- KINNELL, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 5½ miles (E. by N.) from Letham; containing 853 inhabitants. This place, of which the name, in the Gaelic language, is descriptive of the situation of its church upon a conspicuous eminence, is of considerable antiquity, and at one time formed part of the possessions of the abbey of Arbroath. The barony was granted by King Robert Bruce to his steady adherent, Sir Simon Fraser, in acknowledgment of his gallant conduct at the battle of Bannockburn; and Fraser, during the lifetime of his uncle, was styled the Knight of Kinnell. The lands were subsequently divided into four portions, of which Bolshan is now the property of Sir James Carnegie, Bart., Wester Braky of Lord Panmure, Easter Braky of the heirs of Mr. Alison, and Rinmure of the representatives of the late John Laing, Esq. The parish comprises an area of 5000 acres, exclusive of a large portion of the ancient forest of Monthrewmont, and part of Rossy moor, an undivided common; 4400 acres are arable, about seventy woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland pasture and waste. The surface is gently undulated, and towards the east rises to a considerable elevation, forming the hill of Bolshan, near whose foot stood an ancient baronial castle, of which the last remains were removed about the year 1770, and the hill of Wuddy-law, where was a spacious tumulus. The lower grounds are enlivened with the windings of the river Lunan, which flows for nearly two miles through the southern part of the parish, dividing it into two very unequal portions. The Gightyburn forms its eastern boundary, separating it from the parish of Inverkeillor, and afterwards runs into the Lunan. The soil, though various, is not unfertile, and has been improved by judicious management; the crops are, wheat, barley, oats, peas, turnips, and potatoes. The rotation system of husbandry is prevalent, and all the different improvements in agriculture have been adopted; considerable portions of moor have been brought under cultivation, and the lands have been drained and partially inclosed. The farm houses and offices, most of which have been recently rebuilt, are substantial and well arranged; and on the several farms are thirteen threshing-mills, of which one is driven by a steam-engine of eight-horse power. The timber is chiefly oak, ash, elm, plane, and birch; the plantations, which are of modern growth, are Scotch firs, which seem to thrive best in the soil, with some larch and spruce. The cattle are of the black breed, to the improvement of which much attention is paid; and considerable numbers of sheep and swine are reared. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3878.There are no villages properly so called; but about eighty scattered houses are termed Muirside. The population is chiefly agricultural; but many persons are employed in the weaving of linen-sheeting and Osnaburghs, for which 125 looms are in operation. There are also several mills for the spinning of flax, which are usually driven by water, but have steam-engines for use when the supply of water is deficient. Communication with the neighbouring towns is afforded by good roads, of which that from Montrose to Forfar passes for nearly four miles through the northern part of the parish. Markets are held at Glesterlaw, on the lands of Bolshan, on the last Wednesday in April, the fourth Wednesday in June, the third Wednesday in August, and the first Wednesday after the 12th of October; they are chiefly for the sale of cattle, and are well attended. The Eastern Forfarshire Agricultural Association hold their meetings at the same place, at Lammas, when there is a show of cattle and horses, as well as an exhibition of improvements in the construction of implements. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Arbroath and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £229. 10. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £14 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, almost entirely rebuilt in 1766, and repaired in 1836, is a sombre structure containing about 400 sittings. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £31, with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 per annum. There is also a school erected in the Muirside of Kinnell, by Sir James Carnegie, for the instruction of girls in reading, sewing, and knitting. A considerable number of silver pennies was found some time ago on the bank of the Lunan, between Hatton and Hatton-mill, together with a halfpenny of John Baliol; several of the coins were of the time of Edward I. of England. The tumulus on the summit of Wuddy-law was forty-five yards in length and four yards in height, formed of alternate layers of stones and earth. On the removal of a cairn on Hatton-mill, in 1835, a grave of rude stones was discovered, containing bones and a skull.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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