CRIMOND, a parish, in the district of DEER, county of ABERDEEN, 9 miles (N. N. W.) from Peterhead; containing 767 inhabitants. This place once contained a castle belonging to the celebrated Cumyn, Earl of Buchan; it stood on a small hill called Castlehill, and was suffered to fall into ruins after his fatal defeat at the battle of Inverury by Robert Bruce. Near this castle, the remains of which are completely covered over with sand blown from the sea-shore, are the walls of a chapel in good preservation, supposed to have been the private family chapel; and in the immediate vicinity stood the ancient town of Rattray, which in the sixteenth century possessed all the privileges of a royal burgh, except that of sending members to parliament. The Earl of Errol was superior of the burgage lands, of which, though originally extensive, there is now only one fen remaining.
The PARISH is situated in that part of the county called Buchan, and on the coast of the German Ocean, about midway between Peterhead and Fraserburgh. It comprises nearly 6000 acres, of which 4093 are arable, 707 pasture, 100 plantation, and the remainder moor, moss, bent, and waste. The coast measures about two miles, and consists of flat beach and sand-hills, except at the famous promontory of Rattray head, where it runs into a ridge of low rocks, stretching into the sea, in an eastern direction, for a distance of between one and two miles, and concealed at full tide. There were formerly numerous shipwrecks; but these have become far less frequent, chiefly in consequence of a lighthouse having been erected at Kinnaird's head to the north, and another at Boddom, near Peterhead, on the south. The surface along the shore rises to the height of nearly 200 feet, but slopes towards the interior, which is only slightly elevated above the sea. Afterwards, however, the land rises to the south and south-west boundaries, uniting with the higher grounds of Lonmay and St. Fergus. The loch of Strathbeg, one-tenth of which is situated in Crimond, and the remainder in Lonmay parish, covers several hundred acres. The water is now fresh, but it formerly communicated with the sea, and was entered by vessels of small burthen till the year 1720, when a strong east wind blew the sand into the channel, and effectually choked up the entrance. Towards the sea the banks present nothing but a succession of sand-hillocks covered with bent, and the other side is lined with bogs and marshes. The loch, however, has many attractions to the botanist and the sportsman, from the variety of the productions growing near its banks, or on the margin of its tributary burns; from its numerous wild-fowl, comprehending most species usual in the country; and from its supply of different sorts of fish. The upper part of the parish contains the loch of Logie, or Kininmonth, which covers about twenty acres, and is surrounded by low tracts of moss, of a dreary and barren appearance.
The prevailing SOIL is a light loam, incumbent on clay; near the shore the soil is sandy, and other parts contain a great extent of moss. The land produces good crops of all kinds of grain, potatoes, turnips, and hay; the system of farming is of a superior kind, and considerable improvements have been effected by draining, although much yet remains to be done in this respect. On account of the facilities of communication by steamers between Aberdeen and London, much attention has been given of late years to the rearing and fattening of cattle for the market: of the several kinds, a cross between the Teeswater and Buchan is in general preferred. But few sheep are kept; and cows for the dairy, now numbering between 250 and 300, have been less regarded since the increase in the sale of cattle. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3424. The rocks comprise whinstone, which is abundant, and a darkish-blue granite of very good quality; red granite is also found, but chiefly in a decomposed state, and limestone was formerly worked near Bilbo. There is an ancient seat called Haddo, and an elegant modern mansion has been built on the estate of Rattray. The population of the parish is mostly agricultural; but some are engaged in fishing, and besides the perch, trout, eels, and flounders taken in Loch Strathbeg and its burns, the neighbouring seas afford herrings, mackerel, skate, haddock, and other fish, especially the famous cod known as the Rattray-head cod. The turnpike-road from Peterhead to Fraserburgh runs through the parish. Fairs are held in February, September, and October, for horses, rattle, and sheep.
Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Deer, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Fife; the minister's stipend is between £200 and £300, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £6 per annum. Crimond churh is an elegant structure, built in 1812, and surmounted by a lofty spire, containing a good clock and bell. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £33, with a house erected in 1816, and from £15 to £20 fees, in addition to which he receives a portion of the Dick bequest, and the interest of £400 left by the Rev. Mr. Johnston, a former minister of the parish. There is also a parochial library, containing about 400 volumes. Arthur Johnstone, a Latin poet of the sixteenth century, is said to have been born in the parish; and Mr. Farquhar, of Fonthill, who amassed an immense fortune in India, and was generally known by the name of "rich Farquhar", was also a native.
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