Bervie, or Inverbervie

   BERVIE, or INVERBERVIE, a royal burgh, and parish, in the county of Kincardine, 82½ miles (N. N. E.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the village of Gourdon, 1342 inhabitants. This place is named from the small river Bervie, on its north-eastern boundary, which stream is so called from an ancient British word signifying a boiling or ebullition, a word exactly corresponding to the peculiar nature of the water. The town appears to have been, in early times, of importance, and to have attracted some attention. The fine old castle of Hallgreen, which is romantically situated on the shore, a little to the south of the town, and has been recently completely repaired with due attention to its original style, has a date on the west front, which, though partially effaced, is traced to the year 1376. The walls of this building are massive, and perforated with arrows, and it seems to have been formerly surrounded by a moat, with a drawbridge and a portcullis near the outer gate of the court. Above one of the doors in the court, the date of 1687, with the initials of the proprietor of that period, is still visible, and in one of the principal rooms, on the stucco-ceiling, is a coat of arms, with the motto spero meliora, and the date 1683; on the old wainscots, are some Dutch paintings, consisting of two landscapes and a flower-piece. A spacious mansion, indicating, as well as the castle, the ancient occupation of the locality by important personages, and which is said to have belonged originally to the marischals, and was recently in the possession of the noble family of Arbuthnott, was removed about twenty years since, to make way for improvements of building and agriculture; and several other old buildings are still pointed out as the town residences of neighbouring lairds. There was also, in former times, a religious establishment of White friars; and the discovery of some graves, in the construction of a turnpike-road near a place called Friar's Dubbs, is supposed to mark the spot where this monastic order had a burying-ground. At the time of the Rebellion in 1745, the troops of the Duke of Cumberland, suspecting that the inhabitants of the neighbouring parish of Benholme had transported provisions, by means of the Bervie boats, for the use of the Pretender's troops who were passing by sea, began to destroy and plunder the village of Johnshaven, in Benholme parish, and to burn the boats of the Bervie fishermen. The minister of Bervie, Mr. Dow, however, upon hearing of this, repaired to the bridge of Benholme, three miles distant, where he met the army, headed by the royal suite, and so satisfied the duke of the loyalty of his parishioners, that he went with the minister to his house, and became his guest for the night. A singular occurrence took place here in the year 1800, when a French privateer made its appearance off the coast, and pursued several merchant vessels, which were compelled to take shelter in the port at Gourdon. A small body of volunteers belonging to the place were immediately assembled, and marched down to the beach in two divisions, to face the enemy; and one party, stationed among the rocks on the shore, exchanged several rounds of masquetry with the guns of the sloop, upon which the crew, suspecting that a battery was about to be opened upon them by the other division, who had proceeded in the direction of the old castle of Hallgreen, crowded sail and made off.
   
   The town is situated at the eastern extremity of the parish, near the small bay of Bervie, on the shore of the North Sea; the approach on the north-east, is by an elegant bridge over the river Bervie, of one arch, the height of which from the river is about eighty feet. A meal and barley mill stands on the haugh below the bridge, and near it a small spinning-mill; on the upper side of the bridge, is a spinning-mill of three stories, the first that was erected in Scotland for yarn and thread. At the north entrance to the burgh, stands the head inn, commanding a fine view of the scenery above the bridge, the remote distance being adorned with the old castle of Allardice, with its trees and shrubbery, standing in the parish of Arbuthnott. Water of the best description, from springs in the parish, is conveyed into the town by leaden pipes, and deposited in reservoirs of metal, for general use. The chief manufacture is of the linens usually called duck and dowlas, which is carried on to a considerable extent, through the medium of agents, who superintend for merchants in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Arbroath; a kelp manufactory existed for some time, but, like most others of the same description, was given up when the duty was taken off foreign barilla. The small port and fishing village of Gourdon, upwards of a mile distant, but within the parish, is the place where vessels trade, which, however, are not chartered here, but have to clear out at the custom-house in Montrose: two shipping companies are connected with the place, and vessels frequently come in with coal, lime, pavement, wood, tiles, and slates, and sometimes Orkney and Shetland cattle and ponies, and take, in return, ballast or grain, which latter is the only article exported from Gourdon. The principal fisheries consist of those of salmon, cod and ling, and haddock; the first of these is carried on in the bay, commencing on the 2nd of February, and ending on the 14th of September, and the fish taken is considered of superior quality. The cod and ling fishery begins on the 1st of October, and ends on July 15th, and about 300 cwt. are shipped every year, at Montrose, for the London market; the haddocks which are caught are dried and smoked, and consigned by a company established here, to dealers in Glasgow and London, with whom an extensive traffic is maintained. Six boats are also engaged in a turbot and skate fishery, which begins on the 1st of May, and ends on the 15th of July: a herring-fishery formerly carried on, was some time since broken up, in consequence of the shore being deserted by the fish. Crabs and lobsters are taken in great numbers, among the rocks near the bay, and there is a good supply of shrimps on the sands. A market for corn was established a few years ago, which commences at the close of harvest, and is open on every Wednesday afterwards for six months; it is in a very flourishing state, being frequented by corn-merchants from Montrose, Brechin, and Stonehaven, and by farmers and millers from all the neighbouring parishes. About 40,000 quarters of grain are purchased yearly, and the greater part of it shipped at Gourdon. Two fairs have long been held annually for the sale of cattle, the first on the Thursday before the 19th of May, and the other on the Thursday before the 19th of September; and in 1834, three additional markets were established, for the hiring of servants, and for the sale of cattle. That for cattle in general, and for hiring servants, is on the Wednesday before the 22nd of November, and those for fat and other cattle are on the Wednesday before Christmas (O. S.), and the Wednesday before the 13th of February. The mail from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, and a coach from Aberdeen to Perth, travel on the turnpike-road that runs directly across the parish, and afford considerable facility of intercourse.
   Bervie was erected into a royal burgh in 1362, by charter from King David II., who, having been forced by stress of weather to land on a rock in the parish of Kinneff, still called Craig-David, was received by the inhabitants of Bervie with so much kindness and hospitality, that he raised the town to the dignity of a royal burgh, as a mark of his gratitude and esteem. In the year 1595, James VI. renewed the charter, and confirmed the privileges before granted. The public property is distinctly marked out by the charter, comprehending nearly the whole extent of the parish, but the lands now belonging to the town, consist only of a piece of moor, a few acres of haugh ground, and a range of braes about a mile in extent; the revenue is about £120 a year. The burgh is governed by a provost, three bailies, a dean of guild, nine councillors, a treasurer, and a clerk; and, with Montrose, Brechin, Arbroath, and Forfar, returns a member to parliament. The town-hall is an edifice of two stories, the upper of which consists of a hall and council-room, and the lower contains the flesh and meal market, with a small arched vault for the confinement of prisoners, which, however, is very deficient as a place of security; on the top of the building, is a handsome belfry, with a bell which is rung four times every day. Near the town-hall, is a market-cross of great antiquity, formed of a column of stone which measures about fourteen feet high, with a ball on the summit, and a flight of steps surrounding the base.
   The parish, which was formerly joined to that of Kinneff, but was separated from it about the time of the Reformation, is of quadrilateral figure, and contains about 1800 acres, of which 1222 are under cultivation, about 70 planted, and 500 waste. It is bounded on the south-east by the German Ocean, and embraces about a mile and a half of coast, which, with the exception of the part near the town, is covered with rocks, mostly hidden at high water. The craig, where King David landed, also called Bervie Brow, bordering on the parish, is a conspicuous land-mark for mariners; and Gourdon Hill, within the parish, is also seen at a great distance. The land in the interior is considerably diversified in its surface, rising in a gradual manner from east to west, and being marked by two ranges of hills, parallel to each other. The ground is flat near the southern and eastern boundaries, but the vicinity of the latter is ornamented with a small fertile valley, through which the water of Bervie, well-stocked with trout, runs to the sea, and on each side of which the land is elevated and varied. The only streams are, the Bervie, which rises in the Grampians, and falls into the sea at the eastern extremity of the district; and the burn of Peattie, which runs from the north-east boundary, into the Bervie, and, though small, is of very considerable utility to those tenants through whose farms it pursues its course.
   The soil in the lower lands is a deep fertile loam, resting on a gravelly subsoil; the haugh lands adjoining the sea consist of black earth, mixed with large quantities of pebbles, upon which they are said to be dependent for their great fertility. In the upper district of the parish, some of the land is a strong soil, upon a clay bottom; but upon the surface in the highest part, where it reaches an elevation of about 400 feet, very little earth is to be seen, the outside chiefly consisting of naked rock. All kinds of corn and green crops are produced, of excellent quality; the plantations are flourishing, though of recent growth, and comprise every variety of trees peculiar to the country. The system of husbandry is of the most approved kind, and the highest state of cultivation is indicated by the abundance and quality of the produce. Improvements, within the last few years, have been carried on to a considerable extent, especially in draining and reclaiming waste land, and the farm-houses and offices, which are roofed with slate or tiles, are in good condition. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3344. The predominating rock is sandstone, which, in some places, is marked by veins of trap, between one and two feet in thickness. Boulders of quartz, granite, mica-slate, gneiss, &c., are met with on the shore, and near the village of Gourdon the beach consists of masses of small pebbles of jasper, porphyry, slate, and agate, of the last of which beautiful specimens are sometimes found among the loose soil on the higher grounds, as well as on the beach. Several quarries of sandstone are wrought in the parish, supplying the excellent material from which the church was constructed, as well as most of the new buildings in this and the neighbouring parishes.
   The ecclesiastical affairs of the parish of Bervie are directed by the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns; the patronage belongs to the Crown, and the minister's stipend is £141. 12., with a manse, and a glebe worth £18 per annum. The church, which was opened on the 1st of January, 1837, and contains 900 sittings, is an elegant structure, with a square tower more than 100 feet in height, ornamented with carved minarets. The site, which is gently elevated, at a small distance from the street, is highly advantageous, and the main entrance and imposing outer gate heighten the general effect of an object that has greatly contributed to improve the aspect of the town. There are places of worship belonging to the Free Church and Independents; also a parochial school, in which the classics, mathematics, and the usual branches of education are taught, and of which the master has a salary of £29. 18. 9., with an allowance of £2. 2. 9. in lieu of a garden, and between £15 and £20 a year fees. A bequest of £500 was left to the poor, who receive the interest, by the late James Farquhar, Esq., of Hallgreen. The burgh confers the title of Baron on Lord Arbuthnott, whose ancestor, Sir Robert Arbuthnott, was knighted for his faithful adhesion to the fortunes of Charles I., and was afterwards raised to the peerage by the style of Baron Inverbervie and Viscount Arbuthnott, Nov. 16, 1641: he died in the year 1655.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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