A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851), Samuel Lewis


TARLAND-AND-MIGVIE, a parish, in the district of Kincardine-O'Neil, county of Aberdeen, 31 miles (W.) from Aberdeen; containing 1093 inhabitants. The ancient parish of Tarland derives its name, signifying in the Celtic language a "level tract", from a tract of land near the village, extending more than two miles in length, and almost level from one extremity to the other. The etymology of the name of the ancient parish of Migvie is altogether involved in obscurity. At what time these parishes were united, cannot be ascertained from any authentic records; but the union is supposed to have taken place soon after the Reformation, or about the commencement of the seventeenth century. The parish is so subdivided by intervening portions of other parishes adjacent, as to render it almost impracticable to describe its form or state its superficial contents with accuracy; it is thought, however, to comprise an area of about twenty-two square miles. The western portion of Tarland is separated from the eastern portion by Migvie and intervening parts of the parishes of Strathdon and Logie-Coldstone. It is bounded for three or four miles on the south by the river Don, and divided into two nearly equal districts by the river Ernan, which, flowing from west to east through the glen to which it gives name, falls into the Don. The eastern portion of Tarland is separated from the southeastern portion of Migvie by part of the parish of Logie-Coldstone, and is bounded on the south by the burn of Tarland, over which is a substantial bridge near the village, whence the stream runs in a south-eastern course, through the parishes of Coull and Aboyne, into the river Dee. The north-western portion of Migvie is divided from the western portion of Tarland by the parish of Strathdon. It is washed for nearly two miles on the north by the Don, and intersected nearly in the centre by the river Deskry, which flows through it from east to west, and falls into the Don. The south-eastern portion of Migvie is separated from the north-western portion by intervening parts of the parishes of Logie-Coldstone and Towie, and is bounded on the east and south sides by nameless rivulets which unite at the south-eastern extremity, and flow into the burn of Tarland.

The SURFACE in some parts is diversified with hills of moderate elevation, interspersed with various glens, watered by the rivers from which they take their names. In other parts are level straths of great beauty and fertility, of which the principal is Strath-Don, in Tarland. The scenery is in general of pleasing character, and in some places highly picturesque. The soil is greatly varied. On the low grounds near the village, and along the burn of Tarland, it is a deep rich loam, alternated with clay and gravel, and alluvial deposits; on the higher grounds, it is in some spots light and moorish, but in others, especially towards the north, of very fine quality, chiefly a clayey loam. Some portions of the land are among the earliest and the most productive in the county. Husbandry has been much improved within the last thirty or forty years; and the arable lands are now in a state of good cultivation, producing, since a more plentiful supply of lime has been brought from Aberdeen, abundant crops of grain of every kind, of which large quantities are sent to the Aberdeen market. The farms are of moderate extent, and the farm-buildings generally substantial and commodious; the lands have been inclosed and drained, and many of the recent improvements in the construction of farming implements have been adopted. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3508. Th plantations are remarkably thriving: the moorlands on the Earl of Aberdeen's property have been planted with Scotch fir and larch, intermixed with ash and other sorts of trees.

The village of Tarland is situated on the north bank of the burn; the houses are neatly built, and attached to each is a small portion of land, in the cultivation of which the inhabitants are partly employed. It is a burgh of barony, and had formerly a weekly market, which has been many years discontinued. On the burn is a large mill for grinding meal, fitted up with machinery of the most approved construction; and in the village are several shops for the sale of groceries and various wares for the supply of the neighbourhood. A library, containing a good selection of volumes, is supported by subscription, and there is a savings' bank under the patronage of the Earl of Aberdeen; also an excellent inn, a stamp-office, and a post-office which has a daily delivery. More recently, two bank agencies have been established in the village. Fairs are held at Tarland annually for cattle, sheep, and horses, on the last Wednesday in February, the Wednesday before the 26th of May, the Friday after St. Sair's fair in June, the Friday in the week after the Old Rain fair in August, and the Tuesday and Wednesday after the 22nd of November, all O. S. A fair is held in Migvie on the second Tuesday in March, O. S. Facility of communication is afforded by the turnpike-road from Tarland to Aberdeen, made within the last few years; and by cross roads, which intersect the parish in various directions, and are kept in repair by statute labour.

Ecclesiastically this place is within the limits of the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £177. 3. 9., with a manse, an a glebe valued at £15 per annum; patron, the Crown There are churches both at Tarland and Migvie, in the latter of which the minister officiates every third Sunday. The church at Tarland, rebuilt in 1762, and in good repair, is a neat plain structure, with a small turret of ancient date, which formed part of the original church, and is of elegant design; the interior is well arranged, and contains 500 sittings. Migvie church was rebuilt in the year 1775, and contains 300 sittings. The parochial school affords instruction in all the usual branches of education, and is attended by about seventy children: the master has a salary of £28, with a house, and a allowance of £2. 1. 9. a year in lieu of garden; the fee average £15 annually, and he has also a portion of th Dick bequest. About a quarter of a mile to the south of Migvie church, are the ruins of an ancient castle, the baronial seat of the Earls of Mar, situated on a small eminence: at what time it became a ruin is not known, and little of its history has been preserved; the site is now overgrown with turf, and but few vestiges of the building can be traced. There are remains of Druidical circles in various parts of the parish, and in the immediate vicinity.

[From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]