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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Urray, a parish, containing a hamlet of the same name, lying mostly in Ross-shire, but with a small portion also in Inverness-shire. It consists of a main portion along the lower reaches of the Conan and its tributary the Orrin, and a detached section about 18 miles farther up Strath Conan. The main portion, which is bounded N by the parish of Contin, NE by the parish of Urquhart and Logie-Wester, E by the parish of Killearnan, S and SW by the parish of Kilmorack, and W by Contin, measures 7 miles from N to S, and the breadth at the N end is 6 miles and at the S end 3 miles. The detached section, which consists of `a davoch of land,' is entirely surrounded by the parish of Contin. The total area of the parish is 74,172.794 acres, of which 1396.259 are water, 84.4 are foreshore, and 52.92 are tidal water. Of this total there are in Inverness-shire 382.530 acres, of which 25.297 are foreshore and 7.720 tidal water, while all the rest is in Ross-shire. The area of the detached portion is 40,126.803 acres. The portion of the surface to the E is low, and over the rest of the main part it is undulating and the straths of the Conan, Orrin, and Beauly are well wooded, and in some places well cultivated, and the views along the first and last are in many places very picturesque. The detached section is very hilly. The soil in some parts of the straths is a good carse clay, and elsewhere stony sand, passing to gravel; but on the lower slopes it is warm and dry, and under good management produces fair crops. The underlying rocks are chiefly metamorphosed Lower Silurian beds, but on the E they are Old Red Sandstone. The drainage is carried off on the N by the Conan, which forms part of the northern boundary; in the centre by the Orrin; and in the S by the Beauly, which forms part of the southern boundary; and by smaller burns flowing to these rivers. A tract of good land at the junction of the Orrin and the Conan was greatly improved by drainage operations carried out in 1869. A reach of the Highland railway passes through the E side of the parish for 2 miles northward from Muir of Ord station; and access to the eastern part of the parish may be had from that point, or from Conan station in the parish of Urquhart. The great road from Inverness by Dingwall to the N runs alongside the railway; good roads branch off it up all the straths; and there are also a number of good cross and district roads. Besides farming and sheep-farming, the only industries are the salmon-fishing in the Conan and a distillery at Ord. The mansions are Brahan Castle, Highfield House, Muirton House, Ord House, and. Tarradale House-the wooded policies round the first being so fine and extensive as to form a prominent feature in the scenery along the lower part of Strath Conan. The only object of antiquarian interest is the ruined square tower of Fairburn. Tarradale was the birthplace of the great geologist, Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, Bart. (1792-1871). The parish is composed of the old parishes of Urray and Kilchrist, of which the latter is separately noticed. In the presbytery of Dingwall and synod of Ross, it gives off part of its civil territory to the quoad sacra parishes of Carnoch and Kinlochluichart; and the living is worth £410 a year. The parish church, near the mouth of the Orrin, is old; and there is a Free church at Muir of Ord, and a small Episcopal church at Highfield. Under the school board the Marybank and Tarradale schools, with accommodation for 137 and 180 pupils respectively, had in 1884 attendances of 95 and 168, and grants of £57, 6s. 9d. and £104, 8s. The chief landowner is John Stirling, Esq. of Fairburn, and 3 others hold each an annual value of more, 5 of less, than £2000. Valuation (1860) £9586, (1885) £l5, 447, of which £14, 697 was for the Inverness-shire portion. Pop. (1801) 2083, (1831) 2768, (1861) 2355, (1871) 2308, (1881) 2427, of whom 1175 were males and 1252 females, while 34 (17 males and 17 females) were in the Inverness-shire portion, and the rest in Ross-shire. Houses (1881) 495 inhabited, 9 uninhabited, and 1 being built, of which 6-all inhabited -were in Inverness-shire.—Ord. Sur., shs. 81, 82, 1881-82.

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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