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Coull, Aberdeenshire

Historical Description

COULL, a parish, in the district of KINCARDINE O'NEIL, county of ABERDEEN, 2¾ miles (E. S. E.) from Tarland; containing 744 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have taken its name, which signifies a "corner", from its situation in the south-eastern extremity of the district of Cromar. It measures six miles in average length and three in breadth, comprising about 7620 acres, of which 2300 are arable; 5000 are uncultivated pasture, nearly 100 of these, however, being capable of profitable cultivation; and 320 acres are occupied by wood, chiefly planted within the last twenty or thirty years. The surface is to a considerable extent level, especially in the centre, where is a marshy tract called Bogmore. There are, however, several portions of high land, and between this parish and those of Aboyne and Lumphanan stretches a mountain range containing the peaks called the hill of Gellan, Morrlich, Leadhlich, and the hill of Corse. The soil in the low grounds is generally of good quality, and comprehends a large portion of rich loam, resting on a gravelly subsoil; but on the hills it only affords indifferent pasture. Great improvements in agriculture have been effected during the last thirty years, particularly on the estate of Corse, where almost every thing has been done that could contribute to change its neglected appearance, and increase the value of the property, which is now one of the most beautiful and desirable of its size in the county. Much land in the parish has been brought into cultivation; draining and inclosing have been successfully practised, and the larger part of Bogmore, formerly so prejudicial to the climate of the locality, has been partly converted into pasture, and partly into arable land. In the process of draining the ground, which was an alluvial deposit incumbent on moss, fragments of immense oaks were found embedded. The rocks in the hills are chiefly red and white granite. The annual mine of real property in the parish is £2197. The knitting of stockings is carried on, and there is a wool-carding mill, at which blankets and coarse woollen-cloths are manufactured.

This parish was formerly attached to the abbey of Arbroath. It is now in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir John Forbes, Bart., of Craigievar. The minister's stipend is about £161, of which about half is received from the exchequer, with a manse, built in 1832, and a glebe of four acres, valued at £7 per annum. The church is a plain building, erected in 1792; it has a good-toned bell, of considerable size, cast in Holland in the year 1644, and presented to the church by Mr. Ross, of Mill of Coull. A large portion of the parish has long been annexed, for ecclesiastical purposes, to the parish of Leochel and Cushnie. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £26, with about £15 fees, and £40 from the Dick bequest. The ruins of the castle of Corse, erected in 1581 by William Forbes, father of Bishop Patrick Forbes, are still to be seen; and the remains of that of Coull are also visible, on a rocky eminence near the church. This latter structure, the seat of the Durwards, a family of great power, was of quadrangular form, with large hexagonal towers at the angles, the whole surrounded by a fosse; and it appears to have been a fortification of considerable extent and strength. On the summit of a small hill is a Druidical circle, and traces of a chapel called Turry Chapel yet remain on the lands of Corse.

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


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

Postal districtAB34
Post TownAboyne