UK Genealogy Archives logo

Clatt, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

CLATT, a parish, in the district of ALFORD, county of ADERDEEN, 10 miles (S.) from Huntly; containing 524 inhabitants. The Gaelic word Cleith, or Cleit, signifying "concealed", appears to have given the name to this place, in consequence of its secluded situation, it being hidden from view on all sides. The parish lies in the western extremity of the Garioch district, and measures about four miles in length, and from two to three in breadth, comprising 5130 acres, of which 2800 are under cultivation, 250 pasture, 200 wood, and the remainder waste and undivided common. It consists of an uninterrupted plain, with the exception of a portion of hilly ground on the north-west, and some rising grounds on the declivity of the Suie and Coreen hills, which bound it on the south, and belong to a mountain range extending from east to west for more than twenty miles. The Water of Bogie separates the parish on the north from that of Rhynie; and it is also indebted, for a considerable relief to its generally uninteresting aspect, to the meandering course of the Gady stream, which receives numerous mountain rivulets. This stream turns twelve threshing-mills and a meal-mill, within the distance of two miles, and after traversing a well-cultivated country falls into the Uric. The land which has been longest in cultivation consists of a rich, deep, loamy soil, lying on a bed of sand or rock; and the basis of most of the remaining portion of the best land is clay, appearing under various modifications, according to the manures that have been applied. The other parts comprise alluvial matter, with sand and clay, especially on the lands recovered by draining; light earth on sand or rock, in the higher grounds; and heath, moor, and peat-moss. A serious obstacle is presented to the farmer by the deficiency of shelter, the parish having an elevation of 600 feet, and being in the vicinity of a mountain 1300 feet high. Agriculture is carried on, however, with all the modern improvements, and the quality of the soil generally is favourable to the production of rich and heavy crops. Great and successful efforts have been made to advance the husbandry to a high state of excellence, and within the last twenty years more than 300 acres of moss and moor have been reclaimed by extensive drainage. Larch and Scotch fir have lately been planted on the hills along the southern boundary, and there are some on the lower grounds that present an agreeable appearance. The breed of cattle, which has been greatly improved, is a cross between the native and the short-horned. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2940. Granite, whinstone, and serpentine are the principal rocks, and in many parts they are so near the surface as to render the expense of quarrying unnecessary: there is also a mine of rock composed of hornblende, quartz, and felspar. The mansion-house of Knockespoch is the residence of the principal heritor.

The village of Clatt, beautifully ornamented with many old ash and plane trees, is a decayed burgh of barony, containing only a few houses. It received its erection from James IV., in 1501, with power to appoint bailies and other officers, and to hold fairs every year, and a weekly market, which latter has long since fallen into disuse, though some of the inhabitants remember the ancient cross. There are fairs still held at Whitsuntide and Martinmas, the former for the sale of sheep and black-cattle, and the hiring of servants, and the latter for grain, and as a feeing-market. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Alford, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £158. 11. 4., of which about a seventh part is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £9 per annum. Clatt church, which is a very ancient edifice, was thoroughly repaired and re-seated in 1828, and contains sittings for 290 persons. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, book-keeping, mathematics, and all the usual branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a house, an allowance from Dick's bequest, and the fees. This parish was the scene of a fray in 1572 between the rival clans of Forbes and Gordon, in which the latter slew Arthur Forbes, son of Lord Forbes, and commonly called Black Arthur from his dark complexion, and carried the pursuit to the gates of Castle-Forbes, now Druminnor, the family seat of the clan Forbes. Near the village is an eminence called "Gallows Knoll", the ancient place of execution.

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


Online maps of Clatt are available from a number of sites:

Postal districtAB54
Post TownHuntly