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Inverkeillor, Forfarshire

Historical Description

INVERKEILLOR, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 6 miles (N. by E.) from Arbroath; containing, with the hamlets of Chapelton of Boysack, Leysmill, March of Lunanbank, and Millfield, 1879 inhabitants, of whom 141 are in the village of Inverkeillor. This parish derives its name from its situation at the mouth of the Keillor, a small rivulet which flows into the bay of Lunan about a mile south-eastward of the village. It lays claim to a considerable degree of antiquity; and near the mouth of the river Lunan are the ruins of the ancient house of Redcastle, said to have been built for a hunting-seat, the probability of which is confirmed by the names of several of the adjacent lands. In the year 1749 the roof and part of the walls of Redcastle were taken down; a statue of King William the Lion was then removed from its pedestal, and owing to the inattention or unskilfulness of the workmen, it fell to the ground, and was broken to pieces. The PARISH is bounded on the north, and also intersected, by the river Lunan; on the east is the sea. It is about seven miles in length, and of very irregular form, varying from about two and a half to four and a half miles in breadth; and comprises an area of 7500 acres, of which 130 are woodland and plantations, 2500 pasture, and the remainder arable. The surface is generally level, but rises towards the north by a gentle acclivity from the river Lunan, and towards the south from the Keillor, terminating, in the latter direction, in a high ridge of rocky coast, at the promontory of Redhead, which has an elevation of 230 feet above the level of the sea. Of the two streams, the Lunan has its source near Forfar, and flowing eastward, through the northern portion of the parish, falls into Lunan bay: the Keillor rises in the southern part of the parish, and joins the sea at the southern extremity of the bay of Lunan. The coast extends for nearly six miles; and the shore along the bay of Lunan is a flat firm sand, beyond which, to the south, it is bold and rocky. Lunan bay affords good anchorage for vessels; and all along the coast are salmon-fisheries.

The SOIL is in general fertile, in some places a deep rich loam, and in others of a lighter quality; the crops are, grain of every kind, with potatoes and turnips. The system of husbandry is in a very improved state; the lands are well drained, the farm-buildings of superior construction, and the fences, which are chiefly of stone, are kept in good order. Of the live stock, the cattle reared in the parish are usually of the Angus black breed, without horns: most of them are sold when three years old, for the English market, where they obtain a high price; and the others are pastured for home use, or for the Glasgow market. The sheep are of the Highland black-faced breed, with a few of the Cheviot and the Leicestershire. The annual value of real property in the parish amounts to £8761. The plantations are beech, elm, oak, birch, and plane, with larch and Scotch fir, for which the soil is well adapted. Freestone is extensively quarried at Leysmill, where paving-stones are dressed by machinery driven by steam: in the works here, which are the property of Mr. Carnegie of Boysack, about fifty men are constantly employed. Ethie House, the seat of the Earl of Northesk, is an ancient mansion originally erected by Cardinal Beaton, and is pleasantly situated near the coast. The only other houses of any note are Kinblethmont and Anniston.

The village of Inverkeillor stands on the great north road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen: its inhabitants are the ordinary tradesmen necessary for the convenience of a country population. Some of the inhabitants of the parish are employed in the spinning of flax, for which there are several mills, some being driven by steam, and others by the water of the Lunan. Near the church is a posting-house, called Chance Inn; and facility of communication is afforded by the Arbroath and Forfar and the Aberdeen railways, by good roads, and several bridges over the Lunan river. For ecclesiastical purposes the parish is within the limits of the presbytery of Arbroath, synod of Angus and Mearns. The minister's stipend is £246. 14., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8. 15. per annum; patron, the Crown. Inverkeillor church, erected in 1735, and enlarged by the addition of an aisle in 1799, is a plain structure containing 700 sittings. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £34 a year, with a house and garden; he receives £10 from a bequest, for the gratuitous instruction of twelve poor children, and the fees average about £15 per annum. There is also a school at Chapelton, the master of which has a free house and garden, and a salary of £7 arising from a bequest, in addition to the fees. The bequest from which the two payments to the schools are made, amounts to £1000, under the management of the Kirk Session, who appropriate the remainder of the proceeds to the poor not upon the parish roll. Near the sea are the remains of St. Murdoch's chapel, with the buryingground attached to it; and at Chapelton are the remains of the chapel of Quytefield, the burial-place of the family of Boysack.

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