Open a form to report problems or contribute information

1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted

Help and advice for A transcription of Parish of Kinnell, Presbytery of Arbroath, Synod of Angus and Mearns. -

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.

A transcription of Parish of Kinnell, Presbytery of Arbroath, Synod of Angus and Mearns. -

The Rev. George Walker, Minister


Name. - The word "Kinnell," if, as is most probable, it signifies "Bankhead" in the Gaelic language, is descriptive of the situation of the church; for the hillock on which the church stands is about forty feet higher than the adjacent haugh, and slopes more or less abruptly on three sides, down to the level of the river Lunan, and its subsidiary streamlet the Whauk burn. Extent, &c. - The surface of the parish may be equal to about 8 1/2 square miles. The ground rises gradually from the south and west, and more abruptly from the north, so as to form the hill of Bolshan, and thence proceeds eastward, after a few alternate depressions, and elevations, through Rossy moor, to the higher hill of Kinnoul, in the parish of Craig. The parish is bounded on the north, by the parishes of Farnell and Marytown; on the east, by the parishes of Craig, Lunan, and Inverkeilor; on the south, by the parish of Inverkeilor; and on the west, by the parishes of Kirkden, Guthrie, and Aberlemno. Those parts of the parishes of Kirkden and Inverkeilor which are adjacent to the south-west corner of this parish were erected by the General Assembly in 1836, into the new parochial district of Friockheim; and in the beginning of the following year, Mr Thomas Wilson was ordained to the charge of the district by the Presbytery of Arbroath. Hydrography. - The river Lunan flows through the southern part of the parish for nearly two miles, and, after a farther course of about five miles, falls into Lunan Bay. In passing through the parish, it drives two spinning-mills, two meal and barley mills, and two thrashing-mills, with other machinery for the accommodation of a farm-steading. The Gighty burn, which separates this parish from Inverkeilor on the east, falls into the Lunan, after driving three spinning-mills and two thrashing-mill in this parish; while a similar extent of waterfall yet remains unoccupied on the Inverkeilor side. But the scarcity of water in the summer greatly diminishes the value of the falls. In Monthrewmont moor there is a large forest belonging to Sir James Carnegie. The greater part of what is within the bounds of the parish has been planted since 1820. The Scotch firs thrive best, and more of them have been planted than of all the others reckoned together. And of these last, the order as to numbers is, larch, spruce, oak, ash, plane, elm, birch. Anciently there was a keeper of Monthrewmont moor, who was also proprietor of the lands of Muirmills in this parish. He had a right to 4d. Scots for every ox, or other quadruped pasturing within the bounds of the moor, and to the same sum for every spade that cut turf in it for a day. And while he prevented the encroachments of others, he could himself occupy and labour such parts as he thought proper, and erect the necessary accommodation of houses. About fifty years ago, the moor was divided among the conterminous proprietors, and such others as had a right of commonty, according to their several interests.



At present, the parish is divided into four properties or estates; - Bolshan, belonging to Sir James Carnegie, Bart. Of Southesk; Wester Braky, belonging to the Right Honourable Lord Panmure; Easter Braky, belonging to the heirs of the late Colin Alison, Esq.; and Rinmure, belonging to the heirs of the late John Laing, Esq. The valued rents of these estates, according to the valuation of 1682, are, respectively, £ 1600, £500, £300, and £300 Scotch. Bolshan, anciently Balishan, is said to have been gifted to the abbey of Arbroath, about 1178, by Donald, Abbot of Brechin, and the gift was confirmed by King William the Lion, under the name of Ballegillegrand. In the latter half of the following century, the monks feued it for six merks of annual feu-duty, and afterwards they consigned the feu-duty, with half a merk more from another source, to the Bishop and chapter of Brechin, for supporting a chaplain in the church of Brechin, and upholding a bridge over the Esk. Before the middle of the fourteenth century, Margaret de Abernethy, the Countess-Dowager of Angus, gave Brakko to the abbey of Arbroath for a daily mass at the altar of St Catharine, in behalf of her husband's soul and her own, and the souls of their progenitors and heirs. In 1443, Sir John Ogilvy of Lentrathen and Airly was proprietor both of Bolshan and Brakko; the latter of which Abbot Walter had sold to him for an annual feu-duty of eight merks that same year, under the pretence that the intricacy and uncertainty of the marches boded future detriment to the interests of the abbey. In 1528, Lord Ogilvy resigned both of them into the hands of the Abbot, and received a new charter. In 1634, Bolshan was sold to David, the first Earl of Southesk, of whom Arthur Johnston, the celebrated translator of the Psalms into Latin elegaic verse, says -

"Nec numero clauduntur opes, nec limite rura, Carnegi: servat mens tamen alta modum."

And so great was the power of the two houses of Airly and Southesk at that time, that they would have been able to keep Forfarshire in its allegiance to Charles I. If they had not been overpowered from without. In 1716, on the attainder of the fifth Earl, Bolshan fell to the Crown. In 1720, it was sold to the York Buildings' Company; ;and in 1764, on the bankruptcy of the company, it was bought by Sir James Carnegie of Pittarrow, grandfather of the present proprietor, and representative of the ancient Earls of Southesk.

Sir Simon Fraser, heir, and, after his uncle's death, possessor of the chieftainship of his clan, is said to have been rewarded by King Robert Bruce with the barony of Kinnell, for gallant conduct in the battle of Bannockburn, and to have been thence called Knight of Kinnell, during his uncle's lifetime.

In 1407, Hugh Fraser of Lovat and Kinnell granted to his cousin, Peter de Striveline, a charter of the lands of Easter Braky, in the barony of Kinnell. The Strivelines have had various successors; - in the seventeenth century, Sir James Ogilvy of Newgrange, and his son, Sir Francis; in the eighteenth, Messrs Piper, Cooper, Gavin, great grandfather of the Marquis of Breadalbane, and Baird of Newbyth; and in 1810, Messrs Alison and Laing, by whom the estate was divided into two equal parts, - East Braky and Rinmure.

In 1642, Thomas Fraser, a descendant of Thomas, the third Lord Lovat, was proprietor of West Braky; and soon afterwards, Patrick Gray, and his son of the same name, Catholics, whom neither Presbytery nor Episcopacy could constrain to attend the Protestant worship. After these came Douglas of Brigford, and then three generations of Carnegies, who were descended from the house of Northesk; and from them it passed by purchase, about 1740, to the late Earl of Panmure, who entailed it along with his other estates, and transmitted it to his grandnephew, the present proprietor.

In 1659, the lands of Muirmills, along with the keepership of Monthrewmont Moor, belonged to Archibald Wood of Hilton, and soon afterwards merged in the estate of Bolshan.

In the castle of West Braky there exists a memorial of the Frasers, - a coat-of-arms with the date 1581. The blazon if the arms is azure, three cinqfoils argent, - the cognizance of Fraser. Impaled with quarterly, first and fourth, gules three crescents of the second, - the arms of Pierrepont; second and third, three mullets of the second, - the arms of Murray. There is no crest. Above the shield are the letters T. F.; and over the letters is the motto, "Soli Deo confido."

The foundation of the castle of Whitehills, which stood on the south side of the Lunan, and considerably higher up than the farm-steading of Kinnell's Mill, was dug up by the tenant, whose lease, after an occupancy of forty-three years, terminated in 1811. But it was a ruin in the seventeenth century, and furnished the materials for building what was called the Stone house, in the Kirktown of Kinnell, where a chamberlain or baronial officer resided, with the name of provost, in old time; and latterly, the tenant of the Kirktown, with the same appellation.

The castle of Bolshan, which, as Monipenny's Scottish Chronicles tell us in 1612, was Lord Ogilvy's special residence, has passed away with the other monuments of feudal grandeur. The cemetery and site of the chapel were subjected to the plough before 1767. The last remains of the castle were removed soon after. And now, for a long while. There has been no other remembrancer of the ancient glory of the place, that the peculiar appearance of the soil, a little to the westward of the present farm-house.

The Ogilvies, as proprietors, perhaps, of Bolshan, seem to have had a sort of heritable claim to the bailiary of the abbey of Arbroath.* In the minority of Sir John Ogilvy, the Master of Crawford, availing himself of the distractions which prevailed over all Scotland, in consequence of the similar minority of King James II., obtained possession of the office. But his insolence and oppression soon disgusted the monks; and the Ogilvies, under the conduct of Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Inverwharity, tutor of the claimant, took up arms to assert their right. The Earl of Crawford, who had hasted from Dundee to attempt a reconciliation between the contending parties, was recklessly slain as he went forward to hold a conference with Sir Alexander. His death was the signal for a general engagement, and victory declared on the side of his son. About 500 of the Ogilvies were slain, and among them Sir John Oliphant of Aberdalgay, and five lesser barons. Sir Alexander Ogilvy was taken, and carried to the castle of his rival at Finhaven, where, in a few days, he died of grief and wounds; and the Earl of Huntly, who, having been accidentally Sir Alexander's guest, chose to partake of his quarrel as well as his hospitality, escaped only by the swiftness of his horse. About 100 fell on the side of the victors. The battle was fought in the 24th January 1445-6, in the neighbourhood of Arbroath; and men did not fail to remark the speedy punishment which overtook the leaders of the two clans, and which they were unwittingly constrained to execute upon one another. For acting in concert with the Earl of Douglas, who had greatly increased the distractions of the times, they had been jointly engaged in plundering the vassals of the Bishop of St Andrews, and, indeed, were but speedily returned from Fife with their spoils. In memory of the battle, a spur and boot, which had belonged to one of the slain chieftains, were hung up in the south aisle of Kinnell Church. After the aisle was unroofed, and excluded from the church in 1766, the boot speedily fell to decay; but the spur still exists, measuring 8 inches in length, and 4 1/2 in breadth, and having a rowel as large as a crown piece. And the verses, in which the feats of the combatants were sung, have not yet altogether passed away from the remembrance of the people.

In 1790 and 1805, there was found between Hatton and Hatton-mill, in the face of the bank above the Lunan, a considerable number of silver pennies and halfpennies, which the owners had probably concealed in troublous times, and afterwards, through death or accident, found no opportunity of bringing forth again for the purposes of life. In both cases, the earthen pots which contained them were but slightly sunk into the gravelly bank; and, what is remarkable, they were in both cases discovered by boys going to school, and those boys were brothers. It is said that there was no specimen of any rare coin among them; and accordingly, instead of passing into the cabinets of the curious, they were almost all of them melted down; and a portion of the latter finding still exists not far from the spot where they were found, in an article of convivial utility, a ladle for a punch bow£ A halfpenny, however, still remains of John Baliol, having on one side a head crowned in profile and looking to the right, and a sceptre surmounted with a lily before it, with the legend, "Johannes Dei Gra;" and on the other side, a cross, with a spur revel in two of the quarters, with the legend "Rex Scotorum." The others were of Baliol's cotemporary, Edward King of England, with the full face legend of "Edw. R. Ang. Dns. Hyb," on one side, and on the other side, the cross, pellets, and place of coinage, "Civitas London. Cantor. Dublinie, Bristolie," &c. Three years ago, in time of harvest, a similar coin, from the mint of York, (Eboraci), was found in a field not far from the castle of West Braky.

But a piece far more valuable, both for rarity and intrinsic worth, was found, in 1829, in the farm of Mainsbank, by the side of a ditch, out of which it had probably been cast. It was an aureus, a gold coin of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, bearing on one side the Emperor's head, with the inscription "Antoninus Aug. Pius P. P. Imp. II.;" and on the other a victory, with the inscription "Tr. Pot. XIX. Cos. IIII." That is, "Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of his country; twice saluted with the title of Emperor (Imperator) by the army and senate; nineteen times invested with the tribunitian power; and four times with the consulship." And consequently it refers to the year 156 of the Christian era. This emperor fixed the northern boundary of the Roman empire to the Forth and Clyde; and though it does not appear that any province was erected permanently farther north, yet the transactions of commerce and war were sufficient to convey the Roman coin beyond the frontiers; and we know, that, in the beginning of the following century, the Emperor Severus lost many thousands in pursuit of the natives along the whole line of the eastern coast of Scotland.

On the top of the Wuddy-law, the highest point in the parish, there was a large tumulus or barrow, the diameter of which was about 45 yards, and the height 4. It was composed of alternate layers of stones and earth; and while the stones were removed during a course of several years for the filling of drains, earthen vessels containing a black fattish mould were occasionally discovered. And not far off, are the Gallow-law and Pit, where, if we may believe tradition, capital punishments were inflicted in ancient times. Above fifty years ago, a tenant cut across the top of this law, in the hope of falling in with hidden treasure, but he found nothing save some urns and half-burnt bones.

In 1835, on Westfield of Hattonmill, at the removal of a cairn about 15 yards in diameter, a grave was discovered, built of rude stones, and about five feet in length, lying north and south, and sunk two or three feet below the surface of the hillock on which the cairn stood. The bones which the grave contained, seemed large, and the skull had best resisted the work of decay. But the whole of them speedily crumbled down. Between the cairn and the original surface of the hillock, there was a flooring or coating of three or four inches of clay. The grave was not in the middle of the cairn. - At the Glesterlaw and other places, also, urns and bones have been discovered.

In the Battle Drum Wood, on the north-west of the parish, there are many cairns or circular heaps of moor stones. They lie chiefly in two lines, which are parallel to the Drum or ridge of the hill on the north, and to the Battle Burn on the south; and they might be inclosed within two acres of ground. A little farther east, but not in this parish, there are also the Battle Cairn, and the Battle Well, additional memorials of an event which has now no other record than those names and appearances. Tradition calls it a battle between the Picts and the Romans, - perhaps because the common name of the moor is Monroman, although most probably that name is a corruption of Monthrewmont, and consequently of much later date than the cairns. The Battle Burn is said to have flowed with blood as far as Fithy; and the herdsmen when they drank out of the well, used to throw into it a bit of their bread, lest the water should turn to blood, - a remnant, perhaps, of a very ancient superstition, which, peopling every department of nature with divinities, sought by means of presents to conciliate their favour, or avert their malignity. *Boechi Hist. Lib. 18, fo£365. Par. 1574.

Parochial Registers. - The parochial registers commence about 1657. But there are several chasms; and indeed records frequently contain nothing but the collections and disbursements for the poor. The average collection for one Sunday in the summer season, was, in 1657, 10 d. Sterling; in 1701, 2 s. 4 1/2 d.; in 1710, 1 s. 4 d.; in 1750, 1 s. 11 d. The collection on the communion Sunday, in 1657, was 14 s. 3 1/4 d.; in 1701, £3, 7 s. 2 1/3d.; in 1710, £2, 0 s. 3 d.; in 1750, £2, 5 s. 11 d. And in these last sums are included the collections on the other three sacrament days. Down to 1701, there was no other week-day service connected with the communion that the preparation service on Saturday at two o'clock. The last Episcopalian incumbent died in the following year; and under the present ecclesiastical establishment, no communion was administered till 1710, when the fast-day and thanksgiving day also make their appearance. Previously to 1702, there were on the communion Sabbath three several services, those of the morning, forenoon, and afternoon. The minister generally had two assistants. One of them preached the sermon in the morning, and the other the "thanksgiving" sermon in the afternoon. The first of these services began very early, probably not later than seven or eight o'clock. In 1660, the people were appointed to keep the communion, one-half at six o'clock in the morning, and the other half at eleven o'clock, and all to be present at the "Doctrine of Thanksgiving" at four o'clock in the afternoon. Of the collections of the communion Sunday, by far the greater part, probably more than two-thirds, were collected, not at the doors, but at the tables; and it was not till after 1729 that the practice of collecting at the tables was discontinued.

Of all the original parochial churches within the Presbytery of Arbroath, two only, those on Kinnell and Kirkden, continued to be rectories or parsonages at the time of the Reformation. Barry had been gifted to the Abbey of Balmerino; Guthry was itself become a kind of conventual establishment; and the other churches were in the hands of the Abbey of Arbroath. The lands of the parish, at one time at least, seem to have been partly within the regality of Arbroath and partly within the barony of Kinnell. And both under the Papal and under the Episcopal polity, Kinnell, as well as the parishes of the Presbytery, save Guthry, Panbride, and a part of Carmylie, was in the diocese of St. Andrews.

The following list of the ministers of Kinnell ascends almost to the time of the Reformation:

Arthur Fethy was presented to Kinnell by James VI. In 1587, and Translated to Inverkeilor in 1598.

John Guthrie, reader in Arbroath, was presented to Kinnell in 1599, translated to Arbirlot in 1603, to Perth in 1610, to Edinburgh in 1620; consecrated Bishop of Murray in 1623; deprived, along with other Scottish Bishops, in 1638; and expelled from the Episcopal castle of Spynie in 1640. According to Keith, he was a venerable, worthy, and hospitable prelate;; and having encountered the storm, from which such of the bishops, as did not submit to Presbytery, fled for refuge into England, he retired to his own house of Guthrie in Forfarshire, and died, says Middleton, exercising his charity amongst the poor in the time of the civil wars. His brother and son John were ministers of Arbroath and Duffus.

William Kinnear, reader in Arbroath, was presented to Kinnell in 1603,and died in 1612.

Henry Futhie was admitted by the Archbishop of St. Andrews with assistants in 1612, and translated to Fowlis and Lundie.

James Guthrie was translated to Arbirlot in 1625.

David Kinnear died in 1638.

James Thomson, Senior, died after May 1681.

James Thomson, Junior, having received ordination from the Archbishop, and institution from the Archdeacon, (Dean), was admitted by the Presbytery to be conjunct minister with his father in 1673, and died in his father's lifetime in 1681.

David Thomson was admitted conjunct minister with his father in 1684, and died in 1702, the last Episcopal incumbent.

Alexander Dallas, the first Presbyterian minister of Kinnell under the present ecclesiastical establishment, was ordained by the united Presbytery of Brechin and Arbroath in 1703, and died in 1705. At the Revolution of 1688, the number of Presbyterian ministers in this part of Scotland was so small, that the old Presbyteries of Brechin, Fordun, and Arbroath, were obliged for some time to associate in one Presbytery; and it was not till 1704 that the Presbytery of Arbroath was again disjoined, and erected into a separate Presbytery by the Synod of Angus and Mearns.

Thomas Fraser, 1705-1708.

James Robertson, 1708-1723.

William Moncrieff, 1725-1742.

James Murison, minister of Edzel, was translated to Kinnell in 1743; admitted Principal of St. Mary's College, St Andrews, and demitted the ministry at Kinnell in 1747.

George Cruikshanks, minister of Arbroath, was translated to Kinnell in 1748, and died in 1753.

Alexander Chaplin was ordained in 1754, and died in 1813 in the ninety-fifth year of his age. His successor, the present incumbent, was ordained the 23d September 1813.


Though the introduction of spinning-mills, and the more extensive cultivation of the moor lands, have tended to the increase of the population, it is probable that the inhabitants are not more numerous at present than they were in ancient times. Several farms have wholly disappeared, which once had each of them a resident population of tenants and cottagers. The very names of other farms are now generally forgotten; and in some cases, where writings have preserved the names, the sites can no longer be discovered. Of such farms as still exist, several are here and there united under one tenant. The high state of cultivation to which the land has been brought, renders fewer labourers necessary than before; and the demand for manual labour is still farther diminished by the machinery and improved implements which the modern husbandry has called to her aid. During 6 years, from 1657 to 1662, both inclusive, the yearly average of deaths was 17. During 44 years, from 1657 to 1700, both inclusive, the yearly average return of marriages, where either both parties or the bride belonged to the parish, was 6 1/7. During forty-two years, from 1657 to 1698, both inclusive, the yearly average of baptisms was 22 1/21. For the seven years immediately preceding 1838, the yearly average of births was 23 4/7; of deaths, 10; and of marriages, where either both parties or the bride belonged to the parish, 6 3/7. The deaths of 1837, though only equalling the births, exceeded the amount of the deaths of the five preceding years, and were more than double the deaths of 1831.

In 1755 Dr Webster's census gave 761
1792 Sir John Sinclair's 830
1801 The Parliamentary 783
1811 do. 697
1821 do. 732
1831 do. 786
1836 The present incumbent's 829

Of this last census, 385 were males, and 444 were females, and the number of families was 165.*

The disproportion of male and females in the preceding census is not only reversed, but is greater than accords with any ratio of difference, - a circumstance which is to be accounted for by the employment of more females than males in the spinning-mills, and at the loom at home, while the young men, chiefly the Muirside, are more extensively known as excellent farm-servants in the neighbouring parishes. Of 125 looms, which are at work in the parish, 78 are occupied by female weavers, and 47 by males; and of the whole number of looms in the parish, 90 are in the Muirside of Kinnell among 80 families. Thirty years ago, there were only three or four female weavers in the parish; and their number did not greatly increase till 1821, when the withdrawal of a great part of the Muirside lands, along with other circumstances, taught them to seek a readier and more convenient employment at the loom than in the distant fields of the farmers. The description of linen cloth which the weavers weave here at present is chiefly Osnaburg and sheeting; and it must also be remarked, that eight or nine looms at present unoccupied in the Muirside belong to men who find more congenial work in the construction of a railroad between Arbroath and Forfar.

There is no residence in the parish for any proprietors of the four estates; but, as almost all the estate of East Braky is at present not under lease, the proprietors of the estate avail themselves of the circumstance, by residing in the parish during the summer months. No families reside within the parish but such as are connected with the agriculturing or manufacturing operations.

Two men, now elderly, are more or less fatuous. In one family there are two children deaf and dumb. If the kirk-session should send them to Edinburgh for education, the can expect to accomplish their object only through the benevolent aid of Sir James Carnegie.**

Of late years, bothies have been provided for unmarried female servants also; for the farmers, finding it difficult to induce women to leave the loom for the working of the green crop, have been constrained to bring workers from the northern counties. The engagement of these workers is generally for a certain period, at about 8d. or 9d. a day till harvest, when higher wages are necessarily given. About thirty years ago, smuggling in gin and brandy and other articles prevailed to a considerable extent at various points of the adjacent coast; and, till a later period, the whisky, which was generally used, was chiefly from illicit distillation in the north. But a subsequent alteration of the law, by improving the spirits of the larger distilleries, and reducing the price, almost suppresses illegal distillation; and, if an increase of drunkenness was the immediate result of the reduction of price, in that evil also there has been a great abatement. It must be added, however, that there is still a coast-guard for the prevention of foreign smuggling.

*The Parliamentary census of 1841 gave a population of 853. But in that number were included 23 strangers, who then lodged in the parish for the conveniency of building of the new turnpike road between Pitmuir Mill tolls and Brechin.

**The two boys are still in the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Institution, at the expense of Sir James Carnegie.


The surface of the parish, exclusive of an undivided commonty, and of a large forest in Monthrewmont moor, is about 4014 Scotch acres, whereof about 3492 are arable, about 49 are wood, and about 513 are waste, moor pasture, and roads. In the last item are included 306 acres in Monthrewmont moor, belonging to the estates of West Braky, East Braky, and Rinmure. That part of the moor, which, at the division about fifty years ago, fell to the estate of Bolshan, has been either planted or brought into cultivation. The three acres which were allotted to the glebe in place of the minister's right to feal and divot, were under crop for the first time in 1834.

Rossy moor, the undivided commonty, extends to about 600 acres, and belongs to the parishes of Kinnell, Farnell, Marytown, and Craig.

Of such lands of the parish as are still waste and uncultivated seem to have been intended by nature rather for the bearing of wood than of corn. A few acres of moor in the south-west corner of the parish are perhaps destined, by their locality, for cultivation; and, if the increasing population of the neighbouring village of Friockheim do not suggest the idea of feuing, a mode of improvement may be adopted similar to that in which the lands adjacent to the muirside of Kinnell have been brought into cultivation since 1820. In the latter case, the moor was divided into sections of about four acres. Thirty bolls of lime were furnished by the proprietor for the improving of each acre of ground, with the farther inducement of stone, wood, and lime for the erection of houses, and a lease of nineteen years without any other rent than the payment of a few cane hens. It was expected that this mode of improving the moor, and increasing the population, would furnish a good supply of hands for the working of green crops of the larger farmers. But the loom affords a more independent, though not a healthier, occupation; and, if expectation has been disappointed in the case of the tenants, it is not more likely to be gratified in the case of feuars, whose destination is still more is naturally the loom, and such professions as are carried on within doors. The natural mode of supplying a sufficiency of labourers would be to increase the population of several farms, by the building of additional cottages, and the employing of married servants to a greater extent.

The improving of the moor, in sections of about four acres each, was effected not only by introducing new colonists, but by removing the greater part of the old pendiclers nearer the scene of improvement. And the whole of their old land having been laid out in regular fields, according to a better system of husbandry, the greater part of them was annexed to the farm of Bolshan. Consequently their houses have been almost all rebuilt since 1820, and are much more comfortable that those were which the progress of agricultural improvement required to be removed. And as, with a greater population, they have less of the profits of agriculture, weaving is carried on among them to a much greater extent than before. Numerically, however, they have more acres than formerly. For, instead of the 180 acres withdrawn from them, 270 acres of moor have been brought into cultivation by the united labours of the old and new colonists; so that at present, the muirside lands extend to 450 acres under the occupancy of 80 families. In 1838, the number of families was 53, and the old muirside lands were estimated at £615 of annual value.

The ordinary duration of leases is nineteen years; and the average rent of a Scotch acre of arable land is about £1, 5s. Under two leases, which commenced in 1768, and continue all the lifetime of the present tenant, about 547 acres on the estate of West Braky, which are all arable save about 23, pay only £108 of money, with 40 bolls of meal and 12 quarters of barley to the proprietor.* In 1767, the farm of Bolshan was let for fifty-seven years for £82; ;in 1794, it was sublet for £503;; and afterwards, in 1807, for the remainder of the original lease, for the same annual rent, with a grassum of £1000. In 1805, the muirside lands were let to 29 tenants for fifteen years, at an average rent of £1, 13s. the acre, and some of them as high as £3.

The rental of the whole parish, as far as can be ascertained, was as follows at the three following dates: in 1736, £135 Sterling, 227 3/4 quarters of barley, and 718 bolls of oatmeal; in 1792, £1334 Sterling, 98 1/2 quarters of barley, and 184 bolls of oatmeal; in 1837, £3795 Sterling, 922 quarters of barley, and 169 bolls of oatmeal In the rental of 1837, a suitable value is put on such land as is in the hands of the proprietors, and the surplus rents which arise from subletting are excluded.

The largest quantity of land held in lease by one tenant is 817 Scotch acres, all arable save about 23, and comprizes four farms. The largest single holding is the farm of Bolshan, which contains 573 Scotch acres, all arable.**

The road money, or commutation for the statute labour, is at present £33,3s., and is paid by forty-four tenants. Fourteen smaller tenants either pay no road money, or pay it through the landlord.

There is a good set of draught horses in the parish; but few are reared in it. The breed of black-cattle is also good. Of late there have been two large herds of swine; and there is also a flock of about 200 sheep, which occasionally range over the waste land of the parish. Of late also, sheep have been flaked, and fed off with turnips upon the light ground, but not to a great extent. In the woods on Monthrewmont moor, there are roe deer and pheasants.

About a dozen years ago, bone-dust was introduced as a manure for turnips, at the rate of about 20 bushels the acre; and where either the half of the turnips is ate off with the sheep, or the whole of the leaves are left on the field and ploughed down, there is generally no need of any additional dunging for the subsequent crop of barley.

There are thirteen thrashing mills in the parish, - one moved by a steam-engine of eight horse power, previously by wind, and originally by horses; seven moved by water; two by horses; and three either by horse or water. The oldest, that of Hatton-mill, dates from 1794.

There is also a mill for the manufacturing of potato-flour. It is moved by a steam-engine of three horse power.

The average gross amount of raw produce raised in the parish, as nearly as can be ascertained, is as follows:

6920 quarters imperial of wheat, barley, oats, and pease £9117
Potatoes and turnips 2960
Grass, both hay and pasture 2220

There are four spinning-mills, all on the farm of Hattonden, besides a fifth, which has only one frame, and is on the farm of Newbigging. Hatton spinning-mill, which is the largest, and began to work in 1807, contains 15 frames, of 30 spindles each, for flax and tow, in about equal proportions with suitable preparing machinery, and throws off weekly about 1300 spindles of yarn, which, as to quality, is from 3 lbs. To 5 lbs. Per spindle. The three smaller mills will together throw off about 1200 spindles of flax yarn; for they have no tow machinery. At none of the mills is there any such quantity of fine yarn spun as to deserve particular notice. The deficiency of water in summer is supplied in the case of the largest mill, by a steam-engine of seven and a-half horse power. Two of the others also, those of Gighty burn and Hattonden, have smaller engines for the same reason. The mill at Gighty burn is the oldest of all the mills, having begun to work in 1796, and came in place of a bleachfield. Hattonden spinning-mill began in 1819; and the Haugh spinning-mill in 1822.***

*The death of the tenant, in 1839, has terminated these two leases.

**Since the death of the tenant of West Braky, mentioned in the preceding note, the greatest quantity of land, held in lease by one tenant, is 1380 arable acres, besides about 160 acres of moor, a considerable part of which is now under process of cultivation.

***Gighty burn spinning-mill has been discontinued; and Hatton spinning-mill is undergoing repair.


Means of Communication. - Since 1829, a turnpike road from Montrose to Forfar has passed through the northern part of the parish, to the extent of above four miles. In 1831, the road was opened throughout, and a toll erected. But no public carriages as yet travel on it. There is now a stone bridge over the Lunan, at Kinnell's mills, erected in 1819, and ten smaller ones over the Gighty and smaller streams.* Ecclesiastical State. - The church stands in the southern part of the parish, and a few families on the estate of Rinmure may be three and a half miles distant. It was repaired, or rather was almost rebuilt in 1766. The additional masonry and the roof was furnished by the heritors, and the tenants and kirk-session fitted up the seats; the former, far fewer sittings than could conveniently accommodate their families, and the latter, whatever other sittings were necessary to complete the work. Hence, about a third of the sittings, erected at an expense of about £27, became the property of the session, and brought immediately £2, 17 s., and latterly £7, 10 s. annually on behalf of the poor. The church was covered with new slates in 1836, and is in a state of good repair. But it is damp and dark, and, as may be supposed from the date of the rebuilding, it is not in accordance with the comfortable accommodation which the proprietors have provided for the parishioners at home. In consequence of the peculiar circumstances of the parishes of Kirkden and Inverkeilor, the demand for sittings was too great to allow of any of them being free. But, by the erection of the church of Friockheim, the sittings of the church of Kinnell are now all available to the accommodation of the parishioners; and the young, whom the extra parochial worshippers formerly excluded to a considerable extent, are now coming up in greater numbers to public worship. It necessarily happens, also, that, as there is now no competition from extra-parochial worshippers, the rents of the kirk-session's seats, low as they were, cannot be kept up; and the parishioners are disposed to claim what they consider the privileges of an establishment, - free sittings in the parochial church. The manse and offices were rebuilt in 1814. The glebe, including the yards, the site of the buildings, the arable glebe, and the allowance for grass, is about seven acres; and the ground which was allotted to the minister in compensation of his right to feal and divot in Monthrewmont moor, and which is now in cultivation, three acres: in all, about ten Scotch acres.

The moorish part has hitherto borne good crops, in consequence of the fallowing, dunging, and liming that it had previously undergone. But doubts have been expressed whether the vegetable powers of such land can be maintained in great activity for a great length of time. The old glebe may be valued at £2 per acre, a sum which is above the average of the best farms in the parish. The rotation of cropping is, - 1. Oats; 2. Potatoes and turnips; 3, barley; 4. Hay; 5. Pasture. If wheat be substituted for barley after the potatoes, all the subsequent crops are greatly deteriorated. The stipend being the whole tiend of the parish, and, consequently, including the allowance for communion elements, is £ 165, 19 s. 11 1/2 d. Sterling of money, 17.1371 imperial quarters of barley, 5.7124 imperial quarters of bear, and 408 imperial stones of oatmeal. Of the heads of families, only one (the father) is a Dissenter, while the mother and the oldest daughter are communicants of the Established Church.* Among the young people at the spinning-mills, there are occasionally a few Episcopalians, Seceders, and Independents from the neighbouring towns. Divine service is generally well attended. The average number of communicants for eleven years immediately preceding 1836, was 427; whereof 305 were parochial, and 122 extra-parochial The extra-parochial communicants were chiefly from the parishes of Kirkden and Inverkeilor. In 1833, there were 103 communicants from the former, and, in 1820, there were 79 from the latter. In 1836, the extra-parochial communicants almost entirely withdrew from the communion of Kinnell to the communion of their own church in the new parochial district of Friockheim; and, notwithstanding the withdrawal of so many strangers, the church of Kinnell, at the time of the communion, has been still full throughout, - a proof, that in former years, there was great discomfort to all, and danger to the aged and infirm, when a house, which has only 392 sittings, was sometimes crowded with 450 communicants, independently of other worshippers. In the latter case, the young were necessarily excluded; and all opportunity deemed to parents of showing their children an ordinance which it is the duty of one generation to teach and transmit to another. And, moreover, it ought ever to be remembered, that, as communicants are seldom under eighteen years of age, there are necessarily many younger persons, who, having the ordinance specially in view, desire previously to wait on the instructions with which its celebration is accompanied. A few of the parishioners, for the sake of convenience, communicate in the churches of the neighbouring parishes. They are not included in the preceding account, and their number cannot be stated. The average number of young communicants for the last thirteen years was fifteen. In 1835, it was ascertained, for the information of the House of Commons, that the parishioners, above twelve years of age, were 69 1/2 per cent. Of the whole population; and, in the same year, such male heads of families as were communicants, amounted to 127. The collections in the church for eight years immediately preceding 1838, amounted to £267, 19s. 11d., whereof £235, 1s. 2d. were for the poor, and £32, 18s. 9d. for extraordinary purposes, such as the propagation of the Gospel, the infirmary of Montrose, and the relief of the destitute Highlanders. In 1834, when the subscriptions commenced, under the auspices of the presbytery of Arbroath, for establishing a church at Friockheim, the parish of Kinnell contributed above £82, and, of that sum, £50 were from Sir James Carnegie.

*There is at present a Dissenting family in the parish.

Education. - The parochial is the only school. The salary is £31, and the annual average amount of school fees is about £15, and the master has the legal accommodations.** There is a parochial library, under the care of the kirk-session. Poor. - The number of persons who received parochial aid in 1837, was 15, and the disbursements consisted of monthly allowances for coals, clothes, coffins, &c. The lowest monthly allowance at present is 4s. the highest, 10s. But more than £1 has been given monthly, besides allowances for particular articles; and the amount of allowance depends on the weakness, destitution, or fatuity of the pauper, and the degree of aid which may be afforded by kindred or neighbours. For the twenty-four years immediately preceding 1838, the average annual collections in the church for the poor (exclusive of extraordinary collections for other purposes), were £31, 11s. 1d.; the average annual donations, £5, 19s. 5d.; the average annual seat rents, mortcloth dues, proclamation dues, penalties, legacies, interest of money, sale of poor's effects, repayment of money, &c. £16, 4s. 1d.*** In the above calculations are not included contributions which were managed by committees in 1817 and 1832, nor the donations which Sir James Carnegie sent to the poorer householders of his own estate in 1821, through the hands of his prinicpal tenant, &c. In 1801, a pauper, who had lived in the utmost misery, disclosed his treasures on his death-bed to an elder, and gave them to the kirk-session. Markets. - Four markets, for the sale of cattle, are held yearly at the Glesterlaw, on the estate of Bolshan, on the last Wednesday of August, and the Wednesday immediately after the 12th of October. The market is said to have been held originally at Glester, in the parish of Carmyllie, and to have been translated to its present place on an excambion of lands between the proprietors of Panmure and Southesk. The Eastern Forfarshire Agricultural Association hold their Lammas meeting at the Glesterlaw, for the show of horse, cattle, and other animals, and of improved or newly invented implements of husbandry. Inns, &c. - There is no ale-house in the parish save one, - the toll-house, on the turnpike road, of the same date with the toll, viz. 1831. Fue£- The fuel is coal from Arbroath, English, at about 1s. 3d. per barrel of twelve imperial stones, and Scotch at about 9s. 6d. per boll of eighty imperial stones. Occasionally, there are sales of the thinnings, prunings, and back-going trees of the neighbouring woods.

In 1841, was made a turnpike road, which passes through this parish for about two miles.

**Sir James Carnegie had built a school, in the muirside of Kinnell, for the teaching of knitting and sewing to girls, and of reading to such persons as are too young for going to the parochial school.

***From January 1838, to July 1842, the donations of the heritors amounted to £98 Sterling.


The difference between the present state of the parish, and that which existed in 1792, the date of the last Statistical Account, is very great. The parish is now almost wholly laid out in proper fields. Far more food is now produced for the support of animal life; and if in some cases there may have been weightier crops of oats, there are now more extensive fields of wheat. Besides what has been done in all parts of this parish, the improvement of Monthrewmont moor have added considerably to the arable acres, to the increase of population, and the extension of weaving. And nothing in that district so grievously offends the eye of those who frequent the Glesterlaw market, as the adjacent waste belonging to the estate of West Braky. The enlargement of farms still goes on. Bowhouse, which in old time was of considerable extent, was finally annexed, along with the better part of the muirside lands, to the farm of Bolshan, in 1824; and not a stone now stands upon another, either of the dwelling-house or steading. There are also, three cases of junction, comprehending in all eight farms, whose dwelling-houses and steadings yet exist more or less perfect. The number of bothies is increased; and they are now provided for female workers also who come from the northern counties in search of more advantageous employment than can be found at home, in a country without manufactures. The eighteen larger tenants of 1792 have now decreased to nine or ten. But the fifty smaller ones have increased their number, so that one of the principal objections against large farms is not applicable here, - that, however faithful and industrious a servant may be, he is doomed to a state of perpetual vassalage, inasmuch as his savings can never enable him to lease a farm for himself, in a country where there are no farms of small extent.

But spinning-mills are the most striking feature of difference between the present state of the parish and that of 1792. They have not only lowered the prices of spinning, and utterly abolished it as a species of domestic employment and profit to females; but they have furnished work in which the young are of no small consequence in the manual labour of mankind. While women have necessarily betaken themselves in great numbers since 1820 to the loom, children are become of considerable value to the parent of pecuniary point of view: and the means of giving them a good education are greatly increased, while the opportunity is diminished; and the years that are best fitted for instilling religious knowledge into the youthful mind, will pass away unimproved, unless teaching be provided at the mill, in the room of that which they were wont to receive at the parochial schoo£

Drawn up January 1838,
Revised August 1842.

The Statistical Account of Forfarshire
By the Ministers of the Respective Parishes
William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh 1843(Pages 393-412) Kinnell Placenames (Transcribed from 1896 OS Map)
Easter Brakie
Grahams Frith
Hatton Mill
Hill of Bolshan
Montreathmont Moor
Muirside of Kinnell
Wuddy Law