Kinnethmont

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Kennethmont Vol 13 1794 - Pages 66 - 81

Parish of Kenethmont
(County and Synod of Aberdeen, Presbytery of Alford)

FIRST STATISTICAL ACCOUNT - 1793

By the Rev Mr George Donaldson formerly Minister of Kenethmont, now of Rathven

= = = = =

Name, Situation, Extent, Soil, Surface and Climate. - There is some difference of opinion respecting the derivation of the name Kenethmont. Mr Gordon, my predecessor, conceived an idea, probably from a tombstone, to be mentioned afterward, that one of the Kings of Scotland of the name Kenneth had been buried on the mount, where the church is built; and that from him, the parish was called Kennethmont. Others, write Kinnethmont; which, persons skilled in the Gaelic, derive from two original words, the one signifying, "Head", and the other "Moss". Nor does this derivation appear perfectly [67] satisfactory, as the eminence on which the church stands, is towards the foot of the moss *.

* Kennethmont has a parish in whole, or part, annexed to it, named Christ's Kirk. At what period this annexation took place, I have not been able to discover. But that it was once a separate parish, admits of no doubt. For the burial-ground is still in use, the ruins of the kirk remain, and the incumbent of Kennethmont is in poesession of the glebe. But the name of Christ's Kirk as a parish, is at present never used, being applied solely to the farm, which surrounds the glebe and burial-ground. It is in the east end of the parish, at the distance of about 4 English miles from the present church.

The parish is about 6 miles long from E. to W. and 3 broad from N. to S. It is six miles from Huntly, the nearest post town, 30 from Aberdeen, and 24 from Banff, and the other towns on the Murray Firth, to the mouth of the Spey. The parish may contain about 6500 acres Scots, and in the following proportions nearly:

Infield             960 acres
Outfield           2770 acres
Meadow and pasture  980 acres
Plantations         340 acres
Mosses              150 acres
Moors and heath    1300 acres

The soil in general is a light loam; and, when properly cultivated, produces luxuriant crops. The surface is diversified with hills and eminences, some of them planted with trees of various sorts, which in a short time will beautify the country. Of these the hill of Christ's Kirk is not the least beautiful. It is of considerable altitude, and has two green tops, which have a pretty effect at a distance. The parish is well watered. It abounds in springs, rills, and streams sufficient for meal mills. Some of these proceed in an Eastern direction from one channel to another, till they reach the Don, which falls into the sea at Aberdeen; others turn to the West, lose [68] themselves in the Bogie, which communicates with the Deveron, and along with it, runs into the Murray Firth at Banff.

From the high situation of Kenethmont, it is natural to conclude, that the air is good, and the climate healthy; and experience confirms the conclusion. In winter, the air is frequently piercing, and the snow sometimes deep; but in winter, as well as in summer, the people in general enjoy good health, and many attain to old age. They are not subject to epidemic diseases. The influenza, which, not many years ago, prevailed over the greatest part of Britain , was unknown here. And equally fortunate have they been since the above period, In escaping putrid sore throats, and dangerous fevers, which broke out in the neighbourhood, and proved fatal to many. Of uncommon longevity, I can produce no instance. It may, however, be mentioned, that Mess. Garrioch and Gordon, my predecessors, both died of old age. The former officiated 10 years at Forbes, and 50 years at Kenethmont; and the latter, 7 years at Cabrach, and 40 years at Kenethmont. And during my incumbency, which lasted above 11 years, there died 16 or 17 persons above 80 years of age.

Heritors, Agriculture, Etc. - There are 4 heritors or proprietors of land; the Duke of Gordon, Colonel Hay of Rannes, Mr Gordon of Wardhouse, and Mr Weymss of Craighall. The three last generally reside, and direct their attention to the improvement of agriculture, rearing of cattle, or plantations. Some of the heritors have introduced the modern improvements of agriculture, and raise excellent crops of grain and grow grass. They have their fields divided into convenient enclosures, and kept in high cultivation. But their example has not been hitherto imitated by their tenants, who in general persevere in the old method of farming.

The part of the farm fit for cropping consists [69] of infield and outfield. The former has its name from being kept under continual culture; and the latter, from being allowed to go to ley or pasture, after bearing a certain number of crops. Of the infield, one-third is annually prepared for bear, and two-thirds are laid down with oats. The third intended for bear receives a fallowing in autumn, and remains in that state till spring, when it is harrowed, manured, and gets the seed furrow. After reaping the bear, this field is understood to be in a state of culture, capable of yielding two crops of oats successively. Each of the other two-thirds, in its turn, undergoes a similar preparation, and is expected to make the same returns. Of the outfield, there are two sorts, a better and a worse. One half of each is generally in ley, and the other under tillage. The better sort usually remains in a state of rest for 5 years, and is prepared for cropping, by watering, liming, folding, or pasturing; adding to this last method, if it can be spared, a little manure of any kind. With this preparation, it is judged fit for breaking up and bearing 4 or 5 crops of oats in succession. Instead of the common Scotch oats, when a field has been limed or watered, it is not unusual to sow it with barley oats, which are reckoned 10 days or a fortnight earlier, The worse sort of outfield receives a ploughing early in summer, and remains in that state till towards seed-time, when it gets a second ploughing, and is sown with a small black hairy oat. This is a bad unproductive grain, not much used; and, with proper culture, might easily be dispensed with, and totally extirpated. By the above mode of cultivation, the average produce of the bear may be 5 returns, of the common and barley oats 4, and of the small black oats 3. Turnips and potatoes have, for many years, been cultivated by the heritors with great success, and the tenants raise a few of each sort for family use only.
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The soil is well adapted for flax, but the cultivation of it is ill understood, and seldom or never attempted, except by the Heritors, and that on a small scale, though there are two lint mills in neighbourhood. The Scotch plough, somewhat improved, is in pretty general use; as it is well adapted for removing obstructions in ill cultivated fields, the preference in its favour in such circumstances cannot be condemned. Many, however, of late, begin to use ploughs of the English construction, and acknowledge the superiority in ease and neatness, in turning the furrow. The advantages of carts are so many and so well understood, in all the operations of farming, that they are in universal use. The crops usually raised here have been stated above, and the extent of the sowing and produce may be nearly as follows:

Bear. Bolls
300 bolls of barley, at 5 returns, 1500
1300 bolls of oats, at 4 returns,  5200
  Total,                           6700 bolls. *

* Seed-time and Harvest - The time of sowing depends on the season. Oats are generally sown in March and April; lintseed and potatoes in the beginning of April or end of March; bear in May, and turnips from the 1st to the 20th of June. Harvest begins about the end of August or beginning of September, and the crop is for the most part got in by the end of October. In 1782, sowing did not begin till the middle of April, and, as the summer was cold, and the snow early, the grain was not gathered in before Christmas. The crop was remarkably deficient, and many would have suffered in the north of Scotland, had not the aid of Government, and the exertions of the opulent and humane afforded a seasonable supply to the needy. By the failure of the crop in this parish, the circumstances of most people were reduced, but none suffered for want. In times of general calamity, it is pleasant to record acts of generosity. The heritors in general were very indulgent to their tenants, and accepted less than their due. One gentleman whose rents, according to the custom of the country, were payable in money and meal, charged the deficient meal, to the extent of several hundred bolls, at half the current price, which was L.1 the boll. These lenient measures, in addition to the aid of Government, rendered the situation of this parish tolerably comfortable.

If we add to the above, 40 acres of turnips, 10 of potatoes and 40 laid down with grass seeds, we shall not be far from the truth. The produce of the parish, in ordinary seasons, is more than sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants. The overplus, if there be no demand in the neighbouring parishes, is carried to the Huntly or Aberdeen market. The valued rent is L.1817:13:4 Scots; but as the rents are all paid in money and meal, the real rent must vary with the price of grain. It may be L.900, and perhaps never exceeds L.1000 Sterling *.

* 3 Price Of Grain and Provisions, Etc. - Bear, in 1792, sold at 15s and meal 12s the boll; beef and mutton, 3d the pound; a duck, 10d; a hen, 6d; eggs, 2d a dozen; butter, from 6d to 8d the pound, at 24 ounces Averdupois. - The usual wages to men servants employed in husbandry, are from L. 6 to L. 7; maid servants, from L. 2 to L. 3 a year; a day-labourer earns from 10d to 1s; a mason, from 1s.3d to 1s.8d and a house carpenter, 1s and furnish their own provisions; a tailor gains 6d and his maintenance; and persons employed in the mosses, hoeing, or other farm-work in summer, have the same allowance.

Services - On Colonel Hay's estate, no services are required, except in hay-harvest, and these are of so trifling a nature, as to be scarce worth mentioning. Two or three of the farmers indeed, most contiguous to the moss of Kirkhill, have been in the custom of paying a few leets + of peats yearly, for which they are allowed a certain deduction of rent. The other heritors have not thought proper to dispense with the usual services; but as they are universally esteemed a grievance, they might, doubtless, be commuted to the satisfaction and advantage of both parties. It ought, however, in candour and justice be observed, that were landlords to dispense with services and customs of every denomination, which their good sense and public spirit [72] will in time certainly induce them to do, this would only extenuate not eradicate the evil. Every tenant has a certain number of cottagers, to the amount sometimes of 6 or 8, whom he binds to relieve him, not only of part of his services to the heritor, but also to give him a certain number of days in seed-time, moss-time, and harvest. Now, substantial redress of this grievance will not be easily obtained, unless heritors were to disallow cottagers altogether, which would depopulate their lands; or, which would be better policy, to break their farms and put the cottagers in the envied state of small but independent tenants. This latter kind of servitude, although less attended to, is as extensive, and more severely felt than the former. The proprietor, unless his estate be very small, requires only a part, never the full extent of the services due by the tenant, whereas the tenant seldom dispenses with the smallest service for which the cottager is bound.

+ A leet of peats is a stack 12 feet long, 12 broad, and high in proportion.

Manufactures - Though no manufacture has hitherto been established, a number of families of all ages are employed by the Huntly and Aberdeen manufacturers to knit woollen stockings, and spin flax. The knitters, on an average, work 60 dozen, at 12s the dozen, every month; while the spinsters, who are but few in number, earn only about L. 4 or L. 5 monthly. The annual income from both branches may be fairly estimated at L. 500.

Roads. - The roads in the parish were made and are kept in repair by the statute labour. For want of gravel, they are frequently deep, but never impassable. The military road through the Cairn-o'-Mount, leading by Huntly to Fort George passes through its western extremity; and, as it seems [73] for many years to have been neglected by Government, is kept in the same state of repair as the other roads.

Stipend, School, Poor, Etc. - The church is old and has been frequently repaired. The stipend is L.38:17:9 10/12, including L.5:11:1 4/12 for communion-elements, and 41 bolls of oat-meal and 7 of bear. The glebes are at present disjoined, and the extent of both is from 8 to 9 acres of good land. A plan for a new manse and offices, with a contiguous glebe, has received the approbation of the presbytery, and is to be executed the ensuing summer. Colonel Hay of Rannes is patron.

About 15 or 16 years ago, (1775-6) the heritors built a convenient school-house in a healthy situation. The schoolmasters salary is £ 5:11:11/4d, and his other perquisites are £ 1:16:8 for officiating as precentor and session-clerk; 1s.11/3d for publishing a purpose of marriage; 61/4d for registering a baptism, and 3d for a certificate; to which add the school-fees for teaching English, 1s.6d; arithmetic, 2s; and Latin, 2s.6d quarterly, and his income may be from £10 to £15.

The poor subsist by begging, and upon occasional supplies from the parochial fund. This fund amounts to L.40 nearly, which has been saved within 50 years from the weekly collections, the use of a pall or mortcloth, and bell belonging to the session, and fines from delinquents. The collections and other contingencies generally amount from L. 8 to L. 10 yearly. This sum, after paying L. 1:16:8 to the session clerk, and 12s.0d to the church-officer, is distributed quarterly by the session among the persons on the poor’s roll, who since 1782 have been from 12 to 18.

Population. - According to Dr Webster's report, the population at that period was 791. About 50 years ago, [73] Mr Gordon, in a process of augmentation of stipend, stated the number of inhabitants at 1100. If Mr Gordon did not take a round number instead of the real, the population is considerably diminished since the above period, as will appear by the following abstract;

In February
1783 the population including children was 830
1784                                       819
1785                                       813
1786                                       850
1787                                       824
1788                                       783
1789                                       755
1790                                       802
1791     386 males and 442 females, in all 810

And by a note from the Rev Dr Minty, the present incumbent;

In June 1792 the population, including children, was: 830.

Males Females Total

Under 10 years of age       88     103     191
Between 10 and 20           80      74     134
Between 20 and 50          121     185     306
Between 50 and 70           64      90     154
Between 70 and 80           22      18      40
Between 80 and 90            3       2       5
                           358     472     830

Average number for the above 10 years, 808

The scarcity in 1782 induced me to take down the numbers in the different families with accuracy; but I did not think of noting the deaths till February 1785. The following abstract is taken from the register of baptisms, and my own note of the deaths, till the time of my transfer from the parish in October 1791:

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Baptisms: -
                        Males Females Total Deaths
1783                       7      12    19
1784                      10       7    17
1785                      13       9    22    18
1786                       8      12    20    17
1787                       7       6    13    18
1788                       9       6    15    11
1789                       5       7    12    17
1790                      13       7    20    16
1791                       5       8    13    10 to end of October

                    TOTAL 77      74   151   107

Average 17 16

That the number of females so much surpasses that of the males, is owing to the mosses. Many widows and old maids take houses in the vicinity, for the convenience of fuel.

Number of families               204
Ditto of 1 individual each        25
Ditto of 2 individuals each       39
Ditto of 3 individuals each       39
Married men                      124
Bachelors who have families       16
Widowers who have families        12
Widows who have families          28
Unmarried women who have families 36

Clergymen                          1
Students in divinity               2
Shopkeepers                        4
School master                      1
Smiths                             3
Masons                             2
Tailors                            5
House carpenter                    4
Weavers                            4
Wheel and plough-wrights           4
Shoemaker                          3
Millers                            3
Gardeners                          4
Dyer                               1
Midwives                           2
Male domestic servants             4
Female domestic servants          24

Wheel carriages                    1
Carts                            160
Ploughs                           60
Draught horse                    202
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Saddle and carriage horses         8
Cattle                           808
Sheep                           1200 *

* Horses sell from £3 to £5; oxen and cows, from £3 to £8; wedders and ewes and lambs, from 4s to 8s. The only swine raised for sale, are a few about the mills, which bring from £1 to £3.

Minerals and Mineral Springs. - On the lands of Leith-hall, there is a marble quarry; on those of Craighall, freestone, and marl and limestone on Cults; but the want of stock or of industry has hitherto prevented the tenants from availing themselves of this last source of opulence. There are two mineral springs on Colonel Hay's estate, one of them on a farm named Earlsfield, is of late fallen into disrepute. The other in the moss of the Melshach, of the chalybeate kind, is still in great reputation among the common people +.

+ They use it both internally and externally in the summer season, particularly in the month of May. Its sanative qualities are not confined to man, they are supposed to extend even to brutes. As this spring probably obtained vogue at first in days of ignorance and superstition, it would appear that it became customary to leave at the well part of the clothes of the sick and diseased, and harness of the cattle, as an offering of gratitude to the divinity who bestowed healing virtues on its waters. And now, even though the superstitious principle no longer exists, the accustomed offerings are still presented.

Fuel. - The fuel in general use is peats; but as the mosses are wearing out, some of the heritors carry coals from Aberdeen to save them, and to have their principal apartments more comfortably warmed in winter. In former ages, the moss of Kirkhill has been covered with wood; for so late as 30 years ago, trees in abundance were found by digging a few feet below the surface. And, among other kinds, mention is made of an oak about 40 feet long, and thick in proportion. Fir, juniper, hazel, alder, oak, were all blended together in this spot.

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Antiquities. - There is a barrow, or cairn of stones, which has never been opened, on Old Glanderston, a farm belonging to Mr Gordon; a Druidical temple on Ardlair, a farm of Colonel Hay's, another less complete on Cults, and two or three stones in a leaning position on the lands of Craighall, said to be recorded in the presbytery books of Alford. The only other article is the stone alluded to above, commonly called Kenneth's grave-stone. The tradition of the parish is, that this stone, which in shape resembles a coffin, was removed from the church-yard gate, (the grave of one of the Kenneths), into the church, where it now lies, by a family of the name of Gordon *.

* Its dimensions are, length 6 feet 2 inches; breadth at the head, 22 inches, and depth 15 inches. There is a shield on it, on one quarter of which a boars head is visible. Under the shield are the initials E.G. in large capitals; and under them a mort-head, sand-glass, bones, and coffin. Then there is a cross with I.H.S.; and below all, the date 1685.

Fairs. - The proprietor of Rannes has a title to two annual fairs, one at Kirkhill in October for cattle, timber, and merchant goods, and the other at Christ's Kirk in the month of May. This fair was kept on the Green, and in the night; hence it was by the people called Sleepy-market. About 35 or 36 years ago (1756), the proprietor changed it from night to day; but so strong was the prepossession of the people in favour of the old custom, that rather than comply with the alteration, they chose to neglect it altogether +.

+ The name of this place naturally enough brings to recollection, the celebrated ballad of Christ's Kirk on the Green, commonly ascribed to James I, King of Scotland. The scene of it never has been ascertained with any degree of precision. Christ's Kirk, in my apprehension, has no small claim to that honour. It is well known, that James visited the most distant parts of his kingdom, to hear complaints and redress grievances. And it is not impossible, nor even very improbable, that, in his progress, [78] he may have seen or heard of Christ's Kirk. Now, what place more likely to strike the fancy of this Monarch, than one distinguished by so singular a custom. The circumstances of the market at midnight, may be supposed to fall in with his humour, and give birth to such scenes as he has described. Even the name of this performance is descriptive of the place; for the Green still encircles the ruins of the Kirk, and it is besides the only one in Scotland that I am acquainted with, to which the name of the ballad is applicable.

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Character of the People, Etc. - They are temperate, industrious, and frugal, moderate in their principles, and regular in their attendance on public worship and the other ordinances of religion. They are all of the Established Church, except 5 or 6 who occasionally attend Episcopal meetings. The dress of both sexes is considerably improved of late, especially among the young. In all places of public resort they appear in their best clothes, with a cheerful countenance and contented mind. Their houses in general are bad, and have not that appearance of cleanliness and neatness which is always commendable. But as the heritors are disposed to give every reasonable encouragement to the sober and industrious, we may soon hope to see a spirit of improvement prevailing in their houses similar to that which they have already begun to show in their dress.

Advantages and Disadvantages. -
The only disadvantages are short leases, services, and the distance from manure and from market. Most of these are capable of redress. It has already been mentioned, that one gentleman, who is proprietor of more than half the parish, has dispensed with the usual services; and it may be added, that he is disposed to grant long leases on equal terms, with every other encouragement that has a tendency to make his tenents prosper. If the other heritors were to convert their services and customs, they would promote their own interests,
[79] and confer a signal favour on their tenants. In good policy these ought to be abolished, and long leases given, with sufficient encouragement to open up and employ such sources of manure as the parish affords. In the mean time, the industrious tenant may betake himself to other resources. Several of the farms have the command of water. Lime may be had at Huntly, but whether in sufficient quantity for the purposes of agriculture, is doubtful. At the limekilns, however, it may be purchased in any quantity, and at a cheaper rate, but at a greater distance. The heritors have been long in the custom of using it on those fields which were laid down with grass-seeds. - Their fuel, as the mosses are near, is easily procured; and, comparatively speaking, with little trouble and expense. In summer there are many annual fairs at a convenient distance for selling their cattle and sheep. Huntly affords a good weekly market for cheese, butter, beef, mutton, fowls, and most other articles which the farmer can spare. Bear finds ready vent at the numerous stills in the neighbourhood. And when the demand for meal ceases at Huntly, it may be carried to Aberdeen, where there is a ready market and good prices. The distance is much greater, but the price generally compensates it.

The accommodation is good, and the road, since the bridge was built over the Don at Inverury, perfectly safe. Besides Aberdeen has this advantage over Huntly, that all those things which are either convenient or useful to the farmer, may be bought in it on the best of terms, and in any quantity; and therefore his small stock of necessaries is generally purchased there *.

* Though the tenants rear a considerable number of cattle, they seldom think of feeding any. Without green crops, feeding cannot be advantageous, [80] nor will the cultivation of green crops, in all probability, become general, till winter herding be introduced. The cattle and sheep are of a small breed, and, when properly fed, bring good prices; because they are reckoned sweet and well flavoured. The farm of Leith-hall, where Colonel Hay resides, is superior to most. It has a southerly exposure, fertile soil, and is well sheltered. It is equally adapted for rearing cattle, and producing grain. The plantations afford shelter in winter, and the southern exposure raises early grass in spring; and in summer the richness of its pasture can hardly be exceeded.

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It may, in the opinion of some, be no small recommendation of the parish to furnish objects of amusement, as well as of profit. By repairing to the Bogie, which abounds with trout, the angler may find entertainment at leisure hours; and the sportsman, who delights in more active diversion, can traverse hills and dales with his dog and his gun in search of hares, plover, ducks, rails, grouse, partridges, snipes, etc, in their season.

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PARISH OF KENNETHMONT.
PRESBYTERY OF ALFORD, SYNOD OF ABERDEEN.
THE REV. WILLIAM MINTY, MINISTER.

I.-TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.

THE parish of Kennethmont consists of Kennethmont, strictly so called, and the parish of Christ's Kirk, which, at a very remote period, had been annexed to it. Of this annexation there is no written evidence nor oral tradition; and both are now comprehended in the common name of Kennethmont.

Name. - The name is said to have been derived from the circurmstance of one of the Kings Kenneth having been interred in the church-yard, which is a small mount. * The name is some [584] times spelt Kinnethmont, derived from two Gaelic words signifying head and moss; which, from the natural shape of the eminence on which the old church is placed, and its proximity to mossy ground, is by no means an unlikely derivation of the name.

* This opinion was probably taken from a tradition that a grave-stone (still to be seen within the walls of the old church) had been originally placed over the reputed grave of the Scottish monarch, which is supposed to have been at the church-yard gate. On inspecting the stone, no information can be derived from the inscriptions [584] on it to trace it back to the days of Kenneth;-the date being 1685. A shield, on one quarter of which is a boar's head, is visible, and under the shield the initials "H. G." As this stone is now placed in the burial-ground of a family of the name of Gordon, the date, the shield, and the initials evidently refer to that family, and it would appear that either there is no foundation for the tradition, or that there inscriptions had been engraven, when the stone had been removed from its original site to the place where it now is laid.

Extent, Boundaries, &c. - Kennethmont or Kinnethmont is the most westerly parish in that fertile district of country known by the name of the Garioch. The Bogie, a good trouting stream, separates it from the parish of Rhynie on the west; the Melshach bill (in which there is a medicinal spring, long in much repute among the country people,) separates it on the north from Gartly; on the east, it is bounded by the parishes of Insch and Leslie; and on the south, by Clatt. Its shape is almost a regular rectangular oblong, about 6 miles in length from east to west, and 3 in breadth from north to south.

Topographical Appearance. - The surface is much diversified by high and low-lying ground; but, with the exception of two or three eminences, the high ground can scarcely be called hilly.

Climate. - The climate is variable. In consequence, however, of the great improvement which has taken place within the last thirty years, in draining marshy grounds, and planting the more elevated parts of the surface, it is less changeable in general, and less severe in winter than formerly.

II.-CIVIL HISTORY.

Land-owners. - There are four heritors in the parish, viz. Sir Andrew Leith Hay of Rannes, who has upwards of one-half of the valued rent; Mr Gordon of Wardhouse, who has nearly one-third; His Grace the Duke of Richmond, who, has rather more than one-fifteenth; and Mr Grant of Druminner, who lately purchased the lands of Craighall, the remainder. Sir Andrew Leith Hay is the only heritor who, at present, resides in the parish. The late Mr Gordon of Wardhouse (who died about seven years ago) resided about twenty years of the latter part of his life at Wardhouse, in this parish, and devoted the whole of his time to the improving and beautifying of his estate.

Eminent Men. - The late Lieutenant-General Sir James Leith [585] was born at Leith-hall, August 9th 1763. He died Governor of the Leeward Islands in 1816. His brother the late General Hay of Rannes, erected a very handsome tablet, with a suitable inscription, to his memory in the parish church. Sir Andrew Leith Hay, present proprietor of the estate of Leith-hall, besides some smaller works, published some years ago a very interesting narrative, in two volumes, of the Peninsular War, in which he had served. He was, for several years, Member of Parliament for the Elgin District of Burghs, and Clerk of the Ordnance. Rear-Admiral Sir James A. Gordon is also a native of this parish.

Antiquities. - In regard to antiquities, there is little worthy of remark. King Kenneth's reputed grave-stone has been already mentioned. the remains of the two Druidical temples are still to be seen -one on the hill of Airdler, belonging to Sir Andrew Leith Hay; the other on the lands of Cults, the property of His Grace the Duke of Richmond. A bag of small silver coins, with Alexander I. engraven on one side, was found some years ago in trenching the hill called the Cockmuir, belonging to Mr Gordon of Wardhouse. The coins might be about the value of 3d. Sterling each.

III.-POPULATION

Amount of population in 1801, 784
. . . . . . . . . . . . 1811, 888
. . . . . . . . . . . . 1821, 974
. . . . . . . . . . . . 1831, 1131

Number of families in . 1831, . . . . 227
chiefly engaged in agriculture, . . . 110
in trade, manufactures, or handicraft, 31

Many of the inhabitants have attained to a great age. In 1835, there were fourteen persons in the parish between the age of eighty and ninety in a population of little more than 1100. On comparing this number with that of those who had attained to a like age in 1792 (when the former Statistical Account was drawn up), it appears that now almost three arrive at the age of eighty and upwards, for one who then attained to such an age; or if allowance be made for the difference in number of the population at these two periods, more than two for one; a circumstance which may be accounted for, by the improvement in climate, in the dwellings of the inhabitants, their mode of living, and general habits of temperance and cleanliness.

Habits of the People.-The habits of the people are, in general, quiet, temperate, and industrious. Heinous crimes are unknown among them, and, with the exception of some small offences, the result generally of drunkenness, which is now fortu- [586] nately becoming every day less frequent, no criminal case has occurred for many years.
IV.-INDUSTRY.

Agriculture. - The modern improvements in agriculture are now in full operation, not only on the farms in the actual possession of the proprietors, but on those also occupied by their tenantry; and crops of every description are frequently raised, both as to quantity and quality, equal to any in the county. The farms (with the exception of one upon Sir Andrew Leith Hay's estate) are not very extensive. They vary from 80 to 100 acres in extent. There are twenty occupiers of land qualified (in consequence of their rent being L.50 and upwards) to vote at an election for a Member of Parliament. A considerable extent of ground is let in small farms under L.50, and crofts of from two to fifteen acres. The greater part of the ground susceptible of cultivation is now under a regular rotation of cropping. What is commonly called the seven years' shift is the mode of cropping generally adopted.

Improvements. - Much has been done in the way of improvement, since the beginning of the present century. Several hundred acres of marshy ground have been completely drained, and now produce weighty crops; many acres of moorland, upon which the appearance of ridges was still visible, showing, that they had at one time been cultivated, have again been brought under the plough, and a very considerable extent of land has been trenched, particularly upon the estate of Wardhouse. The old custom of erecting folds for young cattle in summer, has now gone into disuse; the modern style of farming having rendered the land unfit for erecting such fences. The dwellings and mode of living of the inhabitants have also kept pace with the improvements in agriculture. Many of the houses of the farmers are now built of stones and lime, instead of turf-and covered with slates instead of straw they have generally one apartment at least floored with wood, and the walls and roof neatly ceiled and plastered. The more extensive farmers use machinery in the thrashing of their grain; and in harvest, the scythe has universally supplanted the use of the sickle.

V.-PAROCHIAL ECONOMY.

Market-Town. - There is no market-town in the parish; the nearest is that of Huntly, distant about eight miles. The greatest part of the grain, however, is taken to Inverury, distant eighteen miles, and, conveyed to Aberdeen by a canal - the carts in return [587] bringing lime and coals; and as the journey can be accomplished in one day, farmers seldom or ever send their carts with grain or meal to the east or north coast, as formerly.

Means of Communication. - The roads were, until lately, bad; but a turnpike road, intersecting the parish from east to west, was completed about six years ago, which opens up a communication between Aberdeen, Huntly, Inverness, &c. Two public coaches, for some time, have run on this line of road, instead of passing by the turn-pike road through the hills of Foudland, as formerly, although the distance be about three miles greater. The Kennethmont line of road is, however, so much more level and easy than the other alluded to, that time is rather gained than lost by travellers coming in this direction; besides, as an inducement for travellers to take the Kennethmont line of road, they pass through a fine, rich, romantic valley; by the other, they have, for many miles, nothing but barren and bleak hills.

Ecclesiastical State.-The parish church, since the annexation, is not very centrically situated. A new one was built in 1812, capable of holding about 600. It is neat and commodious. The parishioners are, in general, regular in their attendance upon religious ordinances, notwithstanding the distance of four or five miles which some of them have to travel. They all belong to the Established Church, with the exception of a few families who attend a Congregational meetinghouse in a neighbouring parish.

The manse was built in 1794, and has lately been repaired. The glebe consists of 12 acres of tolerably good land. The stipend at present is 4 1/4 chalders of victual, and L. 137, 14s. In money, including allowance for communion elements.

Education.-Although the parish school is so situated as to be almost inaccessible, from its distance, to many of the young, yet their parents have, at their own expense, for some years supported two private schools in those parts of the parish most distant from the parochial school ; which now enables every child to become early acquainted (along with other useful knowledge), with that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation; so that it is very rare, indeed, to find a child eight or nine years of age, that cannot pretty distinctly read the Bible, and repeat the Assembly's Shorter Catechism. The emoluments of the parochial teacher may average about L. 35 per annum, exclusive of what may be received from the Dick Bequest. Those of the other teachers are from L.10 to L.15.

[588]

Library. - There is a small circulating library in the parish, principally composed of religious and historical publications. It was established some years ago. Small additions are made to it from the annual subscriptions. It has already been productive of some good effects, giving the people a taste for reading, and tending to check the habit of wandering from house to house, (a custom very common in the winter evenings.)

Savings Bank. - A Savings Bank was instituted about eight years ago, which, considering the decrease of wages, and the low rate of interest, has succeeded far beyond the most sanguine expectations of its originators. It is managed by a President and twelve Directors;- who have authority to hold four meetings annually, and two extra meetings, if necessary. About L.1000 are already lodged.

Poor. - The funds of the parish for behoof of the poor amount to about L.200. The average number of persons receiving parochial aid varies from 16 to 20. The weekly collections average about 7s., from which, along with the interest of capital, and what arises from other sources, nearly L.40 are distributed annually. The highly commendable feeling of independence is still prevalent here; and it is a rare occurrence for any to ask assistance from the parish funds, unless in cases of actual necessity.

The population are, almost, exclusively, agricultural in their pursuits. About twenty years ago, many of the female sex derived a livelihood from the knitting of stockings for the foreign market This species of manufacture is now almost given up, unless in the case of a few of the more aged, who, with the greatest diligence, are unable to earn the small pittance of 1s. per week.

Fairs. - There are three annual fairs held in the parish for the sale of cattle, &c., the first in the month of April, the second in the month of July, and the third in the month of October. A market was once held at Christ's Church, in the east end of the parish, during night, in the month of May, and which place is said to have been the scene of the celebrated ballad of Christ's Kirk on the Green, composed by James I.: but this market has been long ago given up. There are still the remains of a church and church-yard or burying-ground to be seen at this place, but very few are now interred there.

Fuel. - Peats are still generally used for fuel; but, as the mosses are considerably exhausted, and no small difficulty and expense incurred in obtaining peat fuel, coals are coming daily more into [589] use; and, were it not that the people in the country are as yet unacquainted with the proper method of using coals economically, there is little doubt they would be preferred by them to peats, being upon the whole almost as cheap,-and, moreover, the time which is spent in preparing peat-fuel might be more profitably employed in agricultural and other operations.

November 1840.
Revised April 1841.

# # #

https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/view/?id=15854&transcript=1

Commentary

Beneath the title the text reads: 'Composed (as is supposed) by King JAMES the fifth'.

The immense popularity of 'Christ's Kirk on the Green' in Scotland led to many reprints being made over several centuries. The National Library of Scotland holds several broadside versions of the ballad in its collection, all subtly different in some details of wording or spelling. These differences reflect the tendency of ballad publishers to update spellings or styles to the standards of their era. One reason for the poem's popularity may have been the belief that it was written by King James V, but many modern scholars tend to doubt this attribution, believing the poem to have been written slightly earlier, possibly by James I, who lived from 1394-1437.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

Broadside ballad entitled 'Christ's Kirk on the Green

Transcription

CHRISTS KIRK ON THE GREEN,

Composed ( as is supposed) by King JAMES the fifth,

WAS never in Scotland heard not seen
such dancing nor deray,
Neither at Faulkland on the green,
nor Peebles at the play,
As was (of wooers as I ween)
at Christs-Kirk on day ;
For there came Kittie washen clean ,
in her new gown of gray
so gay that day.

To dance these Damosels them dight,
these Lasses light of laits ,
Their gloves were of the Rassall right.
their shies were of the struts :
Their kittles were of Lincoln light,
well prest with many plaits,
They were so nice when men them neight,
they squiel'd like any gaits,
full loud that day.

Of all these maidens mild as meed,
Was none so gimp as Gillies,
As any rose her rude was red,
her lyre was like the Lillie;
But yellow, yellow was her head,
and she of love so silly,
Though all her kin had sworn her dead,
she would have none but Willie,
alone that day;

She scorned Jock, and skripped at him
and murgeon'd him with mocks,
He would have lov'd her, she would not let him,
for all his yellow locks;
He cherisht her, she bade go chat him:
She counted him not two clocks,
So shamefully his short Jack set him,
his legs were like twa rocks,
or rungs that day.

Tom Luter was their Minstrell meet,
good Lord, how he could lance,
He play'd so shrill, and sang so sweet,
while Tousie took a trance
Old Light-foot there he could forleet,
and counterfitted France,
He held him like a man discreet,
and up the Morice-dance
he took that day.

Then Steven came stepping in with stends,
no rink might him arrest,
Splay-foot did bab with many bends,
for Masie he made request,
He lap while he lay on his lends,
and rising to was preast
While he did host at both the ends,
for honour of the feast,
and dance that day,

Then Robin Roy began to revell,
and Towsie to him drugged:
Let be (quoth Jock) and call'd him J
and by the tail him tugged.
Then Kensie clieked to Kevell,
God wots if they two lugged:
They parted there upon a nevell.
men say, that hair was rugged
between them twa,

With that a friend of his cry'd Fie,
and forth an arrow drew,
He forged it so forcefully,
the bow in flinders flew,
Such was the grace of God, trow I;
for had the tree been true,
Men said, who knew his archery,
that he had slain anew
belyve that day.

A yape young-man that stood him niest,
soon bent his bow in ire,
And etled the bairn in at the breast,
the bolt flew ov'r the byre,
And cry'd, Fy, he had slain a Priest.
a myle beyond the myre:
Both bow and bag from him he kiest,
and fled as fast as fire
from flint that day.

An hastie kinsman, called Hary,
that was an archer keen,
Tyed up a tackell withoutten cary,
I trow the man was tien.
I Wot not whether his hand did vary
or his foe was friend,
But he eleaped by the might of Mary,
as one that nothing mean'd
but good that day.

Then Lawrie, like a Lyon lap,
and soon a slain can fedder,
He height to pelrce him at the pape,
thereon to wed a wedder:
He hit him on the womb a wap,
it busst like any bladder,
He louped so such was his hap,
his doublet was of leather
full fine that day.

The buss to boisterously abaist him
that he to th'earth dusht down,
The other man for dead then left him;
and fled out of the town.
The wives came forth, and up they rest him,
and found like in the lown,
Then with three routs there they rais'd him,
and cured him out of swoun
fra hand that day.

The Miller was of manly make,
to meet with him it was no mower,
There durst no ten some there him take,
so cowed he their power;
The Bushment whole about him brake,
and bickered him with bowes,
Then traiterously behind his back
they hacked him on the howes
behind that day.

Then Hutchen, with an hazell rice,
to red gan through them rummill,
He muddled them down like any mice,
he was so bettie bummil:
Though he was wight, he was not wise
with Such Jutors to jummil,
For from his thumb there flew a slyce,
while he cry'd Barls summil.
I'm slain this day.

When that he saw his bloud was red,
to flie might no men let him:
He trow'd it had been for old feed,
he thought, and bade have at him:
He made his feet defend his head,
the far fairer it set him:
While he was past out of their plead,
they must be swift that got him
through speed that day.

Two that were headsmen of the herd
they rusht on other like rams:
The other four which were unfear'd
beat on with barrow trams.
And where their gobs were ungear'd,
they got upon the gams,
While that all bloud burn was their berd
as they had worried lambs
most like that day.

They girn'd and glowred all at anes,
each Gossip other grieved,
Some striked stings, some gathered stanes,
some fled, and some relieved,
Their Minstrell used quiet means,
that day he wisely prieved:
For he came home with unbirs'd banes,
where fighters were mischieved
full ill that day.

With forks and flails then let they slaps,
and flew together with frigs:
With bougers of barns they pierc't blew caps,
while of their bairns they made brigs.
The reer rose rudely with their raps,
then rungs were laid on rigs:
The wives came forth with cryes and claps,
see where my liking ligs
full low this day.

The black Sutar of Braith was bowden,
his wife hung by his waist:
His body was in black all browden,
he girned like a ghaist,
Her glittering hair that was so gowden
her love fast for him laist,
That for his sake he was unyouden,
while he a mile was chast,
and more that day.

When they had bier'd like baited buls;
the bone fires burnt like bails,
They grew at meek as any Mules,
that wearied are with mails:
For these forfoughten tyred fools,
fell down like slaughtered flails,
Fresh men came in and hail'd their dools,
and dang them down in dails
bedeen that day.

The wives then gave a hideous yell,
when all these younkiers yocked,
As fierce as flags of fire-Saughts fell
fricks to the field they flocked:
Then Kailes with clubs did other quell
on breast while blood out bocked,
So ludely rang the common Bell,
that all the Steeple rocked
for dread that day.

By this Tom Tailyour was in his gear
when he heard the common Bell,
He said he should make them all on steer
when he came their him sell:
He Went to fight with such a fear,
while to the ground he fell,
A wife, that hit him on the ear,
with a great knocking mell,
feld him that day

The Bride groom brought a pint of aile
and bade the Pyper drink it:
Drink it (said he)and it so staile,
ashrew me if I think it,
The Bride her Maidens stood near by,
and said it was not blinked
And Bartagasie the Bride so gay
upon him last she winked
full soon that day.

When all was done Dick with an ax
came forth to fell a fother,
Quoth he, where are yon whoorson smaiks,
right now that hurt my brother?
His wife bade him, go home, Gib glaiks,
and so did Meg his mother:
He turn'd and gave them both their paike,
for he durst ding no other
but them that day.

F I N I S.

# # #
Parishes of Medieval Scotland – 1967
[115]
Kinnethmont (Aberdeen, Garioch)

Granted to Lindores by its founder David, Earl of Huntingdon 1191 x 5, and confirmed to the uses of the abbey in 1195 by Pope Celestine III (Lind. Cart. Nos iii, xciii). The erection of a perpetual vicarage was ratified in 1257, the parsonage thereafter remaining with the abbey, the church at the Reformation also having annexed to it the church of Rathmuriel (q.v. (Abdn. Reg. I 25; Assumptions, 38, Reg of Pres ii 176).

[168]
Rathmuriel (Aberdeen, Garioch)

Known also as Christ's Kirk, the church was granted to Lindores by its founder David, Earl of Huntingdon 1191 x 5, and confirmed to the uses of the abbey in 1195 by Pope Celestine III in 1195 (Lind. Cart. Nos iii, xciii). A perpetual vicarage was erected in 1257, but while the parsonage thereafter remained with the abbey, the church itself by the Reformation had become a pendicle of Kinnethmont, which also pertained to Lindores (Abdn. Reg. I 24-25; Assumptions, 38).

# # #
https://fife-placenames.glasgow.ac.uk/placename/?id=52

The Murrel

The Murrel ABO S NT188867 1 394 70m SOF

(Roger of) Muriel’ 1328 Dunf. Reg. no. 371
Moriell 1377 Morton Reg. i p. lxv [see ABO Introduction above]
the Murle c.1750 RHP1022 [also the Murle Hill and Ballram murle; ‘This was once part of Humby now possessed by Aberdour people’]

G mòr + ? G ail

Big rock or cliff’. The second element appears to be G ail ‘rock, stone, cliff’ (OIr ail, gen. alo) This interpretation fits the topography well, since the outstanding feature of The Murrel is the bare, weathered ridge of basalt immediately south of the present house.

However, it is unlikely that the proposed etymology for the second element would give what is probably disyllabic ie(l)l in the two fourteenth-century occurrences of the name. It may, however, have been influenced by the woman’s name ‘Muriel’. This name is said to be contained in the Aberdeenshire name of Murriell /ˈmʌrjəl/, formerly Rathmuryel and Rathmuriell, Insch parish (see Alexander 1952, 341). Similar names are also discussed by Watson (1904, 2).

The definite article, which is always used with this name locally, may have arisen from forms such as ‘the Murle Hill’ (RHP1022).

/ðəˈmʌrəl/

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1

# # #
https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/22038

In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Christskirk like this:

"Christ's Kirk or Rathmuriel, an ancient parish now forming the eastern portion of Kennethmont parish, W Aberdeenshire. The church, 1¼ mile WSW of Insch station, is in ruins; but its graveyard is still in use. On a green here was formerly held an annual fair on a night in the month of May, Christ's Fair or Sleepy Market, which by some antiquaries is supposed to be the theme of the famous poem of Chryst's Kirk on the Grene, commonly ascribed to James I. ...
# # #
http://archive.org/details/chartularyofabbe00lindrich/page/60/mode/2up?view=theater
[61]
(Abstract)
'Of Land resigned, which William of Brechin perambulated, belonging to the Land of the Church of Rathmuriel.'

William of Brechin declares that 'for the love of God and the weal of my soul' he had given and quitclaimed ^ to God and the monastery of Lundors that land which was perambulated from the church land of Rathmuriel to the other Rathmuriel which is my land,' and that he had resigned for ever for himself and his heirs all right and claim which could arise by reason of that perambulation. The land was to be free and exempt, by the marches which it had before the perambulation, namely, by the highway which goes from the ford of Ury towards Lescelyn. Seal. Witnesses. At Lundors, on the morrow of the Decollation of St. John Baptist [Aug. 29], mccxlv. 1245

https://archive.org/details/epitaphsinscript02jervuoft/page/9/mode/1up?view=theater
[9] image not "scannable"
Burial Grounds & Old Buildings
Andrew Jervise {Jarvis}

1879
[5]
Kinnethmont

(S Regulus or S Rule)

In 1258 it was agreed that the vicar of Kynnakemond or Kinalchmund should have 15 merks, and an acre of land near the church for a glebe, along with the alterage teinds, reserving 30 lambs yearly to the Abbot of Lindores, to whom the lambs belonged. According to the author of the View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, there was a cell, or religious build here - possibly the Provostry of Killesmont – which was burnt down at the Reformation by Leslie of Balquhain.

The site of an old manse, which stood at Kirkhill, is still marked by some trees in a field near the kirkyard, on the south of the Great North of Scotland line of railway, nearly opposite the mansion house of Leith-hall.

The old kirk was a long narrow building, and at the east end of the ruins is the burial enclosure of the GORDONS, which previously belonged to the LESLIES of Wardhouse. To one of the latter is a coffin slab dated 1685 …

- Craighall, at one time part of Peilsyde (now Leith-hall), was acquired by the Wemysses during the last century.

[8]

Rathmuriel or Christ's Kirkhill

(S MURIEL)

Sir William of Brechin, founder of the Maison Dieu of that city, granted, 1245, the lands of Rathmuryel, in the Garioch, to the Abbey of Lindores, which had been founded by his grandfather.

In 1258, Pope Alexander IV ratified an agreement between the Bishop of Aberdeen and the Abbot of Lindores, by which the “vicar of Rathmuryell was to have 12 merks, the whole alterage of the church, a manse, with 2 bovates of land, and the great tithes of the cultivated land of the Nethertown of Rauthmuriell.”
[9]
The kirk of Rathmuriel is mentioned in the Old Taxation (c. 1275). In 1574, “Christis Kirk,” with three neighbouring churches was under the charge of one minister; but Christ's Kirk had its own reader.

There is a place called Muriel near the old kirk, also the remains of Muriel’s Rath, and the Priest’s Well is in the same locality.

The district is sometimes called “Sleepy Kirk,” and a writer of 1724 (Coll Abd. Bff 623), say that there is a village, where this chapel (Christ's Kirk) is built, a yearly fair, called Christ's fair, and commonly The Sleepy Market, because it begins at night, about sunset, and ends one hour after sunrising next morning; the people buying and selling timber, and all other mercat goods, during the night, which is then not dark, being the beginning of June: a very singular kind of mercat, as any ever was.” “ About 35 or 36 years ago (Old Stat. Acct. of Scot., xii 77), the proprietor changed it (the market) from night to day; but so strong was the prepossession of the people in favour of the old custom, that, rather than comply with the alteration, they chose to neglect it altogether.”

The ruin’s of Christ’s Kirk occupy a rising ground to the west of the hill of Dunnideer, and the site commands a fine view of Bennachie and other parts of the Garioch. The church stood east and west, and measure within walls about 26 by 12 yards. A lady who died at Leith-hall about forty years ago, is said to have been buried within its area, and internments are still occasionally made in the burial ground.

There are only two inscribed stones …

1 Here lyes JOHN SMITH who dyed 1716 aged 51y. Also his son who dyed 17--, aged 20 years.

2 Here lyes JAMES LEGAN, sometime farmer in Upper Edingarioch. He died Nov. 10, 1767, aged 47 years, lauful husband to Kethren Milne. Done at the care of Kathren Milne. Memento mori.

The name of “Rath-Muriel” is both suggestive and interesting. It not only carries us back to the Pictish period, but shows that there was a fort or place of strength there, which may have been the abode of the holy woman whose name it bore. Nothing is known of her history except that she was a widow, as stated in the Dunkeld Litany (Bp. Forbes’ Kalendars of Scottish Saints). It is a note-worthy fact that, although the connection of Thanes of Cawdor with the district cannot now be traced, the name of Muriel has been, from remotest record, and still is, a common Christian name for female members of that family.

The church and district bore the name of Christ’s Kirk in the early part of the fifteenth century; for how long before I am not aware. The name had probably been changed in consequence of some early proprietor having founded an altar in the church to “Our Lord Jesus Christ;” but of this I have found no record. The only other place I know of in Scotland, which bore the name of “Christ’s Kirk,” is Udny in Aberdeenshire. The “Green of Udny” has long been famed for its beauty, and in a title dee of the Udny estates, mention is made (Inf. Mr A. Michie) of the laird’s “right of patronage of the parish kirk of Udny, commoinly called Christ’s Kirk .” In a perambulation of the lands of Tarves and Udny (1417) it is called “Capella Christi” (Reg. Nig. De Aberb., 51)
[10]

There seems little doubt (Chalmers’ Poetical Remains of the Scottish Kings), but the author of “Chryst’s Kirk on the Green,” had in his mind’s eye the sports which took place at the fair which was held at Christ’s Kirk in Kinnethmont. Allan Ramsay, to whom this unique nature of the fair which was held at Christ’s Kirk in Kinnethmont was probably unknown, as well as the peculiar name of the place, and the – even yet – fine feature of the old market green which surrounds the site of the church, was the first to name Leslie, in Fife. As the place celebrated in the poem, and this he appears to have done upon the strength of its village green, and its proximity to Falkland Palace, a residence of its reputed royal author.

With the view of confrming Ramsay’s idea of the village green of Leslie, in Fife, having been the scene of “ Chr y st’s Kirk,” and without any bauthority to shew that either the old kirk of Fetkil, or the more modern one of Leslie, was dedicated to Christ Jesus, a slab over the church door is thus inscribed:-

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S KIRK ON THE GREEN, LESLIE. REBUILT 1869.

Fithkil or Fetkil was th old name of the church and estate of Leslie in Fife, and the latter was conferred upon the parish only when the Leslies became proprietors, the name having been carried from their original property of Leslie in Aberdeenshire, the church of which is within a mile of Christ’s Kirk. At a later period the name of “Rothes” was also imported, and given to their residence in Fife, from the Castle of Rothes, on the Spey, which the Leslies so long occupied, and of which the ruins still remain.
# # #
https://canmore.org.uk/site/18168/kennethmont-christs-kirk-of-rathmuriel

In 1245 the lands of Rathmuryel were granted to the Abbey of Lindores, and the Kirk of Rathmuryell or Rathmuriel, is mentioned in 1258 and

1275 (Jervise 1875-9). The church was given to the Abbey before 1195 according to Simpson (1949). The name Christ's Kirk is mentioned in 1574, and had been applied to both the church and the district at least since the early 15th century. The parishes of Rathmureal and Kennethmont were united in or about 1630.

The ruins of the church measure internally about 26yds (23.8m) E-W by 12 yards (11m) N-S: the burial ground, containing two grave slabs, inscribed 1716 and 1767, was in intermittent use in 1829 (Jervise 1875-9).

Until about 1758-9 (OSA 1791-9) an annual fair, called Christ's fair or The Sleepy Market, was held at night on the green which encircles the church, and is traditionally associated with the celebrated ballad of Christ's Kirk on the Green, commonly ascribed to James I.

The priest's Well is in the same locality as the church (Jervise 1875-9) A Jervise 1875-9; Statistical Account (OSA) 1791-9; H Scott et al 1915-61; W D Simpson 1949.

The remains of this church, locally known as Christ's Kirk, comprise wall footings c.22.5m long, c. 7.5m wide and c.0.3m high. The farmer at Christkirk says that some of the stone from the church was used in building the farm outbuildings. The disused graveyard is enclosed by a tumbled stone wall and only the 1767 gravestone remains. There are a number of wells on the farm of Priestwells (NJ 61 26), none of which has any particular significance.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RL) 4 March 1969.

Christ's Kirk [NR]

(remains of) [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1982.

The remains of the parish church of Rathmuriel lie in an overgrown copse of pine and beech immediately NE of the former farmsteading of Christskirk (NJ62NW 61). The church measures at least 12.5m from ESE to WNW by 7.3m transversely over walls that have been reduced to mounds of grass-grown rubble 2m in thickness and up to 0.5m in height. The burial-ground is subrectangular on plan and is enclosed by a substantial dry-stone dyke. The sole gravestone now visible within it lies to the S of the church, and is a slab bearing the date 1767 and depicting the figure of Death standing upon a sphere with a scythe and hour-glass in his outstretched arms.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, IF), 2 April 1996.

Scheduled as 'Christ's Kirk, Kennethmont... the partly exposed, but mainly grass-covered, foundations and collapsed rubble-built lower walls of the parish church of Rathmuriel.'
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https://oldroadsofscotland.com/miscmedaberdeen.htm#kinnemonth

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