Pitsligo

   PITSLIGO, a parish, in the district of Buchan, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Fraserburgh; containing, with the burgh of barony of Rosehearty, and the village of Pittullie, 1582 inhabitants, of whom 832 are included within the rural district. This place gave its name as the title of the Forbes family, to whom it anciently belonged, and of whose castle there are still some considerable remains. Alexander, the fourth lord Pitsligo, who succeeded his father in 1691, and was the author of several moral and philosophical essays, having joined in the rebellion of 1745, was attainted, and the title and estates were forfeited to the crown: the lands are now principally the property of Sir John Stuart Forbes, Bart. The parish, which was separated by act of the Scottish parliament, in 1633, from the parish of Aberdour, is bounded on the north by the Moray Frith, and is about three and a half miles in length and three miles in breadth, comprising 4500 acres, of which 4000 are arable and pasture, twenty woodland and plantations, and the remainder, whereof 200 acres are susceptible of improvement, sites of building, roads, and waste. The surface is generally level, broken only by some few cairns and tumuli, none of which have an elevation of more than thirty feet; and there are neither lakes, rivers, nor streams of any importance, though an ample supply of water for domestic use is obtained from springs, of which there are several, some of them possessing mineral properties. The coast is about four miles in extent; the shore on the east of Rosehearty is loose and flat, partly sandy and partly rocky, but on the west, towards Aberdour, consists mainly of bold and precipitous rocks. The soil is various, chiefly a light black mould, but partly a clayey loam; the crops are, oats, barley, beans, turnips, potatoes, and the various grasses. Considerable improvement has lately been made in the system of husbandry; the lands, where marshy, have been drained, and the fields inclosed, generally with dykes of stone; and there are threshing-mills on most of the farms. The cattle are mostly of the pure Aberdeenshire breed; a few of the Herefordshire were recently introduced, and a cross between the short-horned and the Buchan has been found to answer. A hard stone of a blueish colour is quarried for building; and flags are raised from the rocks on the beach, from four to sixteen inches in thickness, capable of being polished for mantel-pieces. There are fishing-stations at Rosehearty and at Pittullie; the fish taken are, cod, ling, haddocks, and skate, with several smaller kinds. Facility of communication is afforded by the old roads from Fraserburgh to Banff, and from Rosehearty to Strichen, which intersect each other in the centre of the parish; and by a turnpikeroad from Fraserburgh to Banff, which bounds it for more than two miles on the south. The rateable annual value of Pitsligo is £4602.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen: the minister's stipend is £191. 4. 4., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £18 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, erected in 1634, and distinctly seen from the coast, is a handsome structure with a square tower and angular turrets: the interior is embellished with richly-carved oak in that part forming the aisle; it contains 504 sittings. The minister officiates also on Sunday evenings, at Rosehearty, to a congregation of about 300 persons. A Free Church was built in 1844, and there is a place of worship for members of the United Secession. The parochial school, for which a building was erected in 1839, at a cost of £300, is attended by 100 children; the master has a salary of £34. 4.4., with a house, and an allowance of £2 in lieu of garden; and the fees average £30 per annum. Connected with the school is a library of 100 volumes. There are seven other schools in the parish; two have small endowments, and the rest are supported exclusively by the fees. Some remains exist of the ancient castles of Pitsligo and Pittullie, both on the estate of Sir John Forbes. The former stands about a quarter of a mile south-by-east of Rosehearty, and appears to have been of great strength; the grounds attached to it are well planted, and the gardens produce abundance of fine fruits. On the older portion of the castle of Pittullie are the arms of the Saltoun family, by whom it is supposed to have been founded. The various cairns and tumuli scattered over the surface of the parish, are said to have been raised over the bodies of invaders from Denmark and Norway who were slain in battle. Andrew Cant, remarkable as a defender of the Covenant, was tutor in the family of the first lord Pitsligo, and the first minister of the parish after its formation in 1633; he was translated in 1639 to another incumbency, and eventually died at Aberdeen, where his tombstone yet remains, in the churchyard of the West church. The church of Pitsligo is still generally designated Cant's Kirk by the fishermen.
   See Rosehearty.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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