"A royal burgh in the county of Angus, which was in former times an episcopal see, and the county town. It is situated on the side of a hill, the foot of which is washed by the river Southesk. The royalty extends half a mile every way from the cross, but the suburbs extend a considerable way further: towards the east and south are the tenements, as they are called; they are independant of the burgh, and held in feu from Sir David Carnegie of Southesk. Brechin was a rich bishopric, founded in the year 1150 by David I and very richly endowed. Near the church is one of those round towers, of which there is only another in Scotland, at Abernethy. The soil of the country round Brechin is in general very good, and fertile; and its vicinity to Montrose, from whcih it is distant 8 miles, gives the former a near port for the shipping of his superabundant grain. The tide comes within two miles of the town and at a very trifling expense, vessels of 50 tons might be brought within a mile or half of it. The osnaburgh and brown linen manufactory has been carried on to considerable extent, and of late a good deal has been done in the sail cloth trade."
The Gazetteer of Scotland, W Chalmers, Dundee 1803