(Charlestown of Aberlour)

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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Aberlour (Gael. abhir-luath-ir, ' confluence of the strong stream '), a village and a parish on the W border of Banffshire. The village of Aberlour or Charlestown of Aberlour stands on a haugh, at the influx of a burn of its own name to the Spey, and has a station on the Strathspey bra1ch of the Great North of Scotland railway, 2¼ miles SW of Craigellachie Junction and 17 SW of Keith. Founded, in 1812, by Grant of Wester Elchies, it is a burgh of barony by Royal Charter, and consists of substantial slated houses ranged in a broad street ½ mile long, with a square to the W: it has a post office, with telegraph, money order, and savings' bank departments, branches of the Union and North of Scotland banks, 5 insurance offices, an excellent hotel, and an imposing distillery, with tower and spire (1880): fairs are held at it on the first Thursday of April, the Thursday before 26 May, and the second Thursday of November. The old church of St Drostan is now a roofless ruin: and a successor to it, erected in 1812, was destroyed by fire in 1861, when the present parish church was built, a good Romanesque structure, with 800 sittings and a tower 65 feet high. The Free church is also of recent construction: and St Margaret's Episcopal church (1875-77) consists at present of only a five-bayed nave, 60 by 36 feet, to which a chancel, 40 feet deep, and a spire, 85 feet high, are to be added, its total cost being estimated at £6000. In connection with it there are schools and an orphanage for 50 children, the latter established in 1875, and completed four years later at a cost of over £2000. Pop. (1871) 591.

The parish is bounded NW for 6 miles by the river Spey, separating it from Elginshire: NE for 1½ mile by the river Fiddich, separating it from Boharm: E and SE by Mortlach: and SW by Inveraven. Its greatest length, from N to SSW, is 9 miles: its breadth is from 1 to 5 miles: and its land area is 14,781 acres. The Spey is here a deep and rapid river, which, in the great floods of 1829, rose 19½ feet above its ordinary level, and from this parish it receives the Carron and Aberlour Burns, the latter of which, 1 mile above its month, makes a beautiful cascade of 30 feet in leap-the Linn of Ruthlie. Most of the surface is hill or mountain, the chief elevations being, in the N, Blue Hill (1 062 feet), Gownie (1005), and Wood of Allachie (909): near the eastern border, Edinvillie (1067), and on the western, Drum Wood (967): in the centre, Tom of Ruthrie (951 feet): and, in the S, Ben Rinnes (2755), Roy's Hill (1754), Braushie Cree (1477), and Restocknach (1196). A considerable aggregate of upland has been reclaimed for the plough, and still more naturally good arable land exists in the form of narrow vales, or what are here called daughs, along the courses of the streams and around the bases of the hills, so that altogether about one-half of the entire area is under cultivation. The soil in some parts along the Spey is a rich, deep, alluvial loam: in other parts, further from the river, is a good mould, on a bed of rough gravel: in others, toward the foot of the hills, is prevalently argillaceous: and toward the base of Ben Rinnes, is reclaimed moss or coarse humus. The rocks include much granite and some limestone, but are nowhere quarried. The birchclad rock of Craigellachie figures picturesquely in the landscape, and thence the Strathspey railway goes up the Aberlour side of the river, past Aberlour village to Carron, where it crosses a magnificent iron viaduct. Aberlour House (Miss Grant) stands 1¼ mile SSE of Craigellachie, is a good modern mansion, in the Grecian style, with pleasant grounds, and very fine gardens: on its lawn is a Doric column of Aberdeen granite, 84 feet high, surmounted by a large globe of polished granite. Kinermony eminence, to the SW of the village, was anciently the site of a house of the Knights Templars, and commands a fine view of part of the Spey's valley. Four landowners hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 3 of between £50 and £100, and 4 of between £20 and £50. This parish is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Moray, but part of it is annexed for school, registration, and ecclesiastical purposes to the quoad sacra parish of Glenrinnes. The minister's income is £376. The board schools of Aberlour, Edenville, and Charlestown, with respective accommodation for 150,130, and 148 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 168,71, and 58, and grants of £163,5s., £67,10s. 6d., and £54,19s. Pop. of civil parish (1831) 1276, (1861) 1665, (1871) 1776, (1881) 1913: of quoad sacra parish (1871) 1632, (1881) 1795.—Ord. Sur., sh. 85,1876.

The presbytery of Aberlour comprehends the quoad civilia parishes of Aberlour, Boharm, Inveraven, Knockando, and Rothes, and the quoad sacra parishes of Glenlivet and Glenrinnes. Pop. (1881) 9966, of whom 2222 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878, when the sums raised by the above seven congregations in Christian liberality amounted to £901. The Free Church also has a presbytery of Aberlour, whose churches at Aberlour, Boharm, Inveraven, Knockando, Mortlach, and Rothes, had 908 communicants in 1880.

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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