- KEISS, formerly a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Wick, and partly in that of Canisbay, county of Caithness, 7¾ miles (N.) from Wick; containing, with the village of Keiss, 1009 inhabitants. The portion of this district which is within the parish of Wick is about five miles in length and three in breadth, containing 809 inhabitants, and after the erection and endowment of a church by government, in 1827, was, with a contiguous portion of Canisbay, formed into a quoad sacra parish by act of the General Assembly, in 1833. Whinstone and red sandstone prevail in the district; and the soil is principally composed of a strong clay. The herring-fishery, which is prosecuted in the months of July and August, is very considerable, and cod, ling, and haddock are also obtained: in 1840, a salmonfishery on a small scale was commenced, but was not attended with much success. A cattle-market is held in the month of June. Keiss House, a plain massive building, erected about 1760, is at present in a very dilapidated state, not having been for a number of years the residence of its owner. The village, situated at the head of Keiss harbour, in Sinclair bay, and on the great coast-road from Wick to Huna, is chiefly inhabited by persons engaged in the fisheries.The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Caithness and synod of Caithness and Sutherland: the stipend of the minister is £120, paid by endowment of the government, with a manse, built near the church. The church, erected by government, in 1827, on a rising ground to the west of the harbour, at an expense of £1500, is a plain structure containing 350 sittings, and, by the addition of galleries, would contain 200 more. The Baptists have a place of worship. A school, also, has been erected, of which the master receives a salary of £15, one-half derived from the Rev. William Hallawall's endowment, and the other paid by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge: he has likewise the fees. On a rock overhanging the sea are remains of an old castle, called Keiss Castle; and there are some vestiges still to be seen of two ancient chapels, and a Pictish house.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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