The Story behind the Stone – the families, estates and stories of Kirkmichael, Cullicudden, the Black Isle and beyond

Anguish Holm and Kathraine Simson, and the new Church and Glebe at Resolis

text by Dr Jim Mackay; photography by Jim unless otherwise annotated

 

It would be lovely if Anguish Holm had been his real name. There are several men named Angus in the registers of Resolis, but only one Anguish, and he was named thus twice, first in a baptism record in 1740 and again in a baptism record in 1759. So it may be that his was an intentional addition to the long list of puritanical names that enrich our heritage, such as Praise-God Barebones, who became an MP, Farewell Sykes, Kill-sin Pimple (the Christian name here, as has been pointed out before, is only half the problem), Fear-not Helly, and No-merit Vynall. Anguish Holm could take a seat proudly in such company. Alternatively, the Session Clerk could not spell.


Anguish as represented, top to bottom, in 1740, 1755 and 1759

Anguish Holm has in fact a close association with the church in the parish – his farm tenancy at Resolis became part of a grand plan to provide the esteemed minister, the Reverend Hector McPhail, with a glebe at the new “centrical” church at Resolis. This plan finally came to fruition in 1769.

We found the stone commemorating Anguish and Kathraine in August 2020, during one of our Saturday morning work parties when we combine maintenance and investigation. The team were working in several locations (to maintain social distancing as this was during the Coronavirus epidemic) but this was the major finding of the day. It is no wonder that previous surveys had missed it, as only one edge was near surface; the chamfered slab had tilted way over and was heading downward.


photo: Andrew Dowsett


photo: Andrew Dowsett

Whilst the slab itself was a quality piece of stone, beautifully worked, the inscription was minimal. Fortunately, the unusual combination of letters allowed rapid identification of the couple concerned. The carving of the initials was unusual, with a backwards tilting “S” and a rather special “K” to which we shall return.


photo: Andrew Dowsett

Anguish Holm was still tenant at Resolis when we first encounter him in the records, in 1740, on the baptism of son William. I should explain that at this time there was no parish of Resolis, so all references to Resolis were to the area around the farmstead named Resolis lying towards the west edge of the parish of Kirkmichael. The parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden had been united by Act of Parliament back in 1662 with a requirement to build this new centrical church at “Reisolace”.

Acta Parliamentorum Caroli II. A.D. 1662 Volume VII, Act 101, at Edinburgh, 9 September 1662, pages 439–440 – Ratification in favours of Sir John Wrquhart of Cromertie uniting the paroches of Cullicudden & Kirkmichaell
Our Soverane Lord with advice and consent of his Estates of Parliament Considering that the Lords Commissioners of Parliat appointed by his Maiestie and estates of Parliament for plantation of kirks and valuation of teinds did by their act & decreit dated the tuentie second day of January 1662 past in favors of Sir Johne Wrwhart of Cromertie Knight, Vnite and annex the tuo paroche kirks of Cullicudden, and Kirkmichaell lyand in the Shirreffdome of Cromertie, into one paroche to be called the paroche & kirk of Kirkmichaell in all time comeing / And whilk kirk is to be built at Reisolace be the said Sir Johne Wrwhart and the Gleib to be designed be him

You’ll notice from the Act, by the way, that the intention was for the united parish to be called Kirkmichael, but in fact, very diplomatically, in practice it was called by the Presbytery “the united parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden”, and later, when the new church was built at Resolis, “the united parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden commonly called Resolis”. But this was some way off. The lairds were unwilling to pay for the new church, and kept the two old parish churches in sufficient repair to make do for another century. Cullicudden always seemed to be in poorer condition and, rather than build a new church, an option explored for some time was enlarging Kirkmichael so that it could serve as the church for the united parish.

But in the time of the Reverend Hector McPhail a new church was indeed built at Resolis, completed in 1769 under the financial supervision of heritor George Munro of Poyntzfield. The next step was to swap the two glebes at Kirkmichael and Cullicudden for a new glebe at Resolis. And here we find the planning that had gone into this. Hector McPhail had taken over the tack around the proposed location of the church way back in the 1750s. And from whom was the tack transferred? Why, Anguish Holm.

But to go back to the life story of Anguish. We don’t know when he was born, or who his parents were. The nearest slab to his in Kirkmichael bears the simple inscription “WH / IM / 1728”


photo: Andrew Dowsett


photo: Andrew Dowsett

There is thus some suggestion that his father was one William Holm, of sufficient status to warrant a burial slab, but this is mere conjecture!

The next slab north beyond the WH / IM / 1728 slab commemorates John Holm (and we know his father was called William) and spouse Helen Mackeddie alias Cameron. And the tablestone beyond that commemorates their three children John, Angus and Alexander. It would be tempting to place Anguish as a brother of the John Holm who married Helen Mackeddie alias Cameron. However, without solid evidence this can all be put to one side for just now.


The inscriptions of these three memorials read, left: WH / IM / 1728; middle: IH / HC / 1796; right: Placed here in memory / of / JOHN and ANGUS HOLM / both died in 1795 / By their brother / ALEXANDER HOLM photo: Andrew Dowsett

Anguish must have married Kathraine Simson sometime in the 1730s, as the first child we see baptised was on 1 March 1740. The last child was baptised in 1759. Here are all the children I am aware of.

William – 1740 March 1st. Anguish Holm tenent in Risoles, & Kathrain Simson his Spouse had a Son Baptized named William.
Isobel – from the marriage register, there was a daughter Isobel who married in 1768 so presumably born between the children of 1740 and 1755.
Catherine – 1755 … Holm Angus tenant Resolis Cathne. Simpson May 2d Catherine
Janet – 1759 … December … 13th. Anguish Holm tenant Inch, & Kathraine Simson his Spouse had a Daughter baptized named Jannet

There had been a period of financial hardship in the 1740s for the tenants on the Newhall Estate, like Anguish, and to understand this we have to look at the Gordons of Invergordon and Newhall. When Sir William Gordon of Invergordon had died in 1742 his affairs were, as they said at the time, “confused” and his estates put into sequestration. John Gorry, who often appears in this series of Story behind the Stone, was commissioned as factor by the Court considering the sequestration in 1745. By this time there had accrued considerable back-rent from the tenants, which, due to a series of bad harvests, they simply could not pay. Gorry, who suffers from a bad press but does not seem to have been a hard man, did not want to evict all the tenants, but did not have sufficient authority to discount back-rent. Instead, he tookl the hundreds of tenants with back-rent for years 1742, 1743, 1744 and 1745 to court (CS228/IJ/1/69) so that a discount could be legally applied. One of those tenants was Anguish, called disappointingly in the legal documents Angus.

John Gorry agt. Mackenzie &c. Tennants on the Estate belonging to Sir John Gordon of InverGordon 1746

Our Lovite, John Gorry, Factor appointed by the Lords of our Councill and Session Upon The Estate, which pertained to the deceased Sir William Gordon of InverGordon Barronet; Conform to Letter and Act of Factor Thereannent dated [29 Jan 1745] the said John Gorry Pursuer, as factor foresaid, is authorised and impowered to uplift the Rents and Profites of the said Estate of InverGordon and which have fallen due Since the decease of the said Sir William Gordon, which happened on the [blank] day of June [1742] … that where the severall tenants and Possessors of the said Estate of InverGordon are resting, owing, and adebted the severall quantitys of victual and sums of money under written, due and payable Furth of their respective possessions on the said Estate for the Cropts and years after mentioned each for his own part in manner as after divided; vizt:

Item Thomas Ferguson in Reesolis of the quantity of eight bolls two pecks victuall with two shillings one penny sterling money rent as arrears of said cropt Jaivii& fourty five
Item Roderick Jack there four bolls one peck victuall arrears cropt forsaid
Item David MacKemish there Three firlots three pecks victuall with eight shillings sterling money rent arrears cropt forsaid
Item Angus Holm there two bolls two pecks victual with two shillings and eleven pence five sixths sterling money rent arrears cropt forsaid

The tenants on their side claimed that the price per boll sought was much too high, that in 1744 “almost the whole Corns were destroyed by Rains” and “the Cropt 1745 was extremely bad, the Ground could not be labored in the proper season for frost”. The tenants in seeking a substantial reduction even brought in the ’45 Jacobite Rebellion – “The Tennants have have had not only the Misfortune of Several Bad Cropts together, But likewise sadly harassed in the late Confusions, which have been in the Country which is nottourly known to every body who know the place where they live”. In the event, the combined tenants were successful in having the court agree there should be a reduction in what they had to pay with John Gorry saying: “He is ready to Submitt to your Lo[rdshi]ps Determination as he has no Interest in hurting the Tenants & Can have no other view but to manage so as to satisfie his Constituents and Secure himself from any Quarrell”.

Anguish gave up his tenancy at Resolis to take up a tenancy of land at Inch, in between Alness Ferry and Ferryton. In 1755 he is described in his child’s baptism record as “tenant Resolis” and in 1759 he is described in a later child’s baptism record as “tenant Inch”.

The rental taken of the Newhall Estate in 1762 reviewed the various tenancies (RH15/44/199(i)).

Reesolus

Angus Holme now Mr Macphail

Wester Inch

Alexr Gray now Angus Holm
Ditto for the Dumbman’s Croft

I confess I have no idea as to which area of land was known as “the Dumbman’s Croft” but must have been in the same vicinity of Easter Alness Ferry and Inch. In the subsequent tenancy investigation (RH15/44/199(iii)) Anguish provided the information for not only his present tenancy but also his previous one, and in fact gave more details for the former as he had mislaid his current tenancy agreement, a rather serious affair.

Reesolis

Angus Holm Tennant in Inch lately in Reesolis – his late possession in Reesolis now possest by Mr Hector Macphail minister of Cullicudden pays yearly 17 Bolls 2 firlots farm victual, 1 merk pr Boll in lieu of Services, 1 penny pr Boll in lieu of vicarage Teinds, 3½ wedders, 30 hens. Depones that Mr Macphail has no Tack, no maillers or subtenants.

Inch

Angus Holm Tennant in Inch – had a Letter of Tack for 7 years which he thinks commenced Whitsunday 1759 but as has fallen by his hand can say no further.

It is clear from this context that Anguish and the Reverend Hector McPhail worked closely together to ensure that the celebrated minister had a substantial tenancy around the site of the proposed church. The building of that church was completed in 1769, and the next step was to secure the land for the glebe. I include in the appendix the full Presbytery record around this important event.

Back when he was giving evidence in the Judicial Review of the Newhall Estate in 1762 Anguish had not located his tack. By 1765, clearly he had found it (given it was due to end in 1766 there would have been a great incentive to search diligently). It was reported at the Proceedings of Amending of the Commissioners of Supply in September 1765 (a political process to maximise votes) that his let extended to:

Inches
Angus Holme Twenty two Bolls two firlots and two pecks victuall one pound six shillings and Eleven pence Sterling of Money Rent, two Wedders and twenty four hens

Anguish is thus revealed to have had a twenty-two boll tenancy, so was one of the more substantial tenants within the Estate of Newhall. Two of his children married in this period:

Marriage Register, Parish of Resolis
12 June 1767 William Holm tennant in Drimcudden & son to Angus Holm taxman in the Inch & Helen Mckenzie daughter to the deceased James Mckenzie tenant in Craighouse

26 February 1768 William Fraser servant to Helen Murray at Inch or Ferry of Alness & Isobel Holm daughter to Angus Holm taxman at Inch contracted and married April 7

We see from this that his son William had become a tenant in his own right at Drumcudden (which lies in the centre of Cullicudden, a couple of miles west of Inch). Whilst his daughter Isobel married a more humble farm servant, I note from subsequent baptism entries for the couple that William Fraser also became a tenant, in Inch. The Anguish Holm family was clearly a successful one.

I note that Anguish was still at Inch from his appearances in Newhall rentals for 1771, 1772, 1776, 1777 and 1782. There is a gap in rentals thereafter, so I do not know when he died. I think it likely that his spouse, Kathraine Simson, pre-deceased him as it was probably her death that prompted him to have a slab commissioned for their lair at Kirkmichael.

We know very little about Kathraine: she had children from, at least, 1740 to 1759 so we can estimate she was born in the period 1710 to 1720. She may have died about 1777. There were several Simson or Simpson tenant families in Cullicudden so she presumably would have been associated with one of those. All in all, it is not much to go on. However, she is commemorated with one of the most attractively carved “K”s to be found in Kirkmichael. We called this the “Special K” on Facebook when reporting the uncovering by a Kirkmichael Work Party of the family memorial stone in August 2020. Our post proved very popular.


photo: Andrew Dowsett

As ever, there must be an element of doubt as to the memorial given it carries only initials, but it is located within a collection of Holm stones, and in the records there is only one couple with the combination of initials “AH” and “KS” so I think we are on very firm grounds. Plus, of course, the status of the family is exactly right to have a good quality slab with well-carved lettering.

And that is the story of the unusually-named Anguish Holm and his “Special K”, Kathraine Simson.

 

William Holm and Helen Mackenzie

Son William Holm, tenant in Drumcudden, married as we have seen Helen Mackenzie in 1767, and they had at least three children (Janet, 1770; James; 1775; Christina c1778). Christina married carpenter Robert Mackenzie alias Bain, and they are commemorated on a headstone which the Trust spent much time repairing. It had broken to such an extent that we called it “The Jigsaw Stone”. Christina survived through to modern registration, dying at Newhall Point in 1858. Their history can be followed here .


photo: Gavin Mackay


photo: Andrew Dowsett

 

Isobel Holm and William Fraser

Daughter Isobel Holm married William Fraser, “servant to Helen Murray at Inch or Ferry of Alness” in 1768 but they soon became tenants at Inch in their own right. They had at least six children (Jane, 1769; Katharine, 1771; Margrat, 1774; Isobel, 1776; Angus, 1779; William, 1783). I have not investigated all their descendants, although I presume that several must have reached an age to allow civil registration records to simplify research. I have, however, looked at daughter Isobel or Isabella Fraser (1776–1858)) as she married ferryman and crofter John Holm of Alness Ferry and Balblair, and, again, the Trust has done much work on their memorial slab.

Before moving on to look at John Holm and Isabella Fraser more closely, we can summarise the Anguish Holm family in a simple tree as follows:


Anguish Holm and Kathraine Simson tree

 

John Holm (c1777–1847) ferryman and crofter Alness Ferry and Balblair and Isabella Fraser (1776–1858)
and their broken memorial slab

For years we had assumed that the stone commemorating John Holm and Isabella Fraser was a slab. It turned out to be one of the many tablestones which the Council (we presume) lowered by folding the legs underneath.


photo: Andrew Dowsett


photo: Jim Mackay

The memorial was one of a line of slabs, headstones and tablestones broken by the taking down of the original west gable of Kirkmichael in the early 1900s. Either the wall collapsed unexpectedly or there was a shocking disregard of memorials when it was demolished, but whichever the outcome and legacy was much avoidable damage. In the case of the tablestone commemorating John Holm and Isabella Fraser, the thick top slab was broken across the middle and parts of the top layer bearing the inscription were smashed out, presumably by large rocks striking the surface from above. Some of that top layer had begun to delaminate, a process that once started soon accelerates as water gets below the layers of sandstone and frost prises them off.


Impact damage viewed at night; photo: Jim Mackay


there must have been a tremendous blow to break this substantial tablestone; photo: Jim Mackay

The Trust considered what to do with the continuing degradation of the top surface of the broken slab and determined in August 2020 that the best solution was simply to bury it under a good depth of soil so that the frost could not affect the top surface so severely. We thus had to shift the two half slabs to the side to deepen the cavity in which they lay. We found following an initial exploration that it was not a slab at all, and that there were legs folded underneath. A brick and chunks of stone had been laid to try to make the two halves of the slab lie fairly evenly.


photo: Andrew Dowsett


photo: Davine Sutherland

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photo: Jim Mackay

The inscription itself had been so damaged that we gave up trying to read it under daylight, and in fact it took several night sessions with oblique lighting to recover what had not been completely lost from the damaged surface. The date of 1886 was unobtainable from the inscription but was recovered from the civil records.


Studying the damaged text; photo: Davine Sutherland

IN MEMORY OF / JOHN HOLM BALBLAIR / WHO DIED 12TH AGUST 18[47?] / AGED [broken section] YEARS.
ALSO HIS WIFE [broken section] SABELLA FRASER / WHO DIED 27TH OCTOBER 1858 / AGED 80 YEARS
ALSO HIS SON WILLIAM HOLM / WHO DIED 2 AGUST 1847 / AGED 45 YEARS
ALSO HIS DAUGHTER HENERETA HOLM / WHO DIED 22ND MAY [1886] / AGED 80 YEARS

You will note that a couple of those commemorated had survived through to registration, which is always very welcome to researchers:

Isabella Holm pauper (widow [i.e. of John Holm]) died 2 December 1856 at Ferrytown age 79 parents William Fraser farmer (deceased) Isabella Fraser m.s. Holm (deceased) buried Church Yard of Kirkmichael as certified by William Holm Sexton informant John Holm son (not present)

Harriet [Henrietta] Holm pauper (formerly domestic servant) (single) died 22 May 1886 at Ferrytown age 80 parents John Holm crofter (d) Isabella Holm ms Fraser (d) informant Hugh Holm brother Balblair

The Parochial Board report on Henrietta (“Henry”) is very sad:

Holm Henry resides Ferrytown … [minute when admitted to roll] 11 March 1861 single / Is quite a Cripple / going on Staves sempstress 1886 May 22 Died

With the comfortable assistance of civil registration records, it was easy to piece together the family story. We find John Holm as a ferryman and crofter at Alness Ferry initially, although he later moved to Balblair.

Baptism Register, Parish of Resolis
14 January 1802 –John Holm ferrier of Alness & Isobel Fraser – William
7 August 1806 – John Holm Ferry of Alnes & Isabella Fraser – Henrietha born 4 August
8 December 1808 – John Holm ferryman at Alness & Isobel Fraser – Jane born 4 December
14 April 1814 – John Holm ferryman at Alnes & Isabel Fraser – Hugh
8 September 1819 John Holm ferrier of Alness & Isobel Fraser – Margaret born 5 August


The wide crossing from Alness Ferry to Alness; photo Jim Mackay

William Holm (1802–1847) became a wright but, as can be seen from the memorial, died in 1847, unmarried.

Henrietta Holm (1806–1886) never married, but she did have a son, James Garden. She was a dressmaker or sempstress but died a pauper in, as stated on the memorial, 1886.

Jane Holm (1808–1892) married Ferryton farmer George McCulloch farmer in 1837. Their story can be found in “Two Centuries of the McCulloch Family in Resolis” here. She died in 1892 and is commemorated on the white-painted McCulloch family headstone in Kirkmichael. It stands just a few yards away from the tablestone commemorating her parents. Given the solid financial footing of her tenant husband, I wonder if she assisted with paying for the inscription to her parents, who were paupers when they died.

Hugh Holm (1814–1895) married Catherine Fraser in 1842. He was a salmon fisher at Balblair and died in 1895, a pauper. They had several children.

Margaret Holm (1819–1892) married ploughman Donald Dingwall in 1844. At the time he was working at Kirkton, but ploughmen were of course very mobile. They had several children, all born in the parish of Kiltearn. She died in that parish in 1892.

There was in addition a son John Holm (c1812–1871), an agricultural labourer or ploughman who worked at numerous farms in Easter Ross, always being recorded in the census returns as having been born in Resolis. He married in 1837 in the parish of Rosskeen, whilst working at the farm of Newmore. His bride, Johanna Fraser, was originally from Assynt, but was also working at Newmore at the time. They had many children. John acted as informant on his mother’s death in 1856. Balblair is a short ferry journey across from Easter Ross, so he was never far away from the rest of the family. John himself died of typhus in 1871 in the parish of Rosskeen. His incompetent son George, who acted as informant at the Registrar’s, did not know the names of his mother’s parents other than his grandfather was a Holm and his grandmother was called Bella. However, there are so many other supporting facts we can be confident of John Holm’s identity.


The small ferry-boat at Balblair pier coming in from Invergordon

The family can first be seen together at Balblair in the 1841 census, albeit several children had already flown the coop:

1841 Census Return, Parish of Resolis – Balblair
John Holm 64 Farmer
Isabel Fraser 66
William Holm 40 Wright / Hugh Holm 28 / Margaret Holm 23

But alas, John was to fall on hard times. He was first admitted to the poor’s roll just three years after this Census return. I do not know if he had been injured or had fallen ill, but those were the usual causes for men of his age to be entered on the roll.

Resolis Kirk Session Records 1844
At the Church of Kirkmichael & Cullicudden the Eighteenth day of December Eighteen hundred & forty four.
[rate of payment] John Holm (late of Alness) Balblair -.8.-

The support of the poor shortly passed to the Parochial Board, and he can be seen receiving financial aid for the next couple of years. And then we see being added to the Roll:

Parochial Board, Meeting 2 December 1847

The Widow of the late John Holm at Balblair

That year of 1847 was clearly a sad one for the family as both John Holm and his son William died. There were serious typhus epidemics across Scotland in 1847, and it may be that it was to this to which father and son succumbed. The gravestone mentions August in both cases, so it suggests it was a contagious disease which carried them away.

When was John Holm born? His age had been written on part of the stone that had been broken out, so his birth year could not be estimated from this. But he had survived through to the 1841 Census when ages were meant to be rounded to the nearest 10 years but in Resolis often were not. Thus his age in 1841 was given as 64, his birth year was therefore approximately 1777, and the nearest fit on the baptism register is:

Baptism Register, Parishof Resolis
19 August 1776 Thomas Holm tennant in Risolis & Isobel Holm – John

The status of the family would be right, and in time John himself became a tenant in the same farm of Resolis, so it is likely that this is his baptism record, but I would need much more evidence before I would put any weight on it!

Father John had died between the two census returns of 1841 and 1851, Margaret had married in 1844 and was in Easter Ross, and Hugh had married in 1842 and had moved to a nearby house. Nevertheless, some of the family present in 1841 were still there at Balblair in 1851:

1851 Census Return, Parish of Resolis – Balblair
Isabella Holm head widow 73 pauper formerly farmer’s wife born Resolis
Henrietta Holm daughter unmarried 40 dress maker born Resolis
James Garden grandson 10 scholar born Glasgow Lanarkshire
[one intervening household and]
Hugh Holm head 36 salmon fisher born Resolis
Catharine Holm wife 36 housekeeper born Resolis

This was to be Isabella’s final Census, as she died in 1858. The household in 1851 contains a surprise, though, in the shape of Henrietta’s son “James Garden”. He is present with his mother in both 1851 and 1861. I presume Henrietta was in service around 1841 and whilst away had a child. There is no mention of the matter within the Resolis Kirk Session records.

With her father and mother now dead, Henrietta moved home with her son. In the 1861 Census, I see that Henrietta was now living next door to the family of her sister Jane McCulloch ms Holm.

1861 Census Return, Parish of Resolis – Ferryton, house with three rooms with one or more windows
Henrietta Holm head unmarried 54 pauper (laundrymaid) born Resolis
James Garden son unmarried 20 ag. lab. born Resolis [sic]
 
George McCulloch head 61 farmer of 34 acres, employing 2 labourerss & 1 boy born Resolis
Jane McCulloch wife 52 farmer’s wife born Resolis
John McCulloch son unmarried 23 ploughman born Resolis / George McCulloch son unmarried 21 farmer’s son born Resolis / Jessie McCulloch daughter 15 farmer’s daughter born Resolis / Gilbert McCulloch son 10 scholar born Resolis / Hugh McCulloch son 8 farmer’s son born Resolis / Angus McCulloch son 5 born Resolis

Henrietta stayed in the same location for several decades, as I see her in the same house in 1871 and 1881 in Lower Ferryton, next door to her sister Jane. And it was there that she died in 1886, and her name was duly added to the tablestone in Kirkmichael.


 

Appendix – Hector McPhail’s Glebe

Presbytery of Chanonry Minutes, 12 September 1769
Glebe of Cullicudden & Kirkmichael proposed to be exchanged for an Equivalent at Risollis.
Mr McPhail having represented to the Presbytery the great Inconvenience of having his Glebe & Manse so remote from each other, they recommended to him to embrace the first opportunity of Mr Gordon of Newhall’s being in the Country in order to have an Excambion of his Glebe, & to conveen the several members by a circular Letter any time he saw proper.

Presbytery of Chanonry Minutes, 14 November 1769
In consequence of a circular Letter subscribed by Mr Hector McPhail Minister of this Parish and dated the Ninth Currt. the Presbytery met & after Prayer Sederunt Messrs Robert Munro, Hector McPhail, Thomas Simpson, James Munro & David Denoon Ministers.
In regard Mr John Wood their ordinary Modr. is absent the Presby chose Mr James Munro to be Modr & Mr David Denoon Clk.
Mr McPhail reported that his Reason for conveening the Revd Presbytery upon this (pro re nata) occasion was in Consequence of their Recommendation & appointment upon him, at their Meeting the twelfth Day of September last & of a Communing he lately had with William Gordon Esqr of Newhall relative to the Exchange of his two Glebes for a Piece of Ground more adjacent to his present Manse & that he edictally cited all the several Heritors of the Parish to attend this meeting. The Presbytery approved of his Conduct & Therefore resolved to enter directly upon Business. The Presbytery caused read their Minute of the 12th September, which being accordingly done the Heritors were called & there compeared William Gordon Esqr of Newhall, Advocate George Munro of Pointsfield, Charles Urquhart of Brealanguel, Excuses were given in for Sir Roderick McKenzie of Scatwel, Mr Duff of Muirtown – and McKenzie of Culbo & for Urquhart of Kinbeachy.
Thereafter the Modr asked Mr Gordon of Newhall if he was willing to give a Piece of his Lands in Exchange to Mr McPhail for his present two Glebes the one lying at Cullicudden & the other at Kirkmichael and each of them surrounded on all sides by Mr Gordon’s Lands. To which Mr Gordon replied that he was willing to accept of Mr McPhail’s two Glebes & to give for them an Equivalent of his Land out of the Tack of Risollis as lying most adjacent to the present manse in order thereby to accommodate Mr McPhail the present Incumbent & his Successors in office. Mr Gordon of Newhall & Mr McPhail were thereafter desired to name two discreet men each of them who were acquainted with the several Lands, & accordingly they named Kenneth Urquhart, John Simpson, Thomas Fraser & William McKay, Tenants in the Parish, as proper Persons to consider the two Glebes & their hail Pertinents in Quantity & Quality and to adjudge what Proportion of the Land at Risollis should be an Equivalent for the Same. These four men, being called in, were solemnly sworn by the Presbytery & defined to perambulate the Glebe of Cullicudden and its Pertinents, and the Glebe of Kirkmichael with its Pertinents, and to consider the Quantity & Quality thereof and likewise to survey the Lands about the Manse belonging to Mr Gordon of Newhall & mark out such a Part thereof as they should judge equivalent to both the Glebes & all their Pertinents. After some considerable Time the above Surveyors returned to the Presbytery & reported that they had perambulated both the Glebes with their hail Pertinents, and did estimate the whole at fourteen Bolls yearly Rent; Having likewise perambulated the Tack of Risollis (out of which Mr Gordon proposeth to give the new Glebe) they did set apart that Portion thereof which is bounded on the West side by a Line marked out by them and drawn across the Fields on the west side of the House, on the North side by the King’s High Road, on the East side by a straight Line drawn from the North-East Point of the arable Ground down to the small Bridge or Syver across the new Road – now leading to the Church and from said Bridge or Syver to the March Stone which hath been presently erected in presence of the Presbytery. On the South side by a Line drawn from said March stone to the Foundation of the old Dyke lying without the arable Ground upon the moor or Heath and straight along said Dyke to the West Boundary.


Some of the features identified from 1769; photo courtesy of Black Isle Images

The surveyors, being judicially asked if they thought the Plot of Ground as above described was equal to what the Minister formerly possessed, declared in the affirmative, & further said that supposing the Quality of the Land about the Manse was not entirely equal to that of the Glebe at Cullicudden, yet it was better than some parts of the Glebe at Kirkmichael & that upon the whole it was more beneficial to the Minister to have his Glebe contiguous to the manse in regard he could annually labour it, whereas he could never expect any other Benefit from the Two Glebes than their yearly Rent allenarly [solely], because of their great Distance from him. The Presbytery considering the above Report did perambulate the Plot of Ground aforesaid and caused the same to be marked distinctly upon the several Sides by fixing a Number of March Stones, and the Presbytery did & hereby Do approve of said Report & with the Consent of Mr Hector McPhail the present Incumbent in the united Parish of Cullicudden & Kirkmichael have Designed & hereby Do Design the above said Plot of Ground lying and bounded as above to be the Glebe of said united Parish & to be possessed as such by the said Mr Hector McPhail & his Successors in office Ministers of the said Parish from the Date hereof and in all time coming. Like as on the other Hand the said Presbytery with the Consent of the said Mr Hector McPhail have disponed assigned & alienated & hereby Do Dispone assign & alienate the Glebe of Kirkmichael and the Glebe of Cullicudden with the hail Pertinents thereof to the foresaid William Gordon of Newhall – His Heirs and Successors whatsoever now & in all time coming. The Presbytery do likewise ordain that tho’ the new church be erected within the new Glebe as formerly described, yet that the two church yards shall remain in all time coming to be occupied as such & that no Part of the new Glebe shall ever be appropriated to that Purpose; and the said Presbytery resolve that such other Writs as may be judged necessary for making more effectual the above Excambion shall be duely made out and subscribed by them at the Sole Expence of the above William Gordon Esqr of Newhall, But always reserving to the said Mr Hector McPhail & his Successors in office full Liberty of Commonty & Pasturage, with Fuel, Fail & Divot, free Ish and Entry thereto according as he or his Predecessors Ministers of the said Parish have enjoyed the same.
In regard that most of the Heritors are now present, Mr Munro of Pointsfield produced his accompts & Vouchers for all the money disbursed on building and furnishing the new church & craved to be exonered from his undertaking thereof. The Presbytery & Heritors consented to said Request & having caused summoned David Henderson & John Graham Masons in Cromerty & William Matheson & John McKay Wrights in Culbokie these Workmen were solemnly sworn and desired to inspect all the several Parts of the church materials & Workmanship & report to the Presbytery. After some Time these Workmen returned & judicially declared that they inspected all the materials & Workmanship of the church and find the same unexceptionally sufficient and properly executed, and Therefor Pointsfield is Hereby exonered from his Undertaking for said church. Thereafter He gave in to the Presbytery an accompt of Thirty three pounds seventeen shilling & ten pence sterling which he disbursed for making the Pulpit, Latron, Ministers Seat, buying a Bell and other articles, which being examined was approven by Presbytery & Heritors, and the several Heritors present engaged for themselves & the absents to pay the same according to their respective Valuations. The Presby adjourned to the nineteenth of December next & closed with Prayer.
David Denoon Presby Clerk

 

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