In July 1879, Alexander George Burnett, the laird of Kemnay, issued a building lease for 99 years to Charles Watt and his wife Mrs Mary Downie or Watt, simply designated as 'residing at Kemnay'. The annual rental for this building plot was to be £3. At this time Charles Watt, aged 64 years, was retired and had formerly farmed at Braehead, Monymusk. He had already taken out a building lease in 1875 and had built Norwood Cottage on St Bryde's Road.
A question has arisen as to what is a Turnpike Road. Though we of the present time complain, sometimes bitterly, about the state of the roads, they bear no comparison to those that existed in the 18th century when they were mere tracks, often following the route of cattle as they wandered the countryside.
In 1882 James Paterson, farmer in Tillywater, Monymusk and his wife Sophia received a building lease on land to the east of Oakbank and erected the dwelling house known as Tillywater, doubtless named after his farm. James Paterson did not anticipate staying in his new dwelling as it was let out to four tenants, a practice which followed for many years.
Regular readers of these short articles closely will remember the name of George Gellie. He was the entrepreneur who built the property in Station Road now occupied by the Laird's Throat bar, and later built two properties on High Street, Albion and Woodbine, now Berriedale. In July 1879 he took a 99 year building lease on a piece of ground on Victoria Terrace at an annual rental of £3. He built the property then named Rosewood and now known as Gowanbank, on the corner of Kendall Road and leased it to William Henry who was born in Echt and came to Kemnay to practice as a doctor. For generations Kendall Road was known as 'The Doctor's Brae'.
The Kemnay Old Parish Register (these were the records baptisms and marriages and sometimes deaths kept by the parish churches prior to the advent of compulsory registration in 1855) of 1844 records that; Alexander Whyte, son of James Whyte and Sophia Morgan was born 2nd Feb baptised 12th Feb 1844, witnesses James Lawie and John Clark.
Readers of this series of articles will recollect that William Wright took a building lease of land on Victoria Terrace in February 1880 and built the property known as Dowanhill. In April 1881 he received another building lease again with an annual rental of £2 and built Oakbank which he sold to Alexander Cowie 'residing at Lediken, Culsalmond' in 1884 for £320. The only other document in the Burnett archive relating to this property is a letter from Stephen and Smith, advocates, Aberdeen to James Meston and Co., dated 14 May 1932 intimating that ownership of the property had passed from Agnes White (who had died on 31 October 1931) to Alexander Cowie, 3751 South 9 East, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. In pencil on the outside of the lease is written 'Agnes White, life-renter, 26 Huntly Street, Aberdeen.
One of the aims of the English Government following the uprising in 1745 – 6 was to try and tame that thorn in their flesh, the Scottish Highlander. To that end, a massive amount of money was pumped in to the highlands providing roads to try and facilitate speedy movement of troops.