Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Arbuthnott

Arbuthnott (12th c. Abirbothennothe = Gael. abhirbothan-neithe, ` confluence at the booth of Neithe's stream '), a parish of E Kincardineshire, whose SE angle is ½ mile distant from Bervie terminus, and whose W and NW borders are respectively ¾ and ½ mile from Fordoun and Drumlithie stations on the main Caledonian line. It is bounded NW and N by Glenbervie, E by Kinneff, S by Bervie, SW by Garvock, and W by Fordoun. Its length from N to S by W is 6 miles; its breadth varics from 1 to 5 miles; and its land area is 9585 acres. The river Bervie, after following at intervals the boundary with Fordoun and Garvock, winds 1½ mile through the interior, past Arbuthnott Church, and traces next the boundary with Bervie; and the boundary with Glenbervie is formed by its affluent, the Forthie Water. The surface rises everywhere from the vale of the Bervie, is much diversified with hill and dale, and attains at Bruxie Hill, on the NE border, an extreme altitude of 710 feet-other summits being Water Hill (460 feet), Gallow Hill (465), Hillhead (571), and Birnie Hill (482). The vale of the Bervie has many curves and windings, abounds in large haughs and steep wooded banks, and at many points presents scenes of great beauty. The rocks are chiefly trap and Devonian, but include detached masses of gneiss and granite. Very fine pebbles, suitable for gems, have been found in trap-rock, a little below Arbuthnott House; calcareous spar is not uncommon; and, in Hare's Den, a deep ravine nearly opposite the parish church, are tiny veins of manganese. About two-thirds of the land are under the plough, and some 300 acres under wood. The knightly family of Arbuthnott obtained the greater portion of this parish in 1105; and Sir Robert, the fourteenth in descent, was created Viscount Arbuthnott and Baron Inverbervie in 1644. Arbuthnott House, the family seat, stands amid beautiful grounds near the left bank of the Bervie, which, spanned by a handsome bridge (1821), is joined here by a rapid rivulet (? anc. Neithe). Kair House, a neat modern mansion, succeeded the seat of a branch of the Sibbalds, extinct in the 17th century; and Allardice, now a ruin, belonged in the 12th century to a family that has also become extinct in Captain Robert Barclay Allardice (1799-1854), the famous pedestrian. Alexander Arbuthnott (1538-83), the first Protestant principal of King's College, Aberdeen, was minister, and probably a native of this parish, as certainly was Dr John Arbuthnot (1667-1735), most learned of the wits of Queen Anne's reign. Arbuthnott is in the presbytery of Fordoun and synod of Angus and Mearns; the minister's income is £269. Its church, St Ternan's, stands near Arbuthnott House, 2½ miles WNW of Bervie, contains 440 sittings, and is an ancient structure apparently of Romanesque date. On the SW of the chancel is the Second Pointed chapel of St Mary, built by Sir Robert Arbuthnott in 1505, and consisting of two stories, the lower of which, vaulted and open to the church by a large semicircular arch, was the Arbuthnotts' former burial place. The upper chamber, which is reached by a stair in a picturesque turret with a conical stone roof at the NW angle of the chapel, once held the theological library bequeathed to his successors by the Rev. John Sibbald; and in both chambers are piscinas, besides a stoup at the entrance of the upper one (Muir's Old Church Arch., p. 75). The public school, with accommodation for 107 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 45, and a grant of £46,16s.; and Arbuthnott has also a share in Laurencekirk school. Valuation (1881) £9766,17s. 5d., the property being divided among five. Pop. (1831) 944, (1871) 924, (1881) 809.—Ord. Sur., shs. 66,67, 1871.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Arbuthnott ScoP       Kincardineshire ScoCnty
Place: Arbuthnott

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