- COULL, a parish, in the district of Kincardine O'Neil, county of Aberdeen, 2¾ miles (E. S. E.) from Tarland; containing 744 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have taken its name, which signifies a "corner," from its situation in the south-eastern extremity of the district of Cromar. The parish measures six miles in average length, and three in breadth, comprising about 7620 acres, of which 2300 are arable; 5000 are uncultivated pasture; nearly 100 of these, however, being capable of profitable cultivation; and 320 acres are under wood, chiefly planted within the last twenty years. The surface is level to a considerable extent, especially in the centre, where is a marshy tract called Bogmore; there are, however, several portions of high land, and between this parish and those of Aboyne and Lumphanan, stretches a mountain range containing the peaks called the hill of Gellan, Mortlich, Leadhlich, and the hill of Corse. The soil in the low grounds is generally of good quality, and comprehends a large portion of rich loam, resting on a gravelly subsoil; but on the hills it only affords indifferent pasture. Great improvements in agriculture have been effected during the last twenty years, especially on the estate of Corse, where almost every thing has been done which could contribute to change its neglected appearance, and increase the value of the property, which is now one of the most beautiful and desirable in the county. In other parts of the district, much land has been brought into cultivation; draining and inclosing have been successfully practised, and the larger part of Bogmore, formerly so prejudicial to the climate of the locality, has been partly converted into pasture, and partly into arable land. In the process of draining the ground, which was an alluvial deposit incumbent on moss, fragments of immense oaks were found imbedded. The rocks in the hills are chiefly red and white granite. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2197. The knitting of stockings is carried on, and there is a wool-carding mill, at which blankets and coarse woollen-cloths are manufactured. The parish was formerly attached to the abbey of Arbroath, but is now in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes, Bart., of Craigievar. The minister's stipend is £161. 5. 7., of which about half is received from the exchequer, with a manse, built in 1832, and a glebe of four acres, valued at £7 per annum. The church is a plain building, erected in 1792; it has a good-toned bell, of considerable size, cast in Holland in the year 1644, and presented by Mr. Ross, of Mill of Coull. A large portion of the parish has long been annexed, for ecclesiastical purposes, to the parish of Leochel and Cushnie. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £26, with about £15 fees, and £40 from the Dick bequest. The ruins of the castle of Corse, erected in 1581, by William Forbes, father of Bishop Patrick Forbes, are still to be seen; and the remains of that of Coull are also visible, on a rocky eminence near the church. This ancient structure, the seat of the Durwards, a family of great power, was of quadrangular form, with large hexagonal towers at the angles, the whole surrounded by a fosse, and appears to have been a fortification of considerable extent and strength. On the summit of a small hill is a Druidical circle, and traces of a chapel called Turry Chapel, yet remain on the lands of Corse.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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