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TITLE
Hugh Miller's Birthplace, Cromarty
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CARD_0326_AT
PLACENAME
Cromarty
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Cromarty
DATE OF IMAGE
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Andrew Taylor
SOURCE
Andrew Taylor
ASSET ID
32232
KEYWORDS
Hugh Miller
cottages
museums
geology
newspapers
Hugh Miller's Birthplace, Cromarty

Situated in Church Street this thatched cottage dates from 1711. It was built by John Feddes, a buccaneer and Hugh Miller's great grandfather. A plaque on the gable end reads "Hugh Miller was born in this house on the 10th Octer 1802 and died on the 24th
Decer 1856"

The Georgian house behind is Miller House. It was built by Hugh Miller's father in 1797. Hugh and his wife, Lydia, lived here for three years after they were married in1837

Hugh Miller's father was a shipmaster who was lost at sea in 1807. The boy was brought up by his mother and his uncles. Intelligent and an avid reader, but rebellious at school, Miller preferred to wander along the coastline where he first developed an interest in geology. After a dispute with his schoolmaster he left school and went to work as a stonemason in Edinburgh but the dust damaged his lungs. He returned to Cromarty to work as a monumental mason and began to write articles for the Inverness Courier and other journals.

In 1830 Miller discovered fossil fish in the old red sandstone at Cromarty and his interest in geology developed in to serious study.

He became an accountant with the Commercial Bank in Cromarty in1834 and married Lydia Falconer Fraser. They had five children. The first, Elizabeth, died in infancy. Their eldest daughter was the writer Harriet Miller Davidson.

Miller, influenced by his mother, had always been fascinated by local history and folklore and his first book "Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland" was published in 1839.

Miller's interest in Church affairs and his view that the Church of Scotland should be free to choose its ministers without interference from landowners brought him to the attention of leading evangelists and he was asked to edit a new evangelical newspaper, the Witness. Miller moved with his family to Edinburgh to take up this position and went on to become the proprietor. He was at the forefront of the Disruption when the evangelicals left the Church of Scotland and formed the Free Church.

Miller continued to write and published books on natural science and geology, notably "The Old Red Sandstone" as well as an autobiography "My Schools and Schoolmasters".

Miller struggled with the new ideas of evolution but endeavoured to reconcile science and religion. He overworked and socialised little. The lung disease flared up again and he suffered bouts of depression possibly as a result of a neurological problem. Finally on the night of 23rd / 24th December 1856, thinking he was going mad, he shot himself. He was buried at the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.

The cottage opened as a museum in 1890, looked after by the Cromarty Burgh Council. It is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. It still contains many of Hugh Miller's personal belongings. At the back of the cottage is a Scottish wild garden.

The National Trust bought Miller House in 1995 and it opened as a museum in 2004.

The Hugh Miller Monument was erected on the hill above the town by the people of Cromarty in 1859. A statue of the writer and geologist, sculpted by A. Handyside Ritchie, stands on top of a 154.2.metre high Doric column.

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Hugh Miller's Birthplace, Cromarty

ROSS: Cromarty

2000s

Hugh Miller; cottages; museums; geology; newspapers

Andrew Taylor

Situated in Church Street this thatched cottage dates from 1711. It was built by John Feddes, a buccaneer and Hugh Miller's great grandfather. A plaque on the gable end reads "Hugh Miller was born in this house on the 10th Octer 1802 and died on the 24th <br /> Decer 1856"<br /> <br /> The Georgian house behind is Miller House. It was built by Hugh Miller's father in 1797. Hugh and his wife, Lydia, lived here for three years after they were married in1837<br /> <br /> Hugh Miller's father was a shipmaster who was lost at sea in 1807. The boy was brought up by his mother and his uncles. Intelligent and an avid reader, but rebellious at school, Miller preferred to wander along the coastline where he first developed an interest in geology. After a dispute with his schoolmaster he left school and went to work as a stonemason in Edinburgh but the dust damaged his lungs. He returned to Cromarty to work as a monumental mason and began to write articles for the Inverness Courier and other journals. <br /> <br /> In 1830 Miller discovered fossil fish in the old red sandstone at Cromarty and his interest in geology developed in to serious study.<br /> <br /> He became an accountant with the Commercial Bank in Cromarty in1834 and married Lydia Falconer Fraser. They had five children. The first, Elizabeth, died in infancy. Their eldest daughter was the writer Harriet Miller Davidson.<br /> <br /> Miller, influenced by his mother, had always been fascinated by local history and folklore and his first book "Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland" was published in 1839.<br /> <br /> Miller's interest in Church affairs and his view that the Church of Scotland should be free to choose its ministers without interference from landowners brought him to the attention of leading evangelists and he was asked to edit a new evangelical newspaper, the Witness. Miller moved with his family to Edinburgh to take up this position and went on to become the proprietor. He was at the forefront of the Disruption when the evangelicals left the Church of Scotland and formed the Free Church.<br /> <br /> Miller continued to write and published books on natural science and geology, notably "The Old Red Sandstone" as well as an autobiography "My Schools and Schoolmasters".<br /> <br /> Miller struggled with the new ideas of evolution but endeavoured to reconcile science and religion. He overworked and socialised little. The lung disease flared up again and he suffered bouts of depression possibly as a result of a neurological problem. Finally on the night of 23rd / 24th December 1856, thinking he was going mad, he shot himself. He was buried at the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.<br /> <br /> The cottage opened as a museum in 1890, looked after by the Cromarty Burgh Council. It is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. It still contains many of Hugh Miller's personal belongings. At the back of the cottage is a Scottish wild garden.<br /> <br /> The National Trust bought Miller House in 1995 and it opened as a museum in 2004.<br /> <br /> The Hugh Miller Monument was erected on the hill above the town by the people of Cromarty in 1859. A statue of the writer and geologist, sculpted by A. Handyside Ritchie, stands on top of a 154.2.metre high Doric column.