HISTORY OF THE GARIOCH
The province of the Garioch (pronounced "Gearee"), consists of the
parishes of Kennethmont, Insch, Culsalmond, Rayne, Daviot, Meldrum,
Bourtie, Keithhall and Kinkell, Kintore, Kemnay, Monymusk, Oyne,
Premnay, Leslie, Clatt, Chapel of Garioch and Inverurie.
It could be termed the heartland of Aberdeenshire, has been agriculturally
productive for hundreds of years and for this reason has been known as
"the meal girnal" of Aberdeenshire.
It is drained by the rivers Don, Ury and Gadie. It's most familiar landmark
is Bennachie (1733 ft) whose peak in the parish of Oyne can be seen from
all over N. E. Scotland, even as far away as Fraserburgh.
That is the hill pictured on the Front Page.
Malcolm IV created the Earldom of the Garioch in 1160 and conferred it
on his brother David. It was administered at that time from the two Royal
Castles of Inverurie (the Bass) and Dunnideer.
Extensive land gifts were made from the Earldom to the Church. With
progressive organisation of Scotland into a feudal state, Royal Burghs
were founded at Inverurie and Kintore. Oldmeldrum and Old Rayne were
later made Burghs of Barony. Various battles have taken place in the
Garioch, and the events of the Reformation in the 16th century led to the
redistribution of church lands.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, with more peaceful times, a set of new
stone castles and mansions were built in the Garioch, notably Pitcaple
and Leslie Castles. Royal visitors to Pitcaple include James IV,
Mary Queen of Scots, and Charles II.
In 1827 a great famine in the Garioch encouraged the lairds to bring in
new methods of agriculture, and farming efficiency was further advanced
by the improvement in transport made possible by the 18 mile Aberdeen -
Port Elphinstone Canal completed in the early 19th century, creating a
direct link with Aberdeen Harbour. Transport was again revolutionised
when the Great North of Scotland railway line was opened using parts of
the canal bed. Click on the Wikimedia button for more information.
The first train ran on the 19th September 1854 from
Kittybrewster station in Aberdeen to Huntly through the Garioch.
The railway ended the coaching days and some of the smaller fairs.
New villages grew up around it and others, by-passed, declined.
Inverurie prospered the most.
Today the Garioch remains an important part of the North East, with a
rich historical background and a long established agricultural tradition.
Acknowledgements to the late Dr. John Smith
Aberdeen University, Geography Dept.