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Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

KILDRUMMY, a parish, in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, 6 miles (W. by N.) from Alford; containing 627 inhabitants. This place, the name of which is of Gaelic origin, and signifies "the little burial mount", was distinguished for its castle, anciently the property of David, Earl of Huntingdon, and a seat of King Robert Bruce. The castle now presents a venerable ruin, situated on an eminence overlooking a rivulet that falls into the Don; but was originally an extensive and strongly-fortified pile, consisting, according to tradition, of one stately circular tower of five stories, known as the Snow tower, in the western corner of the fabric, and of six other towers of different dimensions. It was besieged by Edward I. in 1306, when the wife of Bruce, his daughter, his two sisters, and the Countess of Buchan, had fled to it for refuge; and it is supposed that they made their escape by means of a subterraneous passage, of which there are still traces. It was afterwards partly destroyed by fire, but, having been repaired, became the principal residence of the Earls of Mar, until the rebellion of the earl in 1715, after which the whole building was suffered to fall to decay. Among the ruins are the remains of a chapel, which was used as a magazine for forage during the siege of 1306.

The PARISH is bounded on the north by that of Auchindoir and Kearn, on the east by the parishes of Forbes and Alford, and on the west and south by the parishes of Leochel-Cushnie and Towie. It chiefly comprises a valley from two to three miles square, and is divided into two unequal parts by the river Don, upwards of twenty miles from its source. The soil is a rich loam, and very fertile; the Kildrummy oats are well known as a light thin grain, having plenty of straw, and ripening earlier than most ordinary kinds. The general surface of the parish is undulated; and a sandstone bed runs through it from north to south. A considerable extent of natural birchwood covers a bank overhanging the rivulet near the castle; and there are plantations at Clova, Brux, and other places in the vale. Cattlemarkets are held on the first Tuesdays in February and May, O. S. On the edge of a romantic ravine, stands a mansion in the Elizabethan style; and at Clova is another, in a more modern style of architecture. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2282. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Alford, synod of Aberdeen, and the patronage is vested in the Crown. The stipend of the minister varies from £150 to £160, of which about a third is received from the exchequer; and there is a manse, with a glebe of six acres, valued at £10 per annum. Kildrummy church is a plain edifice, erected in 1805. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a school and dwelling-house, built in 1822, and about £11 fees; also a portion of the Dick bequest. Lord Elphinstone, who was slain at the battle of Flodden, and the Earl of Mar, attainted in 1715, were buried in the churchyard of the parish.

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