Rosemarkie, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

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Parish # 80


The original name of the parish was Rosmarkyn, and is supposed to be of Gaelic etymology, composed of Ros, signifying a promontory or headland, and Maraichin, seamen. The parish lies along the north side of the Moray Firth, bounded by the parishes of Resolis and Cromarty; on the north and north-east, and on the west, by the parish of Avoch.

The town of Rosemarkie, though no large, is of considerable antiquity. It was erected into a royal burgh by Alexander, King of Scotland, probably Alexander II. The town of Chanonry was united to the burgh of Rosemarkie by a charter granted by King James II., anno 1444, under the common name of Fortross, which charter was ratified by King James VI., anno 1592; and confirmed in a still more ample form by the same monarch in the year 1612.

The principal proprietors, are, Roderick Mackenzie, Esq. of Flowerburn; James Fowler, Esq. of Raddery; Evan Baillie, Esq. of Dochfour and Ethies; Sir James W. Mackenzie of Scatwell, Bart.; the Rev. R. M. Millar of Kincurdie; and Malcolm Maclean, Esq. of Hawkhill.

The population in 1755 was 1140 persons, and by 1838 there were 1813 persons living in the parish.

The origin of the parish church in the ancient town of Rosemarkie, was founded by St. Boniface. On the same site where the church had stood for centuries, was erected a modern edifice. It is large and commodious, having been built for at least 800 sitters. With few exceptions the bulk of the more remote parishioners in the county part, may be said to be within three miles of the church. Besides the parish church, the only other place of public worship is an Episcopal chapel, in Fortrose, a mile from Rosemarkie.

The loss of some of the old registers, by accident or carelessness, and the negligence of the people in former times, in registering the births of their children, these records do not extend far back, and are somewhat incomplete, previous to the induction of the present incumbent, in the year 1815. Since then, the session records of births, marriages, deaths, and poor’s funds, have been regularly kept.

This account was drawn up May 1839 and revised February 1840.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland, FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 14.

Also available online at Browse the scanned pages under ‘For non-subscribers,’ then search for the parish report.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Birth: 1744-1854 0990658 item 1
Marriage: 1739-1854 0990658 item 1
Death: 1775-1854 0990658 item 1


Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computers at the Family History Library and family history centers.  The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: Entries are irregular and incomplete prior to 1792 and 1796–1809. Births are regularly kept from 1815. Duplicate of portion 1815–1819 preceded by irregular entries on ten pages, dated 1748–1826. There is a separate register of dissenters 1814–1822.
Marriages: There are only a few entries prior to 1797 at which date the regular record begins. There is one entry 1798–1805 and one for 1808. Marriage records are regularly kept after 1815 and there is a duplicate of the portion 1815–1818.
Deaths: There are only a few entries before 1809.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

Minutes 1737–1781 (pages 1–24 missing), 1815–1935
Register of Male Heads of Families 1837–1897
Money Book 1810–1916 (last 11 pages missing)
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/811.

Nonconformist Church Records

Fortrose Free Church

The minister and congregation of Fortrose quoad sacra church "came out" in 1843. They continued to use the church until April 1844. A church was built in 1845. A new church was erected and opened in 1898. A house was purchased for a manse in 1851. This was later sold and a new manse erected in 1883.
Membership:1848, 64; 1900, 137.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

FHL Film Number
Baptisms 1843–1855 1068236

Fortrose Baptist Church

The congregation was founded in 1805 by David McRae who had left the Congregational Church and joined the Baptists. He served as Fortrose's first minister. Fortrose was the most northern Baptist congregation in Scotland. It died out about 1890 after the death of its last minister.

The extent of records is unknown. Contact:
Baptist Union of Scotland
Baptist Church House
14 Aytoun Road
Glasgow, G41 5RT

Fortrose Episcopalian Church

The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Rosemarkie 1840, states that an Episcopalian chapel was built at Fortrose some time since. The congregation was very small at that time.

The extent of records is unknown. Write to the church at:
St. Andrew's Rectory
1 Deans Road
Fortrose IV10 8TJ

Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.