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Forglen, Banffshire

Historical Description

FORGLEN, a parish, in the county of Banff, 1 mile (W. by N.) from Turriff, on the road to Banff; containing 771 inhabitants. This place is also called Teunan, from St. Eunon, to whom a chapel, of which there are still some vestiges remaining, is said to have been dedicated. It is bounded on the south and east by the river Doveron, which has its source in the mountains of Aberdeenshire, and after receiving in its course numerous streams from the higher grounds, falls into the Moray Firth at Banff. The parish is five miles and a half in length from south-east to north-west, and about four miles in breadth, containing an area of 7234 acres, of which 3617 are in a state of profitable cultivation, 1433 in plantations, 1055 waste land and pasture, and about 1130 capable of being reclaimed and cultivated at a moderate expense. Its surface is pleasingly undulated, and the soil, though light, is fertile. The system of agriculture is improved; the principal crops are barley and oats, and wheat has recently been raised, but not in sufficient quantities to remunerate the grower. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of live stock: the cattle are of the Aberdeenshire and Buchan breeds, with some of the Teeswater, Dunrobin, and Galloway; the sheep are generally of the Highland breed, which has been benefited by the introduction of the Cheviot, Merino, and Leicestershire kinds. Much progress has been made in inclosing the lands, but the chief fences are of stone, and the farm-buildings are indifferent. There are quarries of clay-slate in several parts, worked for various purposes. The salmon-fishery on the Doveron was formerly extensive and profitable; but it has greatly diminished within the last few years, and the annual rental for an extent of three miles of the river is at present not more than £5. The annual value of real property in Forglen is £3210. Over the several rivulets that intersect the parish are bridges in good repair; and across the Doveron is a substantial bridge of red sand-stone, erected in 1826 at an expense of £2503, and connecting this parish with the post-town of Turriff. Peat and wood are the principal fuel, but coal is brought from Banff. There is a parochial library, containing a valuable collection of books on religious and general subjects; and a savings' bank has been established, or rather revived.

The parish is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Turriff, synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir Robert Abercromby; the stipend is £175. 5. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £14 per annum. Forglen church, erected in 1806, and situated on the southeastern boundary of the parish, is in good repair, and will accommodate a congregation of from 400 to 500 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is well attended: the salary of the master is £34, with about £30 fees, and a house and garden; also the interest of £100 bequeathed by the Rev. George Bruce, minister of Dunbar, in 1793, and a portion of the Dick bequest, producing about £30 per annum. There is likewise a female school, in which children are taught to sew; the building was erected by subscription. The poor of the parish are eligible for admission into the Aberdeen infirmary, for which a collection is made annually at the church: there is also an annual collection for the Assembly's India Mission and the schools in the Highlands and islands. From some ancient charters preserved by the family of Abercromby, it appears that the lands of this parish and the patronage of the church formerly belonged to the abbey of Aberbrothock; and, as already stated, there are still remains of an old religious house, by tradition assigned to St. Eunon. At a short distance from the church are two barrows, which have not been opened; and in constructing a road in 1827, an urn containing ashes was found. Three similar urns have been found since, and others had been found before. A silver coin of the size of a crown-piece, with the date 1670, was lately discovered in the wall of an old house; it seems to have been current in the electorate of Cologne. The former house of Forglen, supposed to have been originally built about the year 1346, had over the entrance the arms of Scotland, sculptured in stone, with various inscriptions; the present mansion, lately erected near the site of the former, which is removed, is a spacious edifice, beautifully situated on the bank of the Doveron, and adorned with fine old timber. In the parish is also the house of Carnousie.

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