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Pitsligo Parish Church

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Pitsligo, a coast parish of Buchan, N Aberdeenshire, containing the fishing villages of Rosehearty and Pitullie, or Sandhaven, 4½ and 2¾ miles W by N of Fraserburgh. It is bounded N by the Moray Firth, E by Fraserburgh, S by Tyrie, and SW and W by Aberdour. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 3¼ miles; its utmost breadth, from N to S, is likewise 3¼ miles; and its area is 48917/10 acres, of which 2471/7 are foreshore, and 3¾ water. The coast, 4¼ miles in extent, to the E of Rosehearty is partly sandy, partly low shelving rocks; but westward rises boldly from the firth to a height at Braco Park of 151 feet above sea-level. Inland the surface attains 130 feet at Hillhead, 215 near the parish church, and 259 near the Mains of Ardlaw at the SW boundary. The principal rocks are sandstone, clay. slate, and limestone; and the soil, for the most part light, is very diversified, and ranges on almost every farm from clay or loam to light mould or reclaimed moss. Less than 20 acres are under wood; and the rest of the parish, with small exception, is all in tillage. The fine old ruin of Pitsligo Castle stands ½ mile SSE of Rosehearty village. Its oldest portion, the S tower or keep, was built in 1424, and measuring 80 by 36 feet, with walls 9 feet in thickness, was 114 feet high. Later parts of the building, which formed a hollow quadrangle, bear the dates 1577, 1663, and 1666. The extensive gardens still yield very fine apples. In 1633 Alexander Forbes was created Baron Forbes of Pitsligo-a title forfeited by his great-grandson, Alexander (1678-1762), for his share in the '45, and now claimed by the eldest son of Lord Clinton (see Fettercairn) and two others. Pitullie Castle, ½ mile to the E, is also a ruin, bearing the dates 1651, 1674, and 1727. It was probably built by the Saltouns, and enlarged by the Cumines. A number of cairns have all but disappeared. Disjoined from Aberdour in 1633, Pitsligo had for its first minister the celebrated Covenanter, Andrew Cant (1584-1663), who soon, however, was transferred to Newbattle. It is in the presbytery of Deer and the synod of Aberdeen; the living is worth £252. The parish church, 1 mile S by E of Rosehearty, from its conspicuous position is sometimes called the 'Visible Kirk.' It was built by the first Lord Pitsligo in 1630-34, and, as repaired in 1836, contains 504 sittings. The belfry and the carved woodwork of the Forbes aisle, both of Dutch workmanship according to tradition, are much admired. There are also Sandhaven Established mission church (1882), Pitsligo Free church (1844) at Rosehearty, Sandhaven Free mission church (1881), and Rosehearty U.P. church (1799). Three public schools-Pitsligo, Pitullie, and Rosehearty-with respective accommodation for 186, 85, and 257 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 148, 74, and 227, and grants of £122, 2s., £53, 19s., and £198, 12s. 6d. Three proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and three of less, than £500. Valuation (1860) £5664, (1885) £8674, 3s. 1d. Pop. (1801) 1256, (1831) 1439, (1861) 1890, (1871) 2218, (1881) 2582.—Ord. Sur., sh. 97, 1876.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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