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Statistical Accounts for the Parish of Panbride
in Angus (or Forfarshire), Scotland
Years 1791-99 also 1842 ( and later, 1950-68).

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Transcribed with page numbers from the original. Slight editing has taken place to allow for present day
publishing and webpage design - e.g. the original of the first document uses the letter 'f' in place of 's'.
The '' monetary sign replaces the original 'L'. Most differences in spelling are unchanged. Some hyperlinks have been introduced.

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YEAR 1791 - 99  - Page 438 - NUMBER XLV


By the Rev. Mr. Robert Trail.

Name, Situation, Extent, and Name.

There is reason to believe that this parish was called Panbridge about 2,000 years ago, and that it was an abbreviation of Panbridget; the church here, which is very old, being built by St. Bridget, or at least in honour of her.  An inscription has been seen on an old grave stone, mentioning that it was erected in memory of such a person of the parish of Panbridge.  Pan is probably a corruption of the Latin word fanum; if so, Panbride signifies Bridget's church.  This parish is situated in the county of Forfar, in the synod of Angus and Mearns, and in the presbytery of Aberbrothock.  It is more than 5 miles long, and about 2 broad.  It is bounded by the sea on the south; by the parishes of Barrie (Barry) and Monikie on the west; by Carmyllie on the north; by Arbirlot on the north-east; and a detached part of St. Vigeans on the south-east.  The general appearance of the country here is rather flat than hilly; but there is a considerable declivity for some miles from the north to the south end of this parish.  The shore is flat, and very rocky.


Population. - Dr. Webster' state 1,259
In 1765, the number of inhabitants was exactly 1,183
In 1790, the number of inhabitants was exactly 1,460
Annual average of baptisms from 1762 till 1790, 39
Annual average of burials from 1767 till 1790, 27
Annual average of marriages, 10
Seceders 20
Episcopalians 4
Independents 2
Heritors 1
The number of baptisms in 1790 was 55, which is 4 more than was ever known here before.

Poor. - The number of poor varies from 8 to 10:  They are all maintained in their own houses; and there is not a beggar in the parish.  But, besides the ordinary poor, there is a considerable number of householders in indigent circumstances, each of whom get a boll of coals from the session yearly.  The funds bearing interest do not much exceed 100; but a considerable sum arises from the mortcloth and hearse fees.  The weekly collections in church are from 5s. to 7s. or 8s

Stipend. - The stipend is chalder of wheat, 3 chalders of oatmeal, 2 chalders of barley, and 30 : 5s.: 6. Sterling; in which sum is included 5 for communion elements.  The glebe consists of 4 acres, 1 rood, and some falls, of very good land.  The King is patron.

Miscellaneous Observations. - There is one mineral spring of the chalybeate kind, but it is not much frequented.  There is plenty of sea-weed along the coast for manuring land; but it has rarely been made into kelp.  Haddocks, cod, &c., were wont . .


. .  to be caught here; but for some years past scarcely any haddocks have been seen.  Every crew pays 5 merks for the privilege of fishing.  The price of provisions and labour is greatly increased.  About 27 years ago, beef was 2d. a pound; it is now 3d. and 4d.  A fowl, which could then have been bought for 5d. is now 9d. or 10d.  The parish exports articles of' provision.  A taylor's wages is 6d. a day and his meat; a carpenter's 8d. and his meat.  Some labourers get 6d. a day and others 8d. and their meat.  The English is the only language spoken here.  Exclusive of the large inclosures of Panmure, the yearly rent of the parish exceeds 1,000.  Hector Boece's ancestors, for several generations, were lairds of Panbride.  A short history of the county of Angus, written in elegant Latin by a Mr. Edward, minister of Murroes, in the presbytery of Dundee, containing both a geographical description of it, and an account of every family of note, was published in 1678.


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Name and Boundaries. - The name of the parish is evidently connected with St. Bridget; and it is more than probable that the prefix Pan is derived, not from the Latin word fanum, a church, as has been supposed by some, but from the Celtic word pallin or ballin, signifying a town or hamlet.  The historian Buchanan accordingly calls the parish Balbride, which signifies St. Bride's town.

The parish is fully more than five miles long in the direction of north-west to south-east, by about two broad.  It is bounded by the sea on the south; by the parishes of Barry and Monikie on the west; by Carmyllie on the north; by Arbirlot on the north-east; and by a detached part of St. Vigeans on the south-east.

Topographical Appearances. - The general appearance of the parish and immediate neighbourhood is rather flat than hilly; but there is a considerable declivity for some miles from the north to the south throughout the whole line of country between Dundee and Arbroath.  The sea shore, which bounds the parish, is flat and very rocky, with a considerable accumulation of gravel along the margin of the water, among which a variety of pebbles is to be found fit for the lapidary.

It is evident, from the state of the coast in this quarter, that formerly the ocean must have covered a great part of what is now dry and solid land; for along our shores a succession of banks may be traced, composed of sand and gravel; which must have been the boundaries of the sea at different and probably very widely separated periods.  There are, indeed, a few partial inroads by the sea at various places; but these are trifling, and must have been occasioned merely by the dashing of the waves against the softer banks during the storm of winter.


Throughout the parish the soil varies considerably: it is light and sandy on the coast: loam, and in some places approaching to clay in the middle: and moorish, with a till bottom in the northern extremity.

Hydrography. - There is one mineral spring of the chalybeate kind in the parish, which might easily he formed into a well: but little attention is paid to it; and it has never been much frequented, unless by persons in the immediate neighbourhood.

Two small streams run through the parish, and unite about a mile from the sea.  In various places along their course, these rivulets are bounded by pretty high rocks, from 25 to 50 feet, nearly perpendicular.

Geology. - The range of the strata in the rocks above alluded to is from N.W. to S.E.  The rocks in this place, as well as those on the sea-shore, are composed of soft sandstone, intermixed with masses of very hard compact limestone.  These are very durable, and the weather seems to make no impression on them.  Towards the head of the parish, within the woods of Panmure, there is a quarry of good hard freestone, which is fit for any purpose of masonry, and of a fine colour.  At a little distance, slates and pavement may also be got.  It should be added, that the limestone is not in such quantities as to render it worth quarrying; and that it is not pure, yielding only about 75 per cent.

Botany. - The double flowering Geum, which I believe is a very rare plant in most parts of Scotland, I have sometimes met with on the banks of the rivulets which run through the parish.  The greater part of the more showy wild flowers which formerly adorned our fields have almost entirely disappeared.  This is a proof that the soil is now better cultivated, and cleared of those plants and weeds which formed near half its produce about the middle of last century, except on a few farms where the improved system of husbandry had been introduced.


Eminent Persons. - The ancestors of Hector Boetius (Boece) were for several generations proprietors of the barony of Panbride; and that celebrated historian is generally supposed to have been born in this parish.*

* About sixty years ago, there was found among some papers in the house of Panmure a short history of the county of Angus, written in elegant Latin, by Mr, Edward, minister of Murroes, containing both a geographical description of the . .


One of the most ancient families of Angus is that of Panmure, to which the whole property of this parish belongs.  Galfred de Maule appears to have held all the lands of Panmure by a charter from Edgar, King of Scotland, signed and sealed in the year 1072.

Parochial Registers. - These commence in the year 1693 and are regularly kept.

Modern Buildings. - In the N.E. of the parish stands the spacious and massy house of Panmure, the principal seat of the nobleman to whom it belongs.  It is built in an elevated situation, surrounded by extensive enclosures and plantations, and commands a fine prospect, especially to the south and east.  At a little distance, are still to be seen the vaults and foundations of the old castle of Panmure, long the residence of the Earls of that name. (There is much else on this website regarding Panmure.)


     In 1801 the population amounted to 1,583
	1811				1,412
	1821				1,275
	1831				1,268

The decrease has been owing to the removal of some villages, and to the uniting of a few small farms into one.

The average number of baptisms yearly for the last seven years is 32; of marriages, 13; of deaths, 22.

The number of families in the parish is 300; whereof 88 are chiefly employed in agriculture; 103 in trade, manufactures, and handicraft; and 109 not comprised in the two preceding classes.

Character and Habits of the People. - The people in general are sober and moral in their habits and regular in their attendance on public ordinances.  They are also, as might be expected, industrious and frugal; and are altogether a very respectable portion of the community.

The ordinary food of the peasantry consists chiefly of potatoes, and of the various preparations of oatmeal; with occasionally a little butcher-meat, generally pork, at dinner.  Tea is in universal use, from the highest to the lowest.  On the whole, though many are liable to participate in the occasional depressions of trade, it may be stated that the people enjoy in a reasonable degree the comforts and advantages of society.

. . county, and an account of every family of note belonging to it.  This literary curiosity, of which, after particular inquiry, no other copy could be found, was translated and published by Mr. Traill, the late minister of St. Cyrus, in the year 1793.



Agriculture and Rural Economy.

The quantity of land in the parish now in cultivation,	 Acres.
		and occasionally in tillage, is 	 4,100
	In moor and natural pasture,	  700
	In wood, 			  600
Capable of being cultivated with a profitable application
					of capital,	     0
In undivided common,					     0

Rate of Wages. - Farm-servants' wages may he stated at 11 per annum; with 6 bolls meal rated at 6; and three choppins of milk for one-half of the year, and two for the other half, which may amount to 3.  A certain quantity of potatoes, as may he agreed on, is frequently given; and, if married, the servants generally have a house and small garden in addition.  Labourers' wages per day in summer are 1s. 8d; in winter 1s. 3d. for good hands, and for ordinary hands, 1s.

Husbandry. - The improved system of husbandry is generally, almost universally adopted.  The fields, are well cultivated, and kept in good order.  Draining and lime are the two great means of improvement in this quarter:  Common dykes and thorn hedges, the usual fence.  Common black cattle are best for this part of the country.

Produce. - The average gross amount and value of raw produce yearly raised in the parish, so far as can be ascertained, is as follows :-

11,000 bolls of grain, at 25s. per boll, on an average of each kind,	13,750: 0s.: 0d.
425 acres of turnips, at 6, consumed on the farm,			  2,550: 0s.: 0d.
225 acres of potatoes, at 10 per acre,					  2,250: 0s.: 0d.
1,000 acres of grass, from which is made into hay from 7,500 to 8,000
				stones, say 7,725, at 8d. per stone,	    257:10s.: 0d.
									18,807:10s.: 0d.

Flax, which some years ago was raised in considerable quantities on almost every farm, is hardly to be seen in any part of the parish.  It may be added, that, of three farms consisting of 370 Scots acres, the average produce is 1,300 bolls grain, 925 bolls potatoes, turnips in proportion, and 1,000 stones of hay: 80 acres are in pasture.

Fishereies. - At East and West Haven, fishing-boats are in constant operation.  Each boats-crew (of which there are three at East Haven) pays 5s. 6d. as teind to the proprietor; and the ground-rent for a dwelling-house is 1s.6d.  At West Haven, the ground- . .


. . -rent is 2s. 6d.; and the boat's teind (for the privilege of fishing) payable by each of the three crews there, is 5s. 3d.

In the proper season, which is between the beginning of February and end of May, lobsters are caught in great quantities for the London market, and carried up alive in vessels fitted for the purpose with what are called wells, which freely admit the sea-water during their passage.  Sea-weed is also put into the wells, on which the lobsters may feed.  Such as are caught before the arrival of the smacks, which come along the coast every two weeks, are put into a large chest fixed among the rocks, within flood-mark, with their claws tied with small cord, so as to prevent their destroying one another; and in this state they remain until they reach the River Thames.  Crabs are also got in abundance, but they are all disposed of in the neighbourhood. Cod, in winter, is often caught in great quantities, and salted in casks for exportation.  Haddocks, likewise, are abundant, and form the principal part of our fishery, furnishing an ample supply for the surrounding country, especially for Dundee and Forfar, where they find a ready market.  Indeed, the fishery on this part of the coast is of great advantage to the whole neighbourhood, as it produces a very considerable supply of whole food for all classes of the inhabitants.

Manufactures. - There is only one mill, - a flax-spinning one, in the parish.  It is on a very limited scale; but, limited as it is, it is quite sufficient to show the demoralising effects which such establishments have on those who are engaged in them.  Hitherto, in these establishments a great proportion of the rising generation has been trained up in ignorance, profligacy, and vice, and afterwards sent abroad into the world to corrupt and contaminate all who come into contact with them.  It is to be hoped that these abuses will now be corrected by legislative enactments.

Navigation. - There are four vessels belonging to this parish; from 45 to 65 tons burden each.


Villages. - There are several villages in the parish; but only two of considerable extent, - East and West Haven, about a mile distant from each other.  The first contains 118 inhabitants; the other, with a small landward village adjoining it, 304.

Means of Communication. - There is no built harbour at either. . 

* It may be worth recording, that a few years ago, a lady in this neighbourhood found half a guinea in the body of a crab, after it was boiled and brought to table.


. . of the villages above-mentioned; but there is an open loading-place, where vessels of from 60 to 80 tons burden may deliver their cargoes, which are chiefly of coal and lime.  During the summer there is a considerable trade in this way; but in winter it is entirely at a stand, as no ships could with safety put into so unsheltered a situation.

There is the convenience of a post-office at Muirdrum, a small village on the great. line of road between Dundee and Arbroath; and a daily post by the mail-coach both to the north and south; besides three other public coaches regularly at different hours of the day, and carriers generally twice a-week to Dundee and Arbroath.

Ecclesiastical State. - The church here is undoubtedly very old, though it is, impossible to specify the date when it was built.  It appears that the original form of the house was a cross.  The arms to the south and east, as they first stood, were removed, and the one to the east was rebuilt in the year 1681.  The external fabric is not so handsome and regular as might be wished, owing to the addition now noticed, and the great irregularity of the windows both in size and situation; but within, it is in excellent repair, and even elegant.  In the year 1775, it was completely repaired.  It accommodates nearly 600 sitters.

The average number of communicants annually for the last twelve years is 508; and the church is in general. well attended.  The number of Seceders in the parish is 53; of Episcopalians, 5; of Independents, 2.

The stipend is, of wheat, 18 b. 3 f. 3 lip.: of barley, 78 b. 2 f. 1 p.; of meal, 105 b. 2f. 1 p.; of money, 43:15s.: 5d.; (it is supposed that b. = bolls, f. = firlots, and p = pecks) and in lieu of pasture, 1:13s.: 4d.  The teinds are now exhausted; and of course there is no allowance for communion elements.  The total amount of the stipend, converted to money, on an average of the last three years, is 245: 4s.: 4d. a-year.

The glebe consists of 4 acres, 1 rood, and some falls of good land.  The manse was built in 1765; repaired in 1799; and it received a large addition in 1811.

Education. - There are two schools in the parish, with excellent teachers.  One of these is parochial, the teacher having a salary of 34: 4s.: 4d., and fees to the amount probably of 30 a-year.  The other is merely for girls to he instructed in needle-work and English reading.  But besides these, there is a small private school in the upper part of the parish, for the benefit of such as are too remote from the parochial school.  There is also . .


. . a Sabbath school regularly kept.  The means of elementary instruction are thus sufficiently provided to the parish, and there are no persons in the parish betwixt 6 and 15 years of age unable to read.

Library. - There is a parish library, consisting almost entirely of religious publications.

Poor. - The number of poor on the roll varies from twelve to eighteen; and they are all maintained in their own houses.  But besides these, there is a considerable number of householders in indigent circumstances, who receive each a boll of coals from the poors' funds.  The poors' funds, bearing interest, amount only to 73; but a considerable sum arises from the mortcloth and hearse fees, and the rent of one of the galleries in the church, which belongs to the kirk-session; and also from the back seats in the Panmure loft, which Lord Panmure has for some years past permitted to be let for behoof of the poor.  The average yearly amount of collections in the church for the last seven years. is 37:11s.:10d.  There are no assessments for the ordinary poor.  But there are three lunatic paupers connected with this parish, in different asylums, the expense of whose board is 50; of this sum the heritor pays one-half, and the tenants the other.

Alehouses. - Of these there are five in this parish, and two of them might well he spared.  It is, I think, the remark of Kotzebue, in his 'Travels through Russia', that wherever he came to the neighbourhood of a public house, he uniformly found the morals of the people corrupted, and their character debased; and perhaps the same observation will hold good in every part of the world, where such haunts of idleness and profligacy are to he met with.

December 1833

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In time, the Third Statistical Account of this parish may appear here.

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What might be referred to as the most recent Statistical Account of the Monikie Parish is the book,
'THE MONIKIE STORY', by Rev. W. D. Chisholm, former minister of the parish.


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