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Wick

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"WICK, a parish, seaport, market town, royal and parliamentary burgh, in county Caithness, Scotland. The parish contains, besides the town of its own name, which may be considered the political capital of Caithness-shire, the suburban towns of Louisburgh and Pulteneytown, the villages of Ackergill, Keiss, Sarclet, and Staxigoe. It is bounded on the E. and S.E. by the North Sea, and on the other sides by the parishes of Bower, Canisbay, Latheron, and Watten. It extends in length from N. to S. about 14 miles, with an extreme breadth of 7 miles. The coast, which is indented with numerous creeks, is rocky and precipitous, except towards the N., where it forms Keiss and Wick bays, stretching several miles inland, and skirted by a low beach of siliceous sand. The chief promontory is Noss-Head. The surface is nearly flat, comprising several straths varied only by the hills of Bruan, Camster, and Yarrow. It is now well cultivated, except towards the southern and western borders, where are extensive tracts of bog and moss. It is drained by the rivers Wick and Wester-Water, and by numerous small lochs, as Yarrow, Kilminster, Dhu, Hempriggs, Wick, and Windless. The prevailing rocks are clay-slate and graywacke-slate, with some limestone and sandstone, alternating with pyritous shale near the coast. Traces of iron, lead, and copper are met with in several places, the last-named having been formerly worked. The soil is generally stiff clay and peat earth, alternated with loam and siliceous earth. The largest proprietor is Sir G. Dunbar, Bart. The chief seats are Hempriggs House, of the Dunbars; Ulbster, of the Sinclairs; Keiss House, Harland, Stirkoke, Rosebank, Sibster, Tarmach, and Thrumster. The town of Wick, the principal seat of the northern herring fishery and the county town, occupies a convenient site at the head of Wick Bay, on the left bank of the river Wick, over which is a bridge connecting it with Pulteneytown, which nearly rivals it in population, and contains the only good streets and squares. The town consists of Wick-Proper and Louisburgh, the former irregularly built and dirty, but the principal seat of trade. It contains a town and county hall, court-house, Pulteneytown Academy, branches of the City of Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Commercial banks, also a distillery, brewery, and grain and saw-mills. The principal trade is connected with the herring fishery and herring curing establishments; the other manufactures are rope and net-making, boat-building, and an iron-foundry. There are resident here an agent of the British Fishing Society, and vice-consuls of Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and the United States; it is also the seat of customhouse establishment. The value of the boats, nets, and lines employed in the herring fishery is about £70,000, and the yield of herrings cured, 165,000 barrels, besides 6,250 not cured. Two weekly newspapers, the John o' Groat Journal and Northern Ensign, are published in the town. Nick was erected into a royal burgh by charter of James VI. in 1589. The town council consists of a provost, 3 bailies, a dean of guild, treasurer, and 9 common councillors, but their authority is limited to Wick-Proper, the British Fishing Society being superiors of Pulteneytown, by whom it was established in 1808. The court of quarter-sessions for Caithnessshire is held here four times a year; also the sheriff's ordinary and commissary courts are held on every Tuesday and Friday, and the sheriff's small-debt court every Tuesday, but the justice of peace small-debt court every alternate Monday. The parliamentary burgh, which includes, besides the royal burgh, all the suburbs, unites with Kirkwall, Dornoch, Cromarty, Tain, and Dingwall in returning one member to parliament: the constituency in 1857 was 264. The parish is in the presbytery of Caithness and synod of Sutherland and Caithness. The minister's stipend is £268 6s. 7d. The parish church was built in 1830, besides which there is a chapel-of-ease in Pulteneytown, built in 1843, and a quoad sacra parish church at Keiss. There are Free churches at Wick, Pulteneytown, and Bruan, a Freechurch preaching-station at Keiss, also Reformed Presbyterian and United Presbyterian churches in Pulteneytown, and Independent, Baptist, Evangelical Union, and Roman Catholic chapels within the parish. There are a parochial school, Pulteney Academy, two General Assembly schools, two Free Church schools, two Society's schools, and several private schools. Market day is on Friday. Fairs are held on the Tuesday after Palm-Sunday, 24th June, 29th July, and on the 17th November (old style), or on the Tuesday after."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)

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Churches

Presbyterian / Unitarian
Wick, Church of Scotland
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Gazetteers

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

WICK, a parish and burgh (royal) and county-town, in the county of Caithness; the parish containing, with the town of Wick proper, Pulteney-Town, adjoining, and the villages of Sarclet, Staxigoe, Reiss, and Ackergill, 10,393 inhabitants, of whom 1333 are in Wick proper, 16 miles (S. by E.) from Canisbay, 20½ (S. E. by E.) from Thurso, and 276 (N.) from Edinburgh. This place, the name of which signifies in the Celtic language a village or small town on an arm of the sea, appears to have been originally inhabited by a Celtic tribe, who at a very early period fell under the power of the Picts, of whose settlement in this part of the kingdom, many ancient monuments are still remaining. The Norwegians under Sigard, brother of Ronald, to whom Harold had granted the Orkneys, eventually obtained possession also of Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross, which continued to be governed by a succession of Norwegian earls for many generations. About the year 1330, that part of Caithness which includes the parish of Wick belonged to the family of Cheyne, of whom the last male heir. Sir Reginald de Cheyne, dying in 1350, was succeeded by his two daughters, who by marriage conveyed the lands to the Sinclairs, Sutherlands, and Keiths. In 1464, a feud arising between the clan of Gun, who held lands here, and the Keiths, a sanguinary conflict took place on the moors of Tannach, in this parish, in which the former were defeated: and above a century afterwards, in 1588, the Earl of Sutherland in revenge for the slaughter of some of his dependents by the Sinclairs, Earls of Caithness, made an inroad into the territories of the latter, burnt the town of Wick, laid siege to their baronial castle of Girnigoe, and after a fruitless endeavour to reduce it, wasted the adjacent district.

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Wick has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference ND321520 (Lat/Lon: 58.451165, -3.164659), Wick which are provided by: