MURTLACH (so named quasi, mortis lacus) is dedicated to Saint Moloch. It is a large church. Saint Beyne lyes in the postern, and his twos uccessors in the church-yard. It has a bell called Ronnach, said to have been brought from Rome. Hard by it is Balveyney castle, so named from Saint Beyne. Dulan river is said to have been dammed up, and then let out upon the Danes. It runs into Fiddich, which is a swift river.

The parish of Murthlack, in the shire of Banff, hath to the north, the parish of Boherm ; to the south,the parish of Cabrach; to the east the parishes of Glass and Botriphny ; to the west, the parish of Aberlour.

The church lies eighteen miles from the town of Banf, and six long miles from the village of Keith. It stands closs on the westside of the rivulet Dulan, which runs into the water of Fiddich, a quarter of a mile from it northwards.

There are three small rivers that have their rise in this parish; two of which are exceeded by few in the island for ther clear stream and pleasant aspect, having their banks covered, from their fountains until they run into Spey, with birch, alder, and hazle, and that in great abundance. The lesser of these two is Dullan, having its rise in the hill of Curquhaby, and from the foot of Belrinnis, a large mountain lying partly in Inverawn and partly in Aberlour parish, four miles from the church to the south-west.
The greater is Fiddich, having its rise partly from the hill and partly from the Alachymachan, five large miles from the church to the south-west. From thence, running north-east four miles, through a glen and forrest to which it gives name, it hath, on its northern bank, the decayed Castle of Auchindown, standing on a rising ground, a mile from the church southwards; and from thence a short half mile, the house of Keithmore, standing on the same side of the river: turning its course here north-westwards, a large mile to the place where it receives the rivulet of Dullan, a short quarter of a mile from the church to the north ; and from thence running northwards a short quarter of a mile, it hath, standing on its western bank, the old Castle of Balvanie, at first built by and since rebuilt by Stewart, Earle of Athol; and from thence, a quarter of mile northwards, a new house, built by William Duff of Braco, anno M.DCC.XXIV (1724). It is distant from Elgin to the north ten miles, from Aberdeen to the south-east thirty-two miles, from Castle Gordon six miles. Half a mile from Balvanie, northwards, stands the house of Tullich, on the eastside of the water of Fiddich; and half a mile from that, to the north, stands the house of Kinninvay, on the same side of the water. This rivulet of Fiddich, half a mile below Kinninvay, turning north-west, and continuing its course that way for a large mile, falls into Spey at a place called Boat of Fiddich, in the parish of Aberlour.

The third rivulet is I’la, having its rise in that place where Mortleich marches with Botriphny, from a loch commonly called Loch Park, lying from Balvanie a mile to the east, scarcely a quarter of a mile in breadth where brodest, and half a mile in length, and sending forth its waters eastwards through the parish of Botriphny, gives rise to the water of Ila.
Four miles from the church, eastwards, stands the house of Edinglassie, with a burgh of barony and tolbooth, and yearly fair, closs on the west side of the river Dovern, which separates the parish of Glass from the parish of Mortleich. It is of an fruitfull soill. The King is patrone.

The church is indeed venerable, but only because it is old. Tradition reports that its walls are the very same as in the beginning of the eleventh century; and they are so strong that it is thought they may stand for hundreds of years to come. The doors and windows, and the simplicity of the whole edifice, bear witness to it sage. The windows are long narrow slits of six feet high, and only ten or eleven inches wide on the outside, but so much sloped away as to measure at their utmost projection ten or twelve feet within. Its shape is that of an oblong, of about ninety feet by twenty-eight. The choir on the east end is twenty-seven feet long, and a few feet higher than the rest of the building. On the ridge of the choir is what they call The Three Bishops, a pyramid like stone of little show, with the semblance of a face on each of its sides, right rudely cut. It has been said that the effigy of Bishop Beyn is to be seen in the wall near the postern door, whereabout it is imagined the tomb of the three first bishops might be found under a vault; but this, at least as to the effigy, is not the case; and for the tomb there has been no search. Nor are there any effigies in the church, except one at full length, over the door which leads from the choir to The Leslies’ Aisle, or burying ground, (with no inscription, but called a predecessor of the Kinninvie family); and two half lengths of Alexander Duff of Keithmore, and Helen Grant of Allachie, his spouse, on the southside of the choir, with a Latin inscription. There is another inscription in marble, on a monument to Mr. Hugh Innes, first presbyterian parson of Mortlach after the revolution. There are likewise some very ancient looking gravestones with Saxon characters, below the seats and in the passages. On the banks of the Dullan, a little below the church, appears the foundation of a house overgrown with grass, which would be walked over with litle notice, if one were not told that here was the Bishop’s palace. Not far then ceis apart of the public road, on the opposite side of the same rivulet, leading to the east, called Gordon’s Cross. A round stone, which is thought to have been the pedestal of the cross, remains to be seen. There is on the glebe a standing stone, having on two of its opposite sides some rude and unintelligible sculpture.” (The Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xvii. p.430—432,445. Edinb.,1796.) “ There is on the glebe a large upright stone about seven feet high, on the one side of which are rudely carved a cross and two figures of animals, and on the other side a snake.” (The New Statistical Account of Scotland, number xi. p.106. Edinb. 1836.) “The church was a little modernized by an addition made to it seven years ago.” (Id.,p.108.)]