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Ordnance gazetteer of Scotland > Volume 6

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(278) Page 456 - TUR
men of Buchan. This establishment had a warden and
six chaplains, who wore the dress of secular monks ;
and it possessed, with some limitations, the right of
sanctuary for criminals. King Robert Bruce appears to
have further endowed it for the maintenance of a chap-
lain to say masses for his brother Nigel Bruce, slain by
the English after their capture of the Castle of Kil-
drummy. In 1412 the church was erected into a
prebend of Aberdeen, and its parsons or prebendaries of
the parish seem to have always been the wardens of the
hospital ; at least, from that date till the Reformation,
they held the lands with which the Earl of Buchan had
endowed it. In 1511, the whole kirklands, village,
and glebe were, by a charter under the great seal,
erected into a free burgh-of-barony, in favour of Thomas
Dickson, prebendary of Turriff. The church is said to
have been a stately structure, 120 feet long and 18 wide;
but only the choir and belfry remain. The belfry con-
tains a fine toned bell, bearing date 1557, which, having
for thirty-four years been transferred to the new parish
church, was restored to its former position in 1828,
when a clock was purchased by public subscription ;
and in the choir has been discovered a curious wall-
painting of St Ninian. A monument on the N wall
bears the date 1636, and six Latin elegiacs on one of the
Barclays of Tollie. In the churchyard are several other
interesting monuments, belonging to the 16th and the
17th century ; and here, too, is buried Bishop Alex-
ander Jolly, D.D. (1755-1838), the first ten years of
whose ministry were spent at Turriff. (See Fraser-
burgh.) The present parish church was built in 1794,
and enlarged in 1830. A plain but commodious edifice, it
was adorned in 1875 with a stained-glass window to the
memory of the late Garden William Duff, Esq. of Hatton.
The Free church, built soon after the Disruption, is a
somewhat more ambitious structure. St Congan's Epis-
copal church (1867) is a good Early English building,
consisting of porch, nave, a SW tower and spire 80 feet
high, and chancel — the last erected as a memorial of
Bishop Jolly. It has an organ and several fine-stained
Bleaching, dyeing, and the manufacture of carpets
(started in 1760), of linen yarn (1767), and of woollen
cloth, belong wholly or almost wholly to the past ;
and the pickled pork trade is now the staple industry,
Turriff in this respect having earned the title of the
' Chicago of Scotland. ' At the station are coal, lime,
and manure stores, a steam-mill, and a large granary.
Cattle markets are held on the second and fourth
Wednesdays of every month ; and feeing markets on
the Saturday before 27 May, the fourth Wednesday of
July, and the Saturday before 23 Nov. A burgh of
barony since 1511, the town adopted certain provisions
of the Police Improvement (Scotland) Act of 1850 in
1858, and in 1874 nearly all the provisions of the
Lindsay Act ; so that, as a police burgh, it is now
governed by a senior and two junior magistrates and 6
police commissioners. There are burgh police and
justice of peace courts ; and sheriff small debt courts
sit four times a year, in March, June, Sept., and Dec.
The municipal voters numbered 370 in 1883-84, when
the annual value of real property amounted to £4882,
whilst the revenue, including assessments, was £379.
Pop. of town (1821) 922, (1841) 1309, (1861) 1843,
(1871) 2277, (1881) 2304, of whom 1281 were females.
Houses (1881) 564 inhabited, 18 vacant, 2 building.
Turriff or Turra, as the name is vulgarly pronounced,
has been variously derived from the Gaelic torr, ' a
mound or round hill,' and tur, 'a tower.' In support
of the latter etymology, the writer in the New Statistical
(1842) observes that ' in the memory of persons alive
till lately the remains of towers were to be seen ; and
those of one of them still exist in the gateway and
vaults of an old and now almost ruinous building
known by the name of "Castle Rainy."' The
Knights-Templars appear to have had an establishment
at Turriff or property in its vicinity ; and a spot of
ground on the S still bears the name of Temple Brae.
•On 22 April 1589 James VI. passed a night in Turriff,
which fifty years later made its first and last prominent
figure in history. Early in 1639 the Marquis of Huntly
assembled his forces first at Turriff, and afterwards at
Kintore, whence he marched upon Aberdeen, which he
took possession of in name of the King. The Marquis,
being informed shortly after his arrival in Aberdeen
that a meeting of Covenanters, who resided within his
district, was to be held at Turriff on 14 Feb., resolved
to disperse them. He therefore wrote letters to his
chief dependants, requiring them to meet him at
Turriff the same day, and bring with them no arms but
swords and ' schottis ' or pistols. One of these letters
fell into the hands of the Earl of Montrose, then one of
the chief Covenanting lords, who determined at all
hazards to protect the meeting of his friends, the
Covenanters. In pursuance of this resolution he
collected with great alacrity some of his best friends in
Angus, and with his own and their dependants, to the
number of about 800 men, he crossed the mountain
range between Angus and Aberdeenshire, and took pos-
session of Turriff on the morning of 14 Feb. When
Huntly's party arrived during the course of the day,
they were surprised at seeing the little churchyard of
the village filled with armed men ; and they were still
more surprised to observe them levelling their hagbuts
at them across the walls of the churchyard. Not
knowing how to act in the absence of the Marquis,
they retired to a place called the Broad Ford of Towie,
about 2 miles S of the village, where they were soon
joined by Huntly and his suite. After some consulta-
tion the Marquis paraded his men in order of battle
along the NW side of the village in sight of Montrose,
and dispersed his party, which amounted to 2000 men,
without offering to attack Montrose, on the pretence
that his commission of lieutenancy only authorised him
to act on the defensive. This bloodless affair is known
as the 'First Paid of Turray.' Three months later a
body of the Covenanters, to the number of about 2000,
having assembled at Turriff, the Gordons resolved
instantly to attack them before they should be joined
by other forces, which were expected to arrive before the
20th of May. Taking along with them four brass field-
pieces from Strathbogie, the Gordons, to the number of
800 horse and foot, commenced their march on 13 May
at ten o'clock at night, and reached Turriff next morning
by daybreak by a road unknown to the sentinels of the
Covenanting army. As soon as they approached the
town the commander of the Gordons ordered the
trumpets to be sounded and the drums to be beat, the
noise of which was the first indication the Covenanters
had of their arrival. Being thus surprised the latter
had no time to make any preparations for defending
themselves. They made, indeed, a brief resistance, but
were soon dispersed by the fire from the field-pieces,
leaving behind them the lairds of Echt and Skene, and
a few others, who were taken prisoners. The loss on
either side in killed and wounded was very trifling.
The skirmish, which is called by writers of the period
' the Trott of Turray,' has ' some claim to commemora-
tion, since in this distant village,' says Dr Hill Burton,
' the first blood was spilt in the great civil war. It
was remembered, too, in the North, though the many
turns in the mighty conflict drove it out of memory
elsewhere, that it was on the side of the Cavaliers that
the sword was first drawn. '
The parish contains also Auchterless station at its
southern, and Plaidy station at its northern, extremity,
the former being 4 miles SSE, and the latter 4£ N by
E, of Turriff station. It is bounded N by King-Edward,
E by Monquhitter, SE by Fyvie, S by Auchterless, and
SW, W, and NW by Inverkeithny, Marnoch, and
Forglen, in Banffshire. Its utmost length, from N by
W to S by E, is 7§ miles ; its breadth varies between 2|
and 6g miles ; and its area is 28£ square miles or
18,488| acres, of which 102^ are water. The beautiful
river Deveron curves 1J mile northward, 3 \ miles
east-north-eastward, and 2J north-north-westward along
all the Marnoch and Forglen boundary ; and Idooh
Water, its affluent, after roughly tracing If mile of

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