Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654
|Name:||Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673|
|Title:||Nova Moraviae Descriptio|
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Translation of text:
And the same poet of Inverlochy (Section Note):
Inverlochy, which was the old host of kings,
Is now in ruins, and ashes are piled up on this earth.
Time, devourer of material things, has brought down its secure fortresses,
Which armed bands of Picts could not destroy.
If any stone still survives, inscribe, Muses,
This couplet, heaven not fearing to die.
Let none henceforward prefer peace to war: to the city
Which you hide, this was mother, that step-mother.]
Under King Robert Bruce, Thomas Randolph, his nephew from his sister, who undertook for his country great labours and the heaviest trials, was well known by the title of Earl of Moray. Under Robert II John Dunbar, who received the king’s daughter as the reward of violated chastity along with this Earldom of Moray. Under James II William Crichton, chancellor of the kingdom, and Archibald Douglas fought most keenly over this Earldom, when against the law and ancestral custom Douglas, who had married the younger daughter of John Dunbar Earl of Moray, was preferred in the Earldom of Moray to Crichton, to whom the elder had been given, because of the power and authority of William Earl of Douglas with the King, which was so great that he not only raised this man to the Earldom of Moray, but also a second brother to that of Ormond, and two relations to those of Angus and Morton. But this power, which was not reliable because it was excessive, was soon his own destruction. Under James V his brother, whom he made Regent, enjoyed this honour, and in our lifetime James, illegitimate son of King James V, received this honour from his sister Queen Mary, to whom he returned evil thanks, since he with a few nobles as allies, removed her from her kingdom, a wretched example for Kings; however he shortly after paid for this when he was pierced by a bullet. His only daughter brought this title to her husband James Stewart of Doune, whose family was of royal blood, viz. from the Dukes of Albany; he, slain by rivals, left a son James as successor in this honour.
By ROBERT GORDON. (Section Note)
Being about to describe Moray, let me say this most truly as preface: second to none in its healthy climate, in tenderness and goodness of the earth it far exceeds all other of our northern provinces. Such is the temperateness of the air here that, when all surrounding places are stiff with the cruelty of winter, snow does not persist nor ice cause any great problem for crops or trees. Hence we find entirely true the boast of the inhabitants, that each year they experience forty more bright days than all their neighbours. Nothing grows anywhere in the whole kingdom, which does not flourish abundantly here, or if it is lacking, that is to be ascribed to the sloth of the inhabitants, not to a fault in climate or soil. If we look at crops, the earth puts them forth in amazing and consistent plenty; if at the fruits of every kind of tree, grasses, flowers, or vegetables, here one may perceive all in abundance, and all seasonably. When autumn has scarcely begun elsewhere, here everything is ripe, cut and conveyed to open threshing areas (as is the custom of the people); and if we compare this region to the others, winter is scarcely felt: the land is almost always uncovered, the seas are open, nor are roads blocked. But since much of the land is taken up by crops, there is less grass: for this whole region is given over to crop and cultivation. But pasture does not need to be sought at a great distance: for above in the interior a few miles away there is enough and more than enough, to which each year in full summer the cattle may be removed when the farming toils are over. Nowhere will you find a better provided meat-market than here, nowhere grain at a cheaper price; and this not from lack of money, but from abundance. The inhabitants too, though lazy in many ways (as often in fruitful soil), exert themselves in fishing at sea and in that outdo their neighbours. In the lower-lying places on the coast there is a problem with lack of bituminous clods for the purpose of fire, and this is the only inconvenience felt by the fortunate region, but that occurs in few places, and they are relieved by strenuous drinking (for this must be admitted), and with little free time because of working regularly at farming, they feel this or care about it little. The thirsty soil needs frequent summer rain to swell the crops, nor do they (unlike their neighbours) have too serious trouble from aridity and dryness.
This region from the River Ness and its mouth along the coast to the mouth of the River Spey, if you calculate from town to town, as the course of the road indicates, comprises about thirty four Scots miles (which exceed the English by a fifth). But it is unequal in width: the exceptional fertility of this land scarcely exceeds six or seven miles, and is sometimes narrower.
The land is flat, low, sometimes rising to lovely hills, for the most part sandy, but always with an admixture of clay; when manure is spread on it, it becomes amazingly fertile.
In addition to the afore-mentioned rivers, it is watered by the Nairn and Findhorn, and at the city of Elgin by the River Lossie.
The River Ness, if its sources are enquired into, not far from the Vergivian Sea flows out of Loch Quoich. Taking therefrom the name Quoich, after a course of a few miles it turns almost south-east and enters Loch Garry. Going through it, now called Garry, it comes to a third small loch, Oich. Now turning back north-east, after two miles it comes into Loch Ness, which is twenty four miles long, of immense and unexplored depth; this loch, though the soil all round is rough, uncultivated and harsh, however never experiences ice, nor does the river flowing from it, although no heat can be felt in the water. Coming out of the loch the river in four miles washes against the walls of the city of Inverness and enters the estuary of Varar.
The River Nairn, rising in the mountains which separate Strathdearn and Glen Tarff, traversing the valley of its own name (called Strathnairn) and continuing its course to the north-east, enters the sea at the small city likewise of the same name, which however has no harbour.
The River Findhorn rises in the ridges which divide Badenoch, Glen Tarff and Strathdearn, and for a long distance is called Dearn, whence the valley that it waters is called Strathdearn. When it comes closer to the sea and has taken the name Findhorn, it passes Darnaway Castle, the town of Forres, and the once rich and renowned monastery of Kinloss. It has its mouth which enters the sea, but having turned west just at the mouth itself, the harbour, though quite safe, is still difficult to find.
The Lossie originates a few miles above the city of Elgin from the confluence of three rivers; it flows past that city on the north and not far from there flows down to the sea. Its only distinction is that by overflowing it does much damage to the very fertile neighbouring plains; its waters overflow especially in the vicinity