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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Airlie, a parish of W Forfarshire, whose Kirkton, towards the NW, is 5¼ miles WSW of the post-town Kirriemuir, and 4¼ miles NNW of Eassie station, this being 8 miles WSW of Forfar, and 24¾ NE of Perth. At it is the parish church (rebuilt 1783: 411 sittings): a Free church standing 2½ miles to the SE, and the village of Craigton 1½ mile ESE.

Bounded NW by Lintrathen, N by Kingoldrum, NE by Kirriemuir, SE by Glamis, S by Eassie and Meigle (Perthshire), and W by Ruthven and Alyth (Perthshire), the parish has an extreme length from ENE to WSW of 61/8 miles, an extreme width from NNW to SSE of 35/8 miles, and a land area of 8923 acres. Melgam Water winds 1½ mile along the Lintrathen border, and by Airlie Castle falls into the Isla, which here runs 1½ mile southward on the Alyth boundary through the picturesque Den of Airlie, a rocky gorge with precipitous copseclad braes, and after a digression into Ruthven, either bounds or traverses, for 1 mile more, the SW angle of the parish: whilst Dean Water, its affluent, meanders 7¾ miles along all the southern border. The lower half of the parish, belonging to Strathmore, sinks to 120, and nowhere exceeds 246, feet above sea-level: but the northern half is hillier, rising to 421 feet near Grange of Airlie, 511 near Airlie Castle, 556 near Muirhouses, and 472 at the NE angle. The rocks, except for a trap dyke crossing the Isla, are all Devonian, but throughout two-thirds of the area are overspread by sand or gravel: the soils range from deep alluvial loam along the Dean to thin poor earth upon the highest grounds. The Romans' presence here is attested by traces of their Strathmore road near Reedie in the NE, and in the SW by a camp near Cardean: but Airlie's memories cluster most thickly round the old castle of Airlie's lords. It stood on the rocky promontory washed by the Melgam and Isla, 1¾ mile WNW of the Kirkton: and naturally strong, had been so fortified by art, as to be deemed impregnable. But in July 1640, the Earl of Argyll, raising 4000 Covenanting clansmen, under a ruthless writ of fire and sword issued by the Committee of Estates, swept all the mountain district between his own territory and the eastern coast, and came down on the Braes of Angus to attack the hated Ogilvies in their strongholds. The Earl of Airlie was away in England, and his son, Lord Ogilvy, fled at the host's advance: who, having plundered, burned the ' bonnie house, ' Argyll himself, as Gordon tells the tale, ' taking hammer in hand, and knocking down the hewed work of doors and windows till he did sweat for heat at his work.' A rare old ballad celebrates the incident with many poetic embellishments. The moat has been half filled up, and little is left of the original pile but the wall on its eastern and most accessible side -high and massive, with frowning portcullis entry: for the present castle is but a goodly modern mansion, designed at first as merely a summer resort, and afterwards greatly enlarged. In 1458 Sir John Ogilvy, knight, of Lintrathen, descended from the first Thane of Angus, received a grant of the castle and barony. His son, Sir James, ambassador to Denmark in 1491, was the same year ennobled as Lord Ogilvy of Airlie: and James, seventh lord, was in 1639 created Earl of Airlie and Baron Ogilvy of Alyth and Lintrathen. The present holder of these titles is David Stanley William Ogilvy (b. 1856:suc. as eleventh Earl 1881), who owns within Forfarshire 65,059, and within Perthshire 4647, acres, valued at £21,664 and £6218 per annum. Another chief proprietor, Sir Thos. Munro (b. 1819: suc. as second Bart. 1827) owns 5702 acres in Forfarshire of a yearly value of £6580: his seat, Lindertis, 17/8 mile E of the Kirkton, is a castellated mansion, rebuilt in 1813. Airlie is in the presbytery of Meigle and synod of Angus and Mearns: the living is worth £321. Two public schools, Airlie and Craigton (girls'), with respective accommodation for 104 and 62 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 80 and 22, and grants of £91, 12s. and £13,2s. Valuation (1881) £11,092, 9s. 4d. Pop. (1801) 1041, (1831) 860, (1841) 868, (1871) 778, (1881) 844.—Ord. Sur., sh.56,1870.

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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