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The Invergordon Archive

The Invergordon Archive

An old aerial view of Rosskeen Church, looking north. In the foreground is Achnagarron, and to the north is Mossfield.
It is interesting to note the relative widths of the roads, as in those days, the A9 ran along the coast - what is now the B817.
The date is pure guesswork.
Picture added on 26 August 2006
What church is that - is it the one in the cemetery or elsewhere?
Added by Doug Will on 27 August 2006
This church is still being used. They have a web-site and they always have a picture of the area. I am in touch with Hugh Ferrier who obliges me with a few views of the Invergordon area, which I appreciate greatly.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 27 August 2006
This is Rosskeen Free Church, details of which can be found at www.rosskeen.fsnet.co.uk/
It should not be confused with what was known as the Established Church at Rosskeen, see picture #470.
Added by Malcolm McKean on 28 August 2006
The A9 now runs behind the church. The road in the picture in front of the church no longer exists except for a short distance immediately in front of it.
Added by David Ferguson on 28 August 2006
David, if you continued on up the road, can you refresh my memory, would you end up at Ardross?
Added by Harry O'Neill on 28 August 2006
Doug, this is a picture of Rosskeen Free Church ..known locally as Achnagarron Church. The cemetery is down the road about 1 mile or so and the road joins the "shore road" to invergordon at Rosskeen Bridge just at the cemetary.
Added by Duncan Murray on 28 August 2006
Thanks for that Duncan, been so long since I left but I know where the cemetery is as my brother Leslie was buried there. I take it that the Rosskeen road to Inverg is now just a country road and the main traffic going along the new A9?
Added by Doug Will on 29 August 2006
Harry - you'd end up in what's now Achnagarron/Mossfield. If you kept going on past that, round the quarry and bearing left round the back of Alness you'd reach Ardross. Rosskeen is more between Alness and Invergordon, Ardross is kind of the far side of Alness. The current Manse for this church is in Achnagarron, but I think this picture predates it.

Duncan - I've never heard it referred to as Achnagarron church, just as Rosskeen Free Church (or often just Rosskeen, but that can cause confusion between old Rosskeen Church in the graveyard and the current Rosskeen parish church in Alness).
Added by David Ferguson on 29 August 2006
For anyone who is interested, the current building (shown here) was completed in 1900. Prior to that there was a Free Church building on the same site which had been started in 1844 after the minister at Old Rosskeen (Mr David Carment) left the Church of Scotland during the disruption 0f 1843, taking almost all of his congregation with him.

As Part of the current building's centenary celebrations in 2000 the congregation published a book assembled and edited by Janice Maclellan (from which I've garnered some of the above). The book is called 'Ordinary People, Extraordinary God' and charts 100 years of history of the Free Church congregation in Rosskeen. I think there may still be copies available but am not sure where you can get them. It was published by Christian Focus in Fearn.
Added by David Ferguson on 29 August 2006
Going up the road you could get to Ardross via Mossfield and left by Nonikiln, or right to go to Newmore and Castle Dobie. My grandfather cycled to this church every Sunday from Badachonacher, and I was at my aunty Irene's wedding there in the 1950s.
Added by Rod Bell on 29 August 2006
I have just started to build my family tree but have come to a full stop. All of you above seem so knowledgeable about the area so if anyone can help with my pursuits it would be very, very much appreciated. My G Grandfather was a minister in Alness (assume Church of Scotland) in and around 1860 or prior. I believe he was Alexander Morrison. My Grandfather is Alexander Charles Morrison, born around 1860/1862- he eventually moved to Co.Durham and I have records of him in a 1901 UK Census. However, I am unable to go back unless I get his birth info. along with that of my G Grandfather. Can anyone help please?

Other family names are Coutts, Daniels, Cormack and Forbes.

Thank you for this opportunity as I live in Canada, so difficult to physically research.
Added by Anne Morrison Boorder on 12 September 2006
Duncan, I agree, we always spoke of this as Achnagarron Church to differentiate from Rosskeen Church at the cemetery.
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 16 September 2006
Anne, can only suggest that you contact Rosskeen Free Church at the website given a few comments back above. I know that they have a contact service. Perhaps they can search their archives, or put you onto another source. This would be your only hope I fear, as you say you need his birth info. Good luck to you...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 16 September 2006
The Rosskeen Free Church have just put up a beautiful scene on their website, titled "Strathy and Beinn Tharsuin". Can anyone tell me where this is? I'm assuming it is near Invergordon....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 17 September 2006
Yes, Harry, this is just off the Struie road (which runs 'over the top' from behind Alness to the Bonar Bridge road), on the left before you drop down to the Strath Rory river crossing.
It's just a reminder of the magnificent scenery we have around us.
Are you gently suggesting that you would like to see some more of our scenery on this site for those of you not now up here?
Added by Malcolm McKean on 17 September 2006
Thanks Malcolm, now I know where it is. I remember the Struie Rd, yes it would be a nice feature to add some scenery pics...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 17 September 2006
Malcolm, what a good suggestion (gentle) to show some more of the beautiful scenery for all those of us who no longer live in Inverg. All your pictures on this site are really very good, and bring back many happy memories. Looks like you study them too, Harry!
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 18 September 2006
Can anyone tell me what is the history of the churches in the Rosskeen parish part of Alness village? I know a little about the ones in Alness parish (the current parish church and old parish church), but what about (a) the current Rosskeen Parish Church in a back street in central Alness (b) The Place and (c) the church building near Morrisons which I have heard is used as a Masonic hall? What was the origin of these three buildings?
Added by Peter Reynolds on 04 September 2007
Peter, there is a good book titled "Ordinary people, extraordinary God" covering 100 years of history of Roskeen Free Church by Janice Maclennan. My parents' house is the one with white gable end on in the left foreground. Spent 25 happy years there before moving to Inverness, Orkney, Aberdeen and finally to York.
Added by George Mackay on 16 October 2007
My G G G Grandfather Alexander Munro married Elizabeth ( Ann) McKenzie at Rosskeen in 1790; his occupation was Stone Mason; he moved to Redcastle, Muir of Ord, in 1792-3 and his first son, Roderick Munro - my G G G Grandfather, was born 1793 at Redcastle, Muir of Ord. He was married in 1821 at Tarbat ness to Isabella Dunbar of Nigg Bay. I suspect this church is not the one he attended but the older one at the old grave yard - not sure, just guessing. I have no lead on his parents. Also Alexander was born in 1770 at Rosskeen.
Can you shed any light on my family?
David Munro of Canada
Added by David Lauder Munro on 10 November 2008
Hi. I am interested in knowing if there might be records of who lived and worked on the farms around Rosskeen church in the 1790s or does anyone know of any Munros that have past family trees going back to the 1790s?
Added by David L Munro on 20 December 2008
My grandparents, Donald MacDonald and Barbara Ann Munro were married at Achnagarron on December 30, 1887. Would that probably be Rosskeen Free Church? Is there a possibility that the record would still be in the Church? B.J.
Added by Barbara Jack on 12 January 2009
Judging by what I read recently in The Story of Invergordon Church (of which we have a copy for sale - www.peterreynoldsbooks.com/si/006707.html ) I think the only church actually at Achnagarron would have been the Free Church. The old Rosskeen Parish Church was nearby, from memory some or all of the building still standing near the railway line as you go from the Free Church towards the shore road.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 12 January 2009
Hello, the book you mention for sale - what years does it cover and is this just the Free church or the Rosskeen church? Were there ever records kept on the Rosskeen church which is abandoned? If so where might they be held? Would like to visit this area but need some info to make it worth while travelling across the airways from Canada.
Added by David Lauder Munro on 11 February 2009
David, the book is about Invergordon Church (which was built as a Free Church). It only incidentally mentions the other churches in the area.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 11 February 2009
Thanks Peter. Now left with a question as there appears to be three churches with the Rosskeen name: 1 the new Free Church in the picture above, 2 in the cemetery near Invergordon and, 3 one in Alness, and also one prior to the one in the cemetery near Invergordon which would make 4. Which one was in use in 1770 - 1790 as I have been told the one in the cemetery at Invergordon would fit this time line? How old might the one in Alness be? If GGGgrandfather was a stone mason working in a quarry, would the one at Alness be better to research, or the one in the cemetery?
Very confusing.
Added by David Lauder Munro on 13 February 2009
David, from memory of what I read in the book, the only Rosskeen Church prior to the existence of the Free Church (created as a denomination in 1843) was No 2 (in the cemetery to the west of Invergordon).
On page 133 I read that at a later stage (after the Union of 1929) there was a Rosskeen West Church (former United Free - in Alness) and a Rosskeen East Church at the older site near Invergordon. These were united under one minister after the death of Rev Dugald MacCallum in 1942, when the area was divided into two new ecclesiastical parishes centred on Alness and Invergordon (Invergordon Church, being a former Free Church/United Free Church, had presumably not previously taken on the status of a Parish Church after the Union of 1929). In 1942, with the reorganisation, most of the Invergordon office-bearers and members of Rosskeen Parish Church moved to Invergordon Church. As I say, the book is for sale, but there's probably not much more than that that is relevant to you. I still haven't found any answers to my earlier question about the ecclesiastical origins of The Place and Alness Masonic Hall.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 13 February 2009
The Rosskeen churches still in use are Rosskeen Free Church (shown in the picture here) and Rosskeen Parish Church (in Alness). The Church in the graveyard is the old Rosskeen Parish Church, abandoned when the first Rosskeen Free Church was built at Achnagarron (on the site now occupied by the one in the picture). There was a previous church in the graveyard, now gone apart from possibly some ruined stonework. That makes five in total. The current Rosskeen Parish church is probably the newest; it certainly came after the first Free Church.
The history of the church in Scotland, with all its splits and mergers, gets a bit confusing after a while!

Barbara, a church in Achnagarron in 1887 would almost certainly have been the Free Church, but rather than the one pictured here it would have been the one which pre-dated it on this site.
Added by David Ferguson on 13 February 2009
Thanks to Liz for emailing me a link (http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/lodgeaveron866/) to the local Masonic website which gives the history of their building. It had been the United Free Church at the corner of Union Street and Drummond Street in Inverness, and when that congregation took possession of their new and larger building, Ness Bank Church, in 1901, it was dismantled and rebuilt in Alness for the Freemasons, the same Freemason (I gather) designing the rebuild as designed the building as a church in Inverness in 1863/4. So that just leaves "The Place" to be explained - could it have been a United Presbyterian building? Also I think I read somewhere a few years back that the Free Church once had (early on) a hall at Bridgend. Was this on the same site as the later United Free Church (now Rosskeen Parish Church, Perrins Road, Alness)?
Added by Peter Reynolds on 14 February 2009
Further to message I posted a few minutes ago - my church history failed me momentarily. The Inverness building would not have been *originally* a United Free Church (the merger that formed this denomination did not happen till 1900). It would have been UF by 1901 when it was dismantled and rebuilt for the Freemasons in Alness, but presumably prior to this it was United Presbyterian (a denomination descended from the so-called Seceders). Contrary to a typo on the Masonic website the Free Presbyterians (founded 1893) would not have been involved.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 14 February 2009
Rosskeen Free Church still has a hall in Perrins Road in Alness; could be that one you are thinking of. It's been derelict for a long time but recently we had it revamped and reopened.
Added by David Ferguson on 16 February 2009
David, what I read was in a pre-1900 document; it might or might not be the same location. I'm wondering if I might find any information (e.g. about "The Place") in a book called "Looking Back" by Robert Munro, Lord Alness. I'm getting the impression from the "snippet view" on Google Books that there might be such information there. I'll probably take a look in one of the two reference copies in Dingwall Library. We had a copy for sale ourselves which took 5 years to sell, but we did eventually sell it last year.
I'd wondered if I'd been mistaken about "The Place" having been a church building, but I saw the back of it from the park in Alness yesterday - I took the children there while my wife had an appointment in Alness - and it definitely looked rather like a church building, albeit a plain one. I didn't get a look at the front as we didn't go that far along.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 17 February 2009
Was Achnagarron a village where people lived and worked on farms nearby, or the name of an estate on which all the people living there worked for a particular Lord? If the latter, would there be some account of the people employed there?
Added by Barbara MacDonald on 02 March 2009
I have found Alexander Munro's marriage file. Alexander was from Killearnan parish. Can you help in advising if this parish has now changed name or did it change its name in the late 1770s?
Added by David Lauder Munro on 07 March 2009
Killearnan is the parish tha includes Redcastle - the church is just outside the village of Redcastle.

A good place for discussing local genealogical information is the ROSSGEN email mailing list - see here for subscribe link, and link to archives:

If you're not familiar with email mailing lists like this, they're now rather old-fashioned in internet terms in that you send messages by email rather than from a web page; but they *are* automated and work by using one email address (ROSSGEN-L-request@rootsweb.com) for subscribes and unsubscribes, and another for sending ordinary messages to the list once you're subscribed. You can only use a subscribed email address to send messages to the list.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 09 March 2009
I am a descendant of Alexander Munro, stone mason, who was born on 11 Sep 1797 at Newmore and married Jane Fraser (born Rosskeen 18 Aug 1877) on 12 Aug 1825 at Newmore. They lived in Rosskeen and sailed to Australia in 1839 with their 6 children, including my g-g grandmother, Christiana Munro.

I'll be visiting Rosskeen in late August 2009 and would love to find some records and locate where they lived. Is there any historical society in Rosskeen where I can get assistance? I'd really appreciate any help.
Added by Robyn Dixon on 13 July 2009
Can anyone assist with my query? My Great Great Uncle was Rev. John Ross, born 1853 at Tarbat. He was assistant to Rev. Dr Mackay, Free Church, Inverness. He was ordained in the Rosskeen Free Church in October 1885, succeedng Rev.J.H. Fraser. Am I right in thinking this was the church?
I also know that in 1900 he took the side of Union and left the Free Church. I believe a new building was erected at Bridgend and became known as Rosskeen West Church. In 1930 it became Rosskeen West Church of Scotland. Where about is this located?
I believe he was held in high regard by the local people and at his funeral the school children lined along the road at the extreme end of Alness to pay their own simple tribute. There was also a large company following the funeral procession to Portmahomack with over 150 cars at Tarbat Churchyard. I would be very interested to learn if this was the church and any other information pertaining to him.
Added by Morag Cruden on 16 September 2009
Yes, this is the right congregation - Rosskeen Free Church - that your Great Great Uncle would have been ordained in, but the actual building shown in the picture was not erected until the turn of the century. You can find out about the history of the congregation here:
and in the book "Ordinary People, Extraordinary God: Celebrating 100 Years of God at Work in Rosskeen Free Church" by Janice MacLellan. You can find inexpensive copies by searching www.bookfinder.com for ISBN 1857926013 .

The other building mentioned would, I think, be the current Rosskeen Parish Church located in Perrins Road, Alness. There are currently Parish Churches for two different parishes (formerly in two different presbyteries) located in the village of Alness. The other one, Alness Parish Church, is in the former Free Church by the roundabout at the west end of Alness village.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 16 September 2009
The church in this picture is the current Rosskeen Free Church, if your great great uncle held the charge in 1885 then it would have been the earlier building on the same site. I assume Rosskeen West church either became or stood on the site of what would become the current Rosskeen Church of Scotland (Perins Road, Alness).
Added by David Ferguson on 16 September 2009
The church at Bridgend is called Rosskeen Church of Scotland, Perrins Road, Alness, IV17 0SX. If you 'google' it you will get an email address for the Minister who can perhaps help you.
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 16 September 2009
Thanks for all your comments, I had a suspicion it was the one on Perrins Road, but wasn't sure. I will try to obtain the book mentioned, it is sure to be of interest. I believe John Ross preached in the area for 49 years and although asked to move to Glasgow “turned a deaf ear".
In one of the articles I have found on his demise it states "During his pastorate of the Free Church, the old building of 1843 was replaced by a new and handsome edifice, towards the cost of which the late Mr Denoon, Inverness, was a liberal subscriber". This matches the information on the www.rosskeen.com site, so he may have preached for a short time in the new one. I believe he also conducted services each Sunday at Newmore and Ardross, is this normal?
I have one other question to ask: at his funeral the minister from Kilmuir Easter presided but was supported by Rev. D. Maccallum, Rosskeen East and the minister from Invergordon. Where is Rosskeen Easter?
Added by Morag Cruden on 17 September 2009
I have just purchased the book "Ordinary People" online and look forward to reading it. My grandparents were married in the old church. Is there any possibility that the records from the old church still exist?
Added by Barbara MacDonald on 17 September 2009
Rosskeen East is what the original parish church of Rosskeen (originally covering Invergordon and part of Alness) was renamed after the UF church in Perrins Road, Alness, became part of the Church of Scotland in 1929. It is behind the railway about half a mile before you get to Invergordon by the shore road. The road it is on is the one whose other end is at the side of Rosskeen Free Church.
Added by Peter Reynolds on 17 September 2009
I have found most of the old parish records are available on-line. Usually for a fee. I use www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Also a lot of the Family History Shops, Aberdeen, Elgin, not sure of the others, have microfiche of all Parish Records.

Thanks for the location of Rosskeen East. Next time I am up in the area, I will take a detour and hopefully locate the churches. All my life I have driven past the Rosskeen Free Church on our visits up North and been told that was where my relative preached, now I can add more to his story.
Added by Morag Cruden on 17 September 2009
There is a decorative feature inside the church pictured here commemorating the late Mr Denoon for his contribution to the building. There are also some plaques commemorating a couple of former ministers in the church itself and a handful of portraits in the vestry of former ministers.

I can't remember off the top of my head if John Ross is one of them, but I'll have a look tomorrow if I remember.
Added by David Ferguson on 19 September 2009
Many thanks. It would be interesting to know if there is a picture or mention of him.
Added by Morag Cruden on 21 September 2009
Morag, I never got a chance to go through to the vestry, but neither of the plaques in the church are him. He does get a brief mention at the begining of the book Ordinary People, Extraordinary God though. I'll try to have a quick look next time I'm in but I think most of the portraits are more modern. I don't think I've ever even seen a picture of the first church on the site.
Added by David Ferguson on 22 September 2009
My maternal grandmother used to tell me how my Great grandfather used to walk up to the church early each Sunday morning to stoke up the fire so it would be warm for the congregation when they got there. He had a blacksmith shop in the building to the left of the house. The MacKenzie clan still lives there to-day.
Added by Larry McCracken on 24 September 2009
Morag - there's mention of a minister John Ross of Rosskeen here which might be connected to you:
I found it when searching for my grandfather born in Kent, now lying in Rosskeen after spending 70 years in Invergordon.
Added by Caroline Robb (Cabraal) on 06 July 2010
Caroline, thanks for the info. I have had a quick look, unfortunately my John Ross remained a bachelor all his life, so this is not him. Also I know he is buried at Tarbat, Portmahomack in the family plot.
Many thanks for your help.
Added by Morag Cruden on 07 July 2010
Hi, the David Carment mentioned in a previous comment was my great great great great grandfather, who the original building was for. I would love to see pictures of it, many thanks.
Added by Tracy Carment on 19 July 2011
My great grandmother Mary Fyfe (MS Muir, wife of deceased Charles Fyfe) died at Bridgend, Rosskeen September 6 1916 - is she perhaps laid to rest in the churchyard at Rosskeen Church?
Added by Barbara Young in Chicago, USA on 19 August 2011
I am trying to find out about my g g grandfather Joseph MacDonald, middle name possible McKenzie, a stone Mason born rosskeen 1871, I know he married Jane Ross but have no further information of him before this time, where can I find out more about him?. I know that my g grandfather was born in Balintore Parish of Fearn. He was also a stone mason and married my g grandmother Mary Macintosh who was from Tarbat, I hope to visit the area sometime next year and would appreciate any advice as to where I could research in the area.
Added by Joseph MacDonald on 29 June 2014
My husband is trying to find the grave of his grandfather, William MacDonald, and hoping to visit it next month. William MacDonald was a seaman from Barra who died from TB at Rosskeen County Hospital in September 1938. He was, we think, buried in or around Invergordon. We would really appreciate any help.
Added by Linda MacDonald on 18 July 2014
There is a McDonald, William 1938 who was married to McKenzie Elizabeth: Cemetery: Fodderty listed in www.sites.google.com/site/highlandmemorialinscriptions/home/ross-cromarty where you can check out other names/cemeteries.
Added by Kenny MacCormack on 27 July 2014
Thank you. All the place names mentioned bring back childhood memories of visiting the area. My mother, who was a McKenzie, was raised in Castle Dobie. I think she and her numerous siblings attended Newmore School. Her father was, I think, Hugh McKenzie - born Kilmuir Easter and her mother, Catherine (nee Thomson) was raised in India. Alex McKenzie lived next door in Castle Dobie. The family were devout free church members. Would be very grateful for any information.
Added by Jan Harwell on 15 April 2016
I arrived from Australia in September, 2014 to research my great grandfather David Ross who was born on Newmore Farm, Invergordon in 0ctober, 1824 to Alexander Ross and Elizabeth (nee Munro). I had great enjoyment researching the microfiche films in Inverness and travelled by bus out to Invergordon and took a taxi to Newmore Farm. David was the eldest child and his siblings were George, Christian (female), Janet and Helen and his father Alexander was a farm servant and blacksmith on Newmore Farm. His mother Elizabeth was born in 1802 in Obsdale Park to Donald Munro (Boatman) and Janet Stuart.
I have been unable to find the death dates of David's parents or siblings and our family was told David left Invergordon as a young man, and he eventually arrived in Melbourne, Australia as a ship's Captain and became a wealthy landholder until his early death at aged 44 in 1869. Are there any descendants of his family who may be able to help me in my research please?
Added by Gwenda Ellis (nee Ross) on 30 April 2016
Gwenda, Sorry cannot help you trace any information. Lovely to see your written words. I can understand your affiliation with Easter Ross. I am also from there (now South Africa) and, on many occasion, picked the "tatties" at Newmore Farm, with many other school friends.
Added by Samuel Kennedy on 03 May 2016
Have you checked the national records - www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Anonymous comment added on 04 May 2016
Thank you Samuel for reading and replying to my queries. Amazing that you had been on Newmore Farm as a school child! I enjoy researching the records on Ancestry.com and will continue to do so in the hope that one day I will find further family information. I also hope to get back to Invergordon in the future to spend more time in the area where David Ross left Scotland as a young man.
Added by Gwenda Ellis (nee Ross) on 04 May 2016
There are various family history societies round the country - www.highlandfamilyhistorysociety.org and probably a number of websites that you could Google and check.
Anonymous comment added on 05 May 2016
Jan Harrell, my grannies was also McKenzie and lived in Castle Debbie before the family moved to Liverpool. I don't know much about Catherine's family but have a bit of info for Hugh. It would be great to hear from you and hopefully help each other out with our family history.
Added by Gareth Baker on 05 May 2017
Thanks for the links above. I have just found comfirmation that my relatives are burried at Rosskeen. Alexander Wilson, Anne Milne, James S Wilson and his wife Sarah M Ross. Will need to search further and visit soon.
Added by Kenny Wilson on 16 May 2017
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Aerial views

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