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Forgue, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

FORGUE, a parish, in the district of Strathbogie, county of Aberdeen, from six to seven miles (N. E. by E.) from Huntly; containing 2489 inhabitants. The name of this place was originally written Forrig, and is supposed to be derived from the Gaelic language. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Doveron, which separates it from Rothiemay in Banffshire, and on the south by the Urie. It measures between nine and ten miles in length, and is about six miles and a half at its greatest breadth, from east to west; comprising 9000 or 10,000 acres mostly under tillage, and a considerable extent of plantations, moor, and waste. The surface is diversified with knolls and acclivities, straths and holms; and the scenery is consequently picturesque and interesting: the Foudland hills, however, in the southern quarter, from their barren and dreary aspect, being covered with stunted heath, give to that part of the parish a bleak and uninviting appearance. The Foreman, a hill of conical form with its sides well wooded, rises in the northern district, near the Doveron, to the height of 1000 feet, and commands from its summit extensive and varied prospects. Over this hill is a path still known by the name of the Queen's Road, it being recorded that Queen Mary, when she journeyed north, in the year 1562, instead of going directly forward to Huntly Castle, as she originally intended, here became impressed with fear of treachery, relinquished her intention, and passed along the above path to Rothiemay House, where she took up her quarters. Rivulets flow in every direction, and after enlivening and beautifying the lands, fall into the larger streams: many of them abound with trout.

The SOIL comprehends sand, gravel, loam, clay, and moss, and therefore differs very much in quality in different parts. All kinds of grain and green crops are raised; the rotation system is practised, and most other agricultural improvements have been introduced. Particular attention has also been given to the rearing of cattle, of which crosses between the pure Aberdeenshire and the short-horned have proved very successful. Many of the farms are neatly fenced, and all of them well cultivated; and from the comparatively inland situation of the parish, fourteen miles from the sea, with its ornamental and tastefully-arranged plantations, the appearance of the district is particularly agreeable. The rocks consist of the common stone found in most of the neighbouring parishes, and limestone, the latter of which was some time since extensively quarried. The annual value of real property in Forgue is £8540. In the parish are the mansions of Cobairdy, Haddo, Corse, Drumblair, Templeland, Auchaber, and Boynes-Mill, most of which are well built; but the mansion of Frendraught, formerly the seat of the Crichton family, is the most distinguished residence in point of situation and scenery. There are six mills, and at Glendronach is a distillery. The turnpike- road from Huntly to Banff, and another leading from Huntly to Aberdeen, pass through the parish; the chief communication is with Banff, Portsoy, Macduff, Inverury, and Huntly, and Sunderland coal is occasionally imported for fuel. Fairs are held for the sale of cattle and sheep, and for general traffic, at Hawkhall, on the third Tuesday in April, the last Thursday in May, and the third Tuesday in September, all O. S.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Turriff, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Alexander Morison, Esq., of Bognie. The minister's stipend is about £190, with an excellent manse, and a glebe of about twelve acres, valued at £18 per annum. Forgue church, situated upon a gentle eminence, is a neat, commodious, and substantial edifice, built in 1819, and containing 900 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship, and there is a small episcopal chapel. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin and mathematics, with all the elementary branches; the master has a salary of £34, a house and garden, a portion of the Dick bequest, and £20 fees. There is a savings' bank; and the poor not on the roll enjoy the benefit of a charitable bequest of £20 per annum. The antiquities comprise the remains of several Druidical temples; vestiges of a Roman redoubt, as is supposed; and the ruins of the ancient castle of Frendraught, at the conflagration of the tower of which, in 1630, Viscount Aboyne, eldest son of the Marquess of Burgh Seal. Huntly, and four others, perished. The Admirable Crichton, who flourished about the middle of the sixteenth century, is said to have been born at Frendraught, the principal seat of the family, and from which they derived the title of Viscount.

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