- URRAY, a parish, partly in the county of Inverness, but chiefly in the Mainland district of the county of Ross and Cromarty, 5 miles (S. S. W.) from Dingwall; containing, with portions of the two late quoad sacra parishes of Carnoch or Strathconon, and Kinloch-Luichart, 2716 inhabitants, of whom 23 are in the county of Inverness. This place, which consists of the ancient parishes of Urray and Kilchrist, derives its name from the river Orrin, on whose banks its church is situated, near the confluence of that water with the Conon, or Conan. The parish is partly bounded on the north by the Conon, and is about seven miles in length and from three to six miles in breadth. The surface is varied with rising grounds, in no part, however, attaining any considerable elevation; and the scenery, enriched with wood, and including some fine views of the Friths of Beauly and Dingwall, is pleasingly picturesque. The river Conon, after forming its boundary for some distance, intersects the parish; and the Orrin, a very rapid stream, which flows into the Conon near Brahan Castle, waters the south-western portion of the parish, which is also intersected by the Garve, the Meig, and the Luichart. The Conon abounds with salmon and pike, and sea-trout are also found in it during the months of July and August: on its bank is a sulphureous spring, powerfully impregnated, and resembling in its properties the water of Strathpeffer.The soil in the lower lands is generally heathy and unproductive, but on the rising grounds fertile, and of good quality, producing favourable crops of oats, barley, and potatoes. The system of agriculture is improving; the rotation of crops is duly observed, and the lands have been mostly inclosed. The plantations, especially around the mansion-houses of the landed proprietors, are extensive and in a thriving condition, consisting of firs, oak, ash, and the other usual forest-trees; and on the banks of the several rivers are considerable remains of ancient timber, chiefly alder, ash, and willow, with a few oak and birch trees. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7012. The principal seats are, Brahan Castle, on the north bank of the Conon, pleasantly situated in a well-planted demesne; Highfield House, on the east bank; and Ord House, situated on an acclivity near the south bank of the Orrin. Fairburn Tower, on the opposite bank of the river, is now in ruins. There are no villages. A distillery of whisky has been recently established, which consumes a considerable quantity of the barley grown in the parish. Facility of communication is maintained by the great north road to Sutherland and Caithness, which passes through the parish; by the road leading to the Western Highlands; and by good cross roads, and bridges over the rivers. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dingwall and synod of Ross. The minister's stipend is £249. 9. 6., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum; patrons, the Mc Kenzies, of Cromertie. The church is a spacious and handsome structure, well adapted for the accommodation of the parishioners. The members of the Free Church have very lately erected a place of worship. The parochial school is well managed: the master has a salary of £25. 15., with a house, and an allowance of £2. 2. in lieu of a garden; the fees average £20 per annum. In a barrow near Brahan Castle was found, some years since, an urn of burnt clay containing some fragments of human bones.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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