Monikie

   MONIKIE, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 3½ miles (W. by N.) from Muirdrum; containing, with the villages of Craigton, Guildie, and Guildiemuir, and the hamlet of Bankhead, 1317 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to have derived its name, of Gaelic origin, from the character of its surface, rising into an elevated tract of upland moss; and to have been the scene of the death of Camus, the Danish general, who, after the defeat of his army by Malcolm II., was slain here; in commemoration of which event, a stone pillar in the form of a cross was erected on one of the hills, thence called Camustane. The extreme length of the parish, from north-west to south-east, is about seven miles, and its greatest breadth rather more than five; comprising an area of nearly 6000 acres, of which 4450 are arable, 500 woodland, and the remainder moor and waste. The surface is broken by two ranges of hills, stretching from east to west in a nearly parallel direction, and dividing the parish into three several portions, which differ materially in climate and soil. Of these, the range lying to the south of the Downie hills, and sloping towards the mouth of the Tay, has a rich and fertile soil resting upon gravel, and producing abundant crops of grain of all kinds, and especially of wheat and barley of excellent quality. The soil in the central district, which is a valley between two ranges of hills rising to the height of 400 feet above the sea, is partly a thin black loam on a wet and tilly stratum, difficult to work, and producing only oats of any tolerable quality; and the third portion, which has an elevation in some parts of about 500 feet, is a swampy tract of moorland, extending along the northern boundary of the parish, and of which only very small portions are cultivated with any success. The Downie hills are chiefly of whinstone, of good quality for building and for roads, with sandstone, which latter is quarried to a considerable extent; and in the northern district is an extensive bed of slatestone, well adapted for pavements. Beautiful specimens of agate, spar, and jasper are found in the trap-rock of the Downie hills; and along the summit of the range is a great variety of plants.
   The system of agriculture has been progressively improving for a considerable time, and is now in a very efficient state; the chief crops are, wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes, of which large quantities are sent to Dundee, whither, also, the produce of the dairy-farms is consigned. The farm houses and offices are substantial and commodiously arranged; some attention is paid to the breed of horses and cattle, under the auspices of the agricultural societies of the county; and all the modern improvements in implements of husbandry have been generally adopted. The plantations are chiefly of fir; but they are not in a very flourishing state, and there are still some large tracts of waste that might be planted with greater success. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3151. The principal villages are Craigton and Guildie, the former containing 162, and the latter 158 inhabitants, who are partly employed in the weaving of linen for the manufacturers in neighbouring towns. Facility of communication is afforded by the road from Dundee to Arbroath, which intersects the parish, and by the Dundee and Arbroath railway, which passes through the southern portion of it; and at Denfiend, a strong massive bridge of one arch has been erected over a precipitous chasm fifty-five feet in depth. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dundee and synod of Angus and Mearns: the minister's stipend is £239. 16. 9., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church is a substantial structure erected in 1812, and contains 900 sittings. There is a place of worship belonging to the United Associate Synod. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £20 per annum. Other schools are supported principally by the fees; and there is one of which the master has a house rent free, and a small annual gratuity from the Kirk Session. On the hill of Camustane, a handsome column 105 feet in height, rising from a rusticated pedestal containing a room for visiters and accommodations for the keeper, was erected in 1839 by the tenantry of Lord Panmure, the principal landed proprietor, as a testimonial of their attachment to a landlord who, during a long life, has made the interest and comfort of his tenants his peculiar care. From the visiters' room, in which is a bust of his lordship by Chantrey, a spiral staircase leads to the balustrade above the capital of the column, which is surmounted by an ornamental vase. Affleck Castle, though long uninhabited, is still entire, and forms an interesting memorial of baronial grandeur; and at Hynd Castle, on the northern boundary of the parish, is an ancient square tower, of smaller dimensions, situated on an artificial mound. There is also a tumulus near the western extremity of the parish, called Hare-Cairn, supposed to cover the remains of persons who fell in some hostile encounter near the spot.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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