Ross and Cromarty, Scotland


ROSS and CROMARTY, two counties in the north of Scotland, of which the several districts, mutually interjacent, are under the jurisdiction of one sheriff; bounded on the north by Sutherlandshire, on the east by the German Ocean, on the south by Inverness-shire, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. They lie between 57° 7' 40" and 58° 5' (N. Lat.) and 3° 45' 30" and 5° 46' 20" (W. Long.); extending about sixty-seven miles in length and fifty-eight miles in breadth, and comprising an area of 3799 square miles, or 2,43 1,360 acres, of which 223,560 are in the county of Cromarty; containing 16,694 houses, whereof 16,286 are inhabited; and having a population of 78,685, of whom 36,779 are males and 41,906 females. The territory within these boundaries seems to have nominally formed part of the earldom of Orkney, and to have belonged at different periods to different proprietors; but from the peculiar situation of Ross, it appears to have retained its independence, and to have been an earldom of itself, to which some of the Western Isles were attached; and in several ancient charters William, son of Hugh, Earl of Ross, who was killed at the battle of Hallidon-Hill, is not only styled Earl of Ross, but also Lord of Skye. John, "Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles," apparently exercised a kind of regal authority, and, as an independent prince, entered into treaties with King Edward of England. It was about the year 1630 that Ross was made a sheriffdom, including the district of Cromarty, which formerly gave the title of earl to a branch of the Mackenzies, of Seaforth. Prior to the abolition of episcopacy, the counties were in the diocese of Ross; they are at present mostly in the synod of Ross, and comprise several presbyteries, and thirty-one parishes. For civil purposes they are under the superintendence of three sheriffs-substitute, one of whom holds his courts at Cromarty and Tain, another at Dingwall and Fortrose, and the third at Stornoway in the island of Lewis. They contain the royal burghs of Dingwall, Tain, and Fortrose; the market-towns of Cromarty and Stornoway, which are burghs of barony; and numerous smaller places. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV. they return one member to the imperial parliament, the election taking place at Dingwall.

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