A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875

Tarves is generally supposed to be a compound of two Gaelic words, signifying Tar, a plain, and bhas or vas, which signifies death, whence we learn it must have been in ancient times a place of bloodshed and slaughter.

The parish is bounded on the north by Methlick and New Deer; on the east by Ellon; on the south by Udny and Bourtie; and on the west by Meldrum and Fyvie.

The greatest length of Tarves from Cairnbrogie on the south to Quilquox on the north, is 8½ miles in a direct line; and the greatest breadth, also in a direct line, from Millton of Drumbreck on the east to Couchercairn on the west, the distance is 7½ miles, The whole area is computed to be 16,333 acres, 673 decs.

The general appearance of the parish is undulating. The knolls and ridges rising on the south side of the Ythan, in a south-westerly direction, and those on the north division lie in a north-westerly. The lowermost point on the river at the influx of the burn of Schivas is about 53 feet above sea level, and the highest, at the influx of the burn of Kelly, is about 64 feet, and 12½ miles from the sea by the course of the river. The church of Tarves is 274 feet, the old castle of Tolquhon is about 320 feet, and the highest land on Cairnbrogie is 446 feet. The U.P. church of Craigdam is 338 feet, the new church at Barthol Chapel is 358 feet; and the highest point on the road from Old Meldrum to Fyvie at Couchercairn is 476 feet. The Earl of Aberdeen's monument on the hill of Ythsie is 389 feet. The old Mansion House of Schivas is 200 feet, and the highest land on this division of the parish, on the boundary wth New Deer at Skilmafilly, is 578 feet above sea level.

[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]