fees.
MIDMAR, a parish, in the district of Kincardine O'Neil, county of Aberdeen, 15 miles (W.) from Aberdeen, containing 1093 inhabitants. Midmar, a term supposed to be compounded of the Saxon word mid, and the Gaelic word marr, denoting "a black forest," is the name of one of the three great divisions of the extensive region originally styled Marr, which lies between the rivers Dee and Don. This district of Marr comprised Brae-Marr, an appellation expressive of the highest part of the country; Cro-Marr, a lower and more cultivated tract; and Mid-Marr, so called, as is thought, from its central situation in respect to the two rivers, each being distant about six miles from the church. The parish is nearly seven miles in length from east to west, and about five miles in average breadth, and contains between 12,000 and 13,000 acres, of which 5000 or 6000 are under cultivation, 1600 plantations, 1000 pasture, and the remainder hill, moss, and moor. The surface is rugged and uneven, and marked principally by two hilly ridges with their vales; the lower grounds are refreshed by pleasing rivulets and burns, and those parts of the eminences where the soil is too thin for the operations of the plough are planted with Scotch firs, which flourish tolerably well, and are not only a great improvement to the scenery, but a protection to both the lands and cattle from the severity of the weather. The hill of Fare, at the southern limit, is the most considerable elevation, measuring at its base seventeen miles in circumference, and rising nearly 1800 feet above the level of the sea; it affords excellent pasturage for numerous flocks of sheep, the flesh of which is reputed to be of very superior flavour. The soil in the northern and eastern parts is a good dry mould, resting on a deep subsoil of clay; but in the western quarter, where the hills sink into the lower grounds, it is principally a thin sandy or clayey earth, with a little loam, on a gravelly subsoil. The grain raised consists chiefly of oats and bear, and the green crops, of turnips and potatoes. Black-cattle and sheep are reared in considerable numbers, and many swine are also fattened for the market. The land varies greatly in quality, and much of it is wet and mossy, and rented at a very low rate; but large tracts have been reclaimed and improved during the present century, and many of the fields have been inclosed with good stone dykes. The farm houses and offices, to a great extent, have been enlarged, or rebuilt on a better plan; and agricultural advancement is steadily kept in view by the farmers throughout the parish. The rocks are mostly granite and whinstone, both of which are quarried; the former is sometimes obtained of superior quality, and in large blocks, and is used, on account of its taking a fine polish, for the ornamental parts of buildings. The rateable annual value of Midmar is £4475.
The mansions of Kebbaty and Corsindae are both modern structures, the houses of resident proprietors. Midmar Castle, an ancient edifice in the turreted style of architecture, situated in a kind of glen on the north side of the hill of Fare, and surrounded by wood, commands fine views of the nearer scenery, consisting of hills and valleys beautifully grouped, and enriched with shrubs and trees; and is itself an interesting and conspicuous object at a distance, and seen to great advantage from many parts of the adjacent country. The population is entirely rural and agricultural; the fuel in common use is wood and peat, the former very cheap, and the latter procured in great plenty from the mosses in the parish. A road runs on the north from the vale of Alford, and another on the south from the Cromar district, both to Aberdeen, to which place the marketable produce is generally sent. The parish is in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Crown and Sir John Forbes, of Craigievar, Bart., the latter presenting twice in succession. The minister's stipend is £224, with a manse, built in 1840, and a glebe valued at £14 per annum. The church, which accommodates 600 persons, is a very plain structure, built in 1787. There is a place of worship for United Associate Seceders, and another for a congregation of Original Burghers who have recently joined the Free Church. The parochial school here affords instruction in Latin and in practical mathematics, in addition to the usual elementary branches; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, a share in the Dick bequest, and £19 fees. A parochial library of considerable extent is supported by subscription. Near the church are some Druidical remains, with an altar in good preservation. An excavation in a rock near the southern boundary of the parish is still called "Queen's chair," Queen Mary, as it is said, having sat in it when, returning from Aberdeen, she surveyed the neighbouring valley of Corrichie, where a battle had been fought between the forces of the Marquess of Huntly and the Earl of Murray, Mary's general.
Mill of Halden
MILL of HALDEN, a village, in the parish of Bonhill, county of Dumbarton, 1½ mile (N.) from the village of Bonhill; containing 147 inhabitants. This place lies on the high road from Drymen to Dumbarton, a little eastward of the river Leven, and near the southern extremity of Loch Lomond. The inhabitants are engaged for the most part in the bleaching and printing works, and other branches of industry, which have increased considerably of late years within the parish.
MILLARSTON, a village, in the Abbey parish of the town of Paisley, Upper ward of the county of Renfrew; containing 364 inhabitants. This place, with Maxwelton and Ferguslie, forms the western suburb of the town of Paisley, and is comprehended within the parliamentary burgh.—See Paisley.
MILBAY, a village, in the parish of Kilbrandon and Kilchattan, district of Lorn, county of Argyll. This is one of several small villages or hamlets in the parish built in the neighbourhood of slate-quarries; but some of these quarries are not now wrought to any extent.
MILLBREX, a district, in the parishes of Monquhitter and Fyvie, district of Turriff, county of Aberdeen, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from New Deer; containing 939 inhabitants. The hamlet of Millbrex is situated in the Fyvie portion of the district, and south-east of the road between New Deer and Auchterless: its population is chiefly agricultural. It is a mission station of the Committee for managing the Royal Bounty in Scotland; and has a church, built in 1833, and enlarged in 1836, and containing about 500 sittings. The edifice is so placed as to accommodate the inhabitants of the northern part of Fyvie parish and those of the southern part of Monquhitter. The Earl of Aberdeen, who is chief proprietor of Millbrex, contributed handsomely towards the erection of the church, for which he gave the site; and allocated land as glebe for its minister. A manse and offices were built in 1835; and it is proposed to found a school on the parochial footing, in connexion with the Establishment: there is at present a Sunday school.
Millerhill, Easter and Wester
MILLERHILL, EASTER and WESTER, villages, in the parish of Newton, county of Edinburgh, 1½ mile (N. W. by N.) from Dalkeith; the one containing 220, and the other 70, inhabitants. They lie in the south-eastern part of the parish, a short distance east of the village of Newton, and are chiefly inhabited by persons engaged in the coal-mines of the district.
MILLFIELD, a hamlet, in the parish of Inverkeillor, county of Forfar; containing 65 inhabitants. It is one of several small hamlets in the parish, all inconsiderable, the village of Inverkeillor, the principal place within its limits, containing little more than double the population of Millfield.
MILLHEUGH, a village, in that portion of the parish of Dalserf which formed part of the late quoad sacra parish of Larkhall, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 1 mile (W. by S.) from Larkhall; containing 384 inhabitants. This village is situated in the north-western part of the parish, and in a narrow valley on the banks of the river Avon, through which passes the road from Glasgow to Carlisle. It is a place of some antiquity, and formerly had a distillery, a brewery, and some factories, all of which have disappeared; its population, however, is engaged in various other branches of industry, and a bleachfield has recently been established, affording employment to a considerable number of hands. The village of Rosebank nearly adjoins Millheugh.
MILLIGS, a village, in the parish of Row, county of Dumbarton; containing 241 inhabitants. It is situated close to Helensburgh, a little northward of that town, and on the east side of the Gareloch, near its mouth. It is distant about two miles from the village of Row, where is a ferry across the lake to Roseneath. Here were anciently two chapels, one on the farm of Kirkmichael, which received its name from the saint to whom the chapel was dedicated, and the other on the farm of Millig, called also after the same saint, and until lately presenting some ruins.
MILLPORT, a village, in the parish of Great Cumbray, county of Bute; containing 817 inhabitants. This is a modern village, pleasantly situated in the south-east corner of the island, and having a commodious harbour capable of admitting vessels of considerable burthen, the depth at low water being six feet, and at high water fourteen. The anchorage ground is of large extent, and finely sheltered by two small rocky islands, called the Allans, to which vessels resorting hither in stormy weather are moored, by means of iron rings fastened in the rocks, so as to ride in perfect safety. A fine pier has been lately erected, chiefly by the Marquess of Bute, on whose property the harbour is. Several vessels belong to the port, some of the burthen of forty tons; and it is regularly visited by the Clyde steamers from Glasgow. The village is thriving, and is a great summer resort for sea-bathing, having excellent accommodation for that purpose; it contains some good lodging-houses, and the dwellings in general are neat, and of cleanly appearance. The inhabitants are engaged in fishing, weaving, and other pursuits: there are about sixty looms, and plain and fancy-work is executed in great variety for the Glasgow manufacturers. The parish church, which is situated here, was built in 1837, and is a handsome edifice, ornamented with a tower, and containing 750 sittings. Here are also the parochial school, another day, and two Sunday schools, a small library, a friendly society, and one or two other useful institutions.
MILLTOWN, a village, in the parish of Rothiemay, county of Banff, 7 miles (W. by N.) from Inverkeithny; containing 79 inhabitants. This is a small village, situated on the northern bank of the Doveran, at the point where that river begins to divide the parish. It is surrounded by well-inclosed fields and woods, which, with fields and woods on the opposite side of the river, rising by a gradual ascent to a great height, form much rich and beautiful scenery, seldom equalled, for the same extent in any part of the kingdom. The church and manse are in the vicinity of the village, as is Rothiemay House, a fine seat of the Earl of Fife.
MILNATHORT, or Mills of Forth, a village, in the parish of Orwell, county of Kinross, 1 mile (N.) from Kinross; containing 1605 inhabitants. This is a considerable village, pleasantly seated in the south-eastern part of the parish, and on the high-road between Kinross and Perth; it is of very neat appearance, and is lighted with gas. Its inhabitants are partly engaged in weaving for the Glasgow merchants, who have regular agents here. The chief manufacture, however, is that of tartan shawls and plaids, which has in a great measure superseded that of cotton goods wrought by the hand-loom; and spacious works have been erected, adapted to the use of larger looms, and the more constant employment of a greater number of persons. A market is held weekly, and is well attended by the agents of distilleries in distant places for the purchase of grain, this being the only grain-market in the county: an attempt was made to establish also a market for cheese, butter, and poultry, but without success. Fairs for cattle are held on the Thursday before Christmas, and the second Thursday in February; and for cattle, sheep, and horses in the beginning of May, July, and November, and the end of August. This place has latterly much increased in population, and has now, among other institutions, a post-office; a public library, supported by subscription, under the management of a proprietary of forty members, and having a collection of 1500 volumes; a parochial library of about 500 volumes, in connexion with the Established Church; and two others, in connexion with dissenting congregations. A constabulary force, also, is maintained by assessment of the landowners, and the chief officer resides in the village. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.