Dyke and Moy

   DYKE and MOY, a parish, in the county of Elgin, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Forres; containing, with the villages of Kintessack and Whitemyre, 1366 inhabitants, of whom 166 are resident within the village of Dyke. These two ancient parishes, of which the Gaelic names are descriptive of the former as a channel for waters, and of the latter as a level and fertile plain, were united in 1618. The whole is bounded on the north by the Moray Frith, and on the west by the county of Nairn, and comprises about 17,300 acres, of which 3220 are arable, 2800 woodland and plantations, 1300 meadow and pasture, and the remainder waste. The surface is generally undulated within the district of Dyke, which contains the forest of Darnaway towards the south, and the woods of Dalvey and Brodie towards the north. In the district of Moy is a fine extent of level plain, stretching northward to Kincorth, on the western shore of Findhorn loch, towards the lands of Culbin, which at a very early period were overwhelmed with drifts of sand, and are now covered with sand-hills, some having an elevation of 100 feet. The river Findhorn, which, in its course to the sea at Findhorn, forms the eastern boundary of the parish, in 1829 rose to an unusual height, and carried into the bay an immense quantity of sand, which for three square miles diminished its depth by nearly two feet. Several rivulets intersect the parish, and flow into the Findhorn, of which the most considerable is the Muckleburn; they all abound with trout, and afford good sport to the angler, and the salmon-fishery in the Findhorn is of considerable value. The coast throughout the entire extent of the parish for about six miles is shallow and sandy: there are numerous beds of cockles, which not only afford an abundant supply for sustenance to the poor, but are sold by the women through the adjoining district, making a return of more than £100 per annum, on the average.
   The soil on the level lands is a rich brown and black loam, generally light, and easily cultivated; and in other parts of the parish are alternations of sand and gravel. The crops are, wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes, with the usual grasses; the system of agriculture is in an improved state, and furrow-draining has been tried with success upon some of the farms: lime, marl, and bone-dust have been extensively adopted for manure. The lands, however, are only partly inclosed, and the farm-buildings, though more commodious than formerly, are susceptible of still greater improvement; there are sixteen threshing-mills, the greater number worked by horses. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5942. The woods, which are extensive, are oak, ash, beech, elm, birch, horse-chesnut, sycamore, and alder; and in the forest of Darnaway much valuable timber is raised and sold for shipbuilding and other purposes. The plantations, which are well managed and in a thriving state, consist of larch, and spruce and Scotch firs; and there are several flourishing orchards in the parish. The substrata are principally old red sandstone, with gneiss and granite; there is coarse limestone, containing schist and pyrites of iron; and occasionally some lead-ore is found, but not in sufficient quantity to encourage the working of it.
   Darnaway Castle, one of the seats of the Earl of Moray, situated on a gentle eminence, and surrounded by an extensive and richly-wooded park, has been recently enlarged and improved. In one of the wings, in the more ancient part of the building, is a noble hall eighty-nine feet in length, and thirty-five feet wide, with a lofty roof of timber frame-work, built by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, regent of Scotland during the minority of David Bruce, and in which are still preserved his hospitable table and chair of old carved oak: in this splendid hall the late earl gave a sumptuous entertainment to his tenantry in 1839. Brodie House is an ancient castellated mansion, to which extensive additions in a corresponding style of architecture have been made by the present proprietor, and is situated in grounds that have been tastefully embellished; the ceiling of the drawing-room is laid out in compartments ornamented with grotesque figures of stucco in high relief, and in the various rooms is a valuable collection of paintings. Dalvey House, situated on a knoll overlooking the Muckleburn, and nearly occupying the site of the castle of Dalvey, is a handsome modern mansion; the gardens, which are extensive, and kept in fine order, are open to public inspection. The houses of Moy and Kincorth are also good residences.
   The village of Dyke is beautifully situated in a secluded spot embosomed in trees: facility of communication is afforded by the great post-road from Aberdeen to Inverness, which passes through the parish, and by other good roads that intersect it in all directions, by bridges over the several burns, and by an elegant suspension-bridge over the Findhorn, which connects the parish with Forres, the nearest post-town. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Forres and synod of Moray. The minister's stipend is £244. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £16. 13.; patrons, the Crown and James M. Grant, Esq., of Moy. The church, conveniently situated in the village, is a neat structure erected in 1781, in good repair, and containing 900 sittings, all of which are rent free. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £30 per annum, besides which he receives £44 from the Dick bequest: there is also a female school in the village, under a teacher who has a house and garden, with a small endowment in money. In the park of Brodie House is a stone on one side of which is sculptured a cross, and on the other several fabulous animals; it was discovered in digging the foundation for the church, and was erected in the village in commemoration of Rodney's victory, and thence called Rodney's Cross, but was removed to its present situation within the last few years. In sinking the same foundations, a labourer, who had contrived to keep the discovery a secret from his companions, found in an earthen pot a large number of silver coins of the reign of William the Lion of Scotland, of which many had been struck at Stirling, and some of Henry II. of England, all which he sold by weight for £46. About the year 1822 there was dug out of a steep bank on the Findhorn a large stone coffin containing a human skeleton.
   

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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