Quarff - Quothquan

A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.

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Samuel Lewis, 'Quarff - Quothquan', A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), pp. 396-399. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp396-399 [accessed 14 June 2024].

Samuel Lewis. "Quarff - Quothquan", in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846) 396-399. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp396-399.

Lewis, Samuel. "Quarff - Quothquan", A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846). 396-399. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp396-399.

In this section



QUARFF.—See Bressay, and also Burra.


QUARRELTON, a village, in the Abbey parish of the town of Paisley, Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Paisley; containing 271 inhabitants. This village is pleasantly situated on the road from Glasgow to Beith, and is chiefly, if not entirely, inhabited by persons employed in the collieries in its immediate vicinity, which abounds with the mineral; it is neatly built, and amply supplied with excellent water. From its situation on the turnpike-road, a considerable degree of traffic takes place, which communicates to it an air of activity and cheerfulness; and it enjoys great facilities of intercourse with the neighbouring towns. One of the mines was suddenly flooded with water in the year 1818, when the miners were at work; five of them perished, and two were taken out in a very emaciated state, but still alive, after having been for nearly ten days confined to their gloomy retreat. The adjacent hamlets of Thorn and Overton, though pleasant, consist only of straggling cottages. The greater portion of their inhabitants are employed in cotton-works or in weaving; others, in the surrounding collieries; and some few exercise various handicraft trades for the accommodation of the immediate neighbourhood.


QUEENSFERRY, a royal burgh and a parish, in the county of Linlithgow, 9 miles (E. by N.) from Linlithgow, and 9 (W. by N.) from Edinburgh; containing 721 inhabitants. This place, which is of great antiquity, appears, from the numerous remains of sepulchral urns, burnt bones, and other relics discovered at various times, to have been visited by the Romans, who probably deemed it the most convenient spot for crossing the Frith of Forth, and by whom it was called Freti Transitus. Its proximity to the military way leading to the wall of Antonine, also, affords presumptive evidence of its early importance. At the time of the conquest, in 1066, Edgar Atheling, with his sister Margaret, afterwards Queen of Scotland, fleeing from England, arrived here to take refuge at the Scottish court; and the place where he landed, to the westward of the town, is in commemoration of that event still called Port-Edgar. After her marriage to Malcolm Canmore, in 1067, this place was frequently visited by the queen, in her way to and from the royal palace of Dunfermline; and the particular spot where she was in the habit of crossing the Frith obtained the appellation of the Queen's Ferry, from which the town derives its present name. Malcolm IV. granted to the monks of the abbey of Scone a free passage to this place, which in his charter to that effect is designated Portus Regina, and the same privilege was granted also to the abbey of Dunfermline, by Pope Gregory, in 1234, and by Robert I. and III., and confirmed to it by charter of James II. in 1450. Though the place had been constituted a port in the reign of Malcolm IV., it was not erected into a royal burgh till 1636, when the inhabitants obtained a charter of privileges from Charles I. From this time the town rapidly increased in commercial importance; the inhabitants carried on a considerable trade with Holland, and in 1641 there were about twenty ships of large burthen belonging to the port, and several coastingvessels. During the war in the reign of Charles I., the town suffered frequent depredation from the contending parties, and in the time of Cromwell was injured by the cannon of some ships of his fleet. At the rebellion in 1745, it was threatened by the Highland troops in the Pretender's service; but was saved from being plundered by a ship of war at that time lying off the harbour.

Burgh Seal.

The town is situated on the south side of the Frith of Forth, which is here about a mile and a half in breadth. It consists chiefly of one street, extending for about a quarter of a mile in length, and containing several good houses of modern erection; and is plentifully supplied with water, conveyed into a reservoir formed at the expense of the Earl of Rosebery, who also gave to the inhabitants a piece of ground for a bleach-green. The town has been greatly improved; new houses have been built, and handsome shops opened. There is a subscription library containing about 600 volumes; and the place is much resorted to for sea-bathing. A considerable degree of traffic arises from the numbers of persons crossing the ferry; but there are no large vessels now belonging to the port, nor is any foreign trade carried on; though occasionally a few coasting-vessels land cargoes of barley for the distilleries in the vicinity, and also of rape-cake, draining-tiles, and manure, for the use of the farmers, who frequently during the winter send potatoes to the London market. Coal, also, for the supply of the steamers on the ferry, and for the consumption of the neighbourhood, is brought in boats carrying from ten to twelve tons; and freestone from the quarries at Humbie, about three miles distant, is sometimes shipped at the port. The manufacture of soap, which was formerly extensive, and also a brewery, which had been long established, have both been discontinued; but a distillery under the Glenforth Distillery Company, making about 2000 gallons of whisky weekly, and employing twenty persons, is in high repute for the quality of the spirit.

The inhabitants are, however, chiefly engaged in the fisheries. To the west of the town a salmon-fishery has been recently established, and is carried on with success; stake-nets are employed, and during the months of July and August great quantities of salmon, grilse, and sea-trout are taken, and sent regularly to the Edinburgh market. During the winter months, many of the inhabitants are occupied in the herringfishery, which was first established at St. Margaret's Hope, and in the bay of Inverkeithing, nearly opposite to the town, in the year 1792, and has since been pursued with various success. In favourable seasons, from forty to fifty carts have been daily in attendance to purchase the fish taken, each carrying away from 6000 to 12,000 to different places; so that comparatively few are cured here. There are twelve boats belonging to the town, each having a crew of five men; besides which, from fifty to 100 boats from Fisherrow, Prestonpans, and other villages are employed in the fishery, the greater number discharging their cargoes here. Many of the females spin hemp, which is made by the younger children into nets. The shore is level and sandy, with the exception of some ledges of rock extending considerably into the sea on the east and west extremities of the parish, at the latter of which is the harbour, where a substantial stone pier has been erected, and several important improvements made, under the direction of Mr. H. Baird, civil engineer. The tide rises at the mouth of the harbour to the height of eighteen feet; and during the fishing-season, the harbour is generally crowded with the vessels employed in that trade. Since the discontinuance of the soap manufacture, however, which contributed largely to the excise-duties, the harbour-dues have been greatly diminished; and they at present scarcely produce £100 per annum.

The ferry, of which the history is rather obscure, is supposed to have been at first private property, to the owner of which the lands of Muiry Hall, consisting of about fifteen acres, were granted by Queen Margaret, in order to keep it in due repair. It was subsequently divided among several individuals, under whose management it was much neglected. The piers on the south side were in a very dilapidated condition; on the opposite shore of the Frith, where the boats were kept, and all the boatmen lived, there was only one pier; and much delay and inconvenience were experienced in crossing. In 1809, application was accordingly made to parliament, and an act obtained for the construction of proper landing-places, for purchasing sites for the erection of houses to receive the boatmen, for altering the system of management, and other things connected with the improvement of the ferry. Under the provisions of this act, the ferry was purchased by trustees from the various shareholders, for the sum of £8673, including which the total amount expended on the works was £33,824, whereof £13,500 were advanced by government, and the remainder raised by loan. With part of these funds, the pier at Port-Edgar, to the west of the town, which had become much dilapidated, was rebuilt on a larger scale at an expense of £4764; it is 378 feet in length, and has been rendered perfectly commodious. A pier, also, 722 feet in length, was constructed at New Halls, about half a mile to the east of the town, at an expense of £8700; and is now the principal landing-place on the south side of the ferry. A small pier was erected at Port-Nuick, at an expense of £587; and several houses for the boatmen were built, at a cost of nearly £1000. The pier on the north side of the ferry was erected at a cost of £4206: a signal-house and a house for the superintendant, were also built, at an expense of almost £700. A second grant was obtained from government, and a new subscription opened, in 1812, by which means a pier was constructed at the Long Craig, 1177 feet in length, and also a small pier at the East Battery; while on the north side, the West Battery pier was enlarged, and the North Ferry pier considerably lengthened.

Previously to 1821, there were but two sailing-boats and two pinnaces regularly employed in the ferry; but in that year steam navigation was introduced, and a fine steamer called the Queen Margaret was built at a cost of £2400, which, with three large sailing-boats, a half-tide boat, and three pinnaces, the several crews together amounting to thirty-six men and boys, performed the whole business of the ferry. In 1838, a larger steamer, of forty-eight horse power, called the William Adam, was substituted in the place of the Queen Margaret, which had been found inadequate to the work. Since this time, only two large sailing-boats and two pinnaces have been employed; and the number of persons engaged in navigating the steamer and the boats has been diminished to sixteen, with a shore-master, clerk, and two porters, on each side of the ferry. The William Adam leaves the South Ferry every hour, and the North pier at the half hour daily, from sunrise till sunset; and with such regularity is the business conducted, that passengers know the precise moment of their departure, and, by well-regulated signals while on the passage, may procure carriages waiting to forward them on their landing. Her Majesty Queen Victoria, attended by Prince Albert, crossed the Frith in the William Adam on the 5th of September, 1842, in her visit to the north, on which occasion the shore on both sides was crowded with spectators, and the Frith with vessels adorned with flags in honour of Her Majesty, who was hailed with the most joyful acclamations. There are several good houses at New Halls, and an excellent inn for the accommodation of passengers crossing the ferry; and the pleasingly romantic scenery in the neighbourhood renders the town the frequent resort of visiters and parties of pleasure. A fair is held annually in August; and facility of intercourse with Edinburgh, Linlithgow, and the other towns in the vicinity, is afforded by roads kept in excellent order, of which the chief are the great north road and the road to Edinburgh. The Edinburgh mail arrives daily at the post-office at half-past six in the morning, and at five in the afternoon; and the mail from the north at five in the morning, and at eight in the evening.

The government of the burgh of Queensferry is vested in a provost, two bailies, and seventeen towncouncillors, by whom all the other municipal officers of the place are elected. There are three incorporated trades or companies, the wrights, tailors, and weavers, in one of which it is necessary to enter previously to becoming a burgess; the fees of admission are, for the son or son-in-law of a burgess £2. 1. 2., and for a stranger £5. 2. 2. The jurisdiction of the magistrates is confined to the royalty. They hold courts for the determination of civil pleas to any amount, though for some years not more than ten causes have been tried annually; they also hold criminal courts, but for the trial of petty offences only, the more serious cases being sent to Linlithgow. The town-hall contains a room for the meetings of the council, with the requisite accommodation for holding the courts, and offices for transacting the other public business of the burgh; there is also a small room for the temporary confinement of prisoners. The police is under the superintendence of a townofficer, assisted by six constables, and appointed by the magistrates. The inhabitants appear to have sent a representative to the Scottish parliament in 1639; the burgh is now associated with Stirling, Inverkeithing, Culross, and Dunfermline, in returning a member to the imperial parliament. The right of election is vested by the Reform act of 1832 in the £10 householders, of whom there are within the parliamentary boundaries thirty-nine.

The parish was separated from the parish of Dalmeny in 1636, by charter under the great seal, ratified by act of parliament in 1641; it comprises only the site of the main part of the town, and the gardens and lands of the royalty, in all from eight to ten acres. The rateable annual value is £689. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The stipend of the minister is £171.8.6., of which £52. 2. 1. are paid from the exchequer; with an allowance, in lieu of manse and glebe, of £50 per annum, granted by a late act of parliament; patrons, the Town-council. The church, situated in the centre of the town, is a neat plain structure with a belfry, erected in 1635, and thoroughly repaired in 1821 at an expense of £500; the interior is well arranged, and contains 400 sittings, of which some are free. The parochial school is well attended, and the master has a salary of £29. 4. 6., and the fees, averaging about £44: a new building has recently been erected for the school, which is handsome and well adapted for the purpose. There is also a Sabbath school, to which is attached a library for the children. The poor of the parish have the yearly rent of land, and interest of money, amounting to £23, and part of the proceeds of a bequest by Capt. Henry Meek, of £5000, to the town of Queensferry, in which the poor of those small parts of the town that are within Dalmeny parish are allowed to participate. The Countess of Rosebery, also, gives employment to widows and industrious females in spinning, which contributes to their relief. In the western portion of the town are some remains of the ancient church of the Carmelite Friars, founded about the year 1330, by the Dundas family, whose place of sepulture it still remains; and there was formerly a house on the beach, called the Binks, erected for the accommodation of Queen Margaret while waiting for the arrival of her boat from the opposite shore of the ferry.

Queensferry, North

QUEENSFERRY, NORTH, a village, in a detached part of the parish of Dunfermline, district of Dunfermline, county of Fife, 2 miles (S.) from Inverkeithing, and 6 (S. E. by S.) from Dunfermline; containing 461 inhabitants. This place is situated on a promontory on the north shore of the Frith of Forth, and derives its name from an ancient ferry connecting it with the town of Queensferry, on the south side of the Frith. It once belonged to the abbots of Dunfermline, who had a chapel here endowed by Robert I.; and is noticed by the Scottish historian Buchanan under the appellation of Margaritæ Portus, from its having been the place where Margaret, queen of Malcolm III., frequently embarked and landed on her passage to and from her palace of Dunfermline. After the Dissolution, the ferry became the property of the Earl of Rosebery and Sir Archibald Dundas, of Dundas, the latter of whom erected a strong castle on the rocky island of Inchgarvie, in the Frith, which subsequently was converted into a place of confinement for prisoners of state. The fortifications were repaired during the last war, and the battery mounted with cannon; but since the peace it has been altogether neglected, and is now in a state of ruin. To the west of the castle, and near the extremity of the rock on which it is built, are the remains of a circular redoubt, and to the east are those of a battery, both of which are said to have been erected by the forces of Cromwell while encamped on the Ferry hills. The Frith is here a mile and a half in breadth. The passage has been greatly facilitated by the erection of a commodious low-water pier, and other improvements, effected partly by means of a grant from government of above £13,000; and the ferry has been vested by act of parliament in trustees. At one period subsequently to these improvements, it produced an annual rental of £2300, which, however, afterwards diminished to £1500. The village, which is beautifully situated, directly opposite to Queensferry, is small but neatly built, and is principally inhabited by boatmen and persons connected with the ferry. It has an excellent inn for the accommodation of passengers from the opposite shore; and from the salubrity of the air, and the numerous objects of interest in the immediate vicinity, it has become a place of great resort for sea-bathing during the summer season. The surrounding scenery is strikingly beautiful and romantic; and the Ferry hills, which stretch into the Frith, command extensive and diversified views. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads; and steam-boats to Leith, Stirling, and all the intermediate ports, sail regularly from the pier; the landing-place is well constructed, and is accessible to vessels of considerable burthen during spring-tides. A signal-house has been built on the rocks on the north shore, containing an apartment, also, for the meetings of the trustees above-mentioned, and the requisite accommodation for the boatmen and superintendant of the ferry.

Quivox, St.

QUIVOX, ST., a parish, in the district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 2 miles (N. E.) from Ayr; containing, with the village of Whiteletts, and the late quoad sacra district of Wallacetown, 6055 inhabitants. This place, anciently written St. Kevoch, and subsequently St. Evox, appears to have derived that name from a female saint who flourished in the reign of Malcolm II., and who is supposed to have founded some religious establishment here of which the history is unknown. The parish is about five miles in length and about three miles broad; it is bounded on the south by the river Ayr, and comprises 5000 acres, of which, with the exception of 250 woodland and plantations, the whole is arable and pasture. The surface is partly flat, but rises towards the eastern extremity, and is there broken into irregular eminences: the Ayr abounds with yellow trout, and there are numerous springs affording an ample supply of excellent water. The soil in the lower parts is light and sandy, interspersed with patches of moss and clay; and in the higher lands, a stiff retentive clay. The crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips; the system of agriculture is in a highly improved state, and the rotation plan generally practised; the lands are well drained and fenced, and the farm-buildings substantial and commodious. A dairy-farm is well managed on the lands of Shields; eighty milch cows are kept, and large quantities of butter of good quality are sent to the Edinburgh and Glasgow markets. The cattle are mostly a cross with the short-horned breed, and considerable numbers are fattened for the butcher, and at an early age attain a great weight: the sheep that are kept are chiefly of the Highland or Galloway breed. The woods consist of every variety of forest-tree; and the plantations, which are of various ages, are in a flourishing state. The rateable annual value of St. Quivox is £10,974.

The substratum of the parish is mostly of the coal formation. There are two seams of coal, the uppermost of which is about four feet in thickness, and of a light and friable quality; while the lower, which lies at a depth of twenty fathoms, and is about the same in thickness, is of harder texture, and more of the quality of splint. The upper seam, having been worked for more than fifty years, is nearly exhausted, but the lower, which has been opened only within the few last years, is in full operation: three pits are now wrought, and the coal is conveyed by a railroad to the harbour of Ayr. Freestone is also quarried in several parts, and the produce arising from the collieries and quarries together is estimated at £3405 per annum. The mansion-houses of Auchencruive and Craigie are spacious and handsome residences, finely situated on the banks of the Ayr, in tastefully disposed demesnes embellished with thriving plantations; and the gardens and pleasure-grounds of the former are much admired. The nearest town is Ayr, to which the parish forms a kind of suburb, and where the farmers obtain a market for their agricultural produce, and a port for the shipping of that of the mines and quarries. St. Quivox is in the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and patronage of the Oswald family: the minister's stipend is about £250, with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £8 per annum. The church, an ancient structure situated nearly in the centre of the parish, was repaired and enlarged in 1824, and is adapted for a congregation of 450 persons. From the great increase of the parish by the erection of the villages of Wallacetown and Content, a chapel was built at the former place by subscription in 1835, affording accommodation to 900 persons; and in the year following, that village for ecclesiastical purposes was erected into a separate parish. At Wallacetown are also an episcopal chapel, places of worship for members of the United Secession, Antiburghers, and Independents, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The parochial school is well conducted: the master has a salary of £30 per annum, with £30 fees, and a house and garden; also eight bolls of meal from the Auchencruive estate. A small parochial library has been established; and the inhabitants, from their proximity to the town of Ayr, participate in all the general institutions at that place. There are several friendly societies, and also a female friendly society founded some few years since under the patronage of Lady Oswald, and which has a fund of £400 for the relief of its members. In levelling some ground near Content, several small earthen urns were found, supposed to be of Roman origin.


QUOTHQUAN, a village, in the parish of Libberton, Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 2 miles (S.) from Libberton village; containing 160 inhabitants. This place, also written Couth-Boan, and signifying "the beautiful hill," derives its name from Quothquan Law, a delightful hill in its vicinity, elevated about 600 feet above the river Clyde, and green to its very summit. The lands around formerly constituted a parish, which was united in 1660 to the parish of Libberton: the church is demolished. The village is pleasantly situated on the eastern side of the Clyde, which separates the parish from that of Covington. On the Law is a large rough stone, hollowed in the middle, and called "Wallace's Chair," in which, it is said, Sir William Wallace held conferences with his followers before the battle of Biggar.