A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.
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VAILA, an island, in the parish of Walls and Sandness, county of Shetland; containing 29 inhabitants. It lies south-west of the main land of the parish, at the entrance of a small sound, or more properly a voe, to which it gives name; and is about a mile in length and half a mile in breadth. In the centre of it is Melbie House, the residence of the Scott family, principal heritors of the parish.
VALEY, an isle, in the parish of Sandsting and Aithsting, county of Shetland. This is a very small isle, belonging to the Sandsting portion of the united parish, lying southward of it, and giving name to a sound, wherein is safe anchorage for fishing-vessels.
VALLAY, an island, in the parish of North Uist, county of Inverness; containing 59 inhabitants. This is an island only at low-water, being separated from the north shore of Uist by a shallow sound dry at the subsiding of the tide. It is a mile and a half in length and about half a mile in breadth, with, for the most part, a light sandy soil remarkably fertile in corn and grass in favourable seasons; but the surface is frequently covered with sand when strong gales blow from the north-west, the isle being entirely exposed to the wide sweep of the Atlantic from that point. It is distant from the main land of the parish about two miles, the interval at low-water presenting a spacious strand. At each extremity of Vallay is safe anchorage for shipping.
VALLEYFIELD, LOW, a village, in the parish of Culross, county of Perth, 4½ miles (E. by S.) from Kincardine; containing 260 inhabitants. This is a straggling village, beautifully situated on the north shore of the Frith of Forth, and on the borders of Fifeshire: the inhabitants are for the most part weavers. In the vicinity is Valleyfield House, a modern, elegant, and commodious mansion, lately the seat of Sir Robert Preston, Bart.; it is built within a spacious demesne, tastefully laid out, and embellished with plantations. The coast road from Torryburn to Kincardine passes here.
VEMENTRY, an island, in the parish of Sandsting and Aithsting, county of Shetland; containing 2 inhabitants. It lies in the bay of St. Magnus, on the south-east side, close to the Mainland coast, from which it is separated by the narrow sound of Eye. In some parts, particularly on the east, it produces good pasture, upon which cattle and sheep are fed.
VICARLAND, a village, in the parish of Cambuslang, Middle ward of the county of Lanark; containing 123 inhabitants. It is one of thirteen small villages or hamlets in the parish, several of them modern, and some of them now united, and of which the population is largely engaged in trade and manufactures, chiefly hand-loom weaving. In the village are about sixteen houses.
VIGEAN'S, ST., a parish, in the county of Forfar; containing, with the villages of Auchmithie, Gowan-Bank, and Marywell, the hamlet of Colliston-Mill, the late quoad sacra district of Inverbrothock, and part of that of Ladyloan, 8793 inhabitants, of whom 55 are in the village of St. Vigean's, 1 mile (N.) from Arbroath. This parish, which originally comprehended the entire barony of Aberbrothock, at present comprises only the lands of St. Vigean's proper, the ecclesiastical district of Inverbrothock, and part of Ladyloan. It derives its name from Vigeanus, a Culdee Monk, and an eminent preacher, who flourished in the tenth century, and lived in a hermitage at the Grange of Conan, near the ancient baronial castle, where the foundations of his chapel may still be traced, and near which is a copious spring retaining his name. The parish extends for about five miles along the coast of the German Sea; is upwards of eight miles in length from east to west, and rather more than three miles in mean breadth; and comprises an area of about 13,400 acres, of which 11,440 are arable, 840 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface is broken by a couple of ridges of different height, respectively 250 and 550 feet above the level of the sea, and between which lies the valley of the Brothock, through which the stream of that name flows into the sea at the harbour of Arbroath. The coast is precipitous, with some boldly projecting rocky promontories, whereof the most conspicuous has the appellation of Lud Castle: about a mile from Arbroath, the coast is indented with two bays, and in several parts the rock is perforated by the action of the waves into caverns of fanciful appearance, formerly the resort of large numbers of seals, now scarcely seen on this part of the coast. There are also several natural excavations in the cliffs at a considerable elevation above the sea: one, about a mile from Auchmithie, called the Geary Pot, forms a tunnel 120 feet in depth. Some portions of the shore have a sandy beach.
The soil, though varying greatly in depth, is tolerably fertile, producing favourable crops of wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes; the system of agriculture is improved, and the rotation plan generally prevalent. Furrowdraining has been extensively practised, and guano, &c., been used as manure for the turnip lands. Considerable attention is paid to the improvement of the breed of cattle, and the management of live-stock generally; the farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged, and threshing-mills have been erected on most of the farms. The substratum is chiefly of the old red sandstone formation, and there are some quarries of it and of flags. The woods are larch, with a mixture of beech and elm, and the plantations principally Scotch fir; they are well managed, but the situation of the parish is not favourable to the growth of timber. The rateable annual value of the parish is £16,975. Here are numerous seats occupied by heritors; the principal are, Seaton, Letham Grange, Abbethune, Newton, Parkhill, Colliston, Millbank, Woodlands, and Springfield. They are all modern mansions pleasantly situated, with the exception of Colliston, which is an ancient mansion said to have been erected by one of the Guthries. There are three villages, Auchmithie, Marywell, and Gowan-Bank, the inhabitants of which, in common with those of the parish at large, are chiefly employed in the spinning of flax and tow, and the weaving of coarse linen cloth, for which there are not less than fifteen large mills and factories, affording employment to more than 1200 of the population, exclusively of persons engaged in the several factories as millwrights, foremen, and overseers. The machinery of the mills is driven by twenty steam-engines, of 250 horsepower in the aggregate; the quantity of flax consumed is about 5500 tons annually, and the value of the yarn is estimated at £264,000. Of this quantity of flax, the greater portion is imported from Russia, Prussia, and Ireland. There are also factories for the weaving of canvas, containing in the aggregate 242 looms, and affording occupation to 450 persons. Two establishments are conducted for the bleaching of yarn, in which is apparatus for the manufacture of the requisite acids employed in the process; and there are several mills for plashing the brown yarns, and establishments for calendering the linens, in which are also hydraulic presses for packing such as are intended for exportation. There is an extensive iron foundry, in which more than thirty persons are employed; the chief castings are stove grates, mostly for exportation to Canada, and attached to the premises are furnaces for coke for the supply of the engines on the Dundee and Forfar railways. The Forfar railway passes for nearly four miles through the parish, along the banks of the river Brothock; and facility of communication with the adjacent towns is also afforded by roads kept in good repair.
A fishery is carried on with considerable success at Auchmithie; the fish are cod, haddocks, skate, and halibut, in taking which twelve boats, each with a crew of five men, are regularly employed. The number of cod fish caught during the season averages about 10,000, and great numbers are salted and barrelled for exportation. Many lobsters were formerly taken here, and frequently not less than 16,000 were shipped in one season for the London market; but the number now is much diminished, seldom exceeding 1000. The boats are also engaged in the herring-fisheries, which last generally for about six weeks. The fairs once held in the parish on the principal saints' days are now transferred to Arbroath. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Arbroath and synod of Angus and Mearns: the minister's stipend is £256. 5. 5., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum: patron, the Crown. The church, which is situated on a rocky knoll near the stream, is an ancient structure in the Norman style of architecture, with a square tower; it was enlarged in 1827, has 825 sittings, and is in good preservation. The building contains many interesting details, and in the churchyard are the remains of an old cross. A second church, to which was lately annexed the ecclesiastical district of Inverbrothock, was built in that portion of the parish in 1828, at an expense of £2000; it is a neat structure containing 1230 sittings. At Auchmithie is a chapel of ease, built by the Countess of Northesk, in 1829, in which a minister was once engaged by the inhabitants to officiate with permission of the proprietor. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, Original Seceders, and Wesleyans. The parochial school is well attended: the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £40; he also receives £20 per annum from a bequest by Mr. Colville, late town-clerk of Arbroath, for the gratuitous instruction of five poor children. A handsome school-house has been built by voluntary subscription, aided by a grant from government; and there are five other schools in the parish, of which the masters derive their income from the fees. There are several chalybeate springs in the parish, still used medicinally. In a vault under the church were interred the remains of Sir William Young, tutor to James VI., under Buchanan.
VUIAVORE, an island, in the parish of Uig, island of Lewis, county of Ross and Cromarty; containing 46 inhabitants. This island lies in Loch Roag, to the south-west of Great Bernera, from the nearest point of which it is distant about half a mile. With the exception of Bernera, it is the largest of several isles in the loch, though not exceeding a mile and a half in length and half a mile in breadth, and like most of the land in the vicinity, and on this part of the coast of Lewis, it has little elevation.
VUIAY, an island, in the parish of Bracadale, Isle of Skye, county of Inverness; containing 6 inhabitants. It is situated in Loch Bracadale, on the southwest coast of Skye; is of very small extent; and like the other islets in the same loch, is only a pendicle to a farm on the opposite shore, affording pasturage for cattle during part of the summer and winter seasons.