The History of the Howe - Glenbervie and Drumlithie

Here again the wealth of history which abounds in this area cannot be done justice to in a short synopsis - but mention must be made of one son of Glenbervie whose fame is known "the warld ower".... Our national bard, Rabbie Burns, whose forbears farmed on the braes of Brawliemuir. It was from the farm of Clochnahill, just off the main Laurencekirk to Stonehaven road, that Rabbie's father left the howe to seek a better livelihood in other airts.

The old Churchyard at Glenbervie is where many of the Burns ancestors are buried, and it was one of the places visited by the Bard when he came to the Mearns.

In the 12th Century much of Glenbervie was owned by the Melville family, one of whom was the hated John Melville, Sherrif of Kincardine, who is purported to have met a rather gruesome end! But more of him when we reach the Garvock Hill.

Near the "new" Parish Church, which was built in 1826, stands Glenbervie House, parts of which date back to the 17th Century.

Drumlithie is the only village in the Parish and, rather like Marykirk, its original layout tends to be clustered near the churches and the hostelry. Because of its situation, which is well removed from the main North-South highway, it has retained much of its yesteryear charm. A considerable amount of new housing has sprung up on the periphery and increased the population count, but the heart remains much as before.

The Drumlithie steeple has to be one of the most famous landmarks of the entire area and the story goes that when it was first built in 1770 the inhabitants were so proud of it that they took it indoors in inclement weather. In fact the tall free-standing Steeple of Bell Tower, complete with its weather-vane, was built as a means of "clocking on and off" for the members of the local weaving community. So here again we find that in years gone by weaving was one of the main occupations of the inhabitants of the Howe o' the Mearns.

Drumlithie Village is the site of the Glenbervie Parish School, a very well attended establishment which caters for pupils from a wide area of the district.

The name Drumlithie is thought to be derived from the old meaning of a Drum, being the ridge of a slope or hillside, and Lithie could possibly mean "Grey Place".

Close to Drumlithie we find the land of Mondynes and here again we happen on the history of our Kings and the battles they fought to hold their ground. It was here that King Duncan the Second is thought to have been slain, and the spot where he fell, in a field at Mill of Mondynes, is marked by a large standing stone which, legend has it, must be kept whitewashed at all times.

Across the dual carriageway from Mondynes is the road which leads over the hill of Gyratesmyre and Alpity to Arbuthnott.


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