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Statistical Accounts for the Parish of Inverarity
in Angus (or Forfarshire), Scotland
Years 1791-99 and 1835 (later 1950-68).

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YEAR 1791 - 99  - Page 124 - NUMBER XV



By the Rev. Mr JOHN WEBSTER.

Situation and Extent.

INVERARITY is in the presbytery of Forfar, and Synod of Angus and Mearns.  It is bounded by the parish of Kinnettles on the West; Murrays (Murroes) on the South; Carmyllie on the East; and by Forfar on the North.  The parish is about 3 miles square.

Agriculture, Rent, Wages, &c. - Here and in the neighbourhood, there is a growing spirit for agriculture.  Marl is the chief manure.  It is brought from the distance of 5 miles; and from 40 to 50 bolls are put upon an acre.  Its effects are most sensible and beneficial upon light dry land; and if laid on in a greater quantity, it. will operate powerfully, even on a soil that has a tendency to be moist.  For the first season it does little good; but afterwards its effects will continue for 6 or 7 years.  At the end of that time, the marling operation may be renewed, but it is pretended, the quantity of marl ought to be diminished in proportion to the number of times that the field has been marled.  The . .


. . most approved method is to mix it with earth and dung, about 1 part marl, 1 earth, and 2 dung.  This compost, by spreading it equally, prevents dangerous effects; and also causes it to work sooner than when marl is laid on by itself.  What in some measure may have retarded the progress of agriculture here, is the old system of bondage and cottagers, which still prevails.  This practice has continued, on account of very long leases having been formerly given.  Of cottagers, there are to the number of 60 families, and the bondage in which they we held by the great farmer, has evidently an effect in rendering them less industrious; not having the command of their own time, they are brought not to know its value, and from being idlers when paying bondage abroad, they learn to be lazy at home; besides, as they hold their cottages from year to year, every little improvement they should make, would render them only more dependent on their master.  As the old leases of the great farms expire, these cottagers are getting leases from the proprietor.  From this, and the abolishing of personal services, it is not doubted but their situation will be improved, and the most powerful motive be given to excite their industry.

There are but few inclosures in this parish in proportion to the extent of arable ground.  Corn therefore is principally cultivated.  Where a field has been under cultivation and inclosed, it may let from 18s. to 21s. the acre; where it is otherwise, it will not give above 15s.  The valued rent is 2,987:6s.:8d. Scots; the real rent about 2,000 Sterling.

Labourers get a shilling a day without their victuals; farm servants have from 8 to 10 the year, and maid-servants from 3 to 4; and the wages of all of them still gradually rising, which shews that both manufacturers and agriculture are in a thriving condition.


Plantations. - The want of inclosures has had the same effect here, as in other places, of retarding the plantation of trees: A circumstance to be regretted, as woods and hedgerows add to the beauty, and improve the climate of a country.  It gives pleasure to mention, that the principal proprietor is busy in planting the whole of his waste lands, which must eventually turn to good account.  An acre of land will contain 1500 trees at 6 feet distance.  In 20 years, each of these may sell for 2d ; and this amounting to 12:10s. yields a rent of 10s. yearly.  In planting waste lands, especially on the declivity of a hill, it would be a good practice to lay two furrows together with the plough; which would give the trees planted between them a greater depth of soil; and what is of still greater advantage, the ground would he kept dry, and the trees, on that account thrive much better.

Birds of Passage, &c. - Dotterels, rails and woodcocks visit this parish.  At their first appearance dotterels are very tame; but after having been shot at they become remarkably wild.  They have become much rarer, since the country was improved.  Woodcocks come here in the end of September, and remain till April; one of them built a nest in this neighbourhood; but the nest and eggs were destroyed.  We have a few grouse; and which are considerably larger in size than upon the Grampians.


Population. - The return to Dr Webster, about 40 or 59 years ago, was 996.  According to the parish register, were at an average-

A.D.   Marriages  Baptisms    Burials       Souls
1716	14 	37	 	962
1720	 9	38	 	988
1730	18	41	33	947
1740	 9	33	26	897
1750	13	31	25	853
1760	11	37	25	931
1770	 9	34	23	852
1780	 8			860
1789	16			900

There are 169 families. 5 to each family.  Those of 10 years and under, are to those above that age as 2 to 9.  There are 1 Roman Catholic; 7 Episcopalians; 33 Seceders.  The population from 1716 to 1770 is calculated from baptisms, and burials being multiplied by 26 and 36, and the half of the whole product being taken for the number of souls required, that of 1780 and 1789 is ascertained by actual enumeration.  It should thus appear, that the population of the parish during the present century has been very much the same: Many causes may have contributed to this; the number of large farms, of small possessions, and of cottages continued nearly equal; and, though our increased wealth should have produced more children, yet having no trading village to keep them at home, those who were not needed for the usual domestic purposes, way have gone in search of employment to the many manufacturing towns, with which we are surrounded.  From the cottagers being in more easy circumstances than formerly, it is probable there may now be a greater proportion of souls under 12 years . .


. . years of age; but the higher wages of labouring servants having led the farmer to do more work with fewer hands, the one circumstance may counterbalance the other, and therefore may have kept the population of the parish almost stationary.

Poor, &c.- Families who occasionally need relief from the poors fund, have been gradually diminishing, and beggars have become exceedingly less numerous; at present we have not one belonging to the parish; but in 1741 the Kirk session gave 32 of them a badge and a licence to beg.  Later than that period the heritors were obliged to assess themselves for the poor; now our weekly collections we more than adequate for that purpose.  At the interval of every 20 years there was, at an average, collected each Sunday, -

1710	0s. 4d.
1730	1s. 3d.
1750	2s. 7d.
1770	5s. 3d.
1790	7s. 0d

Were we therefore to judge of the wealth of the parish by this standard we would conclude, that it had increased in the proportion of 1 to 21: This estimate would, however be too high; because as there was formerly a much greater number of parochial beggars, those who had to give more charity in private, might give less in public: Yet allowing for this, and comparing what was given at different periods for the relief of families, who may be supposed to have been in similar circumstances, the wealth of the parish must be 8 or 10 times greater than it was in the beginning of the present century.  Our former poverty, and indeed the poverty of the country in general, is strongly . .


. . marked by the description given of those who solicited charity as beggars: - Stranger gentlemen, - poor gentlemen, - distressed gentlemen, - are the appellations very frequently given them; and what must have been the poverty!  what the spirit of the times!  when, as the record informs us, a gentleman accepted a fourpence, and a young gentleman, recommended by a nobleman, was relieved by a sixpence!

Antiquities. - The only antiquity worth mentioning is a Roman camp called Taerfauds, in the moor of Lower (Lour).  It is nearly a rectangular parallelogram, about 300 by 700 yards.  There is another camp, Battledykes, about 8 miles to the North of this, in the parish of Oathlaw, and, from the traces of a via militaris extending between them, it is probable that these two encampments were connected together.  Neither history nor tradition give any distinct account of either of them.  Some antiquaries suppose them to have been built by Agricola in his 6th campaign, when he obtained his victory over the Caledonians, under Galgacus their chief.

Character of the People. - They are, in general, industrious and sober; pleased with their situation, but not without ambition to improve it; remarkable for their attendance at church; and improved both in their moral and religious character.

Vol. IV


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Name. - Under this name are comprehended the contiguous and united parishes of Inverarity and Meathie.  Like most parishes in Scotland, where the Celtic language formerly prevailed, it seems to owe its name to its particular locality.  The situation of the church generally suggested its own appellation, and that of the whole parish to which it belonged: and it appears to have done so in the present case.  For, till 1754, when it was built on its present site, the church of Inverarity had, for a considerable period at least, been situated near the present house of Fothringham; at a small distance from which, the river Arity, running from east to west, is joined almost at right angles by the Corbie Burn.  The name of this parish, therefore, refers to that spot where the Arity and Corbie Burn form one river.

Extent and Boundaries. - The parish is about 3 miles square.  It is bounded on the north by the parish of Forfar; on the south by the parishes of Monikie and Murroes; on the east by those of Guthrie and Dunnichen; and on the west by Kinnettles, Tealing, and Glammis.  Its figure approaches that of a circle, the circumference of which forms, in general, an elevated boundary, from which the radii descending, may be conceived to meet at the centre, occupied by the church.

Topographical Appearances.- Although consisting principally of a valley or little strath, yet none of its crowning eminences can claim the name of mountains.  But, "si parva componere magnis liceat," from whatever point the traveller approaches this valley, he may be conceived to experience, in some degree, sensations resembling his who, having crossed the rugged Alps, finds himself at length descending to the tranquil plains of Italy, watered by the Po, and sheltered by the Apennines; for, on almost every side are . .


. . wooded hills, such as Fothringham, Kincaldrum, Lawrence, and Carrot, - ascending gently from the valley, and terminating the landscape as it recedes to the horizon.  From its natural position, this parish contains no small portion of low flat land, admitting of the best divisions for agricultural convenience and ornamental landscape.

Climate, &c. - The atmosphere, from the neighbourhood of the parish to the coast, and its comparatively low situation, is in spring and autumn often foggy; but during the other seasons is mild and dry.  The east wind, blowing almost directly from the sea, prevails in the early part of the year, and, towards evening, frequently during summer.

Freestone and grey-slate quarries abound here, and are converted to the most useful purposes.  The soil is various, principally clay, in many parts alluvial, and rests upon beds of freestone or slate; and in the more elevated districts, a dark loam, on sand-coloured freestone.

Roe-deer abound in the parish, and find a ready shelter in the numerous young plantations.  The birds mentioned in the former Account (above), such as dotterel, rails, wood and black-cock, still visit, and abound in, the parish.  The small squirrel, not noticed in the former Account, is found on Fothringham hill.

Botany. - There are many plants here, though not of a kind peculiar to the place.  On Fothringham hill, Trientalis Europœa, Oxalis acetosella, Vaccinium Vitis Idea.  In other parts of the parish, Erica tetralix, Veronica beccabunga, Ranunculus, Menyanthes trifoliata, Parnassia palustris, &c.  There has been a very great increase of plantations since the last account of the parish was written.  The property of Fothringham is ornamented with extensive and varied plantations, consisting of oak, beech, plane, spruce, ash, larch, and Scots fir.  Near the house of Fothringham are several beech trees of very large size; and the approach to it from the south, through a winding den, presents clumps of spruce trees of distinguished beauty.  On the other properties, the greatest attention has been paid to the improvement of waste land, and to the ornamenting of enclosures and fields, by plantations, and with handsome trees.  In this respect, Colonel Lawrenson, of Inverighty, has earned a just claim to distinction in this district for his judicious and successful disposal of such trees, of considerable size, as are both suited to the soil, and an ornament to the neighbourhood.  The soil, indeed, seems well fitted for trees in . .


. . general; and the thriving plantations, which, at the publication of the former Account, had not commenced their growth, prove that every encouragement is held out to continued perseverance in such improvements.


Eminent Men. - Among those who have reflected honour on this, the place of their birth, we may mention James Webster, Esq. Student of the Inner Temple, fifth son of the Rev. John Webster, minister of this parish.  After discovering great acuteness and ardour, and securing the highest opinion of his instructors, in the prosecution of his academical studies in Scotland, this young gentleman, with a view to practise at the English Bar, betook himself to his studies at the Inner Temple.  The pious impressions of his earliest life afterwards prompted him to pay a visit to the countries of the east.  With this object he travelled to the continent; visited Egypt, and parts of Turkey; and, with increasing ardour, at last, set off for Mount Sinai, and ascended its memorable heights.  The effect of this fatiguing expedition, however, on his return to Cairo, was a fever, which, in a few days, cut him off.*

Land-owners. - The chief land-owners are, Colonel Fothringham, Robert S. Graham, Esq., and Captain Lawrenson.

Parochial Registers. - The parochial registers, consisting of four volumes, regularly kept, commence in the year 1710.

Antiquities. - As mentioned in the former Account. there is a Roman camp, called "Haer Faads," in one extremity of the parish, or rather partly in (a detached portion of) the parish of Guthrie, on the property of Carbuddo (Kirkbuddo).  The outer ditch and rampart can still be traced, though the ground is now planted and covered with wood.  It possesses the rectangular parallelogram of the Roman camps.  Several tumuli are met with on the ridges of the hills, containing, when examined, stone coffins and charred bones, as in other parts of Scotland.


The ancient population was greater than the present; being, about 100 years ago, 996.  At that period, many cottars were attached to farms that do not now require them.  The improved state of agriculture, and the enlargement of farms, have rendered fewer . .

*  A Memoir of his life has been prefixed to an account of his Travels: and remains, as a faint delineation to his parent and friends, of the many valuable qualities, which his character and talents already possessed.


. . hands necessary for the labours of the field, and led many families to betake themselves to towns.  The whole population resides in the country.

Under 15 years, of age, the number of persons may be		560
Between 15 and 30, the number may be				140
	30 and 50,						120
	60 and 70,						 46
Upwards of 70,							 20
The average annual births for the 1ast 7 years may be stated at  20
		   deaths,					 10
		   marriages,					  9
The number of families in the parish is				176
			chiefly employed in agriculture,	 81
					 trade, manufactures,
					 or handicraft,		 52

The only families of independent fortune residing in the parish are those of Fothringham and Kincaldrum.  The number of proprietors of land of the yearly value of 50 is 5.  The number of bachelors and widowers upwards of fifty years of age is 11; and of unmarried women upwards of forty-five, 10.  The average number of children in each family may he stated at 3.  The people are of an ordinary size, few of them tall.  There is one deaf and dumb boy, and one deaf and dumb girl.  The boy has been well educated at the institution in Edinburgh; the girl is a mere child.  The inhabitants are a contented people; disposed to revere the institutions of religion, and distinguished for their morals and good conduct.


Agriculture and Rural Economy. - The number of cultivated acres in the parish is about 4,000.  The number of acres of waste or uncultivated ground, consisting of plantations, moor, &c. may be stated at 2,000.  The number of acres under wood may he about 1,000.  The trees generally planted are, larch, spruce, plane, beech, Scots fir, and oak.  There is much more attention paid to thinning, periodical felling, and judicious pruning, than formerly, there being sales of wood about twice a-year.

Rent-of Land. - The average rent of arable land is 1.  The average grazing for an ox or cow is 2.

Husbandry. - The common breed of cattle is what is denominated the Angus, or black-cattle of the county, which, from the Associations for the improvement of stock in this country, is rapidly improving.  The husbandry is that pursued in the most agricultural parts of the country.  As the parish has been almost completely drained, and the farms almost all subdivided, and enclosed by stone dykes or hedges, little is left for original improvement of waste ground.  Nineteen years form the duration of leases.


Produce.-The yearly raw produce of the parish may he estimated as follows:

Oats, barley, and wheat, 12,290 bolls,	13,500 0s. 0d.
Potatoes, turnips,			  1,136 0s. 0d.
Hay, cultivated,			  1,505 0s. 0d.
Pasture grass,				  1,100 0s. 0d.
Annual sales of wood,			    100 0s. 0d.
					17,341 0s. 0d.


Market-Town. - The nearest market-town is Forfar, four miles distant.  A turnpike road from Forfar to Dundee passes through the parish, for four miles.  Two public coaches travel on the road daily, one from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, the other from Brechin to Dundee.

Ecclesiastical State. - The parish church is conveniently situated for the parishioners, being three miles from the extreme points of the parish.  It was built in 1754, is in a good state of repair, and can accommodate 600 persons.  The manse was built long ago, but has been enlarged and repaired at different periods.  The last alterations and additions were made in 1831, soon after the admission of the present. incumbent.

The glebe is upwards of twelve acres in extent, equal in quality to the average land of the parish.  In 1813, the Court give a stipend of 14 chalders, and 8: 6s.: 8d. for communion elements.  All the families in the parish attend the Established church except six, consisting of four Independents, five Seceders, and three Episcopalians.  The Established church is well attended, and the people are much attached to our national establishment.  The communicants amount to about 400.  The amount of church collections for charitable and religious purposes annually is about 6.

Education. - There are two schools in the parish, the parochial and a private one, taught by a female.  In both, English and writing are taught; in the parish school, Latin and the ordinary branches of education.  The salary of the parochial teacher is the maximum: and the yearly amount of his school fees is about 27.  The school fees vary from 2s. to 10s. 6d. per quarter. There are no persons, from six to fifteen years of age, who cannot read.  The parents, in general, have a becoming sense of the value of education.  Some parts of the parish are pretty far from the parish school, hut there is a subscription school in the neighbourhood.  The total number of scholars at schools in the parish is 80; but there are also about 30 attending schools on the borders of the parish.


Poor and Parochial Funds. - The average number of persons receiving parochial aid is 15, at the rate of 3 a-year each.  The amount of collections for their relief, being those in church only, is, on an average, 50.  But the proprietors on whose ground they reside furnish many comforts to the poor, which lessen their claims on the poors fund of the parish.  They do not generally apply to the fund of the parish till necessity compels them; and, even then, they attach a degree of degradation to their allowance.

Alehouses. - There are four alehouses in the parish, at present, which have no good effect on the morals of the people.

January 1835.

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In time, the Third Statistical Account of this parish may appear here.

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What might be referred to as the most recent Statistical Account of the Monikie Parish is the book,
'THE MONIKIE STORY', by Rev. W. D. Chisholm, former minister of the parish.


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