A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.
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STONEHOUSE, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; containing 2471 inhabitants, of whom 1794 are in the village, 7 miles (S. S. E.) from Hamilton. This place is said to have derived its name from the residence of the principal proprietor, a mansion of stone and lime, situated near the site of the present village, and which, being at that time a kind of building of rare occurrence in this part of the country, was considered of sufficient interest to give name to the parish. The parish is about six miles in length and three in breadth, and is bounded on the east by the Cander stream, on the west and on the north by the river Avon, and on the south by the Kype; it comprises 7560 acres, of which 300 are woodland and plantation, and the remainder chiefly arable land. The surface is tolerably even, though gradually rising from the centre towards the north and south; its appearance has been greatly improved by numerous plantations of modern growth, which in some parts, and more especially on the lands of Mr. Lockhart, of Castle Hill, include much ornamental timber. There are also some few remains of ancient trees of venerable aspect, though the greater portion has long since been cut down for various purposes; and around the churchyard are some fine planetrees of luxuriant growth. The soil is generally rich and fertile; considerable improvements have taken place in draining, and a moss of considerable extent has been reclaimed and brought into profitable cultivation, producing abundant crops of oats, barley, wheat, ryegrass, and clover. There was also a considerable extent of marsh at Gozlington, which has been improved, and converted into meadow land. The Avon, in its course by the parish, formerly abounded with salmon; but few have been found of late, their passage being intercepted by the increased elevation of a mill-dam. This river flows with great impetuosity, being obstructed in its progress by huge masses of stone, which, falling from its precipitous and rocky banks, have in some parts choked up its channel: after receiving the waters of the Kype and Cander, it takes a northern direction, and falls into the Clyde near Hamilton. The crops raised in the parish include oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips, with a small portion of flax; the lands are well inclosed, partly with stone, and partly with hedges of thorn and beech. Freestone abounds in the parish, as well as whinstone of sufficient quality for mending the roads; limestone of a good description is also prevalent, and is worked for manure. In the fissures of the vein of limestone are fine specimens of mica, interspersed with globular particles of a bright yellow colour. Ironstone has been discovered in thin beds above the limestone, in detached nodules of good quality, but not in quantity sufficient for working; and coal is also found, but is worked only for burning the limestone. The rateable annual value of Stonehouse is £7079.
The village, which is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and to which the approach is facilitated by a handsome bridge over the Cander water, consists chiefly of one principal street about a mile in length, and some smaller streets, which are macadamized, and kept in neat order. The houses are mostly but one story high, and covered with thatch; but several of larger dimensions, and roofed with slate, have been recently erected, and two new streets have been formed, adding materially to the appearance of the place, which is rapidly increasing in population and importance. The weaving of silk, cotton, &c., is carried on to a considerable extent, affording employment to about 500 persons, who work with hand-looms at their own dwellings; and there are a large mill for a coarse kind of cotton yarn, and three establishments for making draining-tiles. A number of persons are also employed in the line and coal works. The new turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Ayr passes through the village, and, communicating with the road from Glasgow, affords great facility of intercourse with places in the vicinity. Fairs, chiefly for black-cattle and wool, are held at Martinmas, in May, and in July, which are numerously attended; and a post-office has been established. The parish is in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and patronage of Robert Lockhart, Esq.: the minister's stipend is £250. 5. 2., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £20 per annum. The church, a handsome modern structure, surmounted by a well-proportioned spire, is situated in the centre of the village, and is adapted for a congregation of 900 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and a congregation of the United Secession. The parochial school affords a liberal education to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £28 per annum, with £18 fees, and a house and garden. Mr. Thomas Hamilton, of London, bequeathed £4. 10. per annum to be distributed in prizes to the most forward of the scholars. There are two other schools in the village, and two at Sandford, which are chiefly supported by subscription, the masters having only the schoolrooms rent free. On the banks of the Avon are the remains of two ancient castles, situated on the summits of steep rocks which overhang the river; they are called respectively Coat or Cat Castle, and Ringsdale Castle, but nothing of their history has been preserved. At the junction of the Avon and Cander waters, are the remains of an encampment called the "Double Dykes;" it comprises an area of nearly four acres, completely surrounded by masses of perpendicular rock, except in one point between the channels of the rivers, which approach within fifty yards of each other, where the narrow interval was artificially fortified by three lofty dykes, of which some parts are still entire. Near the banks of the Avon, also, a Roman tumulus was discovered, in which were found numerous urns containing burnt bones and ashes; several of them were in good preservation, and ornamented with flowers elegantly carved, and various other devices. Not far from the same spot are remains of the Roman road from Ayr to Castle-Cary, which in some places is still entire, and is formed of large stones rudely placed. Roman urns have also been found in tumuli that have been opened in other parts of the parish.
STONEYHILL, a hamlet, in the parish of Inveresk, county of Edinburgh, ½ a mile (W. S. W.) from Musselburgh; containing 36 inhabitants. The lands of Stoneyhill were formerly possessed by a family named Dobie, and subsequently by Sir William Sharp, son of the Archbishop of St. Andrew's: they afterwards came, together with the lands of Monktonhall, and the coal under the whole lordship of Inveresk, to the Earl of Wemyss. Stoneyhill House is in the vicinity of the hamlet.
STONEYKIRK, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Stranraer; containing, with the fishing-port of Sandhead and the village of Stoneykirk, 3062 inhabitants, of whom 56 are in the village. This place, the old name of which, properly Stephenkirk, and derived from the dedication of the principal church, has given way to the present appellation, of which the origin is unknown, consists of the three ancient parishes of Stoneykirk, Clayshank, and Toscarton, united about the time of the Reformation. It appears to have been at an early period the residence of the Thanes of Galloway, of whose baronial castle there were till lately some remains on the lands of Garthland, consisting of a square tower forty-five feet in height, on the battlements of which was legible the date 1274. There are but few events of historical importance connected with the parish. Some vessels belonging to the Spanish Armada were wrecked off the western coast, not far from a bay which in commemoration of that circumstance, has since been called the bay of Float; and at Money Point, near the bay, a considerable number of Spanish dollars was subsequently discovered. The parish is bounded on the east by the bay of Luce, and on the west by the Irish Channel, and is nearly ten miles in length and three miles and a half in average breadth, comprising about 21,500 acres, of which 19,000 are arable, 375 woodland and plantations, and the remainder, whereof 1100 might be reclaimed, moorland and waste. The surface is varied; in some parts tolerably level, and in others diversified with numerous hills, of which none, however, attain any considerable degree of elevation. The only stream approximating to the character of a river is the Poltanton burn, which separates the parish from the parish of Inch, on the north. This stream, which is twenty feet in width, takes an eastern course, and flows into the bay of Luce; it abounds with par and pike, affording good sport to the angler, and salmon and sea-trout are occasionally found, entering it from the bay. The west coast is bold and rocky, towards the north in some places precipitous, but less elevated towards the south; it is indented on that side with several small bays, giving shelter to vessels employed in the fisheries, and of which the principal are, Port-Spittal, Port-Float, and Ardwell bay. The eastern coast is more level, and towards the north the shore for a considerable extent is sand, which is dry at low water; the principal bays are Sandhead and Chapel-Rosan. The sands extending from Sandhead, and forming a continuation with those of Luce, were, previously to the erection of the lighthouse on the Mull of Galloway, fatal to numbers of vessels, which were stranded on this part of the coast. These sands abound with shell-fish of various kinds, particularly with that called the razor-fish, which, during the months of March and April, is caught in great numbers; mackerel are also plentiful in the bay of Luce in the month of August. Off the western coast, cod are found in abundance, and the fishery is carried on to a considerable extent, but merely for the consumption of the adjacent district; for though every facility for extending it into a lucrative pursuit is afforded by the advantages of the place, no more fish are taken than are sufficient for the inhabitants.
The soil along the shore of the bay is sandy, but in other parts, though light and dry, it is generally fertile. The crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses; flax was formerly grown, but its cultivation has been for some years totally discontinued. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved; the farm-houses, of which many are of recent erection, are substantial and comfortable, and the offices well arranged; much waste land has been reclaimed by draining, and brought into profitable cultivation; and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements are in use. The plantations consist of firs of various kinds, interspersed with the usual sorts of forest-trees, and are all in a thriving state: there are also still considerable remains of natural wood, chiefly ash, birch, and elm, of which there are many fine specimens. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,060. Balgreggan, the seat of Patrick Maitland, Esq., a handsome mansion beautifully situated in a richly-wooded demesne; Kildrochat, the residence of the late Countess of Rothes; and Ardwell, the seat of Sir John Mc Taggart, M.P., are the principal houses. The village of Sandhead is described under its own head; the village or kirk-town of Stoneykirk consists only of a few houses around the church. A post-office under that of Stranraer has deliveries every day, and facility of communication is maintained by the countyroad from Stranraer to Kirkmaiden, and other roads that intersect the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £231. 15. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum; patrons, alternately, the Crown and the Earl of Stair. The church, which is situated about two miles from the shore of Luce bay, was built in 1827, at a cost of £2000; it is a substantial and handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, and contains nearly 1000 sittings, all of which are free. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords a complete course of instruction to about sixty children; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 3., with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 annually. On the lands of Ardwell are some remains of Druidical circles and Pictish houses; and on those of Garthland, two lachrymatories of gold, weighing three ounces and a half each, were found in 1783. Upon the farm of Clayshank, the foundations of a church may be distinctly traced; and at Kirkmadrine, the churchyard of which is still preserved as a buryingplace, are some gravestones with ancient inscriptions. There are also several artificial mounds of earth in the parish, of which one, near Balgreggan House, of circular form, is 460 feet in circumference at the base and sixty feet in height, and has on its summit an excavation surrounded with a ditch.
STORNOWAY, a burgh of barony, sea-port, and parish, in the Island of Lewis, county of Ross and Cromarty, 120 miles (N. W. by W.) from Dingwall; containing, with the late quoad sacra parish of Knock or Uii, 6218 inhabitants, of whom 1354 are in the burgh. This place, originally called Uii from the situation of its ancient church on an isthmus, derives its present name from the position of the town at the northern extremity of the bay of Stornoway, on a point of land projecting into the harbour. The town, which at first consisted merely of a few small cottages inhabited by fishermen, attained a high degree of importance under the patronage of the late Lord Seaforth, and his representative, J. A. Stewart Mc Kenzie, Esq., M.P., who, by marriage with his lordship's daughter, became superior of the barony and its sole proprietor. It is situated on the eastern shore of the harbour, and consists of several spacious and regular streets of well-built houses. A public library and a news-room are supported by subscription, and card and dancing assemblies are held in the same building, a handsome structure containing also apartments for the brethren of St. John's Masonic Lodge. There is a mill for grinding corn, built at much expense: a malt-mill, to which is attached a spacious warehouse for the reception of grain, which can be landed at the door from vessels in the harbour, has been erected upon the most improved plan; and there is also a distillery upon a very extensive scale. An attempt was made some time since to introduce the straw-plat manufacture, for which purpose Mrs. Mc Kenzie brought two well-qualified persons, to whom she paid salaries; but after a few of the younger females had been taught, the work was discontinued, and the only manufacture now carried on is that of kelp, and this to a very small extent.
The principal trade of the port arises from the fisheries, the produce of which is sent chiefly to the several towns on the Clyde, and to Ireland. The fish generally taken off the coast are cod and ling, of which, on an average, about 120 tons are annually cured in the parish, the former valued at £12, and the latter at £15, per ton. Herrings, also, are taken, though not in great quantity; and haddocks, soles, conger-eels, flounders, and a fish called the laithe, which is considered superior to the whiting in flavour, are found in abundance: the flounders taken in Broad bay are of very excellent quality. The number of boats engaged in the fishery is about 1500. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port is sixty-seven, averaging from fifteen to 140 tons, and amounting to 3059 tons aggregate burthen: the amount of duties paid at the customhouse in 1843 was £277. The harbour of Stornoway affords safe anchorage for vessels of any size, which may enter at any state of the tide, and find shelter from all winds; and numerous British and foreign vessels, when driven by stress of weather, accordingly find a sure refuge here. A lighthouse was erected by the proprietor on Arnish point, to enable vessels to make the harbour at night; but from an apprehension that the light might be mistaken for another in the vicinity, it has not been exhibited. The quay is well adapted for the loading and unloading of vessels, and there is a neat custom-house, of which the establishment consists of a comptroller, collector, and tide-waiter. There are a rope-work, and several places for repairing vessels, in which many ship-carpenters are employed. Nearly adjoining the town is an inclosed moor, on which a large fair for cattle is held on the second Wednesday in July; it is frequented by great numbers of dealers from the main land and from England, and many thousand head of cattle are sold. There are several good inns in the town for the accommodation of visiters, and of persons attending the fair; a branch bank; and some insurance offices. The post-office has a tolerable delivery; and facility of communication is maintained by vessels frequenting the harbour, by packets which ply regularly between this place and Poolewe, and by statute roads that intersect the parish. The town was erected into a burgh of barony by charter of James VI.; and in 1825 the Honourable Mrs. Stewart Mc Kenzie, then superior of the burgh, granted the resident lessees and burgesses the privilege of electing the magistrates and town-council. The government is vested in two bailies, and a council of six, regularly chosen under that charter. There are no guilds or incorporations having exclusive privileges; but a person cannot carry on trade within the burgh without becoming a burgess, for which he pays to the common fund an admission fee of £1. 13. 4. The magistrates exercise civil jurisdiction in cases of debt, to a trifling amount; and the sheriff-substitute for the district of Lewis, who resides in Stornoway, holds his courts in the town.
The parish is bounded on the east and on the south by the channel of the Minch, separating it from the main land; and is about sixteen miles in length and nearly ten miles in breadth, comprising 35,000 acres, of which 2700 are arable, about two acres woodland and plantations, and the large remainder moorland pasture and waste. The surface rises gradually from the coast towards the northern boundary, where it attains, at the hill of Mournack, which is the only hill of any note, an elevation of about 700 feet above the level of the sea. The scenery, from the want of woods and plantations, is generally destitute of beauty. The rivers are, the Creid, which issues from Loch Creid, in the north-western extremity of the parish, and falls into the bay of Stornoway; and the Laxdale, the Tong, the upper and nether Coll, and the Gress, all of which have their sources in the northern part of the parish, and flow southward into Broad bay. There are also numerous lakes, but they are not remarkable for any particular features, and the largest is less than three miles in circumference; they all abound with black trout of small size. In the rivers Creid, Tong, and Gress, a few salmon and seatrout are occasionally found. The coast is mostly bold and rocky, and is indented with bays, of which the chief are, the bay and harbour of Stornoway; Broad bay, which, from a sunken reef at its entrance, is not safe for vessels; Loch Ure; Bayble; and Tolsta bay. The principal headlands are, Tolsta, Kneess, Tuimpan, and Chicken heads, and Holm point. In some few parts the shore is flat, consisting of fine sands, especially at Tong, Melbost, Uii, Coll, and Gress; other parts are lined with shelving rocks of rugged aspect and of difficult access. There are several romantic caves, but the most remarkable is that called the Seal Cave, from its having formerly been the resort of great numbers of seals, and in which annually multitudes were destroyed by torchlight. The interior of this cavern decreases gradually from a width of ten feet at the entrance to a breadth of four feet, beyond which it expands into a wide semicircular basin of deep water; the roof is lofty, and, like the sides, thickly incrusted with stalactites of brilliant lustre.
The soil in some parts is sandy, in others gravelly, and occasionally a black loam of tolerable fertility; but the most prevalent is a peat-moss incumbent on red clay of impervious quality. The crops are, barley, oats, bear, potatoes, and turnips. The system of husbandry, though improved within the last few years, is still in a backward state; the farm-buildings are of inferior order, and but a very inconsiderable portion of the large tracts of waste has been brought into cultivation. The cattle, of which about 8000 are reared on the pastures, are of the true Highland black breed, with the exception of a few Ayrshire cows on the dairy-farms; and the few sheep that are reared in the parish are all the blackfaced. There are no remains of the woods that formerly existed here beyond the trunks of trees, which are occasionally dug out of the moss; and the plantations are only about two acres in extent, near Seaforth Lodge, and in a sheltered situation. The principal substratum is whinstone, of which a large dyke on the farm of Gress is supposed to extend across the whole of the island; there is a quarry near Garabost, but the greater portion of the stone used in the parish is imported from the main land, or brought from the adjoining parish of Lochs. The rateable annual value of Stornoway is £3112. Seaforth Lodge, the seat of the late Mr. Mc Kenzie, is a handsome modern mansion, situated at the head of Loch Stornoway, on the western shore, opposite to the town, and in a highly cultivated demesne forming an interesting feature in the scenery. James Matheson, Esq., M.P., now owns the entire parish.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lewis and synod of Glenelg. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 7., of which one-third is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum: patron, the Crown. The church, erected in 1794, and repaired in 1831, is a handsome structure containing 568 sittings. A chapel in connexion with the Established Church was built at Back, in the district of Gress, by the late Lord Seaforth, and has been repaired by the present proprietor; it will hold 300 persons, but is now used as a schoolroom. The late quoad sacra parish of Knock is separately described. A small episcopal chapel has been recently built, and the members of the Free Church have places of worship. The parochial school is well attended; the master receives a salary of £32, with an allowance of £5 in lieu of house and garden, and the fees average about £20 per annum. There are still some remains of the ancient churches of Uii and Gress; and within the last fifty years only, the original church of Stornoway, which was dedicated to St. Lennan, has been levelled to prepare a site for the erection of the present parish church. Of the church of Uii, dedicated to St. Collum, the walls, of great thickness, are yet standing; and in a part of it which is still roofed, the minister of Stornoway used to officiate once in six weeks till the church of Knock was built. The church at Gress was dedicated to St. Aula; part only of the walls are remaining. There was also a chapel at Garabost, of which all traces have been removed. On the point of land stretching into the bay of Stornoway are some slight remains of an ancient castle of the Mc Leods, the lords of the island; and near the spot is the site of a fort built by Oliver Cromwell, of which scarcely a vestige is left.
STOTFIELD, a village, in the parish of Drainie, county of Elgin, 6 miles (N.) from Elgin; containing 159 inhabitants. This is a small village, situated on the coast of the Moray Frith, a little to the west of Lossiemouth, and is chiefly inhabited by fishermen, who generally pursue their avocation in company with their neighbours residing at the latter place. In the Coulard hill, which projects into the Frith, are appearances of lead; but no sufficient vein of ore to encourage the experiment of working it, has yet been discovered.—See Elgin.
STOURHOLM, an isle, in the parish of Northmavine, county of Shetland. It is a very small isle, lying on the north side of the Mainland, opposite to Sandwick, in the sound of Yell; and is about a mile in length and half a mile in breadth, and uninhabited.
STOW, a parish, partly in the county of Selkirk, but chiefly in the county of Edinburgh; containing, with the hamlets of Fountainhall and Killochyett, 1734 inhabitants, of whom 408 are in the village of Stow, 8 miles (N. N. W.) from Galashiels. This place derives its name from a residence of the bishops of St. Andrew's, who anciently had a regal jurisdiction over the whole of the district of Wedale, in which Stow is situated, and which, from the numerous remains of camps and fortresses, appears to have been early the seat of warfare. The parish, which is in the southern portion of the county of Edinburgh, and northern portion of that of Selkirk, is bounded on the north-west by the parish of Heriot, and on the south-east by that of Galashiels. It is about sixteen miles in length and four in breadth, comprising an area of about sixty-two miles, or 40,000 acres, of which 11,345 are arable, 960 woodland and plantations, and 27,510 meadow and pasture. The surface is hilly, and the scenery boldly varied. The pleasing vale of the Gala water extends for a considerable length into the parish, and the banks of the river from which it takes its name are remarkable for their beautifully romantic character. The Heriot water flows into the Gala, which is subsequently augmented in its progress by various other streams, the most considerable being the Lugate water; and after a devious course through tracts abounding with picturesque scenery, the Gala falls into the Tweed about a mile below Galashiels.
The soil is fertile, and the arable lands produce favourable crops of grain of every kind, with some turnip and potatoes which are raised chiefly for consumption on the several farms. The low lands are well drained and inclosed; the farm buildings and offices are substantial and commodiously arranged; the various improvements in the construction of implements have been generally adopted, and all the branches of rural economy are now skilfully practised. The hills afford good pasture for sheep, of which not less than 20,000 are annually reared; they are of the Cheviot breed, with a considerable number of the black-faced, and a smaller number of the Leicestershire. The cattle, of which not more than 500 are reared or fattened, are chiefly of the Teeswater breed. That part of the lands within the county of Selkirk was formerly a portion of the Ettrick forest, and there are still some fine specimens of forest-trees in the older woodlands. The plantations, of more modern growth, are rather extensive and in a flourishing state; the soil is adapted for every kind of timber, and the oaks are particularly thriving. There is nothing peculiar in the substrata of the parish: the rocks are chiefly greywacke; slate and claystone, red porphyry, calcareous spar, quartz, and steatite have been found in some places, and in one instance a specimen of pyrites of iron. Crookston, Torwoodlee, Bowland, Burnhouse, Torquhan, and Pirn, are the principal mansions.
The village is situated on the road from Edinburgh to Carlisle, and on the Gala water, over which is a commodious bridge, erected in 1654. The only manufacture carried on is that of woollen cloth, for which there is a large mill. A fair is annually held in the village, on the second Tuesday in March, chiefly for the sale of seed-corn, and for the hiring of servants; a post-office has been lately established here; and at Torsonce, about a quarter of a mile distant, is a good inn. The parish comprises the hamlets of Fountainhall, Killochyett, Caitha, Crosslee, and Whytbanklee. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads, of which one, connecting the Carlisle road with the road to Selkirk, is of modern construction; and by several bridges over the Gala water, some of which, recently erected, are of handsome appearance. The rateable annual value of the Edinburgh part of the parish is £11,641, and of the Selkirk part £2906. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the synod of Merse and Teviotdale and presbytery of Lauder; the minister's stipend is £256. 9. 1., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £27. 10. per annum; patron, the Crown. The church is a very ancient structure containing about 600 sittings; it has undergone various alterations, and is now in good repair. There is a place of worship in the village for members of the United Secession. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £30 a year, with a house and garden. There are also schools at Caitha and Pirntaiton, of which the masters have rent-free houses, that for the former erected by General Walker, and that for the latter by Miss Innes in 1832. A congregational library of about 300 volumes is maintained, and also a library of 700 volumes in the hamlet of Fountainhall. There are numerous remains of ancient castles in the parish; the principal are, Bow Castle, Lugate Castle, Torwoodlee Castle, and Howliston Tower, all in ruins, and Torsonce Castle, which has been recently roofed in, and is occupied by the proprietor as a summer residence.
STRACHAN, a parish, in the county of Kincardine, 15 miles (N. W.) from Stonehaven; containing 944 inhabitants. This parish derives its name, properly Strath-Aen, from the river Aen, which flows through a valley in its western portion into the river Feugh. It is about twenty miles in length, extending from the confines of the parish of Durris, on the east, to Mount Battock, on the west; and is twelve miles in breadth, from Cairn-o'-Mount, in the south, to the river Dee, which constitutes its northern boundary, and separates it from the parish of Banchory-Ternan. The surface is mountainous, forming a portion of the Grampian range, and containing numerous hills of various elevation: of the mountains within the parish the highest are, Mount Battock, 3465 feet above the level of the sea, Clochnabane 2370, and Kerlock 1890 in height. From the summits of these mountains there are most extensive prospects of the eastern coast from Peterhead to Montrose, and the coasts of Haddington and Fifeshire; to the south embracing also a fine view of Edinburgh and the Pentland hills. On the top of Clochnabane is a huge mass of granite rock called the Stone of Clochnabane, about 100 feet in perpendicular height, and which, on ascending the mountain, has an imposing aspect, resembling a towering fortress; it is seen from a great distance, and serves as a land-mark to mariners entering the port of Aberdeen. Scoltie, one of the smaller hills, is about 800 feet in height, and commands a view of the course of the Dee, with the beautiful scenery on the banks of that river, terminating with the bay of Aberdeen and part of the city. The river Dye, which has its source on the south side of Mount Battock, after traversing the lower grounds falls into the Feugh near the manse; and the Aen, which rises on the north side of that mountain, after a course of nearly ten miles, runs into the same river near Whitestone. The valley of Strachan appears to have been formerly a lake: the vale of Glen-Dye, through which flows the river of that name, abounds with picturesque scenery. The rivers Feugh and Dye, after heavy rains, are subject to rapid rises, and used frequently to inundate the lower lands, to prevent which they have been embanked at a considerable expense; they abound with excellent trout, and with sea-trout and grilse from July till September.
The entire number of acres is 56,362, of which 2236 are arable, 2200 woodland and plantations, 6000 undivided common, and the remainder moorland pasture and waste. The soil is various; in the vale of Strachan, of richer quality on the upper lands than on the lower; in some parts of the parish a deep black loam, and in others of very inferior quality, principally hill pasture. The lands in cultivation are under good management, and have been drained, and inclosed with fences of stone; the crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips. The sheep are of the common black-faced kind; the cattle chiefly of the small Aberdeenshire breed. The farm-buildings are mostly substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been adopted. The moors afford game of every variety: red, black, and white grouse are found in abundance on Mount Battock; partridges and woodcocks are numerous in the woods of Blackhall; and the dotterel, the gray and white plover, and other species of birds also frequent the moors. The woods and plantations are extensive; the former contain much valuable timber of ancient growth, and the latter are principally larch and Scotch fir. The rocks are chiefly of granite; stone for fencing and other inferior purposes is quarried, but though limestone is abundant in the contiguous parishes, no quarries have yet been opened in this parish. Very fine specimens of the Cairngorum are found in the beds of the mountain streams. Blackhall, the seat of Colonel Campbell, is a spacious mansion beautifully situated on the bank of the Dee, and surrounded with a richly-wooded demesne: Invery, the seat of Henry Lumsden, Esq., is a handsome building pleasantly seated on the river Feugh. Sir James Carnegie, Bart., has a commodious lodge at Glen-Dye, which he occupies during the shooting-season. The population is chiefly agricultural or pastoral: a few persons are employed in trades requisite for the accommodation of the inhabitants; about forty females are engaged in the knitting of stockings, and there is a small mill for spinning woollen yarn. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in repair by statute labour, and there are good bridges over the rivers. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2906.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 5., of which £64. 10. are received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £7. 10. per annum: patron, Sir James Carnegie. The church, erected in the year 1791, and enlarged in 1837, is a neat structure containing 500 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £34. 4. 4., and the school fees average about £20 per annum; the schoolroom was enlarged in 1841, at an expense of £80, and the master's house is ample and commodious. There is also a school at Glen-Dye, for which Sir James Carnegie lately erected an appropriate building, with a house for the master, at the cost of £200; and there is a good parochial library consisting of more than 400 volumes, with a juvenile library of 100 volumes for the use of the weekday and Sunday schools. Of three circular mounds in the parish, two are now covered with wood of ancient growth, and, from the name of a farm-house near them, called Bow-Butts, are supposed to have been raised for the practice of archery; the third is named Castle Hill, but there are no records of the existence of any castle or fort in the parish. On the farms of Letterbeg and Ardlair are two circular cairns, about 300 feet in diameter and thirty feet high; they are formed of round stones. In the various adjoining parishes are others of a similar description, supposed to have constituted in ancient times, with these, a line of communication by beacon fires.
Strachur and Strachlachlan
STRACHUR and STRACHLACHLAN, a parish, in the district of Cowall, county of Argyll, 8 miles (S. S. E.) from Inverary; containing 1550 inhabitants, of whom 464 are in Strachur. The former of these places was originally called Kilmaglass, or "the Burialground of Maglass," a local saint. Strachlachlan was anciently denominated Kilmorrie, or "St. Mary's;" its present appellation means "the Strath of Lachlan," having been applied in reference to a portion of land, or a strath, belonging to Lachlan, the principal heritor of the district. Previously to the year 1650, Strachur was included in the parish of Lochgoilhead, and Strachlachlan in that of Inverchaolain. The parish stretches from north-east to south-west for nineteen miles, varying in breadth from three to six miles, and comprises between 35,000 and 40,000 acres; from 1000 to 1500 are under cultivation, 1800 under wood, chiefly natural, and the remainder in pasture and waste. The surface, to a great extent, is covered with hills, affording in many places, especially in Strachur, a soft nutritious pasture for sheep and black-cattle, but for the most part exhibiting an irregular and uninteresting appearance, mixing with and crossing each other in all directions. The height of some is 2000, and of others 3000 feet; and they form in some parts, where thickly wooded, a retreat for various animals and birds of prey, of which latter an eagle some years since carried off from the place a child of three years of age, which it killed and devoured. The cultivated land lies chiefly in two straths, respectively named after the two districts comprising the parish; the arable portion of Strachur is the more extensive. The lands in tillage give a pleasing variety to the scenery; and the wooded tracts, consisting of oak, larch, beech, ash, birch, fir, elm, and others, ornamenting the slopes of the hills, which are often green to the top, together with the streams and lakes, particularly Loch Fine, which bounds the parish on the north and west, contribute to improve the general aspect of the surface. Loch Fine abounds with herrings, as well as with many kinds of white-fish; it varies in depth from thirty to eighty fathoms. At a short distance, and stretching in a south-eastern direction, is Loch Eck, six miles long and half a mile broad, but three miles only of which belong to this place. The fresh-water herring, a fish but little esteemed, is found on the western coast of Scotland only in this lake and Loch Lomond; and a few salmon and salmon-trout, of good quality, are also taken: these have access to the lake by the river Eachaig, which forms a communication between it and the Clyde at Kilmun. The river Cur, rising in the mountains near Lochgoilhead, flows in an irregular course, with great rapidity for a few miles, towards the south-west; upon reaching the Strachur plains, it turns to the south-east, and runs more smoothly.
The soil is in most parts thin, and exhibits the several varieties of loam, sand, and clay; the crops are valued, with the pastures, at nearly £8000 per annum, and consist of different kinds of grain, hay, potatoes, and turnips. The felling of the woods produces £200; and the fisheries on Loch Fine, in which about forty boats belonging to the parish are employed, are estimated at upwards of £1000; making the total value of produce more than £9000 per annum. The strath of Strachur, containing several hundred acres of good land, and nearly level, is under tolerable cultivation; but the farms throughout are extremely unequal in size, and the great humidity of the climate is a bar to very successful husbandry. Some of the tenants who pay from £100 to £300 of rent have excellent farm-buildings, and those of the middle class have mostly good accommodation; but the tenements of the crofters and cottars are very indifferent. Among the modern mansions are those of Glenshellis, Ballimore, Glenbrantir, and Strachurmore, all neat and convenient stone dwellings: Strachur House is an elegant modern structure, surrounded by a park. Limestone is found, and a quarry is in operation in each of the two districts. The road from Kilmun to Inverary passes through the parish, and communication is now opened with the towns on the Clyde by means of the government road to Ardentinny. There is a small bay at Strachur, affording good anchorage, and a secure retreat to vessels when the wind blows from the northeast and south-east: vessels occasionally enter to take in cargoes of wool and potatoes. A fair is held at Strachur in May, and another in October, for the sale of black-cattle. Coal imported from Glasgow and Ayrshire is much in use, the peat here being difficult of access; and the saleable produce of the parish is conveyed to the former place and to Greenock. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4356. It is in the presbytery of Dunoon and synod of Argyll, and in the alternate patronage of Callendar of Ardkinloss, and Mc Lachlan of Mc Lachlan. The minister's stipend is £150, of which nearly a fifth is paid by the exchequer: there is also a manse, with a glebe of very inferior land, covering about fifteen acres, and of the annual value of £7. The church of Strachur was erected in 1789, and accommodates 400 persons with sittings; that of Strachlachlan, six miles from the former, was built in 1792, and contains sittings for 200 persons, which, as well as those at Strachur, are all free: the services at each are on alternate Sabbaths. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. Besides the parochial school at Strachur, there are two side or branch schools, which are endowed with a part of the salary of the parochial teacher; the salary is £26. 10. per annum, with a house and garden, and about £14 fees. There are three schools also in Strachlachlan, of the same kind; but the two side-schools here are supported by subscription, and the parochial teacher receives only £10 per annum, with about £8 fees, and finds his own house and croft. A circulating library at Strachur is superintended by the Kirk Session.
STRAITON, a parish, in the district of Carrick, county of Ayr, 7 miles (S. E. by E.) from Maybole; containing, with the village of Patna, 1363 inhabitants. This place derives its name, signifying in the Celtic language "the town of the strath," from its situation at the head of an extensive and fertile vale: little is known of its ancient state, and very few, if any, incidents of historical importance connected with it are on record. The parish, which is one of the largest in the county, is about twenty miles in length, and of very irregular breadth, scarcely averaging more than four miles, though in some parts extending to eight miles. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Kirkmichael and Dalrymple; on the east by the parish of Dalmellington; on the south by the parishes of Carsphairn, Kells, Minigaff, and Barr; and on the west by the parishes of Dailly and Kirkmichael. The surface, with the exception of the valleys of the Girvan and the Doon, is generally uneven, abounding with hills, of which some few are of considerable height. Of these, the Graigengower, behind the manse, has an elevation of 1300 feet; and Binnan Hill, about half a mile from the village, rises to the height of 1150 feet above the level of the sea; both commanding fine views over the county of Ayr, the Frith of Clyde, the Isle of Arran, and the coast of Ireland. The other hills, though numerous, are not of any great altitude. There are also many lakes on the borders, and within the limits, of the parish. The principal is Loch Doon, which is properly within the parish: this lake is about six miles in length and one mile broad, and is much frequented by fishing parties, for whose accommodation boats are kept in constant readiness during the season. The scenery of the lake is bleak, and destitute of beauty, from the want of trees; and the most romantic feature, the outlet of its waters into the river Doon, in one wide volume over a rocky barrier, has been divested of its interest by the erection of sluices to regulate the supply. Of the other lakes the chief are, Loch Braden, Loch Dercleugh, and Loch Finlas, on all of which boats are likewise kept for angling; the remaining lakes, nearly twenty in number, are inconsiderable, and undistinguished by any peculiarity of features. The river Doon, issuing from the lake of that name, forces its way for almost a mile through the deep and rocky glen of Berbeth, in which it is apparently lost. The interior of this dark and narrow dell abounds with the most sublime and romantic features. Along the margin of the river, a narrow footpath has been formed at an elevation above the highest point to which its waters ever rise in forcing their way; and the narrow channel of the stream is inclosed on both sides by lofty precipitous cliffs, rising almost perpendicularly to the height of nearly 300 feet, in some parts clothed with the rich foliage of trees whose boughs impend over the water, and in others forming vast and rugged masses of barren rock. From this pass, the river winds through the pleasure-grounds of Berbeth House, and it afterwards expands into a wide lake, whence it pursues a gentle and noiseless course through meadow lands: after forming for about ten miles the boundary of this parish, it flows through the parishes of Dalrymple and Maybole into the sea, near Ayr. The river Girvan, which rises about twelve miles from Straiton, passes along a rich and fertile vale to the village, and, after a course of nearly three miles through the well-wooded demesne of Blairquhan, enters Kirkmichael: the river Stinchar, which has its source in the parish of Barr, constitutes the southern boundary of this parish for two miles. A beautiful waterfall occurs near Berbeth, where a lake called Dalkairney Linn, which is created by a small burn, projects itself from a height of forty feet in a perpendicular descent; Tarelaw Linn is formed by the Girvan, and, after a succession of falls, together more than sixty feet in height, expands into a fine sheet of water in a deeply-wooded dell. The streams abound with trout, and salmon also are found in the Doon and Girvan; the lakes contain pike, trout, and other fish; and the moors afford plenty of grouse.
The soil on the banks of the Girvan is light and gravelly, and on those of the Doon a retentive clay. The whole number of acres in the parish is estimated at 51,800; about 4200 of these are arable, 600 in woods and plantations; and the remainder, of which not more than 500 or 600 could be reclaimed and rendered capable of cultivation, are pasture and moorland in a state of nature. The crops are, oats, wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is improved; the lands have been drained to a considerable extent, and the greater number of the farm-houses, having been rebuilt in a better style, are now substantial and commodious, and roofed with slate. On most of the farms threshing-mills have been erected; the introduction of bone-manure has been attended with success, and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been adopted. Great attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock, and to the improvement of the breeds. Galloway cows, formerly prevalent here, have given place to cows of the Ayrshire breed; about 800 milch-cows of this description are pastured, and 1400 head of cattle of the Galloway kind are annually bred. Of sheep, about 20,000 of the black-faced kind are annually fed on the several pastures, and a few of the Cheviot breed have been recently introduced; 250 horses are also annually reared, chiefly for agricultural purposes. The woods are well managed, and display some good specimens of full-grown timber; near the village are some remarkably fine old sycamoretrees, and near Blairquhan are some lime-trees of great beauty, forming a noble avenue to the mansion. The plantations are, larch, and spruce, silver, and Scotch firs, interspersed with oak, ash, elm, and beech; they are well attended to, and make a profitable return to the proprietors. The substrata are chiefly granite, of which the hills about Loch Doon are formed, greywacke, and greywacke-slate; on the banks of the Girvan is found trap interspersed with mountain limestone, and in the lower lands red sandstone. Limestone is quarried in several places, and coal has been found in different parts of the parish; the limestone in some spots abounds with marine shells. The coal is worked at Patna and Keir, but not to any great extent; it occurs in seams varying from three to eight feet in thickness, and of various quality. The rateable annual value of the parish is £9107. Blairquhan Castle, the seat of Sir David Hunter Blair, Bart., is a castellated mansion, completed in 1824, in the later style of English architecture, and beautifully situated on the banks of the Girvan, about a mile from the village of Straiton. The approach is by a handsome bridge, and through a lodge in strict keeping with the style of the castle; it conducts the visiter through a succession of interesting scenery, and leads to a fine view of the house, with the hills of Craigengower and Binnan in the back ground. The castle contains many stately apartments, to which access is afforded by a spacious and splendid saloon sixty feet in height; the grounds are laid out with great beauty, and adorned with full-grown timber and thriving plantations. Berbeth, the residence of the Honourable Colonel Cathcart, is situated on the banks of the Doon, at one extremity of the parish; it is a substantial mansion, in a highly embellished demesne comprising much interesting scenery. On the river Stinchar, at about eight miles' distance from the village of Straiton, is a shooting lodge belonging to the Marquess of Ailsa.
The village is pleasantly situated on the Girvan, and consists of neat and well-built houses. The inhabitants are partly engaged in weaving for the Glasgow and Paisley manufacturers, the principal articles being tartans and plaids; a great part of the female population, also, are employed in working muslins in flowers and various patterns for the markets of Paisley and Glasgow. A penny-post office, a branch of the post-office of Maybole, has been established here, and also a parochial library, in which is a collection of about 500 volumes. The nearest market-town is Ayr, with which communication is afforded by good roads, that from Ayr to Newton-Stewart passing through the village; and over the rivers are bridges kept in excellent repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and the patronage is in the Crown. The stipend of the incumbent is £235; the manse is a small but comfortable residence, beautifully situated, and the glebe comprises about eight acres of profitable land, valued at £16 per annum. The church is a plain edifice, having undergone repeated alterations and repairs; the most ancient portion of it, which formed part probably of the original structure, is an aisle, having a fine Gothic window, and now belonging to Sir Hunter Blair. It is nearly in the centre of the parish, and is adapted for a congregation of 444 persons. A chapel of ease has been erected by subscription in the village of Patna, on a site given for that purpose, in 1836, by Mr. Leslie Cumming; it is adapted for a congregation of about 600 persons, and is well arranged. In this village also, is a place of worship for members of the United Secession. There are two parochial schools; one in the village of Straiton, of which the master has a salary of £31. 10., with a house and garden, and fees averaging £32 per annum; and the other in the village of Patna, of which the master has a salary of £11, with a house and garden given by the proprietor, and the fees, amounting to £25. The former is attended by about eighty, and the latter by about sixty scholars. There is also a school partly supported by the fees; and at both villages are parochial libraries, besides small collections of religious works. Coal is distributed annually among the poor by Lady Hunter Blair; and two friendly societies, long established, have contributed greatly to diminish the applications for parochial relief. On an island near the head of Loch Doon are the remains of the ancient castle of Doon, of irregular form, consisting of eleven different facia, and of a lofty square tower in the Norman and early English styles of architecture. This was once a royal castle, of which the Earl of Cassilis was governor; it was one of the five strongholds held by the royalists during the minority of the son of Bruce, and was defended against the English by John Thompson, who led back the Scottish army from Ireland after the death of Edward Bruce. In the loch, near the ruins, were found, in 1823, and also in 1831, some canoes formed of one trunk of oak: one is preserved in the museum of the university of Glasgow, and others in some water near Berbeth. There are also slight remains of the ancient castle of Blairquhan, incorporated in the modern mansion of that name. This castle early belonged to the family of Mc Whirter, from whom it passed to the Kennedys, a branch of the Cassilis family; in the reign of Charles II. it came into the possession of the family of Whiteford, and eventually it was purchased by the Blairs, the present owners of the estate of Blairquhan.
STRANATHRO, a village, in the parish of Fetteresso, county of Kincardine, 3 miles (S. W. by S.) from Stonehaven; containing 126 inhabitants. This village is situated on the eastern coast, and is inhabited partly by persons employed in the fisheries off this part, in which four boats, each having a crew of five men, are generally engaged. During the season the men are also occupied in the herring-fishery, which is carried on with success. A coast-guard station has been established here. The harbour, though small, is commodious, and affords safe shelter for craft. The coastroad from Aberdeen to Stonehaven passes by the village.
STRANRAER, a royal burgh, a sea-port, and parish, in the county of Wigton, 6¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Portpatrick, and 50 (S. S. W.) from Ayr; containing 3440 inhabitants. This place, the name of which, of Gaelic origin, is supposed to be derived from its situation on a shore that is dry at low water, is of considerable antiquity, and was formerly the residence of the earls of Stair, whose ancient castle of Stranraer is still remaining. The town, which is coextensive with the parish, and the capital of the district of the Rhyns, is beautifully situated at the head of Loch Ryan, a branch of the Frith of Clyde; and consists mainly of several parallel streets, of which the principal extends for nearly half a mile along the loch, and which are intersected at right angles by smaller streets leading to the shore. The houses are well built, and many of them of handsome appearance; the streets are paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants amply supplied with excellent water. From its advantageous situation, and the healthiness of its climate, it has become the residence of many respectable families. Two public libraries, the one containing a good collection of works on general literature, and the other chiefly a theological library, are supported by subscription; there are also a public reading and news room well furnished with daily journals and periodical publications, and a mechanics' institution. Several good houses have been recently built in the immediate vicinity; considerable improvements have been made in the town itself, which extends into the parishes of Inch and Leswalt; and a regatta club has been established, under the patronage of Prince Albert.
The scarcity of fuel has hitherto prevented the extensive introduction of manufactures. A few of the inhabitants, however, are employed in the weaving of linen and cotton for the Glasgow houses; there are some tanneries and a sail-cloth manufactory, and also some nurseries in which large quantities of plants, fruits, and vegetables, are raised. An important fishery is carried on in Loch Ryan, for skate, flounders, turbot, halibut, cod, haddocks, whiting, lobsters, and crabs; oysters of good quality are also found in great abundance. The herring-fishery, too, was formerly extensive, and employed 300 boats; but for many years this pursuit has not been so productive as it was. The trade of the port consists chiefly in the export of grain, cattle, and other agricultural produce, leather shoes, and a few other articles, which are sent to Glasgow, Belfast, and Liverpool; and in the importation of timber from the Baltic, iron, and coal. A good trade is also carried on for the supply of the town and the neighbouring district. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port, in 1843, was thirty-four, of an aggregate burthen of 1895 tons; and the amount of duties paid at the custom-house during that year was considerable. The harbour is easy of access to vessels of tolerably large burthen, though only those not exceeding one hundred tons can approach the quay, and unload and take in their cargoes; and the loch affords safe anchorage for vessels of 300 tons within half a mile of the pier. The depth of the harbour is ten feet at spring tides. A considerable sum was expended by the corporation, in 1820, for its improvement; but, not having the authority of an act of parliament, the proposed increase of harbour dues has been resisted, and the corporation have not been indemnified for the outlay, which exceeded £4680. The bay of Loch Ryan is about ten miles in length, and two miles wide at the entrance: about half way up, a sand-bank called the Scar, stretches across it obliquely for a considerable distance, beyond which it expands into a breadth of four miles. A market, which is amply supplied with provisions of all kinds, is held weekly, on Friday. Fairs are held annually, on the Tuesday before the first Wednesday in January, and the Tuesday before Kilton Hill fair in June, for horses; on the third Friday in April, the first and third Fridays in May, and the third Friday in July, August, September, and November, for cattle; and on the third Friday in October, for fruit. There are three branch banks in the town. The post-office has a good delivery; and facility of communication is afforded by the great military road from Carlisle to Edinburgh, which passes through the town, and by vessels that frequent the harbour.
The town was erected into a royal Burgh, in 1617, by charter of James VI., under which the government is vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and thirteen common-councillors, elected agreeably with the provisions of the Municipal Reform act. There are no incorporated trades having exclusive privileges; but the magistrates may compel any one carrying on business within the burgh to enter as a burgess, for which the fee of admission varies from one to three guineas. The magistrates exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction, and hold both bailie and dean-of-guild courts for the trial of cases within the burgh. The town-hall, situated in George-street, is a neat structure containing the requisite accommodation; and the prison is under good regulations. The burgh is associated with New Galloway, Whithorn, and Wigton, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the number of qualified voters is 196. The rateable annual value of Stranraer is £3905. The parish, consisting of about forty acres, originally formed part of the parishes of Leswalt and Inch; its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stranraer, of which the town is the seat, and of the synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £158, including an allowance for communion elements, and of which £120 are paid from the exchequer; an allowance of £30 per annum is received in lieu of a manse, and the glebe is valued at £70 per annum; patron, the Crown. The old church, which contained 700 sittings, being condemned in 1833 as unsafe and incapable of repair, a temporary building of wood was erected by the minister for the use of the congregation; and the present church, which is a neat structure, was built by subscription in 1841. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, United Secession, Reformed Presbyterians, and the Relief; and a Roman Catholic chapel. The Academy, erected in 1845, at a cost of £2000, is well attended; and a parochial or burgh schoolmaster has a salary of £20, and the fees. The place gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Stair.
Strath, or Strath-Swordale
STRATH, or STRATH-SWORDALE, a parish, in the Isle of Skye, county of Inverness, 25 miles (S. S. E.) from Portree; containing, with the village of Kyleakin, and the isles of Scalpa and Pabay, 3150 inhabitants, of whom 231 are in the village. This place derives the former of its names from a Gaelic term signifying "a valley," and the latter from some lands nearly in the centre of the parish, which anciently gave to the whole neighbourhood their name as a distinguishing appellation. The lands of this district appear to have been the property of the family of the Mackinnons in the 14th century, and to have continued in their possession till about the middle of the 18th century, when they were purchased by the ancestor of the present Lord Macdonald, who, with the exception of the lands of Strathaird, since bought by Mr. Macalister, is the sole proprietor of Strath. In 1746, Prince Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender, remained for some time in concealment in one of the caves of Strathaird, in this parish, after his retreat from the battle of Culloden, and was eventually conveyed to Arisaig, on the main land of Inverness-shire, accompanied by the chief of the Mackinnons, who saw him safely embarked for France. The parish is bounded on the east by an arm of the sea, which separates it from the main land; and is nearly twenty-six miles in extreme length and about six miles in breadth, comprising 70,700 acres, of which 2100 are arable, 400 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface towards the centre of the parish is tolerably level, but in all other parts hilly and mountainous. In the western portion the hills are of almost every variety of form and elevation, some clothed with rich verdure, and others covered with heath, thus presenting a singular combination of picturesque beauty and rugged grandeur. In the northern district the hills rise to a mountainous height, and are chiefly of conical form, terminating in lofty peaks, and constituting a succession of naked and barren rocks of dreary aspect. There are numerous inland lakes, though none of very great extent; most of them abound with trout of good quality, and in several salmon are occasionally obtained. Here are no large rivers; but many copious springs are found, affording an ample supply of excellent water, and also some of which the water is strongly impregnated with iron.
The coast is bold and rocky, in some parts precipitous, and is indented with several bays having safe anchorage for vessels of any burthen. The principal are, Broadford bay, on the north; the sound of Scalpa, also on the north; Loch Eynart, on the north-west; and Loch Slapan, on the south; in all of which are good harbours. The fish taken off the coast are, cod, haddock, whiting, ling, lythe, skate, coal-fish, sand-eels, conger-eels, thornback, flounders, soles, grey and red gournard, mullet, and cuttle-fish. In the sound of Scalpa is an extensive bed of oysters, of small size, but of very superior flavour. Shell-fish of various other kinds, including lobsters, crabs, cockles, muscles, limpets, razor-fish, and welks, are also found on the shores; all of which are taken in abundance, forming an ample supply of food for the poor during the summer months. The herring-fishery was once very extensive, and gave employment to sixty or seventy vessels; but though still carried on during the season, it has greatly diminished, and the number of vessels engaged in it is now rather inconsiderable. The islands of Scalpa and Pabay, included in the parish, are described under their respective heads: the small island of Longa, which is also within its limits, and situated to the east of Scalpa, is about a mile and a half in circumference, uninhabited, and affording only pasturage for a few sheep.
The soil is various; in some parts clay, in others a rich black loam, but on much the greater portion of the lands mossy. The chief crops are oats and potatoes: wheat has been tried on some farms, but without success; turnips have been also introduced, and found to answer well, especially since the use of bone-dust for manure. The system of husbandry has been rapidly improving, and is now in a satisfactory state; considerable tracts of waste land have been reclaimed, and brought into profitable cultivation; and the facility of obtaining lime, marl, shell-sand, and sea-weed, for manure, affords ample encouragement for further advance. Part of the lands have been well drained, and neatly inclosed with hedges of thorn, which are kept in good order. The hills and moorlands are appropriated as pasturage for sheep and cattle, of which numbers are reared. The sheep are principally of the Cheviot breed, with a few of the black-faced; and to the improvement of both kinds the greatest attention is paid. The cattle are of the Highland black breed, and of extraordinary symmetry and beauty on the principal farms, the late Mr. Macdonald, of Scalpa, having bestowed much care and expense in selecting his breeding-stock: even the cattle of the smaller tenants are superior to those bred in many other parts of the country. The plantations, which consist of the usual varieties of firs, interspersed with forest-trees, are generally in a thriving state, and there are some remains of ancient wood; the ash, birch, and hazel appear to be indigenous to the soil. The rocks comprise trap and sienite, and the substrata are principally limestone and sandstone: there are also indications of coal on some of the lands, but no mines of any kind have hitherto been opened. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3026. There are no gentlemen's seats; but many of the houses of the principal tenants are substantial buildings, and several of them elegant. The village of Kyleakin, on the ferry, is separately described; there is also a small village at Broadford, on the bay of that name. In both are good inns; in the latter are two shops for the sale of various wares, a smithy, and a corn-mill; and a post-office has been established, which has three deliveries in the week. Fairs for black-cattle, sheep, and horses, are held annually, at Broadford, about the end of May and July, and the middle of September. Facility of communication is maintained by parliamentary roads, thirty miles of which pass through the parish; by statute roads, which intersect it in various directions, and are kept in good repair; and by steamboats to Glasgow, which ply weekly during the summer, and every alternate week during the winter.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Skye and synod of Glenelg. The minister's stipend is £271. 2. 6., with an allowance of £60 in lieu of a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patron, the Crown. The old church, a very ancient structure, being greatly dilapidated, and not safe, a church has been recently erected in the village of Broadford; it is a substantial and neat structure containing 600 sittings. There is also a missionary station for Scottish Baptists in the parish. The parochial school affords instruction to about 130 children; the master has a salary of £30, with a house, an allowance of £2. 2. in lieu of garden, and the fees, averaging £10 annually. Two schools are supported by the Assembly, and the Gaelic Society, respectively; the master of the former receives a salary of £25, with fees averaging £5, and the master of the latter a salary of £20 without any fees. There are remains of numerous places of worship erected by the Culdees, who lived in religious seclusion in many of the islands of the Hebrides; of these, one, at Ashig, is supposed to have been dedicated to St. Asaph, and near another, situated at Kilbride, is a rude obelisk of granite. On the western border of the parish are the ruins of seven Danish forts, forming a chain of stations for the communication of intelligence by fires lighted on the approach of an enemy; and at the eastern border of the parish are numerous tumuli, on opening which were found stone coffins rudely formed, containing urns in which were ashes, and human bones partly burnt, with some small copper coins. Near the village of Broadford is a barrow, in which has been discovered an arched vault, of stone without cement, and about six or seven feet in height: in this vault were found, a polished stone of a dark green colour, four inches in length and two inches and a half in breadth, perforated with holes in the angles, and a buckle of rude workmanship. Great numbers of ancient coins have been dug up at various times, but so defaced as to be altogether illegible; and upon the glebe was recently found a coin of Henry VIII., in a state of high preservation.
STRATHAVEN, a market-town and burgh of barony, in the parish of Avondale, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 16 miles (S. S. E.) from Glasgow, and 42 (W. S. W.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the late quoad sacra district of East Strathaven, 3852 inhabitants. This town appears to have derived its origin from the erection of a castle here by Andrew Stuart, grandson of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, to whom James III. granted the barony of "Avendale," of which that nobleman made this place the principal seat. The castle, whose imposing and venerable ruins occupy the summit of a rocky eminence rising from the small river Pomilion, appears to have been of great strength, and accessible only by a drawbridge over that stream, by which it was entirely encircled. During the usurpation of Cromwell, Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, to whose ancestor this barony had been given in exchange, fled for refuge into the castle, where she continued to reside till after the Restoration; but since her death, in 1716, it has fallen into decay, and at present is only a mouldering ruin, adding much, however, by its picturesque appearance, to the interest of the surrounding scenery. The town is pleasantly situated on the road from Edinburgh to Ayr, at the termination of a ridge of rising grounds, and on the banks of the Pomilion, by which Strathaven is divided into two nearly equal parts; it has an appearance of considerable antiquity, more especially in the immediate vicinity of the castle, which was probably the earliest portion of it. The streets in this part of the town are very narrow and irregularly formed, and the houses of mean appearance; but in that part which is of more recent erection, the houses are generally neat and commodious, and the streets wide and regular; and the environs are interspersed with many handsome villas, the residence of the more opulent inhabitants. The thoroughfares are lighted with gas by a company lately formed, consisting of the principal inhabitants; and the town is well supplied with water. The chief manufacture carried on, both in the town and parish, is weaving; there are three public breweries, and many persons deal extensively in cheese and cattle, in which more business is transacted here than, with the exception of Glasgow, in the whole of the rest of the county. Branches of two great banks have for some years been established here; the post is frequent, and the general trade of the place is much promoted by the facility of communication with Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the principal towns in the neighbourhood. The market is well supplied with butchers' meat and every article of dairy-produce; and great quantities of veal are sent from this place to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where it is in high repute, and obtains a good price. Fairs are held on the first Thursdays in January, March, and November, and the last Thursday in June and July; there are now also markets for hiring servants, for which purpose the farmers were once obliged to travel to Douglas or Glasgow. The inhabitants had formerly an extensive common, but within the last few years it has all become private property. The town was erected, in 1450, into a burgh of barony, and is governed by a bailie appointed by the Duke of Hamilton, who, however, for some years has not been resident. Upwards of forty houses, the brewery of Mr. Vallance, and the large tan-works of Mr. Semple, were burnt down on November 1st, 1844. A church was erected in this part of the parish in 1837, to which a district containing 2282 persons was assigned, and of which the minister holds his appointment from the male heads of families and seat-holders. There is also a place of worship for members of the Free Church.—See Avondale.
STRATHBLANE, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 10 miles (N. by W.) from Glasgow; containing 894 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "the Strath of the Warm River," from the sheltered situation of the vale through which the river Blane has its course, formed part of the possessions obtained from Maldwin, Earl of Lennox, by David Graham, in exchange for lands that had been granted by William the Lion to his father, the ancestor of the ducal family of Montrose. The castles of Mugdock and Duntreath, of the foundation of which little is known, belonged respectively to the families of Montrose and Edmonstone; and the former, after the demolition of the castle of Kincardine, in Strathearn, by the Marquess of Argyll in 1646, became the principal seat of the family of Montrose, whose descendant, the present duke, is one of the landed proprietors in Strathblane. The castle of Duntreath, now a ruin, was, with the lands attached to it, early the property of the Edmonstone family, of whom Sir William, of Culloden, married Lady Mary, daughter of Robert III., and widow of Sir William Graham, of Kincardine, ancestor of the earls of Montrose: Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Bart., is the present proprietor. Of Mugdock Castle, which appears to have been strongly fortified, there are still considerable remains, consisting of a square tower nearly entire, with a projecting gateway-turret at one of the angles; it was defended on the east and north by a lake, which supplied the fosse whereby the castle was surrounded on the other sides. At a distance of about three hundred yards from this castle is a remarkable echo, which distinctly reverberates a sentence of six monosyllables, if uttered in a loud tone, and this not till a few seconds after the sentence is completed. Of the castle of Duntreath, which seems to have been of the same date, and nearly of equal strength, the north and east sides of the quadrangle are a heap of ruins; and the arched gateway which formed the entrance is completely detached from the rest of the building. The neighbourhood of Strathblane appears to have been tributary to the celebrated Rob Roy Mc Gregor, from whose depredations the inhabitants purchased exemption by the payment of stipulated sums, in proportion to the extent of their properties; and an order of the justices of the peace for the district, made at the quarter-sessions held at Stirling, is still extant, enjoining the payment of those sums, in answer to a petition from the freebooter, complaining of their want of punctuality.
The parish occupies the south-western part of the county, and is about five miles in length and four in breadth, comprising 14,080 acres, of which 3350 are arable, 2000 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface is diversified with hills. A portion of the Lennox range extends along the northern boundary, attaining at the highest point, which is called the Earl's Seat, an elevation of 1400 feet above the level of the sea. On the south-west of the vale of Strathblane is the hill of Dungoiach, of conical shape, rising to a height of 400 feet, and clothed with wood to the summit, thus forming a striking contrast to that of Dunglass, on the north-east, which, though of nearly equal height, has a rugged and desolate appearance. The vale intersects the parish from north-west to south-east, reaching from the vale of Endrick on the west to the vale of Campsie on the east. Its surface rises, by gentle undulations, from a height of about 100 feet at the entrance to an elevation of 340 feet at the extremity; and the vale is inclosed on both sides by low hills covered with verdure, between which are narrow glens of picturesque aspect. The whole of this beautiful vale, and the entrance to it from the south-east, are marked with features of romantic character; and the scenery is enriched with woods of stately growth and thriving plantations, and studded with handsome villas and gentlemen's seats. On the south side of the vale is an expanse of table-land, about two miles in width, and nearly 400 feet above the level of the sea, extending across the whole breadth of the parish, and which was formerly a wild and barren moor, but is now in a state of profitable cultivation, producing favourable crops of grain. The river Blane has its source near the Earl's Seat, among the Lennox hills, and taking a southern direction, falls from several precipitous hills, and forms a magnificent cataract descending from a height of seventy feet, called the Spout of Ballagan, after which, diverting its course to the north-west, it flows through the valley of Strathblane into the Endrick. There are numerous springs of excellent water, one of which, on the farm of Ballewan, possesses mineral properties; and also several lakes, of which the principal are, Loch Ardinning, about sixty acres in extent, but undistinguished by any peculiarity of features; Loch Craigallion, containing forty acres; Loch Mugdock, twenty-five acres in extent, surrounded with beautiful scenery, among which the ancient castle forms an interesting object; Loch Craigmaddie, of ten acres, Loch Dumbroch, of the same extent; and Loch Carbeth, containing only eight acres. The lakes abound with pike and perch, and char are also found in that of Dumbroch. Game of every kind is plentiful; black and red grouse frequent the moors, and wild-ducks, woodcocks, partridges, and pheasants are found in abundance.
The soil, though various, is generally fertile, and well adapted for the different crops, which comprise oats, barley, wheat, beans, turnips, and potatoes, with the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is greatly improved, and a due rotation of crops is carefully observed; the lands have been well drained, and inclosed with dykes of stone, and, on some of the farms, with hedges of thorn, kept in good repair; the farm houses and offices are substantial and commodiously arranged, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements have been adopted. Great attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, the produce of which is sent to the Glasgow market. The sheep and cattle are of the several breeds common to this part of the country; and a considerable stimulus to improvement is afforded by an association called the Farmer's Society, who hold their meetings annually, and award prizes to the successful competitors. There are some remains of natural wood, consisting of beech, alder, hazel, and willow; and the plantations, which are very extensive, and chiefly of modern formation, are, larch, Scotch fir, oak, ash, elm, beech, Huntingdon willow, Lombardy poplar, and other kinds of forest-trees. The principal substrata are of the old red sandstone formation, which abounds in the lower parts of the parish; the hills consist chiefly of trap, in which are found veins of jaspar, and occasionally chalcedony and zeolite. Limestone and marl also occur in some places; and there are quarries of freestone of good quality for building, in operation to a moderate extent. The rateable annual value of the parish is returned at £5300.
Craigend Castle, the seat of John Smith, Esq., is an elegant mansion, erected in 1812, and beautifully situated: Carbeth, erected in 1810, is also a handsome mansion; and Leddiegreen and Ballagan are both good houses standing on pleasant sites. In the garden of Ballagan is a yew-tree in full vigour, and presenting a fine appearance, supposed to be five centuries old. There is no village in the parish, properly so called; but three detached hamlets have been formed, consisting of a few houses. Some works for the printing of calico have been established at Blanefield, which are carried on with much success, and occupy a considerable number of the population; there is likewise a bleachfield at Dumbroch, where upwards of sixty people are regularly employed. The nearest market-town is Glasgow, with which there is facility of communication by two turnpike-roads from that city, one leading to Drymen, and the other to Balfron, and both passing through the parish: a post-office has been established here of late years under that of the city of Glasgow. A fair, exclusively for cattle, is held annually, about the middle of November, but is not well attended. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dumbarton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £231. 16. 5., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £16 per annum; patron, the Duke of Montrose. The present church, erected in 1803, is a handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, and contains 450 sittings, all of which are free: the remains of Lady Mary, daughter of Robert III., were interred in the family vault beneath the old church. The parochial school affords instruction to about thirty children; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 per annum. A parochial library was established in 1817, and has now a collection of 700 volumes; a Bible society was established in 1813, and a missionary society in 1823. There is also a fund for the poor, of £400, the amount of various charitable bequests. To the south-east of the hill of Dungoiach are six erect stones, varying in height; the highest is about six feet from the surface, but nothing of their history has transpired. Under the surface of the moss at Craigend was discovered, in 1800, a small inclosure formed with stakes of wood; but for what purpose it was intended, is altogether unknown. There seemed to have been originally an entrance from the west; and a few pieces of wood indicated that the inclosure had been roofed: it was probably a place of shelter. The Duke of Montrose takes the inferior title of Baron Mugdock from this parish.
STRATHBUNGO, a village, in the parish of Govan, Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 2 miles (S.) from Glasgow; containing 491 inhabitants. This village is situated in the south-east angle of that portion of the parish which extends into Renfrewshire, the greater part of the parish being in the county of Lanark. It is built upon both sides of the high road from Neilston to Glasgow, and may be considered as a suburb of the city, in the manufactures of which a considerable number of the population is employed. A near chapel has been erected in the village, in connexion with the Established Church.
STRATHDON, or Invernochty, a parish, in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, 19 miles (W. by S.) from Alford; containing 1563 inhabitants. This place, originally called Invernochty, derived that name from the situation of its church near the influx of the river Nochty into the Don; and its present appellation, from its extensive and beautiful strath, or valley, through which the river Don takes its pleasing, winding course, dividing the parish into two nearly equal parts. The lands appear to have formed a portion of the superiority of the earls of Mar, by one of whom the ancient castle of Curgarff was erected for a huntingseat; they subsequently became the property of the family of Forbes, between whom and the Gordons most deadly feuds subsisted for many years. In one of these, in 1571, the castle of Curgarff, at that time inhabited only by Margaret Campbell, her children, and servants, was attacked by Adam Gordon, of Auchendown, who set fire to the building; and Margaret Campbell, with the children and servants, to the number of twenty-seven persons, perished in the flames. The castle was, however, subsequently rebuilt; it was purchased by government from Mr. Forbes, of Skellater, in 1746, and was for some years occupied as barracks, under the garrison of Fort-George, by a detachment of twenty men. From 1827 to 1831 a captain, with a subaltern and sixty men, was stationed in it to support the civil authorities in their determination to suppress the practice of smuggling, which at that period was carried on to a very great extent; but it has not since been occupied by any military.
The parish, which constitutes the western extremity of the county, is about twenty-three miles in length, and varies from three to eight miles in breadth; comprising, according to computation, 70,000 acres, of which nearly 5000 are arable, 4000 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture and waste. The form of the parish is extremely irregular, from the portions of adjoining parishes with which it is in several places indented. The surface is strikingly diversified, presenting, in peculiarly fine contrast, a considerable extent of level and fertile vale, and large tracts of moorland of mountainous elevation, combining all the varieties of wild and rugged Highland scenery. The valley of the Don, through which that river flows from west to east, is intersected nearly at right angles with several sequestered glens, watered by rivulets descending from the mountains between which they are inclosed; some of the glens are finely wooded with natural birch, but the mountains are covered with heath to their very summits. The highest of these mountains are, Morven, situated contiguous to the southern boundary of the parish, and which has an elevation of 2880 feet above the level of the sea; Scroulach, very near the military road by Curgarff Castle to Fort-George, and rising to the height of 2700 feet; Cairnmore and Ben-Newe, each 1800 feet high; and Lonach, which has an elevation of 1200 feet. On the summit of Cairnmore mountain, a cairn was erected by the tenantry, in 1823, to Sir Charles Forbes, in commemoration of his being raised to the rank of baronet. There is also a mountain of inferior height, called Greenhill, from its being partially clothed with verdure. The river Don has its source in this parish, on the confines of the county of Banff, and taking an eastern direction, receives in its course numerous streams from the mountains; it runs between banks exhibiting much romantic beauty, and falls into the sea about two miles to the north of Aberdeen. Among the tributaries of the Don are, the Conry, the Ernan, the Carvy, the Nochty, the Deskry, the Bucket, and the Kindy, nearly all of which take their rise in the parish, and flow through the several glens to which they respectively give name. The Don and its tributaries abound with trout, which, though small, are of fine flavour, and afford good sport to the angler; and salmon are occasionally found in the Don, but not in any considerable number. There are springs of excellent water in various parts of the parish, some of which are more or less chalybeate; but they have not been analysed, and their properties are but little known.
The soil on the arable lands is mostly a deep loam, in some places alternated with gravel; on the lower acclivities of the hills it is generally very fertile. The summits of the hills are chiefly peat-moss, of great depth, and of various quality; and from some mosses are dug portions of the trunks of fir-trees, which, when dried and split into strips, may be used instead of candles. The chief crops are oats, with a moderate quantity of barley, and considerable quantities of bear; turnips are cultivated to a great extent, and some potatoes, but owing to the injury to which they are exposed from the early frosts, only very scanty crops of the latter are raised. The system of husbandry is improved; the lands have been well drained and inclosed; and where requisite, embankments have been formed to protect them from the inundations of the river Don, to which they were much exposed. The farm-houses are generally of a superior description, built of stone, and roofed with slate; and the offices are all well arranged. On some of the farms are threshing-mills driven by water, and on one a mill driven by horses; there are also three mills for grinding meal. The cattle, about 2200 of which are annually reared in the parish, are of the Aberdeenshire black breed, with a few of a mixed breed between the Ross-shire and the West Highland; and the sheep, of which nearly 9000 are pastured on the hills, are all of the black-faced breed. No horses are reared, except for purposes of husbandry. The agricultural produce beyond what is requisite for the supply of the inhabitants, and also the fat-cattle, are sent to the Aberdeen market, whence, since the facilities of steam navigation have been rendered available, much live-stock is forwarded to London. The plantations have been greatly extended within the last thirty years; they consist of Scotch fir and larch, for which the soil seems peculiarly adapted, and ash, elm, plane, and various kinds of forest-trees, which, since more attention has been paid to regular thinnings, are all in a prosperous state. Around the houses of the principal proprietors are some good specimens of timber. The prevailing rocks are sienite and granite, in which are found veins of compact felspar, hornblende in crystallized masses, and in some places garnets. Limestone, which is abundant, is extensively quarried, and is burnt into lime with peats, and occasionally a little coal; all the limestone rocks lie on the north side of the Don, with the exception of one near Boilhandy, and the quality of the lime is excellent. A quarry of slate was formerly wrought; but from the coarseness of its quality, the working of it has been discontinued. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to parliamentary returns compiled for the purposes of the Income-tax, is £4228.
Newe, the seat of Sir Charles Forbes, is a spacious mansion, erected in 1831, of Kildrummy freestone, in the old manorial style, and situated on the north bank of the Don, in a demesne tastefully embellished with thriving plantations. The present house, with which the old mansion was incorporated, contains a splendid suite of apartments, and is ornamented with a noble portico of extremely elegant design. Candacraig House, the residence of Robert Anderson, Esq., is a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, built in 1835, of granite discovered in the immediate vicinity; and is pleasantly situated in grounds richly wooded. Inverernan, belonging to Mrs. Forbes, is a villa partly in the Italian style, near the confluence of the Ernan and the Don; and the house of Auchernach, erected by General Forbes in 1809, is also a commodious residence. The mansions of Glen-Kindy, the property of Sir Alexander Leith; Bellabeg, situated near the influx of the Nochty into the Don; Edinglassie; and Skellater, the property of Sir Charles Forbes, are all of old date. There is no village in the parish, unless a few cottages at Heugh-Head, not exceeding ten in number, may be so called; nor is there any manufactory, except at Glen-Kindy, where is a mill for spinning woollen yarn. In the weaving of blankets and plaidings, from six to eight persons are employed. The post-office, under that of Aberdeen, has a daily delivery; and fairs for cattle, one of which is also for the sale of meal and fodder, are held five times in the year, the principal being on the third Friday in August. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Aberdeen, which passes for eighteen miles through the parish, and terminates at Curgarff; by cross roads that intersect it in various directions; and by three good bridges over the Don, and bridges across the other streams, one of which, over the Nochty, is of cast-iron.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is about £210, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £2. 12. 6. per annum; patron, the Crown. The church was rebuilt in 1757, and reseated and repaired in 1808; it is a plain substantial structure containing 504 sittings, all of which are free. A missionary station has been for more than a century supported at Curgarff by the Royal Bounty, from which the minister receives a stipend of £63 per annum, with a croft and right of pasture. A church, with a manse and offices, was erected for this district in 1834, by Sir Charles Forbes, at a cost of £1100; the church is a handsome structure, and affords ample accommodation for the inhabitants. There is also a small Roman Catholic chapel at Curgarff. The parochial school gives instruction to nearly 100 children; the master has a salary of £28, with a house, an allowance of £2 in lieu of garden, and the fees, averaging about £10 annually. A new parochial school-house, with a dwelling-house for the master, was built in 1838 by the heritors, upon a greatly improved plan. Three schools are supported by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, who allow the masters salaries of £15 each, with a dwelling-house, in addition to the fees; and in 1832, Sir Charles Forbes built a school-house and dwelling for the teacher at Curgarff. The late John Forbes, Esq., of Newe, bequeathed £500, and Miss Forbes, of Bellabeg, £100, for the benefit of the poor. The ruins of three ancient castles are found at unequal distances, within the parish, apparently forming part of a chain of forts extending from Kildrummy to the castle of Curgarff, at the head of Strathdon. Near the confluence of the Nochty with the Don, is an abruptly conical mound called the Doune of Nochty, of elliptical form, 970 feet in circumference at the base, and 560 at the summit, and about sixty feet in height. This mound has been surrounded with a ditch twenty-six feet wide and sixteen deep; and around the summit are still to be traced the foundations of numerous buildings. According to tradition, it was the site of the ancient church. Numerous subterraneous buildings occur in this part of the county, five of which have been discovered in this parish; they are here called "Eirde houses," are constructed of loose stones placed together in irregularly circular form, and contract in diameter towards the roof, which is of flat stones. In 1822, two ancient rings and several hundred silver coins were found in digging for a dyke. One of the rings was of gold, with a sapphire stone of deep colour, and the other of iron, gilt, and mounted with a pale sapphire; some of the coins were of the reign of Henry III. of England, two of King John, and the others of William the Lion of Scotland.
STRATHFILLAN, lately a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Glenorchy, district of Lorn, county of Argyll, but chiefly in the parish of Killin, county of Perth, 14 miles (W. by S.) from Killin; containing, with the village of Clifton, 735 inhabitants, of whom 247 are in the county of Argyll, and 488 in the county of Perth. This place, which, for ecclesiastical purposes, was separated from the parishes of Killin and Glenorchy by act of the General Assembly in 1836, appears to have derived its name from a priory founded here by King Robert Bruce, and dedicated to St. Fillan, in gratitude for his victory in the battle of Bannockburn. The establishment was for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, and continued to flourish under a regular succession of priors till the Dissolution, when its revenues and site were granted to the Campbells, ancestors of the Marquess of Breadalbane. Of the building, which seems to have been 120 feet in length and twenty-two feet in breadth, there are still some portions of the walls remaining; and near the site is a deep pool called the Holy Pool, in which it was the practice in ancient times to dip persons afflicted with insanity. The patients on these occasions, after immersion in the pool, were left bound during the night in a part of the church designated St. Fillan's chapel; and if they were found loose on the following morning, the cure was deemed to be complete. A stone called St. Fillan's chair, and several small round stones, each of which was consecrated by the saint, and supposed to have been endowed with the power of curing some particular disease, were long preserved at the mill of Killin; and five of the stones are still kept there for the inspection of the curious. The strath to which the priory gave name forms an interesting portion of the Highland district of Breadalbane, and is situated on the north of Loch Dochart; it is rather a pastoral than an agricultural district, and in its various features partakes of the general character of the parish of Killin. Among the seats of importance is Glenure House, the summer residence of Thomas Herbert Place, Esq., a handsome modern mansion, beautifully situated in grounds tastefully laid out, embellished with thriving plantations, and comprehending much picturesque and romantic scenery. The village of Clifton, near which is a mine of lead-ore in operation, stands not far from the western extremity of the strath. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Weem and synod of Perth and Stirling. A church was erected here in 1829, and endowed by Lady Glenorchy with funds from which the minister derives a stipend of £60; and a manse, and a considerable extent of hill pasture, are given to him by the Marquess of Breadalbane: patrons, the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, who support a school in the district. The members of the Free Church now hold the place of worship.
STRATHKINNESS, a village, in the parish and district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 2½ miles (W.) from the city of St. Andrew's; containing 490 inhabitants. This place is situated a little north of the high road from St. Andrew's to Cupar; and the vicinity is remarkable as the scene of the murder of Archbishop Sharp, who was assassinated by some Covenanters on Magus moor, a short distance south of the village, on the 3rd of May, 1679. A chapel in connexion with the Established Church has been lately erected at Strathkinness, containing accommodation for about 350 persons, and the minister of which has a stipend of £54. 12.; there are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, and for dissenters.
STRATHMIGLO, an ancient burgh of barony and a parish, in the district of Cupar, county of Fife, 2 miles (W. by S.) from Auchtermuchty; containing, with the hamlets of Westercash and Edenhead, 2187 inhabitants, of whom 1304 are in the town or village of Strathmiglo. This place derives its name from the river Miglo, which, flowing through the parish, divides it into two nearly equal portions, and afterwards assumes the name of the Eden. The lands anciently formed part of the demesnes of the crown, and were granted by Malcolm IV., in marriage with his niece, to Duncan, Earl of Fife, whose descendants, in 1251, gave them to the family of the Scotts of Balwearie, in whose possession they remained for many years. The estate was erected into a burgh of barony in 1600, and its privileges as such were confirmed by charter of James VI., in 1605. The superiority in 1730 became the property of the Balfours, of Burleigh, whose armorial bearings are placed on the front of the town-house, which was built with the materials of the old castle of Cairney-flappet, granted for that purpose to the burgesses by Margaret Balfour, who was then superior of the barony. After the rebellion in 1745, and the consequent abolition of heritable jurisdictions, the burgh lost its privileges; and the lands are now divided among various proprietors, of whom P. G. Skene, Esq., of Pitlour House, is the principal.
The parish, which is bounded on the south by the Lomond hill, and on the north by a branch of the Ochils, is about six miles in length, and varies from two to four miles in breadth; comprising an area of 5000 acres, of which 350 are woodland and plantations, 600 meadow and pasture, and the remainder arable. The surface is partly level and partly hilly, rising on both sides of the river by gentle acclivities; on the south to the Lomond range, which has an elevation of 1700 feet above the sea; and on the north to a ridge of inconsiderable eminence, forming a continuation of the Ochil range. The Miglo has its source in two small streams, the one at the north-west, and the other at the south-west, angle of the parish: these, uniting in the valley of Strathmiglo, form the river Eden. The soil, on the south side of the river, is light and thin, but on the north side deeper, and of richer quality, chiefly a fertile loam; the crops are, grain of all kinds, turnips, potatoes, and the various grasses. The system of agriculture is improved, and according to the nature of the land, the four or six rotation plan is adopted: the farm-buildings are substantial and commodiously arranged, and on most of the farms are threshing-mills, several of which are driven by water. The substrata are mainly sandstone and whinstone; and on the side of Lomond hill is found white freestone, of very durable texture, and susceptible of a high polish. Pitlour House is a handsome mansion, situated on an eminence overlooking the town in grounds tastefully laid out.
The town is pleasantly seated in a fine plain on the north side of the Miglo, and consists chiefly of one irregularly built street, from which several smaller streets and lanes diverge at right angles: in the centre of the principal street is the town-house, a good building, with a square tower surmounted by a spire. On the opposite side of the river stands the small village of Westercash, and between it and the town is a level meadow called the Town green. The chief business carried on by the inhabitants is the weaving of linen; there is a bleachfield; and the river in its course gives motion to several corn and flour mills, a lint-mill, and a mill for spinning flax. Among the articles made are, diaper, damask, dowlas, checks, and table-linens, in making which from 500 to 600 persons are employed at handlooms, mostly for the manufacturers of Dunfermline, Dundee, and Kirkcaldy; many of the weavers, however, manufacture these articles on their own account. There is a post-office in the town, subordinate to that of Kinross; and facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in excellent repair. Fairs, chiefly for pleasure and general traffic, are held on the last Friday in June and the first Friday in November. The rateable annual value of the parish is £9330. Its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife. The minister's stipend is £217. 11. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum: patron, the Earl of Mansfield. The old church, which was collegiate, belonged to the abbey of Dunkeld; the present church, situated at the east end of the village, is a plain edifice erected about the year 1785, and contains 750 sittings. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, Reformed Presbyterians, and the United Associate Synod. The parochial school affords instruction to about eighty children, the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £22 per annum. The schoolroom has recently been enlarged by the heritors, and will now accommodate 150 children; a play-ground also, has been purchased by subscription. A female school has been built by Mr. Skene, who pays the teacher a small salary; and three other schools are supported by subscriptions and donations. The poor have the interest of a bequest of money, yielding £10, and the rent of land, £19 per annum. There are some remains of what are supposed to have been Druidical monuments; also numerous barrows and tumuli in the parish; and human bones, ashes, and various military weapons, have been found at different times.
STRATHY, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Farr, county of Sutherland, 9 miles (E. by N.) from the church of Farr; containing 880 inhabitants. This district was formed of the eastern part of the parish, extending to the north coast of the county, and is of considerable length. It is watered by the river Strathy, a stream issuing from Loch Strathy, and which, after a course of about fifteen miles, falls into a bay of the same name, at the head of which is the village: the promontory of Strathy point forms the western shore of the bay. The coast road from Thurso to the Kyle of Tongue runs through the village, of which the population are chiefly fishermen. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Tongue and synod of Sutherland and Caithness, and the patronage is in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £120. The church, situated in the village, and built in 1826, affords accommodation to about 350 persons. There is a school, the master of which has a salary of £25, with about £4 in lieu of fees.
STRATHYRE, a village, in the parish of Balquhidder, county of Perth; containing 135 inhabitants. This is a small place, lying in Strathyre, the name of which, in the Gaelic language, signifies the "Warm Strath." It is on the turnpike-road leading from Stirling to Fort-William, and is one of two villages in the parish, the other being Lochearnhead, on the same line of road, and near the western entrance of Loch Earn.
STRELITZ, a village, in the parish of Cargill, county of Perth, 3 miles (S. W. by S.) from Cupar-Angus. This village was built in 1763, as a place of residence for discharged soldiers at the conclusion of the German war, and had its name in honour of Her Majesty Queen Charlotte, consort of George III. Shortly after its erection it consisted of upwards of eighty neat houses, forming a street ninety feet broad, watered in the middle by a stream. To every house was originally annexed a good garden, with about three acres of land, well inclosed; and the whole village was sheltered by stripes of plantation.
STRICHEN, a parish, in the district of Buchan, county of Aberdeen; containing, with the two villages of New Leeds, and Strichen or Mormond, 2012 inhabitants, of whom 681 are in the village of Strichen, 15 miles (W. N. W.) from Peterhead. This place, the name of which is supposed to be a corruption of Strath Ion, or "the Strath of John," consists of some portions of land severed from the adjacent parishes of Rathen and Fraserburgh, and erected into a separate parish, by act of the General Assembly, in 1672. Towards the close of the 16th century, the lands of Strichen had become the property of a branch of the ancient family of the Frasers of the county of Inverness, lords Lovat; and they have continued in their possession until the present time. In 1815 the Strichen branch of the family succeeded to the property in Inverness, thus uniting the two houses of Lovat and Strichen; and the title of Baron Lovat, after having remained under forfeiture for nearly a century, was restored by his late Majesty William IV., on petition of Thomas Alexander Fraser, who was created Lord Lovat on the 28th of January, 1837, and who is chief proprietor of the parish. The parish is about seven miles in extreme length, and varies from two to three miles in breadth, comprising nearly 10,500 acres, of which 6300 are arable, 450 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland pasture, moss, and waste. The surface is pleasingly diversified, in some parts ascending gradually from the banks of the water of Strichen, and in others rising into hills of various height, the most conspicuous being the hill of Mormond, elevated more than 800 feet above the level of the sea. This hill, which is on the north-eastern boundary of the parish, is of conical form, constituting a good landmark to vessels navigating the Moray Frith; and was selected as one of the stations for carrying on the late trigono-metrical survey of Scotland under the sanction of government. The only stream of any importance is the water of Strichen, or the North Ugie, which flows through the parish from west to east, dividing it into two nearly equal parts; it forms a confluence with the South Ugie about six miles below the village, and falls into the sea at Inverugie, near Peterhead. The river abounds with trout and eels, affording excellent sport to the angler, and was formerly much frequented by otters, of which great numbers were taken; but few are now seen in its waters, and the breed appears to be nearly extinct.
The soil is exceedingly various, in some few spots luxuriantly fertile, but generally of very inferior quality: in many places are large tracts of moss supplying only peat for fuel. Among the chief crops are, oats, potatoes, and the different grasses; flax was formerly much cultivated for the neighbouring works, and since the introduction of bone-dust for manure, large crops of turnips have been raised. The system of husbandry is improved, and a due rotation of crops for the most part observed; the farms are generally of very moderate extent, and there are numerous small holdings. There is nothing peculiar in the agricultural produce of the parish; the moorlands afford tolerable pasture for cattle, and great attention is paid to the improvement of the breed. The plantations consist chiefly of firs, interspersed with various kinds of forest-trees, and are all in a thriving state; there are some remains of natural wood, and, in the grounds of Strichen House, numerous fine specimens of ancient timber. Limestone was formerly quarried to a considerable extent, for the burning of which for manure the abundance of peat in the mosses afforded great facility; but from the indifference of its quality the quarries have been discontinued. Granite, of an excellent description for building, is found; and from the quarries were raised the materials for the erection of Strichen House and most of the houses in the village. Strichen House, one of the seats of Lord Lovat, is a spacious and elegant mansion erected in 1821, and situated in an ample demesne tastefully laid out, and embellished with some venerable yewtrees more than a hundred years old, and with thriving plantations of recent date.
The village of Strichen is pleasantly situated nearly in the centre of the parish; it is well built, and contains some handsome houses. A town-house, a substantial structure with a spire, was erected at a cost of £2000, in 1816, by Mrs. Fraser, of Strichen House, during the minority of her son, the present Lord Lovat. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the linen-manufacture, which is carried on to a considerable extent; a branch of the North of Scotland Banking Company's establishment has been opened in the village, and also a savings' bank, in which are deposits amounting to more than £1000. A library, a Masonic lodge, and a lodge of Odd Fellows, have been established here; and there are some good inns, and a friendly society for the benefit of aged men and widows. Fairs, chiefly for cattle and horses, are held on the first Tuesday in January; the Tuesday after the 4th of March; and the Wednesdays after the 19th of May and August, and after the 12th of July and November. The post-office has a daily delivery, under Aberdeen; and facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh, which passes through the east of the parish, within three miles of the village; by the turnpike-road from Peterhead to Banff, which passes through the village; and by statute roads in various directions. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4685. Its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £158. 7. 8., of which more than one-third part is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £6 per annum: patron, Lord Lovat. The church built on the erection of the parish, being in a state of decay, and also much too small for the accommodation of the parishioners, was taken down, and the present church erected in 1799; it is a neat substantial structure containing about 900 sittings. There are two places of worship for members of the Congregational Union. The parochial school affords a good course of instruction to sixty children: the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £21 annually; he has also a share of the Dick bequest. A Sabbath school is held in the townhouse, and attended by 120 children.
STRICKATHROW, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 5 miles (N. by E.) from Brechin; containing 553 inhabitants. This place comprehends the two ancient parishes of Strickathrow, which originally formed the prebend of the chantorship in the cathedral church of Brechin, and Dunlappie, which was united to it in 1612, by act of the General Assembly. Strickathrow is supposed to have derived its name (anciently Strath-Cath-Ra, and signifying in the Celtic language "the Valley in which the King fought") from a battle that took place here in 1130, between the army of David I., King of Scotland, and the forces of Angus, Earl of Moray. The name of the latter parish, a compound of Dun, "a hill" and Lappie, "water," is minutely descriptive of the appearance of its surface; the north-western portion is occupied by the hill of Lundie, near the base of which flows the river Westwater, and the lower lands are traversed by numerous streams. No events of historical importance are authentically recorded: according to tradition, the churchyard of Strickathrow was the scene of the surrender of the crown and sovereignty of Scotland, by John Baliol, to Edward I. of England, in 1296. The parish is bounded on the north and north-east by the river Westwater, which separates it from the parish of Edzell, and by the North Esk, which divides the county of Forfar from Kincardine. It is nearly seven miles in length and one mile and a half in breadth, comprising 5440 acres, of which 3100 are arable, 1540 meadow and pasture, and 490 woodland and plantations. The surface is greatly diversified. In the south-east is an extensive tract of table-land, having an elevation of 400 feet above the vale of Strathmore, and commanding a fine view of the strath for thirty miles in length and almost ten miles in breadth; in front is the entrance of Glen-Esk, with Mount Battock in the background, 2000 feet high; and in the nearer view rise the Catterthuns and others of the Grampian range. In the central portion of the parish the ground is low and tolerably level; but towards the north-west boundary, it rises into considerable elevation in the hill of Lundie, already referred to, and others of inferior height. The prevailing scenery is varied, and in many points, enriched with plantations, has a pleasingly picturesque appearance. The Westwater, after flowing for some miles along the boundary of the parish, falls into the North Esk, which for more than a mile bounds Strickathrow on the north: the Cruik, a small stream in summer, but in winter, and after continued rains, becoming an impetuous torrent, winds through the parish in a north-eastern direction, and flows into the North Esk near the church. There are various smaller streams, all of which abound with trout, affording good sport to the angler; and in the North Esk are found sea-trout and salmon, of which latter there was once a fishery producing to the proprietor a rental of £25, but which, since the use of stake nets at the mouth of that river, is altogether unprofitable.
The soil is various, but consists, for the most part, of a black loam, of moderate fertility, on a subsoil of cold retentive clay, or hard gravelly till. The crops raised in the parish comprise grain of all kinds, with potatoes, turnips, and the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is greatly improved, and a strict regard is paid to a due rotation of crops; tile-draining has been partially introduced, and much waste land has been brought into profitable cultivation. Bone-dust has been for some time used with success in the cultivation of turnips, and guano and other sorts of manure have been recently employed. The farms vary in general from sixty to 400 acres in extent, but there are several small crofts, none of which exceed eight acres; the farm-houses are substantial and commodious. The lands have been in some degree inclosed, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements have been adopted. The cattle reared are the Angus; horses are bred for purposes of husbandry, and sheep and swine fed for the neighbouring markets. The plantations, which have been greatly increased, and are generally in a flourishing state, consist of ash, lime, beech, spruce, and the various other kinds of firs: the beech, for which the soil appears well adapted, is the most prevalent, and there are some very fine specimens of ash, lime, and American spruce. The principal substrata are limestone and red sandstone, which latter is of durable texture when taken at a considerable depth. The limestone was formerly wrought to a pretty large extent, and the quarries yielded to the proprietor a net profit of £500 per annum; but they have lately become impracticable for want of efficient means for draining off the water. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to parliamentary returns compiled for the purposes of the Income-tax, is £3809.
There are some good residences, namely, Stracathro, the seat of Alexander Cruikshank, Esq., an elegant mansion in the Grecian style of architecture, beautifully situated in grounds tastefully embellished, and commanding extensive and finely varied prospects; Auchenreoch, a substantial modern structure; and Newton Mill, an ancient family mansion pleasantly situated. The only approximation to a village is a cluster of about ten or twelve houses called Inchbare, irregularly built, and mostly occupied by persons employed in the necessary handicraft trades. Facility of communication is afforded by the old and new turnpike roads from Aberdeen to Perth, which pass for two miles through the parish; and by good roads kept in repair by statute labour, and recently much improved. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £170. 9. 5., with a manse, and the glebes of Strickathrow and Dunlappie, valued together at £16. 10. per annum; patrons, the Crown and the Earl of Kintore. The church, erected in 1791, and lately repaired, is a handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, containing 360 sittings. The parochial school affords instruction to about sixty children; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the school fees average £10 annually. A parochial library containing about 300 volumes is supported by subscription. On the farm of Ballownie was recently discovered, in a circular mound forty yards in diameter and about nine feet high, a square box formed of stones placed edgewise, containing human bones in a very decomposed state, among which were three arrow heads of flint. Numerous stone coffins, none of which, however, exceeded four feet in length, were dug up lately near the church; and near the mound just noticed, and on the hill of Strickathrow, are conical mounds which, from their commanding situation, appear to have been signal posts. Sir George Rose, president of the Board of Trade, and treasurer of the navy, during the administrations of Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville, was a native of this place, of which his father was for many years a resident; he was born in 1744, and died in 1818.
STROMA, an island, in the parish of Canisbay, county of Caithness; containing 186 inhabitants. This island lies in the Pentland Frith, about three miles from the coast of Caithness, and is about a mile in length and half a mile in breadth. The rocks on the west side are of considerable elevation: the height of the waves that beat against them during storms from the westward, exceeds all ordinary description; and though the soil is fertile, the crops are frequently injured in tempestuous weather by the spray from the sea, which dashes over the rocks with inconceivable fury. In the caverns of this island were formerly to be seen several human bodies in a state of great preservation, though they had lain there between sixty and eighty years. There are ruins of an old castle, and also of an ancient chapel. The property of the isle was once disputed by the Earls of Orkney and Caithness, who, instead of having recourse to the sword or to the laws for the determination of their quarrel, agreed to a simple and curious mode of deciding it. Venomous animals, it appears, do not exist in Orkney, and quickly die when transported to the islands; on this occasion some were brought to Stroma, and as they continued to live, the island was adjudged to belong to Caithness.
STROMAY, an isle, in the parish of Harris, county of Inverness. It is one of the Hebrides, lying in the sound of Harris, among a group of smaller isles, and a short distance from the coast of North Uist; it is about a mile in length, of very irregular shape, and much indented, particularly on the eastern side. The inlet called Loch Mhiefail is formed by the projecting shore of Uist on the west, and by Stromay on the east. The isle is uninhabited.
STROMNESS, a sea-port town, burgh of barony, and parish, in the county of Orkney, 14 miles (W. by S.) from Kirkwall; containing 2785 inhabitants, of whom 2057 are in the town. This place derives its name from a point of land at its southern extremity, boldly projecting into the sound of Hoy, against which the tide rushes with violent rapidity, and which, by affording shelter from the west winds, forms a commodious harbour. The town, originally a small fishinghamlet consisting of a few scattered huts, was dependent on the royal burgh of Kirkwall till the year 1754, when, on appeal to the court of session, afterwards confirmed by the house of lords, it was emancipated from all contribution and dependence. Though possessing a situation admirably adapted for the erection of a handsome town, it consists mainly of an irregularly formed street nearly a mile in length, and in some parts scarcely twelve feet wide. The houses, many of which are built on the extreme verge of the land, and some of which have their foundations even in the bay, are of rather unprepossessing character, seemingly erected more with regard to facility of connexion with the harbour than to any uniformity of appearance. A public library was established about 1810; it is well supported by subscriptions of seven shillings per annum, and has a valuable collection of standard works. A society for promoting the study of natural history was soon after established, and has been liberally encouraged; the museum is enriched with an extensive collection of natural curiosities both foreign and domestic, and with numerous specimens of the various birds frequenting the Orkney Isles, and the most interesting fish, shells, and fossils found in this part of the coast.
The manufacture of kelp, at one time carried on to a very great extent, has been much reduced; and that of straw-plat, for which there were several large establishments, is now confined to the female part of the population, who are employed at their own dwellings. There are numerous well-stored shops for the supply of the neighbourhood with various articles of merchandise; but the principal support of the town arises from its fishery, and from the numerous vessels which, in unfavourable weather, are driven in to take shelter in its harbour, which is accessible to ships of large burthen. The various piers are commodious, and well adapted to the purpose: at the northern extremity of the town is a spacious warehouse for the stowage of cargoes saved from vessels wrecked off the coast. The harbour is nearly a mile in length, and has eighteen feet depth of water at spring tides. A patent-slip has been constructed for the repair of vessels that may have sustained damage during heavy gales; it is well constructed, and capable of receiving ships of 500 tons. Ship-building is carried on to a considerable extent; and several fine schooners, sloops, and brigs have been launched, and also numerous boats to be employed in the fisheries. The number of vessels belonging to the port is twenty-three, of the aggregate burthen of 2132 tons. Some sloops are employed in the cod and haddock fisheries; and during the months of May and June, great quantities of lobsters are taken, of which not less than 12,000 are annually sent to the London market by Gravesend smacks, which call here twice every week during the fishing season for that purpose. An attempt has been on foot, and not without encouraging success, to make this place a station for the herring-fishery, the accomplishment of which object will materially add to the prosperity of the town. A post, subordinate to that of Kirkwall, conveys letters three times in the week. Fairs are held annually in May, September, and November, chiefly for cattle; the September fair is the principal, and is well attended. A considerable number of cattle have recently been shipped hence for Caithness, and the markets in the south. The town was made a burgh of barony in 1817: the government is vested in two bailies and a council of nine burgesses; but the burgh has no common fund, neither is there any gaol nearer than Kirkwall. The magistrates consequently exercise little more than a nominal jurisdiction.
The parish is bounded on the south by the sound of Hoy, on the east by the lake of Stenness, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean; it is about five miles in length and nearly four in average breadth, and comprises 8160 acres, of which 1860 are arable, almost 1000 in pasture, and the remainder undivided common. The surface is diversified with hills of various elevation, rising from 100 to 500 feet in height above the level of the sea; they are destitute of wood, and have a bleak and barren aspect, but being interspersed with well cultivated valleys and tracts of verdant pasture, they form a striking contrast in the general scenery of the parish, which is pleasingly interesting. The view, also, from these eminences is rich, embracing the expanse of the Atlantic, the hill of Hoy, the beautiful island of Græmsay, and the cluster of the Orkneys, with the lofty mountains of Sutherland in the distance, and the sound of Hoy, forming an approach from the Atlantic to the harbour from the west, and in which it is in contemplation to erect a lighthouse. Little improvement has been made in agriculture. The crops are oats and bear, with some potatoes, but scarcely more of the last are raised than are sufficient for the use of the inhabitants; the soil is however good, and the substratum principally freestone, slate, and granite. The slate-quarries were formerly wrought more extensively than at present, and from 30,000 to 40,000 slates were annually sold; though well adapted to the climate, they form a weighty roof, and have lately been superseded by those of Easdale, which are of lighter quality. There are no regular quarries of freestone; what is required for building is taken from the shore in boats. The granite was some time since quarried by a company formed for the purpose, and was found to be of very superior quality; but the work was discontinued for want of capital. Leadore is also found here, and was once wrought; but the produce was insufficient to remunerate the adventurers. Cairston, the seat of J. R. Pollexfen, Esq., is a handsome summer residence, beautifully situated, and commanding some fine views; the grounds are tastefully laid out, and the farm attached to the estate is in a high state of cultivation.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cairston and synod of Orkney. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 7., of which one-tenth is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum: patron, the Earl of Zetland. The church, erected in 1816, is a large structure with a small spire; it is situated in the burgh, and contains 1200 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and the United Secession. The parochial school was till lately in a remote district, and consequently of confined benefit; the master has a salary of £25 per annum, with a small dwelling-house. There are two schools supported by subscription, in which, in addition to the usual course, the Latin, Greek, and French languages, and the mathematics, are taught, and in one of them navigation also; the masters have a regular salary. There are also male and female schools supported by fees. Near the site of the old church are the remains, chiefly the foundations, of some religious house, of which little is known, but which, from its name, is supposed to have been a monastery; and nearly a mile westward, are the ruins of an ancient and venerable structure erected by Graham, one of the bishops of Orkney, above the door of which are the initials G. G., with the arms of the see, and the date 1633. There are several tumuli in the parish; and in the quarries on the shore are some beautiful specimens of petrified fishes. Gow, the hero of The Pirate, and Torquill, of The Island of Lord Byron, were both natives of this place.