The meaning of the word Nigg or Neig, as it was formerly written, is uncertain.  Some suppose that it is a corruption of the word Nuic or Nook, and that this parish is so called, because it lies in a corner of the country; but there is no great ground for this supposition, as there are few, if any instances, of the Gaelic names of places being corrupted; especially in those parts where the Gaelic continues to be the living language of the country.  The more probable opinion is, that it is a Celtic term, expressive of the peninsular situation of the place, it being almost surrounded by water; and what, in some measure, corroborates this opinion is, that the parish of Nigg, in the shire of Kincardine, is exactly similar in situation to the situation of this parish.  GO TO PAGE


Nigg is one of the mensal churches to belong to the bishoprick of Ross.  Behind the church is still to be seen the foundation of a large house above 90 feet in length, which goes under the name of the Bishop’s House, though not the place of his constant residence; and the hill already mentioned is, in old charters of the lands of the parish, called the Bishop’s House, though not necessarily the place of his place of constant residence; and the hill already mentioned is, in old charters of the lands of the parish, called the Bishop’s Forest. The present church was new built in the year 1727 and underwent a thorough repair about two years ago.  GO TO PAGE  (Ecclesiastical State, Stipend, Poor, Schools, Etc.)


There is a good manse, with offices, which have been lately prepared, and a glebe of rather more than 4 acres good quality.  GO TO PAGE

Transcribed from the STATISTICAL ACCOUNTS of SCOTLAND ONLINE with the kind permission of © EDINA


John of Dunbretan.

In 1296, John of Dunbretan, parson of Nigg, swore fealty to Edward I. of England.  From that time to the Reformation there is no trace of any church at Nigg but it appears to have some connection with the Bishopric of Ross.



Finlay Manson.

The Parish was supplied by Finlay Manson, reader, afterwards exhorter and vicar, 1568-1574.



Finlay Manson, removed from Tain, having Tarbat also in charge: also held the vicarage which he demitted prior to 25th April 1581; continued in 1607.

16__ William Pope, A.M., translated from Dornoch, 16__.
1614 George Corbet, A.M., 1614; continued in 1615.


William Ross, A.M., 16__; translated to Fearn 1644.



Mr James MacKenzie, Incumbent of Nigg, was admitted prior to 25th April, 1690.  He was not admitted into the Presbyterian Establishment, but was allowed to retain the living of Nigg till his death in April, 1701.  Mr MacKenzie was succeeded in the charge of Nigg by




Mr George Munro, Preacher of the Gospel, who was ordained and admitted Minister of Nigg in 1706.  Mr. Munro died at Edinburgh on the 7th May, 1728, and was succeeded by




Mr John Balfour, Minister of Logie-Easter, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on the 26th March, 1729.  Mr Balfour died at Nigg on the 6th February, 1752, and was succeeded by




Mr Patrick Grant, Minister of Duthil, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on the 27th July, 1756.  Mr Grant died at Nigg on the 19th January, 1788, and was succeeded by




Mr Alexander MacAdam, Minister of the Gaelic Chapel of Cromarty, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on the 22nd October, 1788.  Mr MacAdam died at Nigg on the 8th June, 1817, and was succeeded by



Mr Lewis Rose, M. A., Minister of the Gospel, on the Heights of Kincardine and Creich, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on the 24th September, 1818.  Mr. Rose was translated to the Gaelic Church, Duke Street, Glasgow, on the 21st January, 1836, and was succeeded by




Mr John MacAlister, Minister of the Gaelic Church, Edinburgh, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on 20th April, 1837.  Mr MacAlister seceded on the 1st August, 1843, and was succeeded by




Mr David Fraser, M. A., Minister of Dores, who was admitted Minister of Nigg on the 29th March, 1844.  Mr Fraser died at Nigg on the 8th June, 1865, and was succeeded by




Mr John Fraser, Preacher of the Gospel, who was ordained and admitted Minister of Nigg on the 19th October, 1865.  Mr Fraser died at Nigg on the 10th December, 1900, and was succeeded by




Mr Norman Donald Mackay, Preacher of the Gospel, Newtonmore, who was ordained and admitted Minister of Nigg on the 4th April, 1901.


In this parish stands the hill of Nigg, anciently called the Bishop's Forest, which rises to the height of 500 feet above sea- level.

(Extract from 'Religious Life in Ross' - Noble 1909.)


At Culisse there is, or was, a small enclosure named Chapel Park, in which the remains of a chapel existed.  At Shandwick there were a chapel and burying-ground.

(Extract from 'Religious Life in Ross' - Noble 1909.)


A ledge of rock along the shore is known as the King's Sons, in which there is a cave known as the King's Cave; and near it is Port-an-Righ (the King's Harbour), traditionally connected with the three sons of a Danish King, whose vessel or vessels are believed to have been wrecked on the ledge which bears their name.  They are said to have been buried respectively at Hillton in Fearn, and at Shandwick and Nigg in this parish.  The obelisk at Shandwick, which stood in the ancient burying -ground, was blown down and broken in pieces.  The obelisk at Nigg stands in the parish burying-ground.  It was blown down by a storm which destroyed the belfry and broke the bell of the church, but it is replaced at the east end of that building.

(Extract from 'Religious Life in Ross' - Noble 1909.)


Under date November the 9th, Mr George Munro, minister at Nigg, being appointed by an Act of the last Synod to return to the Presbytery of Tain, to which the Parish of Nigg does belong by the old plan, Mr. Munro attended this diet, and the Moderator – Mr MacGilligan – in the Presbytery’s name, welcomed him, and his name was added to the Presbytery Roll.  The Presbytery of Tain now includes the whole district of Easter Ross, and consists of nine Quoad Omnia parishes – namely Kincardine, Edderton, Tain, Fearn, Tarbat, Nigg, Kilmuir-Easter, Logie-Easter, and Rosskeen.

(Extract from 'Church Life in Ross and Sutherland 1688-1914' - MacNaughton 1915.)


On the 19th February the Presbytery unanimously agreed to transport Mr John Balfour from the Parish of Logie-Easter to the Parish of Nigg for the following reasons:- Because the Parish of Nigg is more considerable that the Parish of Logie-Easter as to the number of people and residing heritors; because of the harmony and unanimity of all concerned in the Parish of Nigg in giving and prosecuting their call to Mr Balfour to be their minister; because some heritors having interest in both parishes have joined in the call from Nigg; and because of the difficult access which the people of the Parish of Nigg, in the winter time, have to attend upon the ordinances in neighbouring parishes, whereas the people of Logie-Easter have easier access.

(Extract from 'Church Life in Ross and Sutherland 1688-1914' - MacNaughton 1915.)


On the 27th July,1756, the Presbytery of Tain….met at Nigg to admit Mr Patrick Grant, minister at Duthil, to be minister of Nigg.  Thus ended the Nigg Settlement – a settlement which was fraught with far-reaching consequences.  The parishoners seceded en masse, and formed a dissenting Church in the parish.  There were faults on all sides; the Presbytery were weak and vacillating, mistrusted by the people, and rebuked by the General Assembly, with a threat of deposition looming in the distance should their disobedience be continued.  The people were self-willed, self-assertive, and self-satisfied; and, above all, the Presentee’s demands were inexorable; his one object was to be admitted minister of Nigg Parish, and, in order to accomplish that end, he was prepared to sacrifice everything except living.  Mr Patrick Grant might have been all that his parishoners in Duthil represented him to be, and his residence in Nigg for over thirty-one years was certainly not barren of good works; but his conduct, while it might be courageous, in obtruding himself upon the people of Nigg, without the consent of a single parishioner, or the good-will of the Presbytery, was neither to be envied nor admired.

(Extract from 'Church Life in Ross and Sutherland 1688-1914' - MacNaughton 1915.)


The Presbytery met on the 5th March, 1901, and the following tribute to the memory of the late Mr John Fraser was ordered to be recorded in the Presbytery minutes, and the Clerk was instructed to send a copy of this part of the minute to Mrs. Fraser:-

The Presbytery record their deep sense of the loss sustained by the Church through the death of Mr John Fraser, minister of Nigg, on the 10th December last.  Mr Fraser for 35 years faithfully discharged all the duties as a minister of the Parish of Nigg and as a member of this Church.  By his sincerity, fidelity, and singleness of purpose, Mr Fraser greatly endeared himself to his parishoners and his brethren in the Presbytery.

(Extract from 'Church Life in Ross and Sutherland 1688-1914' - MacNaughton 1915.)