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Parish of Arbirlot

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: Arbirlot
1834-45: Arbirlot

Arbirlot (Gael. ` ford of the Elliot '), a village and a coast parish of Forfarshire. The village, on the left bank of Elliot Water, is 2¾ miles W by S of Arbroath, 2 miles WNW of Elliot Junction; has a post office under Arbroath, a cattle fair on the second Wednesday of November, a parish library, the parish church (rebuilt 1832; 639 sittings), and a Free church; and is described as ` lying in a secluded hollow beside the stream, where, with the cottages nestling in their greenery, the bridge, the mill, and foaming water, the scene is more than ordinarily picturesque.' The old manse here `was replaced in 1835 by another (almost, if not altogether, the best manse in Scotland) on the height across the stream-a spot which Mr Guthrie selected as commanding a view of the sea.'

The parish contains also the village of Bonnington, 2 miles W by S. Bounded N by St Vigeans, NE by Arbroath, SE by the German Ocean, S by the Hatton section of St Vigeans and by Panbride, SW by Panbride, and NW by Carmyllie, it has a varying length from E to W of 2½ and 43/8 miles, an utmost width from N to S of 31/8 miles, and a land area of 6747 acres. The coast, 1¼ mile long, is flat and sandy; inland, the surface rises gently west-north-westward to 258 feet near Pitcundrum, 262 near Bonnington, 338 near Wester Knox, 273 near Easter Bonhard, 400 near Lynn, 295 on Kelly Moor, and 304 near Lochaber. The rocks, Devonian and eruptive, contain rock-crystals; the soils of the arable lands (about four-fifths of the entire area) are in some parts argillaceous, in most parts a light rich loam incumbent on gravel, while those of the higher grounds (about one-sixth) are wet and moorish. The only distinctive features in the landscape are found along the gentle valley of the Elliot. It here has an east-south-eastward course of 3½ miles, receives from the W the Rottenraw Burn, and sweeps below the village through a steep wooded dell past the old grey tower of Kelly Castle, which, held by the Auchterlonies from the 15th to the 17th century, came in 1679 to the Earl of Panmure, an ancestor of the Dalhousie family. See Brechin. George Gladstanes, afterwards Archbishop of St Andrews, was minister of Arbirlot in 1597, as also was the great Dr Guthrie from 1830 to 1837; and in Arbirlot was born, in 1833, John Kirk, M. D., suppressor of the East African slave trade. The Earl of Dalhousie is chief proprietor, 2 other landowners holding each an annual value of between £100 and £500, and 4 of from £20 to £50. Arbirlot is in the presbytery of Arbroath and synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £245. Its public school, erected in 1876, with accommodation for 129 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 81, and a grant of £58,12s. Valuation (1881) £13,224, including £2329 for 1½ mile of the Dundee and Arbroath, and 35/8 miles of the Carmyllie, branch of the Caledonian. Pop. (1801) 945, (1831) 1086, (1871) 919, (1881) 822.—Ord. Sur., shs. 49, 57, 1865-68. See part iv. and chap. iii. of the Autobiography and Memoir of Thomas Guthrie (Lond. 1874).

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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