- CRIMOND, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 9 miles (N. N. W.) from Peterhead; containing 767 inhabitants. This place once contained a castle belonging to the celebrated Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, which stood on a small hill called Castlehill, and was suffered to fall into ruins after his fatal defeat at the battle of Inverury by Robert Bruce. Near this castle, the remains of which are covered over with sand blown from the sea-shore, are the walls of a chapel in good preservation, supposed to have been the private family chapel; and in the immediate vicinity formerly stood the ancient town of Rattray, which, in the sixteenth century, possessed all the privileges of a royal burgh, except that of sending members to parliament. The Earl of Errol was superior of the burgage lands, of which, though originally extensive, there is now only one feu remaining. The parish is situated in that part of the county called Buchan, and on the coast of the German Ocean, about midway between Peterhead and Fraserburgh; it comprises nearly 6000 acres, of which 4093 are arable, 707 pasture, 100 plantations, and the remainder moor, moss, bent, and waste. The coast measures two miles, and consists of flat beach and sand-hills, except at the famous promontory of Rattray head, where it runs into a ridge of low rocks, stretching into the sea, in an easterly direction, to the distance of between one and two miles. There were formerly numerous shipwrecks; but these accidents have become far less frequent, chiefly in consequence of a lighthouse having been erected at Kinnaird's head to the north, and another at Boddom, near Peterhead, on the south. The surface along the shore rises to the height of nearly 200 feet, but slopes towards the interior, which is only slightly elevated above the sea. Afterwards, however, the land rises to the south and south-west boundaries, uniting with the higher grounds of Lonmay and St. Fergus.The loch of Strathbeg, situated partly in Crimond, but chiefly in Lonmay, parish, covers between 600 and 700 acres; the water is now fresh, but it formerly communicated with the sea, and was entered by vessels of small burthen till the year 1720, when a strong east wind blew the sand into the channel, and effectually choked up the entrance. The banks towards the sea present nothing but a succession of sand-hillocks covered with bent, and the other side is lined with bogs and marshes. The loch, however, has many attractions to the botanist and the sportsman, from the variety of the productions growing near its banks, or on the margin of its tributary burns; its numerous wild-fowl, comprehending most species usual in the country; and its supply of different sorts of fish. The upper part of the parish contains the loch of Logie, which covers about twenty acres, and is surrounded by low tracts of moss, of a dreary and barren appearance. The prevailing soil is a light loam, incumbent on clay; that near the shore is sandy, and other parts contain a great extent of moss. The land produces good crops of all kinds of grain, potatoes, turnips, and hay; the system of farming is of a superior kind, and considerable improvements have been effected by draining, although much yet remains to be done in this respect. On account of the facilities of communication between Aberdeen and London, much attention has been recently given to the rearing and fattening of cattle for the market; and among other kinds, a cross between the Teeswater and Buchan is in general preferred. But few sheep are kept; and cows for the dairy, now numbering between 250 and 300, have been less regarded since the increase in the sale of cattle. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3424.The rocks comprise whinstone, which is abundant, and a darkish blue granite of very good quality; red granite is also found, but chiefly in a decomposed state, and limestone was formerly worked near Bilbo. There is an ancient seat called Haddo, and an elegant modern mansion has been built on the estate of Rattray. The population of the parish is mostly agricultural; but some are engaged in fishing, and besides the perch, trout, eels, and flounders taken in Loch Strathbeg and its burns, the neighbouring seas afford herrings, mackerel, skate, haddock, and other fish, especially the famous cod known as the Rattray-head cod. The turnpike-road from Peterhead to Fraserburgh runs through the parish. Fairs are held in February, September, and October, for horses, cattle, and sheep; and home-made shoes, and cotton-pieces for gowns, were formerly sold. The parish is in the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Fife; the minister's stipend is between £200 and £300, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £6 per annum. The church is an elegant structure, built in 1812, and surmounted by a lofty spire, containing a good clock and bell. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £35, with a house erected in 1816, and £17 fees, in addition to which he receives a portion of the Dick bequest, and the interest of £400 left by the Rev. Mr. Johnston, a former minister of the parish. There is also a parochial library, containing about 400 volumes. Arthur Johnstone, a Latin poet of the sixteenth century, is said to have been born in the parish; and Mr. Farquhar, of Fonthill, who amassed an immense fortune in India, and was generally known by the name of "rich Farquhar," was also a native.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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