A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851), Samuel Lewis


KINNETHMONT, a parish, in the district of ALFORD, county of ABERDEEN, 2 miles (N.) from Clatt; containing 1107 inhabitants. This place is thought by some to have taken its name, formerly Kennethmont, from the supposed circumstance of one of the Kenneths, kings of Scotland, having been interred in the churchyard, which is an eminence similar to a mount. Others, regarding the present orthography of Kinnethmont as more correct, derive the name from two Gaelic words signifying "head" and "moss", which express the proximity of the high ground of the church site to a mossy tract in the vicinity. The parish consists of Kinnethmont properly so called, and of the old parish of Christ's-Kirk, which has been annexed to it from time immemorial. It is situated at the western extremity of the fertile district of the Garioch. It is nearly oblong in figure; is six miles in length from east to west, and about three in breadth; and, with the exception of several hundreds of acres in plantations, and a few other tracts, is under tillage. The surface is pleasingly diversified with hills and vales, and enlivened by the Bogie, a good trout-stream, which runs along the western boundary, and separates this parish from that of Rhynie. In some parts the ground is mossy, supplying the inhabitants with peat for fuel; but the prevailing soil is a light loamy earth, producing, when well cultivated, excellent crops. All kinds of crops are raised, under the operation of the rotation system: the farms in general vary from eighty to 100 acres, but there are many of much smaller extent. Houses built of stone and lime, and roofed with slate, are gradually displacing the old turf tenements; the scythe has entirely superseded the sickle in the cutting of corn, and on the larger estates threshing operations are performed by machinery. Much land has been trenched; several hundred acres of marshy ground have been drained, and moorland to a considerable extent has been also brought under tillage: large tracts formerly marshy now produce most luxuriant crops. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4578.

The mansion of Leith Hall is the seat of Sir Andrew Leith Hay, who served in the Peninsular war, a narrative of which he has published, with some smaller works. There is also the residence of Ward House, situated upon an estate greatly improved and beautified, during a period of twenty years, by the late proprietor, Mr. Gordon. A turnpike-road, finished a few years ago, runs through the parish from east to west, affording facilities of communication with Aberdeen, Huntly, Inverness, and other parts. The agricultural produce is sent to Inverury, eighteen miles distant, whence it is conveyed by canal to Aberdeen for sale; and on their return from Inverury the carts bring lime and coal. An annual cattle-fair is held in April, another in July, and a third in October. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Alford, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir Andrew Leith Hay: the minister's stipend is £195, with a manse, and a glebe of twelve acres, valued at £15 per annum. Kinnethmont church, a neat and commodious structure, was built in 1812, and is capable of accommodating 600 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches; the master receives a salary of £25. 13., with a house, about £10 fees, and an allowance from the Dick bequest. The remains of two Druidical temples are still visible; and a bag of silver coins has been found, with "Alexander I." engraved on one side of them. On the hill of Mclshach is a chalybeate spring which has long been in much repute.

[From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]