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1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

KEISS, a quoad sacra parish (formerly), partly in the parish of Wick, and partly in that of Canisbay, county of Caithness, 7¾ miles (N.) from Wick; containing, with the village of Keiss, 1009 inhabitants. The portion of this district which is within the parish of Wick is about five miles in length and three in breadth, containing 809 inhabitants; and after the erection and endowment of a church by government, in 1827, was, with a contiguous portion of Canisbay, formed into a quoad sacra parish under act of the General Assembly, in 1834. Whinstone and red sandstone prevail in the district; and the soil is principally composed of a light loam in some parts, and of a strong clay in others. The herring-fishery, which is prosecuted in the months of July and August, is very considerable; and cod, ling, and haddock are also obtained: in 1840 a salmon fishery on a small scale was commenced, but it was not attended with much success. A cattle-market is held in the month of June. Keiss House, a plain massive building, erected about 1760, is at present in a very dilapidated state, not having been for a number of years the residence of its owners. The village, situated at the head of Keiss harbour in Sinclair bay, and on the great coast-road from Wick to Huna, is chiefly inhabited by persons engaged in the fisheries. Ecclesiastically the place is in the presbytery of Caithness, synod of Caithness and Sutherland: the stipend of the minister is £120, paid by endowment of the government, with a manse, built near the church. The church, erected by government, in 1827, on a rising ground to the west of the harbour, at an expense of £1500, is a plain structure containing 350 sittings, and by the addition of galleries would contain 200 more. The Baptists have a place of worship. A school, also, has been erected, the master of which receives a salary of £15, one-half derived from the Rev. William Hallawall's endowment, and the other paid by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge: he has likewise the fees. On a rock overhanging the sea are remains of an old castle, called Keiss Castle; and there are some vestiges in the district of two ancient chapels, and a Picts' house.