57°36′N 4°00′W / 57.6°N 4.0°W / 57.6; -4.0

Siorrachd Chromba
County townCromarty
 • Total370 sq mi (958 km2)
 Ranked 24th of 34
Chapman code
ROC (as part of Ross and Cromarty)

Cromartyshire (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Chromba) is a historic county in the Highlands of Scotland, comprising the medieval "old shire" around the county town of Cromarty and 22 enclaves and exclaves transferred from Ross-shire in the late 17th century. The largest part, six times the size of the old shire, is Coigach, northwest from Ullapool. In 1890, Cromartyshire was merged with Ross-shire into the administrative county of Ross and Cromarty, which in 1975 was merged into the new council area of Highland.

History edit

The medieval sheriffdom of Cromarty encompassed a single tract on the north of the Black Isle peninsula. The sheriffdom was hereditary in Clan Urquhart.[1] It comprised the parish of Cromarty; most of the adjacent parish of Kirkmichael, excluding a portion at Balblair where a ferry crossed the Cromarty Firth to Invergordon; and a single farm in Cullicudden parish.[1] As late as the mid-nineteenth century, ownership of the moor of Mulbuie was uncertain between Cromartyshire and Ross-shire.[1][2]

Cromartyshire originally bordered Inverness-shire, but in 1504 Ross-shire was formed out of the nearest parts of Inverness-shire,[3] and its boundaries were fixed in 1661.[1][4] In 1662, Kirkmichael and Cullicudden parishes merged to form the parish of Resolis.[5]

The feudal barony of Cromarty, whose appurtenant land was coterminous with the county, was purchased from the Urquharts in 1682 by the Mackenzies of Tarbat.[6] They owned scattered lands in Ross-shire, including the barony of Tarbat on the Moray Firth north of the Black Isle.[6] In 1685 Sir George Mackenzie, recently made Viscount of Tarbat and later elevated to Earl of Cromartie, secured two Acts of the Parliament of Scotland transferring his lands in Easter Ross from Ross-shire to Cromartyshire.[7] These were enumerated as:[8]

the barony of Tarbat and all therein incorporated, ... also Little Farness and others his lands within the barony of Delny, together with the lands of Wester St Martins, Easter Balblair and the ferry belonging to George Dallas of St Martins


his lands of Pittonachie, Beneckfield, Avoch, Castleton, Auchterflow, Hauldoks, Killen, Raddery, Balmeechy, Little Suddey and his lands about Chanonry and Rosemarkie

Although this was repealed in 1686 on the grounds that some lands not belonging to Viscount Tarbat had been included,[7][10] it was re-enacted in 1690 to include only "the said barony of Tarbat and all other lands in Ross-shire belonging in property to the said viscount".[7][11] The transfers increased the area and rateable value of Cromartyshire by respective factors of fifteen and three.[7]

Detail from 1892 map of Scotland, showing Cromartyshire in purple and Ross-shire in green

Cromartyshire was the smallest constituency in the Parliament of Scotland, with only five freeholders electing its two Commissioners in 1703.[6] After the Act of Union 1707, Cromartyshire sent one MP to Westminster alternately with Nairnshire, a nearby small county.[6] Only six of 19 votes on the register at the last election, in 1831, were found to be genuine freeholders.[12]

The exclaves were for many purposes administered as part of Ross-shire rather than Cromartyshire.[7][13][14] After the Sheriffs (Scotland) Act 1747, Ross and Cromarty had a common sheriff.[15] The 1801 census report listed "Shire of Cromarty" and "Shire of Ross" separately, the former including only the old shire and the latter the exclaves.[16] The 1811 census report listed "Ross and Cromarty" together on the ground that it was impractical to separate them.[17] In 1805, responsibility for maintenance of roads in Ross-shire and Cromartyshire was merged.[18] In 1810, the militia was for Ross-shire in some exclaves and Cromartyshire in others.[19] The Scottish Reform Act 1832 merged Cromartyshire's constituency with Ross-shire's to form Ross and Cromarty, returning one MP to Parliament.[12] Police and ratings administration were merged similarly in the Victorian period. [20] The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 provided that "the counties of Ross and Cromarty shall cease to be separate counties, and shall be united for all purposes whatsoever, under the name of the county of Ross and Cromarty." (Ross and Cromarty also absorbed an exclave of Nairnshire and a near-exclave of Inverness-shire; the former was the barony of Ferintosh and the latter an exclave of Kilmorack parish around Muir of Ord railway station.[21])

Geography edit

Tarbat Ness from the south across the Moray Firth

Given the scattered nature of the county it is difficult to generalise. The original shire consisted of a portion of the Black Isle peninsula bordering on Cromarty Firth, across which lay the Tarbat peninsula, of which several portions belonged to Cromartyshire, including Tarbat Ness. The interior sections consist of several enclaves within Ross-shire which are mountainous, remote and sparsely populated. To the west are various sections around Little Loch Broom, including the southern tip of Gruinard Island. North of Loch Broom lies the largest single section of the county, which takes in Ullapool, the Coigach peninsula and a number of small islands in Enard Bay (most notably Sgeir Mhòr, Fraoachlan, Eilean Mòr, Eilean Mòineseach and Green Island) and also the Summer Isles where Loch Broom meets The Minch. This section also contains a number of lochs, most notably Loch na Totaig, Loch Osgaig, Loch Raa, Loch Vatachan, Fionn Loch, Loch Veyatie, Loch Lurgainn, Loch Bad a' Ghaill, Loch Sionascaig, Lochan Tuath, Loch an Doire Duibh, Loch Doire na h-Airbhe, Loch a Ghille, Loch Buine Mhòire, Loch Call an Uidhean, Loch a' Chroisg, Loch Achall, Loch an Daimh, Loch na Maoile, Loch Ob an Lochain, Clar Lochan and Loch an Eilein.

Sources tend to number the tracts added to Cromartyshire at between eight and eleven;[14][22][23] however some comprise multiple parcels. In 1807, Alexander Nimmo listed the additions in eight groups with two to six parcels in each.[24][25]

Ordnance Survey list edit

The 1881 index to the Ordnance Survey's first edition lists 22 detached parts, and the original "old shire", all of whose areas are given on the six-inch map.[26] The total measured area of Cromartyshire was 217321.186 acres, or 339.56 square miles (879.5 km2).[27]

[n 1]
Area (acres) Name[n 2] Type[n 2] Location[n 3] Parish[n 4][28] Coords[n 5] OS[n 6] Settlements Notes
[n 7] 20,191.689[n 8] Old shire Barony and six adjacent farms Black Isle Cromarty (all), Resolis 57°39′07″N 4°06′47″W / 57.652°N 4.113°W / 57.652; -4.113 (Old shire) 94 SE and 93 NW Cromarty, Jemimaville, Cullicudden Encloses an exclave of Ross-shire at Balblair. The six farms, annexed for Viscount Tarbat, are: Cullicudden, Craighouse, Torbirchurn, Brae, Woodhead, and Easter Culbo.[25]
1 721.998[a 3] Plaids Farm Easter Ross east; Dornoch Firth shore northeast of Tain Tain 57°48′58″N 4°02′06″W / 57.816°N 4.035°W / 57.816; -4.035 (1: Plaids) 94 Includes the mussel beds in the tidal flats.
2 1,722.235[a 4] Baliacherie Farm Easter Ross east; Dornoch Firth shore northeast of Tain Tain 57°49′26″N 4°00′29″W / 57.824°N 4.008°W / 57.824; -4.008 (2: Baliacherie) 94 Borders on Morrich More
3 410.106[a 5] Hillton alias Skardy Farm and mills Easter Ross east; Southeast of Tain Tain 57°47′49″N 4°01′52″W / 57.797°N 4.031°W / 57.797; -4.031 (3: Hillton alias Skardy) 94 Mills near Hilton
4 1,585.552[a 6] Lochslin Estate Easter Ross east; Between Inver and Loch Eye Tain, Fearn 57°49′N 3°56′W / 57.81°N 3.94°W / 57.81; -3.94 (4: Lochslin) 94 Inver, Lochslin
5 1,867.811[a 7] Easter Aird and Easter Tarbat Barony Easter Ross east; NW of Tarbat peninsula Tarbat 57°50′N 3°48′W / 57.84°N 3.80°W / 57.84; -3.80 (5: Easter Aird and Easter Tarbat) 94 Portmahomack Tarbat Ness Lighthouse. Encloses an exclave of Ross-shire at Hilton
6 832.897[a 8] Meikle Tarrel Barony Easter Ross east; Moray Firth coast of Tarbat peninsula Tarbat 57°48′22″N 3°50′53″W / 57.806°N 3.848°W / 57.806; -3.848 (6: Meikle Tarrel) 94
7 1,211.256[n 9] Cadboll with Mid Geanies Estate Easter Ross east; Moray Firth coast of Tarbat peninsula Fearn, Tarbat 57°47′N 3°53′W / 57.78°N 3.88°W / 57.78; -3.88 (7: Cadboll) 94 Hilton of Cadboll is across the border
8 502.969[a 11] Priesthill Easter Ross east; East of Kilmuir by Tullich Kilmuir Easter 57°44′N 4°08′W / 57.74°N 4.13°W / 57.74; -4.13 (8: Priesthill) 94 Tullich
9 5,038.255[a 12] New Tarbat Estate Easter Ross east; North of Nigg Bay round Kilmuir Kilmuir Easter, Nigg 57°44′06″N 4°03′58″W / 57.735°N 4.066°W / 57.735; -4.066 (9: New Tarbat) 94 Kilmuir, Milton, Kildary Includes Tarbat House, on the site of Milntown Castle. Balnagown Castle is across the border.
10 117,047.698[a 13] Coigach Wester Ross northwest Lochbroom, Kincardine 58°00′N 5°12′W / 58°N 5.2°W / 58; -5.2 (10: Coigach) 101, 102 W Ullapool; Polglass, Achiltibuie, Polbain, Achnahaird, Altandhu, Reiff, Ardnagoine, Achduart, Ardmair, Rhue, Strathkanaird, Morefield Also includes the Summer Isles, Isle Martin, and Inverpolly
11 1,766.024[a 14] Amatnatua Farm Interior north; south of the River Carron, east of Forest of Amat Kincardine 57°52′41″N 4°33′43″W / 57.878°N 4.562°W / 57.878; -4.562 (11: Amatnatua) 102 S, 93 N
12 2,272.798[a 15] Dounie Farm Interior north; south of the River Carron by Srath nan Seasgach Kincardine 57°53′N 4°26′W / 57.88°N 4.43°W / 57.88; -4.43 (12: Dounie) 93 N, 102 S
13 51.689[a 16] Southern tenth[a 17] of Gruinard Island Farm (part of Meikle Gruinard) Wester Ross northwest; in Gruinard Bay Lochbroom 57°53′N 5°28′W / 57.88°N 5.47°W / 57.88; -5.47 (13: south of Gruinard Island) 101 SW
14 1,876.588[a 18] Meikle Gruinard Farm (part) Wester Ross northwest; SE shore of Gruinard Bay Lochbroom 57°52′N 5°26′W / 57.87°N 5.44°W / 57.87; -5.44 (14: Meikle Gruinard) 92, 101
14a 2,457.315[a 19] North shore of Little Loch Broom[n 10] Wester Ross northwest Lochbroom 57°54′N 5°20′W / 57.90°N 5.33°W / 57.90; -5.33 (14a: north shore of Little Loch Broom) 101 Carnach, Scoraig
15 9,174.142[a 20] Ach ta Skailt Wester Ross northwest; Shores round the head (southeast) of Little Loch Broom Lochbroom 57°50′N 5°15′W / 57.84°N 5.25°W / 57.84; -5.25 (15: Ach ta Skailt) 92 N, 101 S Camusnagaul, Dundonnell Badrallach is over the border.
16 1,274.932[a 21] Ach'-n-ivie Shieling Interior; Northwest of Loch na Sheallaig Lochbroom 57°49′N 5°22′W / 57.82°N 5.37°W / 57.82; -5.37 (16: Ach'-n-ivie) 92 Lochbroom
17 361.769[a 22] Feithean Beag[n 11] Interior; between Strathbeg River and Carn a'Bhreabadar Lochbroom 57°48′N 5°10′W / 57.80°N 5.16°W / 57.80; -5.16 (17: Feithean Beag) 92
18 11,064.266[a 23] Nid Sheep-farm Interior; northeast from Loch an Nid to the head of Loch Broom Lochbroom 57°45′N 5°08′W / 57.75°N 5.13°W / 57.75; -5.13 (18: Nid) 92 Inverbroom, Achlunachan
19 1,763.326[a 24] Tollomuick Farm Interior, at the head of Strathvaich Fodderty 57°47′N 4°48′W / 57.78°N 4.80°W / 57.78; -4.80 (19 Tollomuick) 93 W
20 15,857.571[a 25] Fannich Sheep-farm Interior; North of Loch Fannich Lochbroom 57°41′N 5°02′W / 57.68°N 5.03°W / 57.68; -5.03 (20: Fannich) 92
21 18,268.300[a 26] Castle Leod or Strathpeffer Barony Easter Ross south Fodderty 57°36′N 4°29′W / 57.60°N 4.49°W / 57.60; -4.49 (21: Strathpeffer or Castle Leod) 93 S, 83 N Strathpeffer, Achterneed, Fodderty, Bottacks Includes much of Ben Wyvis and its southern and western slopes
  1. ^ "Detached portion no." in OS one-inch and 6-inch maps
  2. ^ a b From Nimmo's 1807 list, unless otherwise noted
  3. ^ Location is given as general area [Black Isle, Easter Ross, or Wester Ross], then Parish(es), then adjacent feature(s)
  4. ^ Which 1880s civil parish(es) included the fragment. Subsequent parish boundary revisions are ignored. If one parish is listed, it includes the entire fragment. Unless "all" is listed, only part of the parish is in the fragment, with the rest in Ross-shire or other fragments of Cromartyshire.
  5. ^ longitude and latitude (link to external mapping sites)
  6. ^ Sheet number(s) within the Ross and Cromarty sheet series of the first-edition 1-inch OS map on which the fragment is depicted, and relative location within the map-sheet(s)
  7. ^ The "old shire" is considered the core, from which the other parts are "detached"
  8. ^ 8674.794 in Cromarty parish[a 1] plus 11516.895 in Resolis parish[a 2]
  9. ^ Area is written across two sheets: 1211... in one[a 9] and ....256 in the other.[a 10]
  10. ^ Tract not listed by Nimmo.
  11. ^ Name on OS one-inch map; tract not listed by Nimmo.

Other sources edit

Some places not included within Cromartyshire in the Ordnance Survey map are stated by earlier sources to have been within it. The 1859 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica asserts that Royston Park (now Caroline Park) outside Edinburgh, the city residence of the Viscount Tarbat, was also considered part of Cromartyshire.[22] Nimmo's 1807 list includes:[25]

  • "the mortified lands of the town of Fortrose", two patches totalling less than 50 acres in Rosemarkie parish, which were bequeathed to the burgh of Cromarty. A 1794 account of Rosemarkie parish states that there are two mortifications, but for the poor of Chanonry, not Cromarty.[29]
  • Ussie Mills (between Dingwall and Conon Bridge).
  • salmon-fishing rights on the River Conon.

Settlements edit


References edit

Sources edit

  • Mackenzie, Sir George Steuart (1810). General View of the Agriculture of the Counties of Ross and Cromarty: With Observations on the Means of Their Improvement. Richard Phillips. p. 10. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  • Groome, Francis H. (1892–1896). Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (Revised ed.). London: William McKenzie.

Citations edit

Areas shown the first-edition 6-inch maps
Other citations
  1. ^ a b c d Mackenzie 1810, pp.11–13
  2. ^ Wilson, John Marius (1854). The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. Vol. I. pp. 322–3. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Legislation: final legislation published outwith the parliamentary register". Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707. University of St Andrews. 11 March 1504. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Act anent the shire of Ross". Records of the Parliaments of Scotland. Edinburgh: University of St Andrews. 5 April 1661. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Resolis Parish". ScotlandsPlaces. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Hayton, D. W. (2002). "Cromartyshire 1690–1715". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e Mackenzie 1810, pp.15–16
  8. ^ "Act dissolving the barony of Tarbat from the shire of Ross". Records of the Parliaments of Scotland. Edinburgh: University of St Andrews. 4 June 1685. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Act in favour of Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh, lord advocate". Records of the Parliaments of Scotland. Edinburgh: University of St Andrews. 4 June 1685. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Act rescinding a former act annexing lands in Ross-shire to Cromarty". Records of the Parliaments of Scotland. Edinburgh: University of St Andrews. 14 June 1686. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Fisher, David R. (2009). "Cromartyshire 1820–1832". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  13. ^ Her Majesty’s Law Commissioners, Scotland (1839). "Appendix; Return by John Jardine, Esq., Sheriff of Ross and Cromarty". Fourth Report. Command papers. Vol. C 241. p. 186.
  14. ^ a b Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, Vol.2 p.310–1, Cromartyshire
  15. ^ Walker, David M. (1 December 2001). A legal history of Scotland. Vol. 6. W. Green. p. 356. ISBN 9780406948540.
  16. ^ [1801 Census] Abstracts of the Answers and Returns Made pursuant to an Act, passed in the Forty-first Year of His Majesty King George III. Intituled, "An Act for taking an Account of the Population of Great Britain, and the Increase or Diminution thereof." Enumeration. Part II. Scotland. British Parliamentary Papers. Vol. 1801 vi (140) 813. Lincoln's Inn Fields, London: Lake Hansard. 9 June 1802. pp. 518, 542.
  17. ^ [1811 Census] Abstracts of the Answers and Returns Made pursuant to an Act, passed in the Fifty-first Year of His Majesty King George III. Intituled, "An Act for taking an Account of the Population of Great Britain, and the Increase or Diminution thereof." Enumeration Abstract. British Parliamentary Papers. Vol. 1812 xi (316). 2 July 1812. p. 502. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  18. ^ Smith, John A.R. (2001). From isolation to integration: the development of roads in the northern highlands of Scotland 1800–1850 (PhD). University of Aberdeen. p. vi – via ProQuest Dissertations.
  19. ^ Mackenzie 1810, p.19
  20. ^ Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, Vol.6 p.615, Administration (H.A. Webster)
  21. ^ Shennan, Hay (1892). Boundaries of Counties and Parishes in Scotland: as settled by the Boundary Commissioners under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889. Edinburgh: William Green & Sons. pp. 132–134 – via Internet Archive.
  22. ^ a b "Ross and Cromarty". The Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. XIX (8th ed.). Black. 1859. p. 425.
  23. ^ Bryce, James (1862). "Cromarty". The family gazetteer and atlas of the world. William and Alexander Keith Johnston. p. 272. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  24. ^ Fraser, William (1876). The earls of Cromartie : their kindred, country, and correspondence. Vol. 2. Edinburgh. pp. 460–462.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  25. ^ a b c Mackenzie 1810, pp.16–18
  26. ^ Adams, Brian. "The scattered county of Cromartyshire" (PDF). Sheetlines (29): 31–32 [original pagination, reprint p.70].
  27. ^ Sum of the areas of the 23 parcels listed in the table.
  28. ^ The civil parish boundaries and fragment boundaries are shown on the 1-inch maps given in the "OS" column.
  29. ^ Wood, Alexander (1794). "26: Rosemarkie". In Sir John Sinclair (ed.). The statistical account of Scotland: Drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes. Vol. 11. W. Creech. pp. 344–5. Retrieved 2 April 2013.

External links edit