Methlick


Methlick
   METHLICK, a parish, in the county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (N. by W.) from Tarves; containing 1737 inhabitants. This parish is said to derive its name from two Gaelic words signifying "the Vale of honey." It was anciently dedicated to St. Devenick, who flourished about the latter end of the ninth century, and in honour of whom an altar was founded in the cathedral of Aberdeen, of which see the church of Methlick was made a prebend in the year 1362, the rector residing at Aberdeen and officiating in the cathedral, and his place here being supplied by a vicar. The parish is intersected by the river Ythan, two-thirds of it situated on the northern side, in the district of Buchan, and the remaining portion south of the river, in the district of Formartine. A detached part on the east, of small extent, is separated by a tongue of land belonging to Tarves parish, and is called Little Drumquhindle, or Inverebrie, from its situation at the junction of the brook Ebrie with the Ythan; it is also sometimes named the Six Ploughs, on account of its measurement in ancient times by so many ploughs. The length of the parish is about eight miles, from north to south, and its breadth, exclusive of the detached portion, five miles; comprising between 11,000 and 12,000 Scotch acres, of which more than 2000 are plantations, and the remainder arable and pasture, with a large proportion of moss and moor. The lands north of the Ythan, which flows from west to east between well-wooded banks, are partly barren and heathy, consisting to a great extent of the hills of Balquhindachy, Belnagoak, and Skilmoney; but the southern portion is picturesque and beautiful, some of the lands in this quarter, which are finely undulated, being comprehended in the ornamental grounds of Haddo House. The river is not navigable; but it constitutes an important feature in the scenery, and affords not only good salmon and trout fishing, but much amusement to the young in seeking for pearls, for the abundance and value of which the Ythan was once so celebrated. The brook of Ebrie divides Methlick on the east from the parish of Ellon; besides which the lands are washed by the burn of Kelly, and by that of Gight, called also the Black water and the Little water, running along the western boundary. Upon a point of the latter stream the parishes of Methlick, Fyvie, and Monquhitter all meet; and at the distance of not more than a mile and a half, on the same water, the parishes of New Deer, Monquhitter, and Methlick also form a union.
   The soil of the land stretching for about a mile and a half from each side of the river is the best in the parish, a yellow loamy earth on a gravelly or rocky bottom; in the other parts it is poorer, light, and moorish, of dark hue, and not so capable, from the peculiar character of its subsoil, of profitable cultivation. There is a great extent of peat-moss, which, though gradually yielding to the plough, still affords an ample supply of fuel. The grain raised comprises chiefly various kinds of oats; and some small quantities of bear, sown grasses, turnips, and a few potatoes, form the remainder of the produce. The five, six, and seven shift courses are all in operation, but the first of these principally on the small farms and crofts, which are numerous; and the land is in general under good cultivation, and partly inclosed with stone dykes. The farm-houses are mostly slated buildings of one floor; the tenements of the crofters are roofed with thatch. There are upwards of two hundred tenants under the Earl of Aberdeen, the sole proprietor of the parish; the best land averages in value from 16s. to £1. 5. per acre, and the rateable annual value of Methlick is £4233. The sheep reared by the farmers are very few in number, but in the grounds of the earl upwards of 1000 are generally kept, chiefly the black-faced and Cheviots: the cattle are numerous, and consist, in about equal quantities, of the Aberdeenshire breed and of a cross between that and the Teeswater. The prevailing rocks are gneiss and sienite, and a quarry of limestone was formerly in operation.
   Besides the extent of land brought under the plough within the present century, amounting to more than 2000 acres, great additions have been made to the plantations, nearly an equal number of acres having been covered, within the same period, chiefly with larch and Scotch fir. A very large proportion of the wood is in the grounds of Haddo House, which comprise 1600 acres. This mansion, the seat of the Earl of Aberdeen, is comparatively a modern structure; the old edifice was besieged in 1644 by the Marquess of Argyle, at the head of the Covenanters, and taken on the 8th of May, and reduced to ruins. The park is ornamented with two lakes, a portion of one, however, being in the parish of Tarves; they are beautifully embosomed in wood, and enlivened by swans and a variety of choice water-fowl. Near the mansion runs the water of Kelly, which, at its junction with the Ythan in this parish, is said to have produced some pearls of great value; one of the crown jewels is reported to have been found here, and presented to King James VI. in 1620, by Sir Thomas Menzies, of Cults. In the grounds is an obelisk erected by the present earl to the memory of his brother, Sir Alexander Gordon, who fell at Waterloo acting as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington. The noble proprietor derives the title of Baron Methlick, Haddo, and Kellie, from this parish; the first property of the family was the barony of Methlick, of which Haddo was a part.
   The facilities of communication are pretty good: there are commutation roads leading to New Deer, Fyvie, Ellon, Meldrum, and Tarves; and a mail-gig runs daily between Methlick and Aberdeen. To the latter place the dairy-produce is sent for sale; grain is also forwarded thither, and to Inverury and Newburgh; and from these two towns bones and English lime are brought for manure, and Scotch lime from the kilns of Udny, Aquhorthies, and Barrack. Two annual fairs are held, both for cattle and as feeing-markets for servants; the one early in May, and the other, called Dennick's fair, which is of great antiquity, at the end of November. The parish is in the presbytery of Ellon and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Aberdeen; the minister's stipend is £160, with a manse, and a glebe of six acres of arable and grass land. The church, situated on the southern bank of the Ythan, was rebuilt in 1780, and repaired in 1840; it contains 600 sittings, all of which are free; and adjoining the edifice is the burial-place of the family of Gordon. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, Greek, and mathematics, in addition to the usual branches: the master has a salary of £28, with a house, and £23 fees; he also shares in the Dick bequest, and receives a few pounds from Moir's bequest for teaching ten poor children, and an annual gift of £5 from the earl. The poor are entitled to the interest of £653. 6. 8. bequeathed for their benefit. Dr. George Cheyne, an eminent physician, was born in this parish in 1671; and Dr. Charles Maitland, who largely promoted the practice of inoculation in Great Britain, and who was sent to Hanover by George II. to inoculate Frederick, Prince of Wales, was also a native, and was buried here in 1748.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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