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A Few Interesting Notes
|When the present church was built the sittings numbered
1981. Subsequent alterations have reduced them to about 1200.
The Mission at Bruan extended back to those days. In 1836 the population of the Wick parish part of that district was 1272 and that of the Latheron parish part 1592. this formed the Mission area, and there was a chapel, situated within the Wick boundary - a thatched house, said to have cost about £80. It had 563 sittings. The stipend was £68 - £43 from the people and £25 from the S.P.C.K., with a manse which cost £230.
In 1801 the population of Wick was 3986. By 1831 it had grown to 9850, the highest figure it ever attained. In 1815 the assessed property of the parish was £7324 and of the burgh £746.
In 1836 the population of the parish (quoad sacra) was 8971, of whom 7498 were Church people and 1473 were Dissenters.
The foundation stone of a Church extension building, designed to contain 950 sittings, was laid in Pultneytown in 1841.
Just prior to the Disruption the stipend of the Parish Church was £230 1s 8d, and the glebe was valued at £50. There were unappropriated teinds amounting to £340 9s 4d. Lord Duffus was the patron.
In 1808 the establishment of Pulteneytown was commenced by the British Fisheries Society, and the fishing grew until in 1829 the total number of persons employed in connection with it was 11,780. By 1840 this number had declined to 7882. But actually there were more fishermen in 1840 than in 1829 - the figures being 3761 in 1829 as compared with 3828 in 1840. The boats belonging to the port in 1840 were 42s, compared with 457 in 1829.
In a short article in the John O'Groat Journal in connection with the Centenary celebrations, Mr Walter G. Cormack, Kirkhill, makes reference to the fine-toned bell of the Parish Church which has so long summoned the parishioners to worship. "The bell," he stated, "and probably some of the Communion cups, are the only relics of many former churches that stood within the churchyard walls. The old octagonal pulpit was a very imposing structure, reached by a flight of steps guarded by heavy mahogany rails. The 'lateran' was a plain box in front of the precentor's seat."
Still quoting from Mr Cormack's article: "The church front is adorned by a turret on each corner, and four like ornaments set off the battlemented tower above. The steeple, with its foundation firmly embedded in the tapering arches of the tower, presents a fine example of the stone-cutter's art, which remains a thing of beauty and a lasting joy. From found to vane it reaches a height of over 120 feet, and the vane itself, which looks quite small, small, measures eleven feet as actually completed".