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Arbuthnott House

The Origins of the Present Estate and Name of Arbuthnott

The derivation and meaning of Arbuthnott is obscure, but it is certainly a Celtic place name and probably related to the confluence of a river with another stream. The lands of Arbuthnott from which the family takes its name originally formed a Celtic thanage. The Norman family of Oliphant held the estate at the end of the XIth century and some time in the XIIth century Hugh of Swinton came north from Dunbar, married the Oliphant heiress and took himself the name of Arbuthnott. He became the founder of the present family of that name and there has thus been a family connection as owners for nine centuries with the lands of Arbuthnott.

Since those early years the extent of the estate has fluctuated but presently consists of 3000 acres of which 1,400 acres are farmed by the owner, 1,200 acres are in four tenanted farms and 400 acres of woodland make up the balance.

The River Bervie divides the estate into two almost equal halves, the land rising to 571 and 582 ft. respectively on the north and south sides of the river valley. The woodlands that clothe the hillsides and surround the house are the successors to those that would have been planted no more than 200 years ago, prior to which there would have been very few trees at all in this part of Kincardineshire.

Centred on the parish church and the castle or mansion house there has, since Norman times, a working population who have owed their livelihood predominantly to agriculture. This is still the case today, but in addition to those engaged in agriculture there will now be forestry employees and gardeners and those who serve the district in the post office, in a rural woodworking business, at the village school and in other capacities. The estate "population" numbers about 120.

Arbuthnott House Index
Clan Arbuthnott


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