- FORTROSE, or Chanonry, a royal burgh, and lately a quoad sacra district, in the parish of Rosemarkie, county of Ross and Cromarty, 10½ miles (N. N. E.) from Inverness, and 8(S.S.W.) from Cromarty; containing, with the burgh of Rosemarkie, 1082 inhabitants, of whom 324 are in that burgh. This place, anciently the Chanonry of Ross, and the seat of that diocese, was united by charter of James II., in 1455, with the town of Rosemarkie, which had been erected into a royal burgh by Alexander II., and which is distant from it about half a mile to the east. The united burghs, under the common name of Fortrose, received a confirmation of all ancient privileges from James VI., in 1592; and by charter of the same monarch, in 1612, these privileges were extended, and the burgesses invested with all the liberties and immunities enjoyed by those of Inverness. There was anciently a castle at Fortrose, belonging to the earls of Seaforth, who were also viscounts of Fortrose; but no remains exist. Of the cathedral, a splendid structure, only a roofless aisle is now left, of which one portion, containing the tombs of several of the bishops, is preserved as a burial-place for the families of the Mackenzies and other landed proprietors. To the east of the site of the cathedral, which occupied a spacious square, in which were the houses of the canons, is a detached building with an arched roof, converted into the town-hall, and having, below, a vaulted apartment lately appropriated as the town gaol. The episcopal palace, and a great part of the cathedral, were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, who sent the materials by sea to Inverness, for the erection of his fortress at that place.The town, which is situated on the western bank of the Moray Frith, has much declined from its former importance, and the principal trade now carried on is that of making shoes, in which, and in the manufacture of coarse linen, and the shipping of cattle, salmon, and other produce, for London, the greater number of the inhabitants are employed. It is, however, beginning to revive, as a bathing place, for which its delightful and healthy situation renders it well adapted; and Roderick Mackenzie, Esq., the principal proprietor in the neighbourhood, has lately made considerable improvements, tending to enhance the beauty of the town. A neat and ornamental water-cistern, also, has just been erected at the cross of Fortrose, from the funds of the burgh. At Chanonry Point, a headland projecting deeply into the Frith, is a lighthouse, near the ferry to Fort-George, on the opposite shore; and a small commodious harbour, erected by the parliamentary commissioners, is frequented by the Leith, Aberdeen, and Dundee traders. The town of Rosemarkie, though in point of antiquity it has the precedence, is still inferior to Fortrose in importance, and is inhabited partly by persons occupied in fishing. The post-office has a daily delivery; and fairs are held in April, June, and November. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads to Inverness and Dingwall, and by the ferry to Fort-George: steam-vessels plying in the Frith, and well fitted up for the conveyance of passengers and goods, land various kinds of merchandise, and convey the salmon taken here to Aberdeen, Leith, and London, to which last place considerable numbers of cattle are also sent.The government of the burgh is vested in a provost, three bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and nine councillors, chosen under the regulations of the late Municipal Reform act. There are no incorporated trades: the fees of admission as burgesses are, for strangers, £3. 3. for ordinary trades, and £5. 5. for those of a higher class; and for sons of burgesses half those sums. The magistrates exercise jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases to the usual extent; but very little business is transacted in either of the courts. A circuit sheriff's court is regularly held here. The burgh is associated with those of Forres, Inverness, and Nairn, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the number of qualified voters is forty-nine. The quoad sacra parish of Fortrose, which included the town of Fortrose, and a portion of the adjacent lands, was separated from the parish of Rosemarkie by act of the General Assembly. The church, a handsome and substantial structure, recently erected in the town, by subscription, affords ample accommodation; the minister, who is appointed by the male communicants of the congregation, derives his stipend from the produce of a fund bequeathed for that purpose by Mr. Thomas Forbes, and from the seat-rents. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and Baptists; and an episcopal chapel, in the later English style of architecture. The academy, under the superintendence of a rector and an assistant, is supported by subscription, and is well attended.See Rosemarkie.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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