Garioch, Chapel Of

Garioch, Chapel Of
   GARIOCH, CHAPEL OF, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (N. W.) from Inverury; containing 2038 inhabitants. This place was formerly called Logie Durno or Durnock, words signifying "a low or hollow place"; but, upon the annexation of the parsonage of Fetternear, situated on the north of the river Don, to that of this parish, on the north side of the Urie, early in the seventeenth century, the church of Logie Durno was disused, and a new one built on the spot where had once been a chapel called Capella Beatæ Mariæ Virginis de Garryoch, whence the present name of the parish. The district is celebrated in history for the sanguinary battle of Harlaw, which was fought here on the 24th of July, 1411, between the Earl of Mar, who commanded the royal army, and Donald, Lord of the Isles, and which was fatal to so many of the nobility and gentry, and of the bravest soldiers in the country, that Buchanan, the historian, asserts that there perished in this conflict more illustrious men than had fallen in foreign warfare during many years. Donald, having ravaged and plundered other parts, had invited his Highland followers to seize and pillage Aberdeen, and was proceeding thither for that purpose, when the Duke of Albany, who was regent, gave to the Earl of Mar a commission to collect troops to oppose him. In consequence of this, he marched from Aberdeen at the head of a noble train, gathered from different quarters, and met Donald with a force nearly ten times as large as his own, at the little village of Harlaw, a short distance from the confluence of the Water of Urie with the Don. Here the earl attacked the army of Donald, 10,000 strong, with such vigour that he quickly penetrated into the midst of it; but the Highlanders, making up by numbers what they wanted in discipline and in armour, returned the attacks of the earl and his veterans with their usual courage and impetuosity, and a succession of conflicts was carried on through the day which, while they produced the most dreadful carnage on both sides, had given, when night ended the slaughter, victory to neither. The Highland chief retired from the field; the earl was compelled to remain till the morning, through wounds and exhaustion. In the following century, Queen Mary, in her journey to the north, previously to the battle of Corrichie, passed a day here, at Balquhain Castle, the ancient seat of the Leslies, and is said to have attended mass in the parish church. Many years afterwards, the unfortunate Marquess of Montrose, when the Covenanters had triumphed, arrived at the castle of Pitcaple, in the custody of Generals Leslie and Strachan, who thence conducted their illustrious captive, seated on a Highland pony, and ignominiously attired, to the city of Edinburgh, where he was executed on the 21st of May, 1650. Charles II., upon his return from Holland in the same year, was entertained at this castle, in a very sumptuous manner, on which occasion a ball took place on the lawn, under a thorn-tree still standing, and which, for size, is said to exceed all others in this part of Britain.
   The parish, the figure of which is very irregular, is eleven miles in length, from north to south, and varies in breadth from two to five miles. It comprises 11,427 acres, of which 8342 are under tillage, including twelve acres of garden and orchard ground; 1010 waste, nearly 900 acres being capable of profitable cultivation; 110 moss; and 1965 wood and plantations; besides which there are between 1000 and 2000 acres of waste on the east front of Benochie hill, which is a common to this and other parishes. The surface is diversified by two considerable ridges, the one on the north, and the other on the south, side of the Urie, and stretching nearly in the same direction with the stream, the interjacent vale being well defended by the hilly ground on each side, and watered by the river for about five or six miles. The Urie is celebrated for its fine trout, and, at a small distance from the parish, falls into the Don; the Don is well stocked with salmon, eels, trout, and pike, and forms about three miles of the southern boundary of the parish in its passage to the German Ocean, which it reaches a mile from Aberdeen. The eminence on which the church stands, south of the Urie, and by which the old turnpike-road from Aberdeen passed, commands, in one part, an interesting view of local and distant scenery, especially of the Garioch district, the prospect embracing nine churches.
   The parish is entirely agricultural; and the vale, interspersed by beautifully-formed knolls, of which that of Dun-o-deer is most conspicuous, is under good cultivation. The crops, comprehending grain of various kinds, are indeed so heavy that Garioch is frequently called the granary of Aberdeenshire; and they are in general more early in appearance even than those in some of the southern parts, on account of the richness of the soil. A fine black loam occurs in many places; a good clay in others, on a tilly subsoil; and near the rivers, a rich vegetable mould, on gravel. Wheat, which formerly was grown in but small quantities, is now more extensively produced; and all the usual green crops are raised in abundance. The cattle are chiefly of two breeds, each of which is a cross breed, and are much prized by the English graziers, who fatten large numbers of them for the London market. The rotation system of husbandry is practised; the application of bone manure has been found of great service to the crops of turnips, and the parish has been greatly improved in various other respects during the present century, but especially by the inclosures and extensive drains which have been made, and by the building of good farm-houses and offices. Much waste land has also been reclaimed; and a far larger number of cattle than formerly are reared for sale, through the advance of turnip husbandry. The parish contains seven corn-mills, connected with which are five barley-mills; another barley-mill, and a lint-mill; two mills for carding and spinning wool, and three saw-mills. The rateable annual value of Chapel of Garioch is £7335. The rocks consist of whinstone and granite, the former of which comprises nearly the whole of the strata to the north of the Urie, and for two miles south of it; the granite runs through the remainder of the district. The hill of Benochie supplies the stone principally used for mansion-houses and farm-steadings; and the granite obtained from this quarter admits of a fine polish, and has been employed for chimney-pieces in some of the best residences. The wood comprehends, for the most part, larch, and spruce and Scotch fir, and has nearly all been planted within the present century, with the exception of several fine old plane, horse-chesnut, beech, and fir trees, on the lawns of the mansion-houses. The seats are four in number, and contribute, with their beautiful grounds and plantations, to heighten in no small degree the general effect of the scenery. Logie-Elphinstone is situated upon the north bank of the Urie, and that of Pitcaple on the other side; the mansion of Pittodrie is on an acclivity on the eastern side of the hill of Benochie, which rises 1400 feet above the sea, and commands extensive prospects; and the mansion of Fetternear, the ancient summer residence of the bishops of Aberdeen, built in 1329, by Bishop Kininmonth, stands on the north bank of the Don, and, like the others, is pleasantly situated. A new road has been made to Aberdeen, and the marketable produce is generally sent to that city, being conveyed to Port-Elphinstone, six miles distant, and thence transmitted to its destination by the canal.
   Chapel of Garioch is the seat of the presbytery of Garioch, in the synod of Aberdeen, and is in the patronage of Sir Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone, Bart. The minister's stipend is £218, with a manse, and a glebe of eighteen acres, valued at £16 per annum. The church is a neat and commodious edifice, built in 1813, and contains 800 sittings. A second church was opened in June, 1839, at Blairdaff, in the southern part of the parish, about four and a half miles from the mother church; it contains 500 sittings. It was erected at a cost of about £500, by subscription, aided by a grant from the General Assembly's church extension fund; the ground for the site and burial-ground was given by Robert Grant, Esq., of Tillyfour. The accommodation is shared by a part of the adjacent parishes of Oyne and Monymusk, which subscribed to the building, and, with the portion of this parish attached to the church, constitute an ecclesiastical district comprehending 1000 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in Greek, Latin, practical mathematics, and geography, besides the elementary branches; the master has a salary of £27, with a portion of the Dick bequest, a house, and £20 fees. There are two other schools, partially supported by the heritors, in which the ordinary branches are taught. The antiquities within the limits of the parish comprise the remains of old tombs and monumental stones of warriors, and a curious stone, half a mile west from the church, called the "maiden stone," and marked with several hieroglyphics, supposed by some to be Danish; the stone is about ten feet high above the ground, and reaches, as is thought, six feet below the surface. The ruins of the churches of Logie-Durno and Fetternear, with their cemeteries, are still visible; and half a mile to the south-east of the present church, is the ruin of the castle of Balquhain, the body of which is said to have been burnt down by the Duke of Cumberland in 1746. Near the castle is a Druidical circle in good preservation. Sir Walter Farquhar, physician to George IV. while Prince Regent, was the son of the Rev. Robert Farquhar, for many years minister of the parish. The Earl of Mar takes the title of Baron Erskine and Garioch from this district.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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  • Blairdaff —    BLAIRDAFF, Aberdeen.    See Garioch, Chapel Of …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Logie-Durno —    LOGIE DURNO, Aberdeenshire.    See Garioch, Chapel Of …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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