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Glammis, Forfarshire

Historical Description

GLAMMIS, a parish, in the county of Forfar; containing, with the villages of Arnyfoul, Charleston, Drumglay, Grasshouses of Thornton, Milton, Newton, and Thornton, 2167 inhabitants, of whom 556 are in the village of Glammis, 52 miles (N.) from Edinburgh. This place, the name of which is of uncertain derivation, is identified with the murder of Malcolm II., which, according to some writers, is said to have occurred in the castle of Glammis, at that time a royal residence, and, according to others, to have happened in a skirmish with his assailants in the immediate vicinity, in which he was mortally wounded. The castle and the lands belonging to it were granted by Robert II. to Sir John Lyon, ancestor of the Strathmore family; upon whom, also, he conferred his second daughter in marriage, and the barony of Kinghorn. On the conviction of Lady Glammis, who was executed in 1537, for an alleged conspiracy against the life of James V., the castle was forfeited to the crown, and again became a royal residence; but on a subsequent discovery of her innocence, the honours and the estate were restored to her son, Lord Glammis, whose descendant, the Earl of Strathmore, is the present proprietor. The PARISH, which lies in the southern portion of the vale of Strathmore, is situated near the base of the Grampian hills, and is about ten miles in length, varying from one mile to five miles in breadth, and comprising an area of 15,000 acres, of which 8000 are arable, 4500 meadow and pasture, 1600 woodland and plantations,and the remainder roads and waste. Towards the north the surface is generally level, with an elevation of about 260 feet above the sea; towards the south it rises by gentle undulations to the Sidlaw hills, which are from 1000 to 1500 feet in height. The principal river is the Dean, which, issuing from Loch Forfar, at the north-eastern extremity of the parish, flows in a western direction, receiving in its course the BaUandarg burn, the Kerbet water, and the Glammis burn, and falling into the river Isla. Loch Forfar, the western extremity of which is within the parish, was formerly 200 acres in extent, but has been reduced to nearly one-half by draining. There are several springs in the parish, some of which are slightly chalybeate.

Though much diversified, the soil is generally fertile: on the north side of the river Dean it is a light loam, alternated with gravel and sand, and in the hollows are some tracts of moss; on the south side is a deep brown loam of great richness, with other kinds. The system of agriculture is advanced, and the lands have been improved by large quantities of marl, procured by the draining of the lake. The cattle, of which great numbers are reared in the pastures, were chiefly of the native Angus breed, but this has been giving way of late years to the short-horned: they are sent by the Dundee steamers to the London market, where they obtain a high price. The annual value of real property in the parish is £7801. The plantations, which are extensive, consist of larch, spruce, and Scotch firs, ash, elm, oak, and birch; they are under careful management, and in a thriving state. In this parish the chief substrata are of the old red sandstone formation, whinstone, and trap; and near the Sidlaw hills are some beds of slate, which have been extensively worked: the sandstone is quarried for building, and the whinstone for the roads. A kind of grit is found, of which mill-stones are made for exportation; and there are veins of lead-ore, of which those near the village were formerly wrought. Glammis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore, is a venerable and very ancient structure, consisting of two quadrangular ranges of great strength, crowned with turrets and lofty towers, the principal of which, 100 feet in height, constitutes the central portion of the mansion. The buildings were repaired, and partly modernised, under the superintendence of Inigo Jones; and other restorations and additions have been subsequently made. In front of the mansion is a massive pedestal, on which are four lions rampant of gigantic size, each holding a dial, facing one of the cardinal points. The mansion contains a splendid collection of paintings, an extensive assortment of ancient armour, and a valuable museum of natural curiosities and antiques. The park in which it is situated abounds with ornamental timber, and with stately avenues of ancient growth leading to the castle, one of which is more than a mile in length.

The village of Glammis is nearly in the centre of the parish, on the great road from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. A public library, containing about 700 volumes, is supported by subscription; and a handsome building, containing two spacious halls, has been erected by the friendly societies of masons and gardeners. The manufacture of brown linen, chiefly Osnaburghs and sheetings, is carried on to a considerable extent, for which purpose a mill for spinning flax was erected on the Glammis burn in 1806; the machinery is driven by a water-wheel of twenty-four horse power. The yarn spun at this mill is woven, in several of the villages in the parish, into brown linen, of which about 4000 pieces are annually made for the Dundee market; and 7500 pieces are woven by private individuals in different parts of the parish, in addition to what is made from the yarn spun at the mill. A circulating library, containing 300 volumes, has been opened for the use of the persons employed by the mill-owner. The railway from Forfar to Perth intersects the parish; and facility of communication is also maintained by the roads from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and from Kirriemuir to Dundee, which intersect each other in the village, and by good roads in various other directions through the parish. Fairs for cattle and sheep are held five times a year; the older in May and November, and those of more recent date in April, July, and October.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Forfar, synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £255. 15., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £16. 10. per annum; patron, the Earl of Strathmore. Glammis church, erected in 1793, is a neat plain structure with a spire, and contains 950 sittings. The parochial school is attended by about seventy children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, an allowance of £1. 2. in lieu of garden, and fees averaging £25 per annum. There were three ancient castles; one at Cossins, the property of the Strathmore family; one in the glen of Ogilvie, and one in the glen of Denoon; but they have all been totally destroyed. Within a short distance of the church is an obelisk of rude design, raised to commemorate the murder of Malcolm: on one side are sculptured the figures of two men, above which are a lion and a centaur; and on the other are several sorts of fishes, supposed to have allusion to the loch of Forfar, in which the assassins were drowned while making their retreat from the castle. In a wood not far from the village of Thornton is a large cairn, on which is also an obelisk, similar to the former, and named King Malcolm's Gravestone. Near Cossins is a third obelisk, called St. Orland's Stone, on one side of which is a cross fleuri, and on the other the figures of four men on horseback, in full speed, one of whom is trampling under his horse's feet a wild boar; and near the base of the obelisk is the figure of a dragon. This place gives the title of Baron Glammis to the Earl of Strathmore, that dignity having been conferred on Patrick Lyon in 1445.

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

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Grasshouses of Thornton