Cortachy Castle

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Cortachy and Clova, a long, narrow parish of NW Forfarshire, containing the hamlets of Clova and Cortachy, the latter lying towards the SE corner, 5 miles N by E of Kirriemuir, under which it has a post office. Bounded N by Glenmuick in Aberdeenshire, NE by Lochlee and Lethnot, SSE by Tannadice, S by Kirriemuir proper, SW by Kingoldrum, Upper Kirriemuir, and Glenisla, and NW by Crathie-Braemar in Aberdeenshire, it has an utmost length of 19½ miles from NW to SE, viz., from Cairn Bannoch on the Aberdeenshire border to the confluence of the Prosen and South Esk; a breadth that varies between 1 furlong and 5¼ miles; and an area of 43,322 acres. Three lakes are Lochs Esk (1½ x 1 furl.), Brandy (½ x ¼ mile), and Wharral (3½ x 1½ furl.). The South Esk, rising in the NW corner at 3150 feet above sea-level, runs 20¼ miles south-eastward and south-south-eastward through the interior, then 33/8 miles along the Tannadice border, receiving on the way White Water, flowing 6¼ miles east-south-eastward along Glen Doll; the Burn of Heughs, flowing 4½ miles south-south-westward, and the East Burn of Moye, flowing 5 miles south-south-westward along the Tannadice border. The Calty, again, runs 4 miles S by E upon the boundary with Upper Kirriemuir to Prosen Water; and this in its turn winds 5¾ miles SSE and ESE to the South Esk along all the Kingoldrum and Kirriemuir border. The surface sinks in the extreme SE to less than 400 feet above sea-level, thence rising to Tulloch Hill (1230 feet), the Goal (1466), the Hill of Couternach (1667), Finbracks (2478), Ben Tirran (2860), *Driesh (3105), *Mayar (3043), *Roustie Ley (2868), Tolmount (3143), *Broad Cairn (3268), and *Cairn Bannoch (3314), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the borders of the parish. The rocks include Old Red sandstone, clay and mica slate, gneiss, serpentine, trap, and granite; and the soils are as varied as the rocks, in some parts argillaceous, in others a fine gravelly loam, and elsewhere thin, hard, and sandy or stony. The arable lands of the haughs by the watersides bear but a small proportion to hill-pastures and to the deer-forests of Cortachy, Clova, and Bachnagairn; in Glen Clova, whose flora is rich in rare plants, the hill-sides are partially green up to a high elevation, whilst almost to the tops the heather is mixed with ` month ' or ` moss ' grasses. The property is mostly divided between the Earl of Airlie and Donald Ogilvy, Esq. of Balnaboth House, the former owning the southern or Cortachy, the latter the northern or Clova, division. The late Earl was a noted improver of cattle; and his polled herd, commenced about 1865, won many coveted prizes. His seat here, Cortachy Castle, finely embosomed by wooded policies on the South Esk, near the hamlet, is partly of considerable antiquity, but mainly consists of successive additions; the whole, as restored in 1872 by Mr David Bryce, forms a striking specimen of a Scottish baronial mansion. It has its ghost, or ghostly music rather, which, variously described as that of a single drum or a whole brass band or (more vaguely) heavenly, presages death or gout in the family. Disjoined quoad sacra from Clova, Cortachy is in the presbytery of Forfar and synod of Angus and Mearns; the living is worth £299. The church, rebuilt in 1829 at a cost of more than £2000, is a pretty edifice, and contains 550 sittings. Two public schools, Cortachy and Clova, with respective accommodation for 169 and 60 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 33 and 9, and grants of £33,17s. and £7,9s. 6d. Valuation (1881) £7516, 1s. 4d. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 906, (1831) 912, (1861) 653, (1871) 554, (1881) 442; of q. s. parish (1881) 323.—Ord. Sur., shs. 56, 65, 1870.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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