James Gray 2
- Christened: 9 Mar 1710/11, Grange, Banff
- Marriage: Jean Taylor on 23 Oct 1740 in Grange, Banff 1
March 9th 1711 James Gray In Cantly had a son In his full bond of marriage to Isobel Muirie baptised and called James Witness Mr James Murray Mr(?) James in Cantly Barbara Grant & Elspet Ord
Parish of Grange, Presbytery of Strathbogie, Synod of Moray The Rev. William Duff, MinisterI - Topography and Natural History
Name. - In the old Statistical Account of this parish, it is said that Grange takes its name from Grangia, a middle-age term for a farm, or country residence. It is certain that this parish was the Grange or farm of the Abbots of Kinloss, to whom the greater part of it, if not all, was given by William, King of Scots, as may be learned by a charter of Strathisla to Kinloss, published in Shaw's History of Moray, without date, but with the names of witnesses attached. It is likely that this charter was granted by the King about the end of the twelfth century, or beginning of the thirteenth.
The jolly monks had here a residence, built on the site where the church now stands, attracted, it is said, by the beauty of the situation. If it was beautiful in these days, it is much more beautiful now, having been, a few years ago, surrounded by trees and shrubs. The mount upon which their dwelling stood is situated upon the slope of a brae, which, in appearance, is mostly artificial. It overlooks the extensive haughs or holms on the rivulet Isla, beautified principally by the cultivation of its banks, - for the trees are yet few and far between, the few venerable ashes, elms, and planes that surrounded the farm-steadings, having been rooted out and sold. On the south of the Isla, there is a wide and long brush of larch and Scotch firs, now shooting up, and changing the scene a little, from the dull uniformity of unadorned hill and valley.
Boundaries, &c. - The parish is six miles long by five broad. It is bounded on the east, by the Knock, a hill, about 1600 feet above the level of the sea. This hill is cultivated a good way up, on all sides. The greater part of its surface is deep peat, and heather. On the top the moss is from eight to ten feet deep. In the dry year 1826, the surface was burnt round and round, having caught fire, either by accident or design, nobody knows which. There is a very extensive view from it both of sea and land - Grange is bounded on the east, west, and south, by the parishes of Marnock, Rothiemay, Cairney, and Keith; on the north, by that of Deskford and part of Fordyce. On the northern part there are two hills, the Lurghill and the hill of Altmore, now called Aulmore, which signifies the great burn. In the centre there is the Sillyearn, on which there is an extensive plantation, young and thriving. In the southern part there are the Mickle and little Balloch, the lower parts of which are now covered with wood. Towards the top there could be no hope of a tree, as it is dry, rough and rocky. On the Mickle Balloch, there are several graves of some unhappy suicides, marked by a cairn, not sacred to their memory, but to tell of their unchristian burial and untimely end. Here is the Gallow-hill, too, of which tradition speaks with fear and trembling. On this memorable mount the criminals of the district met their ignominious fate. The abbots, as well as the feudal barons of those days, had the power to condemn without appeal, and, it is likely, to execute without justice.
The Isla is a fine trouting stream. It takes its rise in Lochpark, on the estate of Admiral Duff, in the parish of Botriphnie, runs through Keith and Grange, and empties itself into the Doveron, in the parish of Rothiemay.
There area few remarkable springs, unless two or three, that, even in the driest season, are ever flowing, and full. The best known is the Ladywell, consecrated by some temperate abbott who indulged in the soft purity of the fountain. There is also the Croik, or the well of the cross, cold and pure, on the opposite side of the Isla; and a few others of less note.
Botany. - [Substantial section omitted here.]
There is no doubt that Grange was anciently covered with wood. In the extensive pat mosses, are found imbedded roots and trunks of fir and oak, chiefly of fir, vast quantities of which are cast out in the preparation of fuel. There are now large tracts of young wood on Lord Fife's estates; and perhaps from fifty to sixty acres on the estate of Sir James Innes, Bart. of Edingight.
The parish is now generally under cultivation - even the mossy and heathy hill of Aulmore is rapidly creeping under the plough. This hill is studded far and wide with the cottages of the poor; but much of the lower lands has been cultivated with industry and skill. There is a great extent of excellent soil in the parish; much, however, which no tillage will ever make good. The clayey and hard till subsoils prevail much, and are much complained of. The climate, in general, and particularly on the Davoch of Grange, is healthy and bracing.
II - Civil History
Grange was feued out into small lairdships, upon the appearance of the Reformation, by the then abbot of Kinloss, and was thus put into the hands of a great number of small proprietors. In the course of years, the number diminished, as the wealth of some, and the wants of others, increased. It is said of Alexander Duff of Braco, Lord Fife's ancestor, one of the more cautious and economical of the feuars, that, as he was standing on the hillside at his residence of Braco, and seeing many of the laird's chimneys smoking around him, he remarked to a bystander, that he would make the smoke of these houses all go through one vent by and bye; and he nearly accomplished his purpose, as four-fifths of the whole are now in the hands of his descendants. Edingight, however, still remains in the hands of the family of the original feuar, and the remainder is in the possession of the Earl of Seafield.
It is recorded that there were some battles fought in the parish between the Scots and the Danes, when the Danes landed at Cullen, in the reign of Donald III.
III - Population
Amount of population in
1811 - 1510
1821 - 1482
1831 - 1492
1841 - 1661
There is one resident family in the parish, that of Sir James Innes, Bart. of Balveny and Edingight. The people are, in general, moral and exemplary, and attentive to their religious duties.
IV - Industry
There is an extensive manufactory of lime in the parish, limestone being inexhaustible. A great proportion of the small farms have their lime kilns, and in this way the lands have been mostly limed. Bone-manure is now much used, and we have consequently less fallow and more turnip. Bones seem to answer well with the soil; they produce very fine turnip, and not worse grass.
On the more extensive farms there are thrashing-mills, a great convenience to the farmer. They might still be more general, as they could be wrought in the localities, where there is no water, by the young oxen, without much deterioration.
There is a bed of plumbago or black-lead at a place called Seggiecrook, a rare mineral in the north.
Harvest-labour has undergone a great change, shearing having now been nearly abolished, and the scythe generally used. Oats is the more general produce; and the most prevalent kind at present is what is called sandy-oats. Early Angus and Kildrummy are a good deal used. There are yearly a few fields of barley, and some patches of bear or bigg. There is no meadow hay; it all consists of rye-grass, and white and red clover. The six-shift in cultivation is generally followed, that is, two years in grass, two in oats, one in green crop, and one in oats or barley, laid down with grass for hay.
Farming is as well understood here, and the farms are in as high a state of cultivation as any in Mid-Lothian. On the large farms of Braco, Floors, Berryleys, Muiryfold, Myrieton, Cantly, and others, there are as fine horses and cattle as in any part of the county. The farming utensils are of the best make and mould. The iron plough is used, and of the best principle. The smith and wright work are unrivalled. Our grain, and cattle, and pork, meet a ready market in London. Many fine cattle are here fed and shipped from the port at Banff for London yearly. This is an improvement which was not dreamed of, when the last Statistical Account was written.
There is no village in the parish, but there is a clachan, called Nether-mills. There is a sub-post-office, and only one public-house in the parish.
There is a bridge over the Isla, which was "built by Alexander Christie, tenant in Cantly, for the glory of God, and the good of the people of Grange," as the inscription, which was graven upon a stone in the bridge, bore. The stone is now supposed to be in the bottom of the rivulet. It was erected by Mr Christie to render the church accessible to the people of Cantly. One hundred merks were lodged in the hands of the laird of Edingight, to be laid out in repairing the bridge. This sum, no doubt, has been long ago exhausted. The bridge was originally very narrow, having been only intended for people on foot. To make it passable by carts, another of the same size was added to it, in the year 1783, the patron allowing the vacant stipend of that year to go to that use. The two bridges, many years ago, threatened to separate; but, on the appearance of a breach between them, they were immediately bound together by bolts of iron.
V - Parochial Economy
Grange was separated from Keith in 1608, of which it once formed a part. Both of these parishes are church lands. The present church was built in 1795, and contains 616 sittings, allowing eighteen inches for each sitter. It is not well situated for the bulk of the population, being within a mile of one end of the parish. There is a Secession meeting at the other end, the oldest, it is said, in the north. There are, on an average, in the parish church, about 490 communicants, of which 155 are male heads of families; in the Secession meeting, perhaps 90, made up of hearers from this and the surrounding parishes. Secession minister's stipend is £70 yearly. The parochial manse and offices were built in 1814; the offices are small, but the manse is large and good; the glebe is five acres of good land; the stipend is 14½ chalders, Banffshire measure, half barley, half meal, with £8 6s 8d of communion elements. Lord Fife is patron.
Education. - The school and school-house are limited in extent. The salary is the maximum, viz. £34, 4s 4d. with a mortification of £1, 2s yearly, and the interest of £100, bequeathed by the late Mr Bruce, minister of Dunbar. The master has the benefit of the Dick bequest.
There is a school on the General Assembly's scheme, with a salary of £25 yearly, and a cow's keep gratis, for the benefit of which people pay a rent, subscribed by the tenants in small sums, to Sir James Innes, the proprietor, who refuses to supply the croft gratis. The school and school-house were built by subscription in the year 1827, by the exertions of the present minister. This seminary is of infinite importance in this part of Grange, which would be otherwise entirely destitute of the means of education. There are also two other schools on masters' own adventure, so that now every opportunity of education is offered to all parts of the parish. The people estimate, according to its true value, the instruction of their families.
Poor. - The poor, supplied from the funds, receive quarterly each about 5s. or 4s. 6d. This is a very inadequate supply; but they receive much both in food and kindness from their more fortunate neighbours. The farmers are very charitable.
This parish is much changed since the last Statistical Account was written, having now very good roads and bridges, all kept in thorough repair. There are several very large farms, beautifully and substantially enclosed with limestone dikes, and well-kept hedgerows. The trees and plantations are now numerous and varied, and there are many richly cultivated fields, and even farms that were at that time heather and morass. On the farms of Haughs and Mains of Grange, there is a most substantial embankment, a mile long, on the Isla, erected at the expense of the heritor. On the farms of Cantly, Clerkseat, Little Clerkseat, and Auchinhove, the farmers have erected smaller embankments, at their own expense, by which much fine land has been protected from the calamities of flood and storm. In the year 1829, the flood on the Isla was terrific, and the calamity memorable.
This parish has long been infested by cairds, tinkers, and sturdy-beggars; but it may be hoped that the evil will soon be removed by the county police.
An extensive embankment is about to be raised on the farm of Braco.
He worked as a Farmer in 1743 and resided at "in Cantly".
James married Jean Taylor on 23 Oct 1740 in Grange, Banff.1 (Jean Taylor was born before 1720.)
Also married in Kieth on 1/10/1740?