FORFAR, a royal burgh, the county town, a parish, and the seat of a presbytery, in the county of Forfar, 70 miles (N. by E.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the villages of Carseburn and Lunanhead, 9620 inhabitants, of whom 8362 are in the burgh. This place, in some ancient documents, is noticed under the designation of ForfarRestenneth; and in others, Forfar and Restenneth are separately mentioned as distinct parishes, the union of which, though extremely probable, has not been proved by any authentic evidence. In the latter part of the seventh century, a priory was founded at Restenneth, which became subordinate to the abbey of Jedburgh, and of which there are still some remains on the west side of the loch of Restenneth. In this establishment, Alexander I. deposited the public records that had been placed by King Fergus in the abbey of Iona, or Icolmkill, which was difficult of access; and in 1296, Robert, then prior, took the oath of fealty to Edward I. of England. The priory appears to have been well endowed, and to have had considerable possessions in the neighbourhood; it flourished till about the year 1652, when the right of patronage of the church was purchased from the prior by the magistrates and council of the burgh. Forfar appears to have been a royal residence at a very early period. Malcolm Canmore is said to have held parliaments in the castle, situated on an eminence to the north of the town, where he resided with his court; and his queen, Margaret, had a palace on a small island in the loch of Forfar, called the Inch, on which, for many years, the inhabitants of the burgh were in the habit of celebrating an annual festival in honour of her memory. In 1307, Robert Bruce, on his route from Aberdeen to Angus, assaulted the castle of Forfar, at that time strongly garrisoned by the English, and, taking it by escalade, put the whole of the garrison to the sword, and ordered the fortifications to be levelled with the ground. In 1647, the burgesses opposed the surrender of the person of Charles I. into the hands of the republican party, and, through their provost, entered a warm protest against that measure in parliament. When the city of Dundee was taken by the army of General Monk, a detachment of English forces was sent to Forfar, who plundered the town, and destroyed all the charters and public records of the burgh. Towards the close of the 17th century, frequent trials and executions for witchcraft occurred here, of which the last was in 1682: the place of execution, a small hollow to the north of the town, still retains the name of the "Witches Howe," and the iron bridle that was fastened round the head of the victims on these occasions is yet preserved.
   The town, which is situated on the road from Aberdeen to Perth, consists of two principal and of several smaller streets, in which are numerous well-built houses, many of them of handsome appearance; and within the last half century very great improvements have taken place. The streets are lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are supplied with water from wells sunk by subscription of individuals, aided by grants for the purpose by the magistrates of the burgh. A subscription library is supported; there are a newsroom, and a mechanics' reading-room, both containing a good collection of books; and a horticultural society has been established. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the linen manufacture; the principal articles are, sheetings, Osnaburghs, and dowlas, in the weaving of which about 3000 persons are regularly employed in their own dwellings. The quantity of linen annually woven is about 14,000,000 yards, and the average value £300,000. There are ale and beer breweries, and various shops for the supply of the vicinity with different articles of merchandise. A very considerable increase of general traffic has taken place since the opening of the railway between Forfar and Arbroath, which has its terminus at the north extremity of the town, and which was opened to the public, for the conveyance of goods and passengers, on the 3rd of January, 1839: the line is fifteen miles in length, with a rise upon the whole distance of about 220 feet, and it was completed at an expense of £140,000. In 1840, an act was obtained for increasing the capital stock of the company. An excellent road from Forfar to Kirriemuir, also, has been constructed, opening a communication with a large Highland district. The principal market is on Wednesday; and there is a market, well supplied with provisions of all kinds, on Saturday. Fairs are held on the last Wednesday in February, the second in April, and the first in May, for cattle and horses; on the day after Dunsmuir fair, in June, for cattle; on the first Tuesday in July, for sheep, on the Wednesday following, for cattle, and on Thursday, for horses; on the first Wednesday in August, for cattle; the last Wednesday in September, for horses and cattle; and the third Wednesday in October and the first in November, for cattle. These fairs are much frequented by dealers from the southern counties and from different parts of England; and on account of its position in the very centre of the county, Forfar is remarkable for the great attendance and amount of business transacted at its Wednesday weekly market, which indeed, from the beginning of the month of November until the end of that of March, resembles a large fair.
   The burgh, by charter of Charles II., bestowed in the year 1665, is governed by a provost, two bailies, a treasurer, and a town council of fifteen members. There are five incorporated companies, the glovers, shoemakers, tailors, weavers, and hammermen, the terms of admission to which vary considerably; the fee paid on admission as a burgess is, for a stranger £2, and for the son of a freeman, the husband of a freeman's daughter, or an apprentice, £1. The jurisdiction of the burgh extends over the whole royalty, which is about two and a half miles in length, and half a mile in breadth, and also over the liberties, under the charter. The bailies hold a court for the determination of civil pleas to any amount, in which they are assisted by an assessor, and also a criminal court, chiefly for the trial of petty offences, though by charter their jurisdiction extends to capital crimes; but, from the conducting of causes by written pleas, the expenses of process tend greatly to diminish the number of suits in the latter. As the county town, the sessions are regularly held here, as well as the election of the representative in parliament. A handsome building has been erected at an expense of £5000, containing a sheriff's court, with offices for the sheriff's clerk, and rooms for the juries and for the records. The town and county hall, situated in the centre of the town, is a neat edifice, comprising halls for the transaction of public business, and courts for holding the sessions; and in the same building is the old gaol, now converted into an excellent marketplace, as, from its inadequacy as a gaol, ground was lately purchased to the north of the town, on which a more spacious and better arranged prison has been erected. The burgh, with those of Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin, and Bervie, returns one member to the imperial parliament: the elective franchise, under the Reform act, is vested in the resident £10 householders; the number of these is 250.
   The parish, which is situated on the south side of the valley of Strathmore, is about six miles in length, from north to south, and five miles in breadth. The surface, though generally level, is varied by the two hills of Balmashinar, near the town, and Lower, at its southern extremity, of which the former commands an extensive and richly-diversified prospect: the rivers are the Lunan and the Venny, which, though abounding in trout, are, in their course through the parish, very inconsiderable streamlets. There were formerly three large lakes, Restenneth, Fithie, and the loch of Forfar; but the two first have been drained for marl, and the last, though still a fine sheet of water, has been much reduced in extent. The soil, with the exception of a tract of wet clay in the south, is generally light and dry, producing excellent crops of oats, barley, and turnips, with various other green crops. The lands are in a good state of cultivation; the use of shell-marl found in the lakes for manure has been almost superseded by the use of lime, and the system of husbandry has been greatly advanced. The rateable annual value of the parish is £12,015. In the south-west, and also in the eastern parts of the parish, freestone of good quality for building is extensively wrought. From the quarries here, has been taken the stone of which most of the houses in the town, and the steeple of the church, are built; and large quantities of flags for pavement, and of thin sandstone for roofing, are sent by railroad to Arbroath and Dundee, whence they are shipped to various parts of the kingdom. The only mansion-house is that of Lower, built by a former earl of Northesk, and now the property of his descendants, the family of Carnegie.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Forfar and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £267. 17., with a manse, a handsome modern building, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patrons, the Town Council. The church, originally built in 1791, and partly rebuilt, and made more commodious, in 1836, is a plain substantial edifice, with a steeple erected in 1814, in which are three old bells, the gift of Mr. Strang, a native of the town, and a merchant of Stockholm; the interior contains about 1800 sittings, of which sixty-two are free. The church of St. James was erected in 1836, at an expense of £1200, raised by subscription; and a portion of the parish, comprising an area about a quarter of a mile long, and of nearly equal breadth, and containing a population of 2236, was for a short time assigned to it as an ecclesiastical district, by authority of the presbytery. It is a neat structure, containing 1134 sittings, of which 100 are free; and the stipend of the minister, derived from seat-rents, is £80 per annum, to be advanced to £100 when the funds will permit. An episcopal chapel was built in 1824; it has 380 sittings, and is under the superintendence of the Bishop of Dunkeld. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession, and for Independents; and an old house has recently been purchased, and fitted up as a Roman Catholic chapel, in which service is occasionally performed. The parochial school affords instruction to about eighty children; the master has a salary of £34, with an allowance of £8. 15. in lieu of a house and garden, and the fees average £25 per annum. There are likewise three burgh schools, the master of one of which has a salary of £40; the other masters have each a school-room rent-free, but are not in receipt of any salary. A considerable income arises from land purchased with a bequest of Mr. Strang, in 1650, for distribution among the poor. In the vicinity are the remains of two Roman camps, between which a causeway was continued for some way through this parish; and nearly at an equal distance from each, are remains of a Pictish camp of large extent, of which the rampart and fosse, extending from Loch Forfar to Loch Restenneth, are said to have been formed by the Picts under Feredith, to protect their camp from the Scots under Alpin, prior to the battle of Restenneth.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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  • Forfar — (spr. fórrfār), Hauptstadt (Royal burgh) der nach ihr benannten schott. Grafschaft, liegt im Strathmore, hat Grafschaftshaus, Rathaus, Krankenhaus und Freibibliothek, Fabrikation von Leinen und Jutewaren und Hochlandschuhen (brogues) und (1901)… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Forfar — Forfar, Hauptstadt der mittelschott. Grafsch. F. oder Angus (2267 qkm, 1901: 284.078 E.), im Tal Strathmore, 12.882 E.; Leinwandindustrie …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Forfar — (Fahrfär), s. Angus …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Forfar —   [ fɔːfə], Stadt und Verwaltungssitz des Verwaltungs Distrikts Angus (13 100 Einwohner); ehemalige County in Schottland, Angus.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Forfar — [fôr′fərshir΄fôr′fər] former name for ANGUS2: also Forfarshire [fôr′fərshir΄] …   English World dictionary

  • Forfar — infobox UK place country = Scotland official name= Forfar gaelic name= Fharfair scots name= Forfar population= 13,206 (2001 Census) os grid reference= NO455505 map type= unitary scotland= Angus lieutenancy scotland= Angus constituency westminster …   Wikipedia

  • Forfar — 56°38′39″N 2°53′18″O / 56.64417, 2.88833 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Forfar — Original name in latin Forfar Name in other language Baile Fharfair, Farfar, Forfar, Gorad Forfar, Горад Форфар, Форфар State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 56.64313 latitude 2.89026 altitude 66 Population 13237 Date 2011 03 03 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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