- ARBUTHNOTT, a parish, in the county of Kincardine, adjoining the town of Bervie, and containing 1015 inhabitants. The name of this place has undergone many changes in its pronunciation and spelling; but, from documents in the possession of the Arbuthnott family, it appears that, previously to the 12th century, it was called Aberbothenothe, which form, about the year 1335, had been changed to Aberbuthnot, and, in 1443, to the mode it now retains. The original term signifies "the confluence of the water below the Baron's house," and is descriptive of the site of the ancient castle and of the present mansion-house, upon the narrow point of a projection overlooking the water of Bervie, which stream is joined by a rapid rivulet, formerly of considerable breadth, about 100 yards distant from the mansion. The parish, in the early history of which the Arbuthnotts have held the most conspicuous place, contains 9423 acres, of which 6200 are in tillage, 250 plantations, and 2223 uncultivated. It is intersected by the road from Stonehaven to Brechin, and is bounded on the north by the river Forthy, which separates it from Glenbervie; and on the south and west, by the water of Bervie, dividing it from the parishes of Bervie, Fordoun, and Lawrencekirk. The surface, which is altogether irregular, being much diversified by hill and dale, rises on every side from the valley of the Bervie water, the windings of which, between steep and richlywooded banks, present, in many parts, interesting and beautiful scenery; the highest land is Bruxiehill, which has an elevation of about 650 feet above the sea. The only stream worthy of notice is the Bervie, which, in summer, is small, and slow in its course, flowing at the rate of about a mile per hour; but, in the rainy seasons, it rises rapidly, the flood being considerably augmented through the medium of the agricultural drains; and embankments, to some extent, have been found necessary, to secure the neighbouring lands against the havoc consequent upon its overflowing.The soil, towards the southern quarter, is a strong clay, with a cold retentive subsoil, and in the direction of the northern boundary, light and dry; there is also some rough wet pasture and moor, but this kind of land has been greatly ameliorated and recovered by recent drainage: the chief crops are, grain of different kinds, potatoes, turnips, and beet-root. The parish is altogether agricultural, and the cultivation of the soil is carried on with great spirit; the five and seven years' rotation of crops are each followed, but the latter is here thought to succeed the best; and bone-dust, as manure, has been applied with advantage on light soils, where the turnips are eaten off by the sheep. The wood planted consists of Scotch fir, larch, spruce, chesnut, poplar, hazel, and almost every species known in the country; and above twenty different kinds of oak, chiefly American, have been introduced into the nursery, by Lord Arbuthnott, with a view to plantation. Improvements have been vigorously and successfully carried on, chiefly consisting of an extensive and efficient drainage of the lands, the cultivation of much barren soil, and the construction of embankments along the course of the Bervie, for the protection of the fertile haughs through which it runs. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6592. The rocks are mostly coarse sandstone, trap, and what in the country is called scurdy; blocks of gneiss and granite are sometimes seen; on the north bank of the Bervie, pebbles beautifully varied have been found imbedded in trap; and calcareous spar, heavy spar, and veins of manganese also exist. In the deepest part of a small peat-bog called the "Hog's Hole," the skeletons of two red deer were recently found, the antlers of whose horns were seven and eight in number, and some of them measuring eighteen inches in length. Arbuthnott House, the seat of the ancient and noble family of Arbuthnott, is beautifully situated on the Bervie, almost concealed by thriving plantations; it has been greatly improved by the present owner; the grounds are laid out with much taste, and the mansion is approached by a fine avenue of beech-trees, upwards of two centuries old. In the library of his lordship are, the missal used in the parochial church in former times, and the psalter and office belonging to a chapel connected with the church, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary; the penmanship is exceedingly beautiful, and many parts are splendidly illuminated. The castle of Allardyce, also on the bank of the river, and which has been recently repaired, is the property of the ancient family of Allardyce; and the house of Kair is a modern mansion, of neat and elegant appearance.The ecclesiastical affairs are regulated by the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns; the patronage belongs to Viscount Arbuthnott, and the minister's stipend is £225, with a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £9. The church, which, though much altered and enlarged, is probably four centuries old, and was, in former times, dedicated to St. Ternan, is situated near the north bank of the river, about three miles distant from the furthest extremity of the parish. An aisle, of finely-hewn ashlar, and elegantly constructed, was added to it, on the south-east, in 1505, by Sir Robert Arbuthnott, who also repaired and improved the west gable, on which was placed a round tower; and this aisle, which is now the burial-place of the family, contains an old full-length statue, of stone, of Hugh de Arbuthnott. There is a parochial school, the master of which has the maximum salary, with house and garden, and about £10 fees; and a savings' bank, established in June, 1822, is in a prosperous condition. The celebrated and learned Alexander Arbuthnott, first Protestant principal of King's College, Aberdeen, was a native of the parish, and some time its minister, to which office he was appointed in 1567; and the wellknown Dr. Arbuthnott, physician to Queen Anne, and one of the triumvirate with Pope and Swift, was born here in 1667. The place gives the title of Viscount to the family of Arbuthnott.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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