- CLATT, a parish, in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, 10 miles (S.) from Huntly; containing 524 inhabitants. The Gaelic word Cleith, or Cleit, signifying "concealed," appears to have given the name to this place, in consequence of its secluded situation, it being hidden from view on all sides. The parish is in the western extremity of the Garioch district, and measures about four miles in length, and from two to three in breadth, comprising 5130 acres, of which 2800 are under cultivation, 250 pasture, 200 wood, and the remainder waste and undivided common. It consists of an uninterrupted plain, with the exception of a portion of hilly ground on the north-west, and some rising grounds on the declivity of the Suie and Coreen hills, which bound it on the south, and belong to a mountain range extending from east to west, for more than twenty miles. The Water of Bogie separates the parish, on the north, from that of Rhynie; and it is also indebted, for a considerable relief to its generally uninteresting aspect, to the meandering course of the Gady stream, which, receiving numerous mountain rivulets, turns twelve threshing-mills and a meal-mill, within the distance of two miles, and, after traversing a well-cultivated country, falls into the Urie. The land which has been longest in cultivation consists of a rich, deep, loamy soil, lying on a bed of sand or rock; and the basis of most of the remaining portion of the best land is clay, appearing under various modifications, according to the manures which have been applied. The other parts comprise alluvial matter, with sand and clay, especially on the lands recovered by draining; light earth on sand or rock, in the higher grounds; and heath, moor, and peat-moss. Agriculture is carried on with all the modern improvements, and the quality of the soil generally is favourable to the production of rich and heavy crops; but a serious obstacle is presented by the deficiency of shelter, the parish having an elevation of 600 feet, and being in the vicinity of a mountain 1300 feet high. Great and successful efforts, however, have been made to advance husbandry to a high state of excellence, and within the last twenty years more than 300 acres of moss and moor have been reclaimed by extensive drainage; larch and Scotch fir have recently been planted on the hills along the southern boundary, and there are some on the lower grounds which present an agreeable appearance. The breed of cattle has been greatly improved, and is a cross between the native and the short-horned. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2940. Granite, whinstone, serpentine, and clay-slate, are the principal rocks, and, in many parts, are so near the surface as to render the expense of quarrying unnecessary. There is, however, a mine of rock composed of hornblende, quartz, and felspar; and near the mansion-house of Knockespoch, the residence of the principal heritor, a species of variegated marble has been discovered, but too soft and splintry for use.The village of Clatt, beautifully ornamented with many old ash and plane trees, is a decayed burgh of barony, containing only a few houses. It received its erection from James IV., in 1501, with power to appoint bailies and other officers, and to hold fairs every year, and a weekly market, which latter has long since fallen into disuse, though some of the inhabitants remember the ancient cross. There are still fairs held at Whitsuntide and Martinmas, the former for the sale of sheep and black-cattle, and the hiring of servants, and the latter for grain, and as a feeing-market. The parish is in the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £158. 11. 4., of which about a seventh part is received from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £9 per annum. The church, which is a very ancient edifice, was thoroughly repaired and re-seated in 1828, and contains sittings for 290 persons. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, book-keeping, mathematics, and all the usual branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a house, an allowance from Dick's bequest, and £10 fees. This parish was the scene of a fray, in 1572, between the rival clans of Forbes and Gordon, in which the latter slew Arthur Forbes, son of Lord Forbes, and commonly called Black Arthur from his dark complexion, and carried the pursuit to the gates of Castle-Forbes, now Druminnor, the family seat of the clan Forbes. Near the village is an eminence called "Gallows Knoll," the ancient place of execution.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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