Rothiemay

   ROTHIEMAY, a parish, in the county of Banff, 5½ miles (N. by E.) from Huntly; containing, with the village of Milltown, 1227 inhabitants, of whom 1148 are in the rural districts. This place, of which the name is of uncertain derivation, belonged in the reign of Malcolm IV., to the family of the Abernethys, afterwards Lords Saltoun, who retained possession of it till towards the commencement of the 17th century, when it passed, by marriage with the daughter of William, the eleventh lord Saltoun, to the Gordons. Early in the next century, the lands were purchased from the Gordons by Sir John Ogilvie, whose son, afterwards of Inchmartin, in the county of Perth, sold them to William, Lord Braco, ancestor of the present Earl of Fife, who is the principal landed proprietor. During the possession of the lands by the Abernethys, Mary, Queen of Scots, according to Buchanan, passed a night in the ancient house of Rothiemay; and the apartment in which she slept is still preserved in the present mansion. The parish is bounded on the north-west by the burn of Knock, which separates it from the parish of Grange, and on the west by the river Isla, which divides it from the parish of Cairnie; and is from seven to eight miles in length and from five to six miles in extreme breadth, comprising 5000 acres, the greater number arable. The surface is varied, mostly rising by gentle acclivities from the banks of the rivers to a considerable height, and commanding extensive and interesting views of the adjacent country, which is richly cultivated; but in some parts subsiding into a wide tract of table-land, part of which is a peat-moss affording an abundant supply of fuel. The burn of Knock flows into the river Isla near Coldhome; and the Isla, which has its source in Botriphnie parish, runs in a south-eastern direction, and, after a course of sixteen miles, falls into the Doveran near the church. The Doveran has its source in the hills of Cabrach, in the county of Aberdeen, and flowing past the town of Huntly, enters this parish on the south, and taking an eastern direction through the interior, divides it into two very unequal portions: afterwards passing northward, it falls into the Moray Frith, at the town of Banff. In its course through the parish, the Doveran winds between richly-wooded banks, enlivened with much beautiful scenery; and it abounds with salmon, eels, and common trout, affording excellent sport to anglers, by whom it is much frequented.
   The northern district of the parish is less fertile than the lands towards the south, near the Doveran, which are chiefly arable, and in a state of high cultivation, the soil here being luxuriantly rich. The pastures bear but a small proportion to the arable land, but are still sufficient for the support of a few sheep and black-cattle. The system of husbandry is in an improved state; the lands are mostly drained, and inclosed partly with hedges of thorn, and partly with stone dykes kept in good repair; and some portions of waste land have been brought into profitable cultivation. There is no part of the parish in undivided common. The farm houses and buildings are generally substantial and well arranged; and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements are gradually coming into use. The plantations have been greatly increasing within the last few years, and are now very extensive: they consist of ash, elm, birch, alder, oak, beech, larch, and the various kinds of firs, for all of which the soil is adapted; and, under careful management, are in a thriving state. There are also some remains of natural wood. The substrata are partly limestone, for the preparation of which for manure there are several kilns; and stone is found, of good quality for the roads, but is not quarried to any considerable extent. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3740.
   Rothiemay House, one of the seats of the Earl of Fife, is beautifully situated below the confluence of the Doveran and Isla rivers. A part of the ancient mansion was rebuilt, and the remainder greatly improved and enlarged, by the late earl, as an occasional residence; and the grounds attached to it are tastefully laid out, and embellished with some timber of stately growth and with thriving plantations of more recent formation. The only other seat in the parish is Mayen House, the property and residence of John Gordon, Esq., an elegant mansion beautifully situated on the west bank of the Doveran, in grounds comprehending much picturesque scenery. The village of Rothiemay, or Milltown, as, since the establishment of an excellent meal-mill, it has been more generally called, stands on the north bank of the Doveran, near its junction with the Isla, and is described under its own head. Fairs are held annually; and facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Huntly to Banff and Portsoy, which passes through the parish, and by commutation roads, of which about fifteen miles intersect the parish in various directions, and are kept in good repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Strathbogie and synod of Moray. The minister's stipend is £175. 3. 6., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10. 10. per annum; patron, the Earl of Fife. The church, which is situated near the village, is a neat and substantial structure erected about the beginning of the present century, and is well adapted to the accommodation of the parishioners. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction to about 130 children: the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and an allowance of £2 in lieu of garden; the fees average £20 annually, and he also receives a sum from the Dick bequest. Near Rothiemay House are the remains of a Druidical circle, situated in the centre of a cultivated field, and in a state of good preservation; and in the north-western part of the parish are vestiges of what is supposed to have been a Roman road. James Ferguson, the eminent astronomer, was a native of this parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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