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St Andrews Lhanbryde, Elginshire

Historical Description

ANDREW'S (ST.) LHANBRYDE, a parish, in the county of ELGIN, 3 miles (E.) from Elgin; containing 1176 inhabitants, of whom 174 are in the village of Lhanbryde. The parish of St. Andrew's was anciently called the barony of Kill-ma-Lemnock. Lhanbryde, signifying in Gaelic "the church of St. Bridget," was united to it in 1782, in addition to two other chapels that had been joined before the Reformation. The whole is three miles broad, from east to west, and about four long, from south to north; exclusively of the Teindland, which is detached one mile distant on the south, and although generally considered as belonging to this parish, pertains to that of Elgin. St. Andrew's Lhanbryde contains about 5000 acres, of which four-fifths are under cultivation, and 650 acres are woodland. It is intersected by the great north road and the river Lossie. The isolated tract just named was originally the moor where the cattle were collected for drawing part of the teinds of both parishes, before they were converted into money; from which circumstance it derives its name. The surface has in general the appearance of a plain, in which a series of low hills rise, apparently connected together, and all covered with corn, grass, or wood. In the spring season, the district is subject to a succession of storms, some of which are of the most violent, piercing, and blighting nature, equally injurious to vegetation and to animal life. There are three lakes on the confines of the parish: the largest of them, called Spynie, consisting of shallow water covering a deep rich mould, offered a temptation to reclaim it by drainage, which, a few years since, was prosecuted at an expense of nearly £10,000; but the operation has not yet fully succeeded. These lakes abound with trout, eels, and pike, and are visited by a great variety of wild ducks, and sometimes by wild geese and swans. The river Lossie, which, entering the parish at the northwest corner, divides it there from the town of Elgin, is subject to great floodings, and the grounds on its banks frequently suffer injury. Salmon, pike, trout, &c., are found in it, though not in any considerable quantity.

The SOIL in general is sandy, yet fertile where the land is low and damp; for, in this part of the county, the farmer has mostly to complain of drought, by which he loses much every summer. All kinds of grain are produced, in a larger quantity than is necessary for domestic use; as well as the ordinary green crops and grasses: most of the farms are of considerable size, and occupied by gentlemen of skill, and with adequate capital. The whole extent of the parish is incumbent upon a bed of limestone belonging to the calciferous sandstone of the old red formation. About a mile eastward of the manse, a small section made by the burn of Lhanbryde exposes a bed of the inferior oolite kind; and two miles north-west of the manse there appear, at Linksfield, Pitgaveny, &c., insulated patches of the Purbeck beds of the wealden, or fresh-water deposit, rarely met with in Scotland. Limestone is burnt for agricultural and building purposes, and the wealden clays and marls are applied to fertilizing the light sandy soil in the neighbourhood. Pitgaveny House is a handsome residence, with grounds tastefully laid out. There is a manufacture of malt in the parish; and a cast-iron foundry, and a manufactory of woollen stuffs, are carried on, the latter of which employs about forty-five hands. A fair is held at Lhanbryde on the fourth Tuesday in October, for cattle, farming implements, and similar commodities. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4104.

For ecclesiastical purposes the parish is in the presbytery of Elgin and synod of Moray; the patronage is vested in the Crown and the Earl of Moray alternately, and the minister's stipend is £206. 19., with a manse. The church is a commodious building, and will hold between 400 and 500 persons. There is a parochial school, the master of which has a salary of £34. 14., with a house and garden, and about £12 fees, teaching the classics, mathematics, French, and Gaelic, together with the ordinary branches of education. About half a mile south of the manse is a small square fort of great antiquity, called the Tower of Coxton, which appears to have been of considerable strength. The neighbourhood affords numerous interesting specimens of fossils: many of the distinguishing fossils of the inferior oolite have been found in the bed exposed by the Lhanbryde burn; at Linksfield a great variety also occurs, and of the greatest number and interest, in a dark-coloured shale bed containing slabs of highly crystallized limestone.

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