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Culsamond or Culsalmond, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

CULSAMOND, or Culsalmond, a parish, in the district of GARIOCH, county of ABERDEEN, 2½miles (N. W.) from Old Rain; containing 1104 inhabitants. This place is said to have derived its name from the Gaelic term Cul-Sal-Mon, signifying "the end of the hill lands ". It is about four and a half miles in length, from north to south, and three in breadth; comprising 7400 acres, of which 4000 are in tillage, 300 in pasture, 900 in plantations, and the remainder uncultivated. The surface is level, with the exception of one or two moderate elevations, of which Culsamond hill commands a fine view of Belrinnes on the west, and, on the north-west, of the Caithness hills, and part of the Moray Firth and of the Buchan district in the distance. The river Urie passes through the whole length of the parish, and after flowing for about nineteen miles from its source in the parish of Gartly, and drawing into its channel many minor streams, empties itself into the Don at Inverury. The soil is various, but in general consists of a dark loam partly on a sandy and ironstone bottom; clay in some places forms a subsoil, and the land is for the most part fertile, and the crops usually early. In the hill of Culsamond are several quarries of valuable slate of a fine blue colour, from which large quantities are raised. Ironstone is found in the parish, lying in detached masses on or near the surface; and bog-iron ore has been discovered in combination with decomposed oakwood, about eight feet below the surface. A bed of coarse sand is spread a little below the ground on the estate of Pulquhite, supposed to be the debris of granite belonging to the hill of Benochee (five or six miles distant), and to have been brought hither by the action of water. In the northern portion of the same farm, about three feet below the surface, is a bed of moss, in some parts above eight feet deep, and reaching from north to south between thirty and forty yards; over which a soil composed chiefly of gravel and stones has been deposited by some casualty. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4602. The plantations, which were commenced about seventy or eighty years since, though not very extensive, yet being dispersed, and often appearing in the form of clumps and belts, give a picturesque appearance to the district. On the hill of Culsamond, 250 acres have been planted within the present century; and the vicinities of Williamston House and Newton House, both modern mansions pleasantly situated on the east bank of the Urie, have been much improved and beautified by the tasteful arrangement of their surrounding plantations. The turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Inverness, by Inverury, Old Rain, and Huntly, passes through the parish. St. Sair's fair is held here, in June, for cattle, horses, sheep, and wool.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Garioch, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes: the minister's stipend is £150, of which above a third is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe of ten acres, valued at £30 per annum. Culsamond church is in good condition. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, erected in 1823, an allowance in lieu of a garden, and about £19 fees. Among the numerous vestiges of military works, are those of a British encampment on the north-east side of the hill of Culsamond. There are also some remains of Druidical temples and ancient cairns, in one of the latter of which, on the farm of Mill of Williamston, an immense wooden coffin of very rude construction was found in 1S12, containing an urn, and supposed to have been deposited anterior to the Christian era. Stone axes and other warlike instruments have been found; and some years since a gold coin of James I. was dug up, in fine preservation. A highway called the Lawrence road, thought to be some hundreds of years old, and to have been constructed for the avoidance of the swamps and floods on the lower grounds, and for security against wild beasts, crosses the hill of Culsamond, and was formerly used by persons travelling to St. Lawrence fair, at Old Rain.

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