MBHSMontrose Basin Heritage Society

The History of Montrose and its Surrounding Parishes

Timeline of Montrose Area

Key: ‡ - Archaeological site; <> - Archaeological find

Melville Gardens opened on 1st September
Date Montrose Event World Event
Million years ago

4400 Pre Cambrian Era The Earth forms
545 Paleozoic Era - Cambrian Period Oldest multi-celled animals
495 Ordovician Period - Wide ocean between North America (inc Scotland) and Europe (inc England & Wales)
440 Silurian Period Mountains begin to form Ocean gradually closes
417 Devonian Period - Old Red Sandstone is the earliest geology of the Montrose area. Rivers and Volcanoes form the landscape
354 Carboniferous Period Tropical conditions, reptiles appear
250 Mesozoic Era - Triassic Period North Sea and the Minch form. Dinosaurs & mammals appear
142 Cretaceous Period Dinosaurs disappear. Flowering plants appear
66-56 Cenozoic Era - Palaeocene Period Atlantic Ocean forms
1.8M – 11k Quaternary Period - Pleistocene Epoch. Periodic glaciations alternating with more temperate weather. Each glacial episode removed evidence of the previous one. The coastal lands rise and fail with the climate changes altering the coastline continuously throughout the Ice Age
11k – Present Holocene epoch Post-glacial to present
Pre 8000BC Palaeolithic Stone Age
8000BC Mesolithic Stone Age - People were nomadic Hunter/gatherer/fishers
5000BC Tsunami - Huge tidal wave caused by a landslide off the coast of Norway (Storegga) hits the east coast of Scotland

Gradually shingle accumulated in the wide estuary into which the rivers North and South Esk flow. A series of spits build up eventually closing off the bay on the north side. This shingle bank is divided into two halves: the inland half where mud and silt were deposited and the sea half where blown sand built up the Links. This bank eventually defines Montrose Basin as we see it today.
3500BC Neolithic Stone Age - People began to adopt agriculture and became more settled. Large communal monuments were built

‡ Cursus (linear monument) from Powis to Old Montrose First of series of Egyptian Pharaoh dynasties c3100BC

‡ Remains of timber structure and ditches under Fordhouse of Dun Barrow Skara Brae c3000BC

<> Scrapers from Old Montrose, Maryton, Bonnyton and Hillside First Pyramids built c2650BC

<> Axes from Scurdie Ness, Hillside, Bridge of Dun and Montrose Basin
2500BC
Stonehenge c2500BC
2500BC Bronze Age

‡ Maryton Law Barrow (excavated - finds include sherds of pottery, flint tools and large, clear crystal)

‡ Fordhouse of Dun Barrow (excavated - finds include 38 separate ceramic pots and accompanying cremations)

‡ Ring ditches (possibly Bronze Age) at Dun, Dubton & Old Montrose

<> Barbed and tanged arrowhead find at Newmanswalls Rise of the Greek civilisation c1200BC

<> Looped Palstave (type of axe head) find at Rossie Island

<> Gold jewellery find north of Montrose town

Standing Stone Field (situated north of Montrose Town and referred to in Town records until 17th century) possibly dates from the Bronze Age
c800BC <> Bronze Sword find at Montrose
800BC onwards Iron Age

Defences - Dun and Dunninald placenames indicate forts Roman Republic 510BC

‡ Promontory Fort at Scurdiness

‡ Enclosure at end of Cursus at Powis

<> Iron Sword find at Balwyllo Roman Empire 27BC
AD81 ‡ Roman Naval Camp on north side of Basin near Gilrivie Battle: Mons Graupius AD84

<> Stone oil lamps finds at Dun

<> Gold ring and Roman Intaglio (engraved insert for ring) finds, both at Usan
c100 Square barrows at Old Montrose


St Ninian arrives in Scotland c400
C500 St Brioc - the church at Inchbrayock, situated on Rossie Island was dedicated to St Brioc (also spelled Bruic or Broc)


St Columba arrives in Scotland 563
C570 St Skae - the ruined chapel dedicated to St Skae (also known as St Skaoch) lies on the clifftop near Boddin Point. She came from Ireland, perhaps with St Columba. The old parish of Dunninald was known as St Skaochy prior to the Reformation


Battle: Dunnichen (Nechtansmere) 685
c750 St Fergus - the chapel dedicated to St Fergus lies near Mains of Usan farm. He was a Pict who trained for the priesthood in Ireland. He died at Glamis c750


Kings of Scots: Kenneth MacAlpin ?842-858
c850 – 950 A The sculptured stones of Inchbrayoch (now held in Montrose Museum) and Farnell (now held in Pictavia) date from this period
c850 onwards Pictish language was giving way to Gaelic Donald I 858-862 Constantine I 862-876
c900 <> Viking grave pin find from Fordhouse of Dun Donald II 899-900 Constantine II 900-943 Malcolm I 943-954


Kenneth II 971-995

Norse influence Stromnay (meaning tidal-race island) a place-name used up to 14th Century also Gait (meaning street) as in Seagait


Kenneth III 997-1005
c1000 Mormaers were members of the ancient Celtic aristocracy and the king's representatives in their district. They were the local overlords and dispensed justice, levied the taxes due to the king and organised military service. 'Mormaer' gave way to the term 'Earlby' the late-12th century. Malcolm II 1005


Duncan I 1034

Thanes were managers of the land for overlords, but on a smaller scale than the mormaers. Thanes appear in the records in Scotland at the beginning of the 10th century in the reign of Malcolm II (1005-34). There were Thanes locally at Old Montrose, Kinnaber, Morphie, Ecclesgreig and Inverkeilor. Macbeth 1040


Lulach 1058


Malcolm III 1058 (Canmore)


Battle: Hastings 1066


Malcolm m. Margaret 1070


Duncan II


Donald Ban 1093


Edgar 1097


Alexander I 1107


David I 1124
c1130 Royal Burgh of Montrose established


Malcolm IV 1153
c1165 Castle at Montrose
1165 Lands of Dun granted to John of Hastings. William I 1165 (The Lion)

First reference to Hedderwick
1178 Arbroath Abbey founded. Ferry rights over South Esk transferred to Arbroath Abbey. Annanie or Inyaney Estate (which included parts of Fullerton, Old Montrose & Bonnyton) was gifted to Crane - gatekeeper of castle of Montrose


Alexander II 1214
1244 Fire destroys large part of Montrose
1245 Rossy: Hugh de Malherbe sold estate and castle to a vassal thereafter called de Rossy. De Malherbe also donated part of his lands to the hospital


Alexander III 1249


Queen Margaret canonised 1250
1261 Annanie left to five daughters and divided among them
1270 Montrose one of the four principal ports of Scotland


Margaret 1286


Interregnum 1290


John Balliol 1292
1296 John Balliol stripped of kingship, while Edward I stays at Montrose Castle


Interregnum 1296
1297 Montrose Castle razed by William Wallace
1300 Montrose has hospital Robert I 1306 (Robert the Bruce)


Battle: Bannockburn 1314


Declaration of Arbroath 1320
1325 Grahams acquire Old Montrose from Robert the Bruce
1327 Lands of Fullerton with the office of King's Falconer granted to Geoffrey thereafter known as 'de Fullerton'
1328 Maryton gifted to Walter Schaklok. Henry De Rossy buys part of Annanie from Walter Schaklok



1329 School in Montrose David II 1329
1349 'The Black Death' . Plague kills a third of population
1369 Royal Charter gives fishings on North and South Esks to Montrose


Robert II 1371
1375 Sir Robert Erskine acquires Barony of Dun. Ecclesjohn Estate also acquired
1377 John Erskine (grandson of Robert) first to be designated Laird of Dun


Robert III 1390
1393 William Tulloch received Bonnyton Castle


James I 1406
1409 Erskine of Dun mortifies (grants in perpetuity to an ecclesiastical estate) lands of Ecclesjohn to the Bishop of Brechin, Chapel at Ecclesjohn used by pilgrims
1437 Sir Thomas Maule claims Lordship of Hedderwick James II 1437
1446 Fullerton absorbed into Old Montrose
1451 Barony of Old Montrose created


James III 1460
1484 David Rossy sold Usan to Walter Lichtoun


James IV 1488
1490 Erskines of Dun acquire Hedderwick
1493 Dispute between townspeople of Montrose and Erskine of Dun over right to gather bait on Basin
1498 Janet Tulloch sold her part of the mill at Bonnyton
1500 House at Dun described as a tower house
1505 3rd Lord Graham created 1st Earl of Montrose. David Rossy sold Craig to Andrew Wood of Largo



1511 Barony of Usan created
1513 1st Earl of Montrose slain at Flodden and four Erskines of Dun killed Battle: Flodden 1513


James V 1513
1525 Salmon trade booming, although trade in Montrose had generally declined


Patrick Hamilton burnt 1528
1534 David Stratoun of St Cyrus burnt at the stake
1540 John Erskine 5th Laird of Dun became Provost of Montrose
1541 John Erskine 5th Laird of Dun became Constable of Montrose


Mary I 1542 (Queen of Scots)


George Wishart burnt – March 1546.


Cardinal Beaton murdered May 1546


Rough Wooing 1547
1548 English attempt to invade Montrose repelled at Battle of the Links. Fort built on site of present Infirmary
1555/6 John Knox: preaches at Dun Church occasionally in these years
1556 John Lichtoun received lands of Usan including fishing and fishertown
1557 John of Dun recognised as feuar of lands of Ecclesjohn by the Bishop of Brechin
1558 Walter Miln, 80-year-old priest from Lunan, burnt as heretic


Reformation Parliament & first Assembly of Church of Scotland 1560


Mary Queen of Scots returns to Scotland 1561
1565 Sir John Erskine Moderator of General Assembly
1567 Fishing rights on North Esk transferred from Friars of St Mary's at Montrose to Wishart of Pitarrow Mary abdicated 1567


James VI 1567
1574 Andrew Melville of Baldovie returns to Scotland and becomes leading academic spokesman for the Kirk for next 30 years
1583 Benefices (parishes) of Ecclesjohn and Dun are united


'Black Acts' 1584 enforce King's rule over church


Mary Queen of Scots executed 1587
1590 Hedderwick passes to the Grahams
1599 3rd Earl of Montrose became Chancellor of Scotland


Union of Crowns 1603 James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England
1612 10th Laird of Dun, a boy called John, poisoned by his Uncle Robert and his sisters. James Graham born (becomes 1st Marquis of Montrose)
1615 Craig owned by Carnegies. George Erskine of Kirkbuddo inherits Ecclesjohn



1618 Parishes of Dunninald and Craig united


Charles I 1625
1626 4th Earl of Montrose is President of the Council of Scotland
1630 Erskines of Kirkbuddo acquire Hedderwick


National Covenant 1638
1641 Old Montrose ransacked by Covenanters. Repaired 1642


Solemn League and Covenant 1643
1644 James Graham plunders Dun after Montrose citizens - pro-Covenanters - hid their valuables there as the town had already been raided by Irvine of Drum.

James Graham created 1st Marquis of Montrose and Lt General of Scotland
1648/9 Plague in Montrose killing half the population. Harbour closed, Town Council meetings suspended. Plague pits for dead sited on Links Charles I executed in 1649. Charles II (in exile) proclaimed King in Edinbugh
1650 Marquis of Montrose executed in Edinburgh


Scotland formally unified with England and Ireland under Cromwell in 1653 - Commonwealth
1659 Patrick Scott acquires Craig. James Scott buys Hedderwick. New house built


Charles II 1660 Restored
1663 Patrick Scott buys Rossie Estate 1666 Barony of Bonniton created
1668 Old Montrose Barony given to John, Earl of Middleton
1670 Dun sells Land of Sands to Robert Raitt for Dronner's Dyke
1678 Dronner's Dyke built but destroyed within a year by storm reputedly conjured up by Montrose witch Maggie Cowie


James VII & II 1685


William II & III of Orange & Mary 1689 (Joint Sovereigns)
1690 Patrick Renny bought Usan
1690s Five years of famine caused the death or dispersal of almost a third of rural population Massacre of Glencoe 1692


Mary's death. Sole reign of William II & III 1694
1700s Lime Kiln built at Hedderwick. Anne 1702

Period of Milnes at Ecclesjohn. New mansion house built Act of Union 1707


George I 1714
1715 The Old Pretender (James VIII) spends his last night in Scotland as guest of Scott of Hedderwick Jacobite Rising 1715
1726 Col Scott buys Ecclesjohn


George II 1727
1730 New house built at Dun designed by William Adam
1739 Glenskenno Spring acquired as water supply for Montrose
1740 Hedderwick largely rebuilt
1742 Scott of Rossie held all sixteen sixteenths of Montrose Town fishings
1744 Susan Scott Carnegie 1744-1821 (Social activist)
1745 Naval Battle at Montrose. English sloop The Hazard captured by Jacobites. French ship La Fine sunk off Rossie Island Jacobite Rising 1745



1746 Cumberland's army billeted at Montrose after Culloden Battle: Culloden 1746


George III 1760


American Declaration Independence 1776
1765 William Dorward 1765-1848 (Merchant and philanthropist)
1773 Robert Brown 1773-1858 (Botanist and scientist)
1777 Joseph Hume 1777-1855 (Surgeon, MP and social reformer)
1780 Duncans acquire Rosemount and build new house
1781 Montrose Lunatic Asylum built on Links. First in Scotland
1783 Hercules Ross buys Rossie and Craig estates
1785 'Outside' firms, mostly from Berwick, begin to take over salmon tacks
1786 Bridge of Dun erected
1787 George Oglivy buys Ecclesjohn, changes its name to Langley Park


French Revolution 1789
1791 Carnegies of Kinnaird buy Old Montrose 1793 James Cruikshank buys Langley Park
1792 Sir James Duke 1792-1873 (Politician)
1795 Wooden Bridge over South Esk erected. Annual horse racing begins on racecourse on Links



1799 Inch Bridge erected
1800 First lifeboat at Montrose
1805 Rossie Castle completed by Hercules Ross
1809 Bothy system begins to be used in Angus farms
1814 Theatre Royal (in Bridge Street) opened.
1815 Glenskenno added to Langley Park estate Battle: Waterloo 1815
1817 Draining of the Lurgies at west edge of Basin
1818 South Esk leading lights first lit
1820s Whaling Industry reaches its peak George IV 1820
1825 Joseph Johnston begins salmon company in Montrose
1829 Suspension Bridge over South Esk opened


William IV 1830
1833 George Paul Chalmers 1833-1878 (Artist) Abolition of Slavery 1833
1835 Royal Infirmary opens. Windmill Hill, near the port area, removed.


Victoria 1837
1838 Gas Works built, gas light in town. Wet Dock building began, opened 1843
1842 Montrose Museum built
1845 Public Baths built just to west of Suspension Bridge near the Infirmary


Corn Laws repealed 1846
1853 Building began of the new Psychiatric Hospital at Sunnyside. Old buildings sold to War Office for barracks


Crimean War begins 1854


Indian Mutiny 1857
1863 Violet Jacob 1863-1946 (Novelist and poet)
1865 Montrose-Bervie Railway opens
1870 Scurdie Ness Lighthouse first lit (Stevenson)
1876
Melville Gardens opened on 1st September


Education Act 1872


Tay Bridge Disaster 1879
1880 North British Railway South Esk viaduct opens
1883 Montrose-Arbroath railway opened for passenger traffic
1886 Helen Cruickshank 1886-1975 (Poet, political campaigner, civil servant)
1892 Hugh MacDiarmid born in Langholm. (Poet, journalist (see 1921), political activist)
1893 Rossie island bought by Town Council. William Lamb 1893-1951 (Sculptor and artist)
1895 First burial at Sleepyhillock Cemetery. Rossie Island transferred to Montrose Parish from Craig


Boer War begins 1899
1901 Lifeboat Station built Edward VII 1901
1904 Edward Baird 1904-1949 (Artist)
1905 New Public Library opened by Andrew Carnegie.
1906 Fionn MacColla (Thomas J. Douglas MacDonald) 1906-1975 (Teacher, novelist and social commentator)
1910 Rossie and Craig estate split up and sold George V 1910
1911 Ferry motorised
1912 Statue to Robert Burns unveiled by Andrew Carnegie
1913 Aviation base established Upper Dysart. Robert Simpson Silver 1913-1997 (Engineer, research scientist, professor and writer)
1914 Aerodrome established on Links at Broomfield 1st World War 1914-1918
1919 Housing scheme begun on Rossie Island
1921 Hugh MacDiarmid moved to Montrose to become journalist on Montrose Review. (1892-1978) (Poet, journalist, political activist)
1931 New Bridge over South Esk opens
1935 Military Air Station re-established at Broomfield


Edward VIII 1936 Abdicated 1936 George VI 1936


2nd World War 1939-1945
1940s South Esk Ferry ceases
1940 Edwin Scott Luke buys Langley Park. Let to Air Ministry
1947 Redfield Housing Scheme commenced
1949 Reconstruction of Langley Park - Top floor removed
1950 Broomfield closed as a Military Base
1952 Glaxo comes to Montrose Elizabeth II 1952
1954 Brechin Road Housing Scheme commenced
c1955 Newmanswalls House demolished having been burnt pre-war
1957 Rossie Castle razed. Housing begun at Panter Crescent, Borrowfield


America lands man on Moon 1969
1972 Borrowfield Housing Scheme completed, Glaxo Laboratories £2.5 million extension. North channel of South Esk (also known as the Inch Burn) infilled and the Inch Bridge covered for the P&O oil base
1980 House of Dun bequeathed to the National Trust
1981 Montrose Basin declared local Nature Reserve. Wet dock infilled
1984 Ruins of Hedderwick house levelled for safety
1993 Aerodrome Museum opens at Broomfield
1995 Basin Wildlife Centre opened by Scottish Wildlife Trust


New Scottish Parliament 1999
1997
Relief road opens
2004
New Health Centre opens
2006
New Bridge over South Esk opens replacing 1930 concrete bridge

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