Newburgh


Newburgh
   1) NEWBURGH, a village and sea-port, in the parish of Foveran, district of Ellon, county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Ellon; containing 393 inhabitants. This is a small but flourishing place, situated on the bank of the river Ythan, at its confluence with the German Ocean. The village is now much improved; it contains about 120 houses, some very substantial and commodious; and is well provided with shops, and has persons carrying on all the necessary trades for the convenience of the population. There is a bonemill, actively employed; also eight large well-built granaries. The soil in the immediate vicinity is a fine, strong, black earth, producing very rich crops of bear, potatoes, and turnips, and a small quantity of oats. The river is of a serpentine form, and navigable for nearly a mile and a half, affording an opportunity at low water for the loading and unloading of vessels; it is well stocked with sea-trout, salmon, flounders, and especially muscles, the last supplying several hundred tons annually, sold at £1. 10. per ton. The entrance to the river, however, is exceedingly bad, and often dangerous on account of the shifting sands. The beach, extending from its mouth nearly ten miles south, has stake and bag nets for taking salmon: the fish caught in the sea are, haddocks, cod, skate, and flounders; and there are two fishing-boats belonging to the village, and a ferry-boat on the Ythan, three-quarters of a mile above. The number of ships belonging to the port is eight, the aggregate burthen of which is 646 tons; they are employed in the coasting and foreign trade, and the exports consist of grain and cattle, and the imports of coal, lime, timber, and bones. A tide-waiter resides here, and a pilot-boat belongs to the station. There is a branch of the National Savings' Bank, in connexion with the Ellon Bank; also a society called the "Newburgh Shipmasters' Friendly Society." A school has been established for twenty children of poor fishermen, from a bequest of the late Mr. Mather; and a weekly lecture is delivered by the parochial minister or schoolmaster, supported by funds left also by Mr. Mather for that purpose. A turnpike-road has been recently formed leading from Meldrum into the village.
   2) NEWBURGH, a parish, sea-port, burgh, and markettown, in the district of Cupar, county of Fife, 11 miles (S. E.) from Perth, and 40 (N.) from Edinburgh; containing 2897 inhabitants, of whom 2491 are in the burgh. This parish derives its name from a town built here long before the separation of the district from the parish of Abdie, or Lindores, of which, previously to the year 1622, the lands formed a part. The town appears to have been indebted for its increase to the encouragement of the abbots of the monastery of Lindores, near which it was situated, and which was founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon, about the year 1180, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Andrew, for monks of the Benedictine order, who were placed in it from the abbey of Kelso. Soon after its foundation, the earl granted to the abbot of Lindores, and to the church of St. Mary and St. Andrew, the island of Fedinch, supposed to be the present Mugdrum, with the fisheries in the river Tay adjoining, and a right of taking from his quarries at Irneside, stone for the erection of conventual buildings. Additional grants were made by charter of William the Lion, Alexander III., and other kings of Scotland, for its endowment, which was subsequently augmented by James II., who gave to the monastery the lands of Parkhill, in Fife. The monastery continued to flourish under a long succession of abbots till the year 1600, when James VI. erected the abbacy into a temporal lordship; and in 1606 John, the last abbot of whom any notice occurs, is said to have assisted at a general council held at Westminster to deliberate on the expediency of establishing episcopacy in Scotland.
   
   The town is advantageously situated upon the river Tay, which is divided by the island of Mugdrum into two channels, called respectively the North and South Deep, the latter being the principal roadway for ships approaching the port. The greater part of the town has been rebuilt within the last fifty years, and it has also been much increased by the recent erection of suburbs; the streets are paved, and lighted with gas by a company lately established here; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with excellent water from springs. The houses are large, and uniformly built of greenstone found in the neighbouring quarries; and the public buildings, of the same material, are embellished with freestone of good quality from Cupar-moor and other places. The whole appearance is cheerful and prepossessing; and from its sheltered situation, the salubrity of its air, and the beauty and variety of the surrounding scenery, it is fast growing into favour as a summer residence for families at a distance. The linen manufacture has long been established here, affording employment to several hundreds of persons in hand-loom weaving, and to more than 350 persons, chiefly women, in winding bobbins. The linen made here is chiefly dowlas sheeting, for which a ready market is obtained in London, Leeds, and Manchester, and of which great quantities are also exported to the West Indies and South America: the finest pieces are what are called "fourteen-hundred linens." The number of looms in the town is 560, producing on an average 23,600 webs, 140 yards in length, and from one yard to three yards in width, and in which are contained more than 826,000 spindles of yarn. There is also an extensive bleachfield, supplied with pure water from the spring called the Nine Wells, the waters of which are collected into one copious and powerful stream. A considerable trade is carried on in grain; and a market for stock, opened in 1830, is held on Tuesday, and numerously attended by dealers from all parts of the adjacent country. Fairs are held for horses, cattle, and sheep, on the first Tuesday in April, third Friday in June, and second Tuesday in October; and for hiring servants, on the first Tuesday in December. A post-office has been established, which has a good delivery; and facilities of communication are afforded with the neighbouring towns by excellent turnpike-roads, of which that from Cupar to Perth passes through the town.
   The trade of the port consists principally in the exportation of the linens manufactured in the town and parish to the West Indies and South America, and the importation of timber from the Baltic, North America, and Norway, generally brought by vessels belonging to those ports. Ten vessels, varying from sixty to 150 tons, belong to Newburgh, and these are employed chiefly in the coal trade; there is also an inconsiderable coasting trade, and most of the potatoes and other agricultural produce of Strathearn, Kinross, and the surrounding district, are shipped from this port for the London market. Two packets are regularly engaged in bringing the raw materials for the linen manufacture from Dundee; and vessels bound for Perth are frequently obliged to wait here for the flow of the tide, and often are under the necessity of landing part of their cargoes before they can proceed further up the river, even with the tide in their favour. The steam-boats between Perth and Dundee touch at Newburgh; and a passage-boat has been established on the Tay between the Pow of Errol and this place. The port is situated on that channel of the river called the South Deep, and is accessible to ships of 500 tons, which can load and unload their cargoes on the quay; but beyond the confluence of the Earn, the channel will scarcely admit vessels of 150 tons to proceed to Perth. The landing-place consists of four piers, projecting boldly into the channel; warehouses and granaries have been recently built for the accommodation of the merchants, and several handsome dwelling-houses for the residence of persons connected with the shipping. The revenue paid to the customhouse is already considerable, and the trade of the port gradually increasing.
   Many persons are occupied in the salmon-fishery of the Tay; the fish are of superior quality, and very much esteemed. The number of boats on the average is thirty, and about sixty seamen are engaged: there are several stations, on one of which, employing only two boats, 250 salmon, 610 grilse, and a proportionate number of trout, were taken in one season. Considerable numbers are still caught, which, after affording an abundant supply for the town and neighbourhood, are shipped to London by the Dundee steamers, which perform the voyage in about thirty-five hours. The sperling, or salmo eperlanus of naturalists, is also found here, though not in any other part of the Frith of Tay. The nets for taking them are fixed by stakes in the rapids of the current, and they are obtained in great quantities, even in the winter months, so long as the river is free from ice; they are much valued by the inhabitants of the place, and find a ready market also at Perth. The people of Newburgh received their earliest charter of incorporation from the abbot of the monastery of Lindores, who erected the town into a burgh of regality, and endowed the burgesses with the lands of Woodriff and the hills adjacent, which now constitute the principal revenue of the corporation; and in 1631, Charles I. confirmed the preceding charter, making the town a royal burgh, and investing the burgesses with various privileges and immunities, and the right of sending a member to the Scottish parliament, which, however, from neglect, soon fell entirely into disuse. Under these charters the government is vested in two magistrates, and a council of fifteen burgesses, assisted by a townclerk and other officers. The magistrates exercise jurisdiction over the royalty of the town, but not over the whole of the harbour and suburbs; they are elected by the council, by whom also all the other officers are appointed. Courts are held weekly, on Wednesday, for the trial of civil actions and of misdemeanors, the townclerk acting as assessor; but little business is done in these courts, and since 1820 not more than seventeen civil and eight criminal causes have been annually adjudicated. The town-house, a neat edifice with a spire, was erected in 1808; and recently, a building of considerable size has been added to it for the use of the stock market.
   The parish, after its separation from that of Abdie, under the sanction of the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, in 1622, was enlarged by the addition of a portion of the adjoining parish of Abernethy, annexed to it by the same authority. The present parish is about three miles in length from north to south, and two miles in breadth from east to west, inclosing an irregular area, bounded on the north by the Tay, which washes the coast for about two miles. It comprises 1145 acres, of which 280 are meadow and pasture, ninety woodland and plantations, forty garden and orchard, and the remainder good arable land in a state of profitable cultivation. The surface towards the east is flat, but towards the west rises gently till it terminates in a tract of tableland, from which, in a southern direction, is a gradual ascent till it reaches the Black Cairn, elevated about 800 feet above the level of the sea. To the south-west, also, the land forms a ridge increasing in elevation, and which at Craig-Sparrow is 600 feet in height. The low lands are intersected by a stream that issues from the loch of Lindores, in the parish of Abdie, and falls into the river Tay at the north-eastern extremity of this parish; and also by another streamlet, flowing from Loch Mill, in the same parish, and joining the Eden at Auchtermuchty. The Tay, after receiving the waters of the Earn, expands into a breadth of almost two miles at this place; and its channel, as already observed, is divided nearly into two equal portions by the island of Mugdrum, in the parish of Abernethy. There are also many excellent and copious springs, of which the one called Nine Wells rises in the hilly district towards the south-west. The soil in the higher lands, though of little depth, is very fertile, consisting of a loose black loam; and in the low lands, a remarkably rich clay, which under proper management produces abundant crops. The system of agriculture is in the highest state of improvement; the crops are, barley, of which the chevalier species is fast growing into general use, oats, some wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The orchards in the vicinity of the town are very productive, and abound with fruit of the finest quality, which finds a ready sale at the market, and returns a high profit to the proprietors. The principal woods are those of Mugdrum, comprising about thirty acres on the banks of the Tay, and consisting chiefly of spruce-firs and larch; and Pitcairly, twelve acres in extent, producing some fine specimens of ash, beech, elm, and plane. The plantations on the Town's land comprise more than forty acres of spruce, Scotch fir, and larch, of recent growth, and in a thriving condition. The substratum of the parish is principally of the trap formation: in the lower part a fine-grained porphyritic greenstone, and in the upper a compact felspar, and some beds of trap tuffa, are found. In the small veins of the greenstone are crystals of quartz, carbonate of lime, barytes, and other minerals; and in the felspar occur nodules of claystone, and agates of jasper, approaching in quality to the Mocha stone. In the hills are frequently boulders of primitive rock, granite, gneiss, quartz, mica-slate imbedded with garnets, and primitive greenstone. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4958. Mugdrum House and Pitcairly are the principal mansions.
   Newburgh is in the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife, and patronage of the Earl of Mansfield and the Hay family: the minister's stipend is £225. 14. 2., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £40 per annum. The church, erected in 1833, and situated in the centre of the town, is a spacious and handsome structure in the later English style, and forms a conspicuous feature in the view; it is adapted for a congregation of 1000 persons. There are places of worship for the United Associate Synod, and for very small congregations of Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £22 fees, and a good house and garden, in addition to which he possesses about four acres of land bequeathed to the school many years since. There are also two Sabbath schools, to each of which is attached a juvenile library. The poor are partly supported by the interest of accumulated sums arising from lands purchased for their relief, and now producing £19. 17. 4. per annum; a female charitable society distributes annually about £15 in clothing and fuel to the poor, and there are two friendly societies, which prevent many of their aged members from applying for parochial assistance. Little remains of the ancient monastery of Lindores, which after its dissolution soon sank into a state of dilapidation and decay; but even its inconsiderable ruins, which for some time have been carefully preserved, afford sufficient indications of its former splendour. The porch of the church is in good preservation, and shows the original building to have been of elegant design, and of elaborate workmanship; the walls are massive, and appear to have been very extensive. Among the ruins of the abbey was found a stone coffin, said to have contained the body of the Duke of Rothsay, who was barbarously put to death in the palace of Falkland, and privately buried within the monastery; and it is traditionally recorded that James, the ninth earl of Douglas, who was taken prisoner at Barneswark Hill, was immured in the abbey, in which he continued till his death in the year 1488. In the hills to the south of the ruins, the sites of the monks' and abbots' wells are still pointed out; but no traces whatever remain of the causeway which extended from the abbey to the church of Magirdum, in the parish of Dron, and which was raised by the monks, who went annually to that place to unite with the nuns of Elcho in paying their devotions to the patron saint. Among the woods to the west of the town are the remains of an ancient cross, consisting of the upright shaft, inserted in a pedestal, and ornamented with curious antique devices on the several stages into which its surface is divided. The two upper compartments of the east face have in each the sculptured representation of a man on horseback, much mutilated; and in the two lower compartments are two horses of very unequa1 size, and the representation of a boar-hunt, very rudely sculptured. On another side are some scroll ornaments; but on the two other sides, the figures or devices are entirely obliterated. The transepts appear to have been broken off. The shaft is of sandstone, and about seven feet in height; it is called the cross of Mugdrum, supposed to be a corruption of Magridin, the saint to whom it was dedicated. By some antiquaries it is thought to have been raised to commemorate the defeat of the Danes in the battle of Luncarty, about the close of the 10th century, through the resolute valour of Hay and his sons, who compelled their retreating countrymen to return to the field of battle. About a mile to the south of this monument, on the confines of Strathearn, is another ancient relic of the same materials, called Macduff's Cross. It consists of one large block of stone, deeply indented in several parts, in each of which cavities were formerly an iron staple and a ring, said to have been intended for the securing of certain cattle offered by the Macduff family as an atonement for the crime of murder. The shaft was destroyed by the Reformers, on their route from Perth to the abbey of Lindores, in 1559. Near the site is a cairn of loose stones, called "Sir Robert's Prap," raised over the grave of Sir Robert Balfour, of Denmill, who fell in a duel not far from the spot towards the commencement of the last century. The Earl of Newburgh takes his title from this parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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