Kirriemuir

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For the hamlet in Alberta, see Kirriemuir, Alberta.

Coordinates: 56°40′09″N 3°00′18″W / 56.66921°N 3.00510°W / 56.66921; -3.00510

Kirriemuir
Scottish Gaelic: Cearan Mhoire
Scots: Kirriemuir, Kirrie
Kirriemuir, Peter Pan Statue.jpg
Kirriemuir, Peter Pan Statue
Kirriemuir is located in Angus
Kirriemuir
Kirriemuir
 Kirriemuir shown within Angus
Population 5,910 (est. 2006)
OS grid reference NO385535
Council area Angus
Lieutenancy area Angus
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town KIRRIEMUIR
Postcode district DD8
Dialling code 01575
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Angus
Scottish Parliament Angus South
List of places
UK
Scotland

Kirriemuir, sometimes called Kirrie, is a burgh in Angus, Scotland. Its history reaches back to earliest recorded times, when it seems to have been a major ecclesiastical centre. Later it was identified with witchcraft, and some older houses still feature a ‘witches stane’ to ward off evil. In the 19th century, it was an important centre of the jute trade. The playwright J.M. Barrie was born and buried here, and a statue of Peter Pan stands in the town square.

History[edit]

The history of Kirriemuir extends to the early historical period and it appears to have been a centre of some ecclesiastical importance. The Kirriemuir Sculptured Stones, a series of late Pictish cross slabs, are now on display at the Meffan Institute in Forfar.

Kirriemuir has a history of accused witches back in the 16th century. Many of the older buildings have a witches stane built in to ward off evil. This is a hard grey stone set into the local red sandstone which the buildings were built from. A pond on the outskirts of town, known as the Witch Pool, was where the supposed witches were meant to have been drowned[citation needed] but the alleged pool was in fact the mill pond of the 19th Century Meikle Mill. Local amateur historians tend to think this referred to a ‘mickle’ (small) mill, but the reference is to one of John Meikle's patented chaff-separating machines, based on ideas he picked up in the Netherlands. The adjacent "Court Hillock" was shown, on excavation to make way for a housing development, to be nothing more than the spoil heap left from the excavation and cleaning of the pond.

Though its importance as a market town has diminished, its former jute factories (now manufacturing synthetics) echo its past importance in the 19th century as the centre of a home weaving industry.

Historic features near Kirriemuir include a carved Pictish stone known as the Eassie Stone,[1] found in the bed of a burn near the village of Eassie.

Kirriemuir claims the narrowest public footpath in Western Europe; Cat's Close, situated between Grant's Pend and Kirkwynd, is a mere 40 centimetres (15.75 inches) wide.[citation needed]

The family estate of Sir Hugh Munro, who created Munro's Tables of Scottish mountains over 3000 ft in elevation (and which are now called "munros") is also located near the town, as is Kinnordy House, the seat of the Lyells. The current Lord Lyell is a member of the House of Lords .

Governance[edit]

Kirriemuir is represented within Angus Council by the Kirriemuir & Dean ward, from which three councillors are elected. The members elected from this ward are, as of 2012; Ian Gaul (Scottish National Party), Ronnie Proctor (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) and Jeanette Gaul (SNP).[2]

Culture[edit]

The town once had a museum of aviation and these artifacts are now in the Richard Moss Memorial Collection at the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. There is a camera obscura, which was donated by Barrie, on the Hill and it offers views to the south and south-west and of the higher hills to the north. Also on the Hill and offering views from its southern slopes is the town cemetery, where Barrie is buried in a simple grave. There is a silver granite war memorial in the centre of the cemetery, a column surmounted by a kilted soldier looking down across the town and over the broad fields of Strathmore to the Sidlaws.

The Tayside Police Museum is located in Reform Street.

Every August, a local music organization holds a music festival called Live In The Den which features local guitar bands. It takes place in The Den, hence the name. In 2011 the festival was not held due to large flooding. [3]

Setting[edit]

Kirriemuir sits looking south towards Glamis and the Sidlaws over Strathmore (one of the most fertile fruit growing areas in Scotland). Its position at the base of the Angus glens makes it an attractive centre for hill-walking on nearby Munros, fishing, partridge, pheasant and grouse shooting and deer-stalking. There is also an 18-hole golf course with views north to Glen Clova and Glen Doll. The town comprises mainly two areas, Northmuir and Southmuir.

Schools[edit]

Webster's High School is situated in the Southmuir, while two primary schools are located in the Northmuir and Southmuir respectively. The Northmuir Primary School replaced the Reform Street Primary school, which was in the town centre, and was demolished for the building of the Lyell Court Sheltered Housing complex. Southmuir Primary School moved to new premises in 2002 which were built as part of an extension to Webster's High School. The previous Southmuir Primary School building (formally the original Webster's Seminary) was destroyed by fire on Sunday 29 October 2006 and has since been demolished.

Parks[edit]

The town has 2 main parks - one of which lies in the Gairie Burn valley and the other at the top of Kirriemuir Hill.

The Den can be split into 2 parts. The east Den lies to the east of Bellies Brae (The Commonty) and the west Den lies to the west of Bellies Brae. This park has a paddling pool, which tends to be cold but warms in the sunshine. The Den can be prone to flooding as it is located in a deep valley and this last happened in December 2012. In the far west Den, there is a large waterfall, often called the Den Waterfall, and the Cuttle Well.

The Hill or Peter Pan Park as it is called by locals, is located in Northmuir. A playpark was built in November 2010 which has a Peter Pan theme. The park is very popular with children.

Smaller parks include Davidson Park in the Southmuir and Martin Park which is off Slade Road.

Sport[edit]

Kirriemuir is home to the junior football club Kirriemuir Thistle. Kirriemuir also has a wheeled sports area in Martin Park and an all-weather sports pitch at Webster's Leisure Centre adjoining Webster's High School.

Notable people[edit]

It is well known as the birthplace of Peter Pan creator and Rector of the University of St Andrews, J.M. Barrie, who immortalised this "wee red toonie" as "Thrums" in his popular (pre-Pan) novels Auld Licht Idylls, A Window in Thrums, and The Little Minister. His birthplace still stands on the Brechin Road. "Red" refers to the local reddish sandstone from which the town's older properties are built. The town became a minor Victorian tourism destination in response to Barrie's novels, and his birthplace is now a museum owned by the National Trust of Scotland.[4] A statue of Peter Pan stands in the town square in front of the old toll booth. This was one of two commissioned by either the now defunct Angus Milling Company Limited or its associated company Hamlyn Milling Limited.

Bon Scott of AC/DC was born in nearby Forfar and lived in Kirriemuir for a short time from 1947 until 1950 when his family emigrated to Australia, where the family lived in the suburb of Sunshine for four years before moving to Fremantle, Western Australia. Scott himself had little interest in the town and made no reference to his time there in media appearances. A plaque has been unveiled in Cumberland Close, Kirriemuir to celebrate the memory of the singer.[5]

Actor David Niven claimed Kirriemuir as his birthplace, but was actually born in London.[6]

Connections with other towns[edit]

Kirriemuir is twinned with the French town of Volvic,[7] famous for its mineral water. Kerrimuir, a small area in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, is named after this town.

References[edit]

  1. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Eassie Stone, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham, 7 October 2007
  2. ^ Election 2012 Results Ward 1 – Kirriemuir & Dean, retrieved 9 May 2012 
  3. ^ Inglis, Marjory (22 August 2011). "'A complete swamp' — flooding forces cancellation of Kirriemuir music event Live In The Den". The Courier. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/37/
  5. ^ "Rock tribute to AC/DC star Scott". Crabsody in Blue. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  6. ^ Morley, Sheridan (1985). The Other Side of the Moon. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-340-39643-1. 
  7. ^ "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26.