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Rev. John Jamieson


Lexicographer. He was a minister in the Secession Church in Forfar and compiled the 'Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language' (1846 abridged version in my library).


In Edinburgh, he became a major force in bringing the 'New Licht' factions together as the United Secession Church in 1820.

Local Historical Interest


Ancient ruins

  • There are two Roman marching camps in Angus, at Finavon and Kirkbuddo both near Forfar - one capable of holding possibly 26,000 men.

  • There is also a vitrified fort site at Finavon dating from 665 BC.

  • St Orland's Stone - an early Christian sculptured slab, with cross on one side and Pictish symbols/figures on the other - 4.5 miles west of Forfar.

  • Aberlemmo Stones - A magnificent cross-slab in the churchyard (see opposite), with interlaced decoration on one side and Pictish symbols/ figure sculpture on the other, stands with three other stones by the roadside - 6 miles from Forfar


Forfar Town Hall (see photo at top right of header strip)

Before 1787 an old tollbooth, or town house, had stood at The Cross in Forfar.  It consisted of many parts - a doss, prison, some early shops, and on the second floor a sheriff court and chambers where the town council met, but not even a rough diagram remains.  The Mercat Cross, which stood beside the Tollhouse, was moved to Castlehill at this time. James Playfair, a London architect, whose father had been a minister in Forfar, designed the new Town and County Hall.  Stone quarried locally was used.  It had many functions - Sheriff Court, prison, a base for the watch (an early police force), and the first public library in Forfar.  Apart from the Council Chambers, the paintings, chandelier and stained glass windows, one can see the Coat of Arms.  These consist of a castle, a stag and a bull (possibly to represent the tanners and soutars), a tree, a Saltire, and a lion (the symbol of the early Earls of Angus).


Glamis Castle (Earl of Strathmore & Bowes-Lyons family) – 4 miles from Forfar.  

The legendary seat of Macbeth, it has been the home of the Lyons family since 1372, when the land

was granted to John Lyon for services to Robert II, the first Stewart King.  Lyon married the King's

daughter and was subsequently knighted - family title became Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne. 

Over the centuries many Royal families visited Glamis. It was the childhood home of Elizabeth

Bowes-Lyon, Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002) and birthplace of her 2nd daughter, Princess Margaret.


Airlie & Cortachy Castles (Earl of Airlie, Chief of Clan Ogilvy) – 8 miles from Forfar:

The Ogilvy family were long-standing royalists especially during Jacobite times and their castles paid the price for this over the years.

Airlie - home of the Earl of Airlie.

The original castle, dating from about 1450, was built by Walter Ogilvy of Lintrathen in 1432, but was destroyed in 1640 by the Marquise of Argyll, when the 1st Earl of Airlie (1593-1666), refused to sign the National Covenant. Although never rebuilt, a country house

was built over the ruins in 1793 - restored during the 20th century and remains occupied.

Cortachy - home of Lord Ogilvy. 

Acquired by the Ogilvies from the Earl of Strathearn in 1473, when Sir Walter Ogilvy began the

structure - three original towers survive. In 1641 the Marquis of Argyll damaged the castle. It was

restored but burned in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell in revenge for the support of King Charles II, who 

had spent a night in the King's Room. The castle and estates were forfeited to the Crown following

the Ogilvy support for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.  Although Cortachy was returned later, the

Earldom was only recovered in 1826. The castle was remodeled at this time. During WWII it served

as a military hospital.


Sir J. M. Barrie, Bt. OM


A celebrated Scottish novelist and dramatist, he was best known for ‘Peter Pan’. 


Born in Kirriemuir (near Forfar) where his father was a weaver he was educated at Edinburgh University.  His first novels were set in Kirriemuir, disguised as "Thrums".  Barrie often wrote dialogue in Scots. 

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