Marykirk

   MARYKIRK, a parish, in the county of Kincardine; including the village of Luthermuir, and containing 2387 inhabitants, of whom 147 are in the village of Marykirk, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Montrose. This parish, of which the ancient name, Aberluthnott, or, as in some documents, Aberluthnet, was in use till the beginning of the last century, is about seven miles in extreme length from east to west, and varies greatly in breadth. It is bounded on the south by the river North Esk, which separates it from the county of Forfar; and comprises 9320 acres, whereof nearly 7000 are arable, 570 meadow and pasture, 1530 woodland and plantations, and the remainder water and waste. The surface, which slopes gently from the borders of the river, is tolerably level; and the only hills are the almost parallel ridges of Kirkton hill and Balmaleedie, which extend for nearly two miles in a north-eastern direction, but attain no very considerable degree of elevation. The river Luther, rising in the Grampian hills, intersects the lands for nearly five miles; and there are numerous excellent springs affording an ample supply of water.
   The soil in some parts is light and sandy; along the banks of the Luther, a deep rich mould; and in other places, a wet and retentive clay which has been greatly improved by good management, and rendered fertile. The crops are, oats, barley, turnips, and potatoes, with a few acres of wheat. The rotation system of husbandry is prevalent; the lands have been drained, and inclosed partly with hedges of thorn and partly with stone fences; the farm-buildings, erected of stone and roofed with slate, are substantial and commodious; and on most of the farms are threshing-mills. The pastures are rich, and considerable attention is paid to the improvement of live stock, consisting mainly of black-cattle of the polled or Angus breed, of which 500 head are annually reared. Horses for agricultural purposes, and also for the carriage and saddle, are reared with great care, and are much prized; of the former, about 210, and of the latter, about seventy, are annually bred. From 300 to 400 pigs, likewise, are generally kept, and fattened for the market. The woods comprise the usual kinds of timber, but there are few trees of ancient growth except on the lands of Inglismaldie, where are some more than a century old; the plantations are very extensive, consisting principally of firs, and are in a thriving condition. The streams contain salmon, grilse, sea-trout, common trout, and eels, but not in any great quantity; the salmon and grilse are found chiefly in the North Esk. The substratum is mostly sandstone of the old red formation; a bed of limestone of coarse quality traverses the parish from east to west, and on the higher grounds are trap and conglomerate rocks. The quarries are not extensive, the expense of working them, and of draining off the water, rendering their operation scarcely of any advantage to the owners. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7988. Kirkton Hill is a handsome house, recently rebuilt on the site of the former ancient structure; it is finely situated, commanding some interesting views, and the grounds are embellished with flourishing plantations. Balmakewan, which has also been rebuilt, is a good mansion on rising ground near the North Esk, of which it has a pleasing prospect; and is surrounded with a well-planted demesne. Inglismaldie is an ancient mansion at present unoccupied, but in good repair; the lands attached to it are richly wooded, and embellished with some timber of venerable growth. Thornton Castle is a castellated building, part of which was erected in 1530; it had fallen into a state of dilapidation, but has been restored with a strict regard to the original design, and is occupied by the proprietor. Hatton, the property of the Honourable General Arbuthnott, is now a farm-house.
   The prevailing scenery and general aspect of the parish are of pleasing character. There are two handsome bridges over the North Esk; the one of great antiquity, on the road from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, and which has been recently repaired and beautified; and the other near the village, of four circular arches of equal span, erected in 1813. The village of Marykirk is neatly built and pleasantly situated: a post-office has been established, which has a daily delivery. At Caldham, on the river Luther, is a mill for the spinning of flax, in which about 100 persons are employed; and the weaving of linen is carried on upon a large scale in the village of Luthermuir, about four miles distant, which is described under its own head. There are also several corn-mills, and mills for sawing timber for agricultural uses. The salmon-fishery is pursued to a small extent, employing five or six men, and the aggregate rent is £40 per annum. An annual fair for cattle, horses, sheep, and wool is held on Balmakelly moor, on the last Friday in July. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in good repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns: the minister's stipend is £231. 13., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum; patron, Alexander Crombie, Esq. The church, situated in the village, is a neat structure erected in 1806, and containing 638 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Congregational Union and the United Associate Synod. The parochial school is generally attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and nearly four acres of land, and the fees average £20 per annum. There is also a school at Luthermuir. The parochial library, consisting of about 200 volumes, chiefly on religious subjects, was presented by Patrick Taylor, Esq.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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