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Arbirlot, Forfarshire

Historical Description

ARBIRLOT, a parish, in the county of FORFAR, 2½ miles (W.) from Arbroath; containing, with the village of Bonnington, 1045 inhabitants, of whom 77 are in the village of Arbirlot. This place appears to have derived its name, a contraction of Aber-Elliot, from the river Elliot, which runs into the sea a little below its eastern boundary. The earliest account connected with its history, states, that a member of the ancient family of Ochterlony originally owned the castle of Kelly, in the parish. This family was succeeded by the Irvines, who also held the castle, which afterwards came into the possession of the Maule family, now sole proprietors of Arbirlot. The parish is about four miles long and three broad, and contains 5050 acres, of which 4200 are cultivated or occasionally under tillage, 800 waste, and fifty wood. It is intersected by the Arbroath and Dundee road and railway, and is bounded on the south by the sea, which at this parish has an extent of coast nearly three miles long, level and sandy, and much frequented in the summer for the purpose of bathing. In the interior, also, much of the surface is low and flat; and the rest gradually rises to a gentle acclivity. There is no part deserving of particular notice, except the immediate vicinity of the ancient castle of Kelly, which is situated on the bank of the Elliot, and is in good preservation, and surrounded by scenery that is highly picturesque. The Elliot, a stream of inconsiderable size but of great beauty, rises in Ditty Moss, in the parish of Carmylie, and pursuing a south-eastern course for a few miles, through a deep and romantic glen, falls into the sea in the east part of the parish. It has numerous mills erected upon it, and formerly abounded in salmon, but since the construction of some dam-dykes, these fish have forsaken it: the stream is still frequented by good trout. There is a chalybeate spring in the parish, of some little celebrity, but it is not now so much frequented as formerly.

The soil in the lower parts consists chiefly of a light productive loam, but on the higher portions is damp and mossy, and in some places mixed with clay; the subsoil is a gravelly clay: on the northern boundary is an extensive muir. The average annual produce is valued at £15,000, chiefly derived from crops of oats, barley, hay, and potatoes; the annual value of real property in the parish is £6395. The only mansionhouse is the seat of Kelly, situated in the vicinity of the old castle. A small fair is held once a year. Near the mouth of the river, at Wormy-hills, is an establishment for bleaching yarns, and on the same stream are three meal-mills and a flax-mill. There is also a meal-mill on a small river which forms the boundary line between this parish and Panbride. Ecclesiastically Arbirlot is within the bounds of the presbytery of Arbroath and synod of Angus and Mearns; the patronage is vested in the Crown, and the minister's stipend is £184. 4. 5., in addition to which he has a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £6. The church, rebuilt in 1832, is an elegant structure, situated on the bank of the Elliot, and containing about 640 sittings. A place of worship has been erected for members of the Free Church. There is a parochial school, the master of which has a salary of £34. 4., and £20 fees, &;c., with a house and garden. A savings' bank managed by the minister, and a parochial library, consisting of above 500 volumes, kept in the manse, are also supported.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis


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Postal districtDD11
Post TownArbroath