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Cruden or Invercruden, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

CRUDEN, or INVERCRUDEN, a parish, in the district of ELLON, county of ABERDEEN, 7 miles (S. S. W.) from Peterhead, containing, with the villages of Finnyfold or Whinnie-Fauld, Bullers-Buchan, and the Ward, 2349 inhabitants. This place was the scene of a memorable battle fought in the year 1005, upon a plain near the bay of Ardendraught, between Malcolm II. and the Danes under Canute, in which the latter, who had a castle in the neighbourhood, were totally defeated. The parish is situated on the shore of the German Ocean; it is eleven miles in length, and varies in breadth from four to seven miles, mostly comprising cultivated land. The sea forms the southern boundary, and the coast is marked by bold and lofty rocks of red granite from the east end to Slains Castle, close to which is the Ward, a small fishing-village affording occasionally a landing-place for coal and lime. Beyond this, to Sand End, a distance of about two miles, stretches a fine sandy beach called the Bay of Cruden, from the south extremity of which runs a ridge of sunken rocks named the Scares of Cruden; and from this place the shore is exceedingly abrupt and majestic all along the south, the rocks consisting of black basalts. The climate is bleak; and when the wind is high the grandeur of the ocean is so striking that Dr. Johnson, who visited this spot in his celebrated tour, declared that Slains Castle was the place from which he should wish to behold a storm. To the east of Slains Castle are the rocks known far and wide as the Bullers (bulwarks) of Buchan, Buchan being the name of this part of Aberdeenshire: they are much visited in the summer by strangers, in boats, the rocks presenting some fine natural arches, one in particular leading into a pool of water, surrounded by high cliffs, and called the Pot. Husbandry is on a respectable footing, great improvements having been made, especially in draining; and the farmers, who in general have commodious houses, live comfortably. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8792. Quarries of red granite were in operation some time since, and supplied a material for several of the London bridges; but they have all been closed.

Very little wood is to be seen: what there is, is chiefly in the vicinity of Slains Castle, already mentioned, a remarkably strong edifice, built on the margin of the sea, and the residence for generations of the Earls of Erroll. A carding and spinning mill was lately erected on the estate of Aquaharney, and is conducted on a somewhat extensive scale: the thread manufactories formerly employing so many hands have become totally extinct. The parish is situated on the public road between Aberdeen and Peterhead, and to the latter place and Newburgh the produce is sent for sale, except that part of the cattle disposed of at various other markets. A small cattle-fair is held in April, and another in May, and some business is done in the sale of fish, there being a salmon-fishery near the Ward, and stations at the other villages for the fish common to the coast. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Ellon, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Erroll; the minister's stipend is £204, with a manse, and a glebe of six acres of arable land and pasturage ground. Cruden church was built in 1776, and lately enlarged.

A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church, and there is also an episcopal chapel. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £26, with £18 fees, and participates in the Dick bequest. A parochial library was established a few years since.

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