- LUNAN, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 7½ miles (N. by E.) from Arbroath; containing 272 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from two Gaelic words signifying "the river of the lakes," supposed to have been applied from the circumstance of the river Lunan rising in a lake near Forfar, and running through two other lakes in its course to the bay of Lunan, in the German Ocean, here. In ancient times the parish was called Lônan, Lôunan, and Inverlunan. The names of several places in the district render it probable, and perhaps certain, that King William the Lion had frequent intercourse with Lunan. He built, it is said, the structure called Redcastle, situated in an adjoining parish, near the influx of the Lunan into the ocean, and which he is reported to have used as a hunting-seat; while in the parish of Lunan are places styled Hawkshill, where he may have kept his hawks; Courthill, where he may have kept his court; Cothill, where his cattle were; and the Castle Knap, which was his prison. Some lands at present in the possession of one of the heritors were formerly called the Kirklands of Inverlunan, and were appended to the abbey of Arbroath. They were conveyed by charter dated July 21, 1544, to Lord John Innermeath and Elizabeth Beaton, his wife, by the commendator and chapter of Arbroath, upon the payment of an annual feu-duty; and in 1587, they passed to the crown by the annexation act. The feu-duties were subsequently, with other estates belonging to the abbey, erected into a temporal barony in favour of James, Marquess of Hamilton, from whom they passed to the earls of Panmure. Being forfeited in 1715, they were bought by the York Buildings' Company; not long afterwards repurchased by the late Earl of Panmure; and sold at length, in 1767, to the ancestor of the present owner.The parish, which is of oblong form, is one of the smallest in the county, being only two miles in length, and averaging but one mile in breadth. It contains 1950 acres, and is bounded on the north by Marytown and Craig parishes, on the south by the river Lunan, on the east by the ocean, and on the west by Kinnell. The land at the extreme northern boundary reaches an elevation of about 400 feet above the level of the sea, to which height it rises from the shore, at first abruptly, but afterwards more equably. The aspect of the parish from the south is interesting and somewhat imposing; but, upon a nearer approach, the want of trees, and of verdant fences on the cultivated lands, produces considerable disappointment. The parish has a mile and a half of coast, formed by Lunan bay, which measures altogether about five miles in its margin, and is considered one of the most beautiful in Scotland. At each extremity of the bay, rugged and precipitous cliffs rise to a perpendicular height of between 100 and 150 feet; and after a storm or a high spring tide, numbers of fine shells, and sometimes pieces of pebble, onyx, and jasper, are found on its yellow sands. In a northerly direction, near the boundary of the parish, is Buckie Den, commencing from the shore with a wide opening, but narrowing for about half a mile into the land; it is a romantic spot, watered by a rivulet, and almost covered with wild shrubs, interspersed with cowslip and polyanthus.The soil near the coast is sandy, and upon the high grounds shallow and moist, but in other parts rich and fertile: the number of acres under cultivation is 1345; about 400 are waste, ninety common, and fifteen planted with Scotch fir. The value of the grain raised is estimated at £4160, of the potatoes and turnips £824, and of the hay and pasture £910. The system of husbandry is advanced, and the crops produced are of an excellent description; the improvements have been numerous; the crops have been doubled since the adoption of the modern method of agriculture, and the farm buildings and offices, though still needing improvement, have been much bettered. The cattle are the Angus, the black-polled, and a cross of the Angus with the Teeswater, which last breed is found very profitable. The rateable annual value of the parish now amounts to £1964. The means of communication are considerable, Lunan being intersected by the coast-road between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, which is kept in good repair, and upon which six coaches pass, three to the south and three to the north; the other roads are also convenient and in tolerable repair. The bay is deep and well bottomed, and forms a safe shelter for vessels, except on the blowing of the wind from the east, to which it is entirely exposed. A salmon-fishery at the mouth of the river is estimated to produce £420 per annum. The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Arbroath and synod of Angus and Mearns, and the patronage is vested in the Crown: the stipend is £158, of which a third is received from the exchequer. The manse, built in 1783, and enlarged in 1827, stands on high ground about a mile from the old church, to the north-east; the glebe consists of eight acres, valued at £15 per annum. The late church, which was very ancient, was wholly taken down, and a new church erected upon its site in the year 1844; it is situated in the south-eastern portion of the parish. There is a parochial school, where the classics, mathematics, and ordinary branches of education are taught; the master's salary is £31, with about £25 fees, and a bequest of fifty merks for teaching six poor children. In the south-western division of the parish is the mound of Arbikie, with a ridge of land seven yards in breadth, and about 120 yards in length, and a parallel range of tumuli extending 800 yards in length; the ridge and mound are supposed to have formed sepulchres of the conquered, and the tumuli, sepulchres of the dead of the conquerors, in some great battle fought in the neighbourhood.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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