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Ellon

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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Ellon, a village and a parish of E Aberdeenshire. The village stands, 40 feet above sea-level, on the left bank of the Ythan, 5 furlongs ESE of Ellon station on the Formartine and Buchan section of the Great North of Scotland, this being 19½ miles N by E of Aberdeen, and 11¾ S by E of Maud Junction. The ancient seat of jurisdiction for the earldom of Buchan, it belonged, in pre-Reformation times, to Kinloss Abbey in Elginshire, and thence was often called Kinloss-Ellon. It now is a thriving centre of local trade, under the superiority of Mr Gordon of Ellon, and retains the site of its ancient open-air courts in the Mote or Earl's Hill, a small mound which long was occupied by the stables of the New Inn, but which now is railed in and cleared of disfiguring buildings. The Ythan is spanned here by a handsome three-arch bridge; and the newer part of the village, to the W of this bridge, comprises a number of well-built houses, in rows or detached, with pretty gardens, fringing the water-side; the older portion, to the E, is much less regular. Its salubrious climate and the Ythan's good trout-fishing attract a fair number of summer visitors to Ellon, which possesses a post office, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and railway telegraph departments, branches of the Aberdeen Town and County, North of Scotland, and Union Banks, a local savings' bank, 12 insurance agencies, 3 chief inns, gasworks (1827), a neat town-hall in connection with the New Inn, a brewery, and a horticultural society. Cattle and grain markets are held on the first and third Mondays of every month; hiring markets on the Tuesday after 11 April and the Wednesday after 12 November. The ancient cruciform church of St Mary, bestowed on Kinloss in 1310, was superseded in 1777 by the present plain parish church, which, renovated and decorated in 1876, contains 1200 sittings. The Free church, built in 1825 as an Independent chapel, contains 350 sittings; a U.P. church of 1827 contains 340; and a fine Episcopal church, St Mary of the Rock, was rebuilt (1870) in the Early English style from designs by the late Mr G. E. Street, R.A., and consists of narthex, nave, antechoir, and apsidal chancel. Mass, too, is celebrated every alternate Sunday by a priest from Strichen. Pop. of village (1861) 823, (1871) 811, (1881) 964. The parish is bounded N by Old Deer, NE by Cruden, E, SE, and S by Logie-Buchan, SW by Udny, W by Tarves and the Inverebrie section of Methlick, and NW by New Deer. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 85/8. miles; its breadth, from E to W, varies between 35/8. and 6½ miles; and its area is 22,339½ acres, of which 77 are water. The Ythan has here an east-south-easterly course of 6¼ miles, partly along the Methlick and LogieBuchan borders, but mainly across the southern interior; in the W it is joined by Ebrie Burn, and in the W by the Burn of Auchmacoy. Coal lighters ascend to within a mile of the village, and spring-tides are perceptible as high as the Bridge of Ellon. S of the Ythan the surface attains its highest point above sea-level at Cairnhill (256 feet), whilst northwards it rises gently to 229 feet near Colehill, 317 near Mossnook, 403 at Hillhead of Argrain, 321 at Braehead, 496 at Ardarg, 572 at the Hill of Dudwick, and 530 at Whitestone Hill-petty enough hillocks, that yet command far-away views to Bennochie and the Grampians. Gneiss and granite are the prevailing rocks, and the soil of the valley is mainly fertile alluvium; elsewhere it is generally poor, either black and moorish or a very retentive clay. Thorough draining, however, and artificial manures have done much to increase its productiveness; and more than three-fourths of the entire area is now in tillage. Woods and plantations cover a small extent, the northern and eastern districts of the parish being bleak and bare. In the wall of the old -church is a monument to the Annands of Auchterellon, with their arms and the date 1601; of Waterton, a stately seat of Bannermans and Forbeses between 1560 and 1770, and a haunt of ` Jamie Fleeman's, ' slight vestiges remain; but the girls' school stands on the site of the house in which the Rev. John Skinner wrote Tullochgorum 'the best Scotch song,' said Burns,' that ever Scotland saw.' Of the Ellon Castle of 1780, built by the fourth Earl of Aberdeen, only one tower remains; its successor of 1851, with noble avenue and tasteful grounds, is the seat now of George John Robert Gordon, Esq. (b. 1812; suc. 1873), who holds 5556 acres in the shire, valued at £6195 per annum. Other mansions or estates, separately noticed, are Arnage, Dudwick, Esslemont, and Turnerhall; and, in all, 8 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500, 1 of from £50 to £100, and 23 of from £20 to £50. The seat of a presbytery in the synod of Aberdeen, Ellon gives off portions to the quoad sacra parishes of Ardallie and Savoch; the living is worth £423. Barfold public, Drumwhindle public, Ellon public, and Ellon girls' schools, with respective accommodation for 120, 100, 350, and 47 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 61, 45, 270, and 50, and grants of £27, 8s., £14, 15s. 6d., £221, 3s. 6d., and £43, 12s. Valuation (1860) £15, 183, (1881) £23,775, 18s. 9d. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 2022, (1831) 2304, (1861) 3913, (1871) 3698; of registration district (1871) 3036, (1881) 3057.—Ord. Sur., sh. 87, 1876. See Thomas Muir's Records of the Parish of Ellon (Aber. 1876).

The presbytery of Ellon comprises the parishes of Ellon, Cruden, Foveran, Logie -Buchan, Methlick, Slains, Tarves and Udny, and the chapelry of Barthol. Pop. (1871) 15, 516, (1881) 16, 062, of whom 5282 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878.-The Free Church also has a presbytery of Ellon, with churches at Ellon, Cruden, Foveran, Methlick, New Machar, Old Meldrum, Slains, and Udny, which together had 1971 communicants in 1881.

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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