Kirkton of Craig

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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Craig, a hamlet and a coast parish of Forfarshire. The hamlet, Kirkton of Craig, stands on the brow of a gentle acclivity, l½ mile SSW of Montrose, and commands a splendid view over Montrose Basin and town away to the Grampians. The parish, containing also the fishing villages of Ferryden and Usan or Ulysses' Haven, comprises the ancient parishes of Inchbrayock or Craig and St Skeoch or Dunninald, united in 1618. It is bounded N by Montrose Basin and the mouth of the South Esk, SE by the German Ocean, S by the Dysart section of Maryton and by Lunan, SW by Kinnell, W by Farnell, and NW by Maryton proper. Its utmost length is 55/8 miles from ENE to WSW, viz., from the Ness to tiny Nicholls Loch upon Ross Muir; its width varies between l¼ and 21/8 miles; and its area is 4865f acres, of which 3451/3 are foreshore, and 137½ water. The northern border slopes gently down to Montrose Basin; and Rossie island there, lying at the head of the South Esk's effluence to the sea, and separated from the mainland only by a narrow channel, belongs to Craig, but will be separately noticed. The E coast is rocky, and toward the S precipitous, at Boddin Point rising rapidly to 200 feet above sea-level. On the Ness, or most easterly point of the coast, where the South Esk falls into the sea, is a lighthouse, whose light, fixed white till 1881, is now double intermittent or occulting, visible at a distance of 17 nautical miles. The interior, with gradual southward and south-westward ascent, forms, for the most part, an undulating tableland; and, attaining 234 feet near Balkeillie, 426 near Balstout, and 503 near the Reformatory, commands from many points extensive views. The rocks are chiefly eruptive and Devonian, and include greenstone, amygdaloid, sandstone, and limestone. A coarse sandstone is worked in several quarries for building; limestone was long extensively worked; and many varieties of beautiful pebbles are found in the amygdaloid. The soil in the E is sandy, westward inclines to moorish, and in the central and much the largest section is a strong rich loam. Fully five-sevenths of the entire area are in cultivation, a little less than a fourth being either in pasture or commonage, whilst some 300 acres are under wood. An old castle stood on the coast, in the immediate vicinity of Boddin, and has left slight vestiges called Black Jack; and a square earthen battery, traditionally said to have been thrown up by Oliver Cromwell, stood on a small headland at the mouth of the South Esk. The most interesting antiquity, however, is the strong castle of the barony of Craig,-a barony nearly identical with the present estate of Rossie. Frequently mentioned by Scottish chroniclers, it stood on the N side of the parish, and is now represented by a tower and gateway, and by part of a dwelling-house added in 1639. Mansions are Rossie Castle, Dunninald House, and Usan House; and the property is divided among 4 landowners, 1 holding an annual value of over £5000, 2 of over £2000, and 1 of over £400. Craig is in the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £360. The parish church, erected in 1799, is a good building with a square tower 80 feet high, and figures finely in the landscape; a Free church is at Ferryden. Four public schools-Craig, Ferryden Senior, Ferryden Infant, and Westerton-with respective accommodation for 143, 160, 165, and 42 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 99, 144, 165, and 25, and grants of £88, 0s. 6d., £91, 1s., £132, 10s., and £32, 3s. Rossie Reformatory, towards the south-western corner of the parish, 5½ miles SW of Montrose, was established in 1857, and had on an average 72 inmates in 1880, when its total receipts were £1193, inclusive of a Treasury allowance of £1093. Valuation (1882) £12,486, 8s. 2d., including £1225 for railway. Pop. (1801) 1328, (1831) 1552, (1861) 2177, (1871) 2402, (1881) 2589.—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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