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Carmylie, Forfarshire

Historical Description

CARMYLIE, a parish, in the county of FORFAR, 6 miles (W. by N.) from Arbroath; containing, with the hamlet of Graystone, 1107 inhabitants. The name is supposed to he derived from a Celtic word, signifying "the top of a high rocky place", which description answers to a castle formerly standing here. At Carbuddo, not far from the parish, are the remains of a camp, indicating the occupation of the ground in ancient times by the Romans, who are said to have reduced the forts of Carmylie and Carnegie in the year 139. At one period the lands belonged to the abbey of Aberbrothock, whence the monks came to perform divine service at a chapel here, more ancient than the abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and called in old writings "Our Lady's chapel of Carmylie"; its site is occupied by the present church. The PARISH is about six miles long, and its mean breadth three miles. It is bounded by portions of eight parishes, and includes part of the range of the Sidlaw hills, exhibiting a series of acclivities, which are cultivated throughout, and rise 200 feet above the lowest ground in the parish. These hills are nearly all of equal height, and are about 580 feet above the sea, commanding on one side a beautiful and extensive prospect of the Grampian mountains, and on the other, of the German Ocean, the coast of Fife, and, sometimes, the Lammermoor hills. The only stream of any note is the Elot, or Elliot, which rises in a moss called Diltymoss, and after a course of about eight miles falls into the sea at Arbilot.

The soil most prevalent is a dark rich-looking mould, which receives its hue, partly from a mixture of moss, and partly from moisture; a light dry soil is found on some of the higher slopes, and in the valleys near the streams is a rich fertile mould, with alluvial deposits. There are about 200 acres of moss, many hundred acres of moor, and 355 acres of plantation, consisting of Scotch and spruce fir, larch, and the ordinary kinds of hard-wood. The crops are wheat, barley, oats, turnips, potatoes, hay, and peas. Great improvements have been effected within the last half century, by the conversion of pasture into arable land, by draining marshes and mosses, and reclaiming wastes; also by inclosures, the erection of good farm-buildings, and the introduction of the best system of cultivation. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8928. The subsoil in many parts is a stiff retentive clay, requiring frequent and deep draining. The rock most common, especially in the higher lands, is the red or grey sandstone, covered with the whinstone called scurdy. At Conansythe a large quantity of steatite has been found, of red hue, variegated with white veins. There are several good quarries in the parish, regularly worked, the stone and slate of which are suited for pavement, and for columns, balusters, aud various other ornaments in buildings: the produce is sent to the large towns in Scotland, and to London; the slate is of every size, colour, and texture, and many pieces of it, beautifully variegated with spots, when polished resemble a fine marble. The parish contains two convenient and elegant mansions, built of the native sandstone. That of Guynd is situated on the north bank of the Elot river, and ornamented with several beautiful plantations; the other, Conansythe, stands on high ground, and commands an interesting view of the vales of the Lunan and the Brothock. The population has greatly increased within the present century, an increase arising from the manufacture of coarse linen, such as sheetings, dowlas, Osnaburghs, &c., and from the large number of hands employed in the quarries above referred to: these quarries, however, are not so much wrought as they were, owing to the great quantity of useless stone that lies above the valuable kind. A yearly cattle-market is held about the end of the mouth of April, or the beginning of May.

Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Arbroath, synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 8. or upwards, of which a portion is received from the exchequer; there is a good manse, built in 1820, and the glebe is valued at £30 per annum: the patronage is in the Crown. Carmylie church, which is conveniently situated, is a substantial building of ancient date, accommodating 500 persons. A congregation has been formed here in connexion with the Free Church. There is a parochial school, in which Latin and all the branches of an ordinary education are taught; the master has the maximum salary, with about £18 fees, and a house and garden. A library was instituted in 1828, and is under the direction of the Kirk Session, and a committee appointed by the subscribers. At the Den of Guynd are the remains of a fort called Dunhead, supposed to be of Caledonian origin, and afterwards to have been occupied by the Danes; it is of triangular form, and appears to have been encompassed by a ditch and wall. Urns and human bones have been found in the neighbourhood, the bones supposed to be the remains of Danes who fell in the battle of Barrie, when the Danes were defeated by Malcolm II. There are several chalybeate springs, the strongest of which is one in the den of Guynd.

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

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