MONTROSE, Angus - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"MONTROSE, a parish, post and market town, bonding port, and royal and parliamentary burgh, having separate jurisdiction, but locally situated in the district and county of Forfar, Scotland, 8 miles E. by S. of Brechin, 17 E.N.E. of Forfar, and 70 N.N.E. of Edinburgh, or 79 by the Edinburgh and North Scottish railway, which has a branch to Montrose. It is situated near the coast of the North Sea, at the north-eastern extremity of the maritime district of Forfarshire, and occupies a point or rocs of land lying between Montrose Basin and the mouth of the South Esk. The town, which was anciently called Celurea, was first chartered by David I. It is celebrated in history as the place whence Lord James Douglas sailed in 1330, with a numerous knightly retinue, to deposit the heart of King Robert Bruce in the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and where the Greek language was first taught in Scotland, under the auspices of John Erskine, of Dun. It was here that the French fleet, having James on board, arrived in December, 1715; and until the commencement of the present century the house was standing in which the celebrated Marquis of Montrose was born, and in which the Pretender slept on the 13th of February, 1716, the night before he made his escape to France. The parish of Montrose is about 3 miles in length, and about 2½ in breadth, lying between the mouths of the rivers North and South Esk, over the former of which there is a stone bridge of seven arches, erected in 1775, and over the latter a suspension bridge, crossing Inchbrayoch, built by Sir S. Brown in 1829, at a cost of £20,000. The shore is sandy, and the tide of flood runs S.W. The surface is nearly level for about 1½ mile from the sea, which is here retiring, leaving a low range of sandy links along the shore, but farther inland the land rises slowly towards the N.W.; and from Montrose Hill a view is commanded of the town and Montrose Basin, an expanse of about 7 miles in circumference, which is dry at low water, but at the influx of the tide looks like a lake, with the windings of the South Esk, and the upper end of Strathmore in the distance, backed by the towering summits of the Grampians. The soil in the lower parts is sand to a great depth, mixed with seashells, evidently of modern deposit, and capable only of sustaining a scanty vegetation, but farther inland to the W. of the low stony bank which flanks the sandy grounds the soil is extremely productive and under prime cultivation. Much of the land adjacent to the town is disposed in small properties or feus, of from 3 to 9 acres each, and is subjected to a scantily productive tillage; but the rest of the parish, comprising much rich arable land, is chiefly distributed among five proprietors, who have the right of pasturage over a long belt of undivided common known as the Links. The parish is traversed by a branch line of the Aberdeen railway, by the coast road from Aberdeen to Dundee, and by two cross roads going off thence to Fettercairn and Brechin. The town, which is one of the neatest and most agreeable in Scotland, extends along the shore of Montrose basin and the bank of the South Esk, and consists of several streets, of which Murray and High streets are the principal, running due N. The latter is adorned with a stone statue of the late Sir Robert Peel by A. H. Ritchie. A spacious road called the Mall continues the line of this street about 5 furlongs northward, lined on either side with houses and villas, while minor streets branch off in several directions, Bridge-street and Upper Fishergate-street leading to the suspension bridge. Along the E. side of the town, facing the Links, runs what is called the Walk, lined on one side by a terrace of houses. The principal public buildings are, the new town-house, built in place of the former one, which makes a termination to the long spacious area in the centre of the town, and has an illuminated clock in its pediment; the trades' hall, standing on the E. side of High-street; the gaol, a modern and commodious structure; militia barracks, custom-house, exchange rooms, public library established in 1785, post-office, savings-bank, built in 1815, four commercial banks, about twenty marine and other insurance offices, gas and water works; also the royal lunatic hospital, founded in 1779, and recently rebuilt at Sunnyside about 2½ miles from the town; golf club, established in 1810; horticultural society founded in 1826; hall of the British linen company; and the Academy, situated on the Links. This last is a commodious structure surmounted by a dome. Many of the inhabitants are engaged in the shipping trade, and others in the manufacture of linen and flax, while a small number are employed as ship carpenters, builders, and cotton spinners, or in the tanneries and iron foundry. The town was incorporated by David I., and is governed by a provost, three bailies, a dean of trades, and 19 town councillors. The town revenue is about £3,250, besides the burgh lands lying between the basin and the German Ocean, which are partly occupied by building, but more extensively disposed in public promenade and unenclosed common. Since the passing of the Reform Bill it has returned one member to parliament in conjunction with Arbroath, Brechin, Bervie, and Forfar, its contributory boroughs. The parish is in the presbytery of Brechin and synod of Angus and Mearns, and is collegiate, having two livings, one in the patronage of the crown, the other, or second charge, in the patronage of the town council. Stipend of the first minister £293, and of the second £340, the latter being raised by a rate of 6d. in the pound upon house rents, authorised by an Act of the Scottish parliament in 1690. There are two churches-the parish church, a spacious structure built in 1791, and Melville church, recently constituted a quoad sacra parish church. There are two Free churches, St. John's and St. George's, the latter erected shortly after the disrupture, and the former, St. John's, built in 1829 as a chapel-of-ease; also two United Presbyterian churches, Scottish and English Episcopalian chapels, two Independent, one Baptist, and one Wesleyan chapel, besides a place of worship belonging to the Glassites. The principal schools are the Montrose Academy mentioned above, where a good classical and mathematical education is obtainable, Dorward's seminary, the Loanhead sessional school, besides parochial, free, industrial, infant, and ragged schools, these last known as the Castle-street schools. The charitable foundations are numerous, comprising besides the Royal Lunatic Hospital and Infirmary, the Maison de Dieu, or Grey Friars, which has an income of £280, under the management of the town council, though the building is now a ruin; Erskine's almshouses for 12 widows with an income of £120; also Ouchterloney's and Miss Mill's charities. The port of Montrose comprehends within its bounds all the coast from the Tod-Head on the N. to the lights of the Tay on the S., having Johnshaven for a subport. It has a considerable colonial and foreign trade, chiefly in timber, flax, hemp, wines, fish, and grains; but the chief business is in the coasting trade, and in the fisheries, which latter yield salmon, lobsters, and cod in great perfection. The harbour is one of the best on the E. coast of Scotland, having 18 feet depth of water over the bar at low water at spring tides, and therefore is always accessible to vessels of large burthen. A lofty beacon of white stone stands on a rocky promontory on the right of the entrance, and two lighthouses, the one 45 feet high, the other 35 feet high, on the left bank of the river, to guide vessels up to the quay during the night. Montrose is a coastguard station and headquarters of the county militia, also the seat of an excise collection. It publishes two newspapers, the Montrose Review and Montrose Standard, and gives the title of duke to the Grahams of Kinnebar, to whose ancestor, Sir Robert, the old town was given by Robert I. Market day is Friday. Fairs are held on the Friday after Whitsunday, old style, and on the Friday after Martinmas. The races have been discontinued."

"HILLSIDE, a village and post-office station in the parish of Montrose, county Forfar, Scotland, near Montrose. There is also a post-office station of this name in the county Aberdeen."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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