ARDCLACH - Extract from Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896
" ARDCLACH (Gael. 'high stony ground '), a hamlet and a parish of E Nairnshire. The hamlet, on the left bank of the Findhorn, 5½ miles SW of Dunphail station, 11 ;SW of Forres, and 10 SE of Nairn, has a post office under Dunphail, and near it are the parish church (rebuilt 1839; 686 sittings) and Free church. The parish is bounded N by .Auldearn, E by Edinkillie in Elginshire, SE by Cromdale in Elgin and Duthil in Inverness-shire, W by Cawdor and Nairn. In shape resembling a triangle, the vertex to the S, it has a length of 13¾ miles, a breadth from E to W of 7¼ miles, and an area since 1891 of 37,448 acres, having then lost 2,869 acres, the area of two detached parts, which the Boundary Commissioners transferred to the county of Elgin and parish of Edinkillie. From the south-western to the north-eastern border the beautiful FINDHORN winds for 12 miles through a richly-wooded valley, receiving here from the S the Leonach and Tomlachlan burns, and at Bridge of Dulsie, 5 miles above the church, being spanned by a fine old arch of 46 feet that carriess over Wade's military road from Grantown to Fort George. The 'Muckle Burn' drains the north-western corner of the parish, and 1 mile to the N of the hamlet lies Belivat Loch (8½ x 1 furlong), with no perceptible outlet. At Mill of Lethen on the Muckle Burn the surface sinks to 262, at Relugas Bridge on the Findhorn to 331, feet above sea-level ; but elsewhere it everywhere rises south- westward or southward into fir-clad or heath-covered hills. The chief elevations W of the Findhorn, from N to S, are Tom Fade ( 463 feet), Lethen Bar (862), Carn Achadh Gaibhre (787), *Carn a Chrasgie (1314), Carn na Callich [1218), Tom nam Meann (872), and *Carn Sgumain (1370), where those marked with asterisks culminate just on the border; E of the Findhorn rise *Cam Dubhaidh (989), the *Hill of Aitnoch (1351), Tomlachlan (940), Maol an Tailleir (1373), *Carn nan Clach Garbha (1362), *Cam Allt Laoigh (1872), and in Glenerney, Cairn Eney (908). The prevailing rocks are gneiss, granite, and quartz ; the soil for the most part is light and sandy, arable lands bearing a small proportion to woods and moorland and mos. On Lethen Bar are traces of a stone circle and several tumuli ; but the most famous relic of antiquity is the Princess Stone, on a lovely sequestered haugh below Dulsie Bridge. A cairn, surmounted by a slab, 8 feet by 4, with cross and knots carved thereon, it belongs to the class of so-called ' Sculptured Stones,' though tradition makes it of Runic origin - the monument of a Celtic princess, who, in fording the Findhorn, was drowned with her Danish lover. Mansions are Coulmony House (1746) and Glenferness House (1837), the former standing on the left bank of the Findhorn below, and the latter on the right bank above, the hamlet. Their owners are, Mrs. Brodie of Lethen and the Earl of Leven and Melville (born, 1835; succeeded, 1889), who hold 22,378 and 7805 acres in the shire, valued at £4947 and £1317 per annum; and there are 4 other proprietors, 1 holding a yearly value of more, and 3 of less, than £500. Ardclach is in the presbytery of Nairn and synod of Moray; the living is worth £290. Three schools - Ferness, Fornighty, and Col. Campbell's - with respective accommodation for 60, 66, and 70 children, had (1891) an average attendance of 38, 48, and 14, and grants of £46, 1s., £59, 0s. 10d., and £28, 15s. 6d. Valuation, £6777, 15s. 10d. Pop. (1801) 1256, (1861) 1330, (1871) 1197, (1881) 1117, (1891) 991. - Ord. Sur. sh. 84, 1876. "