Parish of Fetteresso


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: Fetteresso
1834-45: Fetteresso

Fetteresso (10th century Fodresach), a hamlet and a coast parish of Kincardineshire. The hamlet lies on the left bank of Carron Water, 1½ mile W of Stonehaven. The parish contains also all the New Town or northern part of Stonehaven, the post office village of Muchalls, the fishing-villages of Cowie, Stranathro, and Skateraw, and the stations of Stonehaven, Muchalls, and Newtonhill. It is bounded N by Maryculter and Banchory-Devenick, E by the German Ocean, S by Dunnottar, W by Glenbervie, and NW by Durris. Its utmost length, from E to W is 7¼ miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 5 and 7¼ miles; and its area is 27,529 acres, of which 223½ are foreshore, and 61 water. Carron Water runs 6¾ miles eastward, mainly along the southern boundary to the sea at Stonehaven, uniting just above its mouth with Cowie Water, which here winds 7¾ miles east-south-eastward, for the first ½ mile along the Glenbervie border, and then through the southern interior. The central and northern districts are drained by Muchalls Burn and the Burn of Elsick, running to the sea, and by Crynoch Burn, flowing east-north-eastward and northward, past Netherley House, till it passes into Maryculter on its way to the river Dee. The coast is bold and rocky, niched and vandyked by a score of small bays and headlands (the chief of these Garron Point), and rising rapidly to 100 feet and more above sea-level. Inland the surface is irregular, though nowhere mountainous, the chief elevations to the S of Cowie Water being Cheyne Hill (552 feet), the Hill of Swanley (700), Elf Hill (715), and the Hill of Trusta (1051), whilst to the N of it rise Kempstone Hill (432), White Hill (495), Curlethney Hill (806), Meikle Carewe Hill (872), the Hill of Pitspunkie (666), Craigneil (886), and, on the northern border, Berry Too (558). The landscape presents a striking contrast of picturesqueness and the most utter bleakness. The vales of the Carron and the Cowie, and spots on the seaboard, are very lovely; but other districts are comparatively tame. Gneiss and Old Red sandstone are the prevailing rocks; but granite, porphyry, and chloride slate occur as well. Near Stonehaven the soil is mostly sharp friable loam, but in the more inland and higher parts it is an inferior clayey or moorish loam. Various improvements in the way of draining and building have been carried out since 1855, and considerable reclamations effected within this century. The latest, about 1860, was the dividing of the commonty of Cowie, 2000 acres or thereby, among the proprietors interested, who then let it out in small lots to tenants on improving leases. About 2000 acres are under wood. Ancient Caledonian remains were formerly more numerous than now; but Raedyke Camp, Caledonian, not Roman, one of the many sites of the Battle of the Grampians, is still almost entire, occupying a space of 71 acres on a hill 4 miles NW of Stonehaven. Another camp, more evidently Roman, was formerly on ground contiguous to Stonehaven. Numerous tumuli, most of them small, but some of them very large, are on Kempstone Hill, 2¼ miles N of the town, and are supposed to be sepulchral monuments, raised on a battlefield. Remains of a small old castle and of St Mary's pre-Reformation chapel, are on the coast at Cowie. Malcolm's Mount, 1 mile W of Stonehaven, takes its name from Malcolm I., King of Alban (942-54), who, according to the Ulster Annals, was slain here by the men of Mearns, though later chronicles remove his death further N-to Ulurn in Moray. Fetteresso Castle, near the left bank of Cowie Water, 2 miles W by S of Stonehaven, stands in a park adorned with many venerable trees. A seat once of the great Earls Marischal, it was partly rebuilt and greatly extended about 1830 by Colonel Duff, whose grandson, Robert William Duff, Esq., M.P. (b. 1835; suc. 1861), holds 8722 acres in Kincardineshire, valued at £4536 per annum. (See Culter, Aberdeenshire, and Glassaugh.) Other mansions, separately noticed, are Cowie, Elsick, Muchalls, Netherley, Newtonhill, Rickarton, and Ury; and, in all, 9 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 10 of between £100 and £500, 17 of from £50 to £100, and 47 of from £20 to £50. In the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns, this parish is ecclesiastically divided into Fetteresso proper, Cookney (formed 1859), and Rickarton (1872), the first a living worth £473. The plain but very ancient church, St Caran's, at Fetteresso hamlet, is still represented by its walls or shell, and by its large kirkyard, one of Stonehaven's three cemeteries. The present parish church, near the town, was built in 1810, and, as enlarged and greatly improved (1876-78) at a cost of £3000, contains 1300 sittings, and possesses a fine organ. Other places of worship are noticed under Stonehaven, Cookney, Rickarton, and Muchalls. The eight schools of Cairnhill, Cookney, Muchalls, Netherley, Rickarton, Stonehaven, Tewel, and Newtonhillthe last Episcopalian, the others all public-with total accommodation for 964 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 667, and grants amounting to £539, 18s. Valuation (1856) £21,147; (1883) £32,730, 12s., plus £4346 for railway. Pop. (1801) 3687, (1831) 5109, (1861) 5527, (1871) 5665, (1881) 5541, of whom 3565 were in Fetteresso registration district, and 3102 in Fetteresso ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 67, 66, 1871.

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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