- ORDIQUHILL, a parish, in the county of Banff, 11 miles (E. N. E.) from Keith; containing, with the village of Corncairn, 637 inhabitants. This place, which is situated within seven miles of the North Sea, derives its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "a hollow near an eminence," from the nature of its surface, and its position with respect to the mountainous elevation of Knockhill, which rises on its western border to the height of more than 1600 feet above the level of the sea. It is not connected with any event of historical importance; and the only document of antiquity in which notice of it occurs, is a charter of Alexander II. in 1242, setting forth the boundaries of the estate called Park, now the property of Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, sole proprietor of the parish. The parish is about three and a half miles in length and two and a half in breadth, and comprises 5500 acres, of which 2200 are under tillage, about the same number in pasture, and 1000 woodland. The system of agriculture is improved; the chief crop is oats, and great attention is paid to the rearing of cattle. The Highland Society and the Banffshire Farmers' Club have contributed somewhat to the advance of husbandry; many acres of unprofitable land have in different parts been brought into cultivation; and draining has been extensively carried on under the encouragement, and by the assistance, of Col. Gordon, who generally divides the expense with the tenant. Cattle-fairs take place in the village, where shows of cattle have also been held for several years; and ten markets are held annually near the village of Corncairn, but in an adjoining parish, for the sale of grain. The surface is intersected by numerous rivulets, over which are four good bridges. The plantations consist of larch, Scotch fir, ash, beech, elm, and birch, and are mostly in a flourishing state. The substratum varies in different parts, but is usually a coarse mica-slate passing into gneiss, and resting on a bed of granite: in the eastern portion is an extensive bed of thick moss, under which is coarse clay. Masses of whin and trap-rock, and blocks of granite, are scattered in various places; and garnets and tourmaline, some of large dimensions, are frequently found imbedded in them. Across the eastern base of Knockhill passes the serpentine rock of Portsoy, which may be distinctly traced; and specimens occur of asbestos, plumbago, and other minerals. The summit of Knockhill is a bed of moss from fifteen to twenty feet in depth, in some parts continued down the declivity to the mosses around the base. The farm-buildings are comfortable and substantial; but the inclosures are few in number, and in very indifferent condition. Considerable facilities of communication with the neighbouring markets are afforded by good turnpike-roads, which intersect the parish in various directions. The mansionhouse of Park, the seat of Colonel Gordon, is a handsome building, enlarged in 1829, and is pleasantly situated in the midst of thriving and ornamental plantations. The rateable annual value of Ordiquhill is £2246. It is in the presbytery of Fordyce and synod of Aberdeen, and patronage of the Earl of Seafield: the minister's stipend is £185. 6. 7., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £6. 10. per annum. The church, erected in 1805, at the extremity of the parish, affords accommodation to a congregation of 500. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £21. 9. 6., with £10 fees, and a portion of the proceeds of the Dick bequest. A parochial library has been for some few years established; it has a collection of about 300 volumes, and has been productive of much benefit. There is also a Sunday-school library, and a parochial association has been formed for the promotion of religious objects at home and abroad. Mr. Walter Goodall, author of a defence of Mary, Queen of Scots, was a native of this place.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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