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Parish of Bourtie

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: Bourtie
1834-45: Bourtie

Bourtie (anc. Bourdyn), a parish of Garioch, E central Aberdeenshire, bounded N by Meldrum, NE by Tarves, SE by Udny, S by Keithhall, W and NW by Daviot. Its greatest length, from near Blair Croft in the ENE to WSW near Portstown mill, is 5½ miles; its width from N to S varies between 11/8 and 25/8 miles; and its land area is 5693 acres. Lochter Burn on its southward course to the Ury follows all the Daviot boundary, receiving Barra Burn, which traces the northern border, and another which rises near the church; while by Kingoodie Burn, on the south-eastern frontier, a part of the drainage is carried eastward to Brora Burn, and so to the river Ythan. The western division, touched at three points by the Old Meldrum railway, is flat and low, 200 feet or so above sea-level, but rises gently to Barra Hill (634 feet) in the N, and Lawelside Hill (773 feet) in the S, which, continuing eastward, converge in Kingoodie Hill (600 feet), other points of elevation being Barra Castle (296 feet), Sunnybrae (491), the Kirktown (522), and Kingoodie Mill (458). The rocks are chiefly greenstone or trap of a deep blue hue, and Barra Hill has been deemed an extinct volcano; the soil of the valleys and lower slopes is a rich yellowish clay loam, that of the uplands an inferior stiff clay, mingled with gravel and ferruginous sand. Within the last fifty years much waste has been reclaimed, and nearly four-fifths of the entire area are now in cultivation, besides some 360 acres under wood-mostly Scotch firs and larch. A prehistoric fort on Barra Hill, defended by three concentric earthworks, and long called ` Cumines Camp, ' is traditionally connected with the victory of Barra, gained in the Bruce Field near North Mains by King Robert Bruce over Comyn Earl of Buchan, the Englishman Sir John Mowbray, and Sir David de Brechin, 22 May 1308. Bruce at the time lay sick at Inverurie, but, roused by a foray of the Comyns from Old Meldrum, he demanded to be mounted; and his force of 700 men soon routed the enemy, 1000 strong, chasing them far and wide, then swept the lands of the Comyn, so wasting them with fire and sword that fifty years later men mourned the ` heirschip ' (harrying) of Buchan-Hill Burton, Hist. Seot., ed. 1876, vol. ii., p. 257. Barra Castle (1¾ mile SW of Old Meldrum) or its predecessor was, in 1247, and for more than two centuries after, the seat of the Kings, later of Dudwick in Ellon; it is now the residence of Col. J. Ramsay; and Bourtie House (P. Duguid, Esq.) lies 1¼ mile further S by E. Four proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and two of less, than £100. Bourtie is in the presbytery of Garioch and synod of Aberdeen; its minister's income is £298. The parish church (rebuilt 1806; 300 sittings) was dedicated to St Brandon, and belonged to St Andrews priory; it stands towards the middle of the parish, between Barra and Lawelside Hills, and is 2 miles S by W of the post-town Old Meldrum, 2½ E by N of Lethenty station, and 3¼ NE of Inverurie. Two rude stone statues of a mailed knight and a lady, lying in the churchyard, are currently held to be those of a Sir Thomas and Lady de Longueville. He, runs the story, was Bruce's brave English comrade, who, wounded to death in the battle, shot an arrow hither from the dykes of Fala, to mark the spot where he would lie; and she, his dame, died when the tidings reached her. The public school, with accommodation for 69 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 28, and a grant of £15,4s. Valuation (1881) £5795,12s. 2d. Pop. (1801) 445, (1831) 472, (1861) 547, (1871) 499, (1881) 463.—Ord. Sur., shs. 76,77,1874-73.

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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