UK Genealogy Archives logo

Fodderty, Ross and Cromarty

Historical Description

FODDERTY, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 2 miles (W.) from Dingwall; containing, with the villages of Auchterneed, Keithtown, and Maryburgh, the island of Balblair, and part of the quoad sacra districts of Carnoch and Kinloch-Luichart, 2437 inhabitants. The name is probably derived from two words in the Gaelic language, signifying a meadow along the side of a hill, a description characteristic of the celebrated valley of Strathpeffer, which is chiefly comprised in this parish. The ancient history of Fodderty is very imperfectly known, but it appears to be closely connected with that of the famous McKenzies, of whom Roderick McKenzie was knighted by James VI.; George, the grandson of Roderick, was made secretary of state to Queen Anne, with the dignity of Earl of Cromarty, and in 1698 he obtained an act to annex all his lands in Ross-shire to the county whence he derived his title. Fodderty comprehended a large part of these lands; and thus it happens that, though locally situated in Ross, it belongs to the county of Cromarty. The length of the parish, from north to south, is about eleven miles; it is nine miles in breadth from east to west, and is bounded by Dingwall on the east, by Coutin and Kinloch-Luichart on the west, by Kincardine and Kiltearn on the north, and by Urray on the south. Strathpeffer, which is principally in the parish, is nearly six miles long and three-quarters of a mile broad; it is encompassed by lofty hills, and watered by the Peffery rivulet. In every direction the views from the eminences are very fine. The lofty and massive Ben-Wyvis, 3426 feet high, and partly in the parish; Knock-Farril, on which is a strikingly marked vitrified fort; the vale of Strathpeffer, with its venerable castle; the town of Dingwall, the Firth of Cromarty, and the interesting scenery of Tulloch Castle, interspersed in different directions with the round tops of wild and rugged hills, all unite to complete a landscape of considerable interest. Loch Ussie, containing several islands, and encompassed with thriving plantations, is also a pleasing object.

The SOIL slightly varies, but in general it is found to be a dark loamy mould, with a stiff clayey subsoil. A large portion of the land is in a state of high cultivation; about 1000 acres are under fir and larch plantation, and the remainder is hill pasture. The annual value of real property in the parish is £6092. The strata differ considerably, exhibiting gneiss on the higher grounds, and in the lower parts red sandstone and conglomerate; in many places is a slaty rock with black whinstone, and in others a bituminous schist, mixed with pyrites. The noble mansion of Castle-Leod, built by Sir Roderick Mc Kenzie in 1616, was the residence of the Earls of Cromarty (a title now extinct), and is of truly baronial appearance, five stories high, and turreted. It stands at the base of a hill beautifully rounded at the summit, and in the midst of extensive parks adorned with various kinds of trees, many of them of ancient growth and gigantic stature. Among these is a chesnut-tree, measuring at the bottom of its trunk twenty-four feet in circumference; the width of its branches is ninety feet. There is a great variety of mineral springs in the parish, but the most celebrated is the Strathpeffer Spa, which has been brought into great repute within the last thirty or forty years. It has two wells, one much stronger than the other, both impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen gas, and said to be highly efficacious in nervous and dyspeptic complaints. A considerable number of respectable houses have been built in the vicinity of the spa, the fame of which has drawn many visiters. A large and convenient pump-room was erected in 1819, which is regularly supplied with the public papers; an hotel has been built at Blar-na-ceaun, within about half a mile of the pump-room, and there is an inn also on the east side with comfortable accommodations. An hospital, or infirmary, has been formed, through the exertions of J. E. Gordon, Esq., for the poor who resort to the spa for the benefit of its waters: it can accommodate fifty persons. There is a penny-post in the parish; and between the months of May and October, during the visiting season, a conveyance runs twice a day to Dingwall, where it meets the Inverness coach. On the river Conon is a salmon-fishery; and in the small stream of the Peffery, black trout are frequently taken.

Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Dingwall, synod of Ross. The stipend of the minister is £255, with a manse, built in 1796, and a glebe and garden of thirteen acres: the patronage belongs to the Marchioness of Stafford, daughter of the late John Hay Mc Kenzie, Esq., of Cromarty. Fodderty parish church, a plain but pleasing structure, built in 1807, and enlarged in 1835, accommodates 600 persons with sittings: the service is alternatively performed in English and Gaelic. In the village of Maryburgh is also a church, recently erected, distant from the parish church about five miles. A parochial school is maintained, in which the classics and the ordinary branches of education are taught; the master has a salary of £36, with a house, and £20 fees. Near Fodderty is Temple-croft, or Croicht-an-Team puil, in which stone coffins containing skeletons have been found. On the heights of the Hilton estate is a sepulchral cairn, measuring 260 feet in circumference; and in the same neighbourhood are the remains of some Druidical temples. There are two huge stones on either side of the church, vulgarly reported to have been thrown at his enemies by the far-famed Fingal, the hero of Ossian, and to have remained in their present position. Several other relics of antiquity are to be seen in the parish. See Carnoch and Kinloch-Luichart.

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