- DUFFUS, a parish, in the county of Elgin; including the villages of Burgh-Head, Cummingston, Hopeman, and the hamlets of Roseisle, College of Roseisle, and Old Roseisle; and containing 2529 inhabitants, of whom 159 are in the village of New Duffus, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Elgin. The name of Duffus is supposed to be derived from the Gaelic word Dubuist, signifying the black lake, in reference to the lake of Spynie, now drained, or to some other lake of which there is no trace left. The parish was formerly remarkable for its castle, and as the scene of military operations; and there are several monuments of antiquity still remaining, with which its ancient history is closely interwoven. The most interesting relics are those of fortifications at Burgh-Head, by some thought to be Roman, and by others considered as Danish, but most probably originally constructed by the Romans, and afterwards occupied by the Danes. The works were divided into two parts, a higher and a lower, and presented four strong ramparts, built with oaken logs, directed towards the small isthmus upon which the village of Burgh-Head now stands. A few years ago an obelisk was standing nearly in the centre of the parish, thought to have been erected by Malcolm II., in memory of a victory over the Danes under Camus; and not far from it there was once a village called Kaim, supposed to be the same as that mentioned by the historian Buchanan as retaining the memorable name of Camus. The village is now removed, but the place nevertheless retains the appellation of Kaim. The castle of Duffus, of which the picturesque ruins are still visible, was the ancient seat of the lords of that name, a branch of the noble family of Sutherland, and who yet bear the title, recently restored from attainder, though they now possess no property in the district.The parish is nearly six miles long and three broad, containing 10,000 acres, and lies along the Moray Frith, by which it is bounded on the north. The coast at the east end is rocky and very bold, and contains some large and remarkable caverns; in the western part, however, it consists of a level sandy beach. Along the shore, and for half a mile inland, the surface is mostly meagre pasture, but very generally supposed to have been once richly-cultivated land, and to have been reduced to its present condition by the blowing of sand from the western beach. The remaining part of the parish, with the exception of two slight acclivities, is a continuous plain of good ground in a high state of tillage. The soil in the western district is a black fertile earth, in some places mixed with sand; in the eastern quarter it is a deep rich clay, similar in many respects to the fine soil in the well-known Carse of Gowrie. The number of arable acres is 5381, in pasture 2962, and 310 are under wood; grain is produced to a considerable extent, and greatly predominates in amount over the green crops, the annual value of the former being four times that of the latter. The cattle are mostly the Morayshire breed, which is very similar to the Highland, but more bulky. The best method of cultivation prevails, and many improvements in every department of husbandry have taken place, especially in the breed of cattle; the farm-buildings are generally thatched with straw, but substantial, and of suitable extent. The rocks consist of sandstone and limestone, of each of which there are quarries. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7902. Among the chief residences is Duffus House, a commodious and handsome mansion in the old English manorial style. The village of Duffus is regularly built, and is a neat, clean, and interesting place; the chief communication of the people is with the town of Elgin, to which there is a good turnpike-road, and a light post curricle brings the mail. There are three fisheries carried on, namely a salmon, herring, and white fishery, which generally prove very profitable. The ecclesiastical affairs of the parish are subject to the superintendence of the presbytery of Elgin and synod of Moray; patron, Sir Archibald Dunbar, of Northfield, Bart. The minister's stipend is £232, with a manse, built in 1830, and a glebe of the annual value of £18. The church, situated at some distance from the population, at the eastern extremity of the parish, is an old and ill-constructed edifice, and of unsightly appearance, but with a very picturesque and ancient porch; it was repaired in the year 1782, and is in good condition. There is a chapel of ease at Burgh-Head, where are also two Secession meeting-houses; and near Kaim is an episcopal chapel. A parochial school is supported, in which the classics and mathematics are taught, with the usual branches of education; the master has a salary of £36, a portion of Dick's bequest, about £12 fees, and a house and garden.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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