Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Rossia. Moravia, vulgo Moray  
Pagination: 100-101
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Translation of text:

flourished with a rich College of Canons while the ecclesiastical settlement remained; in it was established the Cathedral of the Bishop of Ross. Nearby is located Cromarty, where the nobleman Urquhart by ancestral right has jurisdiction as Sherrif of this Prefecture; it is so commodious and safe an anchorage for any fleet no matter how large, that it is named by sailors and geographers Harbour of Safety.

Above is the High Coast which Ptolemy mentions, now apparently Tarbat [it belongs to Lord John Makenzie, a relation of the Earl of Seaforth]. For there the coast rises high, on this side enclosed by that most safe harbour of Cromarty, on the other by the River Celnius, now Killian[?]. So much on the Eastern Ocean. Into the Western Sea flows the River Longus mentioned by Ptolemy, which is today Loch Long (4) . Then the Cerones were settled where Assynt now is, a region cut through by very many estuaries.

p>To make out a list of the Earls of Ross from the authorities is extremely difficult. More or less four hundred years ago Ferquhard is said to have flourished with this title, but when male heirs failed it came down to Walter Leslie, who by spirited actions under the Emperor Ludwig earned the name of Gentleman Knight, through a daughter; by her he fathered Alexander Earl of Ross and a daughter who married Donald, Lord of the Hebridean Isles. To Alexander was born an only daughter, who transferred all her right to Robert Duke of Albany: in irritation that Donald of the Isles, in the reign of James III, styled himself King of the Isles and Earl of Ross, marauding far and wide against his country with sword and fire. Finally King James the Third with the authority of Parliament in the year 1476 annexed the Earldom of Ross to the Crown in such a way that his successors might not in any manner alienate the Earldom itself or any particle of it from the Crown, or in any manner cede it to anyone except the legitimate second-born of the Kings. Hence today Charles, second-born son of the King, Duke of York, uses and enjoys the same. [This is that Charles, recently King of Great Britain, who was beheaded in the year 1649 at London.]


If you translate the word for the sub-region from the old language, it means between two straits, for such in truth is its position. For it stretches from the north-east at Durness to the gulf of Eddrachillis in the south-west, where it has as neighbour the sub-region of Assynt. It is completely rough with pathless woods and mountains, admitting of cultivation in only a very few places; the sea and all neighbouring parts have fish, the gulfs are rich in herring, the mountains are most suited to hunting and fouling, at the small Loch Stack is a wooded area, where all the stags are found with forked tails. On the Isthmus at the promontory Faraid Head, when herds of deer are driven there and trapped by an encircling crowd of men and by the sea, and dogs are let loose among them, there is pleasant and productive hunting. Inhabitants are rare, since these rough and pathless places are scarcely sufficient for a few people, yet they are suitable for animals and are all full of herds of horses, cattle and goats; so there is no scarcity of fish, meat or milk products. In former times it recognised Sutherland as lord, but is now assigned to Strathnaver and comes under the authority of its lord.

in the vernacular
FROM CAMDEN. (Section Note)

Across the Grampian mountain, which as if in sequence through consecutive ridges with many twists pushes its spine as far as this, the Vacomagi formerly had their home at the gulf of Varar; there now is Moray, in Latin Moravia, notable for its fruitfulness, beauty, and supply of fruit-bearing trees. The famous River Spey opens up through it its way to the sea, in which it dwells when it has watered the castle of Rothes; from that the family of Leslies has taken the title of Earl since King James II raised George Leslie to the honour of Earl of Rothes. Of the Spey our poet Necham says:

The Spey, headlong driver of place-altering sand,
Is capricious and does not know to keep to fixed paths.
A basket takes on the role of a ship, commanded by a bold
Sailor following the flow of the gliding course.

The river Loxa mentioned by Ptolemy, which is now the Lossie, goes into the sea near by; close to it may be seen Elgin, in which and in the neighbouring Forres the hereditary Sherrif J. Dunbar of Cumnock, of the family of the Earls of March, administers justice. Now where it is about to approach the sea, it finds a more level and gentle country and spreads out into a loch with swans, in which swan-grass is abundant, and it has set over it the castle of Spynie; it now has as its first Baron Alexander of the Lindsay family, as neighbouring Kinloss, once a celebrated monastery (according to others Kill-flos, from the flowers which miraculously suddenly grew there, when the corpse of King Duf was found slaughtered and hidden in the same place) also has its Lord, Edward Bruce, Master of the Rolls of England and ecclesiastical councillor to his Royal Majesty, whom King James VI created Baron Bruce of Kinloss. [His son is the Earl of Elgin, the elder perished in a duel.] These are on the coast. Inland, where now is Castle Bean[?] (believed to be the Banatia mentioned by Ptolemy), a marble vase, artistically engraved and full of Roman coins, was found in 1460. Nearby Nardis or Nairn is the hereditary Sheriffdom of the Campbells of Lorne, where there was a castle, on a peninsula, built to a great height with amazing works, and once occupied by Danish arms. A short distance from here is Ness, a large loch, extending in fact for 23 miles in length, with such warm water that in this numbing climate it never ices over; from it is separated by a thin as it were isthmus of mountains Loch Lutea or Lochy, which drains into the Western Sea through Aber. On these lochs there once existed famous fortresses, called from the names of the lochs the one Inverness, the other Inverlochy. Inverness has as its own Sheriff with hereditary jurisdiction the Marquess of Huntly, who exercises authority over a wide area. [But he has sold it to King Charles ten years or so ago.] But here is what J. Johnston has said about these together:

Two fortresses once of an old empire,
And the first walls built by royal hand.
With towers over against on the opposite threshold,
This looks to the West wind, that to the horses of the rising sun.
Girded by rivers on this side and this, each has rivers fruitful
With fish. This lies open, safe with a continuous harbour.
This was - but alas it now lies a land without name -
What was the host of kings, has become host to beasts.
The other still puts out the small breaths of a slender life,
Which will surrender, overcome by the gale of fate.
Say where now is powerful Carthage? where martial Rome?
And Troy, and the immense wealth of rich Asia?
For why should you wonder that mortal bodies yield
To fate? when you see that towns can die.

[And Arthur Johnston writes thus of Inverness (Section Note):
City next to the firth, you rise in a fertile plain,
And you enjoy an appearance next to the Parrhasian maiden.
The halls of kings adorn you, and the lochs
Which so often have reddened with the spilt blood of Picts.
Sail-bearing Ness flows between with glassy waves,
And lands ships as handmaids to ships.
The water does not congeal with ice, but in the middle of winter
Freely rolls its victorious waters into the sea.
Nor are heavy harvests lacking under the icy heaven,
Nor is the wave of the servant firth less fruitful.
You are enriched by closest Thule, by neighbouring IĆ«rne,
And every island bounded by Arctic depths.
The Forth long since took away the symbols of empire,
And Edinburgh began to enjoy the title of mistress.
You however will be called the Market of the kingdom, this honour
Is given you by nature and the fitness of the situation.

  [Continuation of text]

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