Parish of Cruden

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Cruden
1834-45: Cruden

Cruden (croju or crush Dane, according to the popular etymology), a coast parish of Buchan, NE Aberdeenshire, with a post office of its own name at Auchiries hamlet, 8¼ miles SSW of Peterhead, and 9¾ NE of its station and post-town, Ellon, with which it communicates daily by coach. It is bounded NW by Longside, NE by Peterhead, E by the German Ocean, S by Slains and Logie-Buchan, SW and W by Ellon. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 7½ miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 27/8 and 6½ miles; and its area is 18,444 1/3 acres, of which 164½ are foreshore and 14 water. Except for 2 miles of sands at Cruden Bay, the coast-line, 7½ miles long, is fringed with a range of stupendous cliffs, projecting the headlands of Hare Craig, Murdoch Head, and Wardhill, and indented by Long Haven, Yoag's Haven, North Haven, the Bullers of Buchan, Robie's Haven, and Twa Havens, whilst off them lie Dunbuy islet and a long sunken reef, the Scares of Cruden. The cliffs to the S, 100 feet high, consist of greenstone or basalt; and those to the N, at points attaining 200 feet, of reddish granite, with trap-dykes on the Blackhill. Inland the general surface sinks little below 100, and little exceeds 200, feet above sea-level; but rises to 281 at the Hill of Ardiffery, 354 at the Hill of Auquharney, 447 at the Corse of Balloch, 346 at Hillside of Aldie, and 374 near Newtown, the three last close to the Longside border. Cruden Water, rising just within Longside, winds 11 miles east-by-southward to the northern corner of Cruden Bay, dividing the parish into two nearly equal parts, and receiving the burns of Lacca and Gask ; its current has been utilised to drive a wool-mill at Auquharney and several meal-mills lower down. Great quantities of peat-moss lie along the northern boundary ; and forests of oak and other hard wood trees anciently occupied much of the area, but now are represented only by a few old trees, dwarfed by the sea-breeze that has stunted the clumps and plantations of Slains and Auquharney. Granite and trap are the prevailing rocks ; and the former has been quarried along the northern cliffs, under great disadvantages of both working and transport. The neighbouring waters teem with fish; and at a cost of £8000 a new harbour has recently been formed at the village Of Port Erroll, where Cruden Water falls into the bay ; it consists of an outer and an inner basin, the latter 5400 square yards in area On the plain skirting Cruden Bay Malcolm L of Scotland is said to have defeated Canute, afterwards King of England, in 1014 ; but the battle is one of those which, in Dr Hill Burton's words, 'only find a local habitation and a name, along with the usual details, from late and questionable authority.' A mound, evidently artificial, and popularly called the Battery, crowns a height to the N of the Hawklaw, and to the SE of that mound are remains of what seems to have been a vitrified wall. Another artificial mound, the Moathill, a seat most probably of feudal justice, and. an eminence, called Gallowhill, where criminals were executed, are on Ardiffery farm; whilst Highlaw, 1 mile from the coast, is crowned by a tumulus, said to have been used for beacon fires, and commanding a fine view over the low surrounding country, away to the Grampians. A 'Druidical circle,' ½ mile W of the parish church, was demolished in 1831; a necklace of jet and amber, three stone cists, flint implements, a rude old granite feint, and other relies of antiquity, have been from time to limp discovered; and the Bishop's Bridge over Cruden Water, near the church, was built in 1697 by the Right Rev. Dr Jas. Drummond of Brechin, and widened by the Earl of Erroll in 1763. Slains Castle, however, is the chief artificial feature in the parish, where 8 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500, and 3 of from £20 to £50. Giving off portions to Ardallie, Blackhill ' and Boddam quoad sacra parishes, Cruden is in the presbytery of Ellon and synod of Aberdeen; the living is worth £300. The parish church, on the right bank of Cruden Water, 1 mile SSW of Auchiries, was built in 1776, and enlarged in 1834, when two round towers were added ; it contains 820 sittings, and has a church-hall beside it. At Hatton, 1¾ mile WNW, stands the Free church (1844) ; and ¾ mile SSW is St James's Episcopal church (1843 ; 440 sittings), which, Early English in style, has a nave and chancel, a spire 90 feet high, an organ, and three stained-glass windows. Of St Olave's or Olaus' chapel, near the New. Bridge, said to have been founded by Canute, the last remains were carried away for road-metal in 1837. Errol Episcopal school and the public schools of Auchiries, Bogbrae, Coldwells, and Hatton, with respective accommodation for 140, 102, 68, 90, and 150 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 87, 78, 72, 100, and 108, and grants of £50, 13s., £61, 18s., £54, £72, 16s., and £92, 3s. Valuation (1843) £8792, (1881) £16,072, 13s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 1934, (1831) 2120, (1861) 2743, (1871) 3124, (1881) 3444. - 0rd. Sur., sh. 87, 1876.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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