"INSCH, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen, 3¾ miles (W.) from the village of Old Rain; containing 1379 inhabitants. The name Insch is thought to be of Celtic derivation, and to signify "an island": the reason of its application is doubtful, but the site of the village appears to have been formerly surrounded by water. . . The annual value of real property in the parish is £5334. J. M. Lesly, Esq., of Balquhain, holds the estates called the Barony of Meikle-Wardhouse, Knockenbaird, and others. . . The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture, and in trading in corn and cattle; a few are employed in making stockings for the Aberdeen manufacturers. . . Within the last thirty years, the village has been almost entirely rebuilt; the houses are generally of two stories, constructed of stone and lime, and there are several good shops. It has been some years supplied with gas. The Aberdeen mail-road passes through the parish, and is of considerable service, the produce of the district being conveyed along it to the canal at Inverury, from which place the carts bring back coal, lime, and bones for manure. . . Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Garioch, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes, Bart. . . Insch church, a plain building in the village, is supposed, from a date on its fine old belfry, to have been built in the year 1613; it was well roofed in 1789, new-seated in 1793, and contains 460 sittings, of which sixty are under the control of the Kirk Session, and are let on very low terms for the benefit of the poor. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. . . More"
[From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]