Parish of Dunnottar

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2021.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Links to the Historical Statistical Accounts of Scotland are also available:
(Click on the link to the right, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Browse scanned pages")

1791-99: Dunnottar
1834-45: Dunnottar

Dunnottar (anc. Dunfoither; Gael. dun-oitir, ' fort of the low promontory '), a coast parish of Kincardineshire, containing the fishing village of Crawton and all the old town of Stonehaven. It is bounded NW and N by Fetteresso, E by the German Ocean, S by Kinneff, and SW by Arbuthnott and Glenbervie. Rudely resembling a triangle in outline, with westward apex, it has an utmost length from E to W of 5 miles, an utmost breadth from N to S of 3¾ miles, and an area of 78842/3 acres, of which 16 are foreshore and 86 water. The coast is rock-bound and precipitous, consisting partly of detached masses and headlands, but chiefly of a range of cliffs rising to heights of 100 and 200 feet above the deep water that washes their base. In its loftiest portion for about a mile it presents an unbroken wall like face, thronged with sea-birds, and hence called Fowlsheugh; elsewhere it exhibits fantastic forms of isolated or creviced rock, several large caverns and rock-tunnels, and a natural arcade more than 150 yards long, through the base of a high promontory, which may be traversed by an ordinary-sized boat. The sea can be gained from the land only by a few narrow grassy declivities that lead down to coves or baylets, fenced by sunken rocks against access by ships or large boats. Carron Water winds 6¼ miles east-by-northward along all the boundary with Fetteresso; and the northern division of the parish along its bank forms the eastern end of the Howe of Mearns-the eastern commencement, that is, of the great hollow which extends diagonally across Scotland, and bears in Forfarshire and Perthshire the name of Strathmore. Otherwise the surface has a general westward or west-south-westward ascent, to 433 feet near Kittlenaked, 492 at Law of Lumgair, 638 at Cloch-na Hill, and 700 near Carmont on the Glenbervie border. The predominant rock is sandstone conglomerate, containing nodules of quartz and limestone; whilst porphyritic granite forms a stratum at Carmont. Granite and gneiss boulders are not unfrequent; columnar basalt forms part of a ledge of rock at Crawton; and a building-stone, known locally as ' red craig, ' has been quarried on a sandstone cliff above Stonehaven Harbour. The soils are variously clayey, loamy, gravelly, and moorish; and they occur, not in separate expanses or in strictly distinguishable sections, but mixedly in all parts of the parish, and often on one farm or even in one field. About three-fifths of the entire area are under cultivation, rather more than one-fifth is hill pasture or moor, and fully one-twelfth is under wood. Dunnottar Castle is the chief antiquity, others being a cairn at Carmont and a ' Pict's kiln ' on Lumgair Law. Barras, the seat once of a branch of the Ogilvies, 3½ miles SSW of Stonehaven, is now a ruin; and the principal mansion is Dunnottar House, 1 mile SW of Stonehaven, which, built about 1802, is a plain but large edifice, with gardens formed at a cost of £10, 000 and upwards. Its owner, William Nathaniel Forbes, Esq. (b. 1826; suc. 1851), holds 6528 acres in the shire, valued at £549 4 per annum; and 2 other proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500, 2 of from £50 to £100, and 20 of from £20 to £50. Dunnottar is in the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £308. The parish church stands by the Carron, 1 mile WSW of Stonehaven, and was built in 1782 on the site of the church of St Bridget; in its graveyard is a stone to the Covenanters who perished in the Castle, and here it was that in 1793 Scott met Robert Paterson or ' Old Mortality.' Backmuirhill and Dunnottar public schools, with respective accommodation for 94 and 212 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 51 and 209, and grants of £46, 15s. and £158, 2s. 11d. Valuation (1856) £8294; (1882) £12, 078, 8s. 1d., plus £1384 for railway. Pop. (1801) 1973, (1831) 1852, (1861) 1828, (1871) 2102, (1881) 2498.-Ord. Su., sh. 67, 1871.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better