- FINTRAY, a parish, in the district and county of Aberdeen, 2½ miles (E.) from Kintore; containing 1032 inhabitants. This place is said to have derived its name from a Gaelic term signifying "the fair bank or boundary of the river." It was formerly celebrated for its abbey, nothing of which now remains but the foundations; it was called the Northern Abbey of Lindores, and is supposed to have been erected in 1386, that date having been found upon a stone thought to have been, on account of the situation in which it was discovered, a part of the ancient building. The parish is in that part of Aberdeenshire called Formartin, and stretches from five to six miles along the bank of the river Don; it is from three to four miles in breadth, and contains 6500 acres. It is bounded on the north and west by the parish of Keith-Hall; on the south by the Don, which separates it from the parishes of Dyce, Kinellar, and Kintore; and on the east by New Machar. The ground rises gradually towards the north to the height of about 300 feet, after which it forms an easy declivity. The violent and destructive floods of the river, which runs from west to east, and falls into the sea near Old Aberdeen, are among the most remarkable events of modern times connected with the history of the parish: the first of which account was taken happened in 1768, at harvest time, and carried away the larger part of the crops from the lower grounds, just as it was ready to be laid up in stacks. Another inundation took place in August, 1799, and, in addition to a considerable quantity of hay, swept away much grain then standing uncut. A still more violent flood occurred on Aug. 4, 1829, desolating to a great extent the property of several individuals; the water rose about fourteen feet above its ordinary level, and nearly eighteen inches higher than it had done in any former case in memory. Good embankments, however, have been constructed; and at Fintray and Wester Fintray, about 300 acres of land of very fine quality are now protected.The soil varies considerably; in the neighbourhood of the river is a deep, rich, alluvial mould, while at some distance inward the soil is much lighter. On the higher land it is poor, consisting chiefly of peat-moss and moor; but in the northern quarter it improves in quality, and rewards the labour of good cultivation. There are from 5000 to 6000 acres cultivated, or occasionally in tillage; about 800 are pasture or waste; and between 600 and 700 under wood. The produce is oats, peas, hay, potatoes, sometimes a little barley, and large quantities of turnips, to the growth of which the soil is well adapted. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4130. The cattle are of the Aberdeenshire breed, many of which are fed and fattened, and the horses are of superior quality: a few sheep only are reared, and these chiefly for gentlemen's pleasure-grounds. The improvements in draining, inclosing, and embanking have been considerable within the last few years; and the farm-houses and offices are in a far better condition than formerly. The plantations are in a flourishing state. The prevailing rock is granite, which is found in large quantities, and of superior quality; limestone may also be obtained, but fuel is too scarce to admit of the necessary process for converting it into lime. There is a good residence, built in the cottage style, upon the lands of Disblair; but the chief mansion is Fintray House, a large and excellent edifice lately erected by the chief proprietor of the parish.The manufacture of fine woollen-cloth is pursued at Cothal mills, established in 1798, and regularly carried on since that period: it produces about 8000 yards per month. The recent introduction of the manufacture of Tweed plaid has enabled the proprietor to employ a considerably larger number of hands than formerly, to meet the call for an extensive supply of this article, to the production of which his works are particularly adapted. The inhabitants of the parish are, however, chiefly engaged in husbandry. There are well-constructed commutation roads passing in all directions through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Aberdeen and synod of Aberdeen, and the patronage is vested in Sir John Forbes, Bart.: the stipend is £217, with a manse, built in 1804, and a glebe of the annual value of £10. The church, which is a commodious and substantial building, was erected in 1821, and has 500 sittings, all free. There is a parochial school, in which Latin and mathematics are taught, with the usual branches of education; the master has a salary of £28, with about £23 fees, a portion of the Dick bequest, a house, and a quarter of an acre of garden-ground. Another school is open, in which the instruction is of the same kind as in the parochial school; the master receives the interest of £200 left by the Rev. Dr. Morison, of Disblair, with fees, an allowance from the Dick bequest, and a house and garden. A silver cup is still in possession of the minister, having the date of 1632, and believed to have been cast from a silver head of St. Meddan, who was the tutelar saint of the parish; it is reported to have been carried in procession, on account of its magical virtues in procuring suitable weather for the purposes of agriculture.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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