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Parish of Knockbain

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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1791-99: Kilmuir and Suddy
1834-45: Kilmuir and Suddy

Knockbain, a coast parish of SE Ross-shire, whose church stands 1 mile S of Munlochy, and 5¾ miles N by W (via Kessock Ferry) of Inverness, under which there is a post office of Knockbain. Containing also the hamlets of Kessock, Munlochy, and Charleston, each of the two former with a post office under Inverness, it consists of the two ancient parishes of Kilmuir-Wester and Suddie, united in 1756; and it took the name of Knockbain (Gael. enoc-b n, 'white knoll') from the eminence on which its modern church was built. It is bounded NE and E by Avoch, SE by the Moray Firth, S by the Beauly Firth, SW and W by Killearnan, and NW by Urquhart. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 6 miles; its breadth varies between 1¾ and 5¼ miles; and its area is 12, 649 acres, of which 538 are foreshore and 75¾ water. The shore-line, 8 miles long. in the N is deeply indented by Munlochy Bay, and everywhere is fringed by a narrow, low, flat strip- of old sea-margin, from which the surface rises rather rapidly to 633 feet at Ord Hill, 400 at Craigiehow, 482 at Drumderfit Hill, and 566 near Upper Knockbain in the extreme N. The rocks belong to the Old Red Sandstone formation; and the soil is extremely various, comprising sandy or clayish loam, alluvium, gravel, and peat, with here and there a pretty strong pan. Great improvements have been effected since 1850 in the way of reclamation, redraining, building, wire-fencing, etc.; and a largish proportion of the entire area is under plantations. On the Drumderfit ridge above Munlochy are numerous cairns; and a large one on the western part of the ridge is believed to commemorate the Battle of Blair-na-coi ('field of lamentation'), in which, in 1340, the Macdonalds were routed by a night attack of the townsfolk of Inverness. Other antiquities are a vitrified fort on Ord Hill; an earth fort on Craig-caistal, Lundie; 'James's Temple' on Drumderfit; hut circles at Taerdore, Arpafeelie; stone circles at Muirton, Belmadnthie, and the 'Temple;' and cremation burial mounds discovered at Drumnamarg in 1881. General John Randall Mackenzie, who fell at the battle of Talavera in 1809, was a native. Allangrange House, 2 miles SW of Munlochy, is the seat of James Fowler Mackenzie, Esq. (b. 1833; suc. 1849), who holds 2742 acres in the shire, valued at £1693 per annum. Other mansions, noticed separately, are Belmadnthie and Drynie; and the property is divided among 6, 1 holding an annual value of over £4000, 3 of between £1000 and £2000, and 2 of between £400 and £600. Knockbain is in the presbytery of Chanonry and synod of Ross; the living is worth £297. The parish church, enlarged about 1816, contains 750 sittings. There are a Free church and Arpafeelie Episcopal church, St John's (1816; 200 sittings); and Drumsmittal public, Munlochy public, Upper Knockbain public, and Arpafeelie Episcopal schools, with respective accommodation for 120, 140, 117, and 89 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 76, 62, 55, and 58, and grants of £66, 16s., £35, 17s., £42, 4s., and £50, 5s. Valuation (1860) £5176, (1882) £10, 049, 14s. 9d. Pop. (1801) 1859, (1841) 2565, (1861) 2485, (1871) 2155, (1881) 1866, of whom 1071 were Gaelic-speaking.—Ord. Sur., shs. 83, 84, 1881-76.

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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