Kirktown of Deskford


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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Deskford, a village and a parish in the N of Banffshire. The village, Kirktown of Deskford, stands on the left bank of the Burn of Deskford, 4 miles S of Cullen, like which it has a post office under Fochabers. Bounded NE and E by Fordyce, S by Grange, and NW and N by Rathven, the parish has an utmost length from NNE to SSW of 47/8 miles, an utmost breadth of 3 miles, and an area of 8170 acres, of which 15 are water. Deskford Burn, with a north-north-easterly course here of 5¼ miles, divides the parish into two pretty equal halves; and the surface, sinking at the northern extremity to close on 100 feet above sea-level, thence rises southward to 353 feet at the wooded Gallows Knowe, 556 at Cotton Hill, 504 at Weston, 845 at the Hill of Clashmadin, 871 at Black Hill, and 1028 at Lurg Hill, whose summit, however, falls just within Grange. Numerous small cascades occur on the Deskford's affluents, one of them, called the Linn, being a series of leaps with total fall of 30 feet, and with surroundings of high beauty- The rocks, having undergone great geognostic disturbance, include almost vertical strata of mica slate, with fragments of quartz embedded therein, and a rich bed of fine compact limestone, which has been largely worked. The soil, in the strath, is chiefly loam resting on strong deep clay; but, toward the hills, is light, black, mossy humus, overlying clay and gravel. About one-third of the entire area is either regularly or occasionally in tillage; some 600 acres are under wood, either natural or planted; and the rest is either pasture or waste. This parish has long been the property of the Earls of Findlater and Seafield; and Deskford Tower, which, standing near the village, was demolished within this century, was the ancient family seat. Skeith Castle, once also a striking feature, has left no vestiges; and another venerable edifice, probably baronial, but possibly ecclesiastical, stood in the garden of Inalterie farmhouse, and is now represented by only a vault. A curious relic, found about 1816 in a mossy knoll adjacent to that old vault, consisted of brass somewhat in the form and of the size of a swine's head, with a wooden tongue moved by springs, and with tolerably exact representations of eyes; it is now in the museum of the Banff Scientific Institution. Deskford is in the presbytery of Fordyce and synod of Aberdeen; the living is worth £355. A new parish church, Pointed Gothic in style, was built in 1872 at a cost of £1000, and contains 500 sittings. There is also a Free church; and a new public school, erected in 1876 at a cost of £1182, with accommodation for 162 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 111, and a grant of £97,8s. 6d. Valuation (1882) £4441,8s. Pop. (1801) 610, (1831) 828, (1861) 1031, (1871) 972, (1881) 849.—Ord. Sur., sh. 96,1876.

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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