Inveraven


Inveraven
   INVERAVEN, a parish, partly in the county of Eligin, but chiefly in the county of Banff, 11 miles (N. E. by E.) from Grantown; containing 2417 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its situation at the mouth of the river Aven, which has its source in a lake of that name at the base of the mountains Benmacdui, Bein-na-main, and Cairngorum, and after receiving various streams in its course, enters the parish, and falls into the Spey about a mile above the church. The parish is chiefly noticed in historical records as the scene of a memorable battle which occurred in 1594, between the Earl of Huntly and the Marquess of Argyll, when the latter, after an obstinate engagement, in which many were slain on both sides, was totally defeated. Not far from the field of battle is a tumulus called Lord Auchindown's Cairn, pointing out the spot where Sir P. Gordon, of Auchindown, was killed while fighting on the side of the Earl of Huntly. The parish is bounded on the north-west by the river Spey, and is about twenty miles in length, and varies from nearly four miles to eight or nine in breadth; it comprises 6400 acres of arable land in good cultivation, about 1000 in plantations, and 500 in natural wood, with a wide extent of heath and moor. The surface is mountainous, with large intervening tracts of moorland; and the lower part, near the Spey, is divided from the district of Glenlivet, forming the rest of the parish, by the Cairnocay mountains, a lofty range extending, in a direction almost parallel with the river, from the hill of Benrinnes to the stream of the Aven. The district of Glenlivet is separated into two nearly equal portions by the hill of Bochle, which rises to a considerable elevation from the centre of the vale, which is watered by the Livet, a tributary to the Aven. On this river was formerly a waterfall called the Linn of Livet; but it was destroyed in order to give a readier passage to the salmon that frequent that stream. The Spey, which washes the parish for several miles, abounds with various kinds of fish, and was formerly much celebrated for the size and flavour of its salmon, which were found in greater numbers than at present, both in that river and in the Aven; but the fishery has been much diminished by the establishment of others nearer the mouth of the Spey, which prevent many of the fish from ascending so far up. In that part of the parish bordering on Kirkmichael is a small lake formed by the river Aven, and supposed to be almost of unfathomable depth.
   The soil of the cultivated lands, though inferior in some places, is generally fertile, consisting, in the lower portion, of loam partly mixed with gravel, and in the district of Glenlivet of pure loam and a rich strong clay. Considerable improvements have been made in the agriculture of the parish; large tracts of waste have been drained, and brought into cultivation; and numerous thriving plantations have been raised, especially near the Spey, in Inveraven Proper, which abounds with ornamental timber. The principal crop is oats, with a good proportion of barley; and wheat is also raised occasionally in small quantities, of good quality, in the low end of Glenlivet. The plantations consist of larch, oak, and mountain-ash, which grow luxuriantly on the banks of the Spey and Aven; and Scotch and spruce firs, of which there are some beautiful specimens. The Highland and Agricultural Society encourage the breed of live stock by the distribution of premiums; but comparatively little attention is paid to improvement in this respect. The sheep are generally of the black-faced kind, with a few of English breed, which are not so well adapted to the soil; the breed of horses is rather small, but better suited to the state of the country than those of larger size. The farm-buildings are usually commodious, though still capable of great improvement; and in several parts, especially in Glenlivet, are several of very superior character. The vale of Glenlivet was formerly noted for the manufacture of illicit spirits; and on almost every stream in the parish were houses for traffic in smuggled whisky; but this practice has of late materially diminished, and there are now in the vale two very extensive distilleries, where whisky of the best quality is legally produced, which obtains a high price in every part of the country. There are several mills in the parish; also some small manufactories for woollen cloths and plaidings, chiefly under the management of the farmers. The rateable annual value of Inveraven is £5032.
   Ballindalloch House, in the parish, is a perfect specimen of the old Scottish castle; it is a square edifice with three circular towers, and some additions have been made to the old building during the last century. It is situated about half a mile from the confluence of the Aven with the river Spey, and is richly embellished with timber, and surrounded by scenery of interesting character. At a short distance may still be traced the foundations of the original castle, which has long been suffered to fall into decay, and almost into oblivion, the only memorial being preserved in a traditionary legend, by which its restoration is said to have been prohibited. The farm-house of Colquoich is conspicuous for the abundance of Scotch fir and larch which grow luxuriantly in the surrounding plantations. The substratum of the parish is generally primitive rock: red granite, of good quality for building, is found near the river Spey, and on the north of the Bentinnes mountain, in which asbestos has also been discovered. Limestone, embedded in gneiss, is found in the vale of Glenlivet; no regular quarries have been opened, but it is frequently dug by the tenants on the different farms, for their own use; and numerous limekilns have been erected in various parts of the vale. The roads and bridges are kept in good repair; and considerable intercourse is maintained with the villages of Tomantoul and Charlestown, respectively three miles from each extremity of the parish, where markets are occasionally held, and also with Grantown and Dufftown. Fairs are held at Burnside, about a mile from the church, on the Tuesday before the third Friday in February, the Tuesday before the 26th of May, the second Tuesday in July, O. S., and the Tuesday before the 23d November, for the sale of horses, cattle, and grain, and also for hiring servants.
   The parish is in the presbytery of Aberlour and synod of Moray, and in the gift of the Earl of Seafield; the minister's stipend is £238. 17. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £7 per annum. The church, which was erected in 1806, is in good repair, and affords accommodation to about 550 persons. In Glenlivet is a missionary station, supported by the Royal Bounty: the chapel was erected, or rather rebuilt, in 1825. The minister has a salary of £60, with a small farm, a house, and a range of hill pasture for sheep, on the Gordon estate. There are also in the vale two Roman Catholic chapels, the one at Tombia, and the other at Chapelton; the former will contain a congregation of nearly 1000, and the latter of about 300 persons. The parochial school affords education to about fifty children; the master has a salary of £28. 17. 5., with £11 fees, a house and garden, and a portion of the Dick bequest. There are two male, and one female school, for Protestants, in the vale of Glenlivet; the masters derive their salaries from the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and the General Assembly's Committee for Highland schools, and have houses and gardens on the Gordon estate: the mistress of the female school has likewise a house, &c., and is paid £5 per annum, in addition to a similar sum from the society. In Glenlivet are likewise three Roman Catholic schools, two for females, and one for males, all supported by funds contributed by the congregations at the two chapels. Various traces of Druidical establishments exist in several parts of the parish, of which the most considerable are at Chapelton, on the farm of Kilmachlie, where, also, ancient coins of silver, of the size of half-crowns, and some old weapons, have been discovered by the plough. The cemetery of a religious house formerly existing at Downan is still used as a burial-ground, as is also that of another, at Buitterlach, near which is a cairn of large dimensions. On the farm of Haughs, at Kilmachlie, is a spot of ground supposed to have been anciently a place of sepulture, and which has been recently planted with trees. A portion of the old castle of Drumin occupies an elevated site on a promontory, near the confluence of the rivers Livet and Aven; the walls on the east and north sides are of considerable height, and of massive thickness. At Blairfindy are the ruins of a hunting-seat formerly belonging to the earls of Huntly.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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