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Kettins, Forfarshire

Historical Description

KETTINS, a parish, in the county of Forfar; containing, with the villages of Campmuir, Ford of Pitcur, Ley of Hallyburton, and Peatie, 1109 inhabitants, of whom 171 are in the village of Kettins, 1 mile (S. E. by E.) from Cupar-Angus. This parish is situated principally on the south side of the valley of Strathmore, and on the northern declivity of the Sidlaw hills, and measures in length four miles from east to west, and three from north to south, exclusive of the detached portion called Bandirran, in Perthshire, six miles distant to the south-west. It comprises 8238 acres, of which 6130 are arable, 1579 in plantations, 180 uncultivated pasture, and chiefly hilly, and the remainder roads, gardens, &c. The scenery is delightfully picturesque. The whole parish, with slight exceptions, is richly adorned with larch and pine, interspersed with many other trees; and the village of Kettins is pleasantly situated on the banks of a rivulet which, after passing through Cupar-Angus, falls into the Isla, and which, being embosomed in wood, forms a striking and beautiful feature of this interesting locality. In general the soil is light and thin, consisting of a dryish black mould, or siliceous loam, tolerably fertile, and resting on a loose red tilly or gravelly subsoil; but in many parts the land is wet and spongy; and in others there is a considerable portion of strong red clay. Much has been done in the way of draining; and waste land to some extent, on the hills of Baldowrie, has been reclaimed and brought under cultivation. Great improvements have also taken place in the breed of live stock, promoted by the encouragement of several agricultural associations. The cattle are of the Angus or polled breed, and the Teeswater, with a few of the Ayrshire, and several crosses. The rocks in the parish are of the old red or grey sandstone, except in the southern quarter, towards the Sidlaw hills, where the substrata are much intermixed with trap: several quarries are in operation, supplying an excellent and durable material for building. The annual value of real property in Kettins is £8524.

In this parish the chief mansions are Hallyburton House, Lintrose, Bandirran, Newhall, and Baldowrie, some of which have grounds handsomely laid out, and are ornamented with fine clusters of wood. The village of Kettins is generally admired as a picture of neatness, seclusion, and rural simplicity. The cottages, furnished with pleasing gardens, are clustered round a green, the site of rustic sports and pastimes; and in the immediate vicinity are the mansions of Newhall, Beechwood, and Hallyburton, the whole being shrouded among shady and verdant trees, and enlivened by the course of the silvery rivulet. About fifty persons are employed in the weaving of brown linen, and at Borlands is a small bleachfield. Facilities of intercourse are afforded by the Scottish Midland Junction railway, and the turnpike-road from Dundee to Cupar-Angus: Dundee and Perth are the markets for the sale of the grain raised here; and potatoes are sent in considerable quantities to London. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Meigle, synod of Angus and Mearns, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £226, with a manse, and a glebe of four acres, valued at £12 per annum. Kettins church was built in 1768. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £30, with £32 from other sources, of which £13 are the produce of different bequests for teaching children. Besides several considerable bequests for the benefit of the poor, there is one by the Rev. James Paton, amounting now to £500, for educating one or two girls at the public shools of Dundee. The parish contains the castle of Pitcur, now in ruins, but which once gave the title of baron to the ancient family of Hallyburton, great promoters of the Reformation. At Campmuir are the remains of a camp supposed to be Roman; and at Baldowrie is a Danish monument, six feet high, marked with figures now almost defaced. Prior to the Reformation, the church of Kettins belonged to the Red Friars at Peebles, and had six chapels dependent on it, most of them with small inclosures for burial-places, none of which, however, now remain.

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