Creich Text



Principal Sources


OSA Vol 8 No 19


ALI No 19 pp 30-1 1415; No 54 pp 80-2 1450, No 82 pp 130-2 1463-4


RMS I App 2 p 535 Index B No 17 (Robert I)

RMS I App 2 p 536 Index B No 4 (Robert I) or Robertson’s Index p 16

RMS II (147-149) 1429-30, (1978) 1490

RMS III (54) 1515, (2336) 1541, (2380) 1541

RMS IV (788) 1553, (1026) 1555-6, (1455) 1562-3

RMS V (112) 1580-1 on original of 1575, (411) 1582

RMS VI (801) 1598 on original of 1590, (2142) 1608

RMS XI (104) 1661 on original of 1649


Records of the Parliaments of Scotland = RPS (online) 31/10/1308

CDS II (1631) c. 1297-1304


RRS V (196) 1321


RSS I (3967) 1528

RSS II (3987, 4001) 1541

RSS IV (1504) 1551-2, (2467) 1553-4, (2471) 1553-4, (3124) 1555-6

RSS VII (486) 1575-6, (1532) 1578

RSS VIII (1977) 1584


ER XIII pp 263-9 1509-10


RH4/90/8 1463-4


GD84/2/2 1504

GD93/21 1463-4, GD93/41 1511, GD93/45 & 46 1524, GD93/52 1541, GD93/78 1562-3, GD93/81 1566-7, GD93/98 1581, GD93/184 1628

GD128/47/8 Copies of 17th century documents, Fraser-Mackintosh Collection

GD128/47/8/6, Rental of the Earldom of Sutherland 1623

GD274/1 1549

GD297/177 1384, GD297/180 1439-40, GD297/191 1450, GD297/197 1454, GD297/198 1365

GD305/1/119/478 1752


SC29/1/1 f40r & f40v 1558


RH15/13/1 1618


NLS Dep.313/81 Decreet of Sale of Skelbo 1787

NLS Dep.313/87 Bundle 12 No’s 113, 114, 125

NLS Dep.313/261/2 1836 referring to charter of 1649


RS36/2/226r 1607, RS36/2/227r 1607, RS36/2/322r 1607, RS36/2/325v 1607

RS37/1/223v 1620, RS37/1/225v 1620

RS37/3/146r 1625, RS37/3/195r 1626, RS37/3/331r 1627

RS37/4/8v 1627, RS37/4/322v 1631

RS37/6/30v 1637, RS37/6/331v 1640

RS37/7/109v 1651, RS37/7/126r 1651

RS38/3/250r 1667, RS38/3/251r 1667

RS38/4/347v 1675

RS38/5/623v 1693, RS38/5/624r 1693


Retours (Ross) (8) 1577, (13) 1597, (29) 1608, (81) 1635, (89) 1642, (111) 1657, (170) 1589

Retours (Sutherland) (12) 1675, (13) 1679, (18) 1599, (19) 1614,

Retours (Inverness) (7) 1576, (46) 1627


CWMF No 45 1524, No 46 1524, No 53 1542, No 59 1547-8, No 123 1590


RHP 183 1792

RHP 679 1768

RHP 1453 1846 Balnagown estate

RHP 4202, 4203 1812

RHP 4200, 4201, 4204 1815

RHP 4205 1825

RHP 5249 1765 Pulrossie

RHP 6935/1 1866; 6935/2 1825

RHP 12647 Volume of plans of the estate of Pulrossie, 1790

RHP 81807 1811 Ospisdale

RHP 85621 1870 Glencassley

RHP 92699 1815; 92700 [1815]

RHP 141321/1 1898


The following are available online via the National Library of Scotland’s Digital Map Library:

NLS Dep.313/3587/4 Plan of grounds in dispute between W.S. Dempster, Skibo, and H. Houston of Creech, 1815

NLS Dep.313/3588 Plan of intended road from Loch Inver by the Portenleick Ferry. Surveyed by George Brown, 1793.

NLS Dep.313/3603 Printed map of Dornoch Firth, 1832

NLS Dep.313/3623/8 (n.d.) is a MS map of the land between the rivers Cassley & Oykel.

NLS Dep.313/3624/7 Sutherland, 1833

NLS Acc.10225/28 Plan of the Estate at Creich, 1823

NLS Acc.10225/36a Tracing of the Mouth of the River Cassley, n.d.


Ane Breve Cronicle of the Earlis of Ross. Including notices of the Abbots of Fearn, and of the family of Ross of Balnagown. Edinburgh, 1850. (Probably dating to 1595-1615. Hereafter ‘Ane Breve Cronicle’).

A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, from its origin to the year 1630; written by Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, Baronet, with a continuation to the year 1651. Edinburgh, 1813. (Hereafter: Earldom (Gordon)).

W MacGill, Old Ross-shire and Scotland, Inverness, 1909-11, No 67 pp 34-37, No 760 p 299, p 325

W Fraser, Earls of Cromartie, Vol II, pp 342-344, No 545, 1524 on original of 1499, Edinburgh, 1876

Ross, A., Land Assessment and Lordship in Medieval Northern Scotland, Brepols, 2015, (hereafter TMC 14).

Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections I, Scottish History Society, Edinburgh, 1906, pp 200-203




There are a number of  references in the documents to the district name of Ferincoskry. This probably matched closely with the oldest bounds of the parish of Creich. There are many variants on the name:


Ferincoscri, Ross, TMC 14 pp 131-2, Ferincostri, CDS II (1631) c. 1297-1304

Ferncroskry RPS, 31/10/1308;

Frencroskerie RRS V (196) 1321; Sutherland Book III (10)

Ferncrosker RMS I App 2 p 535 Index B No 17 (Robert I)

Farncroscen RMS I App 2 p 536 Index B No 4 (Robert I) or Robertson’s Index p 16

Ferancestgrayg (ALI No 19, 1415);

Farnacoskyre (ALI No 54, 1450);

Fernacostrech (GD93/21 1463-4; ALI No 82, 1463-4);

Feryntosky/Ferintosky (Earls of Cromartie, Vol II, pp 342-344, No 545, on original of 1499);

Fermacostrig (GD84/2/2 1504);

Farincoscare (RMS III (54), 1515);

Fernecosky (RMS III (2336), 1541).

The first element is clearly fearrann or ‘portion of land’ as in similar names like Ferindonald or Ferintosh (Ross-shire). The second element appears to be a personal name Coscrach – see Watson, CPNS pp 117.


Earldom (Gordon) gives a number of spellings for this district name, e.g. p 4:

Ther is a pairt of Southerland, within the parish of Creigh, called Chilis, or Ferrin-Coskarie


Ferrinbuscay, (now called Ferrinkostay or Slishchells)).

p 451:

Ferrinkoskary (or Slishchiles),

The alternative name Chilis or Slishchiles help with its location. The two elements in this name are slios (side, slope) and caolas (firth, strait, narrows). We are referring to the northern side of the Kyle of Sutherland.


Ferincoskry is also a name that tends to be used in two different contexts. One context (as in Acts of the Lords of the Isles No 82 1463-4 or GD93/21 1463-4) is north of the Kyle of Sutherland but east of the River Shin. The lands specified in ALI No 82 are Creich (Mor), Spinningdale, Acharry, Fload and Pulrossie. In GD93/21 they are Auchnes, Spinningdale, Acharry, Fload and Pulrossie.


The second context concerns ‘Ferincoskry in Brachat’ (i.e. in Braigh/Brae Chat or the uplands of the province of Cat). In RMS III (54) 1515 there is reference to ‘Farincoscare’ lying between the Shin and the Cassley. From about 1499 (W Fraser, Earls of Cromartie, Vol II, pp 342-344, No 545, 1524 on original of 1499) onwards, there are numerous references to Ferincoskry in Braycat and the following lands are usually listed: Inzeoran (Inveran), Linsidecroy, Linsidemore (1 davach), Altassbeg (1 davach), Altassmore (1 davach) & Achiness (1 davach). These amounted to a minimum of 4 and probably 6 davachs.


We can conclude that Ferincoskry was originally an enormous district that stretched from Pulrossie in the east to the mouth of the River Cassley in the west. It was divided into two parts. The eastern section lay between Pulrossie and the mouth of the River Shin. This is just referred to as Ferincoskry. The western section lay between the rivers Shin and Cassley and was called Ferincoskry in Braycat. The western end of the parish of Creich seems to have been the burn called Allt nan Cealgach (NC 2610) on the north side of Loch Borralan. (See A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland p 2; NLS Dep.313/3588). For Ferincoskry as part of the huge ‘de Insulis’ Estate see also text file under Ross (West Coast).


Happily we have another document to help us work out the total number of davachs in Creich. In his book ‘Old Ross-shire and Scotland’ (No 67 pp 34-7) W. Macgill quotes a source from 1649 which discusses the possibility of making the two parishes of Kincardine (Ross-shire) and Creich (Sutherland) into three. The lands from the River Shin west to Loch Ailsh, at the head of Glen Oykel, included the Ferincoskry (Braycat) farms listed above (perhaps 6 davachs) plus Inverchaslay, Knockan, Tuiteam Tarbhach & Turnaig (another 3 davachs). Moreover the document specifically states that the nine miles between Achinduich (E of River Shin) and Pulrossie (Eastern border of Creich parish) comprised 16 davach lands. These farms included Auchinduich (1½), Invershin (1½), Maikle (2), Airdens (1), Swordale (1), Migdale (1), Little Creich (1), Spinningdale, Fload, Acharry (1), Ospisdale (1) & Pulrossie. This gives us 11 davachs and if we assume Meikle Creich, Spinningdale, Fload & Pulrossie were also each a davach that brings us up to 15 of the 16 davachs mentioned.


In sum we have 16 davachs between Pulrossie and the Shin; about six from Shin to Cassley and another three west of the Cassley – making a minimum total of 25. In addition there are parts of this parish for which I have no land-assessment evidence at all. Glen Cassley is a long glen which included farms such as Rosehall, Rossel, Baddichrieve, Badditaggart, Langwell and Daltarre on the east side (which all appear in RHP 183 of 1792). On the west side of the glen there were also Invercassley (1 davach), Croich, Glen Muick (sheiling for Invercassley) and perhaps others.


We also have a reference in GD128/47/8 which is an assembly of copies of 17th century documents in the Fraser-Mackintosh Collection. No 4 is a Memorandum by Sir Robert Gordoun respecting the Augmentation of Ministers stipends. Page 2 refers to “the parochen of Creich being twentie four daughes of land“.


Finally, in documents such as Retours (Ross) (111) 1657 there are references to a Ross of Balnagown holding called Dalvanachtan and Doune which amounted to 6 davachs – 4 of which were north of the R. Oykell (in Sutherland) while 2 were south of the river (in Ross). However they did not include the farms of Cnocan, Tuiteam Tarbhach, Turnaig or Kinlochailsh – because these all appear separately in the same documents. I think these 4 northern davachs probably lay between the River Oykel and the River Cassley – see Kincardine (Ross-shire) parish text file for further explanation. See also RHP 1453 1846 Balnagown estate.


SC29/1/1 f40r & f40v 1558 (Balnagown estate) refers to Strath Oykel as 4 davach land returning 40m. (This invites comparison with the New Extent valuation of one davach to 10m which we meet frequently in Ross). It may be that these 4 davachs are those lying on the north side of the River Oykel.


GD93/328 1726 lists some Glen Cassley properties as ‘in Kincardine’ (i.e. Ross). They were Achness, Inchnalyne, Rossell, Badichrieff, Langwell, Badintagart and Dalteurach [Daltarre]. Only Inchnalyne did not survive as a place name but may well have been a haugh by Achness. Some of these properties may have comprised the 4 davachs of Dalvanachtan. Their parochial situation seems to have been ambiguous. I suspect the Balnagown estate bounds originally defined the parish of Kincardine – but that these davachs were later lost to Creich.


(Whilst it can amount to no more than circumstantial evidence it is worth noting the number of Dal-names in Glen Cassley. RHP 183 of 1792 gives us Daltarre while OS Explorer 440 still has marked on it Dail Langwell, Dalphaid and Dalnaclave. It is not unlikely, therefore, that Dalvanachtan was near Glen Cassley).


It is probable that the davachs in the upper reaches of the Oykel and Cassley were fewer in number and larger in size – simply because of the relative absence of arable land.


Hills of marble

There is an interesting piece of old geographical lore which appears in Earldom (Gordon) p 4:

Ther is a pairt of Southerland, within the parish of Creigh, called Chilis, or Ferrin-Coskarie, which is eighteen mylls in lenth, lying upon the northsyd of the rivers of Port-Ne-Couter and Oikell, wher ther are hills of marble.

Also in Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections Vol II p 466.


We have cartographical evidence of this in Lawrence Nowell’s small-scale map of Scotland dating from c. 1565. (This in turn probably came from John Elder’s map of Scotland dated c. 1544). Nowell marks ‘The marmour hilles of Southerland’. In Mercator’s map of 1564 these are ‘Montes marmorei’. In Ortelius (1573) they are ‘Montes Marmorei’ – as they are in Hole (1607).


Assynt in Creich?

There are documents which refer to properties in Assynt as being in the parish of Creich. For instance GD84/1/11/15 of 1636 lists:


Glencowle                                           [Glencoul]

Island Diura or Island Oldinie                        [Oldany Island]

Mellalands                                           [Meall Mor & Meall Beag?]

Crona etc                                             [Eilean Chrona]

in the parish of Creiche.


Likewise GD84/1/11/6 1618 gives Glencoull in the parish of Creich. I can believe that at some stage Creich may have been defined to include Assynt but I doubt this is ancient. As explained in the Assynt text file I think the oldest parish definitions will have lain on either side of Druim Alban – not crossing it.


CS96/1/63 (old reference RH15/1/63/1) Rental of Earldom of Sutherland & Lordship of Strathnaver 1705, refers to Shines (Shinness) ‘with the paroch of Dirymenach’. There is much we do not know about earlier parochial structure in Sutherland.


We have multiple strands of evidence – none of them conclusive. Two 17th-century sources suggest 24 or 25 davachs but I suspect some davach valuations had already been lost by centuries of attrition. There was a minimum of 25 davachs in Creich but the true total may have been 29 (16 + 6 +3 + 4 as above) or, more probably, 30 davachs.


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