Tullynessle and Forbes

   TULLYNESSLE and FORBES, a parish, in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, 2½ miles (N. by E.) from Alford; containing 846 inhabitants. The former of these ancient parishes, which were united by act of the General Assembly in 1808, derives its name, in some records Tullynesset, from the Gaelic, signifying either a dwelling on a sloping bank, or a dwelling upon the river Esset, from the situation of its church and manse. The latter parish was named from its proprietors, the ancient family of Forbes. The only transaction of historical importance connected with the district, is the encampment of General Baillie in the immediate vicinity, near the river Don, on the night previous to the battle of Alford, in which he was defeated by the forces under the Marquess of Montrose, in 1645. The parish is washed on the south by the Don, and is nearly seven miles in extreme length and four miles in breadth, comprising about 10,000 acres, of which 3500 are arable, 1100 meadow and pasture, 1300 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland pasture and waste. The surface is intersected with hilly ridges, interspersed with glens, and extending towards the south-east from a chain of lofty hills which surround the parish on the north and west, and of which the highest have an elevation of more than 1300 feet above the level of the sea. The glens are watered by burns descending from the northern and western hills, the most copious being the Esset, which in its course of little more than two miles gives motion to three meal-mills, one flax-mill, and six threshing-machines, previously to its influx into the Don. There are also numerous springs of excellent water, and a few more or less impregnated with iron. The Don abounds with trout of superior quality, of which some are of very large size; but since the use of stake-nets near the mouth, few salmon are met with in this part of its stream. Par, and trout of smaller size, are found in great numbers in the Esset burn.
   The soil of the arable lands is mostly fertile, and even on the acclivities of some of the heights, of very considerable depth; on other rising grounds, thin and stony, but dry, producing favourable returns. The crops are, oats, barley, bear, occasionally a little wheat, potatoes, turnips, and flax, with the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is good, and a regular rotation of crops is duly observed; bone-dust has been introduced as manure; and under the auspices of the Alford Agricultural Association, of which Lord Forbes is president, the lands have been greatly improved. The farm-buildings are generally substantially built, roofed with slate, and well adapted to the extent of the several farms; the cottages of the smaller tenants, also, are comfortable and commodious. Threshing-machines have been erected on most of the farms, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. The cattle reared in the pastures are usually of a cross between the Aberdeenshire and Teeswater breeds; considerable attention is paid to their improvement, and owing to the facility of conveyance by steam navigation, great numbers are fattened and sent to the London market. The plantations, which are very extensive, consist chiefly of larch, and Scotch and spruce firs; on the lower parts of the hills, of oak, ash, elm, Spanish chesnut, plane, and gean; and along the banks of the Don, of alder and birch: all are under good management, and in a thriving state. The rocks are generally composed of granite, gneiss, and mica-slate, and the substrata are sandstone, limestone, and slate. The limestone, neither in quality nor in quantity, has been thought sufficient to warrant a continuance of the mines formerly in operatian: but there are two slate-quarries, producing slabs for the pavement of halls and kitchens. From the quarry at Coreen, slabs of very large size are raised, of which some are used as sides for the porches of the farm-houses; and a few years since, attempts were made to open a quarry of roofing-slate, but discontinued on account of the expense. Iron-ore is also found in a vein of silicious sandstone, but is not wrought. The rateable annual value of the parish is returned at the sum of £3629.
   Whitehaugh, the seat of J. F. Leith, Esq., is a spacious and elegant mansion, consisting of a centre of ancient architecture, the original seat of his ancestors, and two wings of corresponding character, added by the late proprietor; it is pleasantly situated on the bank of the Don, near the south-eastern extremity of the parish, in a demesne tastefully laid out, and embellished with thriving plantations. The mansion house of Little Wood Park, the property of the second son of Lord Forbes, is also on the river, in grounds surrounded with plantations; it is at present rented by the tenant who farms the neighbouring lands. There are no villages; the whole of the population is agricultural, with the exception of a few who are engaged in the various handicraft trades requisite for the wants of the parish. During the winter and spring months there are monthly markets for grain and fat-cattle at Alford, where also are two annual fairs; but the produce of the parish is chiefly sent to Aberdeen. Facility of communication is afforded by the roads from Huntly to Kincardine and from Aberdeen to Strathdon: these intersect each other at the bridge over the Don, which is substantially built of stone, and near which is a spacious and well-conducted inn, as well as a post-office where letters are received daily by a mail coach from Aberdeen. There are also good roads kept in repair by statute labour, and near the mansion of Little Wood Park was till lately a bridge of wood over the Don. The inn has been recently enlarged for the accommodation of numerous visiters who frequent this part of the country on fishing excursions. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen: the minister's stipend is £222. 3. 6., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum; patron, the Earl of Fife. The church is a neat and substantial structure, affording ample accommodation for the parishioners. The parochial school is attended by about one hundred children: the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £25 per annum; he receives also a share of the Dick bequest. A juvenile library has been established for the use of the scholars. There were formerly numerous remains of Druidical circles, all of which, except one, have been removed in the progress of cultivation.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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