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Daviot, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

DAVIOT, a parish, in the district of GARIOCH, county of ABERDEEN, 4 miles (N. W.) from Old Meldrum; containing 643 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to derive its name from the Gaelic term dabhoch, which signifies a piece of land sufficient for the pasture of a certain number of cows. Its length is about three miles, and the average breadth two; but it was augmented ecclesiastically by act of assembly at the close of the seventeenth century, by the annexation of parts of the parishes of Fyvie and Chapel of Garioch, and, including this addition, it covers about eight square miles. The civil parish comprises 5250 acres, of which the whole is in tillage, with the exception of a few acres in wood, and a little moss. Its surface is agreeably diversified by a ridge of gentle undulations, passing through the centre, from north to south, and accompanied on each side by a ridge of inferior elevation, also slightly undulated. The soil exhibits several varieties; that on the higher grounds is thin and gravelly, and on the descent a rich loamy earth rests on a clayey subsoil, while the lower parts are to a considerable extent covered with a shallow peaty soil, incumbent on a bluish clay. The several sorts of grain, with the exception of wheat, are raised, of good quality; but the soil is best adapted to oats, and various kinds of them are cultivated, especially those denominated Scotch barley and the early Angus. Green crops of all descriptions likewise grow luxuriantly. Very few sheep are reared, but much attention is paid to cattle, in consequence of the facilities afforded by steam navigation for sending them to the London market: the breed was formerly the Aberdeenshire, but a great improvement has been made of late years, by crossing this with the short-horned. A seven years' rotation is generally practised, and other modern usages of husbandry have been introduced; much waste land has been drained and cultivated, and there is now very little waste remaining. The annual value of real property in the parish of Daviot is £3250.

The substrata comprise whinstone and inferior granite, and ironstone exists in considerable quantities, but the distance from coal-mines renders the working of it impracticable. The plantations consist chiefly of Scotch fir and larch, which, however, rarely attain to a great size, manifesting symptoms of decay at about the age of forty years. Beech, elm, and ash are in some parts interspersed with the fir; trees of this description appear to be better suited to the soil, and grow in some places in a very thriving manner, especially around the mansion of Glack. Besides this residence there is a handsome mansion in the parish on the estate of Fingask, built in 1834. The inhabitants are engaged in husbandry, with the exception of a very small number who work at a manufactory for carding and spinning wool, which was some time since established here by an enterprising individual to whom the board for the encouragement of manufactures granted a premium for his exertions. There is considerable facility of communication: a road runs past the church from north to south, and in the latter direction forms two branches, one leading to Old Meldrum, and the other to Inverury five miles distant. A turnpike-road, also, traversing the east and north sides of the parish, was formed in 1835, to connect the east and west branches of the great north road from Aberdeen to Inverness; it runs from Old Meldrum to Sheelagreen, in the parish of Culsamond. Another road was finished in 1839, on which a coach travels daily between Aberdeen and Huntly.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Garioch, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Crown. The minister's stipend is £159, of which about a sixth is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12; per annum. Daviot was formerly a prebend in the diocese of Aberdeen, and is said to have been assigned to the bishop as an alms-gift by Malcolm Canmore; the present church was built in 1798, and accommodates 400 persons. The parochial school affords instruction in the classics, mathematics, and book-keeping, in addition to the elementary branches: the master has a salary of £30, with a house, and £20 fees; he also shares in the Dick bequest. The principal relic of antiquity is a Druidical temple in fine preservation, on the lands of Mounie, near the church. A battle-axe was dug up in 1833, supposed to have been used at the battle of Harlaw, fought in 1411, in the adjoining parish of Chapel of Garioch; and some years since, a silver coin of the reign of Elizabeth, a little larger than a shilling, was found in a garden, on the site of the old manse.

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