Parish of Oathlaw

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.

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1791-99: Oathlaw or Finhaven
1834-45: Oathlaw or Finhaven

Oathlaw, a parish in the centre of Forfarshire, whose church stands 4½ miles NNE of the post-town, Forfar. It includes part of the ancient parish of Finhaven, and on into the present century was oftener known by that name than its own. It is bounded N by Tannadice, E and SE by Aberlemno, S by Rescobie, and SW, W, and NW by Kirriemuir. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 5 5/8 miles; its breadth varies between 5¾ furlongs and 2 miles; and its area is 5317 3/5 acres, of which 43 2/3 are water. The river South Esk first flows ¾ mile along the westernmost part of the northern boundary, then lower down meanders 2 5/8 miles eastward along two other parts of the Tannadice border and across the north-eastern interior; and Lemno Burn runs to it east-north-eastward, first 7 furlongs on the Rescobie boundary, next 3½ miles through- the interior. In the W a very powerful spring of excellent water rises from a bore 160 feet deep, which was sunk in an unsuccessful search for coal; and-, being situated in the midst of a corn field, was covered over from view, and caused to send off its superfluence in a drain. Along the South Esk the surface declines to 143 feet above sea-level; and the highest point in the parish is the Hill of Finhaven (751 feet), which extends along the south-eastern boundary. A gentle slope descends thence to Strathmore; an expanse of plain occupies nearly all the centre and the N; and a tract along the South Esk towards the E lies so little above the level of that river's bed, and was formerly so subject to inundation by freshets, that it had to be protected by costly embankments. The predominant rocks are Old Red Sandstone and conglomerate; and the soil is mostly of a clayey retentive character, incumbent on ' pan.' Nearly 1200 acres are under wood; and all the rest of the land, except a very few acres, is in tillage. The chief antiquities are noticed in our articles on Finhaven and Battle-Dykes. Mansions are Finhaven and Newbarns; and the property is divided among seven. Oathlaw is in the presbytery of Forfar and the synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £210. The parish church, built in 1815, is a neat edifice with a tower, and 189 sittings. The public school, with accommodation for 63 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 49, and a grant of £55, 12s. 6d. Valuation (1857) £3683, (1884) £5559, 5s. Pop. (1801) 384, (1831) 533, (1861) 399, (187l) 452, (1881) 440.—Ord. Sur., sh. 57, 1868.

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

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