"LATHERON, a parish at the southern extremity of the county Caithness, Scotland. It contains the post-office stations and villages of Berriedale, Lybster, Latheron, Dalbeath, and Swiney. It extends 27 miles N. from the Burn of the Ord, along the seacoast, and measures from 15 to 16 miles in breadth. The surface is a succession of hill and valley, and the boundary line with the county of Sutherland is very mountainous. Tho principal mountains are Morven, Scarabine, and Maidenpass, the former being 1,221 feet above sea-level. The greater portion of the parish is pastoral, or waste, and about 9,000 imperial acres under tillage. The principal rivers are Dunbeath, Langwell, and Berriedale. The coast is bold and rocky, but indented with several inlets, which serve as harbours for fishing-vessels. There are several caves (some from 300 to 400 feet long) by the sea-side, in which a great number of seals are killed. Many of the inhabitants are employed in fishing on the coast, where herrings, cod, salmon, turbot, and lobsters, are taken. The parish is in the presbytery of Caithness, and synod of Sutherland and Caithness. The minister's stipend is £253. The parish church, erected in 1734, and enlarged in 1822, is a commodious structure. At Berriedale is a government church, together with a Free church. There are Free churches respectively at Bruan, Latheron, and Lybster, and at the last-named place there is also a chapel-of-ease. There are about eighteen non-parochial schools. In the neighbourhood is a Druid circle and fort. Along the cliffs from Ord to Clyth are several castles (chiefly in ruins), viz: Dunbeath, Berriedale, Latheron, Forsa, Swiney, &c., the first-mentioned being still inhabited."
"AUSDALE, (or Ousdale), a village in the parish of Latheron, in the county of Caithness, Scotland, 3 miles from Berridale. It lies at the foot of the Hill of Ord."
"BERRIEDALE, (or Berrindale, or Barrydale), a village and quoad sacra parish in the parish of Latheron, in the county of Caithness, Scotland, 5 miles to the S.W. of Dunbeath. It is seated on the sea-coast, at the mouth of Berriedale Water, which, after a course of about 15 miles from the confines of Sutherlandshire, where it takes its rise, falls into the North Sea at this place. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the fisheries. The living, of the value of £120, is in the presbytery of Caithness, and in the patronage of the crown. Here also is a Free church. Berriedale Castle, the ruins of which stand on a rugged rock near the village, was formerly the seat of the Sutherlands, to whom-the district belonged. It gives the title of baron to the Sinclair family."
"CLYTHENESS, a hamlet in the parish of Latheron, in the county of Caithness, Scotland, near Clytheness Head."
"DUNBEATH, a village in the parish of Latheron, in the county of Caithness, Scotland. It is situated 20 miles S.W. of Wick, and 7 N.E. of Berriedale. The water of Dunbeath flows into Dunbeath Bay, which is a fishing station. Dunbeath Castle overhangs the sea in the neighbourhood of the village."
"LYBSTER, a quoad sacra parish in the parish of Latheron, county Caithness, Scotland, 25 miles S. of Thurso. It is situated in a wild and hilly district watered by the rivers Berriedale and Langwell, and several small lakes which abound in salmon and trout. The prevailing stratum is limestone, which is broken into rocky cliffs along the coast. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture and fishing. The parish is in the presbytery of Caithness, and in the patronage of the male communicants. The minister has a stipend of £100. The church is a modern edifice. The principal residence is Lybster House, the seat of Sinclair, who is chief heritor. In the vicinity are remains of a Druidical circle and fort, and of several ancient castles."
"SWINEY, a hamlet in the parish of Latheron, county Caithness, Scotland, 3 miles from Lybster."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003