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Foveran, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

FOVERAN, a parish, in the district of Ellon, county of Aberdeen, 12 miles (N. by W.) from Aberdeen; containing, with the village of Newburgh and the barony of Knockhall, 1620 inhabitants. This place was formerly remarkable for its castle, called Foveran, as is supposed from a sweet and powerful spring, which still flows with its ancient strength; but every vestige of the fortress is gone. The parish is situated in that part of the county called Formartine. It stretches along the coast of the German Ocean, and is separated from the parish of Logie-Buchan on the north by the burn of Tarty, and from the sands of Forvie on the east by the river Ythan. It is about seven miles in length from east to west, and three in breadth from north to south, and is watered by the beautiful burn of Foveran, which, after forming in its pleasing course the chief ornament in the scenery, falls into the Ythan at Newburgh. Agriculture is steadily pursued, and considerable traffic is carried on at the fishing-village and maritime port of Newburgh, which see. The land is generally fertile, and distributed into many good farms, producing fine crops; the farm-houses are mostly built of stone and lime, and are commodious and well finished. Within the last twenty or thirty years large tracts of barren soil have been improved, and drains and fences constructed on an extensive scale. The mail-road from Aberdeen to Peterhead intersects the parish, and has several branches, one of which, called the Fiddes road, joins the Udny turnpike-road, opening up important facilities of intercourse with that part of the county: there is also a turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Methlick, which passes at the western extremity of the parish; and another has been recently completed, which is found highly beneficial, from Old Meldrum to the village of Newburgh. About twenty head of fat-cattle are shipped every week at the port, for the London market; and lime, coal, timber, bones, &c., are imported. The annual value of real property in the parish is £5713.

Foveran is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Ellon, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £193, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £11 per annum. The church is a plain substantial edifice, built in 1794, and accommodating 700 persons; it contains two handsome marble monuments to the family of Robertson of Foveran, and another, of very superior character, designed by Bacon, to the Udny family. Excellent walls have been built round the churchyard, with funds left for that purpose by Miss Robertson of Foveran. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £28, with about £31 fees. There is also a school at Cultercullen, in the western quarter, with an endowment of £8 per annum, and a free house, and piece of land. Mr. Mather, a native of the parish, left a sum for the establishment of four bursaries at Marischal College, under the patronage of the minister, for boys educated in the parochial school; also funds for clothing and educating twenty poor fishermen's children belonging to Newburgh, and £20 per annum to the minister or schoolmaster for lecturing once a week to the people in the village. About half a mile north of Newburgh are the ruins of the castle of Knockhall, built in the year 1565, and accidentally burnt in 1734: it was the seat of the family of Udny, whose ancient burial-ground, also in the neighbourhood of the village, contains the remains of an old chapel generally called Rood Church.

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