Kingoldrum


Kingoldrum
   KINGOLDRUM, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Kirriemuir; containing 440 inhabitants. The name of this place is compounded of three Gaelic words signifying "the head of the burn of the drums, or low hills." The lands were bestowed upon the abbey of Aberbrothock by a charter of William the Lion, which grant was confirmed by Alexander III., and afterwards by Robert Bruce; and Alexander also issued a proclamation prohibiting every one from cutting wood, destroying game, or hunting, without consent of the abbots, in the forest of Kingoldrum. Of this description of land, however, no traces now remain. The parish, which is of very irregular figure, stretches along the base of the Grampian mountains, and is situated in the district called the Braes of Angus. It is about seven miles in length, and between two and three in breadth, comprising 12,800 acres, of which nearly 4000 are under tillage, 1500 in natural wood and in plantations, and the remainder waste, consisting of moor, moss, bog, and pasture. The surface is everywhere undulated, and marked principally by three ranges of low hills, the intervening spaces being occupied by considerable tracts of level ground. Much of the scenery is interesting; and from the summit of Catlaw, the highest hill, elevated 2264 feet above the level of the sea, extensive and beautiful prospects may be obtained. These embrace the German Ocean from Montrose round to the Frith of Forth, part of the coast of Fife, the Bell-rock lighthouse, Berwick law, some of the highest mountains in the Western Highlands, and, on the north, the loftiest eminences of the Grampians. The streams of Prosen, Carrity, and Melgum, all abounding in trout, enliven the lands in different directions; and the last, in its course through a deep, narrow, and winding channel, forms a series of beautiful waterfalls, called the Loups of Kenny. The burn of Crombie, after passing the village, falls into the Melgum; and in several places are copious springs, some of them supplying abundance of excellent water.
   The soil is, to a great extent, alluvial and deep, but in some parts very thin. It rests frequently on a subsoil intermixed with the debris of the red sandstone rocks; in some places it is sandy, and in others moorish, loamy, or clayey. Husbandry has much improved within these few years; the farms are generally cultivated under the six-shift course; considerable portions of waste land have been reclaimed, and furrow-draining has been practised with great advantage. From 1200 to 1500 sheep are kept, chiefly the black-faced; and the cattle, which are the black Angus, are excellent. The geological features of the parish are highly interesting, and afford a large field of observation to the scientific enquirer. The rocks lie chiefly in parallel ridges, each containing a distinct formation, and comprise conglomerate, sandstone, trap, and a dyke of serpentine. A great variety of other beds, and boulders of rocks, are to be met with, embracing almost every species; and quarries of sandstone are in operation. Peat-mosses are common; and marl, procured from the loch of Kinnordy, partly in this parish, has been used by the farmers with great benefit. The plantations are principally larch and Scotch fir, all in a thriving condition, with the exception of some of the larches, which, after a growth of twenty or thirty years, rapidly decay. The mansion-house of Baldovie, pleasantly situated in the midst of fertile lands, derives considerable interest from its ornamental wood. That of Pearsie, also, from some points breaking suddenly on the view, has around it fine clusters of natural birch, oak, and alder. The rateable annual value of Kingoldrum is £3695.
   The population of the parish, which is almost entirely agricultural, has been gradually diminishing during the present century, mainly through the abolition of small farms and of the croft system. Indeed, about fifty cottages, besides several small hamlets, have wholly disappeared, the only collection of houses now entitled to the appellation of village being in the neighbourhood of the church. Peat and wood at present constitute the chief fuel; but Scotch and English coal, obtained from the Newtyle, Glammis, and Forfar railway depôts, about six miles distant, is coming much into use. The public road from Kirriemuir to Glenisla and Glenshee passes through the parish. The inhabitants dispose of their produce partly at Kirriemuir, the nearest market-town, and partly at Forfar, Dundee, and some of the places in the vicinity: many cattle fattened here are sent to London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. The parish is in the presbytery of Meigle and synod of Angus and Mearns, and in the patronage of the Crown. The minister's stipend is £159, with a manse, and a glebe of four acres of excellent land, and twelve of grass land. The church is a small neat edifice, erected in 1840, and accommodating 240 persons with sittings. The living was originally a parsonage belonging to the abbey of Arbroath; but, after the erection of that abbacy into a temporal lordship, the payment of the minister devolved on the titular of the tithes; and by the "decreet of provisions" dated in the year 1635, a considerable part of the stipend was charged upon abbey lands in the neighbourhood of Arbroath, from which it continues to be payable. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £28, including the value of six and a half bolls of oats, and receives £16 fees. There is a circulating library of religious books. Upon the top of the Catlaw hill is a large cairn of stones; but the chief relic of antiquity in the parish is the ruin of the castle of Balfour, built by Cardinal Beaton, and which has long been dismantled. On taking down the old church, among numerous stones with curious devices, two were found wrought into the building, marked with finely-carved crosses and hieroglyphics.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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