Mains and Strathmartine

Mains and Strathmartine
   MAINS and STRATHMARTINE, a parish, in the county of Forfar; containing, with the villages of Baldovan and Kirkton, 2110 inhabitants, of whom 1295 are in Mains, 2 miles (N. N. W.) from Dundee. The original name of the old parish of Mains was Strathdighty, descriptive of it as a valley watered by the river Dighty; and the name of the other parish, which is a continuation of the same valley, is said to have been derived from a stone erected on the north side of it, in commemoration of some valorous exploit performed by a hero of the name of Martine in the ancient days of chivalry. These parishes were joined in the year 1799; and the united parish is six miles in length, varying from one mile to three miles in breadth, and comprises 7063 acres, of which 6180 are arable, 450 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moor and waste. The surface is one continued vale of pleasing appearance, bounded on each side by rising grounds, the highest point of which, however, is not more than 400 feet above the level of the sea. The only river is the Dighty, which has its source in two lakes in the parish of Lundie, and flows with equable stream through the whole of the vale into the sea near the mouth of the Tay, in the parish of Monifieth. On the banks of this river, the largest in the immediate vicinity of Dundee, are numerous works connected with the manufactures of that town, which extend into this parish; and thus, not only the adjacent scenery has been deprived of much of its natural beauty, but the fishing has been greatly injured, and the quality of the water rendered unfit for domestic use. Several small rivulets intersect the parish, forming tributaries to the Dighty; but they are usually dry in the summer months. Near the castle of Mains, a spring of excellent water issues from a crevice in a rock, and flows with undiminishing abundance even in the driest times, affording a valuable supply for the inhabitants of that portion of the parish.
   The soil is generally a black loam, and very fertile; the crops are extremely favourable; and, with the exception only of a few patches of moor, and some rocky elevations, the whole is in a state of profitable cultivation. The crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is greatly improved; the lands are well drained, and inclosed with stone dykes and hedges of thorn; and the farm houses and offices, though inferior to those in several other parishes, are still commodious and in decent repair. A very large extent of waste land has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation, and the general appearance of the parish greatly improved by the flourishing plantations that have been made on the higher grounds. The woods consist chiefly of oak, fir, and the usual kinds of foresttrees, of which beech seems the best adapted to the soil; and there are several trees of venerable growth, especially one near the castle of Mains, of very stately dimensions, supposed to be more than two centuries old. The plantations are larch, and spruce and Scotch firs, intermixed with forest-trees, and, with the exception of the larch, which thrives only in the better soils, are all in a flourishing condition. The principal substrata are grey-slate and trap-rock, of which the higher grounds mainly consist, and which are quarried to a considerable extent for the roads and inclosures, the stone being of good quality for such purposes. Baldovan House and Strathmartine are both handsome modern mansions. From its proximity to Dundee, and the facilities afforded for the manufactures of that place by the Dighty, a great proportion of the inhabitants of this parish are employed in works established by the Dundee proprietors on the banks of that river; on which, within the limits of Mains and Strathmartine, are four bleachfields, two of which are very extensive, and six mills for washing yarn and preparing it for the loom. There are likewise in operation three flour-mills, five for meal, a saw-mill, and several threshing-mills, all put in motion by the water of the river, with the exception of one of the flour-mills, partly worked by steam. The rateable annual value of Mains is £7770, and of Strathmartine £4686. The agricultural and other produce is sent to the market of Dundee, with which frequent intercourse is kept up; and facility of communication is afforded with other places in the vicinity by three turnpike-roads, which pass for more than eight miles through the parish, and by a railway from Dundee to Glammis, constructed at an expense of nearly £100,000. There are not less than nine bridges over the Dighty. Fairs are held on the first Tuesday after July 11, on the 26th of August, and the 15th of September, for cattle, sheep, and horses, and for hiring farm servants.
   The parish is in the presbytery of Dundee and synod of Angus and Mearns, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £217. 8. 4., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £35 per annum. The church, erected in 1800, is conveniently situated, and is adapted for a congregation of 900 persons. The parochial schools of both the old parishes are continued, and afford a liberal course of education; the masters have each a salary of £34, with a good house and garden, and the fees average annually at Mains £40, and Strathmartine £30. A school for females is supported by an endowment of Lady Ogilvy; and there are two others in the parish, for teaching children to sew. The poor have annually the interest of some accumulated capital realizing £20, and are eligible for admission in case of sickness into the Dundee infirmary, for the benefit of which a collection is made annually at the church of this place. The principal remains of antiquity within the limits of the parish are some vestiges of a Roman camp in the Strathmartine district, supposed to have been occupied by a portion of Agricola's army, and which, probably, was afterwards a stronghold of Sir William Wallace. This latter opinion is corroborated by a tradition, that that gallant defender of his country's honour pitched his tent on Clatto hill, from which the moor in this place takes its name. There are also two obelisks in the parish; but the history of their erection is not clearly ascertained. Claverhouse, the residence of the well-known Dundee, was situated here; and near the site of the old mansion, an edifice in the form of an ancient ruin has been erected by his descendant, Mr. Webster.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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