OF MORAYSHIRE PARISHES
by Gordon Duffus
ALVES: "From a narrow seaboard of less than half a mile on the Moray Firth, midway between Findhorn and Burghead, Alves parish stretches southwards for some six miles, expanding to a maximum breadth of about 5 1/2 miles. Its area is 9,403 acres. On the north-east, it is bounded by the parish of Duffus, on the east by Spynie, on the south-east and east by Elgin and on the west by Rafford and Kinloss". Population: (1801) 1,049; (1811) 922; (1821) 947; (1831) 945; (1841) 913; (1851) 919; (1861) 1,010; (1871) 1,018; (1881) 1,117; (1891) 1,096
BOHARM: Parts of this parish used to be in Moray but all is now in Banffshire. The parish comprizes some 16,750 acres. It lies immediately west of Keith (3 miles) and is a "hilly, wooded, and very picturesque area".
BELLIE: "The parish of Bellie may be described as an outpost or bridgehead parish of Moray, lying to the east of the River Spey, which forms its western boundary, seperating it from the parish of Speymouth on the west and Urquhart on the north-west. On the north it is bounded by the Moray Firth and on the east the Tynet Burn divides it from the parish of Rathven in Banffshire. Other adjacent parishes are Keith on the south-east and Boharm on the south (both belonging to Banffshire) and the Moray parish of Rothes on the south-west. The parish is roughly 7 miles long (north to south) and varies in breadth from 2 to 4 1/2 miles. Its land area is 12,778 acres". Population: (1801) 1,802; (1811) 1,904; (1821) 2,235; (1831) 2,432; (1841) 2,434; (1851) 2,347; (1861) 2,292; (1871) 2,317; (1881) 2,365; (1891) 2,210
DUFFUS: ""The name "DUFFUS" (in 1290, Dufhus, and in 1512, Duffous) is probably derived from two Gaelic words, dubh uisg meaning "dark water'. At one time a large part of the district was below sea-level and pools of stagnant water were a conspicuous feature of the parish. Drifting sand and drainage have caused these pools to diminish gradually or disappear entirely, although, even now, if the system of ditches and canals is neglected, fields soon become flooded and justify the appellation "Duffus". It has also been suggested that the Loch of Spynie in its early days may have extended through Duffus to the sea, a short distance south of Burghead. The high-lying part of the parish is called Roseisle, which indicates that at one time the low-lying portion was submerged.
On the north and north-west the parish is bounded by the Moray Firth, on the south-west by Alves parish, on the south-east by Spynie and on the north-east by Drainie. In 1892 the parish boundary was altered, when a detached portion of Duffus was transferred to Spynie parish, by which it was already surrounded. On the same date a detached portion of Spynie was attached to Duffus. The length of the parish from east to west varies from 3 7/8 to 6 1/2 miles and its greatest breadth from north to south is 3 7/8 miles. Its total area is 9,565 acres". Population: (1801) 1,339; (1811) 1,623; (1821) 1,950; (1831) 2,308; (1841) 2,529; (1851) 2,983; (1861) 3,308; (1871) 3,716; (1881) 3,985; (1891) 4,293
DYKE: "The name of the parish is derived from two Gaelic words, dig, meaning a fen or a piece of low-lying marshy ground, and maigh, a plain or flat stretch of cultivated ground. The parish occupies the north-western corner of Moray and tapers inland from the Culbin Sands to a point near Craigiemore, where it meets the north-eastern tip of Ardclach parish in Nairn. On the north it borders the Moray Firth; to the east lies the parish of Forres, to the south the parish of Edinkillie, and on the west it adjoins the parish of Auldearn in the county of Nairn. The River Findhorn traces part of the eastern boundary. East of the river near Findhorn Bay an area of some 43 acres ay Moy Carse, which formed a detached portion of Nairn county, was transferred to Moray on 15 May, 1891 by the Boundary Commissioners. The parish is roughly 9 miles in length from north to south and 5 miles at its widest. The land area is now 13,719 acres, exclusive of 1,500 acres of foreshore. Except for its southern extremity, the parish is low-lying, and is noted for its woodlands and for the famous Culbin Sands". Population: (1801) 1,492; (1811) 1,427; (1821) 1,460; (1831) 1,451; (1841) 1,366; (1851) 1,369; (1861) 1,247; (1871)1,238; (1881) 1,236; (1891) 1,044
ELGIN: "Elgin, an inland parish of irregular outline, comprises the major portion of the city of Elgin in the extreme north, the region (including the village of New Elgin) a couple of miles southwards from the city boundary, and two landward "wings", one stretching 8 miles to the south-west up the Black or Lochty Burn and including Pluscarden, and the other and lesser landward projection extending 5 miles south-east to Coleburn in the Glen of Rothes. The maximum breadth of the civil parish is between 4 and 5 miles and the total area 19,159 acres, 800 acres of which is burghal area within the parish. The adjoing parishes are: Spynie to the north; St. Andrews-Lhanbyrd to the north-east and east; Rothes, Birnie, and Dallas to the south; and Alves to the north-east". Population: (1801) 4,345; (1811) 4,602; (1821) 5,308; (1831) 6,130; (1841) 6,083; (1851) 7,277; (1861) 8,726; (1871) 8,604; (1881) 8,741; (1891) 9,285
FORRES: "The parish of Forres is irregular in countour - a long narrow strip running from north to south, with a projection penetrating eastwards into the adjoining parish of Rafford, which it almost divides. The area of the parish is 5,470 acres, its maximum length about 6 3/4 miles. On the north it is bounded by Findhorn Bay, east by the parishes of Kinloss and Rafford, south by Rafford. south-west by Edinkillie, and west by Dyke and Moy". Population: (1801) 3,114; (1811) 2,925; (1821) 3,540; (1831) 3,895; (1841) 3,711; (1851) 4,069; (1861) 4,112; (1871) 4,562; (1881) 4,752: (1891) 4,801
KINLOSS: "The parish of Kinloss lies to the north-east of Forres. It is approximately square in shape, each side being 3 and four miles in length. It is bounded on the west by the parish of Forres, by a line running through the middle of Findhorn Bay to the mouth of the River Findhorn; on the north by the Moray Firth; on the east by the parish of Alves; and on the south by a line dividing it from the parishes of Forres and Rafford. It is flat territory, lying, for the most part, at sea-level and, at its highest points, rarely rising much above 100 feet. The area of the parish is 5,199 acres (plus some 1,100 acres of foreshore and water)". The name Kinloss probably derives from two Gaelic words, kain & loch, meaning `the head of the lake'. Population: (1801) 917; (1811) 1,052; (1821) 1,071; (1831) 1,121; (1841) 1,202;(1851) 1,370; (1861) 1,315; (1871) 1,112; (1881) 1,072; (1891) 958
KNOCKANDO: "The parish of Knockando is bounded on the south, east, and south-east by the River Spey which winds north-eastward, seperating it from the parishes of Inveron and Aberlour in Banffshire. On the north-east it is bounded by the parish of Rothes; on the north-west by Dallas; on the west by Edinkillie, and on the south-west by Cromdale, Inverallan, and Advie, all parishes in Moray. The land area is 28, 078 acres. Its length from the south-west corner on Carn Kitty (1,711 feet above sea-level) to Craigellachie Bridge in the north-east corner (300 feet above sea-level0 is over 12 miles. Knockando, in Gaelic (Cnocan Dhu), means `Blackhillock' or `Market Hill'. Population: (1801) 1,432; (1811) 1,332; (1821) 1,414; (1831) 1,497; (1841) 1,676;(1851) 1,771; (1861) 1,736; (1871) 1,909; (1881) 1,838; (1891) 1,712
RAFFORD: "The name of the parish has undergone various changes throughout the years, but it is generally believed that the word "Rafford" was originally derived from the Gaelic rath ard meaning `high fort'. An alternative explanation is , rath -a sheiling and ard height, giving the meaning "the sheiling on the height".
The outline of the parish has shown no change since the New Statistical Account (1843). It marches with the parish of Kinloss to the north, Alves to the north-east, the Pluscarden area of Elgin to the east, Dallas to the south-east, Edinkillie to the south and south-west, and Forres west and north-west. The only marked irregularities in its boundary are where it strikes down to the farm of Cassieford, near Forres, and where it is cut by the arrow head of Forres parish which shoots up into Rafford through New Forres until it reaches the top of the Califer Hill. The parish is 12,458 acres in area". Population: (1801) 1,030; (1811) 974; (1821) 970; (1831) 992; (1841) 987; (1851) 1,020: (1861) 1,055; (1871) 1,101; (1881) 1,052; (1891) 982
ROTHES: "The parish of Rothes is bounded on the north by the parishes of St. Andrews-Lhanbyrd and Speymouth, on the north-east by Bellie, on the east by Boharm (Banffshire) , on the south-east by Aberlour (Banffshire) , on the south by Knockando, and on the west by Dallas, Birnie, and Elgin. On 15 May, 1891, part of the parish formerly lying in the county of Banff was transferred to Moray so that all of the parish is now within Moray. From its boundary with Knockando in the south to Speymouth in the north, Rothes is 10 miles long and has an are of 19,890 acres". Population: (1801) 1,521; (1811) 1,605: (1821) 1.642; (1831) 1,709; (1841) 1,843; (1851) 2,022; (1861) 2,407; (1871) 2,148; (1881) 2,201; (1891) 2,299
SPEYMOUTH: "Speymouth is bounded on the north and north-west by the parish of Urquhart; on the east by the River Spey, which seperates it from Bellie, the only Moray parish lying entirerly along the right bank of the river; on the south and south-east by Rothes parish , and on the south-west by the parish of St. Andrews-Lhanbyrd. The parish consists of the old suppressed parishes of Essil and Dipple, which were united in 1731. The land area of the parish, which includes the village of Mosstodloch and the hamlet, Crofts of Dipple, is 6,776 acres". Population: (1801) 1,236; (1811) 1,124; (1821) 1,401; (1831) 1,476; (1841)1,774; (1851) 1,898; (1861) 689; (1871) 634; (1881) 656; (1891) 616
SPYNIE (NEW SPYNIE): "This inland parish of Moray, Spynie (called New Spynie in The Statistical Account-1835) lies north of Elgin parish. Bishopmill, a suburb of the city of Elgin, falls within the boundary of the parish. Spynie extends about 5 miles east to west and some 2 miles north to south. The other surounding parishes are Alves to the west, Duffus and Drainie to the north, and St. Andrews-Lhanbyrd to the east. The land area is 5,859 acres". Population: (1801) 843; (1811) 816; (1821) 996; (1831)1,121; (1841) 1,164; (1851) 1,344