- DEER, NEW, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 6 miles (E. S. E.) from Cuminestown; containing, with the village of Kirktown of New Deer, 3756 inhabitants. This parish originally formed a part of Old Deer, and was separated from it in the early part of the seventeenth century; it was at first termed Auchreddy, from the land on which the church is built, and this name is engraved on the communionplate, with the date 1694. The remains of castles and various tumuli, prove that it was once the scene of military operations. Edward, brother to Robert Bruce, is said to have encamped after the battle of Inverury on a large moor about a mile to the west of the village, and thence to have gone, in pursuit of the Cumyns, to Aikey-Brae, near Old Deer, on which spot a fair has long been kept in commemoration of a battle fought between them. The old castle of Fedderate, at present in ruins, is believed to have been the retreat of some followers of James II. who, being driven from Fyvie Castle, which they had taken after the battle of Killiecrankie, sought a refuge in this fortress, from which, however, they were expelled by King William's troops.The parish, which is one of the largest in the county, is upwards of fourteen miles long, and eight and a half broad, and contains 29,020 acres. With the exception of Mormond hill, it is the highest ground in Buchan, its elevation being from 200 to 300 feet above the sea. On a fine day, the spire of Peterhead church, about eighteen miles to the east, may be seen from the hill of Culsh; and westward, Bennachie, nearly twenty-eight miles distant, the Foudland hills, the hills near Banff and Cullen, and Benrinnes, in the county of Banff, are distinctly visible. The surface is in general flat, and the elevation of the land renders the climate cold, the operations of husbandry being frequently delayed by the snow remaining on the ground. Three branch streams rise in the northern quarter of the parish, one of which flows eastward, passing Old Deer, and falling into the river Ugie; another, running in a westerly direction, forms a confluence with a stream which falls into the Doveran, and the third, flowing towards the south-west, joins the Ythan, near Gight. The soil is light, and rests partly upon a subsoil of moss on coarse clay, in other places on granite, but chiefly on a bed of from six inches to two feet thick, altogether rocky and impervious, and holding the water that falls upon the land till evaporated by the heat of the sun. Almost the whole of the parish is arable, and the chief grain cultivated is oats; potatoes and hay are grown in large quantities, as are also turnips. The number of acres under tillage is 18,183; 1957 are in pasture, 3587 heath, 4164 moss and moor, and 825 under wood. The system of cultivation differs in the several parts of the parish, a five years' rotation of crops being adopted in some places, and in others a seven years' course; the Buchan breed of cows is much esteemed, especially when crossed by the Teeswater. Considerable improvements have been made by several of the large farmers, chiefly in reclaiming extensive tracts of wet ground; and the farm-houses, though still in some parts indifferent, are on a much better footing than formerly. The rocks consist of coarse granite and inferior limestone, which latter the farmers excavate for themselves, and burn for the purposes of building or agriculture. The rateable annual value of the parish is £10,905.The village, which is situated on the summit of a hill, contains upwards of 100 houses; and seven fairs are held in it, viz., one in Jan., one in April, a feeing market in May, markets in June, August, and October, and a feeing market in November, at all of which cattle, sheep, horses, and country produce are sold; but the grain is chiefly sent to Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Banff. There is a good road to Ellon, thirteen miles distant, and the turnpike-road from Peterhead to Banff crosses the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen; patron, the Crown. The stipend of the minister is £219, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum. The old church was built in 1622, and an aisle was added to it in 1773. In 1838, however, another church was erected, at a cost of about £3000; it is a neat edifice in the later English style, and affords accommodation for 1600 persons. At Savock is a chapel of ease built in 1834, at a cost of £819, and which contains 700 sittings. The parish also contains three meeting-houses belonging to the United Secession, and one just erected in connexion with the Free Church. There are three parochial schools, situated respectively at Kirktown, Savock, and Whitehill, in which are taught the classics, mathematics, and all the usual branches of education; the salary of each master is £24, and the amount of their fees collectively is about £60: between £20 and £30 are also received by each from the Dick bequest. A bursary for a scholar of the name of Cruick-shank or Topp, at Marischal College, of the value of £9, is in the gift of the incumbent. The relics of antiquity in the parish consist of the remains of castles, Druidical temples, and tumuli; and urns of baked clay, containing human bones and ashes, have been found. About a mile from the village, in the northern quarter, formerly stood a circular heap called the Standing Stones of Culsh, and the place still retains the name, though the stones were taken away seventy years ago, to supply materials for building. A little farther, in the same direction, are the ruins of the castle of Fedderate, the best stones of which have also been removed for the purpose of building. It is supposed to have been a place of great strength, and was in various hands at the time of the Revolution in 1688.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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