The History of the Howe - Marykirk

The village of Marykirk, at the Southern end of the Howe o' the Mearns, is located on rising ground to the East of the river North Esk.

The settlement was founded round two features: the ford over the river, which was an important crossing in early times, and the ancient church which was consecrated in 1242 by Bishop De Bernham and which was attached to the Abbey of Aberbrothic (Arbroath). Fragments of this church remain in the old churchyard close to the present church, which was built in 1806.

The ford was replaced by the present bridge in 1815 at a cost of 1000.

The village gives its name to the parish in which it stands, although in church terms the parish is known as Aberluthnott, possibly because the river Luther joins the North Esk midway between Marykirk and Luthrmuir, the other village in the parish. The name of the Parish of Marykirk is used for administration purposes.

The centre of the village comprises a pleasant group of buildings: the Church, the Hotel - in the grounds of which can be seen the old Market Cross - and the gate lodges at the entrance to the former Kirktonhill House. This mansion, now demolished, was for some time the home of Mr. R.W. Adamson, who enjoyed a large staff in the house and on the estate. As Mr. Adamson had a stake in Burma Oil Co., this is perhaps the first example of "oil money" bringing employment to the area.

Another first credited to Marykirk was the growing of potatoes in the area. It is recorded that an Irish labourer moved to the village from Kilsyth in 1747 bringing with him seed potatoes which he cultivated. He is said to have had difficulty in persuading the locals to accept this strange vegetable.

As with many similar villages one of the functions of Marykirk was to service the agricultural hinterland. At one time the village supported a taylor, blacksmith, shoemaker, baker, joiner, a brickworks, police office and railway station. Times have changed, but the village retains a joiner, plumber and electrician and two shops, one of which is a Post Office.

Although the passing traveller may detect little change in the village, there has been a discreet housing development which has perhaps created a dormitory community but which has been beneficial in maintaining a viable rural entity in this ancient settlement.


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