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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Kingussie (Gael. ceann-guithsaich, 'head of the firwood'), a village and a parish in Badenoch district, SE Inverness-shire. The village, beautifully situated near the Spey's left bank, 740 feet above sea-level, has a station on the Highland railway, 71¾ miles NNW of Perth, 24¼ SW of Grantown, and 72¼ S by E of Inverness, whilst by road it is 44½ miles from Inverness, and 50 ENE of Fort William. The capital of Badenoch, it was founded towards the close of last century by the Duke of Gordon as an intended seat of woollen manufactures. That scheme fell through; but since the opening of the railway (1863) Kingussie has bid fair to rise to no little importance as a centre of general trade, and as a summer resort of families from the seaside in quest of change of air. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the British Linen Co. and Commercial Banks, a National Security Savings' Bank, 4 insurance agencies, a good hotel, recent drainage and water works, daily coach communication with Fort William, a neat court-house (1806), the parish church (1792; 650 sittings), a Free church, a farming society, a reading club, and fairs on the third Wednesday of August and the Tuesday of May, September, and November after Beauly. Ruthven Barracks crowned a conical mound, the site of a castle of the Comyns, Lords of Badenoch, 1¼ mile S by E of the village, on the opposite side of the Spey, which here is crossed by a substantial wooden bridge. The original Ruthven Castle in the latter half of the 14th century was the principal stronghold of the ` Wolf of Badenoch; ' its successor-reared by George, sixth Earl of Huntly, not long before its fruitless siege by the Earl of Argyll in 1594-was captured by Leslie (1647), by Mackenzie of Pluscardine (1649), and by Claverhouse (1689). The barracks were built by Government in 1718, and burned in 1746 by 2500 fugitives from Culloden, wlvo rallied here till a message from Prince Charles Edward desired them to disperse. The only other noticeable episode is that on 8 Oct. 1861, the Queen and Prince Consort drove through Kingussie, `a very straggling place with very few cottages, ' where ` there was a small, curious, chattering crowd of people, who, however, did not really make us out, but evidently suspected who we were.' Small debt courts sit on the Tuesday before the Wednesday after 16 Jan., and the Tuesdays before the first Wednesdays in May and September. Under the superiority of the Baillies of Dochfour, Kingussie is a police burgh according to the General Police and Improvement Act (Scotland) of 1862, its municipal constituency numbering 110 in 1883, when the annual value of real property amounted to £2328. Pop. (1841) 460, (1861) 646, (1871) 676, (1881) 645. Houses (1881) 102 inhabited, 12 vacant, 2 building.

The parish, containing also the stations of Newtonmore and Dalwhinnie, 3 miles WSW and 13 SSW of Kingussie, is bounded NW by Moy-Dalarossie, N by Alvie, E by the Rothiemurchus portion of Alvie, SE and S by Blair Athole in Perthshire, and W by Laggan. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 193/8 miles; its utmost width, from E to W, is 15¼ miles; and its area is 181½ square miles, or 116,182 acres, including a detached portion, which, with an utmost length and breadth of 3¾ miles and 9 furlongs, extends along the western shore of the upper waters of Loch Ericht, and at its southern extremity contains Lochericht Lodge. From a point 5 furlongs N by W of Glentruim House, and 810 feet above sea-level, the Spey winds 14 miles north-eastward, tracing 63/8 miles of the Alvie boundary, and, close to the NE corner of the parish, flowing through Loch Inch (7½ x 4¾ furl.; 721 feet). It here is from 80 to 100 feet broad, and here is joined by the Truim, running 13 miles north-north-eastward along the Laggan boundary; the Calder, running 4½ miles east-by-southward; the Tromie, running 10¾ miles north-by-eastward out of Loch an t-Seilich (9 8 3½ furl.; 1400 feet); and the Feshie, running 83/8 miles north-by-westward along the Rothiemurchus boundary. Chief elevations to the N of the Spey are Creag Bheag (1593 feet), Creag Dubh (2581), Carn an Fhreiceadain (2861), A Chailleach (3045), and *Carn Mairg (3087), belonging to the Monadhliath Mountains; to the S, Creag Far-Leitire (1145), Beinn Bhuidhe (1193), Creag Bheag (1610), Cruaidhleac (2099), *Carn Dearg Mor (2813), Mullach Mor (2521), Stac Meall na Cuaich (3000) *Carn na Caim (3087), and *Creagan Mor (2522), belonging to the Grampians, where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the boundaries. Such is a bare outline of the general features of this great Highland parish, fuller details being given under Badenoch, Gaick Forest, Glentromie, Glentruim, Loch Gynag, Invereshie, and other articles already indicated. A good deal of the Speyside section, and of the little lateral vales is arable; but by far the greater part of the surface is mountainous and heathy, either pastoral or waste. The soil of the lower arable lands is alluvial; that of the higher is mostly a light and sandy but fertile loam. Several plantations, of greater or less extent, impart beauty and shelter to the natural landscape, and mainly consist of larch and Scotch pine, interspersed with mountain-ash and oak. The Kingussie estate belonged anciently to the Comyns, Lords of Badenoch, and, having passed to the ducal family of Gordon, at the death of the last Duke in 1836 was purchased by the late James Evan Baillie, Esq. of Dochfour. Silver and lead ores have been discovered near Kingussie village, but never turned to any account. Antiquities are Caledonian stone circles, and vestiges of what is thought to have been a Roman camp; whilst a priory is known to have been founded by one of the Earls of Huntly in the latter half of the 15th century at or near the site of Kingussie village. James Macpherson (1738-96), the ` translator ' of Ossian, was born at Ruthven, where he was afterwards for some time parish schoolmaster. Sir George Macpherson-Grant vof Ballindalloch is the largest proprietor, 4 others holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 1 of between £100 and £500, 4 of from £50 to £100, and 19 of from £20 to £50. Including the greater part of Inch quoad sacra parish, Kingussie is in the presbytery of Abernethy and synod of Moray; the living is worth £385. Three public schools-Dalwhinnie, Kingussie, and Newtonmore-with respective accommodation for 35, 220, and 134 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 7, 138, and 82, and grants of £20, 16s., £122, 18s., and £71, 12s. Valuation (1861) £9294, (1882) £14,943, 6s. 3d. Pop. (1801) 1306, (1831) 2080, (1861) 2033, (1871) 2101, (1881) 1987, of whom 1371 were Gaelic-speaking, and 1590 were in Kingussie ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 64, 74, 73, 63, 1873-77.

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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