A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851), Samuel Lewis


LUMPHANAN, a parish, in the district of KINCARDINE-O'NEIL, county of ABERDEEN, 2¾ miles (N. by W.) from Kincardine O'Neil; containing 964 inhabitants. This place is celebrated as the scene of the death of the famous Macbeth, who, after reigning for seventeen years, was killed here by Macduff on the 5th of December, 1056. Memorials of the event still remain in "Macbeth's Stone", standing on the brae of Strettum, upon the farm of Carnbady, where the usurper was wounded; and in the cairn forming the place of his sepulture on the Perk hill, about a mile from the church. Lumphanan once formed a part of the barony of O'Neil, which belonged in the thirteenth century to the Durwards, of whom Allan de Lundin, named Doorward or Durward from his office in the king's court, erected an hospital at Kincardine O'Neil dedicated to God and the Blessed Virgin, and conferred upon it the patronage of Lumphanan church, with other rights. The hospital was in 1330 incorporated with the cathedral establishment of Aberdeen. In 1296, Edward I., having received the homage of many persons of distinction after the battle of Dunbar, advanced from Aberdeen on the 21st of July to this place, with an illustrious retinue, and received the written submission of Sir John de Malevill, a copy of which is preserved in Her Majesty's exchequer. The wooden castle named the Peel-Bog is said to have been the place where the business was transacted.

The PARISH is situated between the rivers Dee and Don, and is six miles in length from north to south, and four miles from east to west, comprising 7620 acres, of which 2770 are arable, 550 wood, and the remainder uncultivated. Its surface is varied with high and low grounds, in the latter of which the soil is loamy, deep, and fertile, but on the sides of the hills thin and sandy. There are large tracts of moor and moss, and some marshy lands: the shallow loch of Auchlossan covers 250 acres. The produce of the parish comprises several kinds of grain and various green crops, cultivated in a superior manner, in some places under the seven, and in others under the six, shift course. The cattle are of the pure Aberdeenshire breed, unchanged by the admixtures and crosses adopted in so many other parts. Within the last thirty or forty years the improvements in agriculture have been numerous, consisting chiefly in the recovery of waste land, the draining of marshes, the inclosure of farms by fences, and the erection of substantial and commodious farm-steadings. The climate is early, and the crops of oats, bear, and barley are in general heavy. The average rent, of arable land is about £1 per acre, and the annual value of real property in the parish amounts to £2741. The rocks consist principally of granite. The woods are chiefly larch and Scotch fir. There are five seats of proprietors, all of them modern buildings, namely, Auchinhove, Findrack, Glenmillan, Pitmurchie, and Camphill. The turnpike-road from Aberdeen to Tarland runs through the parish from east to west; and the military road formed about the year 1746, and the road formed from Alford to Kincardine O'Neil by the parliamentary commissioners for Highland roads and bridges, traverse it from north to south. The produce is usually sent for sale to Aberdeen; but corn and cattle markets are held at Camphill, in the parish, on the second Monday of each of the winter and spring months.

Lumphanan is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes, of Craigievar, Bart.: the minister's stipend is £154, with a manse, and a glebe of seven acres and a half, valued at £10 per annum. The church was erected in 1762, and contains 353 sittings. The parochial school, in addition to the ordinary branches, affords instruction in Greek, Latin, and mathematics; the master has a salary of £27, with a house, and £12. 12. fees, and participates in the benefit of the Dick bequest. There is also a school at Camphill, the master of which receives the interest of £150, left by James Hunter, Esq., of Darrahill. A parochial library at Tillyching, established in 1814, contains upwards of 400 volumes. Among the remains of antiquity is the Peel-Bog, a circular earthen mound, situated in a marshy hollow near the church, and measuring forty-six yards in diameter, rising about twelve feet above the level of the ground, and surrounded by a moat. It is supposed to have been formed in the thirteenth century; and the wooden castle on its summit was a residence of the Durwards, who possessed a large extent of territory in this county. The wooden fort was succeeded by one of stone, called Haa-ton House, the residence of the proprietor of the neighbouring estates; but this, in the march of agricultural improvement, was razed to the ground about the year 1780. Remains of a strong building called the Houff are still visible; it was once a stronghold of considerable antiquity, but afterwards converted into a burial-place for the family of Duguid, of Auchinhove.

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