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The whole of the parish of Tarbat belonged formerly to the county of Ross; but, in the year 1693, Cromarty having being erected into a separate jurisdiction, and the property of the Earl of Cromarty in different parishes being transferred to the erected county, the barony of Tarbat, as a part of his estate, was included in that arrangement; and the parish is now almost equally divided between the shires of Ross and Cromarty.  GO TO PAGE

‘Tarbat….a Gaelic word expressive of the peninsular situation of the place, and its having the appearance, when viewed at a distance, of a body stretched out in the sea and nearly surrounded by it.  Tar signifying a Belly or Prominence, and Bat, drowned or immersed in water.  GO TO PAGE


‘The church was built in 1756, and the manse in 1707. By a decreet of locality anno 1708, the stipend was modified at 9 chalders, payable equally in beer and oat meal, with the vicarage or small tithes.  There was a new decreet anno 1781, by which no alteration was made in the victual, but 300 merks Scotch, of money stipend were appointed, and the vicarage tithes made over to the heritors.’  The living at the ordinary conversion may be estimated at L.90 Sterling, including a small glebe of four acres.  GO TO PAGE (Ecclesiastical State, Schools, and Poor.)

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


Alexander Urquhart, entered in 1572; was subsequently at Kilmuir-Wester.




George Munro, translated from Suddie, having Fearn also in charge, 1590; re-translated to suddie about 1594.




John Munro, presented to the vicarage in 1593; died 8th March, 1626.




David Munro, A.M., admitted in 1628; probably subsequently translated to Kiltearn.




Thomas Mackenzie, admitted in 1633; demitted in 1635.




William Mackenzie, A.M., admitted prior to 21st November, 1638; died 29th September, 1642.




John Mackenzie, translated from Suddie in 1645; deposed 1649-1650; reponed to ministry 1660, and settled in Fodderty.




Mr Andrew Ross, M. A., Incumbent of Tarbat, was admitted prior to 25th April, 1690.  He died in the summer of 1692.  Mr John Mackenzie, formerly of Inverchaolin, was summoned before the Presbytery of Ross on the 26th September, 1695, to answer for his intrusion into the vacant Parish of Tarbat.  He was enjoined not to preach any more in the Church of Tarbat.  Mr Mackenzie was afterwards settled in Kingussie.  On the 27th April, 1699,




Mr Hugh Munro, M. A., Preacher of the Gospel, was ordained and admitted Minister of Tarbat.  Mr Munro was translated to Tain on the 24th June, 1701, and was succeeded by




Mr David Ross, M. A., Preacher of the Gospel, who was ordained and admitted Minister of Tarbat on the 25th September, 1707.  Mr Ross died at Tarbat on the 18th October, 1748, and was succeeded by




Mr George Balfour, M. A., Preacher of the Gospel, who was ordained and admitted Minister of Tarbat on the 6th September, 1750.  Mr Balfour died at Tarbat on the 18th October, 1798, and was succeeded by




Mr William Forbes, Minister of the Gaelic Church of Aberdeen, who was admitted Minister of Tarbat on the 24th April, 1800.  Mr Forbes died at Tarbat on the 12th May, 1838, and was succeeded by




Mr David Campbell, Minister of theEast Church, Inverness, who was admitted Minister of Tarbat on the 28th September, 1838.  Mr Campbell seceded on the 1st August, 1843, and was succeeded by




Mr George Campbell, Minister of Cawdor, who was admitted Minister of Tarbat on the 1st May, 1845.




Mr Donald Macleod, Minister of the Gaelic Chapel, Cromarty, was admitted assistant and successor to Mr Campbell on the 19th May, 1885.  Mr Campbell died at View Bank, Craigie, Perth, on the 5th December, 1888, and Mr Macleod succeeded to the full charge.



Prior to 1628 the parish of Tarbat included the parish of Fearn.

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


The Church appears to have been dedicated to Bishop Colman, and stands near the Dornoch Firth.  The church built in 1628, when the parish was divided, on the same site as formerly, was replaced by the present building in 1756.

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


Near the old Castle of Ballone, on the Cromarty Firth there was a chapel, know as Teampall-Earach, and a well near by was named Tobar Mhuire, or Mary's Well.

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


Portmahomack is styled in old charters Portus Columbi, but probably meaning the port of  Saint Colman.  A green knoll to the east of the present village was called Chapel Hill, or Knockshorty, and was probably the site of a chapel.

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


The parish appears to have been the arena of a multitude of chapels.  Between 1486 and 1516, Thomas McCulloch, Abbot of Fearn, built a chapel at Mid Genie.  Before 1529, Pope Clement VII. confirmed to the Canons of Fearn the Chapel of St Mary at Cadboll.  There is a ruined chapel at Hilton.  In 1633, Alex Corbatt (Corbet) of Arkboll (Arboll) had a chapel named St John.  Another chapel stood at Alhansallach dedicated probably to St Bride.

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


In the churchyard are a monument called Dingwall's Tomb, and fragments of a cross said to have stood, said to have stood on a small green mound at the east of the church.

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


At Hilton stands one of three obelisks, supposed without much foundation, to commemorate the three sons of a Danish King who perished at sea off the neighbouring coast.  One side is richly scupltured, the other from which the sculptures were erased about two centuries ago, bears a rude shield and label with an unmeaning Scotch inscription.

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


The parish of Tarbat became vacant by the translation of Mr Hugh Munro to Tain of the 27th August, 1701.  The appointment was vested by the Act of 1690 – abolishing Patronage – in the heritors and elders; but the Church usually consulted the heads of families, as was the case in 1649, after what is called the Second Reformation.  Two candidates were proposed – Mr Alexander Fraser, minister of the Gospel at Croy, by the elders; and Mr David Ross, preacher of the Gospel, by the heritors.  After a conference with the Presbytery, it was resolved to give a unanimous call to Mr Ross, who was ordained and admitted minister of Tarbat on the 25th September, 1707.  Probably the reason why Tarbat was so long vacant was the want of a manse, or any other suitable residence in the parish, for the minister.  The Presbytery recommended that a manse should forthwith be provided, but it was not till many years after the admission of Mr. Ross that the heritors rose to the occasion, and provided the minister with a comfortable residence.

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


1735 – Mr David Ross, Tarbat, represented that none of the ordained elders in his parish could speak the English language, so that he could not get one nominated from the Session of Tarbat to attend the next Synod and the meetings of Presbytery.  The Presbytery, having considered the matter, recommended to Mr David Ross to “travel among his people in order to speak the English language.”

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


The Presbytery met at Tarbat on the occasion of the death of Mr George Balfour, which had taken place on the 18th October, 1798.  On the following year, 1799, a presentation by Henrietta Garden of Newhall, signed by her husband, David Urquhart, Esq. of Braelangwell, in favour of Mr William Forbes, minister of the Gaelic Chapel at Aberdeen, to be minister of Tarbat Parish, together with Mr Forbes’ letter of acceptance…was also given in and sustained.

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