Elginshire, Scotland


ELGINSHIRE, or Morayshire, a county in the north-east of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Moray Firth, on the east and south-east by Banffshire, on the south by a detached portion of the county of Inverness, and on the west by Nairnshire. It lies between 57° 11' and 57° 43' (N. Lat.) and 3° 2' and 3° 58' (W. Long.), and is about 40 miles in length, and 23 miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of 840 square miles, or 537,600 acres; 8526 houses, of which 8154 are inhabited; and containing a population of 35,012, of whom 16,090 are males and 18,922 females. This county constituted a portion of the ancient province of Moray, which contained the shires of Nairn and Elgin, with a large part of the county of Banff, and which was for many ages distinguished as the "granary of Scotland". At a very early period Moray had an establishment of Culdees, and it subsequently became the seat of various religious societies, that emigrated from Italy, and settled here about the commencement of the tenth century. In the year 1100 it was made a diocese, and in 1150 an abbey for Cistercian monks was founded at Kinloss by David I. The priories of Urquhart, Pluscardine, and Kingussie were soon afterwards established; and in the year 1224 Andrew, Bishop of Moray, erected a cathedral for his diocese at Elgin, the remains of which form one of the most interesting ecclesiastical relics in the country. During later times the county has been included in the synod of Moray; it comprises parts of several presbyteries, and consists of about twenty parishes. For civil purposes it is joined with the shire of Nairn, under the jurisdiction of one sheriff, who appoints a sheriff-substitute for each. It contains the royal burghs of Elgin and Forres, the former of which is the county town; the towns of Garmouth and Lossiemouth, and a few villages. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the two counties return one member to the imperial parliament.

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