Lochlee


Lochlee
   LOCHLEE, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 22 miles (N. W.) from Brechin; containing, with the hamlet of Tarfside, 622 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the river Lee, which passes through a loch of considerable size near its centre. The lands formerly belonged to the Lindesay family, one of whom erected a strong castle here in 1526, which continued for many ages to be the residence of his descendants, and of which the walls are still entire: Lord Panmure is the present proprietor. The parish, in its full extent, is about fifteen miles in length and seven in average breadth; but that portion of it which is inhabited comprises an area of little more than half that compass. It is situated among the Grampian hills, and is separated by the most elevated of that chain from the county of Aberdeen; about 1000 acres of land are arable, 50 natural wood, and the whole of the large remainder rough moorland, heath, and waste. The surface is rocky and mountainous, interspersed with spreading valleys and deep glens. The loch already referred to lies in a cavity between the rocks and mountains which almost encircle it; it is nearly a mile and a half in length, and about half a mile broad, and from its peculiar situation has a strikingly romantic appearance. Of the mountains that separate the parish from Aberdeenshire, the highest are Mount Keen and Mount Battoch; the former, on the west, has an elevation of 4000, and the latter, on the north-east, an elevation of nearly 3500, feet above the level of the sea. The height of the mountains on the south and north-west varies from 2000 to 3000 feet. The river Lee receives the tributary streams of the Mark and the Brany near the parish church, and then forms the North Esk, which, augmented by various other rivulets, falls into the German Ocean.
   The soil generally is thin and light, but by the use of lime is in many parts rendered fertile and productive; the mountain tracts, and parts of the valleys, are covered with heath and peat-moss, affording the principal fuel of the parish. The crops are, oats, bear, potatoes, and turnips; the rotation system of husbandry is practised, and considerable improvements have been recently made. A few of the lands have been inclosed, and draining has been carried on to some extent; the farm-buildings are usually substantial, and kept in good repair by the tenants. The declivities of the hills afford pasturage for sheep, of which about 16,000 are on the average annually fed: 3000 lambs, also, are reared. The sheep are mostly of the black-faced breed; and for the encouragement of improvement in the stock by importations from the southern districts, an annual show has been established at Millden, by Lord Panmure, at which prizes are awarded by his lordship to such of his tenants as produce the finest specimens. The cattle and horses are both of the Angusshire breed: the former, of which the average number is 400, are generally small; of the latter, few more are kept than are necessary for agriculture. The woods consist exclusively of birch, with the exception of a few ash and alder trees. The mountains and rocks of the parish are chiefly of primitive rock, interspersed with trapstone, mica-slate, and limestone; and, towards the summits of the higher mountains, of granite. Lead-ore is also found; a vein was worked in 1728, but the produce was not sufficient to pay the expense, and it has since that time been discontinued. The rateable annual value of Lochlee is £1331. Facility of communication is maintained by a good road through the parish, and by many wooden bridges, of which two cross the North Esk, and three stone bridges, of which one was built in 1830. The parish is in the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns, and patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £158. 6. 7., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum. The church, built in 1803, and enlarged in 1824, is adapted for a congregation of nearly 300 persons. There is an episcopal chapel. The parochial school affords ample instruction; the master has a salary of £34, and receives also, as catechist, an appropriation of funds to that purpose about a century since, producing one hundred merks, six bolls of meal, and ten acres of land, of which eight are arable. Another school is endowed with £15 per annum by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge; the master has likewise a house, garden, and six acres of land, given to him rent free by Lord Panmure, and the school fees, amounting to about £12 per annum. There is also a parochial library, containing a small but well-chosen collection of religious publications. Alexander Ross, parochial schoolmaster of Lochlee, was the author of a pastoral poem of some merit, entitled The Fortunate Shepherdess. There are numerous tumuli in the parish, in one of which was found the head of an ancient battle-axe. Nearly opposite to the manse are the remains of the old castle of Invermark, the residence of the Lindesay family.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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