INVERNESS,1 a parish in the shire of Inverness; bounded on the north-east by the Beauly and the Moray friths; on the east by Petty; on the south-east and south by Croy and Daviot; on the south-west by Loch-Ness and the parish of Dores; and on the west by Urquhart, Kiltarlity, and Kirkhill. Its length from north-east to south-west is 14 miles; and its average breadth 2½. It may be considered as the north-eastern portion of the Great glen of Caledonia. The appearance of the country is diversified, – partly flat, and partly mountainous: see succeeding article. On the south the surface rises to an elevation of about 400 feet; on the north the acclivity is higher and more precipitous. The elevation of Loch-Ness above sea-level is only 46 feet. The coast-line is flat, and well-cultivated. The soil is fertile; the general character of it is – with some exceptions – a black loam, rather light and on a gravelly bottom. LOCH-NESS is partly in this parish: see that article. The river NESS, which intersects the parish for 8 miles, will also form the subject of a separate article. Among the minor streams are Inches burn, and the burns of Holm, Dochfour, and Aberiachan. The most remarkable hill is Tomna-hurich, near the town, on the west side of the river. It is a beautiful isolated mount, nearly resembling a ship with her keel uppermost. It stands on a base, whose length is 1,984 feet, and breadth 176; its elevation, from the channel of the river, is 250 feet. A little to the west of this hill is another gravel mount called Tor-a’-Bhean, which rises to the height of about 300 feet. The elevation of Craig-Phadric from the sea-level is 435 feet. The number of arable acres in this parish, when the Old Statistical Account was written, was supposed to be about 5,000; in the New Statistical Account they are calculated at from 8,000 to 9,000, with about 1,000 improvable. The land-rent of the whole parish was, in the year 1754, 3,268 bolls and 3 firlots victual, and £575 7s. 11⅓d. sterling. The boll at that period was valued to the tenant at 9 merks Scots, or 10s. sterling, with customs and services, which were of little value to the proprietor, but often of distressing consequences to the tenant. Its present rental is about £20,000. At the close of last century, lands let at from 13s. to £2 an acre; the present rent is from £1 to £2 10s. per acre. Ground near the town lets at from £5 to £7.2 Population, in 1801, 8,732; in 1831, 14,324; in 1841, 15,308. Assessed property of the parish, in 1815, £14,980; of the burgh, £13,161. Houses, in 1831, 2,125.
Two military roads pass through the parish; and are kept in repair by Government. There are two bridges over the Ness in this parish. The principal of them is a beautiful structure of seven ribbed arches, built in the year 1685. It is a toll-bridge, by act of parliament, and makes a good addition to the revenue of the town. The other was built in 1808, at an expense of £4,000. A pontage is also levied at it. About a mile above the town an island in the Ness has been connected with the opposite banks by suspension bridges. There were in ancient times several unimportant rencounters and skirmishes in this parish. The only memorable battle was that of the 16th of April, 1746, – the important and decisive battle of CULLODEN: which see. – There were several years ago, near the town, and due east from it, on the upper plain of the parish, several Druidical temples. These have been blasted for the purpose of building farm-houses and offices. At some distance from the mouth of the river Ness, a considerable way within flood-mark, there is a large cairn of stones, the origin of which is of very remote antiquity. It is called Cairn airc, that is, ‘the Cairn of the sea.’ There is a beacon erected on Cairn airc, to apprize vessels coming into the river of danger from it. – In the Beauly frith, due west from this cairn, there are three cairns at considerable distances, one from the other. The largest is in the middle of the frith, and accessible at low water. It appears to have been a burying-place, by the urns which were discovered in it. – Oliver Cromwell’s fort, and other ancient buildings, will be noticed in our description of the town of Inverness. – The vitrified fort, on the summit of CRAIG-PHADRIC, is a very remarkable structure: see that article.
This parish, formerly a rectory with the ancient rectory of Bona united, is in the presbytery of Inverness, and synod of Moray. There are three livings in the parish, and two portions of the parish have recently been erected into quoad sacra parishes by authority of the church-courts. The 1st and 3d livings are in the gift of the Crown. Fraser of Lovat is patron of the 2d. The High church was built in 1772; sittings 1,260. The Gaelic church was built in 1794; sittings 1,220. The three ministers officiate alternately in these two churches, and in a new church recently built at an expense of £2,000, and seating 1,800. The annual stipend of the two senior ministers is £276 10s. 2d.; glebe £50. They had formerly manses; but they became ruinous and were sold; and the one minister receives £3 10s., and the other £1 13s., being the interest of the money got for them. The unappropriated teinds are valued at £1,073 11s. 6d. The junior or 3d minister has £150, with £25 for a glebe. – The eastern portion of the parish was erected, in 1834, into the quoad sacra East parish. It embraces a distance of above 5 miles in length, by 2 in breadth, with a population of 1,980 in 1836. The church was built in 1798, and altered in 1822; sittings 1,158; cost £1,400. Minister’s stipend £80, but is at present about £200. – The North church was built, in 1837, at an expense of £1,400; sittings 1,040. Stipend £160, secured by bond of the managers. — An Episcopalian congregation has existed in the parish since the Revolution. The former chapel was built in 1801; sittings 280; cost £1,000; but a new chapel containing 600 sittings has recently been erected for this congregation. Stipend £180, with the rent of a small piece of ground within the town, yielding about £5 per annum. The minister usually officiates every Sunday at Fort-George. – A congregation in connexion with the Secession church was formed in this parish in the latter quarter of last century, but was afterwards given up. It was revived in 1817, and a church built in 1821; sittings 650. Stipend £100, with manse and sacramental expenses. – An Independent church was established a considerable number of years ago; and a chapel built for its use about 1826; sittings 630; cost £800. – A Roman Catholic congregation was established in 1800; chapel built in 1836; sittings 450; cost £2,000. Stipend £50, with a manse. There is a small Wesleyan Methodist congregation. – The ecclesiastical edifices are described in the succeeding article.
INVERNESS, a sea-port, an important town, a royal burgh, the seat of a presbytery, the capital of the Northern Highlands, and the supposed original metropolis of Pictavia, stands 19½ miles south-south-west of Cromarty, 38½ west-south-west of Elgin, 61½ north-east of Fort-William, 118½ west-north-west of Aberdeen, and 156½ north-north-west of Edinburgh. Its site is on both banks – chiefly the right one – of the river Ness, from ½ a mile to 1½ mile above its entrance into that long and beautiful demi-semi-circular sweep of marine waters which, inward from this point, is called the Beauly frith or loch, and outward, is assigned a community of name with the great gulf of the Moray frith. Three large openings, – the basin of the Beauly frith from the west, – that of the Moray frith from the north-east, – and the divergent termination of the Glenmore-nan-Albin from the south, – meet at the town and pour around it a rich confluence of the beauties of landscape, and the advantages of communication. A plain, marked with few inequalities, lying at but a slight elevation above sea-level, and luxurious in its soil and its embellishments, stretches inward from the friths, and bears on its bosom the whole of the town except the southern outskirts. A bank about 90 feet high, part of a great terrace which sweeps along from the vicinity of Loch-Ness to the river Spey, rises behind the town, and gives a charming site to a sprinkling of villas and the newest suburban erections. Stretching into the interior from this bank, and forming a table-land equal to it in elevation, lies a plain from one to three miles broad, worked into high cultivation, feathered at intervals with trees, and numerously gemmed with country-seats. The mountain-ridges which screen the Glenmore-nan-Albin, seem to do homage to this plain; they subside from their sternness into picturesque hill-beauty; they lose, as they approach it, both their loftiness and their asperity; and they file off, on the east side, into a smooth and gently-declining ridge about 400 feet high, and, on the west side, into a gorgeous range of many-shaped and many-tinted hills, rocky, scaured, or wooded on their sides, tabular or rounded in their summits, and terminating about two miles west of the town in the magnificent CRAIG-PHADRIC, which lifts a mimic forest into mid-air, and is “distinguished by its beautiful tabular summit, and a succession of bold rocky escarpments along its acclivities:” see CRAIG-PHADRIC. The highest adorning of husbandry and gardening and arboriculture along the plain, and hanging woods, verdant slopes, frontlets of rock, and a variety of outline in the hills, fling enchantment over the scenery immediately landward of Inverness ; and yet they act but as a foil to the splendid combinations of lowland and marine and mountainous landscape which hang in a profusion of splendour around the town. The mountain-barriers which rise up on the comparatively near horizon, and form, along their summits, a bold well-defined sky-line, exquisitely contrast as a back-ground with the amenities and the lusciousness of the vales and the waters which they enclose. A serrated range on the south-west and south lifts up at its termination in the far distance the fine cupola of Mealfourvounie, well-known to the navigators of the friths as a land-mark, and to the natives as a barometer: see MEALFOURVOUNIE. Peaks, which in mid-summer are capped with clouds, and over a large part of the year are snow-clad, tower aloft in clusters toward the west, round the head of Loch-Beauly. A hilly range, very picturesque in its features, flanks the opposite shore of the friths, and runs off toward Fortrose to terminate in the rugged heights called the Sutors of Cromarty; but, beyond this, though at no great distance, rises the huge form of Benwyvis, upwards of 3,500 feet in height, seldom snowless even in mid-summer, and sending off elongated heath-clad spurs, which look, in their relation to the landscapes below them, like the rough and ruthless guardians of blushing and unjustly suspected beauty: see BENWYVIS. The Moray frith, or that fine indentation of it which is here made to monopolize its name, carries the eye north-eastward between shores which, while they rival each other, jointly rival Scotland in attraction, to the far-away mountain-ranges of Elgin, Banff, Sutherland, and Caithness, appearing in the dim blue distance like things of sight vanishing into the filmy but assured objects of faith. While we smile, then, at the enthusiasm of the not very enthusiastic Dr. McCulloch, we can hardly refrain from quietly sympathizing with it when, comparing Inverness with the superb metropolis of Scotland, he says: “When I have stood in Queen-street of Edinburgh, and looked towards Fife, I have sometimes wondered whether Scotland contained a finer view of its class. But I have forgotten this on my arrival at Inverness. Surely if a comparison is to be made with Edinburgh, always excepting its own romantic disposition, the frith of Forth must yield the palm to the Moray frith, the surrounding country must yield altogether, and Inverness must take the highest rank. * * Each outlet is different from the others, and each is beautiful; whether we proceed towards Fort-George, or towards Moy, or enter the valley of the Ness, or skirt the shores of the Beauly frith, while a short and commodious ferry wafts us to the lovely country opposite, rich with wood, and country-seats, and cultivation. It is the boast, also, of Inverness to unite two opposite qualities, and each in the greatest perfection, – the characters of a rich open lowland country with those of the wildest alpine scenery, both also being close at hand, and in many places intermixed; while to all this is added a series of maritime landscape not often equalled.”
Approaching the town by the old military road from Fort-Augustus along the right bank of the Ness, we pass the parliamentary boundary at Altnaskiah burn, and travel 5 furlongs due north, with the river immediately on our left, and a rich studding of mansions and villas on our right. At the end of 3½ furlongs we pass through the little manufacturing suburb of Haugh; and immediately beyond it, at a point whence the Culduthil and the Old Edinburgh roads sharply diverge, we enter the main body of the burgh. A few yards before us, close on the margin of the river, is the Castle-hill, a mere projection of the bank or terrace which flanks the lower plain of the Ness. A stripe, or slightly winged single street, round the east and south-east sides of the Castle-hill, and a cross-street winged with alleys on the south, are the oldest existing parts of Inverness: occupying the site of its humble tenements when a mere village, and exhibiting not a few antiquarian remnants of its condition during the later ages of feudalism. Eighty or a hundred yards below the Castle-hill, the river is spanned by the old bridge: and thence, or rather from the Castle-hill, it runs for half-a-mile north-north-westward, and, over that distance, carries down in the same direction, and on its right bank, the chief district of the town. The High-street, at first narrow, and bearing the name of Bridge-street, but afterwards spacious and airy, extends 320 yards north-eastward, on a line with the old bridge, cutting nearly at right angles the thoroughfares which run parallel with the river. Petty-street continues the High-street for about 100 yards, and then forks into two lines, both of which speedily subside into unedificed highways, the one leading on to the great road along the Moray frith to Aberdeen, and the other to the great Highland road through Badenoch and Glengarry to Perth. A moundish rising ground, called the Crown, and situated a little east of the forking of Petty-street, was anciently surmounted by the original castle of Inverness, and overlooked the earliest houses of the pristine town, and the alleged site of the ancient cross. Church-street, at about 130 yards’ distance from the river, extends 500 yards north-north-westward, and, is continued about 170 yards by Chapel-street. From the upper end of Chapel-street, and going off from it at a very acute angle, Academy-street extends 450 yards south-eastward and north-westward; forming the hypothenuse of a short-based, right-angled triangle, while the greater part of Church-street forms the perpendicular, and a street which connects them on a line parallel with High-street forms the base. Most of the area within the triangle is unedificed; but all the space lying between it and High-street, is a dense phalanx of alleys, brief streets, and interior courts, – the most crowded district in the burgh. Six or seven streets, wholly or partially edificed, run down from Church-street and the end of Chapel-street to the river; and on the last of these touching it, it makes a rapid bend from the north-north-west to the north-north-east, so as to be spanned 360 yards lower down by the new bridge, carrying across a thoroughfare which approaches nearly on a straight line from Chapel-street. A few yards below the new bridge is the old pier, and 300 yards farther down is the new harbour, both flanked by Shore-street, extending due north, now on the margin of the river, and now at a considerable distance. – The part of the town which lies on the left bank of the Ness, though all modern, and gracefully laid out, is not strictly continuous or compact, and presents such diversity of street arrangement as cannot in sufficiently few words be properly described. Its streets proportionately to its aggregate bulk, are surprisingly numerous, and charmingly interlaced. In a general view, it is a belt of edifices between 5 and 6 furlongs in length, and from 100 to 420 yards wide, folded along the margin, and following the curvature of the river, from the old bridge to a point opposite the new harbour. Tomnahurich-street, running upwards of 400 yards off nearly on a line with the old bridge, leads out to the road along the north side of Loch-Ness by Urquhart to Glenmoriston, Glenshiel, and Skye. King-street, running parallel with the river, and Telford-street, continuing King-street, but curving away to the east-north-east, point the way across the commencement of the Caledonian canal, and past the canal-basin at little more than ¼ of a mile’s distance to the great north road by Beauly to Dingwall and Tain. On this road, immediately above the sea-lock of the canal, and just within the parliamentary boundary of the burgh, lies the fishing-village of CLACHNAHARRY: which see. In the extreme north, and in the vicinity of the new bridge, the western division of the town, after having become narrowed, opens in a half fan-like form into Grant, North King, Nelson, Brown, and other streets, and sends off a brief road to Kessock ferry, which, from a pier at the mouth of the Ness, maintains easy and frequent communication with the beautiful coast along the Ross-shire side of the frith. – All the western town, and nearly all the outskirts, as well as some of the interior of the eastern town, may at present compare, in general neatness and taste of masonry, and in the aggregate properties which produce a pleasing impression, with any modern town of its size in the United Kingdom. Even the older streets fully compensate for their want of regularity and beauty, by interesting remains of a picturesqueness which, at a very recent date, arrayed them in gable-end constructions, arched gateways, hanging balconies, projecting towers, and round turnpike stairs. Though a crowded winter-seat of aristocracy, and packed with mansions, in the Flemish style, belonging to the landed proprietors of an extensive circumjacent country, the town – even so late as the middle of last century – had few houses which were not thatched with heath or straw, or which contained ceiled or plastered rooms; while, at a still later date, it knew nothing of the luxuries of municipal police. About 60 or 70 years ago, the magistrates, in order to induce parties to edifice the airy and modern thoroughfares, granted perpetual feu-rights for very trilling sums, and urged forward the erections by the most condescending encouragements. As the last century closed, Provost William Inglis, a patriotic and energetic citizen, who died in 1801, achieved great improvements in modernizing and polishing the burgh, and strongly impelled it toward its present position. In 1831, a process was commenced, and soon afterwards was completed, of causewaying the carriage-ways with granite, laying the side-paths with Caithness flag, and ramifying the whole town with common sewers. The cost of this great and beautifying improvement exceeded £6,000, and was defrayed by an assessment of 2½ per cent, on house-rents. A suit of gas-works, erected at the expense of £8,757, lights the town with gas, – said to be the best in the kingdom; and water-works, which, along with the conveying pipes, cost £4,872, afford an ample supply of water.
The public buildings of Inverness, though possessing no remarkable features of elegance or beauty, are both creditable and interesting. A suite of county buildings, which crowns the Castle-hill, and was erected, in 1835, at a cost of about £7,000, and after a design by Mr. Burn of Edinburgh, strongly arrest the eye of a stranger. The commanding site of the edifices, the neatness of their architecture, their resemblance to a spacious English castle, and their interior commodiousness and beauty, unite to render them superior to most Scottish buildings of their class. – At the corner of Church-street and High-street stands the jail, surmounted by a remarkably handsome spire 150 feet high. They were built in 1791, at the cost of about £3,400, only £1,800 of which was expended on the jail. The spire resembles that of St. Andrew’s church in Edinburgh, and was built by the same architect, but excels it in symmetry, and is remarkably handsome. Its top, however, was severely twisted by the earthquake of 1816, and is ragged and ruinous. The jail – though a vast improvement when it was built, and pronounced by the Old Statistical Account, “such as would give pleasure to the benevolent Howard,” has for many years been too small, admits of little or no classification, is situated in a principal thoroughfare, and has no open courts or facilities of any sort for airing and exercise, or for classification. But for 6 or 7 years past measures have been in progress to erect a new jail – which is here wanted, not merely for the burgh or for Inverness-shire, but for the northern counties – on a site on the Castle-hill, contiguous to the County-buildings, and accordant with them in greatness and tastefulness of design. – In High-street, nearly opposite the head of Church-street, stand, clustered in one edifice, the Town-hall and the Exchange, an unornamented building, erected in 1708. In front of it stands the ancient cross of the town; and at the base of this is a curious, blue, lozenge-shaped stone, reckoned the palladium of the burgh, and called Clach–na–cudden, ‘the Stone of the tubs,’ from its having been a noted resting-place for the water-pitchers or deep tubs of bygone generations of women when passing from the river. In the front wall of the Exchange and Town-house, the armorial bearings of the town – a shield representing the Crucifixion, and supported by an elephant and a camel, with the motto ‘Concordia et Fidelitas’ – together with the royal arms, are beautifully carved. In the town-hall are good portraits of Sir John Barnard and Sir Hector Munro, benefactors to the town, the former painted by Ramsay; a full-length portrait, by Syme of Edinburgh, of Provost Robertson of Aultnaskiach, hung up as a testimonial of respect by his fellow-citizens; and a copy of the original portrait, by Ramsay, of the celebrated Flora Macdonald, presented by Mr. Frazer of Madras, a native of the town. – Near the head of Church-street stands a high and spacious but clumsy and heavy edifice, called the Northern Meeting-rooms, built by subscription, and elegantly fitted up into a ball-room and a dining-room, each 60 feet long and 30 wide, and respectively 20 and 18 feet high. – On the north-east side of Academy-street stands the Inverness Academy, an extensive erection, handsome but not showy, opened, in 1792, for the education, on a liberal scale, of the families of the upper classes throughout the Northern Highlands. It has a large pleasure-ground behind for the recreation of the scholars; and is distributed in the interior into classrooms for five masters, and a public hall embellished with a bust, by Westmacott, of Hector Fraser, an eminent teacher of Inverness, and with a masterly painting of the Holy Family variously ascribed to Sasso Ferrato and to Perino de Vaga. The Academy was erected by numerous and munificent subscriptions, is upheld by a fund of upwards of £6,000, besides an annual grant of £70 from the town; has a body of directors who are incorporated by royal charter; and affords liberal training in all departments of a commercial and a classical education, with the elements of mathematics and philosophy. The Northern institution for the promotion of science and literature, established in 1825, have provided the Academy with a valuable museum, and promise to append to it lectureships in the physical sciences. – The Old academy, or hospital, situated near the lower end of Church-street, was bequeathed, in 1668, to the community by Provost Alexander Dunbar; and, since the transference of its funds, in the form of the annual grant, to the New Academy, it has been fitted up for a public library, a lady’s school, a soup-kitchen, and some other kindred purposes. – On a tumulated part or swell of the bank immediately south of the Castle-hill, and constituting the highest ground within the limits or the environs of the boundaries, stands a neat and commanding edifice, very recently erected for the accommodation of various public charities of the burgh, and surmounted by an octagonal tower, which terminates in a dome, and is fitted up as an observatory. The institutions which it accommodates are a school for females, a female work-society, an infant-school on the plan of Mr. Wilderspin, and a society for giving clothes and blankets to the poor. – The central or model-school of ‘the Society for Educating the poor in the Highlands,’ instituted in 1818, – Raining’s school, endowed by a bequest, in 1747, of £1,000, – a large subscription-school for the poor in the suburb of Merkinch, – and the retreats of some of the more subordinate but useful schools of the town, – are edifices which refresh the mind unspeakably more by the associations which they suggest, than if, with lower aims, or as the gathering-places of fashionable dissipation, they were arrayed in the most ornamental dresses of architecture. – On the left bank of the Ness, 3 furlongs above the old bridge, stands the Infirmary of the northern counties, built in 1804, and including a Lunatic asylum. It consists of a large central front and two wings, the front decorated with four elegant pilasters; and it is surrounded at some distance with iron palisades, enclosing a spacious area. It is commodiously and salubriously fitted up in the interior, has a suite of hot and cold baths, is maintained chiefly by subscription and benignly conducted, and may, in most points of view, compare with any institution of its class in Scotland. – The High church, situated near the foot of Church-street, and devoted to English preaching, is a large plain edifice, standing compactly with an old square tower, which is said to have been built by Oliver Cromwell, and whose soft clear-toned bell is believed to have been brought by him from the ancient cathedral of Fortrose. – The Gaelic church, situated beside the High church, and appropriated exclusively to Gaelic, has no exterior attraction, but possesses within an old and elegantly carved oaken pulpit. – The North kirk, situated in Chapel-street, is a large and handsome building. – The Episcopalian chapel, standing opposite the High church, is a neat structure, surmounted by a cupola. The other places of worship in the town are all pleasant and creditable ecclesiastical fabrics.
A wooden bridge, which existed in the time of Cromwell, and is characterized by one of his officers as ‘the weakest, in his opinion, that ever straddled over so strong a stream,’ stood a few yards below the present old bridge, and communicated with the town on the right bank of the river by an arched way which perforated, or was surmounted by a house. Upwards of 100 persons formed a crowd upon this fragile structure, and caused its fall, yet all escaped destruction. – The old bridge was built in 1685, at a cost of £1,300, defrayed by voluntary contribution throughout the kingdom. Between the second and third arches is a dismal vault, used first as a jail and afterwards as a madhouse, the air-hole or grating of which is still visible. This appalling place of durance, whose inmate was perched between the constant hoarse sound of the stream beneath, and the occasional trampling of feet and rattle of wheels overhead, was in use so late as 30 years ago, and is said not to have been abandoned till its last miserable inmate, a maniac, had been devoured by rats. – The new bridge is a wooden erection, built in 1808, by public and private subscription. – At two beautiful islets in the Ness, very nearly united, measuring respectively 1½ and 1¼ furlong in length, and lying about a mile above the town, two airy and handsome suspension-bridges have been flung across to connect them, the one with the right bank and the other with the left. These islands – once noted as the scene of rural feasts and semi-bacchanalian orgies given by the magistrates to the judges at the assize-courts – have been tastefully cut into pleasure-walks, profusely planted and variously beautified as public promenades; and, easily approached by the ornamental bridges, and lying in the bosom of an almost luscious landscape, they probably excel all public grounds of their class in Scotland.
The extinct and ancient public structures of the town present various associations of stirring interest. The oldest or original castle of Inverness, that which stood on ‘the Crown,’ has for centuries been untraceable, except by traditional identification of its site. This edifice was very probably, as Shakspeare assumes, the property of Macbeth, who, being by birth the maormor, or ‘great man of Ross,’ and becoming by marriage that also of Moray, could hardly fail to have the mastery of a stronghold at the mouth of the Ness; and, true to the description of the prince of dramatic poets, ‘this castle had a pleasant seat,’ the air around which
“Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses;”
but, according to the concurrent opinion of modern antiquarians, it was not, as Shakspeare represents, and as Boethius and Buchanan relate, the scene of King Duncan’s murder by Macbeth, – that deed having been perpetrated at a spot called, in the Chronicon Elegaicum, Bothgofuane, ‘a smithy,’ and placed by some near Inverness, but by most near Elgin. When Malcolm Canmore vanquished his father’s murderer, he naturally seized his strongholds, and dealt with them at will; and he then razed his castle of Inverness, and built instead of it, and as a royal residence, a fortress on the summit of the Castle-hill, the site of the present county-buildings. This new castle figured for several centuries as unitedly a seat of royalty and a place of military strength; receiving at intervals within its precincts the persons of the kings and princes of Scotland, and regularly serving as a vantage-ground, whence they or their servants overawed the insubordinate and turbulent north. Shaw Macduff, son of the 6th Earl of Fife, the assumer of the name of Mackintosh, the assistant of Malcolm in crushing an insurrection in Moray, and the acquirer of great property in the north, was made hereditary governor of the castle. In 1245, it became the prison of Sir John Bisset of Lovat, for the imputed crimes of connection with the murder of the Earl of Athole, and of fealtyship to the Lord of the Isles. Soon afterwards, it was captured, during the minority of one of its hereditary keepers, by the Cummings of Badenoch; and thence till the beginning of next century, it remained in their possession. In 1303, it was seized by the partisans of Edward I. of England; and, in turn, it was captured by the friends of Robert Bruce. The patriot founder of a new dynasty of Scottish kings was a wanderer in the Western islands when this key-fortress of the North became his; and he is said to have been inspirited by the news of the acquisition, to that course of daring enterprise which conducted him to triumph and the throne. From Bruce’s time till that of James I., the castle was retained in the immediate power of the Crown; and at the accession of the latter monarch, it was repaired and refortified, and again put into the hereditary keeping of the captain of the clan Chattan, the chief of the Macintoshes. In 1427, James I., when in a progress through the north, to castigate some turbulent chiefs, held a parliament in the castle, summoning to it all his northern barons. Alexander, Lord of the Isles, was, on this occasion, made prisoner for a year; and, when freed from durance, he returned with an army at his heels to wreak vengeance on his prison; and, imposing on the authorities by pretence of friendship, and consigning the town to burning and pillage, he made a bold attempt to seize the castle, but was repelled by its governor. In 1455, John, his successor, quite as turbulent as he, or more probably Donald Balloch of Isla, acting as John’s lieutenant, rushed down upon the town, and, while abandoning it like Alexander to the flames and plunder, made a more successful effort against the castle, and took it by surprise. In 1464, the castle was visited and temporarily occupied by James III.; and in 1499, by James IV. In 1508, the keepership of the castle was conferred hereditarily on the Earl of Huntly; and though eventually becoming the most merely ideal of offices, it went regularly down to his descendants, and was held by the late Duke of Gordon at his death. In 1555, the castle received the queen-regent, Mary of Guise, and was the scene of a convention of estates and extraordinary courts summoned by her to quiet the Highlands, and punish caterans and political offenders; and, at the same time, it endungeoned the Earl of Caithness, for breach of her laws and defiance of her authority, in affording his protection to freebooters. In 1562, Queen Mary, having entered the town attended by the Earl of Moray, was driven from the castle-gates by the governor of the fortress, a creature of the Earl of Huntly, and was obliged to take up her residence and to hold her court in a private house, still in part standing, near the old bridge; but strengthened by the accession to her troops of the Mackintoshes, the Frasers, and the Munroes, she reduced the castle, and put the governor to death. In 1644, on intelligence of the descent of a party of Irish on the west coast to join the Marquis of Montrose, the castle was put into full trim, and fully garrisoned; and next year, it successfully held out, under Urry, the parliamentary general, aided by all the parliamentarians of the town, against a regular siege by Montrose’s troops. In 1649, Mackenzie of Pluscardine, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, and other royalists, took the castle, nearly demolished its fortifications, and devoted its tapestries and decorated chambers to decay and desolation. Soon after the Revolution the dilapidated pile – now scarce half a fortress – was patched up into a stronghold of the Jacobites, by the magistrates, who were warmly attached to the cause of the dethroned dynasty; but it was soon wrested from their possession, and converted into a means of keeping them in check. In 1718, the reigning authorities repaired it, converted the ancient part into barracks for Hanoverian troops, added a new part to serve as a governor’s house, and gave the whole structure the name of Fort-George. In 1745, it was occupied successively by Sir John Cope and the Earl of Loudoun, on behalf of the Government; and next year it was taken by Prince Charles Edward, and by his command was destroyed by explosion. The French officer of engineers who lighted the train which was to explode it, is reported to have been blown into the air and killed. Though the castle was now rendered uninhabitable and useless, a large part of its walls, till a very recent period, remained entire.
A street, which leads from the east end of the Exchange and Town-house to the terrace, along the southern outskirts, still commemorates the fortress in its name of Castle-street, and has on its west side some remaining parts of the old castle wall. This street – which is narrow, dingy, and a dark relic of bygone times – has some very old houses, and was anciently called Doomesdale-street, on account of its conducting to the Gallows-moor. – The houses of Petty-street, in the vicinity of the site of Macbeth’s castle on “the Crown,” are memorials of the period of meanness and thatch; and are such low slateless tenements as convey to strangers entering from the south a foully unfavourable first impression of Inverness. – A house in Church-street, the third below the Mason lodge, was the domicile occupied successively by Prince Charles Edward and the Duke of Cumberland, amid the closing scenes of the civil war of 1745-6. The apartment in which they slept is on the first floor, and looks into the garden. The house is said to have been the only one then in the town which had a parlour or sitting-room without a bed; and it belonged to Catherine Duff, Lady Drummuir, and is now the property of her descendant, the proprietor of the splendid suburban mansion and demesne of Muirtown. – Remains of a vast fort which Oliver Cromwell built in 1652-7 – one of the four which he constructed for checking and overawing Scotland – may be seen at the harbour, two or three furlongs above the mouth of the Ness. It cost £80,000 sterling, occupied nearly seven years in building, and was constructed with fir from Strathglass, oak-planks and beams from England, and stones from the religious houses of Inverness, the priory of Beauly, the abbey of Kinloss, and the cathedral and bishop’s castle of Fortrose. It was a regular pentagon, surrounded with ramparts, having the Ness on one side, and a fosse on all the others so deep and broad as at full tide to float a small bark. This great ditch still exists, retains its capacities, and is widened on the south side into a regular harbour. The breastwork of the fort was three stories high, constructed of hewn stone, and lined on the inside with brick. The principal gateway looked to the north; and was approached, first through a vaulted passage 70 feet long, and seated on each side, – and next over a strong oaken draw-bridge, overhung by a stately structure, inscribed with the motto, “Togam tuentur arma.” The sally-port looked toward the town. At opposite sides of the area within the ramparts stood two long buildings, each four stories high, – the one called the English building, because built by Englishmen, and the other called the Scottish building, because built by Scotchmen. In the centre of the area stood a large square edifice, three stories high, the lower part occupied as magazine and provision-store, and the highest part fitted up as a church, covered over with a pavilion-roof, and surmounted by a tower with a clock and four bells. The fort had accommodations for 1,000 men; but it so annoyed and chafed the Highland chiefs under the keen administration of Cromwell, that, at their request, and in acknowledgment of their loyalty to the Stuarts, it was destroyed immediately after the Restoration. Its ramparts and houses – though a considerable part of the former still remains – became a quarry to the burghers; and were freely carried off for the construction, as is believed, of many of the existing older houses of the town. The area of the fort is now peacefully occupied by some weavers’ shops, and by a large hemp factory, built in 1765. – At least two suites of ecclesiastical buildings, and probably three, which anciently belonged to Inverness, were swept away as building materials for the fort. One was a chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Another, the probable one, was a convent and church of Franciscans or Grey friars. The third was the monastery and church of a community of Dominicans or Black friars, who were established in the town during the reign of Alexander II. The cemetery of the Dominicans survives, and is the large burying-ground still in use, called the Chapel-yard, and situated in Chapel-street; and, before the present entrance to it was formed, it had a neat and richly-sculptured gateway, inscribed with the words, “Concordiâ parvæ res crescunt.”
Inverness, though possessing many advantages for productive industry, has but inconsiderable manufactures. A white and coloured linen thread manufacture, which, at the end of last century, had its seat in the burgh, and was ramified over the northern counties, and employed about 10,000 persons, has almost wholly disappeared before the energetic competition of the towns of Forfarshire. A bleachfield on the Ness has also proved a failure. A hemp manufacture – principally of coal and cotton bagging – was for a time not a little prosperous, but has already greatly declined. The factory within the area of Cromwell’s fort employed fifty years ago about 1,000 persons, but now employs at most 300. A second factory, established while this one prospered, was ten or eleven years ago discontinued. The bagging produced yields earnings to the workmen of from 4s. to 10s. per week; and is sent chiefly to London and the Indies. A woollen factory in the suburb of Haugh produces coarse clothing, tartan and plaids for the Highland market, has attached to it apparatus for the carding and spinning of wool, and employs about 25 persons. There are three tanneries. Ship-building was a few years ago commenced in a spirit of enterprise. – Malting was for generations a chief employment in the town, and enriched the members of by far the largest ancient corporation in the burgh. Dissipation was unhappily very general throughout the Highlands; and, having as yet neither yielded to the seduction of ardent spirits, nor becoming acquainted with the weaning influence of tea, it expatiated in its orgies upon the produce of the brewery. Inverness enjoyed almost a monopoly in the art and practice of malting, and supplied all the Northern counties, the Hebrides, and the Orkneys with malt. One-half of the aggregate architecture of the town was a huge and unsightly agglomeration of malting-houses, kilns, and granaries. But from the date of the Revolution onward, this trade has suffered a gradual decline; and, at one time, it threatened to involve the whole interests of the community in its fall. So low had the town sunk even at the date of the civil war of 1745-6, that it looked almost like a field of ruins; the very centre of it containing many forsaken and dilapidated houses, and all the other parts of it exhibiting in every alternate space, and that the larger one, the ruin of a kiln, a granary, or some homogeneous building. Had not succedanea for the nearly defunct and once general occupation opportunely sprung up to revive the town, and to occasion the ruined parts of it, some years before the close of the century, to be almost wholly new built, it might already have been on the brink of extinction. A few of the old large malt-kilns and granaries still exist, and there are some breweries and distilleries.
Inverness had anciently a large share in the limited commerce of Scotland. During several centuries previous to the Union, it was the adopted home of foreign traders, or was annually visited by German merchants; and it conducted, with the ports of Holland and other parts of northern continental Europe, an extensive trade in skins and other Highland produce, in exchange for foreign manufactures. The Northern counties, and even the Highlands generally, as well as the Western and the Northern islands, looked to it as the only mart for their commodities, and the only depot whence they could obtain the produce of other lands. But during the effluxion of the former half of last century, the Highlanders of the western and southern districts found their way by agents to Glasgow, and, adopting it as a superior market, abandoned Inverness to the incompetent support of the infertile north. Trade, which synchronized in its decline with the falling away of the malt-manufacture, began to revive with the era of renovation which succeeded 1746. The money circulation by the Hanoverian army after the suppression of the Rebellion, the great influx of money from the East and the West Indies, the opening up of the vast circumjacent country by easily traversable roads, the establishment of manufactures, the improving of agriculture, the rise in the value of lands, and the causes as well as the immediate results of the great social and meliorative revolution which took place in the Highlands, all conspired to educe before the close of the century, a considerable, a various, and a not insecure trade. About the year 1803, its merchants had their attention turned, by convenience, and a view of the cheapness of British manufactures, to London in preference to foreign ports; and they commenced with it, as their great mart of commerce, an intercourse which has been generally prosperous, and has steadily increased. So late as twenty years ago, the town annually imported about 8,000 to 10,000 bolls of oatmeal; but since then it has gradually reversed the process, and, for a number of years past it has annually exported from 4,000 to 5,000 bolls of oats. In its custom-house district, which extends from the mouth of the Spey to the Dornoch frith, there were, in 1831, 142 vessels of aggregately 7,104 tons, and, in 1835, 160 vessels of aggregately 7,597 tons. About one-third of the vessels, and about one-half of the tonnage, belong to the town. In 1834, 6 vessels, each of about 130 tons, traded regularly with London, 5 traded with Leith, and 2 traded with Aberdeen. In 1840, steam-vessels sailed from it every ten days to London, every Friday morning to Aberdeen and Leith, and every Monday and Friday morning to Glasgow and places intermediate along the route of the Caledonian and the Crinan canals. From Inverness and its vicinity, including Beauly and Easter Ross, between 30,000 and 40,000 quarters of wheat are annually shipped for London and Leith; and within its custom-house district about 100 cargoes of mixed goods from these ports and Aberdeen are annually debarked. A great trade is conducted also along the Caledonian canal, and disgorges most of its proceeds at the basin near the town. See article CALEDONIAN CANAL. – Three harbours, all small, but good and easily accessible, have at different periods been constructed in the Ness; the lowest admitting vessels of 250 tons burden, and the others vessels of 200 tons. At the Caledonian canal wharfs, within a mile of the town, large ships may receive and deliver cargoes, and in Kessock roads they have safe and excellent anchorage. The piers, inn, and offices at Kessock ferry-station, midway between the mouth of the Ness and the sea-lock of the Caledonian canal, were erected by Sir William Fettes, the proprietor, at an expense of about £10,000. The accumulation of commerce round the peninsula enclosed by the Ness and the canal, terminating in Kessock-point, and bearing the name of Merkinch, has, within the last thirty-five years, carried up its rental value from between £70 and £80 to upwards of £600.
Inverness is well-provided with the appliances of trade, of landward communication, and of social comfort. Its inns have long been noted for their good properties; and the chief of them, the Caledonian hotel, is equal to almost any in Scotland. Its banking-offices are branches of the Bank of Scotland, the British Linen company’s bank, the Commercial bank of Scotland, the National bank of Scotland, and the head-office of the Caledonian banking company. A four-horse mail-coach communicates daily with Dingwall, Tain, and Thurso on the north, and with Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and with places in general on the south; two stage-coaches communicate daily with Aberdeen along the coast-road by way of Elgin; a stage-coach communicates twice a-week, and during part of the year daily, with Perth, by the great Highland road through Badenoch; and public vehicles communicate, during part of the summer, with the district of Ross-shire called the Black isle. Some curious facts respecting the lateness of the introduction of wheeled-carriages to Inverness, the very modern acquaintance of the town with public vehicles, and the slow and progressive accession of the luxuries of a mail, are stated in our article on the HIGHLANDS: which see. The Medical society of the North, the Inverness-shire Farming society, and the Association of the Northern counties, hold their meetings in the town. The last of these is a body of noblemen and gentlemen, to whom belongs the building which we noticed for the Northern meetings, and who are associated to patronize horse-racing and fashionable amusements, and to fling, by means of these, what they conceive to be attributes of refinement over the Northern capital. The institutions of the town, literary, social, benevolent, and religious, additional to the goodly number we have already had occasion to notice, are a mechanics’ institution, established in 1831; two public reading-rooms, to both of which strangers are politely allowed access; several subscription and circulating libraries; a large parochial library, under the management of the kirk-session; a select religious school-library; a dispensary, established by subscription in 1832; nine friendly societies; two mason-lodges; a Sabbath school society; and a Bible society. Funds for purposes of education and charity are noticed in a succeeding paragraph of this article. Inverness has several printing-presses, and stands in such literary pre-eminence among Scottish towns of its class as to possess three weekly newspapers, the Courier, published on Wednesday, and the Herald and the Journal, both published on Friday. Weekly markets for poultry-yard, farm and garden produce, are held every Tuesday and Friday. Hiring-fairs for farm-servants are held on the last Friday of April and of October. Annual fairs for cattle, for general produce, and for coarse household stuffs manufactured by the Highland women, are held on the first Wednesday after the 11th day of February, O. S., or on Wednesday of the 11th; for sheep and wool on the 2d Thursday of July, and for general produce on the first Wednesday after the 18th of the same month; for dairy produce, on the first Wednesday after the 15th of August, O. S., or, if that date be a Wednesday, on the 26th, N. S.; and for general produce, on the first Wednesday after the 11th of November, O. S. These fairs, excepting that of July, are only vestiges of the great commercial gatherings, the vast provincial trysts, for the exchange of all sorts of commodities with the produce of the whole North Highlands, which often drew together a prodigious and most motley population, and were sometimes continued during successive weeks. The establishment of shops throughout the interior of the country, and of cattle-trysts in various competing localities, together with the enormous increase which has been made to the facilities of communication, have reduced the fairs to the mere skeleton of their former bulk; and the prevalence of dissipation and the frequent occurrence of rioting have occasioned them to be restricted as to time of continuance between the forenoon of Wednesday and the afternoon of the following Friday, or between the forenoon of Thursday and the afternoon of the following Saturday. But at the July wool and sheep fair the principal sheep-farmers throughout the north of Scotland are met by the sheep-dealers of Dumfries-shire and other southern counties, and by wool-staplers and agents from England, and sell to them annually sheep and wool to the value of between £150,000 and £200,000 – Inverness, it is expected, will fully share in the vast advantages of the railway-system. The Northern and the Caledonian railway will open two great lines of communication with England on the east and on the west, which, avoiding the interruption of the Forth and Tay, will be extended to the north by Stirling and Perth: and turning eastward to Dundee, and taking advantage of the already constructed railroad to Arbroath, and Friockheim, will be farther extended, with branch-lines to Forfar and Montrose, to Stonehaven on the east coast, and onwards to Aberdeen, from which it is proposed to carry the communication as far as Inverness: thus making a continuous communication by railroad from London to Inverness, a distance of between 600 and 700 miles, which may yet be travelled in one day.
Inverness, such as we have described it, exhibits, in almost every feature, marks of recent and entirely renovating transition. Only about forty years have elapsed since its streets were a continuous nuisance, altogether unwitting of a single appliance or process of cleanliness. During the former half of last century, municipal matters were so strangely managed, ;that, on the 29th of September, 1709, the town-clerk “paid an officer 4s. 6d. Scots, to buy a cart of peats to be burnt in the tolbooth to remove the bad scent;” and, in December, 1737, the magistrates ordered the town-clerk to purchase “an iron spade, to be given to the hangman for cleaning the tolbooth.” In the year 1740, harness and saddlery of all sorts continued to be so little in requisition, but were beginning to be just so much appreciated, that the magistrates advertised for a saddler to settle in the town. Prior to about the year 1775, when the first bookseller’s shop was opened in the burgh, the few persons in the town, and throughout the great extent of country, dependent on its market, who were able and had occasion to make use of writing materials, were supplied with stationery by the post-master. About the middle of last century, a hat had not graced any head in the north except that of a landed proprietor or a minister; and when it was first assumed by a burgher, in the person of the deacon of the weavers, the father of the late Bailie Young, it excited the highest ridicule of the blue-bonneted multitude, and drew from them such constant twitting and raillery, as only the stoutest pertinacity, and the sturdiest independence, could have enabled the worthy deacon to resist. At a comparatively late date, intemperate drinking is understood to have been practised, even among the most polished classes, with such horrific defiance of all moral obligation and all social decency, that a guest would be thought discourteous, or perhaps insulting to his entertainer, who did not drink till he became insensible and actionless, and had to be carried away like a mass of carrion from the presence of the living. About ninety years ago, a leg of mutton, a neck of veal, and a gallon of ale, are said, by tradition, to have been purchaseable for a shilling; and even yet, butcher-meat, poultry, fish, and ale, sell at much lower prices than in the southern towns.3 At the middle of last century, the universal costume was Celtic and primitive; and, to this hour, it varies in a sufficient number of instances and particulars from that of the inhabitants of the southern towns, to impress upon a Lowland visiter an instant conviction that he is among a peculiar race, whose habits and notions still differ considerably from his own. The young women of the lower classes appear at market or church without any head-dress, and the married women without bonnets; and, in the rest of their attire, they exhibit rather a passion for simple and gaudy finery, than a taste indicative of much advance from the rude notions of bygone times. Men of the lower classes, in some instances, and the landward peasantry in general, wear coarse home-spun blue short coats, small blue bonnets, stockings of the kind called “rig-and-fur,” and very often some relic or pendicle of the old Highland costume. Yet the population as a whole is, as to social manners and character, certainly the most rapidly, and perhaps the most materially, improved of any in Scotland. Games of foot-ball, shintie, bowls, and throwing the stone and hammer, which formerly were common among adults of the lower orders, are now entirely abandoned, or practised only by school-boys and apprentices on gala days. Appliances of fashionable folly, the theatre, the ball-room, the turf, and kindred means of killing the time and squandering the moral energies of the upper classes, have not half the prominence or attraction in Inverness as in several Scottish towns which are very far behind it in the resources of wealth and aristocracy. Knowledge and general intellectual attainment distinguish the higher orders, and are swelling upward with steady tidal flow in every recess and crevice of society. Gaelic, though not long ago the prevailing language, is wholly unknown to many of the rising generation, even among the poorer classes; and though still spoken by some, and understood by most, is rapidly becoming extinct. The Inverness dialect, or pronunciation of English, has long been, and is still, justly noted for its intrinsic purity, and for its being but little, if at all, affected by such broad Doric provincialisms as are everywhere impressed on the varieties of the Lowland dialect. This comparatively correct and elegant English – purer by far than that of most parts of England itself – is generally ascribed to the modelling influence of the soldiers of the Commonwealth during the years of their occupying Cromwell’s fort; but it seems rather to have arisen, and to be even yet occasionally arising, from the circumstance of English being acquired, not by the lessons of imitation, but by the process of translating from the Erse, – a circumstance which conducts, not to a corrupted spoken language, but directly to the pure English of literature. Ireland exhibits along the debateable ground in the far west between the strictly aboriginal or Erse district, and the Anglo-Irish territories, just such a phenomenon as Scotland has in Inverness, and there pours forth, from the lips of her peasantry, an English so untainted by brogue and provincialism as would delight the ears of a master of orthoepy.
Inverness, viewed in connection with its environs, is perhaps the most delightful town-retreat in Scotland; and were it situated farther to the south, or not so remote and difficult of access, would speedily become the adopted home of numerous classes of annuitants. Its gorgeous encircling natural panorama, – its pure and salubrious air, – its rich resources of school and library, – its charming promenade of the Ness islands, – and its vicinity to a profusion of objects which demolish ennui and delight the taste, – render it almost the paragon of provincial towns. The grounds of Muirtown, embosoming in wood ¾ of a mile north-west of the town a handsome and tasteful mansion, and stretching away in the embellishments of lawn, and glade, and forest, to the base of the romantic Craig-Phadric, form a constant haven, a nook of repose to the eye, after its bold and far-away rovings athwart the general landscape. Other mansions and their grounds, particularly the houses of Culloden, Raigmore, Darrochville, and Leys, adorn the immediate neighbourhood. Associations connected with the curious little hill of Tomnahurich, rising abruptly from the plain, of a mile south-west of the town, like the inverted hull of an enormous ship, feathered all over with trees, peopled by the dreams of ancient superstition with colonies of fairies, regarded by many as the sepulchral mound, the stupendous grave, of Thomas the Rhymer, and used in the olden time as a ward hill for noting the approach of unfriendly clans, – associations connected with this picturesque object may allure a saunterer into many a pleasing reverie; and walks all around its base, and along the banks of the tree-fringed Ness – that river which is alike “noble, broad, clear, and strong,” – may both minister to health, and daily draw a well-toned mind into holy meditation. Other objects and places, which interest the feelings, and are accessible by short walks or easy drives, are the rocky eminences and the columnar monument above Clachnaharry, 1½ mile north-west; the high gravelly ridge called Tor-a’-Bhean, and partly encircled with ditches and ramparts, a little west of Tomnahurich; the Ord Hill of Kessock, the site of a vitrified fort, 2 miles north; the Druidical temple of Leys, 2½ miles south; the famous battle-field of Culloden moor, 5½ miles south-east; Castle-Stewart, 6 miles east; the stone monuments at Clava, 7 miles south-east; Loch-Ness, and the Roman station at Bona, 7 miles south-west; the Aird or vale of the Beauly, from 3 to 16 miles west; Castle-Dalcross, Fort-George, and Cawdor-castle, respectively 8, 12½, and 15 miles east; Glen Urquhart and Castle, from 15 to 20 miles south-west; the Falls of Kilmorack, from 12 to 15 miles west; and the Fall of Foyers, 18 miles south-west.
Inverness is a burgh of great antiquity. There are on record four charters granted in its favour by King William the Lion. By the first of these, the king granted “burgensibus de Moravia” the usual burgal privilege “ut nullus eorum namum capiat pro alicujus debito nisi pro eorum debito propris.” By the second, the burgesses of Inverness were declared free “a tolneo et omni consuetudine per totam terram regis:” it prohibited “ne quis emat aut vendat in burgo illo aut in vicecomitatu illo extra burgum aliquam mercaturam exerceat nisi fuerit burgensis aut stallarius;” and it granted to the burgesses “ad sustentamentum burgi, terram illam quæ est extra burgum quæ vocatur Burghalew.” In consideration of these grants, the burgesses undertook to erect and maintain a good palisade over a fosse to be constructed by the king. The third charter of William granted to the burgesses of Inverness “perpetuam libertatum quod nunquam inter cos bellum habebunt, nec aliquis alius burgensis aut aliquis alius homo de toto regno super eosdem burgenses de Moravia nec super heredes eorum bellum habebunt nisi tantum juramentum;” and further, “ut dimidiam juramentum et dimidiam forisfacturam faciant quod ceteri burgenses faciunt in toto regno.” The fourth charter of the same king – which is still preserved in the archives of the burgh – granted to the burgh the privilege of a weekly market, and ratified in its favour some of the remarkable privileges conferred on burghs by the statutes of David, the king’s grandfather. A charter of Alexander II. granted to the burgesses the land of Markynch. Alexander III. confirmed the privilege contained in the first charter of William, and enjoined all sheriffs north of the Munth to distrain for payment those “qui debita burgensibus debuerint quod rationabiliter probare potuerint, ad eadem debita eis juste et sine dilatione reddenda.” Robert I., in the 19th year of his reign, directed a precept to the sheriff of Inverness to do full and speedy justice, at the suit of the burgesses of Inverness, against all invading their privileges by buying or selling in prejudice of them and of the liberties of the burgh. David II. conferred the privilege, or declared the right of the burgesses that no justiciar nor other officer of the crown – except the chamberlain, whose office it is – sit or take cognizance upon the correction or punishment of the weights and measures of the burgesses; and the same king granted to the burgesses and community the burgh, with the land of Drekes, and with toll and petty custom of the burgh. James II., in ratifying certain grants of his ancestors to the church of St. Duthac and to the inhabitants of Tayne, in 1457, declared that they should not prejudice the right of the burgh and burgesses of Inverness to the great and small customs granted to them by his ancestors; and further confirmed the rights, privileges, liberties, and infeftments of the burgh and burgesses of Inverness; from which it would appear that the exclusive privilege of merchandise within the sheriffdom, conferred by the second charter of William the Lion, actually extended over the earldom of Ross, then part of the sheriffdom of Inverness. Queen Mary, on the 3d of May, 1546, granted under the great seal a ratification of an act and ordinance of the provost, bailies, council, and community of Inverness, dated the 19th March, 1545. In the narrative there is set forth “the great hurt and skaith lang time by-gane used through indrawing of outlandish men of great clans not able nor qualified to use merchandize, nor make daily residence nor policy, nor no manner of bigging within the burgh, but allenarly to bruick the profit of the common tacks and steadings of the burgh to be spended and used outwith the said burgh, – which has happened from the widows within the burgh bruiking the tacks and steadings of their husbands after their decease, and by reason of the interest of the outlandish men of great clans with the said widows.” In consequence, it is “ordained that no widow should bruik any tack or steading within burgh by reason of the decease of her husband, after the old manner, but the same to be bruiked by the heirs male of the bodies of the possessors providing alway that they be thought qualified by the provost and bailies and their council to scot, lot, walk and ward, with the laif of the neighbours of the said burgh, and make continual and daily residence for the most part of the year within the same; failing of which heirs, the provost, &c., to dispone to other neighbours worthy and qualified.” There are, in the reign of James VI., two charters, – the one granting new, and the other confirming the ancient rights. The first is dated the 6th March, 1588, by which the king approved of the destruction of a mill built on the water of Ness, to the south of the castle; and granted to the burgesses the astricted and dry multures belonging to that mill for payment of six merks yearly. The second ratifies the ancient charters in favour of the burgh granted by William, Alexander, David, James I., James IV., and Mary. This charter contains a detail of the lands and other rights of property then appertaining to the burgh, of which the following may be deemed the most important:- “The lands of Drakes, and forest of the same; Markhinch, with the common pasturage anciently called the Burgh-haugh, Wood Park, Burnhills, Claypots, Milnfield, the Carse, Carn Laws, as particularly bounded, the common muir of the burgh, the water of Ness, and both sides of the same between the stone called Clachnahagyag and the sea, with the fishings; the fishing of the Red Pool, on the east of the ferry of Kessock, with the privilege of three kists within the water wrak, as use is; the ferry of Kessock, the King’s mills, the astricted and dry multures of the Castle lands, and of the other lands which of old pertained to the mills built on the Ness to the south of the Castle, called Kannak-hill mills, destroyed.”
A large part of the landed property of the burgh has been alienated at different times, so that this portion of its funds is now comparatively small. The property4 of the burgh of Inverness was returned, in 1832, as consisting of:-
|Feu-duties,||Estimated value,||£2,583 14 2|
|Casualties of superiority,||1,117 15 0|
|River Ness fishings,||300 0 0|
|Burgh lands,||7,684 6 0|
|——— houses and shops,||870 4 0|
|Town-hall, and subjects not yielding a pecuniary annual return,||2,000 0 0|
|Estimated value of heritable property, but not taking into account gaol, court-house, church, and bleaching-greens,||14,555 19 2|
|Inverness gas and water company,||500 0 0|
|New bridge of Inverness,||1,856 15 10|
|New harbour of Inverness,||3,365 1 1|
|Arrears of revenue due,||506 19 5|
|Thomas Ross, burgh chamberlain,||26 18 5|
|6,255 14 9|
|Estimated value of heritable property brought down,||14,555 19 2|
|Estimated amount of property,||20,811 13 11|
The annual revenue of the burgh, for the year ending at Michaelmas, 1832, was as follows:-
|Feu-duties,||£129 3 8|
|Casualties of superiority,||40 5 7|
|River Ness fishings,||20 0 0|
|Land rents,||280 18 0|
|House, shop, &c., rents,||60 8 0|
|Dividends from gas and water company,||11 5 0|
|New bridge, interest on debt,||83 18 11|
|New harbour, do.||108 4 10|
|Church-seat rents,||146 13 2|
|Stent or burgh-cess,||196 12 2|
|Lamp-money,||201 11 8|
|Anchorage and shore dues,||332 0 0|
|Petty customs, toll of old bridge, &c.,||357 0 0|
|Burgess and apprentice dues,||21 13 4|
|Streets cleaning, sales of manure,||186 0 0|
|Miscellanies,||1 2 0|
|Total revenue for 1831-2,||2,236 16 4|
|But, supposing that the stent or burgh-cess and lamp-money, being destined for specific purposes, should not be included as items of general revenue, – if so, deduct||398 3 10|
|Revenue 1831-2, so restricted,||£1,838 12 6|
The abstract of the annual expenditure of the burgh for the year 1831-2, was, –
|Interest and annuities on debt,||£287 17 3|
|Education and schools,||110 0 0|
|Church establishment,||64 10 0|
|Stent or burgh-cess,||196 0 0|
|Other public burdens and taxes,||36 9 11|
|Street-lighting,||223 4 3|
|Street-sweeping,||268 11 3|
|Gaol,||222 11 6|
|General police,||216 5 0|
|Improvements, repairs, furnishings,||117 14 6|
|General management and miscellanies,||215 14 0|
|Total expenditure, 1831-2,||2,058 17 8|
|But, supposing that the stent or burgh-cess and the street-lighting should not, for the reasons stated under the head of revenue, be included as items of general expenditure, – if so, deduct||419 4 3|
|Expenditure 1831-2, so restricted,||£1,639 13 5|
The abstract of the debts of the burgh was as follows, at Michaelmas, 1833:-
|1. To the guildry corporation of Inverness,||£1,350 0 0|
|2. To the Northern Infirmary of Inverness,||3,900 0 0|
|3. To Jonathan Anderson’s fund,||3,100 0 0|
|4. To Inverness lesser charitable mortifications,||717 5 0|
|5. To Mrs. Low and Miss Grant, value of annuities,||85 7 10|
|6. To Campbell Mackintosh, town-clerk,||753 7 8|
|7. To receiver-general of land-tax,||156 0 0|
|8. To Roderick Reach, solicitor and accountant,||78 2 0|
|9. To road and street-trustees of Inverness,||500 0 0|
|10. To D. F. Mackenzie, procurator-fiscal,||32 12 8|
|11. To Robert Smith, solicitor,||5 10 10|
|12. To Inverness Journal,||6 10 0|
|Amount of debts,||10,684 16 0|
|Heritable,||£156 0 0|
|Moveable,||£9,567 5 0|
|On annuity,||85 7 10|
|Disputed claim,||679 8 2|
|Open accounts,||196 15 0|
|10,528 16 0|
|10,684 16 0|
|Which being deducted from the amount of available property, as before stated,||13,589 17 0|
|Leaves a balance, in favour of the burgh, of||£2,905 1 0|
The corporation-revenue in 1838-9, was £1,985 13s. 1½d.
The affairs of the burgh are, under the superintendence of the magistrates and council – 21 in number managed by the town-clerk, chamberlain, and accountant. The first of these officers performs the ordinary duty of legal adviser and law-agent. The duties of the second are to receive the revenues of the burgh, and to make all payments. The duties of the accountant are those of the ordinary professional nature. – There is nothing peculiar in the jurisdiction of the magistrates of Inverness. The jurisdiction of the magistrates includes the ancient royalty, and the royalty as extended by the statute of 1808. There are no subordinate or dependent territories; but it is important to remark that, on one side, the royalty extends beyond the parliamentary boundaries a considerable way into the country; and that, on the other side, it is much within the parliamentary boundaries, and does not include a considerable portion of the town. The jurisdiction is exercised by the magistrates directly. The courts held practically are, first, a burgh-court, by one or more of the magistrates; and, secondly, a dean-of-guild court, by the dean-of-guild and his council. That council is composed of certain members of the town-council, annually chosen by the dean-of-guild, and subject to the approval of the magistrates and town-council. Both civil and criminal causes are tried by the burgh-court. The jurisdiction is of the same extent as, and cumulative with, that of the sheriff. The dean-of-guild’s jurisdiction is of the ordinary nature and extent. The magistrates have no regular assessor, but the town-clerk acts in that capacity without any additional fees or salary. The election of magistrates and council at Michaelmas 1817 was set aside by the court-of-session in December 1818, and the burgh consequently disfranchised. In virtue of a warrant by the Privy council, dated the 9th of August, 1822, a new election of the magistrates and council took place by the persons who composed the magistracy and town-council for the year ending Michaelmas 1817, and that in terms of! the usual constitution, sett, and custom of the burgh, which was thus restored. The mode of election was:- The provost, bailies, dean-of-guild, and treasurer, continued councillors for the year after they went out of office, and could not be any of the five merchant councillors turned off. The town-council chose five new merchant councillors, and removed five of the old; so that 13 merchant councillors continued without election. The six incorporated trades chose each one deacon, and those deacons elected a convener, who was, ex officio, a councillor; out of the remaining deacons the town-council elected 2 trades councillors, in all 21. The five old merchant councillors having been removed, the council, out of their own number, chose the magistrates. The burgh has no church-patronage; this article is therefore limited to the patronage of civil offices. But along with the ministers of Inverness, and with the concurrence of the moderator of the presbytery, they have the patronage of the following bursaries. By bequest, dated the 30th of September, 1730, of James Fraser, LL.D., treasurer of Chelsea hospital, a sum of £220 was left to King’s college, Aberdeen, for two bursaries or exhibitions towards the maintenance in that college of two students from Inverness, both to be of the sirname of Fraser; one to be a student of divinity, the other of philosophy. After some temporary arrangements, it was recently agreed upon, between the patrons and the Senatus Academicus of King’s college, that out of the said fund there should be two philosophy bursaries of £15 each, and two divinity ones of £11 each.
The sums mortified for the purposes of education, and placed under the management of the magistrates and council, are large, amounting to nearly £34,000. Of these, the Mackintosh endowment is the most important. This institution was endowed conformably to the testament of Captain William Mackintosh, of the Hindostan East Indiaman, who died on the 12th of May, 1803. The object is for educating, in the Inverness academy, boys of the name of Mackintosh, and of the families of Farr. Holm, Dalmigavie, and Kyllachy. The amount of the original bequest was £10,000, but it is now nearly three times that amount. The subsequent accumulation appears to have been created by the excess of income above expenditure, arising from the limited number who could be benefited by the institution. – The mortification next in importance is “Bell’s endowment.” The testator was the Rev. Dr. Andrew Bell, of Westminster. The purpose was the maintenance of a school, at Inverness, for the instruction of children on the Madras system. The donation was one-twelfth share of £60,000, 3 per cent. consolidated annuities; and one-twelfth of £60,000, 3 per cent. reduced annuities, under deduction of one-twelfth of £2,500, set apart for costs. – Jonathan Anderson, merchant in Glasgow, by bequest of 29th August, 1804, left a sum for the distribution of the annual proceeds, according to the discretion of the magistrates of Inverness, to decayed members of the guildry and poor householders of Inverness, in sums not exceeding £5. The amount of this fund, in 1832, was £3,836 11s. 5d. Frederick Klien of Chiswick, in the county of Middlesex, by bequest dated September 1823, left a sum amounting, in 1832, to £897; the proceeds of which are to be distributed in money, clothing, or fuel, in sums or value not less than 5s., nor more than 20s. to each person, under the direction of the provost, bailies, dean-of-guild, and council of Inverness. There are several smaller charity funds.
The town is the seat of the courts of assize for the Northern counties; of the courts of the sheriff, of Inverness-shire; and of monthly justice-of-peace small debt courts. Inverness unites with Forres, Fortrose, and Nairn, in sending a member to parliament. Parliamentary constituency, in 1839, 475. Population, in 1831, 9,663; in 1841, 11,575.
The history of Inverness has so freely mixed with various sections of our description, that but little of it remains to be told. The town is invested with a fictitious interest, and assigned an origin at least 60 years before the Christian era, by Boethius and Buchanan connecting it with one of their apocryphal kings. Yet it probably was a seat of population, and, at all events, it occupies a site in the centre of what certainly was a closely peopled district in the remote age of British hill-strengths and vitrified forts. Scottish antiquaries, however, have raised so many and such conflicting speculations respecting it, while they have no documents, and but few monuments to guide them, that they may be allowed a monopoly of dealing out a history of it in ages for which no history exists. Columba, the apostle of Scotland, as stated by his biographer and successor Adamnan, went, “ad ostiam Nessiæ,” to the residence at that locality of Bridei or Brudeus, king of the Picts; and remained there sufficiently long to be the instrument of converting the monarch, and to hold several conferences, and make some missionary arrangements with the Scandinavian chief of the Orkney Islands. “Ostia Nessiæ” means very nearly in Latin what “Inverness” does in Gaelic; or, understood even rigidly, it designates the mouth of the river on which the town stands, and points either to the town’s precise site, or to some spot in its immediate vicinity. Inverness is hence believed to have been the original seat of the Pictish monarchs; and is supposed, even after Abernethy and Forteviot became a sort of Pictish capitals, to have retained its pre-eminence, and not altogether lost it till the union of the Scottish and the Pictish crowns. Malcolm Canmore, in the face of the fact that royal burghs did not exist till several ages later, is fabled to have granted it its first charter, erecting it into a royal burgh. In the reign of David I., it figures as a king’s burgh, was made the seat of a sheriff whose authority extended over all the north of Scotland, and is designated in a legislative enactment, one of the chief places of the whole kingdom, – “Loca capitalia per totum regnum.” It was thus one of the earliest free towns of the kingdom, and inferior to none in the dignity with which it greets the view at the epoch of record. William the Lion – as we have seen – granted it four charters, appointing it a regular magistracy, exempting it from many burdens, and conferring upon it various privileges as to manufactures. In 1217, and 1237, additional charters and grants of land were given to it by Alexander II. During the whole period on which history throws light previous to the invasion of Scotland by Edward I., the Scottish kings occasionally visited or resided in Inverness, and were at rapid intervals required to repel from it the incursions of the Danes, and the northern Vikingr, or to quell the insurrections of the reckless inhabitants and the turbulent chiefs of the adjacent country. In 1229, a powerful Highland savage, named Gillespick McScourlane, attempted an usurpation, levied a war of rebellion, burnt the town, spoiled the adjacent Crown-lands, and put to the sword all persons who would not acknowledge him as their sovereign; but he was defeated, captured, and ignominiously beheaded. After the accession of Bruce, and during the successive reigns of the Stuarts till near the Union, Inverness was frequently oppressed by the constables of its own castle, and constantly exposed to the predatory visits of the Islesmen and the Highland clans; so that its annals abound with accounts of burnings, pillagings, ransackings, skirmishes between assailants and its inhabitants, stratagems of skill and prowess against foes, and pecuniary-levies, and other expedients for purchasing the forbearance or averting the menaces of truculent and rapacious neighbours. An incident which occurred in 1400, will exemplify the prominent events and illustrate the social condition of the period: Donald, Lord of the Isles, having approached at the head of a small army to the north side of Kessock-ferry, and sent a message menacing the town with destruction if a large ransom were not paid for its safety, the provost affected to agree to the terms dictated, and sent a large quantity of whiskey as a present to the chief and his followers; and, when the Islesmen, delighted with their fiery beverage, and emulating one another in dissipation, and generally actionless with intoxication, the provost, followed and zealously aided by his burgesses, pounced upon them like the eagle on his quarry, and devoted them, with the exception of one man, to indiscriminate destruction. Attacks upon the town were more frequent and unrelenting, that few of the wealthy burgesses were Highlandmen, and most were a community of foreign merchants, or merchants of foreign extraction, connected with Holland, and with the continental sea-board northward thence to the Baltic. In 1280, the town was visited by a French Count as a suitable place for building a ship to replace one which he had lost in the Orkneys; and from that time – as is indicated by the Flemish and Saxon names of its ancient inhabitants – it became increasingly the resort and the adopted home of the children of commerce, – persons differing more in habits than even in extraction from the wild native septs who restlessly scoured the heathy recesses of the north. The nurturing of such a commercial community was unvaryingly and happily regarded by the Scottish kings as a wise policy for at once promoting the general interests of the country, rearing a class of peaceful and loyal subjects, checking the exorbitant power of the barons, and exhibiting a convincing example of the prosperous tendencies of arts which were despised or held in small esteem by the clans; but, by provoking the envy, and tempting the cupidity of the marauding chiefs and their followers, and occasionally giving body to the filmy and nearly impalpable pretexts which were urged for the rancorous quarrels and conflicts almost constantly existing among the clans, it obliged the sovereigns to be often on the spot, discharging the offices of chief magistrates of justiciary and police. To tell of the extraordinary as well as ordinary interferences of the Crown to punish sedition and pillage, of citation to chieftain-culprits by the king’s summons to attend at the market-cross of the burgh, and of executions of the convicted on the Gallow’s-hill, as well as of military executions in the melee of mimic civil war, would only be a disgusting repetition of the most revolting and least instructive elements of history. One of the last royal visits to the town was that – already glanced at in our notice of the castle – of Queen Mary to quell an insurrection of the Earl of Huntly. Mary is said to have formed during her visit a strong attachment to Inverness; she kept, while there, a small squadron in the harbour to insure her safety; she was sedulously attended by the greater part of the Highland chiefs; and she had soon the satisfaction – or the appropriate feeling, be it what it might, which such an event could impart – of hunting down the Earl of Huntly, and putting him to death in a fair field fight. James VI., who laboured much to quiet the turbulence of the northern Highlands, was particularly friendly to the burgh. The Invernessians distinguished themselves after the Revolution by enthusiastic and bold attachment to both Prelacy and Jacobitism. In 1691, when a presbyterian minister was for the first time after the abolition of Episcopacy appointed to the vacant parish-church, armed men were, by the magistrates, stationed at the doors to prevent his admission; they repulsed Duncan Forbes of Culloden, father of the famous Lord-President Forbes, in an attempt to force him into the interior; and they did not eventually give way till a regiment marched up by order of Government, and lifted the presentee into the pulpit on a couch of bayonets. At the same period, and for years afterwards, the magistrates used every means to support or forward the Jacobitical cause; and, at the accession of George I. to the throne, they openly opposed and endeavoured to prevent his proclamation, and roused the populace to a riot. During the rebellion of 1745-6, and especially amid the stir which preceded and followed its closing-scene in the neighbouring field of Culloden, the town had the harassing distinction, and reaped the bitter awards of being the virtual capital of the losing party in that trial of the dreadful game of war; and, among other characters of lugubriousness and horror which it was obliged to wear, it was the scene of the public execution of 36 of Prince Charles Edward’s men. Up to the period of the disarming act, its inhabitants stood constantly accoutred, or at least prepared for war; but, since 1746, they have witnessed an uninterrupted peace, and have learned to regard the stirring and sanguinary history of their town as belonging to a state of things which has entirely and for ever passed away, and have moved silently and fleetly along the delightful path of social amelioration and intellectual and moral improvement. No modern event of note has occurred except the earthquake on the night of the 16th of August, 1816, when the ground was sensibly and alarmingly tremulous, the chimney-tops of many houses were projected into the streets, the bells were set-a-ringing, and many animals were strongly affected with terror.
1 “Inverness was anciently written Innerness.* The town of Inverness, from which the parish has its name, is situated at the mouth of the river Ness. Inner is Gaelic, and expressive of that situation. The river derives its name from Loch-Ness, which is its source. Some promontories and headlands in our own and in other northern countries, are called Ness, – as Buchanness, the Naes of Norway, – Ness quasi nose, from its prominency. But no promontory is in Lochness. This led some curious persons (Lowthorp’s Abridg. of the Phil. Trans. II. 222.) to seek for the origin of the name in the traditions of old bards. By these traditions they were informed that Nysus, an Irish hero, had settled a colony of his countrymen in Stratherrick. The era of this event is passed over in silence. Vestiges, however, of his castle and fortress are still to be seen on the summit of Dun-Deardill, – a rock of high elevation at a short distance from the lake. The rock had its name from Dornadilla, the Lady of Nysus. This hero built a barge, and was the first who sailed the lake: hence Loch-Ness. We relish not the derivation from Nysus, and will hazard a conjecture of our own. The two rivers which have their course through the country of Stratherrick, and discharge themselves into Loch-Ness, are Carrigack and Fechloin. These rivers are remarkable for high cataracts, particularly Fechloin. In this river and near the mouth of it, is the Fall of Foyers, a tremendous cataract. Ess, in the Gaelic language, signifies ‘a waterfall’ or ‘cataract.’ The lake which is supplied with the water of this fall, might not unaptly be called Loch-Ness, [Loch–an–Ess,] that is, ‘the lake of the cataract.’ ” – Old Statistical Account.
2 When the Old Statistical Account of this parish was written, a ploughman had from £5 to £7 a-year, with 6 bolls, half oat and half bear meal; a house, kail-yard, and land for potatoes; his peats carried home, and, in some instances, grass for a cow. “These servants,” it was added, “live comfortably; their wives are employed in little manufactures for clothing their own families and for sale, and sometimes in spinning for the manufactures at Inverness, and earn about 2s. a-week.” At present their wages are from £8 to £10 with board. A woman farm-servant’s fee was £1 12s. with maintenance in the house; and a herd’s wages much the same. At present female-servants receive from £3 to £4. The wages of house-maids average £2 per half-year. A mason’s wages were from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 8d.; a Wright’s from 1s. to 1s. 4d.; a tailor’s 6d. with maintenance. Weavers and shoemakers worked by the piece. The wages of these artisans are now from 2s. to 3s. a-day. Day-labourers at ditching, digging, and other out work, had from 8d. to 1s.; they have now 1s. 6d. Beef, mutton, and pork, cost from 2½d. to 4d. the pound; the price is now from 3d. to 5d. per imperial lb. Hens and ducks were sold at 6d., 8d., or 9d. each; chickens and ducklings, at 3d.; a goose, 1s. 4d. or 1s. 6d.; a turkey, 2s. 6d. or 3s. Fowls are now from 1s. 6d. to 2s. a pair; chickens, half-price; ducks, 1s. 4d. to 2s.; geese and turkeys from 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.
3 See a preceding Note.
4 This enumeration and estimate, it was stated, included only such property as was deemed capable of being told, transferred, or made over in security. In consequence, the principal church in Inverness is not included, although built at the expense of the burgh, and yielding from seat-rents an annual revenue of £146 13s. 3d. Nor, in making the estimate, have the proceeds of the old anchorage and shore-dues, customs, old bridge-toll, burgess and apprentice-dues, been taken into calculation. But the town-hall, the bridge, and harbour, and the other subjects of a similar nature, must likewise be excluded, which, by occasioning deduction of £7,221 16s. 11d., will reduce the amount of available property to £13,589 17s. – Municipal Corporations Report.