UK Genealogy Archives logo

Kemnay, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

KEMNAY, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Kintore; containing 637 inhabitants. This place is situated on the banks of the river Don, which, by its circuitous course in this part, forms the boundary on two sides, separating Kemnay on the north from the parish of Inverury, and on the west from Chapel of Garioch and Monymusk. The parish is irregular in figure, and measures between four and five miles in length, and about three in breadth; comprising 6000 acres, of which about half is pasture and in tillage, and half in plantations and uncultivated. Its surface in general is uneven, and diversified with a picturesque range of small hills called kems, running nearly parallel with the river. The scenery is beautiful, combining well-cultivated arable grounds, rich and verdant pastures, and numerous thriving plantations, ornamented by the serpentine course of the river Don; and the burn of Ton, one of the tributaries of that river, contributes in no small degree to heighten the interesting appearance of this pleasing locality. On most of the lands the soil is a light mould resting on sand, but in the vicinity of the rivers are some tracts of fine deep loamy earth; and the higher grounds, which are cultivated to the summit, are for the most part clayey. The crops consist chiefly of oats, bear, potatoes, and turnips, peas and wheat being very scantily sown: the rotation system is followed. Much of the mossy land has been brought into cultivation, and now produces good corn; but considerable tracts still remain, supplying the inhabitants with their ordinary fuel. The whole of the lands, till lately, were held by Lord Kintore and another proprietor; but the former has alienated part of his property. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2340. The rocks are of the granite formation, quartz and mica prevailing in their composition: the stone admits of a fine polish, and is raised from two or three quarries, as well as found in detached masses on the hills. Kemnay House, a modern structure, is surrounded with thick and thriving plantations, and is approached by an ornamental avenue of very fine beech-trees. The road from Aberdeen to Monymusk passes through the parish, and the basin of the Aberdeenshire canal, at Inverury, is only five miles distant: the marketable produce is sent for sale to Aberdeen, Inverury, and Kintore. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Garioch, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Earl of Kintore: the minister's stipend is £150, of which about two-fifths are received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum. The present church is a handsome edifice, erected in 1844, and will accommodate about 400 persons. The former church was very ancient, and had become ruinous: it was extensively repaired in 1632, and again in 1794. Kemnay parochial school, which, since the appointment of the present master, Mr. Andrew Stevenson, has been admirably conducted, and, in conjunction with a flourishing academy under the same auspices, has excited much interest, affords instruction in all the branches of a sound education: the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a house, £2 the interest of various bequests, and £50 fees; he also largely participates in the Dick bequest. There is a parish library, containing works on divinity, history, and general literature. The only relics of antiquity are several tumuli and cairns.

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