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Alves, Elginshire

Historical Description

ALVES, a parish, in the county of ELGIN, 5 miles (W.) from Elgin, on the road to Inverness; containing, with the small hamlets of Coltfield and Crook, 913 inhabitants. This parish, which is about five miles long, and of nearly the same breadth, contains about 12,000 acres. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Duffus, the Moray Firth, and part of Kinloss; by the hill of Pluscarden on the south; by the parish of New Spynie on the east; and by Kinloss and Rafford on the west. The surface is agreeably diversified, consisting of pasture and arable land, with a considerable quantity of land covered with plantation, and scarcely any waste. With the exception of the Knock of Alves, a small conical hill in the east end of the parish, the hill of Pluscarden is the only part that deserves the name of hill; the rest of the parish consists of a gently undulating surface, every portion of which may be brought under tillage. The Knock of Alves is entirely covered with wood: on its summit is a tower called York Tower, erected some years ago by the proprietor in honour of the late Duke of York, and commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. What was formerly a waste common of several thousand acres was divided a short time since among the three adjoining proprietors, and is now a thriving plantation: besides containing this young plantation, about 100 acres in the parish are covered with Scotch fir.

In general the soil is a deep rich loam, upon a clay bottom, though in some places it is of a lighter quality. The pasture and arable land is portioned into twenty-five large farms, which are cultivated in the best manner; all kinds of produce are raised, and a great part of the grain is shipped at Burgh-Head, or Findhorn, and sold in the London market. The cattle are usually of a mixed breed between the Aberdeenshire and the Highland, with a few of the polled from Buchan. Great improvements have been carried on for some years past in draining, inclosing, the recovery of mosses, and the erection of good farm-houses and offices: in this parish the stone inclosures are very extensive, probably more so than in any other parish in the north of Scotland. The rocks consist of freestone, of which quarries are regularly worked; there is a quarry supplying mill-stones, and in several places a considerable depth of peat-moss occurs. The annual value of real property in the parish is £5708. There are two mansion-houses; Milton-Brodie, at the west end of the parish, an ancient edifice, to which a handsome front has been recently added, greatly improving its appearance; and the house of Newton, at the east end, a plain building, with a pleasing lawn before it. The population are agricultural, and their houses are for the most part in groups. The chief fuel formerly in use was peat, but the cutting of it has been prohibited, and at present the fuel used is principally English coal, cargoes of which are imported from Sunderland, and landed at Burgh-Head and Findhorn.

For ecclesiastical purposes Alves is within the bounds of the presbytery of Elgin and synod of Moray. The Earl of Moray is patron; and the minister's stipend is about £208, exclusively of an allowance of £8 for a grass-glebe: there are also a good manse, lately built, and having convenient offices and garden; and a glebe of four acres of land, worth £9 a year. Alves church, built in 1769, is a long narrow edifice containing sittings for 590 persons. There is a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, Greek, and the mathematics, in addition to the ordinary branches of education, and the master has a salary of £34. 4., with fees, a house and garden, and, if found qualified, a share of the Dick bequest. Another school is maintained by subscription, and the teacher of a female school in the Crook receives a small salary from the heritors. A parochial library is supported, which contains about 200 volumes.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis


Online maps of Alves are available from a number of sites:

Postal districtIV30
Post TownElgin