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1791 - 99 - Page
343 - NUMBER XLVII
PARISH OF MONIKIE
(COUNTY OF FORFAR)
By the Rev. Mr WILLIAM MAULE.
Situation, Soil, Etc.
THIS parish is 6 English miles in length, and 4 in breadth. Its form is almost triangular, one of the angles terminating in the sandy desart situated at the mouth of the Tay. On the S.W. and W. it is bounded by the parishes of Monifieth and Murroes; on the S. E. by Barrie: on the E. by Panbride; on the N. by Carmyllie, and on the N. W. by Inverarity and Tealing - the face of the country is diversified by several large hills. The soil and air are very various. The S. part of the parish is distinguished for fertility. In the N. and N. W. the soil is more moist, the air colder, and vegetation more slow; insomuch, that the inhabitants of the former have frequently their harvest gathered in a month or 5 weeks before those of the latter. The interposition of a large hill, or ridge of hills, called Camustoun, or Dunie makes a considerable alteration in point of climate
AGRICULTURE. - The rent of the best land is from 5s. to 15s. the acre, but that of some of the worst has been recently 16s. 8d. Of the best land, the leases are old, having been let about 23 years ago, most of them for twice 19 years, and a lifetime, the rent rising 1s. the acre at the 20th year. At that period, little or nothing had been done in the way of improving land, and the tenants were in general poor; most of them are now in easy, some of them in opulent circumstances; they are in general frugal and industrious. Of those farms, one which happened to be let for only 19 years at £52 Sterling, and which consists of about 170 acres, was let again within these last 4 years at £120; and the present tenant being a skilful and industrious farmer, is likely to make more money than the former, who laboured in the old way
Were the leases of the other farms expired, they could all be let for more than twice the present rent. In the southern part of this parish, the farms are for the most part inclosed. Every farmer finding his account in breeding and fattening cattle, raises annually several acres of turnip. Wheat has long been cultivated in the southern, and which is the most fertile part. For the last 6 or 7 years, the farmers discontinued the sowing of this grain, several of them having met with considerable losses by blasting. But they are now beginning to try it again, and have this year been successful. Good artificial grass is also produced. By an article in their tacks, most of the tenants are bound to have a third of their farms always in grass. Much attention has of late years been paid to the raising of flax. About 25 years ago, when a great proportion of the ground consisted of natural pasture, every farmer had a large flock of sheep. At present, there are not in this parish above 2 or 3 who have sheep at all. In the N. and N. W. parts of . .
. . of the parish there are large tracks of moor, formerly waste and uncultivated, covered wholly with heath, insomuch that a person might have travelled a considerable way without seeing any other vegetable. At present those tracks contain plantations of thriving young wood
In a track of moor which forms the northern extremity of this parish, there are settled 15 or 16 families, who, by their industry, have rendered arable, and in some degree fertile, considerable spots of land formerly waste and barren. The valued rent of the parish is £4,608- 6s-8d Scotch. There are about 23 considerable farms, some of which consist of more than 200 acres.
POPULATION. - This parish contains 2 large villages, one of which having about 30, and the other 25 families, and 2 or 3 villages less populous. According to Dr. Webster’s returns, the numbers were 1345. The number in 1772 was 1033; at present it is 1278. There is reason to believe that about the beginning and middle of this century, the parish was more populous. The diminution of the number of people is owing to the union of farms: the farmers also employ fewer hands than formerly. Many of the cottagers are exterminated. Since commerce began to flourish, several manufacturers, who subsisted partly by agriculture, have gone to large towns. The annual average of births for the last 10 years is 32. The annual average during a period of 10 years subsequent to 1718, and during 10 years subsequent to 1742, appears from a well-kept register, to have been 41. For some years past, the annual average of deaths has been about 19. The number of marriages annually for 7 years past has not exceeded 13
CHURCH, STIPEND, SCHOOL AND POOR. - The church seems to have been built or renewed in 1678. The manse and offices are at present somewhat ruinous. The value of the living depending chiefly on victual is in different years different. During the 7 years of the incumbent's ministry, the stipend, at an average, has been £115 Sterling a year. The manse and glebe cannot be estimated, both together, at more than £10 or £12 Sterling.
The schoolmaster's income as schoolmaster, session clerk and precentor, is about £35 Sterling a year. The number of scholars is from 40 to 50
The poor are in general well provided for. None of them are reduced to the necessity of begging. The number at present on the roll is 15. The annual average of collections is about £23 or £24 Sterling. There are of seat-rents belonging to the poor about £12, Sterling; and there is lying at interest at four-and-a-half per cent, £200 Sterling
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS. - The roads in this parish at present are not in the best condition. That from Dundee to Arbroath, which intersects the lower part of the parish, is in bad weather almost impassable. There is a turnpike road begun to be made, which, though a mile farther south than the old road, yet being quite straight, will shorten the distance between these 2 towns. About 7 years ago, a road was formed leading from Brechin to Dundee, and passing through the northern part of the parish. Upon this road there was built about 5 years ago, a strong massy bridge, 55 feet high, with a single arch, over a precipice at Denfiend (Denfind), or the Fiend's den, a place deep and winding
Near the 8th milestone, E. from Dundee, there is a ridge of small hills, called the Cur-hills, where within these 14 . .
. . years several stone coffins have been found. In the vicinity of the same place, were found upward of 6 feet below the surface of the earth, several trees, oak, fir and birch. There were also found urns, covered with broad stones, below which were ashes, supposed to have been human bodies reduced to that state by burning. To the south of the Cur-hills were found several heads of deer, and horns of a very large size, among marl, about 9 feet below the surface
Within these 3 or 4 years, there have been 5 or 6 large neat new houses, and several smaller ones built. Every farmer almost has within these 10 years made some addition or improvement to his dwelling house, or to his offices.
There are 2 considerable inns in this parish, and several petty ale-houses. The consumption of spirituous liquors has within a few years greatly increased, the quality of the ale brewed in this part of the country being worse than formerly; yet the morals of the people seem to have suffered little by the change. No business of any consequence can be transacted by the common people but in the ale-house. But the vice of drunkenness, and the crime of theft, are in this and other parts of the country more rare than about 30 years ago, when the lower class of people having fewer objects to excite their industry, were more idle, and consequently more profligate
About 35 years ago, the wages of a ploughman were in this neighbourhood £2.10s. Sterling; of a carter £2: of a female servant from £1. 5s. to £1.10s. At present a ploughman is thought good for nothing, who does not receive £7 or £8. The usual wages of female servants are from £3 to £4. About 30 or 40 years ago, a farm which is now worked by 3 ploughs, having each 4, sometimes only . .
. . 2 horses, employed 5 cattle ploughs, having each 10 oxen. Farms where 2 ploughs drawn by 4 horses are now found sufficient, were formerly wrought by 3 ploughs drawn by 10 oxen
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485 - YEAR
PARISH OF MONIKIE.
PRESBYTERY OF DUNDEE, SYNOD OF ANGUS AND MEARNS.
By the REV. JAMES MILLER, Minister.
1. - TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.
Name. - It is supposed that the name MONIKIE is Gaelic, and composed of MONAH, signifying an upland moss or moor, and CEO, mist or fog, and so descriptive of the higher district of the parish, where the church and manse are situated.
Extent, etc. - The greatest extent of the parish from north-west to south-east is about 7 miles, and its breadth something more than 5. It is bounded on the south by the parishes of Barry and Monifieth; on the west, by Murroes and Inverarity; on the north, by Guthrie and Carmylie: and on the east by Panbride. Two ranges of hills, crossing the parish from east to west, divide it into three districts, very different as to soil and climate. The first district, which lies to the south of the Downie hills, and slopes towards the estuary of the River Tay, is composed of a rich and productive soil lying upon gravel, or scurdy rock; and yields early crops of all kinds, and especially of wheat and barley. The middle district, forming a valley between the two ranges of hills, is composed chiefly of thin black loam, on a bed of cold, wet till, very difficult to cultivate in season and producing inferior crops of everything except oats. Being elevated about 300 feet above the level of the sea, the climate of this district is cold and damp during a great part of the year. The third district, at an elevation of about 400 feet forms a swampy and moorish tract, extending along the northern boundary of the parish, thinly inhabited, and cultivated only in a very few places, and to very little advantage
Geology. - The greater part of the Downie hills is composed of a beautiful trap or whinstone, admirably adapted for building or making roads. The range terminates on the west, in a quarry of excellent sandstone or freestone, which supplies an extensive district to the south. The northern part of the parish contains a very valuable . .
. . bed of slate or pavement, which, from Ley's mill quarry on the estate of Kinblethmont, extends in a southerly direction, by Carmyllie, Smithfield, Wellbank, and Duntrune. Beautiful specimens of agate, jasper, and spar, the produce of the trap, are found on the Downie hills, the tops of which are also ornamented with a great variety of plants.
II. - CIVIL HISTORY
Heritors of the Parish . – These are, Lord Panmure, Lord Douglas, Mr. Fyffe of Smithfield, Mr. Graham of Affleck, Mr. Kerr of Newbigging; none of whom are resident except Mr. Kerr, though all of them are very attentive to the best interests of the parish.
Antiquities. - In the list of antiquities may be reckoned a beautiful specimen of the old feudal castles, at Affleck, which, though long uninhabited, yet seems to be as entire as it has ever been. It is said to serve as a mark to sailors on the neighbouring coast. The foundation of another square tower or keep, of less dimensions, at Hyndcastle, on the northern boundary of the parish, situated on an artificial mound, which at one time must have been surrounded by water and a morass. A tumulus, at the western extremity of the parish, called the Hair Cairn, similar to others, which are supposed to have been raised to commemorate some hostile encounter in former times. An ornamented stone pillar, in the shape of a cross on the hill of Camustane, erected, it is said, to mark the spot where Camus, the Danish general, was slain, after his army had been defeated by Malcolm II, about the year 1020, and which seems to have put an end to the Danish invasion to the kingdom.
III. - POPULATION
According to Dr. Webster's tables, the population was 1345
Year 1772 – 1,033 1794 – 1,278 1811 – 1,293 1821 – 1,325 1831 – 1,322 1841 – 1,317 - Of whom 632 were males, and 685 females The yearly average of Births for the last seven years was – 30 - Deaths – 20 - Marriages, as nearly as can be calculated – 10 The number of families or inhabited houses - 300 Average number of children in each family – 3.25 The number of families chiefly employed in agriculture – 165 - in manufactures, and chiefly weavers – 135
IV. – INDUSTRY
AGRICULTURE. - The number of acres under regular cultivation . .
. . may be stated at 4,448. But what may be the annual produce, or value of the produce, either on an average, or in any given year, it would be very difficult to determine with any degree of accuracy. About 500 acres are under wood, chiefly fir, but not thriving; and probably more than 1000 acres are in a state fit for being planted with advantage, but ought not to be attempted to be cultivated, especially in the present times. The best land in this parish is held by industrious and opulent tenants, on liferent leases, and at very low rents, and the very liberal proprietor, Lord Panmure, generally relets these farms, as they fall to the respectable sons of the former tenants, on very moderate terms. The inferior land of the parish is generally let on twenty-one year leases at a rent of from 5s. to £1 per acre. The tenantry, in general, are industrious and enterprising; and of late years have considerably improved both their farms and their fortunes, by following extensively the dairy system, and selling the milk and butter in the Dundee market. The great demand for potatoes from the same quarter has encouraged the farmers in this district to cultivate this crop more extensively than usual.
V.- PAROCHIAL ECONOMY
ECCLESIASTICAL STATE. - The church is inconveniently situated within half a mile of the eastern boundary of the parish; built in 1812, and seated to hold about 900 persons. It is in good repair, and comfortable, and generally well filled in ordinary weather. The average number of communicants may be taken at 600. The manse was built in 1794, and repaired and enlarged in 1827. It is a good house. The glebe consists of 6 acres of excellent land; and the stipend of 16 chalders of victual, (half meal and half barley,) and payable at the highest fiar’s prices of the county.
There has been in the south-west corner of this parish for many years a Dissenting Chapel, belonging to the United Associate Synod of Seceders, and supported by a congregation collected chiefly from the outskirts of this, and of the neighbouring parishes. The minister's nominal salary is about £80, paid partly by the seat rents, and partly by the contributions of the members of the congregation. The members of the Established Church and the Dissenters have cordially united for several years in supporting a Bible and Missionary Society, which distributes annually about £20 for the propagation of the Gospel at home and abroad.
EDUCATION. - There are three schools in the parish, in which . .
. . the ordinary branches of education are well taught; and attended, respectively, by an average of 60, 50, and 40 scholars during the winter. The parochial schoolmaster has the maximum salary, and the usual legal accommodations. The school-fees and other emoluments may amount to about £30 making his income nearly £65 a year, on average. One of the teachers has a small endowment.
The people are not only alive to the benefits of education for their children, but have established three public libraries in the parish for their own improvement. Their general character may be described as sober, industrious, intelligent, and regular in attending the ordinances of religion. A lawsuit among them is a thing scarcely ever heard of.
POOR. - The average number of persons receiving parochial aid may be reckoned at between 12 and 15, according to the state of trade and employment. They are supported at a yearly expense of somewhat more than £80, arising from the ordinary sources of collections, seat-rents, &c. There are besides, at present, two lunatic paupers in the Dundee Asylum, who are maintained by the heritors assessing themselves for that purpose. The poor, in general, are well attended to, and no begging is allowed in the parish. It is of a piece with Lord Panmure's ordinary generous attention to the interests of his tenantry, that no person holding land of him is allowed to become a burden on the poor’s funds. His Lordship's tenants have testified their grateful approbation of his kindness and generosity as a landlord, by erecting the “live and let live' testimonial on the hill of Cambustane, ornamenting the district, and publishing to at least six counties, their own comfort as associated with their master’s honour.
ALEHOUSES. - Three small public-houses are kept open for the accommodation of travellers passing through the parish; but few of the parishioners are found to frequent them.
There is reason to believe that in the last mentioned and in other respects considerable improvements have taken place since the writing of the last Statistical Account of this parish. The land is certainly in a higher state of cultivation; new and improved modes of husbandry have been introduced; farm-houses and steadings are larger and more commodious; and the value of farm stocking has considerably increased, particularly by greater attention to the breed of horses and cattle, since the establishment of agricultural . .
. . societies. The farmers are wisely giving up the pernicious and demoralising system of bothies, and returning to the old and better practice of employing respectable and industrious cottars, who take a greater interest in promoting their master’s benefit, and so securing their own comfort.
The general improvement in the arts is very sensibly observed in this district. Articles of manufacture are better constructed, and the workman is better remunerated for his skill and labour. In short, the general state of society seems to be growing better. The people, we hope, are advancing in intelligence, industrious habits, and moral discipline. And it is not unreasonable to expect, that, by the blessing of God on the present improved means of education, especially as respects religion, the young will be trained up to greater respectability and usefulness, and to higher Christian attainments; and that the general population will gradually become more distinguished for “whatsoever things are pure, and praiseworthy, and lovely, and of good report.”
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Chapter 44 - December 1950 - Revised August 1953 - Final revision August 1968 - Third Statistical Account of Scotland, The County of Angus, printed by the Herald Press, Arbroath 1977 edited by William Allen Illsley.
THE PARISH OF MONIKIE
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