The Story behind the Stone – the families, estates and stories of Kirkmichael, Cullicudden, the Black Isle and beyond

George MacCulloch (c1720–1778), farmer, merchant, schoolmaster, and Elizabeth MacConichie

text: Dr Jim Mackay    photography as set out below each image

One of the most attractively inscribed tablestones in Kirkmichael stands just outside the chancel door. It is much photographed by visitors. It memorialises farmer, merchant and schoolmaster George MacCulloch and his wife Elizabeth MacConichie. A position close to the chancel door would have been appropriate for a religious man of some standing. And the inscription certainly confirms his devout nature, as it ends with a beautifully italicised quotation from the Book of Job.

Memorial to George MacCulloch and Elizabeth Macculloch in Kirkmichael; marvellous photo by Andrew Dowsett

The inscription, heavily ligatured (I count nine), reads:

Here lies the body / of GEORGE MacCULLOCH / who lived some time / in this town / and de/parted this life / the 22d of Agust 1778 / aged 58 years and / ELIZABETH MacCONICHIE / his wife. / G McC / E McC / 1784 / For I know that my Redeemer / Liveth and that he shall / Stand at the Letter day / Upon the Earth Job Chap xixth Ver 25th

The reason for the choice of quotation is less clear although perhaps it was a favourite passage of the family. On the inscription itself, I’m not sure quite what is meant by “in this town” – take your pick of Resolis, Kirkton or Kirkmichael. But what it does indicate is that he did not die in the parish, but is buried here.

The beautifully carved inscription on the MacCulloch tablestone; photo by Andrew Dowsett

Kirkton steading; photo by Jim Mackay

You will note that the stone was erected in 1784, some years after George’s death in 1778; it was accepted that a memorial should be erected several years after a burial for various physical reasons. Elizabeth may have died in 1784 and their children had the tablestone erected, but the wording suggests that Elizabeth was ensuring in advance of her own demise that both her husband and herself were commemorated.

What do we know of George MacCulloch and Elizabeth MacConichie? They appear on the baptisms of their children in the Resolis parish register and Cromarty parish register, and from this record source we can tell that George was a tenant farmer at Kirkton, on the Estate of Newhall in the parish of Resolis, in 1749 and 1751, but that he then moved to live in Cromarty itself, as merchant and farmer, in 1753, 1755 and 1757.

Who were George’s parents? We can’t tell. Baptism records of the period around his birth have not survived for the parish of Resolis. From the names of his children and his social status he has to belong to one of the inter-related Cromarty and Resolis farming McCulloch families, but at this point we cannot tell. The fact that his gravestone is quite distant from the main McCulloch burial area at Kirkmichael suggests less of a connection, but it may be that his family wanted a more prominent position adjacent to the old church. An appendix of options for George’s parents is provided.

On the plus side, we do have a record of six of the children of George and Elizabeth.

The tablestone commemorating George MacCulloch at Kirkmichael and the farmstead at Kirkton where he was once tenant are ringed in red; photo by Andrew Dowsett

Resolis baptisms 1749
19 Jun 1749 George McCulloch tenant in Kirktown & Elizabeth McConochie – Lillias
Resolis baptisms 1751
31 May 1751 George McCulloch tenant Kirktown & Elizth. McKay – Margaret [I think we can safely assume that “McKay” was either an alias or an error here]
Cromarty baptisms 1753
Sep: 2 was Born & Bap: Gilbert Lawll Son to George McCulloch Merchant and Farmer in Town and Elizabeth Mackonachie his spouse
Cromarty baptisms 1755
May 27th Jean L.D. to Geo: McCulloch Farmer in town & Eliz: Mckonachie
Cromarty baptisms 1757
June2d Elizabeth L.D. to George McCulloch Farmer in Town & Elizabeth McConachie
Boleskine and Abertarff or Fort Augustus baptism 1761
1761 Jany. 2d. This Day George McCulloch Schoolmaster at Ft. Augt. had a Child Baptized, named George

Why do we include the final baptism, from Fort Augustus? All will be revealed shortly.

We therefore have children Lillias, Margaret, Gilbert, Jean, Elizabeth and George. The less common Christian names of “Lillias” and “Gilbert” were popular in the McCulloch families of the area. The Resolis baptisms term him as “Tenant” at Kirktown, the farm adjacent to Kirkmichael and part of the Newhall Estate. Another document calls him a “Tacksman” at Kirktown so it is surprising there aren’t more records of his early life at Kirkton in the Newhall Estate papers. I suspect his tenancy was a short-term one.

The track up to Kirkton from Kirkmichael; photo by Jim Mackay

“Farmer in Town” is a strange phrase used to describe George on the Cromarty baptisms, almost self-contradictory in nature. But when you look at the tack (for three years) below, you will see that he was farming various lands close to or within the little town of Cromarty itself, so it is an accurate description. He is described in the 1753 baptism as a merchant as well as a farmer in Cromarty, but there is no evidence as to what his line was – the term merchant could cover running a small shop to exporting and importing shiploads of goods.

From his age as given on his tablestone, George was born about 1720. On the basis that he was born in the parish of Resolis, where baptism records start only in the 1750s, we cannot tell who his parents were.

George himself appears in the Cromarty Estate papers held in Craigston Castle at the time when his and Elizabeth’s children start to be baptised in the Cromarty baptism register:

Copy Minutes of Tack Left with Mr Gorry 29 Septr 1753

George McCulloch late in Kirkmichael a Tack for three years Commencing from Whitsunday next, of the Denesdales and Anisdales lately possesst by Alexander Barkly Junr. & William Fraser in Cromarty, to pay yearly twelve Bolls Bear drest as above, and twelve Bolls two firlots two pecks more Victual Converted at half a Guinea pr. Boll, and one pound seven shillings five pence, & one sixth Sterling for Services, two shillings and a half penny Vicarrage, seven shillings and six pence Grass money, twenty five hens, fifty eggs, One hundred and fifty Windlings of Straw and twenty five hookes, And to pay for the Nesses lately possesst by Alexr Barkley Senr. ten Bolls Victuall Converted at half a Guinea pr. Boll, half a Crown Grass Money, ten Merks for Services, ten pence for Vicarriage, ten hens, twenty eggs, and ten hookes, All the Customs at the stated Conversions optional to the Master, and ten pounds Scots as the half of the Ferry Rent yearly, and to make and support the Ferry Boats in Conjunction with Donald Robson.

The implication from this rental statement is clear: relative to many other tenants, George MacCulloch had a substantial holding. The land he was renting from the Cromarty Estate amounted cumulatively to a considerable rental, and I note that in his taking over from the Alexander Barklys senior and junior he was replacing two other tenants resident at times in both Kirkmichael and Cromarty. I confess that the areas of land called the “Denesdales and Anisdales” are unknown to me.

Regarding the Nesses, I am aware of only one area of land at Cromarty termed a Ness, Mary Ness, as shown on the 1764 David Aitken Cromarty Estate map, drawn a few years after George’s tack was written. However, I do note that in a 1745 sasine (RS38/9 folio 455 recto):

Seasine in favours of William Urquhart
At Inverness [4 May 1745] … ane heretable bond bearing date [29 Apr 1745] whereby Kenneth McCulloch tacksman of Meickle Farness with the special advice & consent of Anna Mckenzie his spouse for her interest … liferent … two pounds Sterline money … that piece of ground with the dwelling house office & otherhouses built thereon lying betwixt the Easter & Wester Ness of Cromarty

I think therefore the term “Nesses” referred simply both sides of Mary Ness.

Extract of 1764 plan of the Cromarty Estate showing Mary Ness

And being the joint-tenant of the important ferry crossing of Cromarty Ferry was also a significant role.

In reality, unless George had considerable capital, or other means of income, it is difficult to see how he could have survived financially paying these rentals. The form of farming on the Cromarty Estate was backward, made up as it was of odd pieces of ill-cultivated land. The harvests in this period were very poor, and many of the Cromarty Estate tenants had to give up their farms due to debt. I see John Gorry writing to the widowed Mistress Urquhart in March 1757:

Our season continues very backward, and the Labouring much behind, and really the consequence considering our past seasons looks Gloomy. May God Almighty soon send us more favourable weather and times

And in consequence I see George McCulloch falling behind in his rental to the tune of almost £15:

Bill of Arrear due by the Tennants … Cropt 1757 and preceedings


Geo: McCulloch 14.19.3 3

George and Elizabeth had a family to support as well, so it is no surprise to find that just a few years after becoming a tenant on the Cromarty Estate he had to give up. He was not alone in this. For example, Kenneth Macculloch of Allerton of Farness had moved in with similar great intentions and had built an entirely new farm steading at Allerton, far bigger than need be, and voluntarily gave up in March 1757, asking for the value of the new steading to be deducted from his debts (for more about Kenneth, see “The biging on Allertown” described in more detail below and his 1732 marriage contract to be found in RD2/132).

I am grateful to David Alston for bringing to my attention a record in the Particular Register of Hornings and Inhibitions Cromarty. This is a register of legal processes, where the defender is usually being pursued for non-payment of rent:

George McCulloch, merchant in Cromarty and tacksman in Kirkmichael, now in Cromarty, 1754

I haven’t inspected this record myself yet, but the wording implies that George was a merchant in Cromarty whilst still a tacksman at Kirkton beside Kirkmichael. It would sadly also suggest that George was in serious financial trouble within a year of entering into his lease. It was therefore only a matter of time before he would have to give up the farm.

And yet something rather surprising happened to George McCulloch, as revealed in a letter from John Gorry to the new laird, William Urquhart.

Balblair 13th August 1762
You’ll receive herewith, the Bills of Arrears, As due by your Cromarty Tenants and Feurs in Balance of Cropt and year 1761 and preceedings, as made out at last Stateing with them.
What the Tenants are due as first… George MacCulloch now Schoolmaster at Ft. Augustus you see is due £13.18.2 7/. But there is a probability of his paying you; Tho’ when he Removed I took up all his Corns, which was the Case with Fenwick
… Jo Gorry

Schoolmaster at Fort Augustus? Another document by Gorry shows that the Estate had indeed been proceeding against him legally to recover debts:

Geo: McCulloch under Dilligence, as it stood Martinms. 1760. The man is now schoolmtr. at Ft. Augustus

And there is in fact hard evidence of his time at Fort William, as in the record already quoted found in the baptism register of Boleskine and Abertarff within which combined parishes the town of Fort Augustus lies:

Boleskine and Abertarff or Fort Augustus Baptism Register
1761 Jany. 2d. This Day George McCulloch Schoolmaster at Ft. Augt. had a Child Baptized, named George

Fort Augustus and Loch Ness from General Wade’s military road; photo by JM Briscoe, Creative Commons Licence

There can be no doubt about it. The same George McCulloch who had been a tacksman at Kirkton, and then farmer in Cromarty, was now a schoolmaster in Fort Augustus. How did George achieve this transition from farmer to schoolmaster? Was he perhaps an elder in the church? At this time the schoolmaster and the church were very closely related. Many schoolmasters were biding their time to become ministers. The parochial schoolmaster was usually the Kirk Session Clerk, and kept up the baptism and marriage registers.

Indeed, the register in Fort Augustus in which his own child’s baptism is recorded was presumably kept by George himself. I note that the Marriage Register commences only in November 1759, just about the time that George would have arrived in Fort Augustus. The Baptism Register commences earlier, in 1737, but an inspection of it shows that those early years were retrospectively added on the first page in the same hand as the Marriage Register, and baptisms were recorded regularly only from mid-1760. However, all this might be coincidence, and the handwriting of a document definitely written by George MacCulloch needs to be checked.

Written by George MacCulloch?

Why were the registers not kept before this? The answer is that Abertarff (that part of the united parish of Boleskine and Abertarff within which Fort Augustus lies) was not served by a regular minister. A series of missionaries preached in this remote area.

I note from the records of the Commissioners of the Forfeited Estates (established following the second Jacobite rebellion in 1745/1746 to administer estates belonging to Jacobite ringleaders such as Lord Lovat and the Earl of Cromartie and to develop the Highlands economically) that in this period there was pressure to create a church and, observe, a school:

E769/78 Forfeited Estates: Lovat: Letters concerning the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff 1756-1771 from: the minister and elders of the parish concerning the erection of a church and manse and the establishment of a school

I have not yet read these letters, but it would seem likely that a school was indeed established at this time, with George McCulloch as schoolmaster. One could go further and hypothesise that John Gorry may have had a hand in it, as he had contacts within the Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates. Was he responsible for George’s successful transition from financially embarrassed farmer to schoolmaster? Alternatively, the barrack-master at Fort Augustus had been a MacCulloch from Cromarty and this could have been the connection (this is explored further in Appendix 1).

Whatever the reason, we have the unusual position of a farmer turning schoolmaster. Did George have a formal education? I note that a George McCulloch was a student of Marischal College in Aberdeen in 1744–48 (“Records of the Marischal College and University of Aberdeen”, Volume 2, Peter John Anderson, 1898), but unfortunately on investigation this George McCulloch, also from the Black Isle, became a schoolmaster at Golspie before becoming the Minister of Loth. Perhaps our George never attended university as some schoolmasters were largely self-taught.

In Fort Augustus the trail becomes cold. I have not succeeded in tracking George or his family after their arrival there. They obviously must have done well for themselves, as the tablestone at Kirkmichael is a high quality stone, beautifully carved with care and attention. So there is much more of this story to be found.

Hopefully as more emerges about the McCullochs of the area we can tell to which branch our George belongs. We have had similar lack of success in identifying Elizabeth McConochie’s forebears.If anyone could assist with developing the later days of this family we would be very grateful.


Appendix 1: the Barrack-master of Fort Augustus

The Fort at Fort Augustus, or Cill Chuimein as it was known before the Fort (and still is, in the Gaelic), as sketched by Charles Cordiner in 1788; source: Wikipedia

The connection of George MacCulloch with Fort Augustus might have come through William MacCulloch, who was barrack-master in Fort Augustus in at least 1749, and might just possibly have been George’s father! A rather famous publication by the Scottish History Society was “The Letter-book of Bailie John Steuart of Inverness 1715–1752” edited by William Mackay (1915). It can be downloaded from the internet these days. Bailie Steuart had problems recovering a loan from a merchant called William MacCulloch, and here are the marvellously entertaining notes from the record he kept of his letters:

Coppie Letter to my son John, at London, 1 7ber 1749.
Mind to return me William McKullach his bill, with the protest, etc., on it, which I sent you in May 1745, as he is now in good business, and I may recover my mony, etc.
Inverness, 25 8ber 1749.
For William Mackullach, barrackmaster at Fort Augustus.
Sir,– I hope you remember you are due me since the year 1728 a balance of your accepted bill indorsed to me by Mr. John Coutts of Eder. for value, £11:15:10 sterlin, of which you payed and which is marked on the bill £6 sterlin; so remained due 21 of March 1728. / £5:15:10 / To Registrat protest –:2:6 / To interest for 21 years and half to this dait. 6:7:4 / £12:5:8
So you see there is now due me tuixt principals and interest £12:5:8 sterlin at this dait. I have several letters of yours now befor me entreating my patience, and not to raise a diligence, and promiseing me payment verie soon. And no doubt you must be sensible that I complyed with your request, and have not in the least distressed you. tho’ God knowes great and manie have been my strates and trubles since your bill became due. And therfor, as I beleive you are ane honest man and my freind, I hope you will, in return of this letter and by your next post who comes hither, remitt me a pairt of this mony, four or three pounds sterlin at least, as I am extreamly stratned at present, and He send you my recept for the same. And lett me know when you can pay the ballance, and He transact with you and take your bill payable some time after this. Therfor, I hope you will in return of this show your willingness to doe me justice. In which, if you fail, I am sorie to tell you I must assigne your bill to some one or other of my creditors who, I am affrayed, will be more peremptor than I enclyn to be, as am I, Your well wisher, etc.
Inverness, 27 8ber 1749.
I wrot of this dait to my son John … and have acknowledged recept of William McKullach’s bill, etc., that lay in his [i.e. his son John’s] custodie since Anno 1745.
Inverness, 6 9ber 1749.
I wrot of this dait to William McKullach, Barackmaster at ffortaugustus, by the post, entreating him to send me part of the money due me pr. bill by ane express, howson my letter came to his hands, on my charges.
Inverness, 16 Decer. 1749.
I wrot of this dait to my son John … I likeways wrot him annent William Mackullachs bill, that he [MacCulloch] told me he [MacCulloch] hade surrendered all his effects to pay his creditors in London, among which he [MacCulloch] named him [son John] as haveing right to my bill by indorsation, and [I] beged his [son John’s] thoughts on this subject

The John Coutts mentioned was a merchant with whom Steuart often did business, and who went on to form Coutts bank. Now, I note from my own researches in the NRS other bills on William MacCulloch, such as these two:

31 March 1729 / Protest Hossak agt McCullock
Compeared Bruce and gave in the protest the tenor follows
Cromertie 4 Sept. 1728 On the fifth day of October next to come pay to John Hossak & Co. five pounds fourteen Shillings and two pence Sterling value received of us, and the payment to be made within our warehouse at Inverness Sir your humble servants so (signed) Will. Macklear for John Hossak self & Compie. To Mr William McCollock merct. in Cromtie. accepts (so signed) Will: MacCollock Att Inverness [24 December 1728] which day in presence of me Nottar publick and witnesses after named Compeared John Hosak mert. in Inverness for himself & compy. within their warehouse there having and holding in his hands the prinll. Bill whereas the tenor is prefix and In regard that William MacCollock above designed faill’d in payment of the contents of the sd. bill …
10th Decemr. 1730 / Protest Baillie agt. Urquhart
… Edinr. Novemr. 1729 upon the Eleventh day of Novemr. next pay to me or order at John’s Coffee house seventy two pounds nine shillings & sixpence Sterling value in your hands of signed Robt. Baillie To Messrs George Urquhart & William McCulloch merts. in Cromarty conlly. & seally. accepts signed Geo: Urquhart William McCulloch At Edinr. [10 December 1730] the @ Mr. Robt. Baillie mert. in Edinr. protested the bill a Coppy qrof is prefit agt. the accepters yrof conlly. & seally. for not payt. & for interest & expences …

Clearly with mounting debts and court action pending against MacCulloch there must have been an incentive to move away! Now, here is where it gets more interesting. What was published as “The Letter-Book” was a heavily-edited version of the original massive resource. The editor, William Mackay, in his Introduction gives some examples of the Bailie’s more enduring debts and says:

William MacCulloch, a Ross-shire laird [definitely not a laird!], signed a bill in 1728. In 1743 it is recorded that he is in Virginia, and that payment is expected when he returns. The bill is not paid in 1749, when pressure is put upon MacCulloch, now barrack-master of Fort Augustus.

David Alston, in “My Little Town of Cromarty”, lists numerous Cromarty merchants mentioned in the parish registers and records for William MacCulloch “1727 [his marriage date when he was recorded as merchant] Left Cromarty for London; in Virginia in 1743; later barrack master at Fort Augustus.”

The marriage register indicates that William’s wife, whom he married in 1727, was Margaret Davidson, and the baptism register records that they had Elspet in 1730, when William is described as a merchant. I am grateful to Nick Hide who found the marriage contract in the Highland Archives:

Contract Matrimoniall Twixt William MacCulloch and Margaret Davidson 1727 Discharged 7th. June 1731.
At Cromarty [30 Jan 1727] It is Contracted, agreed upon and finally ended betwixt the parties following … William McCulloch merchant in Cromarty on the one part, and Margaret Davidson third lawfull daughter to Alexander Davidson Sherriff Clerk of Cromarty with the special advice and consent of her said father, and William Davidson writer there her only Brother german on the other part & manner following. [tocher] … to pay to the sd William McCulloch his heirs or assigneys … [500 merks Scots] but longer with @rent and expenses after the respective terms of payt. … And on the other part the sd William McCulloch has provided and hereby provides the sd. Margaret Davidson … equall half of all lands heretages, tacks, steddings [etc] acquired by them during the sd Marriage … In witness whereof, They have subscribed thir presents (written on stampt paper by the @designed William Davidson) date and place aforesd. Before these witnesses George Urquhart of Greenhill, John Mitchell merchant in Cromarty, and the sd Wm Davidson.

Now, our George first appears in the records as tenant at Kirkton in 1749. William MacCulloch appears as barrack-master in Fort Augustus in 1749. Could they have returned to Scotland at the same time?

All conjecture at this stage, and this Story will be updated when and if further information becomes available.


Appendix 2: Other George McCullochs

There were very few George McCullochs about, so it is useful to identify those whom we can discount as the tacksman in Kirkton.

George the first
We can tell that he wasn’t the George born to another MacCulloch family who moved between the parishes, James MacCulloch, farmer and merchant, and Barbara Barkly. Their son George, born about 1712, married Jean McCulloch and farmed at Ferryton in the parish of Resolis. He actually owned for some time land at the Ness of Cromarty later to be tenanted by our George MacCulloch.

George the second
Another George MacCulloch associated with the families buried in Kirkmichael was George McCulloch, merchant in Clyne and parish of Kiltearn. He crops up in quite a number of sasines and deeds, such as:

Sasine RS38/9 folio 454 recto
… The seasine underwritten was presented by Kenneth McCulloch tacksman of Farness … compeared personally John Hood Seaman in Cromarty as baillie in that part … also compeared David Fidlar boatman in Cromarty as attorney for and in name and behalf of George McCulloch merchant in Clyne & parish of Kiltearn whose letter of Attorney to the effect was sufficiently known to me having and holding his hands a right & disposition of the date underwritten containing therein the said precept of seasine after insert made & granted by James Nicoll indweller in Cromarty heretable proprietor of the said … the said James Nicoll sold … the said George McCulloch … [30 Mar 1745] before these witnesses Kenneth McCulloch tacksman in Mickle Farness, Thomas Harper shoemaker in Cromarty William Taylor cooper there & Thomas Ross sailler there … the beforenamed & designed James Nicol who known to me cannot write as he affirms, having touched my pen & subscrive thir presents for him sic subr. William Davidson n.p. … in presence of Donald Bremner tacksman in Easter Raddery and Donald Bremner cooper in Cromarty…

Extract of the sasine above

George the third
Another George MacCulloch who appears in the records was the son of David McCulloch, tacksman in Davidston:

Sasine RS38/10 folio 453 recto
Saisine in favours William Forsyth mert. in Cromarty [1759] … John Dunbar writer in Inverness … compeared George Sanderson joiner in Cromarty as pror. … behalf of William Forsyth …and also appointed John Sanderson likewise joyner in Cromarty as Baillie in that part … Ludovick Gordon … to content and pay to Elizabeth Bayn eldest lawfull daughter procreat betwixt John Bayn gardener in Cromarty and Margaret Gordon his lawfull daughter … witnesses Kenneth McCulloch tacksman in Meikle Farness, William Galdie merchant in Cromarty George McCulloch eldest lawfull son to David McCulloch tacksman in Davidstown, & Alexr Harper lawfull son to Thos. Harper shoemaker in Cromarty at the desire of the @ Ludovick Gordon who known to me cannot write … in presence of Daniel Sanderson joyner in Cromarty and James Innes Sherriff Officer there …

I think he is very probably the same George McCulloch who acts as witness in this sasine a few years earlier which I include at more length due to its wider interest:

Sasine RS38/10 folio 201 verso
Sasine In favours of Collin Reid mercht in Fortrose 1754
At Inverness [2 Feb 1754] presented by John Denoon writer in Inverness … compeared personally John Bremner late baillie of Fortrose as baillie in that part … also compeard Collin Reid merchant in Fortrose in whose favours the … disposition … is made … having … disposition of the date underwritten containing the precept after insert made & granted by William McCulloch eldest lawfull son of the deceast George McCulloch sometime in Davidstown procreat twixt him & the also deceast Margaret McKensie his spouse whereby the said Wm McCulloch for the Reasons and Causes therein Spett. not only made & constituted the said Collin Reid his heirs or assignies, His undoubted Cessioners & assignies In and to the princll sum of Five hundred merks Scots money @rents thereof, bygone resting unpaid (so farr as he had Intrest therein) & in tyme coming till Paymt. with the sum of one hundred Pounds money forsaid of Liquidate penalty contained in & due by an Heritable Bond of Date [11 April 1719] granted by John Masson [John Mason in other sasines] Chirurgeon in Fortrose, deceast, to the said William McCulloch in Fee & the said Margaret McKenzie in Liferent, & an Instrument of Seasin following thereon, of the forsaid Particate of Manse dated [9 June] & registrate at Fortrose [14 Jully 1731], But also assigned transferred & disponed from him & his heirs to & in favours of the said Collin Reid & his forsaids all & heal the particate of St. Kathrins manse in Chanorie being a Chaplain Land the principall sometimes belonging to Robert Innes at the East, The Cawsey at the north & west & Kincraig’s manse at the south … sometime possest by John Murra- burges there, with the houses built or to be built thereupon … the said Wm McCulloch obliged him to infeft the said Collin Reid and his forsaids to be holden of him & his on free blench for paymt. of a Scots penny, in name of blench farm, at the terms of Whitsunday yearly … which assignation & disposition containing the said precept of Seasin, the said Collin Reid Exhibited & presented to the said John Bremner baillie in that part foresaid, by the said precept specially consistute, desiring & requiring him at the same time, to sett about & perform the office of bailliary thereby committed to him … & delivered the same to me Nottar Publick subscriveing to be read & published to the witnesses standing by which I accordingly did and of which precept of seasin the Tenor follows, Attour To John Bremner late Baillie of Fortrose my baillie in that part to the effect after mentioned specially constitute It is my will that on sight hereof ye pass and give and deliver heretable State of Seasin with possession reall, actuall & corporall of the said particate of manse lying & bounded as before Enumerated to the said Collin Read … in witness whereof I have subscrived this & the two preceding pages of Stampt Paper by Mr Donald Shirriff Clerk of Sutherland, Att Fortrose [17 Jul 1742] before these witnesses George McCulloch my eldest lawfull son & the said Hugh McDonald (signed) Will McCulloch George McCulloch witness Hugh Mackdonald witness, After reading Publishing & explaining of the said assignation & disposition & precept of seasin @insert therin contained, the said John Bremner baillie in that part… these things were so said & done as @ sett furth twixt the hours of two & three in the afternoon of the day of the month, year of God & Kings Reign respectively @ specified before & in presence of Mr Wm Smith schoolmaster of Fortrose and John Bremner junior residenter there

George the fourth
One final George McCulloch, who crops up in many sasines. He was George McCulloch in Mickle Farnes, formerly portioner of Caitwall, also in Davidston, and the son of George McCulloch merchant and burgess in Fortrose and Margaret Dallas. His relict was Margaret McKenzie, and his son was William, tacksman in Davidstoun and factor to Sir George Mackenzie of Grandvile.

Clearly this George could not be our George, given he married a different lady, but I think all these McCullochs were closely related. It is like a genealogical jigsaw puzzle and when these pieces are placed in the correct positions the picture will become clear.

The beautifully italicised quotation from Job; photo by Davine Sutherland


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