- SNIZORT, a parish, in the island of Skye, county of Inverness, 7 miles (N. N. W.) from Portree; containing 3220 inhabitants, of whom 87 are in that part of the late quoad sacra parish of Steinscholl which was within Snizort. This parish is bounded on the east by the sound of Rasay, and on the west by Loch Snizort; it is about twelve miles in extreme length and nearly six miles in breadth, comprising an area of 37,000 acres, of which the far greater part is hill and moorland pasture. The surface is marked with flat hills of moderate elevation, partly covered with green pasture, and partly with heath: in the south-east is a mountainous ridge called the Storr, whose isolated peak, rising to a great height above the adjacent hills, and broken into irregular forms, has a strikingly romantic appearance. Between the hills are some small valleys, the principal of which, Glenhaltin, Glenhinistil, and Glen-Uigg, not only afford luxuriant pasturage, but contain also large tracts of rich arable land. There are numerous springs of excellent water; and of the several rivers, which, when swollen with rains, flow with an impetuous course, the principal falls into the bay of Snizort. The coast is indented with small bays; the most important are, that of Snizort, which intersects the parish for nearly five miles, and the bay of Uigg, forming a semicircular basin a mile and a half in circumference, on the west. The shore is bold and rocky, except at the heads of the bays, where it is generally low and sandy; and on the east side of the coast is a beautiful cascade, where the water has a fall of ninety feet from the projecting rock into the sea, and under which is a naturally formed foot-path in the cliff, whence it may be seen with singular effect. The system of husbandry is generally in a very imperfect state, and a large proportion of the improveable land is still a barren waste. The larger farms are under tolerably good management, and on these, improved implements of agriculture are in use; but in all the smaller allotments the old and inefficient modes are yet practised. The chief dependence of the inhabitants is on the rearing of black-cattle, sheep, and horses. At the head of Loch Snizort is a fishing-station, where salmon are taken; and cod and ling are found off the coast, many tons of which are sent annually to Glasgow and Liverpool. Herrings were formerly caught in abundance; but very few of late have visited this part of the coast. At the bay of Uigg is a receiving-house for letters, and the packet from Harris arrives there weekly, to convey the mails thence to their destination; facility of communication is also afforded by a good road which passes through the whole length of the parish to Portree. The rateable annual value of Snizort is £2958.The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Skye and synod of Glenelg. The minister's stipend is £158.2. 11., of which more than one half is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum: patron, the Crown. The church, situated at the head of Loch Snizort, built about the year 1800, and originally containing only 450 sittings, has been recently enlarged, and now contains 750 sittings. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church; also a preaching-station on the south side of the bay of Snizort, in which are 400 sittings; and at Uigg is a place of worship for Baptists. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and an allowance of £2 in lieu of garden, and the fees average about £3 annually. There are likewise schools supported by the General Assembly and societies for the education of the poor, of which the masters have salaries of £20 each; and in the district of Borvie is a school endowed by the late Donald Mc Dermid, Esq., with £1000, from which the master receives a salary of £35: he also possesses a house and garden. On a small island formed by the river Snizort near its influx into the sea, are the ruins of the ancient church, supposed to have been originally the cathedral of the Island of Skye, but now appropriated as a place of sepulture. Among the other relics of antiquity are numerous cairns, in some of which have been found the coffins of the chieftains over whose remains they were raised: in the cairn of Ina was discovered, on the lid of a stone coffin, the handle of a military weapon resembling a sword; and within the coffin was an urn of burnt clay, elaborately carved, but without any inscription. While digging peat on the farm of Sheader, was discovered, in the moss, a small box of ancient weapons, on one of which, when cleared from rust, appeared the name of "Bocchus," supposed to have been sheriff of Ross, which included the Isle of Skye while the Macdonalds were earls of Ross. This weapon was probably the sword of state usually placed before him while holding his courts. There are also remains of Druidical circles, and several circular forts. Among the rocks on the eastern coast is a large perpendicular mass of stone, 360 feet in circumference at the base, and about 300 feet high, tapering gradually toward the summit, and forming a natural obelisk of strikingly romantic appearance.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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