Culsamond

   CULSAMOND, or Culsalmond, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen, 2½ miles (N. W.) from Old Rayne; containing 1104 inhabitants. This place is said to have derived its name from the Gaelic term Cul-Sal-Mon, signifying the end of the hill lands. The parish is about four and a half miles in length, from north to south, and three in breadth; and comprises 7400 acres, of which 4000 are in tillage, 300 in pasture, 900 in plantations, and the remainder uncultivated. The surface is level, with the exception of one or two moderate elevations, of which Culsamond hill commands a fine view of Belrinnes on the west, and, on the north-west, of the Caithness hills, and part of the Moray Frith and of the Buchan district in the distance. The river Urie passes through the whole length of the parish, and, after flowing for about nineteen miles from its source in the parish of Gartly, and drawing into its channel many minor streams, empties itself into the Don at Inverury. The soil is various, but in general consists of a dark loam, partly on a sandy and ironstone bottom; clay in some places forms the subsoil, and the land is for the most part fertile, and the crops usually early. In the hill of Culsamond are several quarries of valuable slate, of a fine blue colour, from which large quantities are annually raised; and ironstone is also found in the parish, lying in detached masses on or near the surface. Bog-iron ore has also been discovered in combination with decomposed oakwood, about eight feet below the surface. A bed of sand, of a coarse kind, is spread a little below the ground on the estate of Pulquhite, supposed to be the debris of granite belonging to the hill of Benochee, and brought hither by the action of water; and on the same farm, in the northern portion, is a bed of moss, about three feet below the surface, in some parts above eight feet deep, and reaching from north to south between thirty and forty yards, over which a soil composed chiefly of gravel and stones has been deposited by some casualty. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4602.
   The plantations, which were commenced about seventy years since, though not very extensive, yet being dispersed, and often appearing in the form of clumps and belts, give a picturesque appearance to the district. On the hill of Culsamond, 250 acres have been planted within the present century; and the vicinity of Williamston House, and also that of Newton House, both modern mansions, pleasantly situated on the east bank of the Urie, have been much improved and beautified by the tasteful arrangement of their surrounding plantations. The turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Inverness, by Inverury and Old Rayne, passes through the parish. A fair is held in June, for cattle, horses, sheep, and wool. The parish is in the presbytery of Garioch and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes; the minister's stipend is £150, of which above a third is received from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe of ten acres, valued at £30 per annum. The church is in good condition. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, erected in 1823, an allowance in lieu of a garden, and about £19 fees. Among the numerous vestiges of military works, are those of a British encampment on the north-east side of the hill of Culsamond. There are also slight remains of Druidical temples and some ancient cairns, in one of the latter of which, on the farm of Mill of Williamston, opened in 1812, was found an immense wooden coffin, of very rude construction, containing an urn, and supposed to have been deposited anterior to the Christian era. A few stone axes and other warlike instruments have been found; and some years since a gold coin of James I. was dug up, in fine preservation. A highway called the Lawrence road, thought to be some hundreds of years old, and to have been constructed for the avoidance of the swamps and floods on the lower grounds, and for security against wild beasts, crosses the hill of Culsamond, and was formerly used by persons travelling to St. Lawrence fair, at Old Rayne.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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