Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Auchindoir and Kearn

Auchindoir and Kearn, a united parish of W Aberdeenshire, containing the village of Lumsden, 3¾ miles NNW of Alford, and 8 miles SSW of Gartly station, with which it communicates daily by the Strathdon coach. Founded some fifty years since by Mr Leith Lumsden of Clova, it has a post office under Aberdeen, a branch of the North of Scotland Bank, an inn, a Free church (1843), and a U.P. church (1803; 203 sittings). Fairs are held here on the first Monday of January, February, March, April, and December, and (old style) on the last Tuesday of April, the last Friday of May, and the third Tuesday of August. Pop. (1840) 243, (1871) 507.

Kearn is much smaller than Auchindoir, of which it forms a south-eastern adjunct, and to which it was annexed in 1811, having from 1722 to 1808 been united to Forbes. The present parish is bounded N by Rhynie Essie, E by Clatt and Tullynessle-Forbes, S by Kildrummy, and W by Cabrach. Very irregular in outline, it has an extreme length from N to S of 6¾ miles, a width from E to W of from 31/8 to 57/8 miles, and a land area of 15,310 acres. The southern boundary is traced for 1¾ mile by the river Don, and further westward by its affluent, the Mossat; whilst the Bogie has here a north-north-eastward course of about 4 miles, chiefly along the Rhynie border, being formed near the parish church by the burns of Corchinan, Glenny, and Craig, which, rising in mossy ground, have a strong antiseptic quality. The Craig flows eastward through a romantic glen, the Den of Craig, makes several beautiful falls, and in the floods of 1829 rose 18 feet above its ordinary level. The surface is everywhere hilly, eminences in the half of the parish to the E of the highroad from Huntly to Alford being Badingair Hill (1556 feet above sea-level), Brux Hill (1558), Edin banchory Hill (1531), and Lord Arthur's Cairn (1699), all of them belonging to the Correen Hills. In the western half rise the White Hill of Bogs (1341 feet), the Hill of Tombhreach (1409), and the Hill of John's Cairn (1745); but one and all are overtopped by the pyramidal, cairncrowned Buck of Cabrach (2368 feet), which culminates upon the western border, at the extremity of a narrow strip of Auchindoir, projecting into the parish of Cabrach. White sandstone prevailing over a wide tract from N to S, and in places of very fine quality, has been extensively worked for building purposes; and mica slate abounds in large masses on the Correen Hills, and has been quarried for paving flags. Greenstone, limestone, serpentine, clay slate, talc, soapstone, and asbestos in small quantity, are also found. In the W are large stretches of peat-moss, and the hills are mostly covered with poor moorish soil; but the lower grounds present a sharp, dry, productive mould, or, above the sandstone, a rich alluvial loam. Except in the hills, the parish is well cultivated; excellent crops of barley and oats are grown, and many cattle and sheep are reared. Plantations cover a large area, but are mostly young, consisting of larch, Scotch fir, spruce, and birch, with older forest trees along the Don, and some goodly planes in the Druminnor policies. A little hill above the present church was in the 15th century surmounted by a castle, the Castrum Auchindoriæof Boece; and across the Craig are the ivy-clad ruins of the ancient church, a rare example of the transition from Romanesque to First Pointed, retaining an aumbry for reservation of the Eucharist, a holy-water stoup, a sculptured crucifix, and the date 1557 on the N gable. Other antiquities are three ` Picts' houses, ' traces of a vitrified fort on the green conical hill of Cnocalliochie, and numerous cairns, of which Lord Arthur's possibly gave name to Kearn; while the popular etymology of Auehindoir (Gael. ` field of the chase ') alludes to the one historical episode with which this parish is associated-the flight through it of Lulach, Macbeth's successor, to Essie, where he was slain, 17 March 1058. Craig Castle, 1 mile W by N of the church, crowns the left bank of Craig Burn, amid the ` horrible rocks and precipices, the caves and dens,' described in Johnston's Parerga (Aberdeen, 1632). Its oldest portion is a huge square keep, 60 feet high, which, bearing date 1528, is probably of earlier erection, additions having been made to it in 1667,1726, and 1832, these latest the most considerable. For nearly three centuries it has been the seat of a branch of the Gordons, whose present representative owns 3333 acres in the shire, of an annual value of £1339. Druminnor House (the original Castle Forbes, 1456) is another fine old mansion in the Baronial style, and dates in its present state from 1577, six years before which time, according to tradition, it was the scene of the murder at a banquet of several Gordons by the Forbeses. It stands in a well-timbered park on the left bank of the Burn of Kearn, an affluent of the Bogie that traces the upper half of the eastern boundary; and it is now the seat of Robert Grant, owner of 4197 acres of £2902 value. The House of Clova, 1¾ mile W of Lumsden, with a Roman Catholic church (1880) in its grounds, is the seat of Hugh Gordon Lumsden, owner of 15,499 acres of £6687 value; and 1 other proprietor holds a rental of £500 upwards, 1 of between £100 and £500, while 7 hold each from £20 to £50. Auchindoir is in the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen. The church (1811; 450 sittings) stands 2 miles N by E of Lumsden; its minister's income is £184. Also within the parish, but close to the Rhynie boundary, are the Episcopal church of St Mary (1859; 56 attendants), an Early English edifice, and the Free church of Rhynie. Two public schools, Auchindoir and Lumsden, with respective accommodation for 49 and 216 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 41 and 113, and grants of £25,3s. and £97,9s. 6d. Valuation (1881) £6405, 9s. 1d. Pop. (1821) 889, (1841) 1188, (1861) 1593, (1871) 1545, (1881) 1514.—Ord. Sur., sh. 76,1874.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a united parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Auchindoir and Kearn ScoP       Aberdeenshire ScoCnty
Place: Auchindoir

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