- KINNEFF, a parish, in the county of Kincardine, 2 miles (N. E. by N.) from Bervie; containing, with the village of Catterline, 1029 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name from its castle, founded, according to tradition, by Kenneth, one of the kings of Scotland, and of which there are still some vestiges near the church. In 1341, King David Bruce, returning from France with his queen and retinue, in order to avoid the English fleet, by which he was closely pursued, effected a landing on the shore of this parish. In gratitude for his escape, he afterwards built a chapel on the spot, of which, till within the last thirty years, there were considerable remains; and in commemoration of the event, the cliff under which he landed is still called Craig-David. During the siege of Dunnottar Castle by the forces of Cromwell, the regalia, which had been for security deposited in that fortress, were, on the prospect of its inability to hold out much longer against its assailants, dexterously removed from it by Mrs. Grainger, wife of the minister of this parish, and concealed under the pulpit of the church here till the Restoration. The parish, to which that of Catterline, which had previously formed a part of it, was reannexed in 1709, is of nearly triangular form, and extends for more than five miles along the coast of the German Ocean. It comprises an area of 6408 acres; 4798 are arable, about fifty woods and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface is intersected by several ridges of elevated ground, and diversified with hills, of which the hill of Bruxie, towards the north-western boundary, has an elevation of 650 feet above the level of the sea. The coast is precipitously rocky along its whole extent, presenting a rampart of cliffs rising abruptly to the height of 180 feet, and in some parts indented with small bays, the shores of which are covered with verdure almost to the margin of the sea, the whole forming a bold line of beautifully romantic scenery.The soil near the coast is a rich deep loam, celebrated for its abundant produce of grain; in the interior it is of inferior quality, and in some parts, but for the improvement it has received from persevering efforts, it would be absolutely sterile. The crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is in an advanced state; the lands have been partially drained, and inclosed chiefly with fences of stone; the farm-houses are substantially built and well arranged. Considerable portions of waste have been brought into profitable cultivation. The moorlands afford good pasture for cattle, which are chiefly of the polled Angus breed; and on many of the farms much attention is paid to their improvement. There are some quarries of freestone, from which is raised stone of good quality, in quantities sufficient for the buildings within the parish; and along the coast, the rocks furnish excellent material for millstones. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6122. Fawside is a handsome modern cottage, pleasantly situated; there are also several ancient mansions, formerly the residences of proprietors, but now occupied as farm-houses. The village of Catterline is situated on the coast, and chiefly inhabited by fishermen, who employ two boats; the smaller village of Shieldhill employs only one boat. The fish taken here are, cod, ling, skate, haddock, and various kinds of shellfish. A small harbour has been constructed at Catterline, which see. There are also some salmon-fisheries in the parish, of which, however, the aggregate rents do not exceed £15 per annum; and several of the inhabitants are employed in hand-loom weaving for the linen manufacturers in the neighbourhood. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads: the coast road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, and the great Strathmore road, pass through the parish.The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £232. 3. 6., with a manse; and the glebes of Catterline and Kinneff are valued together at £28 per annum: patron, the Crown. The church, situated on the sea-shore, was built in 1738, and repaired in 1831; it is a neat structure containing 424 sittings. There are some remains of the ancient church in which the regalia were preserved during the interregnum. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship; and there is a temporary place of worship at Catterline for Episcopalians. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a good house and garden, and the fees average £25 per annum. A parochial library was established in 1838, under the direction of the Kirk Session. In 1841, Sir Joseph Straton bequeathed £100 for promoting education, and £100 for encouraging industry among the poor. There are remains of a house called the Temple; and at the base of St. John's Hill is a farm named the Chapel of Barras, from which is inferred the probability of there having been an establishment of the Knights Templars here. Of the castle of Kinneff, little more than the foundations are left. On the summit of a peninsular rock, not far from it, are the remains of an ancient work called the Castle of Cadden; on another rock are the remains of some buildings styled the Castle of Whistleberry; and at a small distance are other remains, designated Adam's Castle. In digging a grave for Lady Ogilvie, of Barras, in the church, an earthen pot was found, containing a great number of small coins of silver, bearing inscriptions of Edward of England and Alexander of Scotland, and supposed to have been buried during the possession of the castle of Kinneff by an English garrison. Within a tumulus on St. John's Hill, which was opened about thirty years since, was found a tomb of flat stones, containing rich black earth, with a mixture of half-burnt bones and charcoal, but no sepulchral urn. In 1831, near the site of the castle, was found, by some workmen employed by the late Rev. A. Stewart, a vase containing a number of brass rings of various dimensions, two of which were entire, and a spear head of bronze; the vase was filled with strongly compacted black earth, in which the rings were imbedded. Dr. John Arbuthnott, the intimate friend of Pope and Swift, and physician to Queen Anne, lived for some time in this parish, at Kingorny, the property of his father, who, on being deprived of the living of Arbuthnott, of which he was minister, at the time of the Revolution, retired to this his patrimonial estate.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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