Pettie, or Petty

   PETTIE, or PETTY, a parish, partly in the county of Nairn, but chiefly in the mainland district of the county of Inverness, 6½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Inverness; containing, with the villages of Connage and Stuartown, 1749 inhabitants, of whom 88 are in that part of the parish which is within the shire of Nairn. This place includes the parishes of Petyn and Bracholy, which were united previously to the Reformation under the vicar of Petyn, who held a prebendal stall in the cathedral church of Elgin. The parish of Bracholy is supposed to have derived its name, originally Braichlich, from the Gaelic Eaglais-a-Bhraighe-choille, descriptive of its situation on a wooded hill; but the etymology of the name of Pettie is involved in great obscurity. Some of the lands long formed part of the territories erected into the successive earldoms of Moray; other portions seem to have belonged to the Mackintosh and Kilravock families at a very early period, and to have been subsequently held under the earls. In 1281, the Earl of Ross, having plundered the churches of Petyn and Bracholy, expiated his offence by a grant to the see of Elgin, of the lands of Cattepol and Pitkanny. At the battle of Clachnaharry, the Mackintoshes of Moy Castle levied the men of Pettie to aid them in the pursuit of Munro of Fowlis. In 1368, William, the seventh lord Mackintosh, had his residence here, at Connage; and after the earldom of Moray was annexed to the crown, in 1455, the barony of Pettie appears to have been held by the laird of Findlater for some time under the crown, and subsequently under the Earl of Moray, the title having been revived.
   From 1495 the Earl of Huntly possessed Connage till the birth of James V., on which occasion the barony of Pettie was given to Sir William Ogilvie, of Banff, whose wife was the first to announce to James IV. the birth of the prince; and Sir William resided in the castle till it was besieged and burnt by the clan Chattan, who slew his son and eight men who were found in it. In 1548, the Earl of Huntly was invested with the earldom of Moray, and soon afterwards, under the powers he possessed as lieutenant-general in the north, put to death William, the fifteenth laird of Mackintosh, and declared all his lands to be forfeited. In 1551, the clan Chattan, to revenge this murder, entered the castle of Pettie by stratagem, and seizing Lachlan, Mackintosh's kinsman, by whom he had been betrayed to the Earl of Huntly, killed him on the spot; and the queen regent, to prevent further hostilities, annulled the act of forfeiture. The Mackintoshes seem never to have forgiven the murder of their chieftain, and with avidity took every opportunity of laying waste Huntly's lands; and on the murder of the regent, Queen Mary's brother, upon whom she had bestowed the earldom of Moray, and who was put to death at Donnybristle by Huntly in 1591, the Mackintoshes of Pettie, under Angus, ravaged the Earl of Huntly's estates of Strathdee and Glenmuick, and killed many of his retainers. The earl retaliated by ravaging the district of Pettie, and killing many of the Mackintoshes; but he had scarcely returned from his expedition, and disbanded his troops, when the clan, to the number of 800, entered his territories of Achindown and Cabrach, in which they committed fearful depredations.
   The parish is bounded on the north-west by the Moray Frith, along the shore of which it extends for about eight miles; varying from two to three miles in breadth, and comprising 8120 acres, of which 5275 are arable, 1575 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface rises from the Frith in undulations more or less abrupt, being in some parts bold and precipitous, and in others gentle, and subsiding into pleasant vales; but, though it increases in elevation towards the south-east, it is no where of mountainous character. The only streams of any importance are, the burn of Ault-an-fhiler, which separates the parish from that of Inverness on the west; and a small burn flowing between it and the parish of Ardersier on the east, which has been diverted from its course to turn a mill, and empties itself into the Frith. From some of the higher lands, or braes, descend numerous small brooks, falling over a rocky bed into the chief vale, and which formerly supplied water to the tenants of the lands for the illicit purpose of making whisky; they are now employed to turn threshing-mills on their farms. The coast is not marked by any indenture deserving the name of a bay, with the exception only of that portion of the Frith inclosed between the headland of Altirlie and the small promontory on which the church is built. On the beach at this place, where a commodious harbour might easily be formed, coal and lime are landed for the supply of the district; and on the beach at Connage, towards Stuartown, the timber which is cut down in the eastern part of the parish is shipped for exportation. At low water the sea recedes to a great distance from the shore, except at Altirlie, which consequently during the bathing season is much frequented by visiters from Inverness, who find lodgings either in the fishing-villages or in the neighbouring farmhouses. The lakes are Loch Flemington and Loch Andunty, both situated on the ridge near the south-eastern extremity, and in the old parish of Bracholy; but neither of them is of any considerable extent, or distinguished by features of importance.
   The soil in the low lands near the sea is generally light and sandy, but on the braes and higher lands, a rich black loam, of stronger and more fertile quality; the principal crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of husbandry, under the stimulus afforded by the Pettie and Ardersier Farmers' Society, established within the last fifty years, has made considerable advances; and the more liberal use of lime, since the enlargement of the farms, has tended much to the improvement of the soil. The lands have been drained, and subsoil ploughing and trenching are growing daily into more general use: on the Earl of Moray's lands, the main drains are formed and kept in order by the landlord, and the tributary drains by the tenant. The farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged, and are either built and kept in repair by the landlord, or by the tenant, according to the terms of the lease. The Aberdeen or Buchan polled breed of cows is preferred to the Ayrshire on the dairy-farms; but few cattle are reared in the parish, which is rather an agricultural than a pastoral district; though cattle and sheep purchased at the neighbouring trysts are fed, the former chiefly on turnips. The plantations, of which about 1200 acres are on the lands of the Earl of Moray, have been formed at successive periods; and some have attained more than sixty years' growth. They are usually oak and fir, at Flemington interspersed with larch and spruce; they are carefully managed, regularly thinned, and all in a thriving state. The principal substrata are of the old red sandstone formation, of which the rocks in the ridge to the south chiefly consist; there are thin seams of limestone and bituminous shale, but little or no conglomerate. The rateable annual value of Pettie is £4700.
   Castle-Stuart, one of the seats of the earl, and from which he takes the title of baron, is a spacious and venerable structure erected about the year 1624; but it was not occupied, and consequently fell into a ruinous state. The eastern wing of this once stately castle has, however, within the last few years been put into repair, and is occasionally visited for a few weeks by the family during the shooting season. The other mansions are the houses of Gollanfield and Flemington, both occupied by their respective proprietors: these, with the lands belonging to them, originally formed one estate. A considerable portion of the village of Campbelton extends into this parish, under the appellation of Stuartown; and there are also the fishing-hamlets of Pettie and Connage, the former containing fifty-eight, and the latter ninety-seven inhabitants. Salmon are taken by stake-nets along the shore of the Frith, but not in any great numbers, the stations producing to the proprietors scarcely a rental of £60; oyster-beds have also been formed, by bringing oysters from a distance, but they are of very inferior quality. The principal fish taken off the coast are, haddocks, whiting, cod, skate, flounders, and soles; and during the season, twenty-four boats are engaged in the herring-fisheries at Helmsdale, Wick, and Burgh-Head, each boat having a crew of five men and a boy. The herring season generally commences about the middle of July, and terminates in the early part of September. The produce of the fisheries is usually sent to Inverness, the nearest market-town, whither is also sent the agricultural and dairy produce of the parish. A fair is held annually, at Lammas, in the village of Campbelton, chiefly for hiring servants. There is no post-office; the inhabitants in the eastern district receive their letters at Ardersier or Fort-George, and those of the western district at Inverness. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Inverness to Aberdeen, which passes through the whole length of the parish till it enters the county of Nairn; by other roads, of recent construction, kept in excellent repair; and by the steamers which ply regularly between Inverness and London.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Inverness and synod of Moray: the minister's stipend is £234. 3. 4., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £5 per annum; patron, the Earl of Moray. The church, rebuilt in 1839, is a handsome and substantial structure with a campanile turret; the interior is well arranged, and contains 600 sittings. From its situation, however, near the western boundary of the parish, the inhabitants of the district of Bracholy are at an inconvenient distance. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of £36, with a house and garden, and the fees average £5 per annum. A school at Gollanfield is supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and is held in a building towards the erection of which the sum of £40 was granted by government. The schools in several of the adjacent parishes are also available to the children of the eastern district of this parish. Among the relics of antiquity are some Druidical circles, and near Loch Flemington are vestiges of what is thought to have been a Flemish camp: in the loch were found, a few years ago, pistols rudely mounted with silver, and having the initials A. M. P., which are supposed to have lain there since the battle of Culloden. In digging the foundations for a house near the loch, was discovered an urn of clay, inclosed in slabs of stone rudely formed. Stone coffins, containing urns, have also been found near a moat on the farm of Balmachree; and on the farm of Culblair, the fragment of a battle-axe was discovered in the moss. Near the church are two artificial mounds called Tom-aMhoid, "the Court hill," and Tom-a-Chroich, "the Gallows' hill," in ancient times used for the administration of justice; and in the churchyard is the burying-ground of the chiefs of the clan Mackintosh. Dr. Fraser, of Chelsea, the munificent benefactor of King's College, Aberdeen, was the son of a minister of this parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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