King-Edward


King-Edward
   KING-EDWARD, a parish, in the district of Turriff, county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Banff; containing, with the village of Newbyth, 2492 inhabitants. This place, originally Kin-Edart, of which the present name is an obvious corruption, is of some antiquity, and appears to have formed part of the possessions of the family of the Cumyns, earls of Buchan. There are still some remains of their baronial residence, now called King-Edward Castle, situated on a rocky eminence to the south-east of the church, and also of Eden Castle and others; but nothing which can throw any light upon the early history of these fortresses has been recorded. The parish, which is bounded on the west by the river Doveran, is about eleven miles in length, and varies from two to five miles in breadth, comprising 17,500 acres, of which nearly 9500 are arable, 1800 woodland and plantations, and the remainder pasture and meadow, with large portions of moss and waste. The surface is boldly undulated, rising in some parts into considerable elevation, and in others subsiding into low valleys; but there are no hills, properly so called, which attain any remarkable height. The principal river is the Doveran, which for some miles forms the boundary of the parish, and falls into the sea at Banff; it abounds with salmon of excellent quality, and the fisheries produce a good rental to their proprietor. A copious stream called King-Edward burn, of which the chief source is in the parish of Gamrie, intersects this parish from east to west, and flows into the Doveran about a mile to the west of the church.
   The soil is very various. The higher grounds are in general mossy, resting on a bed of clay or gravel; in the low grounds, and especially along the banks of the Doveran, the soil is principally alluvial, and very fertile; in other parts is a black loam, resting on beds of rock or gravel. The chief crops are, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses; very little wheat is raised. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved; and a due rotation of crops is observed, according to the nature of the soil. Trenchploughing and surface-draining have been for some years in practice, by which the lands have been rendered much more productive; the fields have been inclosed; and the fences, partly of stone and partly of thorn, are kept in good repair. The farm-buildings, also, have been made more comfortable and commodious; and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements have been generally adopted. The cattle are of the Aberdeenshire or Buchan breed, with a few of the Teeswater, and some of the short-horned breed from Yorkshire, recently introduced; the sheep are of the Highland and Leicestershire breeds, and great attention is paid to them. The plantations consist of Scotch fir, interspersed with spruce fir, larch, ash, beech, oak, plane, and chesnut; they are of considerable extent, and in a thriving state. The principal substrata are, red sandstone, greywacke, and clayslate; and iron-ore is supposed to exist. The greywacke and the red sandstone are both quarried; and the latter, which is found in the eastern parts, is in extensive operation. The rateable annual value of KingEdward is £6103. The mansions are, Montcoffer House, the property of the Earl of Fife, a handsome modern building, beautifully situated near his lordship's park of Duff, which is partly in this parish; Eden House and Byth House, also modern mansions, finely situated; and Craigston Castle, a venerable ancient structure, seated in grounds tastefully embellished. The village of Newbyth, which is separately described, is at the southeastern extremity of the parish. Facility of communication is maintained by excellent roads, of which the turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Banff intersects the western portion of the parish; and by bridges over the various streams, kept in good repair.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Turriff and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £204. 7. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, a plain structure built in 1621, contains 550 sittings. A chapel of ease in connexion with the Established Church has been erected in the village of Newbyth; it is a neat structure containing 400 sittings. There is a place of worship in the parish for Independents. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £10 per annum: he has also a portion of the Dick bequest. With the exception of the ruins of King-Edward Castle, there are no relies of antiquity of any historical importance. In a semicircular arch on the north wall of the church, is a monument inscribed to the memory of his mother by John Urquhart, tutor of Cromarty in 1599; and in the Craigston aisle of the church, are monuments to the same John Urquhart and others of the Urquhart family. The distinguished characters connected with KingEdward have been, Dr. William Guild, minister of the parish, and afterwards principal of King's College, Aberdeen, and the founder of an hospital in that city for the incorporated trades; Sir Thomas Urquhart, author of the Jewel, who, jointly with Dr. Guild, presented a service of communion plate to the church; and Sir Whitelaw Ainslie, author of Materia Indica.
   

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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