Machar, New

   MACHAR, NEW, a parish, in the district and county of Aberdeen, 10 miles (N. W. by N.) from Aberdeen; containing 1262 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its appellation from its having been disjoined from Old Machar, comprehends certain lands named Straloch, in the county of Banff, though entirely surrounded by the county of Aberdeen. These lands are separated from the main portion of the parish by a branch of the parish of Udny, uniting itself to that of Fintray; this division of Udny has for several years been annexed quoad sacra to New Machar, and the lands of Straloch are now rated and politically attached to the county of Aberdeen. The parish measures ten miles in length from north-west to south-east, and its average breadth is two and a half miles, comprising 8390 acres, of which 5570 are arable, 958 pasture, and 810 plantations, chiefly of larch and fir, with an intermixture of hard-wood. It is bounded on the south by the river Don, and is mainly situated between hills of moderate elevation, gently sloping, and inclining from north-west to south-east; while the intermediate surface is agreeably diversified by little hills, some of which are cultivated, and the others under wood. A rivulet, crossing the parish in a southern direction, and turning several corn-mills in its course, falls into the Don near the bridge of Dyce; and in the south-east end of the parish are two lochs. Of these, one is situated in a rugged and uninviting district; but the other, anciently called Loch Goul, but now the Bishop's loch, from some of the bishops of Aberdeen having resided in a humble dwelling on a small island here, is stretched out in the midst of beautiful scenery, and is extensive and well wooded.
   The soil near the Don is a rich loam, resting on gravel; and in the middle portion the land is of the same kind, but of much inferior quality. The northern tract has some parts capable of good cultivation, lately reclaimed by draining; but the soil in this quarter is mostly indifferent, interspersed occasionally with loam, and resting on clay. The produce consists chiefly of barley, bear, oats, and the usual green crops, grown generally under the five or seven shift rotation. The improvements carried on here within the last fifteen years have been very considerable, comprising principally draining and liming; and not only much waste land has been reclaimed, but that in tillage also has been greatly improved. The farms vary in size from forty-five to 200 acres, and the rent of land is averaged at £1 per acre: the rateable annual value of the parish is £5227. The cattle are the Aberdeenshire horned and dodded, or crosses between the short-horned and Hereford breeds. The rocks principally found here are granite and limestone, the former especially abundant in the southern part. The mansion of Parkhill is a spacious modern residence, surrounded by ornamental plantations, with a rich lawn beautifully diversified with wood and water, and commanding a fine view up the valley of the Don, bounded by the noble elevation of Bennochie. Straloch, also a superior structure, finely situated, was once the property and residence of the geographer Gordon; and the mansion of Elrick is a neat and comfortable residence, skirted by thriving wood.
   A post-office has been lately established; and the Aberdeen and Banff turnpike-road runs through the parish from north to south, and joins the Peterhead turnpike-road not far from the old bridge of Don. The Aberdeenshire canal passes within half a mile of the southern boundary of the parish. The produce of the district is sold at Aberdeen, whence coal is brought to this place, for the more wealthy; but turf and peat are burnt by the lower classes, procured from an extensive range of moss lying between this parish and Belhelvie, and called "Red moss." A cattle fair has been recently established, at which, however, but little business is done. The parish is in the presbytery and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Fife: the minister's stipend is £217, with a manse, and a glebe of very nearly twenty acres, valued at £17 per annum. The church was built in 1791, and contains between 600 and 700 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and £5 fees. There are two parochial libraries, the one confined to religious works, and the other comprising nearly 500 volumes in miscellaneous literature. Remains exist of several ancient chapels; and the ground of one, called St. Colm's, is still used as a burial-place. A portion of land in the parish is designated King's-seat, from the circumstance, according to tradition, of King Malcolm Canmore having sat down to rest upon a stone still remaining on the property, near which is a well called Betteral well. Robert Gordon, the eminent geographer and antiquary, was born in the parish in 1580: at the earnest request of King Charles, he constructed an atlas of Scotland, which was published in 1648, and went through several editions. Dr. Thomas Reid, the wellknown metaphysician, was minister here from 1737 till 1752.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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