NAIRN - Extract from Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896
" NAIRN, a parish at the mouth of the river just mentioned, on the sea-coast, in the NW of Nairnshire. It is bounded N by the Moray Firth, E by the parishes of Auldearn and Ardclach, S by the parish of Cawdor, SW by the parish of Cawdor and the parish of Croy and Dalcross, and W by Inverness-shire. The boundary line is almost entirely artificial and highly irregular, the parish being formed by a compact portion on the N-measuring 5 miles from E to W, and 2 miles from N to S - from the SE corner of which a long straggling projection, varying in breadth from 1 to 1½ mile, runs S for 3 miles to the Burn of Blarandualt. The area is 9549 acres, including 86 of water, 454 of fore-shore, and 19 of tidal water. Of this area 162 acres belonged to the Raitknock detached portion of the parish of Cawdor until 1891, when the Boundary Commissioners transferred it to Nairn parish. The surface slopes from the sea beach till it reaches, along the S of the parish, a height of 120 feet, and in the southern prolongation already mentioned it reaches, at Hill of Urchany, a height of over 700 feet. Almost the whole of the surface is under cultivation or woodland. The soil about Kildrummie on the S, round the town of Nairn, and along the coast is sandy and light; along the river it is sand mixed with clay; and throughout most of the southern district it is a good rich loam. The underlying rock is Old Red sandstone. The drainage is effected by the river Nairn, which has a course of 4 miles ; along the centre and towards the E of the parish and by Lochdhu Burn, which, rising in the SW, has a course of 3 miles, first E and then N, till it reaches the sea 1¾ mile W of the mouth of the Nairn. Close to the town of Nairn, on the SW, is the poorhouse for the Nairn Poor-Iaw Combination, which includes the parishes of Abernethy, Ardclach, Ardersier, Auldearn, Cawdor, Cromdale, Croy, Duthil, Dyke, Edinkillie, Nairn, and Petty. It is a plain building, with accommodation for 75 paupers, and the average number of inmates is about 45. Besides Kilravock Castle and Geddes House, which are separately noticed, the mansions are Achareidh, Fir Hall, Househill, Larkfield House, Ivybank, Millbank, Newton, and Viewfield. Geddes is associated with the name of John Mackintosh (1822-51), 'The Earnest Student', the story of whose life has been so gracefully told by Dr Norman Macleod. At Geddes House once stood a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but which appears in the Ordnance Survey Map under the some-what unrecognisable title of St Warn's Chapel. No remains of it are now to be seen, but the site and the surrounding ground is still used as a churchyard, and it is the burial-place of the family of Kilravock, by whom the chapel was founded at least as early as the first half of the 13th century. In the 15th century it was held in high repute for sanctity, and in 1475 Pope Sextus IV. granted relief for 100 days' penance to all who made pilgrimage to it at certain festivals, or contributed a certain amount to the repair of the building. Three-quarters of a mile E of Geddes House are the ruins of Rait Castle, anciently the seat of the Mackintoshes of Rait, and prior to that a branch of the Cumyns, and also, it is said, of the family of Rait of Rait, which disappeared from the county in the end of the 14th century, and became, according to Shaw in his History of the Province of Moray, the founders of the family of Rait of Halgreen in Kincardineshire. The last of the Nairn family was, according to the same authority, Sir Alexander Rait, who, between 1395 and 1400, murdered the then thane of Cawdor. There seems also to have been at an early date a chapel here dedicated to the Virgin Mary; for incidental mention is made in 1343 of 'the hermit of the chapel of St Mary of Rait'. Close to the castle are the remains of an old British fort, called Castle-Findlay. The parish is traversed in the N for 5¼ miles by the main coast road from Inverness to Aberdeen, and also for 4¼ miles by the Inverness and Forres section of the Highland railway system with a station at Nairn, while in 1894 it was proposed to construct a branch line from Nairn to Cawdor. Besides the town of Nairn, there are the small hamlets of Delnies and Moss-side, both in the northern portion of the parish. The parish is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Moray, and the living is worth £326 a year. The churches are noticed in the following article. Under the landward school board the public schools of Delnies and Geddes, with respective accommodation for 138 and 9) pupils, have an average attendance of about 70 and 35, and grants of over £65 and £55. Pop. (1801) 2215, (1831) 3266, (1861) 4486, (1871) 4869, (1881) 5368, :1891) 5250, of whom 2913 were females, and 866 Gaelic-speaking, while 1236 were outside the limits of the police burgh. - Ord. Sur., sh. 84, 1876. The presbytery of Nairn comprehends the parishes of Ardclach, Ardersier, Auldearn, Cawdor, Croy, and Nairn. Pop. (1871) 11,497, (1881) 12,642, (1891) 11,934, of whom about 740 are communicants of the Church of Scotland. The Free Church has also a presbytery, comprising the Free church in the same parishes, which six churches together have over 2600 members and adherents. "
"NAIRNSHIRE, a small county in the N of Scotland, on the S shore of the Moray Firth. It is bounded N by that arm of the sea, E by Elginshire, and S and W by Inverness-shire. The Boundary Commissioners in 1891 effected a considerable readjustment of the boundaries Nairnshire in connection with the neighbouring counties of Elgin, Inverness, and Ross and Cromarty, with the result that the county contains now but five parishes, one of these-Croy and Dalcross-being, however, still left partly in Inverness-shire. Of the parishes partly in Nairnshire and partly in Elginshire, Dyke and Moy has been placed wholly in the county of Elgin; and the two detached parts of the Nairnshire parish of Ardclach have also been transferred to Elginshire, to the parish of Edinkillie. Of those partly in Nairnshire and partly in Inverness-shire, Cawdor has been placed wholly in the former county, and Davity and Dunlichity wholly in the latter; while Moy and Dlllarossie has been restricted to its Inverness-shire portion, the Nairnshire portion having been transferred to Cawdor. By the latter transfer no change has been made on the boundary. The parish of Croy and Dalcross, too, except a detached part in Inverness-shire which was transferred to the parish of Inverness, was redivided between the two counties in such a way as to avoid the inconveniences caused by the former boundary, with the result of leaving the parish pretty equally divided between them. As regards the county of Ross and Cromarty, a large part of the parish of Urquhart and Logie-Wester formed a detached portion of Nairnshire. This portion consisted simply of the barony of Ferintosh, and had been for many years treated as part of Ross and Cromarty for most county purposes. The Commissioners completed the transfer by disjoining it from Nairnshire and annexing it to Ross and Cromarty. These detached portions of Nairnshire had been included in the county since 1476, when William, Thane of Cawdor, had influence enough to have all his lands in the neighbouring counties included in the county of Nairn, where the main body of his estates lay. Ferintosh is the Gaelic Fearn-tosh, 'The Toishach's or Thane's land'. "