The text below is mostly summaries with some extracts
from the original text. The links are to Google Books,
usually to the first item of interest rather than the
first page of a parish. The NSA for Nairnshire is volume
13. Some notes from MacFarlane's Geographical Collections
(Volume I3) have been added - these are useful as they
date from the 1720's. See here
for further information and links.
information about parishes can be found on the Vision
of Britain site and on Scotland's
The overview map is based on Black
& Hall's map of Scotland, 1854, courtesy of
Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The images are
copyright Cartography Associates but have been made
available under a Creative
Commons license for non-commercial use.
elsewhere, at the time of the OSA the roads were statute
labour. In the early 1800's Parliamentary roads and
turnpikes were made so that by the time of the NSA the
road system was quite reasonable except for some local
roads. Military roads ran through the area and seem
to have been in reasonable condition at the time. As
Taylor (Military Roads in Scotland) shows, not all of
these were built exclusively by the military; existing
roads were often upgraded or were maintained by the
army and so designated military. There are no mentions
of Roman camps or roads.
were quite a few ferries, some of them dangerous, especially
on the Findhorn and bridges were a great benefit. There
were early bridges at Nairn and at Cantray, in Calder
parish. Dulsie Bridge, on the military road, is mentioned
in 1726 (MacFarlane) which indicates that the present
military bridge was either a replacement or based on
the older bridge. It also suggests early routes down
to Grantown and Aviemore.
are the usual references to fairs and markets and fuel
seems to have been easily obtained. There was a small
port at Nairn where coal and lime could be landed and
wood and corn exported. At the time of the NSA, Nairn
had gas lighting and the streets had been relaid.
This links to the 1859 Report of the Commissioners for
Inquiring into Matters relating to Public Roads in Scotland
and gives an overview of roads in Nairnshire at that
Survey of the Province of Moray, J.Grant & W.Leslie,
1798 Contains much useful information on various topics,
Military Roads in Scotland, William Taylor, House of
Highland Bridges, Gillian Nelson, West Port Books, 2006.
Vol.4, page 151
Page 151 "This river (the Findhorn) is rapid,and
frequently impassable every where, excepting at Dulcy
bridge, on the highland road leading from Fort George
to Edinburgh. There are two boats on this water within
the parish, and one on the post road; but owing either
to the mismanagement of the boatmen, or temerity of
the people, many lives are lost. During the incumbency
of the present minister, no less than 23 persons have
been lost between Dulcy bridge and the post-road. The
loss of lives from this cause claims attention; and
the only method that can be pointed out, to prevent
it, is to erect a bridge between the two boats, which
would render the communication both safe and easy."
Page 153 No inn in the parish, but there is one at Dulcie
Bridge on the highland road to Edinburgh.
Butcher meat is available at Forres and Nairn, both
about 12 miles away.
View Larger Map Dulsie Bridge. Use mouse
to navigate around image.
NSA Page 26
Page 32 Antiquities."On the line of
the old military road from Fort-George to Perth, made
by General Wade,which passes through the parish, there
is the fine old bridge of Dulcie, crossing the Findhorn,
and situated in a most romantic spot...."
interesting bridge at Burnside on the approach to
Dulsie Bridge. As the course of the burn has changed
it is now on dry land. It is very likely to be a
military bridge and there are remains of what may
be the military road on the other side of the present-day
38 Parochial Economy. Market-Towns, Etc.
Nairn and Forres, 10 and 12 miles distant respectively.
Means of Communication. The nearest post
office is Nairn. There is no turnpike but the county
road from Nairn to Grantown and other county roads pass
through, including a Parliamentary road. The district
roads are much improved though more has still to be
"There are three stone bridges over the Findhorn,
viz. one at Dulcie, one at Glenfairness, and a third
42 Inns. One.
Fuel. Peat easily available. A little
wood and also coal, available from Nairn, may be used.
Miscellaneous Observations. - He gives a graphic
description of living conditions in the not too distant
past. At that time there were no carts and dung was
carried in " kellachs" or baskets.
Vol.19, page 616
Page 622 Three fairs held each year. No particular mention
Page 8 Mention of a suspension-bridge over the Findhorn,
15 Parochial Economy. Market-Town. Nairn
is the nearest market town, two and a half miles distant.
Means of Communication. There is a post
ofice at Nairn. The Elgin to Inverness turnpike road
was formed in 1820 and runs through the parish for four
miles. It, and the other roads afford easy access and
are in good condition. The bridges are also good. A
mail coach and two stage-coaches run on the turnpike
each day, and there are several carriers.
18 Four fairs, four public houses. Wood, peat and coal
are used as fuel. The coal comes in at Nairn.
Miscellaneous Observations. Since the
last account new roads have been made and the old ones
At the time of the OSA Cawdor or Calder was in Inverness-shire
Much oat-meal, cattle and sheep are supplied to Inverness,
Nairn and Fort George. Barley is sold to distillers, two
of these being in the parish.
Page 354 Miscellaneous Observations. One
inn in the parish, and 2 or 3 ale-houses, not much used
by locals but convenient for travellers.
The roads are in a tolerable state, being kept in repair
by the statute-labour, which is exacted in kind. The bridges
are in good order, being so kept by Government, as the
military road passes through the parish. The tenants have
not as yet got any of the large shod wheel carts and waggons;
they use the ancient and still common sort of sledges
Peat is the most common fuel. Wood, furze, broom, &c.
are also used.
Page 22 In relating a story from the time of Charles
II he says that there was no bridge over the river of
25 Parochial Economy. Nairn, six miles
away, is the nearest place where the main roads to the
south and east can be reached. There are no coaches
in the parish. The roads are adequate.
Means of Communication. Penny-post in the
village of Cawdor.
Inns. One inn, and two licensed spirit-shops.
Fuel.Peat, and coal from Nairn.
A Geographicall Description of Calder Parish (Cawdor),
Page 226 The river Nairn has a bridge in the town and
one six miles above at the Bridge of Cantra - see NMRS
record - the original bridge at Cantray dates from
1641. The later bridge dates from 1764 which itself
was rebuilt c. 1840.
Page 228 The Findhorn is crossed by the Bridge of Dulassie
(i.e. Dulsie Bridge), 12 miles from the sea.
Page 229 The writer notes that the separate parts of
Nairnshire went back to the time of the Thanes of Calder
(Cawdor) who were heritable sherrifs of Nairn when they
had jurisdiction over all lands belonging to them.
Vol.12, page 381
Page 383 Two good inns in the town, convenient for travellers.
Many ale-houses and whisky-shops.
Page 389 Roads and Bridges. The military
road from Forres to Fort George is very good but the Highland
road from Nairn to the Bridge of Dulsie is very bad. Statute
labour is not commuted and hence not so well performed.
The only notable bridge here is at Nairn, built in 1631
or 1632 as shown by an inscription on a stone fallen into
the river. In 1782 half of the bridge was carried away
on a flood and if it were not for repairs made in timber
the Nairn would be impassable. It is a matter of public
importance to have a good bridge here as there is no ferry
such as those over the Spey and Findhorn, and it is to
be hoped that Government will grant aid for a new bridge.
Page 4 Navigation. Coal, lime and bone-dust
are imported at Nairn and wood and some corn exported.
Page 5 Parochial Economy. Gas is now available
in the town, and is used to light the streets. The public
street had been a rough causeway but has been macadamised
and is much more level though it can be dusty in dry
There is a good hotel at which three coaches stop every