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Careston, Forfarshire

Historical Description

CARESTON, a parish, in the county of FORFAR, 4 miles (W.) from Brechin; containing 218 inhabitants. This place, originally Caraldstone, of which its present appellation is simply a contraction, derived that name from a stone erected over the grave of Carald, a Danish leader, who was slain here in his flight from the battle of Aberlemno, in the reign of Malcolm III. The parish is about three miles in length, and one mile in average breadth, comprising 2056 acres, of which 1422 are arable, 280 woodland and plantations,and the remainder meadow and pasture. The surface rises in gentle undulations, from its southern boundary, towards the north, and, near its termination in that direction, declines gradually to the confines of the parish of Menmnir. The Noran rivulet, which has its rise in the Grampians, flows with a rapid current through the lands, and near the southern limits of the parish falls into the river South Esk, which also intersects the parish, and forms part of its southern boundary. This rivulet passes over rock or gravel, and is remarkably limpid. The soil is chiefly a rich black loam, interspersed with some small tracts of moor; and the chief crops are oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips: the system of agriculture is improved, and draining has been extensively practised. The farm-buildings are generally commodious, and on two of the farms are threshing-mills, one of which is driven by water. The lands are inclosed partly with stone dykes, and partly with hedges of thorn. In general the cattle are of the native black breed; there are few sheep pastured on the lands: considerable attention is paid to the dairy, and large quantities of butter and cheese are sent to the Brechin market. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2717. The principal substrata are of the old red sandstone formation, interspersed with beds of what is by some considered to be lias; in the higher lands large blocks of trap rock are to be met with, with boulders of granite, basalt, and greenstone.

The plantations, which are in a thriving state, are chiefly pine and larch, with birch, elm, beech, and Scotch and spruce firs; and on the demesne of Careston Castle are lime, ash, poplar, plane, and Spanish and horse chesnut, some of which have attained a considerable growth. Careston Castle, mainly erected by one of the Earls of Crawford in the fifteenth century, is a spacious mansion, with two boldly projecting wings connected by a corridor in front; the west wing, which is the more ancient, is supposed to have been added by one of the Carneggy family, and the eastern by Major Skene soon after he purchased the property. The mansion has a stately grandeur of appearance, and contains numerous elegant apartments, elaborately decorated. Above the mantel-piece in the drawing-room is a representation of the royal arms of Scotland, which appear to have been granted to the first Earl of Crawford; in the dining-room are the armorial hearings of the Earl of Airlie, and over what was formerly the grand entrance to the castle are those of Carneggy of Balnamoon. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £158. 7. 6., of which one-half is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum: patron, the Earl of Fife. Careston church, erected in 1636, and repaired in 1808, is a plain old structure, and although partially repaired at different times, is cold and uncomfortable during winter; it is conveniently situated, and contains 200 sittings. The parochial school affords instruction to about sixty children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £12. The late David Skene, Esq., bequeathed £250 in aid of the funds of the Kirk Session.

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