A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.
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RAFFORD, a parish, in the county of Elgin, 3 miles (S. E. by E.) from Forres; containing 987 inhabitants, of whom 67 are in the village. The various modes in which the name of this place has at different times been spelt, have proved a source of much perplexity in ascertaining its derivation; but most antiquaries, supported by the authority of Chalmers, are of opinion that it may be traced to the Celtic term raths, signifying "forts or strong places on hills," and applied to the locality on account of the numerous eminences in it which answer to that character. The parish was formerly the seat of the sub-chantor of Moray, and comprehended part of Kinloss, a modern parish formed from Rafford and Alves: in 1661, the old parish of Altyre was disjoined from that of Dallas, to which it had been annexed, and was united to Rafford. It is situated in the northern portion of the county, a few miles from the Moray Frith, and is bounded on the west by the river Findhorn; extending about eight miles in length, and from three to five in breadth, and comprising 10,187 acres. Of these, 3550 are cultivated; 3695 under wood and plantations; and the remainder natural pasture and waste, 280 acres of the latter being, however, considered capable of profitable cultivation. The outline is very irregular; a narrow strip of land belonging to Forres stretches for about two miles into Rafford; and a part of this parish, also, runs into the former, nearly up to the burgh. The surface is richly diversified by all the features of Highland and Lowland scenery, the former being characteristic of the upper, and the latter of the lower, part of the district; and a valley traversing the centre displays throughout its continuous undulations all the varieties of wood, water, and well-cultivated grounds.
None of the hills are of great height; but from several points beautiful prospects present themselves, especially from the vicinities of Altyre and the castles of Burgie and Blervie, whence the fertile province of Moray is seen to advantage, and, in the distance, the counties of Inverness, Ross, Cromarty, Caithness, and Sutherland. Among the lochs, that of Romach is the most distinguished, forming a part of the southern boundary. It is only about a mile long, and not more than one-eighth of that extent in breadth; but its secluded situation in a wild and dreary tract, concealing it from view till the foot of the visiter nearly touches its border, and its lofty precipitous banks, marked by well laid out walks in the midst of beautiful and romantic scenery, render it a striking and attractive object. This piece of water, abounding with fine trout, sends forth the rivulet called Back Burn, which, increasing its stream as it advances, winds along the fertile valley of Pluscarden, celebrated for its priory. On the estate of Altyre is the loch of Blairs, or "loch of the moss," also well stocked with trout; and a small loch named Tulloch is to be seen on the estate of Blervie, but has been lately much reduced by draining. The Findhorn, running between lofty and steep rocky banks, richly ornamented with plants, shrubs, and trees, is rapid and impetuous, and causes very frequently great damage to the crops when swollen with rain. This is also the case with the burns of Altyre and Rafford, which, in rough weather, bring down large deposits of gravel and the debris of rocks to the lands in their vicinity, to the great annoyance and loss of the farmer. The latter of these streams, in particular, on the 6th of August, 1838, was converted into a destructive and dangerous torrent by a water-spout, carrying away in its impetuous course both banks and bridges, and overflowing and destroying to a considerable extent many valuable crops, among which was a beautiful field of wheat on the minister's glebe.
The soil comprises the numerous varieties of light sand, deep rich clay, dark loam resting on rock, moss, and shallow gravelly mould; and it is considered as a peculiarity, that the deepest soils here are on the most elevated grounds, and the most fertile tracts those with a northern exposure. All kinds of grain and green crops are produced, and of good quality; the annual average value of them together being about £12,685, including £550 for cuttings of wood. The six-shift rotation system of husbandry, with the other approved modern usages, is followed; and the draining of the lands, and the well-known salubrity of the climate of Moray, have rendered the efforts of the farmer in elevating the agricultural character of the locality, highly successful. The Earls of Fife and Moray are among the chief proprietors. The farms are of considerable extent, many small ones having been consolidated within the last few years; the arable portions average in rent £1.5. per acre, and the leases are generally for nineteen years. The old small-horned, white-faced breed of sheep has been to a great extent superseded by the Cheviot; the cattle are the Highland, the polled Aberdeenshire, and the short-horned: much attention has been paid to stock, and many prizes have been awarded by agricultural societies to this parish. The most remarkable improvements carried on here consist in draining, which has recently embraced 200 or 300 acres, and in the increase of threshing-mills; the farm-houses, also, are in general good, but the fences still very deficient. The substrata of the parish are composed chiefly of gneiss, and grey and red sandstone: of the last there is a quarry in operation, supplying a material of inferior quality; but the grey slate of Rafford, formerly in much demand, has not lately been wrought, in consequence of the preference given to the Easdale blue slate. The rateable annual value of Rafford is £3979.
The plantations are principally larch and Scotch fir; but there are some noble oaks and beeches of great age and bulk, and in the garden of Burgie is an unusually fine sycamore. The house of Blervie, for the erection of which a large part of an ancient castle was taken down, stands on the estate once belonging to a branch of the Dunbar family: the property was sold about the commencement of the last century to Alexander Macintosh, who was "Laird of Blairie" in 1713 and 1724, and from whom it was purchased by William, Earl of Fife. The tower of the old castle, containing five stories, and the staircase, are still remaining. The mansion of Burgie, built in 1802, stands near the site of the castle of Burgie, which was enlarged by the addition of a spacious edifice in 1702, but eventually taken down altogether, with the exception of an elegant square tower, to furnish materials for the present edifice. This estate came to the Dunbars by Katherine Reid, niece of the last abbot of Kinloss, who was married to Alexander Dunbar, first lord of Burgie of that name. Another great property in the parish, called Altyre, belonged in the 14th century to the family of Cumyn, or Cumming, a descendant of which, in 1657, married Lucy Gordon, daughter of Sir Ludovick, of Gordonstown, through whom the estate of Gordonstown came to Alexander Penrose Cumming, of Altyre, on the death of Sir William Gordon, of Gordonstown, Bart., in 1795. Mr. Cumming then assumed the arms of the Gordons, and was created a baronet of Great Britain in 1804; and the family is now represented by Sir William G. G. Gumming, his son, whose beautiful grounds surrounding the mansion stretch to the banks of the Findhorn. There is a hill on this estate still called "gallow hill," where the sentences of the Baron-court of Altyre were formerly executed. The turnpike-road between Elgin and Forres runs through the northern part of the parish; the mail and several public coaches daily travel on it, and to the latter place the inhabitants send their produce for sale. Fairs are held for cattle in April and November.
The parish is in the presbytery of Forres and synod of Moray, and in the patronage of James Campbell Brodie, Esq., of Lethen: the minister's stipend is £223, with a manse, and a glebe of six acres, valued at £6 per annum. The church, built in 1826, is a handsome and commodious edifice, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and contains sittings for 600 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches: the master has a salary of £34. 4., besides a house and an allowance for a garden, and receives £20 fees; he also participates in the benefit of the Dick bequest. The principal antiquity is the celebrated obelisk called Sueno's Stone, standing about half a mile eastward from the town of Forres, on the estate of the Earl of Moray, and supposed to have been erected by the Scots in commemoration of the important victory gained over the Danes at the battle of Murtlach, by which the generals Olavus and Enecus, sent over by King Sueno, were obliged with their followers to take their final departure from the country. It is of hard sandstone, twenty-three feet high above the ground, and thought to run twelve feet deep; four feet broad at the base; and fifteen inches thick: the southern side contains five divisions, each distinguished by numerous figures and representations of the most curious and interesting kind, cut in relief. Lady Anne Campbell, a late countess of Moray, caused some stone steps to be placed at the foot, for a support to the monument. A relic somewhat similar, with indications of a Runic origin, stands at Altyre; and on the estate of Burgie have recently been discovered, among other remains, several ancient coffins, each formed of five slabs of undressed freestone. Dr. Alexander Adam, for many years rector of the High School at Edinburgh, and well known as the author of Roman Antiquities, Classical Biography, &c., was a native of the parish.
RAIT, a village, in the parish of Kilspindie, county of Perth, 1½ mile (S. W.) from Kinnaird; containing 184 inhabitants. It lies in the eastern quarter of the parish, and is known as the Half-way house, on the old road between Perth and Dundee. A few hands here are employed in the manufacture of linen fabrics for the Dundee market. In the vicinity of the village flows the Rait burn. This was anciently a distinct parish, of which the church is in ruins.
RANNOCH, a Highland district, and lately a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Logierait, but chiefly in the parish of Fortingal, county of Perth, 9 miles (N. W.) from the Kirkton of Fortingal; containing 1599 inhabitants. This extensive mountainous district is supposed to have derived its name, in the Gaelic language Ratheanach, from the great quantity of water with which the lower lands were frequently overflowed. It extends for nearly thirty miles, from the base of Schihallion, on the east, to the confines of Argyllshire on the west, and varies from five to twenty miles in breadth; separating the district of Glenlyon on the south from that of Fortingal proper on the north. Of the whole number of acres, which cannot be accurately ascertained, about 1000 are arable, 3000 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture, moor, and waste. The surface is boldly diversified with hills affording pasture for black-cattle and sheep, and with mountainous heights, whereof the most prominent is Schihallion, which has an elevation of 3564 feet above the level of the sea, and was selected in 1771 by Dr. Maskelyne, astronomer royal, for the purpose of conducting a series of observations. In one part of the district is a tract of sixteen square miles which is tolerably level, but swampy and of little value, having in the most favourable seasons only scanty pasture. In other parts are portions of more fertile land, in good cultivation, and interspersed with numerous gentlemen's seats, the grounds attached to which form a pleasing relief. Loch Rannoch is about twelve miles in length, and more than a mile in average breadth; its depth has not been ascertained, though soundings have been made to the extent of more than fifty fathoms without reaching the bottom. At the upper extremity are two islands, one of which is artificial, and in time of danger was often resorted to by the inhabitants as a place of security. The mountain heights bordering each side of the loch are almost covered with dense woods of pine and birch, extending from the margin of the water nearly half way to their summits; and in each direction, also, are several picturesque farm-houses and mansions; the whole presenting a mass of rich and strikingly diversified scenery. The scenery is rendered more singularly impressive by successive tiers of hills, rising above each other on both sides of the lake, and towering above which are seen the lofty mountains of GlenEtive and Glencoe, which, though forty miles distant, appear to crown the extensive heights of Rannoch. The river Gamhair flows for nearly eight miles through the western portion of the district into Loch Rannoch; and the river Rannoch, issuing from the eastern extremity of the lake, after a course of ten miles flows into Loch Tummell, in the adjoining parish. Trout weighing more than twenty pounds are found in Loch Rannoch; and the numerous small lakes among the hills abound with trout and perch.
There are considerable remains of ancient woods, consisting of native fir and beech, and forming part of the Caledonian forest; and also extensive plantations of ash, oak, elm, beech, and other trees, all of which are in a thriving state. The chief village in the district is Kinloch, not far from the shore of Loch Rannoch, at its eastern extremity, where a post-office has been established under that of Pitlochrie, with which it has communication three times in the week, and where three fairs are held annually; one in April, and one in October, mostly for fat-cattle and sheep; and one in August, mostly for lambs. At all these fairs, however, every other kind of agricultural produce is also exposed for sale. The small village of Georgetown, situated at the south-western extremity of the loch, was built for the accommodation of a body of the military stationed here after the rebellion in 1745, to keep the people under subjection to the government. Facility of communication is afforded by the great north road through Inverness to the heart of the Highlands, which crosses the eastern portion of the district. Rannoch was first separated for ecclesiastical purposes from the parishes of Fortingal and Logierait by act of the General Assembly, and still constitutes a quoad sacra parish. The church, erected in 1830, at a cost of £750, raised by subscription, is a plain substantial structure containing 560 sittings. The minister has a stipend of £120, paid by the Crown, with a manse, and a small glebe; patron, the Crown. A chapel in connexion with the Established Church has been erected at the west end of Loch Rannoch. The parochial school is endowed by government; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden. There are two schools maintained by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and the General Assembly, respectively, each master having a regular salary; and a parochial library is supported by subscription of the inhabitants. General Sir Archibald Campbell, who distinguished himself in the Burmese war, and died in 1843, was a native of Rannoch.
RAPLOCK, a village, in the parish and county of Stirling, ½ a mile (N. W.) from the town of Stirling; containing 317 inhabitants. This is a suburb of the town, situated on the south side of the Forth, a short distance from that river.
RASAY, an island, in the parish of Portree, Isle of Skye, county of Inverness; containing 647 inhabitants. It is a considerable isle of the Hebrides, lying between the main land of Scotland and Skye, and separated from the latter by the sound to which it gives name; it is about sixteen miles in length and two in breadth, and comprises about thirty-two square miles, or 16,000 acres. The coast on the west rises with a gentle ascent to a great height above the sea, but on the east side it is at once high, steep, and nearly perpendicular: the soil is better adapted for pasturage than tillage, though there are several spots of very fertile and well-cultivated land. Freestone of excellent quality so abounds that the quarries may be described as inexhaustible; and limestone, also, is good and plentiful: large masses are likewise found of the finest porphyry, which seem as if they had been hewn or dressed. There are some small plantations of wood in a very thriving state. They consist of Scotch fir, larch, birch, ash, oak, alder, and other trees, all of as rapid growth as can be seen in any part of the Low Country of Scotland; but the larch is the kind most suited to the soil. Rasay House, a handsome mansion built by the late proprietor, and for which the material was supplied from the freestone quarries already mentioned, has around it some fine old trees of considerable size. At the north end of the east coast is the ruinous castle of Breochel, a well-known land-mark to mariners; it is situated in a small bay, and only accessible by the approach cut on the side next the sea. The rock on which it stands is nearly round, covering an area of little more than seventy square feet; its height is forty feet, except at the place where the stairs lead up to it. The base of the rock is about sixty feet above the level of the sea, and looks as if piled upon the larger rock below. The castle, which was the chief seat of the lairds of Rasay, is built of stone and lime, and appears to have been as strongly fortified by art as its position rendered it impregnable by nature. There are several old decayed chapels in the island, one of which, in the Kirktown of Rasay, is surrounded by a plantation. At this place is a branch of the parochial school.
RATHEN, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (S.) from Fraserburgh; containing, with the villages of Cairnbulg, Charleston, and Inverallochy, 2270 inhabitants, of whom 1357 are in the rural districts. This place, which is of some antiquity, originally included the greater portion of the adjacent parish of Strichen, and a considerable part of the parish of Fraserburgh. Very little of its history is known; but there is still remaining one of three large tumuli said to have been raised over the bodies of those who were killed in a battle with the Danes, who, having landed on the east coast, to the south of Peterhead, were partially repulsed, and, on their retreat towards Moray, were again attacked, and finally defeated, on the plain in which these cairns were situated. Two of the cairns have been removed in order to furnish materials for building; and under one of them were found several human skulls, a short sword with a handle of iron, and an urn of singular form, containing calcined bones; all which are preserved in the museum of the Antiquarian Society of Edinburgh. The parish is bounded on the north and north-west by the bay of Fraserburgh and the river Rathen, and on the east by the German Ocean, along the shore of which it extends southward for more than two miles. It is nearly seven miles in extreme length, and about two miles in average breadth, comprising almost 6500 acres, of which 5000 are arable, about 120 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture, moor, and waste. The surface is boldly varied. Towards the sea-shore, for a considerable extent, the land is low and level, but towards the southwest, more elevated, rising with greater or less abruptness to the hill of Mormond, which has an elevation of nearly 900 feet above the level of the sea, and of which about a third part is within the limits of this parish. This hill is covered with heath and moss, affording little more than a scanty supply of fuel. The river Rathen, or Water of Philorth, after forming a boundary between this parish and Fraserburgh for three miles, and turning several mills in its course, falls into the bay of Fraserburgh near Cairnbulg Point. Trout of large size and of good quality are found in the Rathen; and there was formerly a salmon-fishery near its mouth, but it has been discontinued for many years, and very few salmon at present ascend that stream. The coast in some parts is level and sandy, and in others rocky, but not precipitous. To the south of Cairnbulg Point are two small creeks, on which have been built the nearly contiguous fishing-villages of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy, both described under their respective heads; and along the whole extent of the coast are deposited large quantities of shell-sand and sea-weed, affording a supply of valuable manure.
The soil in some parts is rich and deep; in others light and sandy, though under good management rendered fertile; and in some districts gravelly, and abounding with stones. The crops are, oats, barley, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips, with the various grasses. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved, and considerable tracts of waste land have been reclaimed and brought under profitable cultivation; a due rotation of crops is observed; and from the abundance of manure obtained from the coast, and the lime of excellent quality found within the parish, the agricultural produce is rich in quality and abundant. Many substantial and comfortable farm-houses have been lately built, with offices commodiously arranged. On most of the larger farms threshing-mills have been erected; and the different improvements recently made in the construction of implements have been adopted. Within the last few years a mill has been erected on the river Rathen for the making of potato flour, which is carried on to a very great extent, and to which purpose large quantities of the potatoes grown in the parish are appropriated. The plantations are mostly of recent formation; they consist of firs, interspersed with forest-trees, and, though not extensive, are generally under good management and in a thriving condition. There are several veins of limestone, which are well adapted for building, and have been wrought to a considerable extent; and on the lands of Auchiries is a quarry from which limestone of excellent quality for manure is obtained in abundance. The rateable annual value of the parish is 6171. The principal seats are, Mormond House, a handsome mansion, erected within the last thirty years by Mr. Gordon, of Cairnbulg, and now the property of Miss Strachan, and Auchiries House, a neat building, the property of William C. Hunter, Esq. At Inverallochy, a cottage for the occasional residence of his family during the bathing season has recently been built by Colonel Fraser, proprietor of that estate. Letters are obtained from the post-office of Cortes; and facility of communication is afforded by the turnpike roads from Aberdeen and Peterhead to Fraserburgh, which unite within the parish, and by various cross roads, recently much improved, and kept in good repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £169. 14. 4., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £9 per annum; patron, Lord Saltoun. The church, a very ancient structure of unknown date, was repaired in 1767; it contains 684 sittings, but is very inadequate to the wants of the population, and a church has therefore been erected for the accommodation of the inhabitants of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy. The principal parochial school is attended by about seventy children: the master has a salary of £25. 13. 3., with a house and garden; he is also entitled to a portion of the Dick bequest, and the fees average £30 per annum. On the lands of Cortes are some remains of a Druidical circle. Upon some rising ground to the east of the church have been found, at various times, urns containing calcined bones; and in one of them was the tusk of a wild boar. Near the church are two mounds of earth, apparently artificial; they are of conical form, terminating in a horizontal plain nearly thirty yards in diameter, and are supposed to have been ancient camps. At Cairnbulg and Inverallochy are the remains of two castles, both of great strength, especially the former, of which the walls, of extraordinary thickness, are still nearly entire, and which was for many years the family seat of the ancestors of Lord Saltoun: the latter, of inferior strength, was a residence of the Cumins of Buchan. Alexander Murray, M.D., author of the Northern Flora, was a native of this parish; and his remains were interred here in 1838.
RATHILLET, a hamlet, in the parish of Kilmany, district of Cupar, county of Fife, 2 miles (W. S. W.) from Kilmany; containing 48 inhabitants. It lies on the high road between Kilmany and Luthrie, and consists of only a few cottages. Rathillet House, a handsome mansion, is in its vicinity. From the convenient situation of the hamlet, in the centre of the parish, it contains the parochial school.
RATHO, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh; containing, with the village of Bonnington, 1815 inhabitants, of whom 689 are in the village of Ratho, 7 miles (W. by S.) from Edinburgh. The name of this parish is supposed to be derived from an ancient British word signifying "a bare or plain place," originally used in reference to a conspicuous spot in the parish, on which a mansion stands. The historical information respecting Ratho runs back to 1315, in which year the barony, with other estates, was granted by Robert I. to Walter, the eighth hereditary high steward of Scotland, upon his marriage with Margery, Robert's daughter, through whom the sovereignty eventually came into the Stuart family. On the accession of Robert II., in 1371, the barony, with its pertinents, was settled on the king's eldest son, as the prince and steward of Scotland; and the whole estates of the Stuarts, in 1404, were formed into a principality, with regal jurisdiction. In 1563 the Ratho estate was purchased by Alexander Fowlis, who obtained from the king, as superior, a charter of confirmation. In 1778 Mr. Archibald Christie succeeded as heir to the Fowlis family; in 1786 the lands were purchased by Thomas Mc Knight Crawford, of Belville, in North Carolina; and again, in 1818, they came into the possession of A. Bonar, Esq., in whose family they still remain. At present, the principal estates in the parish, besides Ratho, are those of Hatton, Dalmahoy, Norton, Bonnington, and Ashley, the two first-named of which are most worthy of notice. That of Hatton, which once comprehended nearly half the parish, was formerly a possession of the Earl of Lauderdale, and was sold, together with the patronage of the church, in 1792, to the Duchess of Portland. The estate of Dalmahoy was held in the time of Alexander III. by Henry de Dalmahoy, in whose family it continued till the middle of the 17th century, when it came into the hands of the Dalrymples, and afterwards to the earls of Morton, with whom it yet remains. The church of Ratho was anciently dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The teinds and patronage were early made over by the archbishops of St. Andrew's to Sir John Forrester, who, thus obtaining funds, in 1444 caused the collegiate kirk of Corstorphine to be founded, for the endowment of four prebendal stalls. The ecclesiastical resources of Ratho appear to have been applied in this way until the Revolution, when, the Presbyterian form of government being established, Ratho became in every respect a distinct parish; its tithes reverted from their appropriation to the ecclesiastical institutions of Corstorphine, and the patronage was annexed to the estate of Hatton.
The parish is in mean length about four miles, and in breadth about two and a half miles, and contains 5818 acres. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Kirkliston and Corstorphine; on the west by Kirkliston and Kirknewton; on the east by Corstorphine and Currie; and on the south by Currie only. The general aspect of the surface is picturesque and engaging. In many parts are beautiful and well laid out gardens, verdant fields, and luxuriant plantations, all combining to enrich the scenery; and the effect is greatly heightened by the undulating character of the ground, which consists of hill and dale in quick succession throughout. The distant prospects, also, are extensive and commanding, parts of no less than twelve or fourteen counties rising to view from the South Platt Hill. To the north-east and north appear the Lothian plains, the Frith of Forth, the coasts of Berwick and Fife, the counties of Kinross and Clackmannan, Stirling, and the immense range of the Grampians. On the west, the nearer view of the surrounding parishes is extremely pleasing; and in the opposite direction, Edinburgh, with its far-stretched suburbs, supplies a very fine landscape, composed of some bold general features and a profusion of minute and interesting detail. The lands, however, are not much relieved by water; the only stream is the Gogar burn, separating Ratho and the parishes on the east; and springs are also unusually scarce, on which account the inhabitants are obliged to sink wells.
The soil varies considerably, being in some parts a clayey loam upon a retentive subsoil, and in others a rich soft loam resting in the lower grounds upon gravel or sand, and in the higher parts upon whin or clay stone. On the very lowest grounds are a few small tracts of black moss. About 4978 acres are cultivated or occasionally in tillage; 444 are always in pasture, and 396 under wood. Grain of all kinds, especially wheat, is raised in fine crops, together with turnips and potatoes, to which part of the soil is well suited; and the total annual value of the produce averages £27,500. The rotation on the soft loamy ground is a four-years' change; but on the stiffer soils it is judiciously varied according to circumstances, husbandry being well understood. The few cattle that are bred are of a cross between the short-horned and the Ayrshire, which is preferred both for stock and for dairy use. The farm-buildings and inclosures are generally good; most of the steadings are formed of whinstone, and edged with freestone; and the improved method of threshing the grain by steammills has been introduced. Much waste land, also, has been reclaimed, among which Ratho and Gogar moors may be especially noticed. Draining has been carried on to a considerable extent; and by the abundant supply of manure obtained from Edinburgh by means of the Union canal, much larger quantities of green crops than formerly are now raised. Whinstone rock predominates in the parish; but in Dalmahoy hill is a bed of sandstone, and much claystone is to be found on the estate of Ratho. Coal, also, is supposed to exist; but the several attempts to obtain it have proved unsuccessful. The rateable annual value of the parish is £9471.
The mansions are, Hatton House, an ancient and venerable building, surrounded with beautiful gardens and grounds to a wide extent; Dalmahoy House, built about 130 years ago, the family seat of the earls of Morton, situated in the midst of a large park inclosed by one of the finest walls in Scotland; Ratho House; Milburn Tower; Bonnington House, built in 1622; and Norton House; with several others belonging to different proprietors, which are also tasteful and elegant mansions, situated in the midst of agreeable scenery. The villages are Ratho and Bonnington. The former stands upon a slope, and consists of a single street of houses one story high, chiefly built of whinstone from a neighbouring quarry: it has been considerably improved within these few years by the addition of many good cottages, and the formation of drains. All the population of the parish are employed in husbandry, with the exception of about ten men regularly at work in the quarries, of which there are four of whinstone and one of sandstone; and till lately the same number were engaged in a distillery connected with the Ratho property, which produced 42,000 gallons of whisky in a year. There is a post-office in the village of Ratho, and public coaches run upon the Uphall and Calder roads. The Union canal and Glasgow and Edinburgh railway, also run through the parish: the former was intended originally only for the conveyance of heavy goods between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but is found likewise of eminent benefit to the coal districts in the west, for the supply of the capital. Manure in very large quantities is carried into the interior by this canal from Edinburgh, and coal is conveyed in return. The railway cuts the north-east corner of the parish.
The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and the patronage is vested in the trustees of Dr. Davidson. The stipend of the minister is £300, with a glebe consisting of two separate portions of land, one of which is about four and a half acres in extent, and of superior quality, and the other a piece of grass land, of little value on account of the wetness of the soil; together they are worth about £18 per annum. The manse, situated near the church, was built in 1803. The church, supposed to have been built about 1683, stands north of the village, and is encompassed with thick foliage, through which it is partially seen by the traveller. It was originally a long and narrow ordinary building, with the pulpit in the centre; but an addition was raised a few years since, on the south side, at an expense of between £500 and £600, by which it has been made to accommodate altogether 800 persons, and has received an improved appearance. The two communion cups, of massive silver, were presented by Lord Richard Maitland, one of the heritors, in 1684; and the baptismal plate and ewer, inscribed with the Lauderdale arms, were presented by the same nobleman in 1685. The members of the Free Church have no place of worship. There is a parochial school, in which the classics, French, and mathematics are taught, with all the usual branches of education; the master has the maximum salary, a house and garden, and fees amounting to about £45 per annum. Another school in the village of Ratho is conducted by a female, and is supported by subscriptions, and fees paid by the children's parents. There is a library under the management of the Kirk Session, consisting of nearly 400 volumes; and three friendly societies are maintained in the parish, for the support of members in sickness, and for insuring an allowance to defray funeral expenses. The most conspicuous relic of antiquity is an encampment, the lines of which are clearly discernible, on the Kaimes' hill, and which is surrounded by a double fosse and rampart; it is thought by some to have been a stronghold of the Norwegians, but others trace it to a Roman origin. It may be mentioned that at Dalmahoy House, in the possession of the Earl of Morton, is the Bible of his ancestor the Regent Morton, supposed to be the only complete copy remaining of the original Scotch Parliamentary Bible; it is a beautifully-printed folio, ornamented with numerous emblematical devices, and, according to the notice in the title page, was published at Edinburgh by order of James VI. in 1579. Here are also preserved the keys found a few years ago, in the process of draining Lochleven, as mentioned in the article on Kinross. They are supposed, from strong circumstantial evidence, to be the identical keys thrown into the loch by George Douglas, at the time of his assisting the escape of Queen Mary; they are five in number, and held together by an iron chain, and are now in the possession of Lord Morton. The same nobleman has in the library at Dalmahoy the original warrant upon which Mary was confined in Lochleven Castle, and also a letter of Knox, the Reformer, to the lord of Lochleven, dated 31st March, 1570. The incumbency of Ratho was at one time held by William Wilkie, denominated by some biographers the "Scottish Homer."
RATHVEN, a parish, in the county of Banff, 3½ miles (W. by S.) from Cullen; comprising the villages of Findochty, Porteasie, Portgordon, and Portnockie, the late quoad sacra parish of Buckie, and part of that of Enzie; and containing 6728 inhabitants. The Gaelic terms Rath, Bheann, the former signifying "a circle of stones," and the latter "a hill," appear to have given name to this place, one of its most prominent features being the eminence called Binhill, which overhangs the south-eastern part of the locality, and is covered with cairns. The parish is situated in that district of the county named Enzie, and from its north-western exposure suffers severely from the violence of storms. It stretches along the coast of the Moray Frith, from northeast to south-west, for the distance of ten miles, and is nearly five miles in breadth; comprising 33,750 acres, of which about 10,540 are cultivated, and 6027 under natural wood and in plantations. Of the remainder, only 700 acres are considered capable of improvement. The shore is sandy, and interspersed with small stones rounded by the action of the water; the surface immediately stretching from the beach is level, and the land of good quality. The parish, however, assumes the character of a mountainous district towards the interior, where the boundary is formed by an extensive range of hills covered with heath and moss, and commencing at Binhill, a lofty elevation rising 945 feet above the level of the sea, and planted to its summit. A circuitous carriage-road has been made to the top by the Earl of Seafield, affording every facility for the command of the beautiful prospects that may be obtained from this mountain, which is well known by mariners as a landmark, being visible at the distance of fifteen leagues from the shore.
The hills send forth numerous streamlets and burns, crossing the district, and running into the sea; but they afford very little nutritious pasture, the soil being chiefly hard gravel or moss upon an impervious clayey subsoil. A light rich loam, however, resting on clay, is found on the lower grounds; and in some parts is a thin fertile soil of the same kind, incumbent on a reddish clay formed from the decomposition of the old red sandstone. Nearly all the different soils are largely intermixed with small round stones. Grain of all kinds is raised, to the average annual value of £27,300; and potatoes and turnips also in considerable quantities; making, with the remainder of the agricultural produce, and £600 for the thinnings of wood, an aggregate of the amount of £43,636. The six-shift course of husbandry is in general followed; and the lands are mostly well-farmed, and inclosed in many instances with dry stone dykes, the chief deficiency observable being in the farm steadings and offices. The manures comprise sea-weed, farm-yard dung, and the refuse of fish: the last, when mixed with moss, is found a valuable compost for green crops. The farms vary in size and quality from a rental of £30 to one of £500, and are held under several proprietors, among whom are the Earl of Seafield and the Duke of Richmond: land lets at from 12s. to £3 per acre. The sheep are of a mixed kind, and few in number; but much attention is given to the breeding and rearing of cattle, of which the Aberdeenshire breed is prevalent; and very fine stock are sold in considerable numbers annually for the southern markets. The horses, also, are of superior symmetry and strength, and have been much improved in the breed by the encouragement afforded by the agricultural society instituted some years since at Cullen, who give a handsome premium at the annual show for the best specimens. The rocks along the coast consist principally of gneiss, mica-slate, clayslate, schist, greywacke, and various kinds of sandstone and limestone; the two last are quarried, as well as the clay-slate. Other minerals, but of inferior importance, are to be found; and the proceeds of the quarries in the parish amount to £300 per annum. The chief mansions are those of Letterfourie, Tannachy, Burnside, Buckie Lodge, and Cairnfield, the plantations around some of which, comprising all the ordinary trees, are in a flourishing condition, as well as those belonging to the pleasure-grounds of Cullen House, which are situated chiefly in this parish, and contain fine trees of oak, ash, elm, beech, larch, and Scotch fir. The rateable annual value of Rathven is £9539.
Besides the village of Rathven, there are five fishing-villages, named respectively Buckie, Porteasie, Findochty, Portnockie, and Portgordon, each containing a considerable population engaged in the herring-fishery, and in the fisheries off the coast, comprising haddock, cod, halibut, sole, mackerel, plaice, flounders, and many others. There are some salmon in the burns, and many crabs and lobsters about the shores; and the whole fish obtained are valued at £45,000 annually, of which the herring branch is estimated at £18,375. The number of boats belonging to the parish is 245, each carrying four men, and sometimes a boy also; and there are two harbours, one at Buckie and the other at Portgordon. The former is chiefly used as a landing-place for the fishermen, and a retreat for their boats; the latter, where ships of considerable burthen frequently enter, is the seat of an extensive traffic in the exportation of grain, and the importation of salt and English coal. The linen manufacture was pursued on a large scale in the parish till about the year 1763, employing sixty hand-weavers, and a great number of spinners, the aggregate earnings of the latter amounting annually to nearly £2000; but the only operations of this kind now carried on are limited to four weavers, who make linen, plaiding, &c., for family use. A small rope-work is in operation at Buckie. There is a distillery at Gollachie, the business of which has, however, been for some time suspended; and the parish contains a mill for carding wool, four corn-mills, and one for grinding flour and making potbarley. At Buckie is a post-office with a daily delivery. The post-road from Elgin to Banff passes through the parish for ten miles; and on its north and south sides, in the direction of Cullen, wide tracts of moorland have been reclaimed, and ornamented with neat and commodious houses, with small inclosures, by the encouragement of the Earl of Seafield, who gives a bounty of £5 for each acre improved, and allows the occupier to hold it rent-free for five years. The fuel used in the district consists chiefly of peat and turf, but coal is also burnt to some extent. A fair is held in July for cattle, sheep, and cheese.
The parish is in the presbytery of Fordyce and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir Andrew Leith Hay, of Rannes: the minister's stipend is £207, with a manse, and a glebe of seven acres, valued at £12 per annum. The church, conveniently situated in a central position, contains 1000 sittings, all free. There is a chapel at Enzie, to which a district in the western extremity of the parish was till lately annexed as a quoad sacra parish; it contains 404 sittings, and was erected in 1785, with money raised by collections in all the churches of Scotland, at the recommendation of the General Assembly. It is endowed with lands left by a Mr. Anderson, under the management of the Committee of the Royal Bounty, and the presbytery of Fordyce; the clergyman receives £62. 8. annually from the procurator of the church, and the amount of the seat-rents, and has also a piece of land extending over eight acres, worth about £8 per annum. A second chapel was built in the parish, at the village of Buckie, in the year 1835, at a cost of £800, raised chiefly by subscription: to this was attached, as a district, the whole village of Buckie, and a small part of the parish towards the south, comprehending together upwards of 2000 persons. The eastern extremity of Rathven, containing the village of Portnockie, has been long annexed quoad sacra to Cullen: a chapel was lately built at the village, by subscription, at the cost of £400: the Hon. Colonel Grant, now sixth earl of Seafield, contributing £100. There are also two episcopal chapels; the one at Buckie, with 200 sittings; and the other at Arradoul, built about the year 1788, containing 211 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship; and the Roman Catholic population, amounting to about 1500 persons, possess a chapel at Buckie, and another at Presholm, the latter built in 1788: the bishop resides here, with three priests.
The parochial school affords instruction in Latin and Greek, in addition to the usual branches; the master has a salary of £32. 1., with £25, being a portion of the Dick bequest, a house, and about £10 fees. A school is supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge at Corfurrach, near the Enzie chapel, the master receiving £15 per annum from the society, and having a free dwelling-house and schoolroom at the expense of the Duke of Richmond. In Portgordon, a master has a salary of £15 from the duke, and a free house and schoolroom; and in the village of Portnockie the Earl of Seafield has built a good school-house, and allows the master £10 per annum, with permission to charge the same fees as those at the parish school. A public library, supported by a quarterly contribution, was instituted some years since in the village of Rathven, where, also, is an ancient hospital once adapted for seven leprous persons, for whom it was founded by John Bisset in 1226. The Bede-house was lately repaired, and two of the six beadsmen still on the establishment live in it. Each beadsman holds, on the lands of Rannes, half an acre of good croft land, and receives one boll of oatmeal annually; also, from the lands of Findochty, 8s. 1¼d; and from John Gordon, Esq., of Cluny, as proprietor of the lands of Freuchnie, which formerly were part of the estate of Rannes, 1s. 4¾d; making together 9s. 6d. in money. The half acre brings, if let, £1.1. per annum.
Remains of Druidical temples, and cairns, are numerous within the parish: the chief of the latter is a large heap of stones south of the public road, called the King's cairn, and traditionally reported to be the grave of Indulphus, the 77th king of Scotland, who, after having obtained a signal victory over the Danes, was killed near this spot. There are also several very extensive caves on the coast, one of which is called Farskane's, on account of the proprietor having, in 1715, taken refuge in it with two friends, to escape from the troubles consequent on the Earl of Mar's rebellion: after a stay of five or six weeks, they returned to their houses. In 1805 some coins were found in a small box, of the reigns of Queen Mary, James VI. and Charles I. The parish contains several medicinal springs, two of them chalybeates, and much frequented. The celebrated Dr. Alexander Geddes was born at Pathheads, in the parish, in 1737; he died in London in 1802.—See Buckie, Enzie, &c.
RATTRAY, a parish, in the county Perth, 1 mile (E. N. E.) from Blairgowrie; containing, with the villages of Old and New Rattray, 1918 inhabitants, of whom 447 are in the former, and 580 in the latter, village. This place lays claim to a considerable degree of antiquity, and is supposed to have derived its name, of which the etymology is uncertain, from the family of Rattray, by whom, according to records yet extant, it appears to have been possessed prior to the year 1066, and whose descendants are still the principal proprietors. Of the castle of Rattray, the original seat of that family, there are some remains on the hill of Rattray, a spacious oblong eminence to the south-east of the village, rounded at the eastern extremity, and on the summit of which the ruins form a pleasingly romantic object, conveying an adequate idea of its original grandeur. During the frequent intestine wars which subsisted between the rival factions in the reigns of some of the Scottish kings, the family, not thinking themselves secure in the castle of Rattray from the incursions of their enemies, removed to the castle of Craighall, about two miles north-west of the village, and which since that period has continued to be their residence. The inhabitants were formerly noted for the celebration of various sports, of which the most general were curling, archery, and the game called the "long ball;" and there were, till the year 1745, preserved in the parish, a silver curling-stone, a silver arrow, and a silver ball, which were severally awarded as prizes to the successful competitors in these respective games. Any parish in Scotland might contest with the people of Rattray for the prize in these games, which always took place within the parish; and the successful candidate was bound to restore the prize he had obtained, previously to the next annual celebration. The curlingstone and the arrow were lost during the time of the rebellion; but the silver ball, which has been contested for within the present century, is still in the possession of Alexander Whitson, Esq., of Parkhill.
The parish comprises a part of the vale of Strathmore, and is bounded on the west and on the south by the river Ericht, which separates it from the parish of Blairgowrie. Including a widely-detached portion of it, which lies on the confines of Forfarshire, it is about six miles and a half in extreme length and nearly two miles in mean breadth; comprising about 6500 acres, of which 4500 are arable, 450 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moor and waste. The surface towards the south, for some breadth along the banks of the river, is tolerably level; but towards the north it increases in elevation till it nearly reaches the village, beyond which it rises by steep acclivities into rugged and precipitous hills, forming part of the chain which, some miles beyond the limits of the parish, terminates in the Grampian range. The only river connected with the parish is the Ericht, which has its source in some springs issuing from the Grampian hills, and, flowing southward, receives the waters of the Ardle, a considerable mountain stream from the north-west. After this, passing the mansion of Craighall, and taking an eastern course, it bounds the parish on the south, and about two miles off falls into the Isla near Cupar-Angus, and flows in conjunction with that river into the Tay. The Ericht in the winter often overflows its banks, and after rains in the autumn, also, sometimes inundates the adjacent lands, occasioning much damage to the crops; it abounds with trout, affording good sport to the angler, and salmon are found in it during the season. In its course, which is rapid, it forms the beautiful cascade of Keith, where the water, obstructed by a rock, falls into a pool beneath, on which is a salmon-fishery belonging to Lord Wharncliffe. The general scenery, from the variety of the surface and the belts of wood and plantations scattered over it, is pleasingly diversified; and from the numerous hills are obtained some fine prospects over the fertile vale of Strathmore and the surrounding country.
The soil on the hills and uplands is thin, cold, and moorish, and in the lower parts dry and gravelly; but, though in some places encumbered with loose stones, it is generally fertile, producing favourable crops of oats, barley, and wheat, with potatoes and turnips, and the usual grasses. In the higher parts is a common of about 300 acres, called the Broad Moss, fit only for cutting turf for fuel. The system of husbandry is improved, but there is little in the parish to require agricultural notice; the majority of the farms are of very moderate extent, and those on the higher lands are employed mainly for the pasture of cattle and sheep. The cattle are of the Strathmore and Angus breeds, with a mixture of the Teeswater; they are mostly bought in at the neighbouring fairs, and when two or three years old are fed for the butcher, or sold to dealers who send them to the Glasgow market. The plantations consist chiefly of larch and Scotch fir; they are under careful management, and are regularly thinned, and the produce sold for fuel. Along the river are coppices of oak, which is cut down at a proper age, principally for the bark, which yields a profitable return. The rocks on the banks of the Ericht, near Craighall, rise perpendicularly to the height of 200 feet, and are of rugged and formidable appearance; they consist of enormous masses of whinstone, which have never been wrought for any purpose. The ascent to the summit, even where least precipitous, is difficult and dangerous; and a few trees only have been planted on the surface. Craighall, the seat of Robert Clerk Rattray, Esq., is a spacious castellated mansion, romantically situated on the summit of one of these rocks, 214 feet in height, overhanging the river, and commanding from the drawing-room windows an extensive view of the singularly impressive scenery of the adjacent country, marked with features of wild sublimity and romantic grandeur. This venerable mansion, of which the original date is not known, is accessible only from the south; it was internally remodelled by the late Baron Rattray, who added also, to the front, two turrets at the angles, corresponding in character to those which flank the entrance gateway in the centre. Parkhill is a handsome modern mansion, beautifully situated on the brow of a hill to the north of the village, and embracing a richly diversified prospect over the picturesque and fertile vale of Strathmore.
The village of Old Rattray, which is evidently a place of considerable antiquity, is irregularly built on the southern declivity of a hill, and has greatly increased within the present century, from the facilities of water-power afforded by the river, over which, some miles above the village, a bridge has been constructed by Colonel Sir W. Chalmers. This bridge, which affords communication between the portions of that gentleman's lands on both sides of the stream, consists of a horizontal platform of iron, supported by pillars of stone at each extremity, and is of sufficient breadth for a carriageroad, and a footpath on each side of it. New Rattray is neatly built, extending along the road to Blairgowrie, and is nearly contiguous to the village of Old Rattray; it was commenced in 1809, and from the pleasantness of the scenery, and the healthfulness of its situation, is a favourite resort for invalids from various parts, for whose accommodation there is an excellent inn. The linen manufacture is carried on to a very considerable extent. There are not less than eight mills for the spinning of flax, which are driven by water-wheels of from eight to twenty horse power, and afford employment to 650 persons, inhabitants of the villages. In one of these mills, called the Erichtside mill, are also sixty-seven power-looms constantly employed in the weaving of linen-cloths of various qualities; and almost all of the inhabitants of the parish, when not engaged in agricultural pursuits, are occupied in hand-loom weaving at their own dwellings for the houses of Dundee. The handicraft trades requisite for the supply of the district are also carried on in the villages, in which there are a few shops. Fairs, chiefly for the sale of cattle, are held on the last Fridays in April and August, on a common to the west of the village, and are in general numerously attended. Letters are received daily from the post-office of Blairgowrie, in the immediate vicinity; and facility of communication is maintained by the military road to Fort-George, by Braemar, which passes through the parish, and by the turnpike-road to Alyth and Kirriemuir. The rateable annual value of Rattray is £5229. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunkeld and synod of Perth and Stirling. The minister's stipend is £157. 9. 2., of which nearly onehalf is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £25 per annum: patron, the Earl of Kinnoull. The church, built in 1820, to replace the ancient church, which had fallen into decay, is a substantial and handsome structure with a square tower, and contains 620 sittings. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession. The parochial school, situated near the church, in the village of Old Rattray, is attended by about sixty children; the master receives a salary of £34. 4. 4. per annum, with a house, and the school fees average £15. On an eminence half a mile to the east of the village, and also on another about a mile to the north of it, are the remains of a Druidical circle. Near the former were lately discovered in a field of hard gravel, two deep trenches in the form of a crescent with the horns towards the east, having the sides formed with rough stones, and covered with large flags of whinstone, and containing earth of a dark colour intermixed with fragments of burnt bones. There was also till within the last few years, to the east of the village, a large cairn of earth and stones in alternate layers, the base of which covered about half an acre; every layer of earth contained a mixture of burnt bones and wood, and in the centre of the cairn was found a stone coffin holding half-calcined bones and a warlike weapon nearly resembling a dagger.
RAVENSTRUTHER, a village, in the parish of Carstairs, Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 1¼ mile (S. W. by W.) from the village of Carstairs; containing 104 inhabitants. It is a small place, lying in the south-west quarter of the parish, on the high road from Carnwath to Lanark: the Mouss water passes at a little distance on the north, and shortly quits the parish for that of Lanark.
RAYNE, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen; containing, with the hamlets of Meiklewarthill and Old Rain, 1542 inhabitants, of whom 112 are in Old Rain, 12 miles (S. E. by E.) from Huntly. This place is supposed to take its name from the Gaelic word Raon, signifying "a field of good ground," which is pretty descriptive of the land throughout. The parish is about three miles in length and of nearly the same breadth, containing 7300 acres, and forming the extreme northern part of the inland district of Aberdeenshire called Garioch, which here borders on that of Formartine. It is bounded on the north by parts of Fyvie and Auchterless parishes; on the south by the parish of Oyne; on the east by parts of Daviot and Chapel of Garioch; and on the west by Culsamond. The only high ground is the hill of Rothmaise, which rises about 850 feet above the level of the sea; the remaining part of the parish consisting of undulating fields, and gentle acclivities, with a long tract of peat-moss towards the north. The rocks are whinstone, of hard texture and a deep blue colour. The Ury river runs for two miles along the boundary, and separates Rayne from Oyne. The soil on the best grounds is a fertile loam, resting on a subsoil of clay; other portions consist of a comparatively shallow and poor earth with a tilly or rocky bottom; while the extensive tract of peat-moss, comprehending upwards of 500 acres, is for the most part composed of alluvial deposits. Of the 7300 acres, about 5820 are under tillage; 390 consist of moors and ordinary pasture unfit for cultivation; 360 are under wood, and 730 are peat-moss and pasture. Wheat is not much cultivated, the principal crops being oats and bear, with a considerable proportion of turnips. Large numbers of black-cattle are reared, chiefly of the native breed, horned and bald; many, however, have introduced a cross between these and the Teeswater, which adds to the bulk of the carcase, but is thought to deteriorate its quality. A large number of cows, also, are kept for the dairy; and the dairy produce, especially the butter, is abundant. The system of husbandry is good; but the impediments offered by the climate, and the distance from grainmarkets and sea-ports, in some measure prevent the successful development of agricultural skill and labour. The manure chiefly employed is farm-yard dung, with, occasionally, some bone-dust; the grain, as in many other parts, is cut with the scythe, and the fields in general are uninclosed. The farm-houses are mostly plain substantial buildings, of one floor, with thatched roofs; but those recently built are of two floors, and slated. Freefield, the residence of General Sir Alexander Leith, and Warthill, that of the Leslie family, are both modern houses.
There are two small villages, named Old Rain and Meiklewarthill. The knitting of coarse worsted vests or under jackets for seafaring persons, of blue woollen bonnets for labouring men and boys, and worsted stockings, is carried on to a considerable extent in the parish, and employs about 300 women. There are three fairs annually, namely, a cattle-market at Meiklewarthill; Lawrence fair, held at Old Rain; Andersmas fair at Kirktown, held after Martinmas; and two feeing-markets for servants before Whitsuntide and Martinmas. The agricultural produce is sent to Port-Elphinstone, by Inverury, for the Aberdeen market and for exportation. There is a post-office at Old Rain, near which the Aberdeen and Inverness mail, via Huntly, passes and repasses daily, as well as a stage coach. A line of turnpike-road has been lately opened through Rayne, from the Huntly road at Garden's mill to Meldrum. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5653. Its ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Garioch and synod of Aberdeen; patron, the Crown. The stipend is £225, with a manse, and a glebe of about eight acres, valued at £12 per annum. The church, which was built in 1789, is situated in the centre of the parish, and seats about 700 persons. In the parochial school, in addition to the ordinary branches of education, Latin, Greek, and mathematics are taught, if required; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., a house and garden, £28 from the Dick bequest, and about £32. 10. fees. There are also three private schools, where the ordinary branches are taught; and a friendly society. The parish contains an ancient mound, a Druidical temple, and several cairns, under one of which, according to tradition, Irvine, the Laird of Drum, lies interred, having been slain in the pursuit of Donald, Lord of the Isles, after the battle of Harlaw, in 1411.
REAY, a parish, partly in the county of Sutherland, but chiefly in that of Caithness, 9½ miles (W. S. W.) from Thurso; containing, with the fishing-villages of Melvich and Portskerray, 2811 inhabitants, of whom 1067 are in Sutherland, and 1744 in Caithness. This place, of which the history is involved in great obscurity, is supposed to have derived its name, originally Urray, from a Pictish chieftain who anciently occupied a castle here, now in ruins, but of which the site is still called Knock-Urray. It appears to have been celebrated by the North Highland bards as a place of some importance at a very early period; and in 1751, from the bursting of a water spout, which formed for itself a deep channel in the sands between the present village and the shore, were discovered the remains of an ancient town, said to have been a burgh of regality. Upon this occasion, the gables of several houses built of stone in a continuous line, and the foundations of many others, with pavements and various pieces of earthernware, were found among the ruins, as well as the old marketcross, now placed in the village of New Reay. The stones of which the houses were built, being of good quality, were removed, and numerous other relics of the ancient buildings carried off; but the sand-banks beginning to fall in, all further search was prevented, and the site of the town, sixteen feet below the surface, was again buried in the sand.
The parish is bounded on the north by the North Sea, along the shore of which it extends for nearly nine miles, and is about eighteen miles in length from north to south. From the extreme irregularity of its form, the superficial contents have not been ascertained; about 2500 acres are arable, and the remainder hill pasture, moorland, and waste. The surface is strikingly diversified: towards the sea-coast it is tolerably level, but in other parts mountainous and hilly. The highest of the mountains are, Ben-Radh, which has an elevation of 1760 feet above the level of the sea, and Ben-Shurery, Ben-na-Bad, and Ben Ruaidh, which are little inferior in height; the hills are, Knock-na-Bareibhich, Knock-Sleitill, and Muillanan-Liadh, with several others less conspicuous. Between these heights extends for nearly the whole length of the parish the valley of Strathalladale, in the Sutherland district, watered by the river Halladale, which has its source in the hills on the confines of Kildonan parish, and, taking a northern course, flows through the vale into the bay of Bighouse. The river Forss has its source in a small lake to the east of Benna-Bad, and winds northwards into Loch Shurery, on issuing from which it forms a boundary between this parish and Thurso, and then falls into the bay of Crosskirk. There are also several streams not distinguished by name, issuing from the lakes; two of these, uniting their waters, and another passing by the church, flow into the bay of Sandside. The lakes, though numerous, are but of small extent. The principal are, Loch Cailm, which is about three miles in circumference; Loch Shurery, a mile and a half in length and nearly half a mile in breadth; Lochs Seirach and Tormard, less than a mile in length, and connected by a small rivulet; and Loch Sleitill, in Strathalladale, abounding with red trout of superior quality, some of which are two feet long. The coast, which is about nine miles in extent, is in many parts bold and rocky, and indented with several bays, whereof those of Sandside and Bighouse are the most important. The former is a mile in breadth, and is surrounded by level sandy land affording good pasture: a commodious harbour has been constructed here by Major Innes, at a cost of more than £3000, having safe shelter for vessels, and for the boats employed in the herring-fishery. The shore at Borrowston is perforated with numerous caverns, of which one, called Gling Glang, is said to have obtained that appellation from the sound produced in its descent by a stone thrown into it. Near the spot is a naturallyformed arch, leading over a chasm forty feet in depth, into which the tide flows: the crown of it, on a level with the adjacent surface, is covered with green turf. The fish taken off the coast are, herrings, cod, ling, turbot, haddock, skate, whiting, mackerel, flounders, sand-eels, and various other kinds of white-fish; and salmon and trout are found in tolerable abundance in the rivers. The fisheries are principally carried on at the villages of Melvich and Portskerray, which see.
The soil in the Sutherland district is chiefly a dark loam, mixed with sand, and, when under proper cultivation, producing average crops. In the Caithness division it is generally of richer quality; towards the coast clayey and tenacious, and near Borrowston and Sandside light and sandy. The principal crops are oats and barley, with the usual grasses; but the parish has much more of a pastoral than of an agricultural character. The system of husbandry has nevertheless been gradually improving, and considerable tracts of moor have been brought into cultivation; the lands have been partially inclosed by the proprietors of Sandside and Shebster, and a new channel has been made for the river Halladale by the Duke of Sutherland, and embankments raised to prevent its inundation of the strath. Many of the smaller farms have been united, and formed into sheep-walks; and the rearing of sheep and black-cattle, for which there are very broad pastures, is the principal dependence of the tenantry. The small native breed of sheep has been superseded by the Cheviots, which, from the extension of sheep-farming, now constitute the principal live stock; the cattle are universally of the Highland black breed. There are neither ancient woods nor any modern plantations, with the exception of a few coppices of birch in Strathalladale, and a few trees in the grounds of Sandside House, recently planted by the proprietor; the soil does not appear to be at all favourable to the growth of timber. The rocks are chiefly granite, sienite, gneiss, and quartz; and the substrata, sandstone, limestone, and sandstone-slate of a blueish colour. Large quarries of freestone of good quality have been opened in different parts, and the limestone is also extensively wrought; shell-marl is found in the hills of Dunreay and Brawlbin, and is applied with great success to the improvement of the neighbouring lands. Blocks of gritstone are obtained in the same hills, and are formed into excellent millstones. In several places are indications of iron-ore; and near the village, a small vein of lead-ore was discovered on the estate of Capt. Macdonald, but not under circumstances to warrant the working of it. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4138. Sandside House, the seat of Captain Macdonald, on the western shore of Sandside bay; Isauld House, on the opposite shore of the bay; and Bighouse, the ancient seat of the Mackays, and now the property of the Duke of Sutherland, are the principal mansions. The village of New Reay, so called in contradistinction to the town previously noticed, is on the road from Thurso to Tongue, and is neatly built. Fairs, chiefly for cattle and for various kinds of wares, are held in the beginning of September and the end of December. A post-office under that of Thurso, the nearest market-town, has been established here; and facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road, along which the mail passes every alternate day, and by cross roads and bridges over the rivers, kept in good repair.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Caithness and synod of Caithness and Sutherland. The minister's stipend is about £150, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, erected in 1739, is a plain substantial structure in the village, and has 650 sittings. A missionary, who officiates every third Sunday at Dispolly, in the district of Halladale, receives a stipend partly from the congregation, and partly from the Royal Bounty: the place of worship, built by the people of the district, assisted by the late Countess of Sutherland, contains 550 sittings. A church at Shurery has been partly endowed by Major Innes, in connexion with the Established Church, and a catechist is supported by the Royal Bounty and the Kirk Session. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is situated at New Reay, and attended by nearly 100 children; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £12 annually. A school at Melvich is maintained by the General Assembly. There are numerous remains of Pictish houses, built of large stones without cement, of circular form, and varying from sixty to seventy feet in diameter; the walls are of massive thickness, and the most entire of these ancient buildings is one called the Borg, at Breakrow, in Strathalladale. Upon the summit of Benfrectan, or "the Hill of the Watch," are the remains of a strong intrenchment. The ramparts, still in many parts entire, appear to have inclosed an ample area having in the centre a circular tower, from the top of which a beacon could be displayed on the appearance of an enemy, when the women and children, with the cattle, retired into the fort, which could be easily defended against numbers. On the hill of Shebster are remains of two similar fortresses, at some distance from each other, and between which, according to tradition, there was a subterraneous communication. Near Lybster, in the eastern part of the parish, are the remains of an ancient chapel called Crosskirk, with a burying-ground; the walls of the building are of great thickness, and the entrance very low. At Shebster are the ruins of a like chapel, near which is a tomb containing a coffin of stones, rudely formed. There are several mineral springs, chiefly chalybeate, and one of which, at Helshetter, is thought to be little inferior to the water of Strathpeffer. The parish gives the title of baron to the present Lord Reay; and the whole of the surrounding district, for many miles, was once called Lord Reay's Country.
REDDING, a village, in the parish of Polmont, county of Stirling, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Falkirk; containing 694 inhabitants. This village, from its situation in the heart of an extensive mining district, has greatly increased in population and extent within the last few years, and is inhabited chiefly by persons employed in the neighbouring collieries. The Redding colliery, which is the property of the Duke of Hamilton, is in extensive operation; and the facility of conveyance afforded by the Union canal, within a short distance of the village, contributes greatly to promote the spirit of enterprise with which it is conducted. Connected with the colliery is a school for the instruction of children; and in the schoolroom, which can accommodate 200 persons, a probationer of the Established Church officiates regularly on Sunday.
REDGORTON, a parish, in the county of Perth, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Perth; containing, with the villages of Bridgetown, Luncarty, Craighead, Cromwell-Park, and Pitcairn-Green, and part of the late quoad sacra district of Stanley, 1929 inhabitants. This parish comprehends the three ancient, and now united, parishes of Redgorton, Luncarty, and St. Serf's, which are supposed to have been formed into one about the period of the Reformation; the Presbytery records, which extend back to 1619, speaking of them as at that time consolidated. The original orthography of Redgorton was Rochgorton, a form used in a charter of King David preserved in the chartulary of Scone, in which he conveys the church to the abbey of Scone. The prefix of the present name, though probably created by the corruption of illiterate pronunciation, is yet a correct translation of the Gaelic prefix Roch, or Ruach, which signifies "red." Gorton, or Garton, implies "a little field;" and the whole word, Redgorton, or "the red field or field of blood," is generally considered as having been applied on account of the celebrated battle of Luncarty, which took place here. Of the three old parishes, that of Redgorton belonged to the abbey of Scone; to the parish of St. Serf, a name corrupted from St. Servanus, was attached the barony of Huntingtower; while Luncarty was a parsonage, not connected with any corporate or collegiate institution. The district was memorable in ancient times for military operations. The Roman station Orrea was situated at the confluence of the Tay and the Almond, in the parish; the traces of it are still visible, and it is supposed to have covered twelve acres of ground. Near this spot, Roman urns have been found containing ashes and burnt bones, particularly two of large dimensions, which some conjecture to have held the ashes of Aulus Atticus, who was killed in the celebrated battle with Galgacus, at the foot of the Grampian mountains, and of Agricola's son, who died in the eighth year of his father's expedition into Britain. A Roman road from Ardoch, on the ridge of Gask, leads to this station; and the piers that supported the bridge by which the Tay was crossed, are yet to be seen in the bottom of the river at this place. Orrea continued to be an important station throughout the twenty-five years that Lollius Urbicus was lieutenant in Britain, to A.D. 161; it is supposed to have been abandoned in the year 170, and again occupied, by the Emperor Severus, in 209. Altogether, it appears to have been in the hands of the Romans for about 125 years.
But the most interesting occurrence connected with the district is the memorable battle of Luncarty, which was fought about the year 990, in a field on the banks of the Tay, two miles above the mouth of the Almond, and in which a signal victory was obtained by the Scots, under Kenneth III., over the Danes, through the valour of the peasant Hay and his two sons. The Danes, having landed a great force at the mouth of the Esk, took and destroyed the town and castle of Montrose, and slaughtered all the inhabitants. Thus successful, they were about to lay siege to Perth, then called Bertha; upon which the King, having received intelligence of their invasion, hastily marched from Stirling, and fixed his camp upon Moncrieff hill, attended by his nobles, retainers, and many countrymen who had followed him. Hearing, however, of the danger which threatened Perth, he immediately marched thither, passing the enemy, and taking up his station at Luncarty. After some skirmishing, the Danes came down from an eminence on which they had posted themselves; and a general and desperate engagement took place, which issued in the precipitate flight of the main body of the Scots, both wings having been previously routed. At this critical time, a man named Hay, who was working in an adjacent field, observing the panic of the Scots, who were vigorously pursued by the Danes, seized the yoke of his plough, and taking his two sons who were then with him, and who each seized whatever implement they could lay hold of, they all crossed the shallow part of the Tay, and by remonstrances and threatenings stopped the flight of their countrymen. By some prodigious efforts of valour, these three men checked the fury of the Danes, and gave the Scots an opportunity of rallying upon an eminence which still retains the name of Turn-again hill, when, several fortunate circumstances occurring to the Scots, in the renewed conflict, the Danes were completely routed. Their general, who was the King himself, was slain; and there is a stone yet remaining, which bears the name of Denmark, raised on the spot to perpetuate the memory of his fall. The monarch is said to have immediately given Hay his choice of the territory that could be traversed by the greyhound's course, or compassed by the falcon's flight, as a reward for his bravery. Hay having chosen the falcon's flight, the bird was let loose from a neighbouring hill, and pursued its course as far as the borders of Errol parish, where it alighted on a large stone which has since borne the name of the Hawk's Stane; and all the intervening ground was given in perpetuity to the family In memory of the battle, the Hays still bear as their arms the instrument of victory, with the allusive motto Sub jugo. It should be observed, however, that though these particulars are generally credited, there are some who dispute the authenticity of the account, and trace this ancient family to the stock of De la Haye, of Norman origin.
The parish is divided into two detached parts, the lower of which lies at the confluence of the Tay and the Almond, and the upper beyond the parish of Moneydie, at the foot of the Grampians. The former is about six miles long and two broad, and contains above 6400 acres. It is bounded on the east by the Tay, which separates it from the parishes of Scone and St. Martin's; on the north by the parishes of Auchtergaven and Kinclaven; on the south-west by the Almond, which divides it from the parishes of Tibbermuir and Methven; and in the west and north-west by the Coldrochie, the Shochie, and Ordie, which separate it from the parish of Moneydie. The upper part, called the Barony of Mullion, is about three miles long and three-quarters broad, and contains only 1200 acres. The Shochie divides it from Auchtergaven on the north; and a stream called Crachie separates it from the extinct parish of Logiealmond, annexed to the parish of Moneydie quoad sacra. These two divisions are as dissimilar in appearance as they are in dimensions. The surface of the lower district is diversified by numerous undulations, the highest of which, however, do not rise more than 100 feet above the level of the sea; the whole lands are under cultivation, and generally subdivided by thorn hedges. The ridges and knolls are to a great extent planted with wood, which abounds also in other parts of the parish; and they present in many places beautiful scenery, and command distant prospects, especially the ridge of Redgorton, which embraces a view of Scone park and palace, of the bridge and city of Perth, with its fertile valley, and of the noble Tay, of which the eye catches many glimpses through the opening woods. The soil of this division varies, sometimes changing suddenly from a deep rich loam to a cold till, and in other places being a dry gravelly or sandy earth. The upper district consists of open moorland, uninclosed field, and mountains covered with heath; the soil is a sharp, gravelly, or moorish loam; and though, if well cultivated, it produces good grain, the great elevation of the land exposes the crops to injury from early frost. There is a lake in the Barony of Mullion, but of small extent, though its depth is said to be considerable. The only streams running through the parish are the Shochie and Ordie, both tributaries of the Tay, which river, and the Almond, flow for six miles along the lower boundary.
About 5780 acres are cultivated; 600 are in grass, 860 under wood, and 440 acres uncultivated. Oats and barley are grown in considerable abundance, with the usual green crops; but potatoes form the chief article in the produce of the soil, their annual value amounting to £6358. The sort here cultivated is known by the name of the Perthshire-red, and has long maintained a high character in the London market. The cattle were formerly a mixture of different forms and sizes; but within the last thirty years they have mostly consisted of a cross between the Teeswater and the Ayrshire. The most improved system of husbandry is followed; draining, and the recovering of waste land, have for some time been regularly practised; and many great improvements, especially in plantations and ornamental scenery, are owing to the late Lord Lynedoch, who held about two-thirds of the whole parish. The woods on his lordship's property comprise nearly 800 acres, consisting to a large extent of oak, the acorns for which were selected with the greatest possible care. The rocks in the lower part of the parish are principally grey sandstone, of excellent quality for building; red sandstone is found along the channel of the Almond, and in the upper district greywacke exists to a considerable degree. The rateable annual value of Redgorton is £7713.
The chief villages are, Pitcairn-Green, Luncarty, Bridgetown of Almond, Craighead, and part of Stanley. There are bleachfields at Luncarty, Pitcairn-Field, and Cromwell-Park, of which the first is the most extensive in the country; about 2,000,000 yards are annually bleached at these works, the greater portion damask, and 120 hands are employed. There are also two power-loom establishments, two or three flax-spinning mills, and a cotton-spinning mill, in all of which business is carried on to a great extent. On the Tay are several salmon-fisheries, the value of which, however, has much fallen off within these few years; one of them, formerly worth £550, now returns but £65 per annum. The quality of the salmon is considered very superior. The turnpike-road from Perth to Dunkeld runs through the parish for four miles, and has a branch by Stanley: the Inverness mail and the Dunkeld coach pass and repass daily. There being no bridge in this part across the Tay, the passage is made by a commodious boat; the Almond has three bridges, one of which is more than 200 years old. The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling; patron, the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £189, and there is a manse, with a glebeland valued at £18. 6. per annum. The church, built in 1776, is situated nearly in the middle of the lower part of the parish, and contains 700 sittings; it is well fitted up, but is very inconveniently placed for the population in the upper district, being from seven to eight miles distant from some of the inhabitants. A very handsome chapel of ease has been erected at Stanley, the minister of which has a stipend of £150, ensured by a bond, from the manufacturing company belonging to the place, who also supply a house gratuitously. There are places of worship for members of the United Secession and Original Seceders. A parochial school is also maintained; the master has the maximum salary, with a house and garden, and about £30 fees. There are still to be seen the remains of some round camps in the neighbourhood, with numerous tumuli, generally supposed to be the burial-places of native chiefs.
REDPATH, a village, in the parish of Earlstoun, county of Berwick; containing 149 inhabitants. This is the smallest of four villages in the parish; its population is chiefly agricultural. A school is supported partly by subscription, and partly by payments from the scholars.
REDROW, a village, in the parish of Newton; county of Edinburgh, ½ a mile (N. E.) from Newton; containing 123 inhabitants. This is a colliery village, consisting of a long row of red-tiled houses, whence the name. There are several other villages or hamlets of the same description, all inhabited by colliers, within the parish.
RENFIELD, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Barony, suburbs of the city of Glasgow, county of Lanark; containing 2938 inhabitants. This place is in the immediate vicinity of the city, and was separated for ecclesiastical purposes, from Barony parish, by an act of the General Assembly: it is in the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The church, situated in Renfield-street, whence the name of the district, formerly belonged to the congregation of Old-Light Burghers, and affords accommodation to 1320 persons: the patronage is in the male communicants.
RENFREW, a parish, burgh, and market-town, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, of which it is the capital; containing 3079 inhabitants, of whom 2027 are in the burgh, 3 miles (N. E. by N.) from Paisley, and 48 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh. This place appears to have derived its name, which is of British origin, and signifies "a point of land in the midst of the waters," from the situation of the ancient town near the conflux of the rivers Clyde and Gryfe, which, before they were confined to their present channels, almost surrounded its site; and the appellation was subsequently given to the parish, and also to the county. The origin of the town may be justly attributed to the family of the Stuarts, afterwards kings of Scotland, to whose ancestor, Walter, the adjacent territory was granted by David I., who appointed him steward of the royal household, and invested him with many honours. The town gradually rose up around the castle of Renfrew, which was erected on one of the numerous islands which at that time divided the channel of the Clyde, for the residence of the lord of the manor; and this isle, since the accession of the Stuarts to the crown, has been distinguished by the name of the King's Inch. Walter instituted a Benedictine monastery near the site of the castle; but the monks were during his lifetime removed to the abbey of Paisley, which he had founded previous to his decease in 1177, when he was succeeded both in his office and estates by his son, Alan, who died in 1204. Walter, son of Alan, was seneschal of Scotland under William the Lion, which office was hereditary in his family; and on his demise in 1246, he was succeeded by his son, Alexander, who in 1255 was made one of the regents of the kingdom, and subsequently commanded the Scottish army at the battle of Largs, in 1263. James, son of Alexander, who came to the barony on the death of his father, took a distinguished part in the contest between England and Scotland; and, dying in 1309, was succeeded by Walter. This Walter was then only sixteen years of age, but soon afterwards appeared at the head of his vassals previously to the battle of Bannockburn, in which, taking the command of a part of the Scottish forces, he greatly distinguished himself, and was knighted in consequence by Robert the Bruce, by marriage with whose only daughter he became heir to the throne of Scotland, which his descendants continued to possess till the Revolution of 1688. The castle of Renfrew was for many years the residence of the Stuarts; and there are still existing some memorials of its having been a royal residence, in the names of several localities, as the King's Inch, already mentioned, being the site on which it was built, and the adjacent ground called the King's meadow. The manor was subsequently granted to Sir John Ross, of Hawkhead, by the king, as a reward for his prowess in overcoming a champion of the English court who had challenged the most valiant of the Scottish knights to meet him in single combat. Sir John, in addition to the grant of the manor, was made constable of Scotland; and the office became hereditary in his family. The castle, which thus became the residence of the Hawkhead family, was eventually taken down; and nearly on the site was erected the present mansion of Elderslie House, the residence of Alexander Speirs, Esq. Few other events of historical importance are connected with the place. The Earl of Argyll, in 1685, having posted his troops in part of the county of Dumbarton, crossed the river Clyde on his way to this place, when, having forded the Gryfe near the bridge of Inchinan, he was attacked by some soldiers who wounded him and took him prisoner. A stone near the spot where he fell is still called the Argyll stone, in commemoration of the event.
The town was formerly situated on a branch of the Clyde; but since the waters have retired from their ancient channel, a canal has been cut, which for the last fifty years has opened a communication between the town and that river. It consists principally of one street; the houses are neatly built, and the whole presents an appearance of comfort and respectability. A library, which is well maintained by subscription, has been established for many years, and contains a valuable collection of well chosen volumes; there is a news-room supported, and an association has been recently formed for the cultivation of the useful arts and the study of natural history. The establishment of a savings' bank, also, has been for some time in contemplation; but it has not yet been carried into effect. The trade of the town was once considerable, but it has greatly diminished; and the port was at one time the principal on the river Clyde, and possessed an extensive foreign and coasting trade. A small number of vessels still frequent the harbour, and discharge their cargoes, consisting chiefly of grain from Ireland, dye stuffs for the Paisley weavers, and sometimes potatoes and fish from the Highlands; potatoes and other agricultural produce are also occasionally shipped from this place. There are, however, no vessels belonging to the port, except a few employed in conveying coal and manure to the neighbouring places. A very convenient quay was constructed a few years since, at an expense of £800; it extends chiefly along the bank of the canal, and the harbour might be greatly improved at a moderate cost, so as to facilitate the access of sailing vessels. The weaving of muslin is carried on to a considerable extent in the town, and many females are employed in tambouring and flowering muslin. A large bleach-green has been established, affording occupation to more than one hundred persons, of whom ninety are women and female children; there are also an iron-foundry, a yard for building iron steamvessels, and some extensive works for manufacturing British gum. The trustees for improving the navigation of the Clyde have their chief establishment at this place, and give employment to a number of smiths, engineers, carpenters, and builders, and nearly one hundred labourers who are employed in the dredging-machines. A distillery for malt whisky produces on an average 140,000 gallons annually, and employs nearly thirty men; the spirit is sent chiefly to Glasgow, and in connexion with the distillery is a dairy of about one hundred milch-cows, which are during the winter partly fed with the grains, and turned into the pastures during the summer. The fisheries, though less extensive than formerly, owing to the establishment of numerous works on the banks of the river, yet produce an aggregate rent of more than £200 per annum. The market has fallen into disuse; but fairs are held annually, for cattle, on the third Tuesday in May, the second Friday in June, and the third Friday in October. Facility of intercourse with the neighbouring towns is partly afforded by the Clyde, and a railway from Renfrew Ferry to Paisley has been constructed; the line is three miles in length, is worked by horse-power, and has a station with every accommodation for passengers by the Glasgow steamers, which touch here on their way. There are bridges over the Gryfe and Black Cart, and a swing-bridge of iron thrown across the canal. The post-office of Renfrew is a branch of that of Paisley, and has two tolerably good deliveries daily.
The town of Renfrew, formerly the head of the barony of Renfrew, was, on the separation of that barony from the county of Lanark, of which it previously constituted a part, made the capital of Renfrewshire. It was erected into a royal burgh in the year 1396, by Robert III., who granted the inhabitants a charter of incorporation, investing the burgesses with many privileges and immunities. Among these were, the holding of a market and fairs, the exclusive fishery on the Clyde within the limits of the burgh, and the right of having courts with jurisdiction extending to all offences not capital; all of which were confirmed by successive charters till the reign of James VI., who added the privilege of a ferry on the Clyde, the small duties, customs, and tolls within the barony, a free port and haven, a guild-merchant, and various other grants. A confirmatory charter was in 1703 bestowed on the burgesses by Queen Anne, in which, as the representative of the Prince and Steward of Scotland, she recites the charters of Robert III. and James VI., and gives to the corporation certain property in lands, and the right of exacting certain payments from each ploughland in the barony. The corporation under these charters consists of a provost, two bailies, and a council of sixteen burgesses, assisted by a treasurer, town-clerk, and other officers. The provost and bailies are elected annually by a majority of the council, and the burgesses fill up vacancies in the council, as they occur, by a majority of their own body; the treasurer and town-clerk are also annually elected, and a procurator-fiscal, gaoler, and inferior officers are appointed by the magistrates. The only trade incorporation at present is that of the tailors; they are governed by a deacon who is not a member of the council, and are strict in enforcing their privileges. The provost and bailies are justices of the peace by virtue of their office, and hold weekly courts for determining suits to a small amount, and a court of requests for the recovery of debts under twenty shillings; also a court for the trial of misdemeanors, in which they act without an assessor. The judgments in this last court are generally small fines or short terms of imprisonment. The police are under the exclusive direction of the magistrates, and the expense of maintaining that force is paid out of the funds of the burgh. The quarter-sessions for the county, and the election of the member, are held in the town-hall, a plain but convenient building; the council-chambers are neat, though not distinguished by any architectural character, and the gaol is well ventilated, and adapted to its use. Previously to the passing of the Reform act, the town united with Glasgow, Rutherglen, and Dumbarton, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; but a representative is now returned in conjunction with Kilmarnock, Rutherglen, Dumbarton, and Port-Glasgow; the right of election being vested by the Reform act in the householders of the annual value of £10.
The parish is intersected by the Clyde, and bounded on the west and north-west by the rivers Black Cart and Gryfe, which separate it from the parishes of Kilbarchan and Inchinnan; it is about five and a half miles in length and about two and a half in breadth, and comprises 4540 acres, of which two-thirds are arable, and the remainder meadow, pasture, woodland, and demesne. The surface is generally level, rising in some few places into hills of very moderate elevation, whereof the highest is Jordan hill, which attains the height of 180 feet above the level of the plain, and is situated in that division of the parish north of the Clyde. On the south side of the river the lands form one continuous plain, relieved only by a low hill called the Knock. The banks of the Clyde, on both sides, are ornamented with handsome seats and thriving plantations, giving an interesting and picturesque appearance to the parish, which is seen to great advantage from a small hill near Scotstown. The channel of the stream is studded with numerous islands, of which the King's Inch, the Buck Inch, the Sand Inch, and the Ron at the mouth of the Gryfe, are within the parish; but from the great improvements that have been made in the navigation of the Clyde, they are now nearly connected with the main land. Salmon abounds in the rivers, in which the right of fishing is secured to the inhabitants of the burgh by charter. The soil is generally fertile, and in tolerable cultivation; the crops are, wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes, with green crops in rotation. There are some dairy-farms, and many head of cattle are fed in an extensive meadow belonging to the corporation; the cows are usually of the Ayrshire breed; the sheep are from the Highlands, and the horses of the Clydesdale breed. The farms are mostly from sixty to 100 acres in extent, though some few comprise more than 200 acres; the buildings and offices, inferior to many, are nevertheless commodious and comfortable. But little more than one-fourth of the inhabitants are employed in agricultural pursuits, the great majority being engaged in the various trades and manufactures connected with the burgh and the adjacent towns, in the mines, and in the salmon-fishery on the Clyde. The substratum of the parish is chiefly clay-slate, with boulders of trap-rock, resting on the coal formation common to the whole of this district. Limestone is also prevalent, and was formerly wrought at intervals, though not to any great extent: a fossil fish of large size was found imbedded in the limestone; and in the sand which frequently alternates with the clayey substrata, have been discovered shell-fish of various kinds. Coal has been for some time worked on the estates of Jordanhill and Scotstown: the three principal seams are respectively eighteen, twenty-four, and twenty-one inches in thickness; but the last is the only one now in operation. Two pits have been sunk to the depth of thirty-one and thirty-eight fathoms respectively, below which, at a depth of four and a half fathoms, is more coal, not yet worked: from thirty to forty men are employed. About a mile to the south of the town is a manufactory of tiles for draining, of various sorts, for which the clays found in the district are well adapted. The number of looms at work in the parish is 257, affording employment to about 560 persons, of whom one half are women and children; the weavers are engaged by the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley, and the men upon an average earn from eight to ten shillings each, and the women and children from eighteen pence to half a crown, per week. The rateable annual value of the parish amounts to £14,992. The chief seat is Elderslie House, a handsome and spacious mansion, surrounded by thriving and beautiful plantations; the demesne is extensive, and comprises one of the finest parks in the country. Walkingshaw has for some years been unoccupied, and has consequently become dilapidated. Scotstown is a modern house pleasantly situated; Blythswood is an elegant mansion in grounds tastefully laid out and embellished with ornamental plantations; and Jordanhill, occupying an elevated situation, commands an extensive view of the surrounding scenery, which is finely varied, and in many points strikingly picturesque.
Renfrew is ecclesiastically within the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is averaged at £278, and there is a manse, with a glebe valued at £54 per annum. The church, which is conveniently situated, is of ancient date; it was repaired, and enlarged by the addition of an aisle, in 1726, and has been since reseated. It affords accommodation to 750 persons, but is much too small for the number of parishioners, for whose benefit an additional service is performed at eight o'clock on Sunday mornings. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church. The burgh grammar-school appears to have been originally founded by charter of James VI., who granted to the corporation the revenues of certain chapels and altars in trust for its support; the endowment at present affords to the master a salary of £36. 13. 4. per annum, which is paid by the corporation, by whom he is appointed, and the school fees amount to £45. The number of scholars attending the school averages about 100. There are some district schools, the masters of which are supported by the fees, augmented by small allowances arising from private subscriptions. Two schools of industry for girls are maintained by subscription; and there are several Sabbath schools, to which are attached libraries for the use of the children attending them; also a parochial library, which, like the others, is supported by donations. A society has been formed for the distribution of Bibles, by selling them at a reduced price; and a female benevolent society has been established for relieving the poor in cases of emergency. Two Roman urns were in 1778 discovered on the summit of Knock hill, within a mile of which are the remains of the Roman station at Paisley; the lower edge of this hill is still called the "Butts," and was most probably a place for the practice of archery in former times. Several antique rings and a key were met with in digging part of the foundations of Renfrew Castle, the site of which is still called Castle Hill; a small street near it is designated Dogs'-row, probably from its being the site of the ancient kennel; and in a cottage at the end of this street is preserved an old fire-place of great length, supposed to have been used for boiling the meat for the king's hounds. Near the Knock farm is a circular mound of earth, about twenty yards in diameter, surrounded by a moat five yards in breadth; it is called the Kempe Knowe, and is traditionally pointed out as the spot where Sir John Ross overcame the English champion in single combat, for which he was rewarded with the lands of the King's Inch. In an aisle in the church are the remains of a monument with the statues of Sir John and his lady, much mutilated; the inscription, however, is still legible on the crown of the arch under which the statues lay for a long period previously to their removal into the aisle. An ancient octagonal pillar, about ten feet high, formerly stood at a small distance from the Knock hill: it was called "Queen Blearie's stone," though no inscription records the purpose of its erection, which is by tradition said to commemorate the death of Marjory Bruce, daughter of Robert I., who was killed by a fall from her horse near the spot. The pillar was removed about the year 1780, and the shaft made the lintel of a barn on the farm, the offices of which having been subsequently rebuilt, it has altogether disappeared. There were anciently many chantries and altarages in connexion with the old Cluniac monastery founded by Walter, the ancestor of the Stuarts; but nothing remains of them but their names, which have been transferred to the lands in the neighbourhood of their site, still called Monk-Dyke, St. Mary, St. Thomas, and by other names of saints. John Knox is said to have derived his family name from Knockhill estate, of which his ancestors were at one time proprietors. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, born in 1841, bears the title of Baron of Renfrew, and is great steward of Scotland.
RENFREWSHIRE, a county, in the west of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-east by the Frith of Clyde and the river Clyde, which separate it from Dumbartonshire; on the east by the county of Lanark; on the south by Ayrshire; and on the west also by the Frith, which divides it from the county of Argyll. It lies between 55° 40' 40" and 55° 58' 10" (N. Lat.) and 4° 15' and 4° 52' 30" (W. Long.), and is about 31 miles in length and 13 miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of 241 square miles, or 154,240 acres; 25,786 houses, of which 24,664 are inhabited; and containing a population of 155,072, of whom 72,859 are males, and 82,213 females. This portion of the country was originally inhabited by the Damnii, a British tribe that occupied the extensive territories which formed the kingdom of Strad-y-Cluyd; and at the time of the Roman invasion, it became a part of the province of Valentia. After the departure of the Romans, the Damnii retained possession of their ancient territories against frequent incursions of the Picts till the union of the two kingdoms under Kenneth II., after which, their descendants in process of time became identified with the Scots. In the reign of David I., Walter, son of Alan, retiring from North Wales, settled in this district, and, having rendered great assistance to that monarch in quelling an insurrection of the islanders, was appointed steward of Scotland, and received a grant of all the lands of Paisley and other estates. This grant was confirmed to him by Malcolm IV., who made the stewardship of Scotland hereditary in his family, from which circumstance he adopted the name of Stewart, or Stuart, and became ancestor of the family of the Stuarts, afterwards kings of Scotland. At that time this part of the country was in a very uncivilised state; but Walter settled many of his military attendants on his lands, and, by founding the abbey of Paisley, contributed much to the refinement and prosperity of the district. A considerable number of the inhabitants fought under David I. at the battle of the Standard in 1138. In 1164 Somerled, with a detachment of forces belonging to the Sea Kings, sailed from the north, and, entering the Clyde, landed at Renfrew; but they were bravely repulsed, and Somerled and his son were slain in the conflict.
The district of Renfrew anciently formed part of the county of Lanark; but in 1404, Robert III. erected the lands of Renfrew, with the other estates of the Stuart family, into a principality, which became hereditary in the eldest sons of the Scottish kings; and the barony of Renfrew was separated from the shire of Lanark, and constituted an independent county. Prior to the Reformation the county was included in the archdiocese of Glasgow; it is at present in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and subdivided into presbyteries, and contains twenty parishes, with parts of others. For civil purposes it is divided into the upper and lower ward; the sheriff's and other courts for the former are held at Paisley, and for the latter at Greenock. The quartersessions are held at Renfrew, which is the county town, and the only royal burgh; the county contains the market-towns of Paisley, Greenock, and Port-Glasgow, the populous villages of Johnstone, Barrhead, Gourock, Eaglesham, Kilbarchan, Lochwinnoch, and Pollockshaws, and numerous smaller villages and hamlets. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV. the county returns one member to the imperial parliament.
The surface is varied. In the west and south-west are hills of considerable elevation, of which the highest, Misty Law, is about 1240 feet above the level of the sea. The north-eastern and central portions of the county, though generally level, are diversified with numerous detached hills of moderate elevation, rising from the plains; and in the south-east are others, of which some are from 500 to 600 feet in height. There are several beautiful valleys watered by the principal rivers; Strathgryfe is the most extensive. Passing through the parishes of Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch, and by Kilbirnie and Dalry, in Ayrshire, is a continuous tract of level and fertile country; and among the hills are frequent vales of small extent, watered by the tributary streams. The chief rivers are, the Gryfe, the Cart, or White Cart, and the Black Cart. The Gryfe, which anciently gave its name to the county, rises in the hills near Largs, in the north of Ayrshire, and, flowing in an eastern direction, joins the Black Cart at Walkingshaw. The Cart has its source partly in East Kilbride, in Lanarkshire, and partly in the confluence of several streams in the parish of Eaglesham: taking a north-western course, it passes the town of Paisley, and runs into the Black Cart at Inchinnan bridge. The Black Cart has its source in Castle-Semple loch, in the parish of Lochwinnoch; it flows in a north-eastern direction into the river Clyde. The lakes are, Castle-Semple, near the southern boundary of the county, a picturesque sheet of water 200 acres in extent, and containing several islands; Queenside loch, in the parish of Lochwinnoch; and several smaller lakes, of no particular interest. The shores of the Frith of Clyde are indented with numerous fine bays, of which the principal are, the harbour of Greenock, Gourock bay, and Innerkip and Wemyss bays.
The soil is of different descriptions; in the hilly districts, chiefly a fine light free soil, resting on a gravelly bottom; in the level districts, a deep rich brown loam. In the south-west are some considerable tracts of moss. The system of agriculture is improved; but from the numerous manufacturing towns and villages in the county, a very large proportion of the best land is in grass, and dairy-farms occupy the principal attention, for the supply of the inhabitants. The meadows and pastures are rich, and the lands which are in tillage produce abundant crops of excellent grain of all kinds, with potatoes, turnips, and green vegetables; considerable tracts of land are also cultivated as gardens. The chief substrata are, coal, limestone, freestone, and whinstone; and ironstone is found in abundance in the middle districts, and on the shore of the Clyde. The coal is extensively wrought at Quarrelton, Polmadie, Hurlet, and Househill, where are numerous mines in active operation. The seam of coal at Quarrelton is fifty feet in thickness, and consists of five different strata; the Hurlet coal is from five to six feet in thickness, and has been wrought for nearly 200 years. There are also quarries of limestone, freestone, and whinstone. Among the gentlemen's seats are, Elderslie, Blythswood, Scotstown, Walkingshaw, Jordanhill, Johnstone Castle, Househill, Ralston, Erskine, Crofthead, Blackstoun, Glentyan, Clippens, Millekin, Craigends, Ardgowan, Pollock, Kelly, Langhouse, Gourock Castle, Gourock House, Ashburn, and Levern House. The silk and cotton manufactures, of which Paisley is the principal seat, are carried on generally in the several villages throughout the county; the manufacture of sulphate of iron is pursued at Hurlet, and the alum-works there are among the most extensive in the kingdom. There is considerable traffic at the several ports of the Clyde, and the commerce of Port-Glasgow and Greenock is very extensive.
Facility of communication is afforded by excellent roads, which intersect the county in all directions; and by several canals and railways of comparatively recent formation. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone canal is about eleven miles in length, and is navigated by boats drawn by horses; the Forth and Cart Junction canal, a branch from the Forth and Clyde canal, is about a mile and a half in length; and a small canal has been formed to avoid the shallows at Inchinnan bridge. The Pollock and Govan railway, connecting some coal-fields with the city of Glasgow, proceeds by Rutherglen, where are a station and depot, and has its terminus at the quay of Glasgow. The Paisley and Renfrew railway is about three miles in length, extending to Renfrew Ferry, on the river Clyde, and was opened in 1837. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock railway is twenty-two and a half miles in length, from the bridge at Glasgow to the harbour of Greenock; the line proceeds close to Port-Glasgow, and several branches have been in contemplation. It was opened in 1841. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Ayr railway is forty miles in length, but is common with the last-named railway, from Glasgow to Paisley, seven miles; a branch eleven miles in length diverges to Kilmarnock, and another to Ardrossan. The principal remains of antiquity are, the ruins of the abbey of Paisley, founded by Walter Stuart, and of some other religious houses; a Roman camp, near which a vase and other relics have been found; and numerous ruins of castles, among which are those of Cruickstone Castle, for some time the residence of Mary, Queen of Scots. In opening a quarry about fifty years since, on the north bank of the river Cart, were discovered, at a considerable depth from the surface, the remains of an ancient village, consisting of forty houses of one room each, from eight to twelve feet square, roofless, and having in the centre of the floor a hollow apparently scooped out for a fireplace, in which were coal ashes. The walls were of rough stone, from four to five feet high, and the floors paved with thin flags.