AUCHTERLESS, a parish, in the district of Turriff, county of Aberdeen, 7 miles (S. by W.) from Turriff; containing 1685 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from a Gaelic word signifying, "a cultivated field on the side of a hill," which application of the term is favoured by the general appearance of the surface. The parish, which is of an irregular oblong figure, is about 8 miles in length, and 4 in breadth, and contains nearly 16,000 acres, of which two-thirds are cultivated, and nearly 500 acres in plantation. It is bounded on the north-west by the county of Banff, and is watered by the Ythan, the only considerable stream, which, rising about a mile from the boundary of Auchterless, and flowing through the vale in a north-easterly direction, discharges its waters into the German Ocean below Ellon. The soil, in some parts, is clayey, but more frequently consists of gravel, lying upon a bed of clay-slate, and is almost uniformly dry. The cattle are of the Aberdeenshire breed, which sprang from a cross between the native and the old Fife stock, about 60 or 70 years since; the sheep, which are not numerous, are the Cheviots. The husbandry adopted is of the best kind, and the free use of compost, bone, guano, and lime manure has much contributed to the fertility of the soil; almost every farm, too, of any extent, has a threshing-mill on the premises, turned by one of the tributary streams of the Ythan. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6773. The prevailing rock is a clay-stone slate, which runs through the whole of the parish, from north-east to south-west, but lies at too great a depth to be available for the purposes of quarrying. The villages are, Gordonstown, about 2 miles from the church, and the little hamlet of Kirktown, where a market is held on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday in April (O. S.), for the sale of sheep and cattle, and which is called Donan fair, from the ancient tutelary saint of the parish. The Aberdeen and Banff turnpike-road runs, for nearly three miles, along the eastern extremity of the parish, and affords considerable facility. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Turriff and synod of Aberdeen; the patronage belongs to the family of Duff, and the minister's stipend is £191. 6. 5., with a good manse, and a glebe of about 6 acres. The church, a plain edifice, built in 1780, and repaired in 1832, seats 750 persons. In the parochial school, Greek, Latin, and mathematics, with all the usual branches of education, are taught; and the master has a salary of £34, £21 fees, and a house and garden. The antiquities comprise some Druidical circles, a moat, and similar remains. The parish has been famed for the longevity of several of its inhabitants, one of whom, Peter Garden, a farmer, died about the year 1780, at the advanced age of 132, having lived under ten sovereigns, commencing with Charles I.; he was one of the garrison in the old castle of Towie Barclay, when Montrose defended it against Argyll.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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