Parish of Meigle

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: Meigle
1834-45: Meigle

Meigle (Gael. maigh-dhail, 'field of the plain'), a village and a parish of E Perthshire. The village, lying within ¾ mile of the left bank of the Isla, has a station on the Alyth branch (1861) of the Caledonian railway, 1¼ mile NNW of Alyth Junction, this being 20½ miles NE of Perth and 17¾ NW of Dundee. A seat once of considerable trade, with a weekly market, it still has fairs on the second Wednesday of Jan., Feb., March, April, and Dec., the second Monday of May, and the last Wednesday of June and Oct., as also a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Commercial and Royal Banks, and an hotel. The parish church, gutted by fire in 1869, has since been well restored, and contains 600 sittings. A very remarkable group of sculptured stones-the largest of them 8 feet high, and 31 broad-was said to mark the sepulchre of Wander, Vanora, or Guinevere, King Arthur's unfaithful queen, who, according to tradition, was imprisoned on Barry Hill in Alyth parish. With the exception of two, which retain their original position in the churchyard, they were all removed in 1882 into the old parochial school, itself now included in the churchyard. They are fully described in Mr Anderson's Scotland in Early Christian Times (2d series, 1881). There are also a Free church and an Episcopal church, St Margaret's (1852).

The parish is bounded W by Coupar-Angus, NW by Alyth, and on all other sides by Forfarshire, viz., N by Airlie, E by Eassie, and SE by Eassie and Newtyle. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 53/8 miles; its breadth varies between 2¼ furlongs and 23/8 miles; and its area is 4013¼ acres, of which 33 are water. Sluggish Dean Water meanders 5¼ miles west-south-westward — only 3½ miles in a direct line — along the Airlie border, till, at a point ¾ mile NNW of the village, it falls into the Isla, which itself winds 23/8 miles westsouth-westward along the Airlie boundary. The surface, all in the very heart of Strathmore, is almost a dead level, at no point sinking to 100, or much exceeding 200, feet above the sea. Old Red sandstone, suitable for building, has been worked in two quarries; and marl, covered with peat earth, was dug in great abundance at a place near the southern border. The soil, in some places sandy, in others clayey, is mostly a rich dark loam. Some 200 acres are under wood, 130 are in pasture, and the rest of the land is in tillage. A tumulus and a large boulder in Belmont Park are traditionally associated with the death of Macbeth, who really was slain at Lumphanan ; and Meigle in pre-Reformation days was an occasional residence of the Bishops of Dunkeld. The late Sir George Kinloch of KINLOCH, Bart. (1800-81), bought the fine estate of Meigle from the Earl of Strathmore for £73,000. Other estates, noticed separately, are Belmont (whose mansion, Belmont Castle, was burned on 21 April 1884) and Drumkilbo; and 4 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards. Including ecclesiastically the Kinloch portion of Coupar-Angus parish, Meigle is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £314. At Ardler or Washington village, a handsome Established mission church was erected in 1883 by Peter Carmichael, Esq. of Arthurston. Two public schools, Meigle and Washington, with respective accommodation for 200 and 110 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 164 and 69, and grants of £170, 7s. and £60, 7s. 6d. Valuation (1865) £7953, 8s. 2d., (1884) £10,111, 5s. 3d. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 946, (1831) 873, (1861) 835, (1871) 745, (1881) 696; of ecclesiastical parish (1871) 1003, (1881) 966.—Ord. Sur., shs. 56, 48, 1870-68.

The presbytery of Meigle comprises the quoad civilia parishes of Airlie, Alyth, Bendochy, Blairgowrie, Coupar-Angus, Eassie and Nevay, Glenisla, Kettins, Kingoldrum, Lintrathen, Meigle, Newtyle, and Ruthven, and the quoad sacra parishes of Kilry, Persie, and St Mary's (Blairgowrie). Pop. (1871) 18,564, (1881) 18,269, of whom 4821 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878. —The Free Church also has a presbytery of Meigle, with 2 churches in Blairgowrie, and 8 in Airlie, Alyth, Coupar-Angus, Cray, Glenisla, Meigle, Newtyle, and Rattray, which 10 churches together had 2624 communicants in 1883.

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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