Kirkmichael and Cullicudden

   KIRKMICHAEL and CULLICUDDEN, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 7 miles (N. N. W.) from Fortrose; containing, with the village of Jemimaville, and the hamlets of Balblair and Gordon-Mills, 1549 inhabitants, of whom 1410 are in the rural districts of the parish. This place, in some public documents called Resolis, a term implying "a sunny inclined plain," derives its name of Kirkmichael from the dedication of its church to St. Michael. It includes the extinct parishes of St. Martin and Cullicudden, which, after their union, were both annexed, under the denomination of Cullicudden, to the parish of Kirkmichael towards the close of the 17th century. Few particulars of the early history of this place, which appears to be of some antiquity, are recorded; but on account of the greater number of camps once to be found here than in almost any other parish in the north, it must have been of no inconsiderable importance. From their form, these intrenchments are supposed to have been of Danish origin; and owing to their situation partly on an eminence near the shore, commanding prospects in every direction, the invading forces stationed here could easily, upon the approach of the natives in superior numbers, return to their vessels, and land again on some other part of the coast. On the summit of a precipitous rock near the shore of Cromarty Frith are the ruins of Castle-Craig, said to have been originally built by the Urquharts, barons of Cromarty, one of whose descendants having incurred the censure of the Pope, the castle and the lands attached to it fell to the church, and were bestowed upon the bishops of Ross. The castle continued to be the chief episcopal residence of that see till after the Reformation, when the property came into the possession of the Williamsons, by whom it was sold to the Roses, of Kilraveck, owners of a considerable portion of the Black Isle. It subsequently passed to the Gordons, of Newhall, and now forms part of the estate of J. A. S. Mc Kenzie, Esq., the principal proprietor of the parish. Of the castle, five stories in height, nearly one-half is still entire; the walls are of great strength, and the various apartments have vaulted roofs of stone, and were ascended by a spiral staircase which has within the last few years been removed. The roof is in a perfect state; and the eastern gable is defended on each side by a bastion crowned with a turret.
   The parish extends along the southern shore of Cromarty Frith for about eight miles, from east to west, and varies from three to four miles in breadth, comprising, exclusively of an extensive tract of common, 14,000 acres, of which nearly 4000 are arable, 1500 meadow and pasture, 350 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moor and waste. The surface rises gradually from the Frith for almost a mile towards the south, and as gradually subsides into a fertile valley including very much of the arable land in the parish, beyond which the ground ascends abruptly to a height of 800 feet above the level of the sea, terminating in the summit of Maole-Buidhe, the southern boundary of the parish. The only stream of any importance is the burn of Resolis, which, issuing from a small lake near the western extremity of the parish, flows eastward through its whole extent, driving several mills, and, after receiving in its course a few tributaries, falls into the Frith at the hamlet of Gordon-Mills. There are several copious springs of excellent water in the south district; but scarcely any are found in the northern parts, the inhabitants of which are supplied from wells dug at their own individual expense. Of one of these, dug by the incumbent in 1836, the water, both in smell and in taste, resembles the mineral water of Strathpeffer.
   The soil in general is a light black loam resting on a subsoil of clay, easy to work, but not highly fertile: near the shore of the Frith it is of richer quality, resting on a bed of freestone, but still light, and, even with careful management, producing only moderate crops. The system of husbandry has made comparatively little progress. All the farms, except a few, are occupied by tenants holding but from forty to fifty acres; and with the exception of the lands attached to the houses of the resident proprietors, on which improvements have been made, there is little either in the agricultural or pastoral features of the parish deserving of notice. No natural wood is to be seen, except some patches of birch, ash, and hazel, on the banks of rivulets: the plantations are chiefly Scotch fir and larch, interspersed with a few hard-wood trees; and the soil appears to be tolerably well adapted for them. On the lands of Newhall and Poyntzfield are some very fine specimens of ash, beech, and elm, of nearly a hundred years' growth; and on the same estate, and also on the lands of Braelangwell, very extensive plantations of Scotch fir have been cut down within the last few years. The prevailing substrata are of the old red sandstone formation, of which the rocks are also composed. Coal is supposed to exist; and in 1786 a vein of lead-ore was found by Mr. Gordon, of Newhall, but none has since been noticed. At Cullicudden is a quarry of freestone varying both in quality and in colour, from which materials have been taken for numerous public buildings: the best of the produce is found at a depth of from nine to twelve feet, all lying above that level being more or less friable. The rateable annual value of the parish is £711. Newhall House, the seat of J. A. S. Mc Kenzie, Esq., is a handsome mansion in the modern style of architecture, erected about the year 1805, and situated in a demesne tastefully laid out. Poyntzfield House, an ancient mansion with a tower surmounted by a cupola, and seated on an eminence commanding a very extensive prospect, is approached by an avenue of fine trees; and the grounds, like those of Newhall, are ornamented with plantations of stately growth. Braelangwell House is also a spacious and elegant mansion, recently erected, and beautifully situated in a highly-picturesque demesne.
   The village of Jemimaville is described under its own head. The hamlet of Gordon-Mills was erected towards the close of the last century, by Mr. Gordon, of Newhall, from whom it takes its name, and who established a snuff-mill, which has, however, long been discontinued, the premises being now occupied as a mill for carding wool. The small hamlet of Balblair consists of a few rustic cottages. Near Braelangwell is a distillery for whisky. Many of the poorer females in the parish are employed in the spinning of linen-yarn for the manufacturers of Cromarty; and of the males some few are engaged in the salmon-fishery in the Frith, in which they make use of stake-nets. Cockles and muscles are found in abundance; and in August, considerable quantities of cuddie fish are taken; and sometimes herrings. Fairs are held annually at the village of Jemimaville; and facility of communication is maintained by the roads running from Fort-George to Invergordon, and from Cromarty to Dingwall, both which pass through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Chanonry and synod of Ross. The minister's stipend is £219. 6. 7., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum; patron, Mr. Mc Kenzie. The church, erected in 1764, and enlarged and greatly improved in 1839, is a neat plain structure in the early English style of architecture, containing 700 sittings. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average £10 per annum. Some portions of the ancient churches of St. Martin and Cullicudden still remain, consisting chiefly of the gables. In opening a barrow on the farm of Woodhead, about thirty years since, a sarcophagus of rudely-formed slabs was found, containing human bones of large size, which, when exposed to the air, crumbled into dust. An earthen urn of very antique character has been met with in a tumulus near Jemimaville. On the glebe was recently discovered the foundation of an ancient Pictish house; and near it, a vessel of stone in the form of a cup, about four inches in diameter, was found by the incumbent, in trenching a patch of moorland.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cullicudden —    CULLICUDDEN, Ross and Cromarty.    See Kirkmichael and Cullicudden …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Resolis —    RESOLIS.    See Kirkmichael and Cullicudden …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Diocese of Ross — Coordinates: 57°34′52″N 4°07′55″W / 57.581°N 4.132°W / 57.581; 4.132 For the Irish diocese, see Diocese o …   Wikipedia

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