Slains and Forvie

   SLAINS and FORVIE, a parish, in the county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (E. by S.) from Ellon; containing, with the villages of Collieston and Oldcastle, 1211 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of the German Ocean, received an augmentation, but at what period is uncertain, by the annexation of part of the adjoining parish of Forvie; the rest of which had been overwhelmed by the changing and drifting sands upon the coast. It is of triangular form, measuring upwards of six miles in extreme length, and is bounded on the south-west by the river Ythan, by which it is separated from the parish of Foveran, and on the north-west by the Forvie burn, separating it from Logie-Buchan. It comprises about 9000 acres, all under cultivation with the exception of some peat-moss, of fifteen acres of wood, and of 1900 acres of sand-hillocks, partly covered with short coarse grass here called bent, and anciently belonging to the parish of Forvie. The line of coast measures about six miles; it is formed in most places of bold, craggy, and precipitous rocks, rising frequently 200 feet high, and is deeply indented with many fissures, bays, and caves, some of the last of which are celebrated for their interesting petrifactions, especially the Dropping cave, or White cave of Slains, exhibiting beautiful white stalactical incrustations. These breaks and excavations were long the haunts of smugglers, and the receptacles of large deposits of contraband goods, being found well adapted for concealment and security. One of them, called Hell-lum, is more than 200 feet in length, with an arch in some parts thirty feet high; while another, called the Needle's-eye, is ninety feet long, four feet wide, and from twenty to thirty feet high, and forms a massive body of rock, exhibiting in stormy weather a grand and imposing scene, from the impetuosity of the waves.
   The surface of the Inland portion of the district is undulated, and strongly marked by drifting sands, or links, extending from the shore, and, as already stated, covering 1900 acres. These were formerly under profitable tillage, but now appear an irrecoverable desert, and continually, though very slowly, make further encroachments on the good land. The locality is particularly bleak and stormy, and entirely bare of wood, excepting a few acres of plantation on the estate of Leask; the dampness and severity of the climate prevent the growth of trees, and wholly forbid the hope of bringing to maturity garden fruit. Copious springs of excellent water pour forth from numerous rocks on the coast; and there are three lochs, two of which, called Cot-hill and Sand loch, are each about fifteen acres in extent, and are supposed to have been formed by the drifting of the sand. The other, called the Muckle Loch of Slains, is by far the largest and most beautiful, covering about seventy acres, and being nearly surrounded by the Kippet hills, rising gradually to the height of fifty or sixty feet, and forming a ridge of gravel mixed with smooth pieces of limestone weighing from one to sixteen pounds: this limestone was formerly burnt and applied to agricultural use, but has now been superseded by the importation of English lime. The grassy covering of the acclivities greatly improves the scenery of this sheet of water, which in some places reaches the depth of more than fifty feet, and which renders the district where it is situated strikingly interesting. The soil runs through almost every variety, but its prevailing character is clayey; and oats, bear, and turnips are raised of good quality, especially the last, to the improvement of which very great attention has been paid by the careful selection of the seed and the plentiful application of bone-manure. The only permanent pasture is a small tract lying along the seacoast; but a portion of fine rich land with a loamy soil, occasionally in grass, stretches nearly across the district, belonging to the estate of Cluny Castle, and grazed by large flocks of sheep. The rotation system is followed; and the reclaiming of waste land, draining, the building of new farm-houses, and the improvement of the breed of cattle, have all been carried on with great spirit, agricultural enterprise having received a powerful impulse by the facilities of steam navigation. The rocks on the coast consist of gneiss and mica-slate, occasionally intermixed with quartz; and blocks of granite are sometimes found. Sand is also obtained in large quantities, of a calcareous nature, and greyish hue; it is used advantageously as manure on damp or wet soils, but, on account of its hot nature, has been found highly injurious on matured grounds. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5157.
   The only mansion is the house of Leask, a substantial and elegant residence, built about twenty years since. The parish contains the two villages of Oldcastle and Collieston, which are principally inhabited by fishermen engaged in the white-fishery, comprising ling, mackerel, turbot, whiting, halibut, skate, soles, flounders, haddock, and cod; the two last kinds are taken in very large quantities, and form the chief articles of traffic. In addition to this, five boats have gone for the last few years, with success, to take herrings at Peterhead. The river Ythan, which is frequented by swarms of almost every description of wild-fowl, and well stocked with salmon, grilse, various sorts of trout, eels, and other fish, is found especially serviceable for its abundant supply of muscles, which furnish bait not only to the fishermen here, but also to those of many other villages on the east coast, and the right of taking which is rented at £300 per annum. The cod-fishing commences in October and ends in February, and the fish caught, amounting in the season to nearly 300 barrels, are contracted for by a dealer who sends them pickled to the London market; the haddocks are cured for sale at Leith and Glasgow, and large quantities of the muscles are sent to Aberdeen. The Ythan, which is navigable for a short distance from the sea, is an important means of communication, by which vessels come to the parish with bone-manure and lime, and return laden with grain: they also bring coal, though a considerable portion of the fuel in use is peat, obtained from a moss covering 245 acres. The post communication is with Ellon; but the produce of the soil is sent for sale chiefly to Newburgh, and sometimes to Aberdeen and Peterhead. The parish is in the presbytery of Ellon, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Colonel John Gordon, of Cluny: the minister's stipend is £217, with a manse, and a glebe worth £9 per annum. The church, standing within 300 yards of the shore, was built at the beginning of the present century, and accommodates 654 persons with sittings. The parochial school, for which handsome premises were erected in 1838, affords instruction in Latin, mathematics, and navigation, in addition to the elementary branches; the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and £14 fees. The chief antiquity is the ruin of the ancient castle of Slains, the former residence of the Hay family, and which, by order of King James VI., was demolished in consequence of the Earl of Errol having joined in the Earl of Huntly's rebellion; it must have been very secure against approaches and attacks, being on a peninsular rock more than 100 feet high, with communication merely by a narrow defile on the north. The foundation of the old church of Forvie is still visible on the sands, and is the only relic of the lost parish; and on the grounds of Leask stand the ruins of the chapel of St. Adamannan, a disciple of the eminent St. Columba, consisting of a gable and a Gothic window overspread with ivy. The edifice was erected, as is generally supposed, about the close of the 6th century.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Forvie —    FORVIE, county of Aberdeen.    See Slains and Forvie …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Collieston —    COLLIESTON, a village, in the parish of Slains, district of Ellon, county of Aberdeen, 6 miles (E. by S.) from Ellon; containing 357 inhabitants. This is a maritime village, situated on the eastern coast, and inhabited chiefly by fishermen,… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Oldcastle —    OLDCASTLE, a hamlet, in the parish of Slains and Forvie, district of Ellon, county of Aberdeen, 7 miles (E.) from Ellon; containing 51 inhabitants. This is a small fishing hamlet, situated on the eastern coast: the fishing is carried on with… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Collieston — For the hamlet in Angus, see Colliston. Collieston …   Wikipedia

  • Aberdeenshire — infobox Scotland council area Council= Aberdeenshire Siorrachd Obar Dheathain SizeRank= 4th Size= 6,313 km² Water= ? AdminHQ= Aberdeen ISO= GB ABD ONS= 00QB PopulationRank= 6th PopulationDate= 2004 Population= 232,850 PopulationDensity=37 / km²… …   Wikipedia

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