A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875

In 1663, George Davidson of Pettans, in Belhelvie, and a burgess of Aberdeen, mortified the lands of Kepplehills for the maintenance of a minister, aud erected a chapel in the south- western division of the parish of Saint Machar, or Old Machar; and in 1666, those interested applied to the Lords' Commissioners for planting kirks, for a disjunction of the district around the chapel built by Mr. Davidson. The application was successful, and the division was erected into a separate parish. The lands of Kepplehills are said to derive the name from Cappella--a chapel, and the newly-erected parish assumed the name of Newhills, which, in some degree, resembles Kepplehills, the name of the mortified lands.

The parish is bounded on the north by Dyce, and on the north-east by the Don; on the east by the parish of Old Machar, within the Parliamentary burgh of Aberdeen; on the south by the parishes of Banchory-Devenick and Peter Culter; and on the west by Skene and Kinellar.

The greatest length of the parish in a direct line, from Burnieboozle in the south-east corner, to the hamlet of Blackburn in the north-west, is 6½ miles; and the greatest breadth is from the influx of the Farburn with the Don, to the lowermost point on the burn of Broadiach, which is in a direct line north- east and south-west, 4¾ miles. The whole area is computed to be 10,321 acres, 780 decs.

The southern half of the parish, including the Brimmond-hill, lies within what is caller the "Boundary of the Freedom of Aberdeen," and includes, among others, the greater portion of the lands of Kepplehills and Upper Buxburn, part of Auchmull, Springhill, Whitemyres, Burnieboozle, Hazlehead, Old Mill, Sheddocksley, Gillowhill, Gateside, Kingswells, Cloghill, Fairley, Derbeth, Borrowstone, Tullochs, and Essie-hillock. The Brimmond-hill stands out in bold relief in the west centre of the parish, and is 870 feet above sea level, which is equal to average height of the whole superficial area of Aberdeenshire, were it reduced to a complete level. The church is 434 feet, and the ruins of the Capella and burying-ground of 1663, is 499 feet. The lowermost point on the Don, at the Scatterburn, is 50 feet; the junction of the Old Meldrum with the Inverurie road at the Auchmull post-ofice, is 152 feet; the peak of the Dancing Cairns' quarries is 340 feet; and of the Sclattie quarries, 236 feet. The Inverurie road, at the old chapel and burying-ground of Stoneywood is 306 feet; the old toll-house on the Tyrebaggar Hill is 501 feet; and the; bridge over the Blackburn is 245 feet. The summit of the south-west top of the Elrick and Clinterty ridge is 620 feet; and the Little Mill of Clinterty is 300 feet. The lowermost point in the parish, on the Broadiach burn, is 370 feet; the Cloghill is 655 feet; the ridge at the Quakers' old burying- ground is 544 feet; the fifth milestone from Aberdeen, on the Skene road, is 478 feet; the Gillowhill is 602 feet; and the highest point on Fernhill, on the borders of Sheddocksley, is 506 feet; the house of Springhill is 415 feet; the Oldmill Reformatory School is 320 feet; and the top of the Den of Maidencraig is 400 feet. The Hill-head of Pitfodels, border- ing with Banchory-Devenick parish, is 420 feet; the highest land west of the house of Hazlehead is 480 feet; the east march boundary on the Skene road is 312 feet; and the house of Burnieboozle is 275 feet above sea level.

The general appearance of the parish is hilly. The higher ground on Hazlehead is covered with trees. The higher valley of the Denburn is smooth and narrow, except the rocky gorge at the Maiden Craigs. The smooth, broad-backed ridge of Sheddocksley, runs westward by the Fern and the Gillowhill, terminating in the Cloghill, which is a south-western spur of the Brimmond. The valley of the Buxburn is narrow, and in its lower course the stream is confined to a deep rocky channel. The Don is confined by steep gravelly banks to its rocky bed; and the rocky knolls of Auchmull and Sclattie treasure up immense riches of granite within their bowels. The valleys of the Greenburn and of the Farburn present a smooth, flowing, undulating outline. The bare-backed Brimmond is bleak and barren; the Kepplehills and the Ashie hillocks, which lie on its eastern face, are mostly cultivated; and the rugged rocky hills of Elrick, which form the connecting link between the Brimmond and Tyrebaggar, are covered with trees; and here is to be found the best of that pinkish coloured rock, known as Tyrebaggar granite. The upper valley of the Blackburn presents a rich tract of highly cultivated land; but higher up the Littleburn, by Rivefold, Wineford, and the Tulloch, on the north-western slopes of the Brimmond, the district assumes a more rugged and somewhat dreary aspect. On the south- western slopes of the Brimmond, from Hillside to Borrowstone, and the Longcairns to Cairnhillock, which is in the middle of the old moss of Broadiach, the hands of man have done much to create fruitful fields, and in raising comfortable-looking farmsteads.

[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]