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Auchindoir and Kearn, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

AUCHINDOIR and KEARN, a parish, in the district of ALFORD, county of ABERDEEN, 36 miles (W. N. W.) from Aberdeen; containing 1188 inhabitants. The name Auchindoir, which is of Gaelic origin, and signifies "the field of pursuit", is supposed to have been applied from the circumstance of Luthlac, son of Macbeth, having been pursued through the valley of Auchindoir to that of Bogie, where he was overtaken and slain by Malcolm. Kearn is said to be a corruption of Cairn, there being a remarkable cairn or tumulus in that district, of the history of which nothing, however, is known. The two places were united in 1811, previously to which Kearn was joined to Forbes. The length of the habitable part is about seven miles, the breadth nearly the same, and the parishes together contain about 15,600 acres under cultivation, and 2100 under plantation and natural wood, besides pasture and waste. The surface is varied and irregular, consisting of numerous hills and pleasing valleys, ridges, and mountains, some of which are covered with wood, and have a considerable elevation; Correen, in the southern quarter, is about 1350, and the Buck of the Cabrach, in the west, 2377 feet above the sea. In the higher parts the climate is cold and bleak, exposed to severe frosts and heavy falls of snow, but in the lower and more sheltered places it is temperate and salubrious. The river Bogie, which is formed by the junction of the Craig and Corchinan burns at the manse, after pursuing a serpentine course of about eleven miles through a fine valley, joins the Doveron at Huntly: it is plentifully supplied with fine trout. The Don runs for about two miles on the south-east; and the small stream of Mossat divides the parish from Kildrummy on the south.

The SOIL presents a considerable variety, consisting in some parts of a rich alluvial loam, and in other places of clay, with a large proportion of sand and pebbles. In the lower grounds it is in general sharp, dry, and fertile, but towards the hills mossy and poor. The quantity of arable land is on the increase; much barren land has been reclaimed, and the method of cultivation has recently been considerably improved: the houses and cottages, also, are in a much better condition than they were thirty or forty years since. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3600. The plantations are numerous and extensive, and comprise trees of all the kinds usually reared. Sandstone of excellent quality is found, as well as limestone, and whinstone is also in great abundance. There are two gentlemen's seats, Craig and Druminnor, both of them of considerable antiquity, the former bearing the date 1518, and the latter, which was once the chief seat of the Forbes family, that of the year 1577. Near the castle of Craig is the "Den", a celebrated spot in this part of the country, surrounded by scenery of a varied and beautiful description, and much resorted to by tourists as an object of curiosity. The only village is Lumsden, which is of recent growth, and contains about 300 persons, chiefly traders and handicraftsmen. The main population of the parish is agricultural, being employed in the rural districts in cultivating the land, and in rearing cattle, for the sale of which four markets are held during the year. Here is a post-office. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen; the Earl of Fife is patron. The minister's stipend is £158, part of which is received from the exchequer; there is a manse, erected in 1843, and the glebe is valued at £10 a year. The church, which was built in 1811, accommodates 450 persons. At Lumsden is a place of worship belonging to the United Presbyterian Synod. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church; and there is a parochial school, the master of which has a salary of £30, about £20 fees, and a house and garden. The moat or mount where the ancient Castrum Auchindoria, mentioned by Boethius, seems to have stood, is still shown in the parish; and another most interesting relic of antiquity, situated near it, is the old parochial church, now a venerable ruin, attracting attention from its ivy-mantled walls, its fine Saxon gateway, and its inscriptions and sculpture.

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