Banchory-Devenick

   BANCHORY-DEVENICK, a parish, partly within, and partly without, the city of Aberdeen, district and county of Aberdeen, but mostly in the county of Kincardine; including the villages of Downies, Findon, and Portlethen, and containing 2736 inhabitants. The cognomen of Devenick, or Davenick, applied to this place, is derived from a celebrated saint of the name of Davenicus, who flourished about the year 887, and who, at one time, ministered in the district. The parish is about 5 miles long, and 3 broad, and contains about 10,000 acres. The river Dee forms the northern boundary of the Kincardineshire portion, and the parish is bounded on the east by the parish of Nigg and by the sea; the coast extends about 3 miles, and is bold and rocky, and, in many parts, picturesque. The surface is, in general, rugged and stony, and to a considerable extent covered with heath; the highest land is a part of the Tollow hill, the most easterly of the Grampian range, the elevation of which was used for the trigonometrical survey of the country. The Dee, which is the only river connected with the district, rises among the highest mountains of Aberdeenshire, and, after a course of about 60 miles, passes along the extremity of the parish, forming the line of separation between the counties of Kincardine and Aberdeen; it is here about 250 feet wide, and falls into the bay of Aberdeen a mile and a half below the eastern extremity of the parish. It is subject to great floods, rising sometimes ten or eleven feet above its usual level, in consequence of which, long and expensive embankments have been raised, for the protection of the neighbouring lands.
   The soil is diversified, running through all the varieties, from pure alluvial to hard till, and from rich loam to deep moss; agriculture receives much attention, though a large part of the ground is in its natural state, and much remains yet to be done. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6946. There are several plantations, one of which covers 250 acres, but the proximity of the land to the sea-coast is an impediment to the growth of trees, as there is no shelter against the blighting influence of the east wind. The rocks consist chiefly of blue granite, which is abundant in the hilly part of the parish; but its texture is too hard to admit of its being quarried to any extent, and the produce obtained is used either for the roads, or sent for sale to the London market. The parish is entirely rural, and its population has been considerably increased, during the present century, by the allotment of portions of uncultivated land, with encouragement to small tenants, by which means much waste ground has been reclaimed, and a considerable number of persons that worked in the granite quarries and peat-mosses of Aberdeen, brought into this district. There are three harbours for fishing-boats on the coast, named Findon, Portlethen, and Downies, to which belong about eighteen boats, chiefly engaged in white-fishing, except during the herringseason, at which time several of them are employed in the Moray Frith. There are four stations for salmon-fishing in the Dee, but they have been for some years past in a low state, from the great scarcity of fish in the river. The great road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen runs through the parish, and, on the north side of the Dee, the Deeside turnpike-road passes through the Aberdcenshire division; there is also a good commutation road along the south side of the river. A suspension bridge has been recently erected over the Dee, connecting the Aberdeenshire portion of the parish with the church and school, and which cost about £1400, independently of an embankment a quarter of a mile long, on the south side, facilitating the approach to the bridge, and which cost above £50.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Aberdeen and synod of Aberdeen; the patronage is possessed by the Crown, and the minister's stipend is £159. 2. 9., partly paid from the exchequer, with a glebe valued at £13. 6. 8. per annum. The church, which contains 900 sitting, was built in 1822, on the site of a former edifice, the bell of which is marked "1597." At Portlethen is a chapel, containing 300 sittings, the minister of which, who has been duly ordained, has a stipend of £80, partly from seat-rents: this building, which is situated about 3½ miles from the church, in a populous district, was a family chapel previously to the Reformation. Two places of worship in connexion with the Free Church have been erected. A parochial school is maintained, in which Latin is taught, with the ordinary branches of education, and of which the master has a salary of £30, a portion of the Dick bequest, £20 fees, and £20 for teaching as many children, the last amount being an endowment by a person in India. There are three other schools, namely, one at Portlethen, the master of which has the interest of a benefaction of £200; a school upon the estate of Cults, in the Aberdeenshire district, the master of which receives £25 per annum from an endowment; and a female school, built by a bequest of £100 from the late Mr. George Hogg, whose father had been for many years schoolmaster at Banchory, and endowed with £200, half of which was allotted by the same benefactor, and half by the minister of the parish. A parochial library has been founded, which has a considerable number of volumes; and a friendly society, and a savings' bank established in 1822, and which is in a very flourishing state, are supported. The antiquities of the parish consist of two Druidical circles, in very fine preservation; and three very large tumuli, occupying an elevated situation, on the north side of the river.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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