Cromarty Archive

The Paye and Paye House - 1998

The Paye and Paye House - 1998

Date Added: 01 January 2003 Contributor: Andrew Dowsett Year: 1998 Picture No: 31

The Paye is the old main road into Cromarty, and is still cobbled for about a third of its length.

Albums: Buildings


I can remember being taken around the top of Paye House into Dr Forth's surgery when I was a small child in the late 60s, early 70s. She then moved it to the house next to the Cromarty Arms for a while. Comment left on 22 January 2003 by Garve Scott-Lodge
The word 'Paye' comes from the French word 'pays' which alludes to the 'road to the countryside'. Comment left on 22 January 2003 by Frieda Gostwick
It was Hogg's General Store, with a shop doorway on the gable end up until WW2. Comment left on 04 February 2003 by Eric Malcolm
The Paye was a popular spot for "sledging" down in Winter... when I was a wee boy... although when you hit the Cobble Stones... you knew all about it! Comment left on 04 February 2003 by John Macdonald
I remember the popular Sunday walk. 'Up the Denny and doon the Paye...' Comment left on 24 March 2004 by Margaret Tong (Cowie)
There was also a chip shop there in the late forties I think, run by Freddy Geddes's mother. Freddy had lost his leg when a child and had an artificial one, but it didn't hinder him very much except when he fell into the harbour. Comment left on 25 March 2004 by Ian Jack
I have heard that there used to be a big chestnut tree at the corner of the Paye and Church Street, opposite Paye House, and it was a popular meeting place for local folk to have a gossip (but you'd need to check this with a longer resident).

Paye House has previously also been a health food store. It was comprehensively re-fitted and restored by the National Trust for Scotland when it purchased the dwelling in 1992, and has been tenanted as an NTS tied house since then by Frieda and Martin Gostwick, the property managers of Miller House and birthplace Cottage.
Comment left on 26 March 2004 by Martin Gostwick
Mary Campbell has added an earlier version of the same view on picture #728. Comment left on 31 March 2004 at 15:24 by Garve Scott-Lodge
I think the correct derivation is from the French 'paysage', rather than 'pays', the former would suggest
landscape or hinterland. Pays, would be country, in the sense of nation eg 'pays de l'Ecosse', voila!
Comment left on 04 May 2006 at 13:54 by Clem Watson
When my mother-in law bought the Paye House in around 1987 she opened the ground floor as an antique shop and allowed us to refurbish the kitchen as a wholefood shop.This, with our [short lived]mobile wholefood shop was a great adventure but a little before it's time.When Highland Wholefoods opened a warehouse in Inverness, which sold to the public we knew it was time to move on.The stock was bought by some people who opened up in the basement of Sue Hussey's house for a short time.We introduced Cromarty to the humble chick pea noodle;we could hardly meet public demand for a time, the Cromarty Arms sold the pistachios which managed to get bagged before Jonathan could eat them and Ciaran teethed on dried was good while it lasted then we had to get real jobs........... Comment left on 06 May 2006 at 12:10 by Ann Hill
I remember Paye house as a chip-shop owned by a Mrs Geddes from Aberdeenshire. The entrance was off Church Street at that time, and was subsequently built up again to reform a house room, rather than a shop. Mrs Geddes had a son Freddie, who, inspite of having only one leg, was very active in sport, playing fooball with a peg leg, before the days of artificial limbs. Fred would now be late 60's early 70's
age wise.Anyone else on line remember him?
Comment left on 07 May 2006 at 18:40 by Clem Watson
Frieda Gostwick's reference to the origin of the word Paye (see above 22 January 2003) has the authority of none other than Hugh Miller himself. He writes in his autobiography, My Schools and Schoolmasters (p256, B & W Publishing, Edinburgh 1993) that he built a cottage for his Aunt Jenny "on a road that, communicating between town and country, bore, as is common to the north of Scotland, the French name of the Pays."
Voila, Monsieur Watson!

14th February 2007
Comment left on 14 February 2007 at 14:43 by Martin Gostwick
Clem, last time i was speaking to Freddy he was a chef at the hotel in Rosemarkie, a lot of years ago. Haven't heard about him since, anyone else know about him? Used to go to the east kirk and you could hear Freddy clumping up the stairs for far enough, he was also fond of dropping pandrops over the balcony rails, they made a very satisfying clatter as they hit bottom. Comment left on 14 February 2007 at 22:18 by Ian Jack
goodness i recall visiting alisons shop...we knew each other in nigeria.. Comment left on 12 April 2013 at 18:10 by Brian Forsyth
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