Category Archives: Monifieth town

Monifieth 1930 Shops and Businesses

Society Logo

1930`s Shops & Business Premises 1930`s Maule Street & High Street

Maule Street South Side

School House

Monifieth Public School

Junction /South Union Street

Office Thomas Muir Son & Paton ,

Coal merchants House

Farquharson, Plumber.

Winter , Painter & Decorator.

Railway Cottages

Railway Goods Yard.

Railway Station

High Street
J.F. Low . Ironfounders Factory & Ground area of 15 acres.

Junction Reform Street.

High Street continued

Panetta Ice Cream Parlour

G Taylor , Grocer.

Taylor the Grocer
Located on the south side of the High Street c1915

Alhambra Cinema

Junction Wellbank Place

High Street cont:

Junction Tay Street

Henderson Grocer.

Panetta Ice Cream & Confectioners

  1. Craig. Plumber
    F & W Alexander Bakers

Millar, Barber.

Maule Street North Side

Nicoll& Tait Chemist

Misses Stewart. Drapers

Rattray. Barber
Mrs Kermath. Grocer

Tullis . Builder & Joiner

Lane to G Lowson Coal Merchant`s Yard

Maule Street continued:

Burgh Council offices,

Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society

Former Businesses

Mrs Pick`s Haberdashery

Junction North Union Street. High Street.

High Street continued :

North side.

Royal Bank of Scotland

  1. Kinnear Shoe Shop

Robertson. Jeweller & Watchmaker

Gall. Fishmonger

Troup. Chemist

Post Office

Miss Yule confectioner.

Villa Marquisbank

Two Cottages

1. Hay Joiner & Undertaker

J F Low`s Garden Allotments

McLeod . Newagents

Peebles. Bros. Grocers.

Lane to outbuildings for Peebles Bros & R M Mathers Baker

High Street continued:

Mathers Bakers Shop

Gibson . Draper

Mrs Garry, Hairdresser

N Millar, Butcher

High Street continued

South Church Halls

Ross. Painter

Allan , Grocer

Mary Watson , Draper.

Path Leading to Dr Richardson`s House 53 High Street

Sinclair, Ironmonger.

  1. Carr, Grocer

Lane leading to storage for W Carr and Three houses

High Street continues;

W Rew , Butcher.

Morrison, Plumber.

L White , Greengrocer.

Ingram , Baker.

Royal Hotel.

Entrance to Hotel gatage.

Geekie , Butcher

M Taylor Newagent & Confectioner

Monifieth Police Office

JD Forbes Photographer.


Monifieth Almanac – 1882

                     Extracts from Monifieth Almanacs, by David McRae.

Written 1892.


William Craighead of Monifieth

William Craighead, who is mentioned in “A Tragic Tale of Monifieth” was a schoolmaster in Monifieth in the middle of the last century.  His book on Arithmetic was a standard work  in Scotland. It was printed in Dundee, by Galbraith & Co., in 1757 and with one exception—a Catechism for the young, from the same press, published in 1755.—is the earliest known Dundee printed book–. The title is as follows:–ARITHMETIC, in all it`s parts, vulgar and decimal; as also Tables of Coins, Weights and Measures used in different Countries,&c,– by William Craighead, Schoolmaster, Monifieth, –Printed and sold by Henry Galbraith, & Co., MDCCLV11.

The book measured

6 ½ by  4 inches and contains 564 pages.  Although not of much interest in the present day, some of the examples given through the volume probably illustrate, the prices current at the time it was published.  For example, eggs 2d per dozen; raisins 4d & 8d, sugar 11 ½ d ;  tobacco 13s.; Tea 7s 8d  to 16s, Coffee 5s 9d per lb.; oranges 3d each;

hay 4 ¾ d per stone; fine cambric 11s 7d per ell; sailors wages 27s 8d per month., are a few items named.


The work was a standard one may be proved from the Edinburgh edition, published 41 years afterwards, which we have also seen. It is entitled:—– Nicholson`s edition of Craighead`s Arithmetic, carefully revised and corrected, Edinburgh, 1798.


Craighead says, at page 540 of his book,” I intend very soon to publish a complete treatise on mensuration”.

We  have seen the  following::— The Merchant`s  Companion, after a new method, calculated by W.C. , Schoolmaster, Monefieth,, Dundee , printed by H Galbraith & Co.,MDCCLX1.   This was a forerunner of numerous other “Calculators” printed in Dundee up to 1820.





Written 1894


The Lich-Wake At Monifieth


(The following is a version of the story which appeared shortly after  it occurred.)


A Tricky Parish Schoolmaster.


The Public School now standing at Monifieth was erected in 1878 and took the place of the old building in which towards the end of the last century, Mr William Craighead, presided as Schoolmaster. This was the Mr William Craighead whose popular handbook  of arithmetic  was , sometime after the occurrences here set down., in such great request for school purposes.

Mr Craighead was, at the time, was referred to as a young man, and one of much livelier tendencies than, no doubt, many of the strictly sober bodies of Monifeth considered strictly consistent with `the dignity of a parish schoolmaster`. Practical jokes of a pronounced character were frequently played at Monifieth, and a popular suspicion, was not always wrong in ascribing them to Craighead.  The custom of the “lich-wake”, corresponding largely with the surviving Irish custom of wakening the dead, had not yet died out in Scotland, and in Monifieth was frequently practiced. Scholars tell us that these ceremonies were of Saxon origin, the name being derived from the Saxon words lic, a corpse, and woecan, to sit awake.  Now, it chanced upon that, the death of a substantial farmer, in the neighbourhood, a large number of his late acquaintences were invited to the lich-wake, and among them were Craighead and Andrew Saunders, an intimate companion of his, and confederate in more than one of his youthful frolics. The similarity in the personal appearance of the Andrew Saunders and that of the dead farmer, had more than once been noticed, and this suggested to Craighead a practical joke of a rather grim nature, which after consultation between the two friends, was ultimately agreed upon.  A shroud was to be procured, and Saunders was to don it; then, after means had been found to attract the company temporarily into another room, the corpse was to be removed to an outhouse and Saunders was to take it`s place.  Then when all had returned and the opportunity seemed fitting, Craighead was to sneeze twice, and at this signal, the `supposed` corpse was to rise and the fun was to consist of the terror which their friends would exhibit.

The evening came , and all the preliminaries to this piece of humour were successfully gone through. A chest was suddenly discovered in another part of the house, standing in it`s wrong place, in the middle of the room, and apparently so heavy that nobody could move it.  The whole company adjourned to the room where this chest was, in order to try, one after  another, to lift or move it, and the whole company failed, which was not very surprising , considering that it had been carefully screwed to the floor.  After a time , the lid was burst open, and the difficulty discovered, and the general opinion at once pointed to the perpetrator of the joke as that daft hempie, Wullie Craighead, without , however, a suspicion that the ruse had any intention beyond it`s own perpetration.  Everyone returned to the watching room where, during their absence, Andrew Saunders had emerged from another passage, and after dragging the corpse to his own lurking place, had taken it`s place on the bed, shrouded.

Craighead made his way round to where the corpse lay upon the floor in a side passage, and, first carefully reconnoitering to make perfectly sure he was not being watched, conveyed it to an open outhouse. There was straw in the outhouse, and this Craighead disposed suitably, and stretched the body upon it. Returning he found the key had been carelessly left in the padlock, so, after locking the door, he pocketed this key in case of inquisitiveness on the part of anybody coming near the spot.  This done he innocently strolled back into the death chamber, and was quite unsuspected by the assembly.  The assembly, indeed, was devoting itself with great singleness of purpose to whisky, and paying small attention to the occasion of the ceremony.  Perfect decorum and quietness, however, as was customary prevailed.

“It`s a sad okeeshun, a very sad okeeshun,” said the miller, reaching for the bottle, “and it`s proper contemplation calls for a speeshul stimulus” and he took it.

“ It`s no sae sad as it micht be” said another, “ wi` neither wife nor bairns tae greet.”

They forgot the dead man`s little sister who was hidden in her little bedroom exhausted with weeping.

“Thankee Mr Christie: I`ll just trouble you for the spiritual stimulus,” said Craighead, addressing the miller. “I was reading the other day,” he added, for the information of the company in general, “ a rather singular account of a supposed temporary revivification of a corpse. The corpse got up in bed and reached for the whisky.”

“ It`s a sad, very sad okeeshun,” repeated the miller, gaxing sternly at Craighead as he handed him the liquor, “and ill-suited for sic gowk tales.”

“Matter of special interest, it seemed to me,” replied the schoolmaster;” interesting just now, particularly, and—- tichow! tichow!” he sneezed twice with violence.

No sign of movement from the bed. This was strange. He must not have heard. Craighead concluded that the sneezes had sounded too genuine and unintentional. He determined to repeat them presently, less naturally and more expressively. He guests continued looking at one another. Presently Craighead sneezed again twice, looking towards the bed as he did so.  No sign, no sound, no movement there.

What could be wrong? Surely, surely, his friend could not have fallen sleep in such a situation as that, in a shroud, lying in the bed from which the corpse he was personating had just been dragged?.  It was impossible. Yet there he lay— motionless, calm, and pale, like the body itself. Craighead felt indefinably uncomfortable and uneasy as he looked at him.  Why didn`t he get up?

“Ye`ve sair fits o` sneezing the nicht , neebor,” remarked the miller, looking at Craighead curiously.

Still gazing at his friend in the bed, Craighead indistinctly murmured something about having a cold. Then he felt cold indeed, with cold perspiration. Surely Andrew was not so pale as that when he had left him in the passage, nor his lips so white?. Perhaps he was ill. Forgetting the plot entirely, he crossed hurriedly to the bed and laid his hand on his friend`s shoulder. Then suddenly turning paler than the other, he thrust his hand beneath the breast of the shroud. His companions looked at him and at one another in astonishment. Wullie Craighead with all his gaiety, had the name of a sober man; but here he was tearing back the bed clothes off a dead body and crying like one demented.  “Bring some water, quick, quick! Or whisky, or anything He`s dying man, I tell ye, or dead!, It`s Saunders; it`s Andy Saunders!” And there sure enough as he tore the shroud away,  were seen beneath it the everyday clothes of Andrew Saunders. “What deil`s  riggs  are ye at noo Wullie Craighead?” and every man started to his feet and made for the bed. And there, in his well known suit of hodden, with the rags of the torn shroud hanging about his neck and shoulders , lay Andrew Saunders  dead!.- For some time no word could be got from William Craighead, as he sad on the bed dazed and stupid.  Then in response to repeated demands, he explained the ghastly joke in a few words. Meantime the doctor had arrived and pronounced no doubt of Saunder`s death. Then there arose an enquiry as to where the other body had been concealed, and Craighead, whose stupefication had given way to wild remorse, and self reproach, accompanied by the miller to the outhouse to bring it in.  A stable lantern was lit, and the padlock, which worked, rather stiffly, was unlocked with difficulty by means of the key which Craighead had retained.  They entered the hothouse, and there found— nothing but straw! The body had gone!.

The outhouse had no window, and no other outlet whatever beside the door, which they found securely padlocked. Craighead was certain this was, and no other outhouse, was the one in which the body had been placed ; and indeed no , none of the others were provided with a similar lock. And in the corner he recognized the disposition of the straw, which lay just as he had spread it to receive the body.  Entirely overwhelmed, he wandered aimlessly about the premises.  The rest of the party made a thorough search, but without discovering a trace of the missing body, and every man most solemnly declared  that he knew nothing whatever of the removal.  Presently, in turning into a door of the house, Craighead met the little sister.  She had heard vaguely of something of what he had done, and fled from him faintly screaming.  Crazed and maddened , he rushed from the place.  All that night he wandered over the country side, he knew not where.  Rain fell upon his bare head and drenched him through, but he knew it not.  Day broke , the sun rose and declined, and still William Craighead wandered over the adjacent country demented—- searching for a corpse that he told them had addressed him; looking for a dead man in his shroud.   Four days and nights he roamed the neighbourhood, an object of pity and fear to the inhabitants, without rest and without sleep.  Then a party went after him and, after telling him their news, fetched him with them quietly, and William Craighead returned to his school and regular duties, and lived ever after saddened and sober life.  For the body had been found in a field among brooks of Tealing, six miles or more from Monifieth, lying unruffled and apparently undisturbed in it`s shroud, just as it had lain upon the bed; and was carried away and decently buried.

But how it came where it was found no man ever knew.


Monifieth Heritage Centre


There has always been a problem in Monifieth finding accommodation for meetings.

It was the reason why MLHS initially, in 2004, leased the premises at 55  High Street, which resulting from donations of items  etc by members of the community developed into  Monifieth House of Memories / Heritage Centre.

One of the main attractions by the MLHS, and a valid reason for the lease application for the former Angus Access Office being the anti rooms, which not only would allow setting up for research etc, but also have available meeting space for other discussion / learning groups..

Monifieth residents are accustomed to travelling out with the town to find services on offer to those in other Angus towns.



As you can see from this years books we need support in our venture.

Balance sheet 31st October 2017


Should we be successful with our Lease Application for the Angus Access Office, and I sincerely hope we are, then we must start getting into place formal plans for the management of a Monifieth Community Heritage Centre. Please note that the key word is Community, which means that they would be required to play a much more active part in supporting the ambitious project. We the Monifieth Local History Society will continue as we have done for 14 years to promote the Monifieth Heritage story, however, we will only be part of the Heritage Centre  giving our support .
The proposed Heritage Centre will not only attract more  visitors to Monifieth, it will help `town centre regeneration`, something very badly lacking at present, for all High Street businesses. Monifieth would be moving up the ladder, on the tourist trail, catching all the visitors in the area, due to the opening of the  V & A, more  cruise liners docking at Dundee.
A Heritage Centre Management Committee will need to be established from those who are willing to become involved. Can we state now that this is something which should not only be undertaken by the “Golden Oldies / Senior Citizens” but those with ambitions and committment to preserving the not only the heritage , but the community of Monifieth, which is rapidly becoming a Dundee dormitory.

Monifieth in 1918

Monifieth in 1918,   by Mhairi Pyott


As one with an interest in local history, and generated by the rapid changes taking place in what by choice is my home town of Monifieth, my search for information produced some fascinating details of life in the Angus burgh in 1918.


Businesses on the High Street flourished, with a Bank ,Confectioner & Fancy Goods, Bakers. Butchers , Post Office and Circulating Library.


Alexander Troup. Chemist.



The Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society, ( Monifieth Branch) at 7 High Street, advertising “ “Nothing but the Highest Quality of Goods kept in stock” Members Dividend 3/2d in the £.

Membership cost 1/3d”

Eastern Coop


At 51 High Street, W.K. Nicoll . Fancy  Draper, offered a vast selection of Ladies , Gents and children`s wear.  Also an agent for Pullars of Perth, Cleaning and dyeing services.


At the corner of Union Street and Maule Street,

The West End Drapery Store, where Mrs Walker always had on hand a first class selection of Drapery Goods. Ladies, and Gents underclothing made to order. Children`s garments a speciality.

Machine made stockings and socks, any size; Paton`s wool only used.

Babies shawls, Jackets, Bootees, Hoods and hats, all hand made. Best quality guaranteed.


H K Sinclair, High Street, General Ironmonger.

Electro-plated goods, and cutler. Agent for Anglo American Petroleum Oil, Garden seeds etc.


Over fiftyone shops listed . Giving employment to over 160 people.


The Royal Hotel, offered Comfortable and Airy bedrooms, for moderate charges.

The owner George Stewart wished to inform the public that he has on hand a large stock of Fine Old Whiskies, well matured.

Parties wishing a glass of cool beer can always rely on getting it in Sparkling Condition at the “Royal”.


The participants could have used the popular transport services of   Monifieth to Dundee Tram Co., which operated throughout the day from 8am, between Dundee High Street and the terminus beside the Royal Hotel.

Monifieth, Dundee Tram Company

Established in 1905, had later due to popularity and public demand extended the line further to a terminus at the High Street Tay Street junction.

Including car drivers, conductors and others engaged at the offices and power station at Milton, there were over forty people employed in carrying on the service, the majority of whom resided in Monifieth,

Mr Daniel Fisher was the Manager.


Many residents of the time who worked out with the town, favoured travelling by the excellent rail service, which created a busy scene at the Monifieth Station, with a ticket/ booking hall, and up and down line platforms, waiting rooms etc. The  Station master John Gilles in charge,  was described as being ever alert, happy and with the knack of inspiring his staff with a like spirit.

Nine people employed on station duty, where “from early morn there is a scene of busy industry.”


Many employees of the Monifieth “Foundry by the Sea” ( JF Low & Co.), and Low & Duff Brassfounders , Albert Works,  were not residents of the town and were regular users of these modes of transport.


With the majority of local men `away to war` the women of the area became the foundry workers, along with the running of other various essential services.

Perhaps residents with a little time to spare, made a visit to the Cinema, which also served as a location for local drama group performances..

Despite the war still on going there was social interaction between the residents who were members of leisure and sporting organisations.

The Gerard Hall was used as a temporary Military Hospital, which meant that many activities took place in the other Church Halls.


The Ministers being :

Monifieth Parish Church, Rev D D McLaren.

Monifieth United Free Church ,Rev Crawford Smith

Panmure United Free Church, Rev Harry Law

Scottish Episcopal Church.

Services listed as the same time as other churches, with times for Holy Communion.

Secretary : Charles Nicholson, 9 Durham Gardens.

St Brides, R. C Church , Brook Street. Sunday Service 10am,

Guild meeting and evening service once a month.


Among the various groups and organisations are listed;

The Rifle Club.

In 1912 an indoor Rifle Range was fully equipped and “under the careful guidance of Major Vair, and other enthusiasts continue to do good work”


The Literary Society. “An excellent service in cultivating the intellectual and social facilities of the  members.”


Monifieth Liberal Association : “The Unionist Club, comfortably quartered, work quietly to propagate the principles for which it is established.”



Various Golf Clubs, Bowling, Tennis, Aquatic, Football, Cricket, Quoiting, and other outdoor sports “Recreations have increased in number, tending to improve the health and social environment of their members.”


Musical Society ( ? Singers)

Monifieth Musical Association,

Monifieth Orchestra performed in the South UF Hall


Panmure Lodge Loyal Order Ancient Shepherds, William Low.


Secretary Monifieth Golf Links Committee : James Young, Etona, Durham Street.


Masonic Lodge Grange






Monifieth School Board


Chairman Rev Crawford Smith; Members, Rev D D McLaren, David Low, George Galloway, J M Wilson, Alexander S Troup, William M Bell, Clerk; David Gowans. Treasurer James Fenton. Headmaster John Malcolm. FSA (Scot.) .

Headmaster Mattocks School; Alexander Inglis.



Monifieth Public School

Provided education for local children from 5years until the official school leaving age.

Provision of further education was not available within the Burgh and meant travelling to Grove Academy in Broughty  Ferry, or alternatively Arbroath or Dundee.

Public School Monifieth


Monifieth Town Council

Chief Magistrate , Provost Maiden; Senior Bailie, T Hannigan; Senior Bailie , David Band;

Councillors : J k Doig; J.M. Rattray; Wm Crooks; Wm Robb; Town Clerk , James Fenton;

Town Chamberlain, David Gowans; Burgh Surveyor, Charles A McKenzie;

Procurator- Fiscal, A Burns Petrie.


Medical Practitioner, Dr Richardson, Hillbank.


Gerard Cottage Hospital : Matron Miss McIntosh.

Monifieth Police Station.

Police Sergeant Brown & Constable Riddoch.


Gas Works Manager Jas. D Luck.


The estimated population approximately 4000.



David McRae, local journalist and publisher wrote ;


“ The year of peace is passing into the limbo of the long calendar of our history.

Up to July it was a period of anxiety for our Army, which has for months been opposed by overwhelming odds.

Even since then it has been a time of sorrow for many households in all parts of the British Empire.

Though we felt the surge of triumph in our blood, there was up to the last moment continued solicitude

for our brave lads who were facing the unscrupulous foe.

When the joy bells rang they had also peal of pathos.

There were so many with sad hearts on 11th November, for the brave lads who had fallen.


It has been rightly said that we have been fighting not merely in redemption of promises, nor to bring

to the ordeal of battle, but to preserve the well being of the civilised world from monstrous evil.


Monifieth did uphold the men at the front, and to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded.

No place of its size could have done more.

Our efforts to raise funds for the various organisations have invariably been successful.

In all that has been done our women have played a noble part; they have worked with

a will day in and day out.

We have reason to be proud of how they have all carried on so successfully.


There have been many flag days and other means to raise funds by different societies and clubs, in the

Burgh, but the garden fete and free gift sale at Tighnagarh, the residence of Mr & Mrs John Nicoll,

was the crowning effort of the year, and resulted in a sum received far beyond expectations.


No triumph however great will compensate us for the brave lads who have fallen


So be it, God will reward them and us for the Calvary through which we have passed, and their

country will surely engrave their names on a scroll of honour as a lasting memorial of their devotion

and sacrifice.”



Monifieth still remembers them.


The passing of one hundred years has brought many changes to Monifieth,

Whether those changes are for the better or worse I cannot judge.

We can learn from the past.

Monifieth`s Heritage is certainly worth preserving for the future generations



I can understand why those similar to myself choose to make it their `home town, creating what can only be described as a population explosion.


There is still a village atmosphere, where people are friendly, and a vibrant community spirit still exists.


What will be written about Monifieth 2018, in 2118 ?


























































President’s Report September – Become a Friend

Friday 8th September 2017.

We are depleted in numbers due to the illness, of Alex Bell, our Vice President, and Doris Bayne, our Treasurer.

Their invaluable work as Society volunteers, I feel should be recognised by nomination for Honorary Membership, with the wish to see them soon back in good health . Seems as though the summer is over and we are now planning for the Autumn months. We should feel some sense of achievement in the fact that after 17 years since the formation of the group, we are still very active and contributing a much welcomed service to the community at large.

Monifieth, unlike other Angus towns, being bereft of some services provided by the Angus Council Administration, is dependent on voluntary organisations to preserve and encourage the sense of community. Monifieth Local History Society’s objective in preserving the Heritage of the local area. The success of our work, can perhaps be gauged by the House of Memories, and Website, both being very active for over 13 year, and yet still creating much interest.

The financing of both has over the years been graphically ‘peaks & troughs’, and causing many sleepless hours for those associated with fundraising. However, we are still here and operational, thanks to the generosity of the local community, Angus Council Community Funding, and the initiative of our volunteer fundraisers. We still survive. The Future requires us to consider, even re-consider ideas old and new, to maintain and improve our objectives. We do have some feedback from those who attended our recent talk “Monifieth’s Disappearing Heritage”, for example; Friends of the House of Memories. Those who are prepared to sign up as interested in supporting our work, without the necessity of becoming ‘paid up ‘ members.


One final suggestion, with the approach of the ‘cooler autumn days’, the ’55’ volunteers, bring out their woollens for warmth.( Energy prices are rising) Thank you all for your commitment and hard work.


The Monifieth Local History Society was formed in September 2000 under the patronage of Lord George Thomson, of Monifieth, by a number of people interested in researching, recording, and promoting the social and industrial past of the ancient community of Monifieth.

The main objective of the Societybeing to create an awareness of the many historic happenings, and events connected with the Burgh, locally, nationally and internationally.

Learned historians have recorded that in pre-historic times , the only collection of human dwellings, in what we now call Scotland, were at Laws, Ardestie and Ardownie sometime around 3000BC.

The development over 5000 years to the present day has resulted in a community spirit, which is caring, vibrant, and very much concerned with the future of how their home own will evolve.

The Society’s work will hopefully convey the innermost feelings of the people of Monifieth past and present.

The future is unpredictable, however, with the experience of a community surviving for 5000 years, we believe Monifieth’s residents will look forward with future generations considering it to be ” The Best Place to call Home ”

Ardestie Earth House

Ardestie Earth House

As sure as the sun, has arisen and set for thousands of years the Dighty flows into the Tay beside the place where many have been proud to call home.

To others it is known as Monifieth

Heritage Walk – Two

Monifieth South Church, Queen Street, Hill Street, Albert Street, Durham Street, Grange Road, Paradise

Our walk starts at the junction of Church Street and Hill Street, beside the once grand entrance to Seaview House. On our right at the lower end of Queen street stands the Monifieth South Church.

South Church

South Church

We have already learned of the twists and turns of the congregations of Monifieth churches which were involved in the troubles from 1843. You may recall the  story of Rev Samuel Millar who ‘left his manse, stipend and kirk’ for his principled beliefs, the formation of the Monifieth North Kirk at Hillocks, at the parish boundary with Kingennie, then the 1869 application for a ‘preaching station’ within the village.

Hillock Kirk c1910

Hillock Kirk c1910

Consequently in 1872 for £1000 and ‘free manual labour’ by the then congregation  in a more simple form than the present day ornate construction, the Monifieth South Church was built. Perhaps the economies of past parishioners is reflected in the recording of ‘purchased from a shipyard, at a cost of £3, a bell to he placed in the belfry’. The first wooden tower to house the bell was blown down in a severe gale. The present magnificent tower to house the bell, was the replacement erected at the same time as a gallery was installed within the main church building in 1884. The Manse which is to be found within the ‘glebe’ in Queen Street, was built in 1874. The money was raised for these modifications by the Congregation who held fund raising efforts, which included a bazaar held in the Kinnaird Hall, in Dundee. Recent celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the formation of Monifieth South Church, reflected the dedication of the congregation, some descended from families who followed their minister Rev Millar for the ‘freedom of the Kirk’. Only a few yards from St Rules the Parish Kirk with ‘the split now resolved, there are good relations between both. Monifieth can boast that there are indeed ‘good relations between all the differing places of worship of varying religious beliefs within the burgh and most community events within any of the local church halls are non- denominational’.

Within Queen Street and beyond the South Church Manse is a small housing estate within the grounds of Tighnduin House. Old maps show that this was the property of one of the Gilroy family, the owners of one of the largest textile manufacturing factories in Dundee. Their premises, which employed well over one thousand workers, can still be seen in the city’s Ward Road, of course redeveloped for other businesses. We return back down towards Hill Street, noting the Seaview Primary School playing fields where once there was a street known as Glebe Street, connecting Queen and Victoria Streets.

Monifieth perhaps with their removal of a street name indirectly separated a Queen from her crown!. We proceed along Hill Street in the direction of the thoroughfare named after Victoria’s consort, namely Albert Street. When we are almost at the junction, an ornate lampost can be seen outside what was the former home of one of Monifieth’s most respected Provosts. It was customary to erect a light outside the local dignitaries homes as a sign of recognition and respect of the high office held. Although there are dwellings on either side, the six foot high boundary wall of Monifieth House can still be recognised. Monffieth House Hotel as it is now, but affectionately known to all locals as the ‘Guestie’ was the family home of the Lyell family, the brothers James C Lyell and Charles Lyell, who first introduced jute spinning to Monifieth in  1873 at what was later to become Low & Duff’s foundry. Adjoining the Guestie’ in Albert Street, is the private Monifieth bowling club, reputedly on of the best in Tayside. You can also find a street named Fonstane after the mysterious block of stone, which has for centuries roused curiosity and questions as to its origins. Although we are in the vicinity of the road named Paradise and houses built on what was fields referred to by this illustrious name, we have still some distance to cover before we reach our destination.

We will walk along Durham Street, named after the historic family of Grange and surrounding estates of Ethiebeaton, Ardownie, Omachie, Pitkerro and Easter Powrie.

Durham Street

Durham Street

In 1534 john Durham, second son of the seventh Durham , laird of Grange bought one third of the estate of Pitkerro, from James Scrimgeour, Constable of Dundee. Alexander Durham, the third laird of Pitkerro served James VI of Scotland and 1st of Great Britain as Silversmith and Marshal. His son James Durham became James VI & 1st’s cashier and Clerk of Exchequer. The Durham’s of Monifieth district certainly a legacy of historical interest to those who would wish to read their story. Most of the villa’s built in the street named in celebration of their feats were built by and locally known as the ‘Syndicate Houses’. Local tradesmen formed a building syndicate and made a combined effort both in labour and financial costs to erect desirable properties for sale to private individuals. The houses are a credit to their inspired business sense and excellent craftsmanship.

After crossing Bank Street, where can be seen the excellent houses built with council funds, immediately post Second World War, for rent by natives of the burgh, we approach the junction with Grange Road

Seven Arches

Seven Arches

Before us we can see the Monifieth High School built beside the Seven Arches and Panmure fields where the bleaching was carried out in bygone days. We can also trace the wanderings of the Dighty burn which provided power for so many industries by its banks. The Dighty Water starts it’s journey to the sea rising in the Lochs of Lundie. Throughout it’s meanderings it is fed by many smaller tributaries one of which being the Lammerton burn which marks the boundary between Dundee and Murroes. We have already visited the part where it passes from the Linlathen estate beside the ‘Cauld Water Wellie’, then on from the den, under the Dundee to Arbroath Road to Balmossie Mill, then past the place of the ancient chapel of Eglismonichty, under the Seven Arches. Near to this spot legend would have us believe there is a deep pool, many years ago known as Rob’s Pool’. The story relates how a farm worker when ploughing a field nearby, fell into the ‘hole’ and disappeared with the plough. Perhaps this tale has some connection with the unfortunate death of Robert Easson, the miller from nearby Balmossie Mill, who fell into the dam and was drowned in May 1898. Superstition then being that the pool was bottomless. Despite its picturesque appearance the Dighty water is not to be misjudged having been the cause of several people losing their lives through accidental drowning.

Balmossie Bridge

Balmossie Bridge

As we climb up the hilly’ ascent of Grange road we observe on our left Milton House Hotel

The Milton

The Milton

History tells us that this is one of the oldest residences in the burgh. Formerly named Grange cottage it was refurbished in 1912, by the then owner Thomas Anderson, when the crow stepped gables were added giving it the appearance of a Scottish baronial Residence. Previously a mill was to be found nearby. In 1890 the ‘little’ mill which had been a very busy place was becoming ruinous and a short time later required to be demolished. Spinning and several other industries over the previous years had been carried out here. Grange cottage, as if was then known, was the mill owners house.

Burnside Milton

Burnside Milton

On the high ground behind the cottage were several workmen’s houses. The last noted carrying on a business within the ‘little’ mill was John Watson, who produced wooden ware and household utensils, such as ladles, bowls and brose cups. Certainly the meals provided by the present day hotel are far removed from the meat and milk staple diets of the past. Perhaps the previous occupants of the two older typical farm cottages on our right would have been more acquainted with the porridge, brose and bannocks regime. At one time surrounded by farmland and green fields they must have indeed been worthy of their name Paradise Cottages. This given name Paradise was quite popular throughout Scotland, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to denote an area of ground which had been enclosed and planted. Enjoy the spectacular view while at the same time pin pointing places of interest seen on our trails. Hopefully something has been learned of Monifieth, its history, industries and most of all its people. If not then being in the fresh sea air can only have been of benefit to your health, walking where once was only sheep roads and rabbits burrows’. Reconsider now, in your opinion is Monifieth the ‘hill of the stag’ or is it a ‘monks land or Holy place’?. Certainly within its boundaries things have grown and blossomed, perhaps as our forefathers named their fertile ground they may have been more accurate by naming the burgh Paradise.known-as-monifieth



Monifieth Traders long ago

Not quite sure of the dates but thought it may prompt some memories.

Please write in if you have any information to add to the advertising.



Monifieth and its Amenities – 1889



As a seaside summer resort there arc few places more favoured than Monifieth. It possesses many of the advantages which are most valued both in watering places and inland re­treats. While enjoying the bracing breezes from the German Ocean, it is sufficiently sheltered by bent hills and a delightful stretch of downs, the eastern wind being tempered by the heat of the grassy slopes over which it passes.

Again if we look to the sea, Nature has also been gracious to Monifieth. Safe, pleasant, and ample accommodation is found for bathing purposes.

Monifieth Beach

Monifieth Beach

Those who love fishing may en­joy themselves to the top of their bent.

To the west of the railway station, and south of the line, there is in their season a very paradise of wild roses, where children may play all day long, while those who appreciate rural walks can have them to their heart’s content.

The line rising ground up from the village would hold many excellent residences, commanding a rare sea view, and receiving the healthful airs from the Firth of Tay.

If to these attract­ions are added those presented by a magnificent golfing ground it will be found that Monifieth is a place whose natural advant­ages has not been stinted.

Golfers 1890's

Golfers 1890’s

at the tee

at the tee













Builders have begun to realise this and scores of cottages have been erected in the village which promises soon to compete, as a summer resort, with larger places east and west of it.

Rambles Round Monifieth


Rambles Round Monifieth




This is a neatly got up pamphlet, and contains interesting sketches of place in and around Monifieth, with several illustrations which will make it of special value to all who are connected with the district. — “People’s Journal.”

The sketches about Monifieth and its neighbourhood embrace notices of the antiquities and later recollections of the district, as well as of its mansions and topography generally. They form an interesting little book.-“Arbroath Guide.’

This is a delightful little local history, showing careful and wide research It is arranged with fine literary taste, and in small compass gives much valuable and interesting information, flavoured with racy anecdotes of the olden time It will be found very useful to strangers as an intelligent and pleasing guide to places of historic interest throughout the district.–“Brechin Advertiser”.


Summer Day Rambles

Being a continuation of

Rambles Round Monifieth


Contains descriptive papers on Broughty Ferry, Pitkerrow, Duntrune, Barry and East Haven, and a number of other places within a four mile radius Monifieth.   A useful and pleasant little book.- -“People’s Friend.”

The antiquities of the district seem to have special attraction for the author and he writes of them, not in the rusty creaking style so often adopted, but with living interest and in animated phrase. — “Arbroath Herald.”


Monifieth: Its Antiquity

And Historical Associations

This pamphlet contains the following illustrations, accompanied with letterpress descriptions:—High Street, Monifieth; Grange House; Monifieth from the Railway Station; Woodhill House Grange Cottage and Ruins of the Little Mill; Balmossie Railway Bridge ; Milton of Monifieth ; the Sunday School Hall ; Monifieth from the South-West. Besides the above it also contain a series of articles on topics of interest to those resident in the district, extracts from which will be found in this issue of the Almanac.

Note—Either of the above sent, post free, to any address for 3d in stamps; or the three can be had neatly bound in one volume, cloth, gold lettered, price 1s 4d. As the editions are nearly exhausted —only six copies of the second one being left—and as they will not he reprinted early application is necessary.

DAVID MACRAE, Bookseller Monifieth.

Monifieth a Pictish Centre

By Mhairi Pyott


On the few brochures I have seen with reference to Monifieth, it is inevitably described as having been an important Pictish Centre.

This prompted me to question where was this factual information recorded. Had someone gathered all the facts, collated them into some form of essay or manuscript?  If there is such a document then I have still to locate it.  Of course this comes as no great surprise as the history of what we now know as the Angus town of Monifieth has very few written historical records of its existence or industrial and social community development .

I considered that the best place to seek out the necessary information and evidence was to start right at the beginning

Who were the Picts?

Where did they come from?

What was their lifestyle?

What happened to them?

Was Monifieth a centre of Pictish activity?

The Picts left no written records in fact there is no definite conclusion as to the language spoken by them. Records were made regarding these `people’, however, they were written by the Romans & the Irish, some, centuries after the events. Unfortunately enemies do not always record the true pictures or record of events. This means that what one reads in books and papers can be fact or fiction depending on the honesty and reliability of the information source. Like a complicated word puzzle formed by linking together various myths and stories then perhaps we might uncover some answers to our questions.As further confirmation to the findings of the written word, we could where possible, examine any physical evidence available today.

Who were the Picts

The Picts have captured everyone`s imagination, unlike any other ancient people. They have been described as mysterious, sun worshipping naked warriors, who covered their bodies with tattoos. For nearly 500 years they dominated northern Britain remaining free and unconquered beyond the borders of the Roman World. They represent a Celtic civilization who were the first barbarians to form a recognisable nation. They were the first Celtic speaking group which dominated Britain, Ireland and central Europe. This explains the unusual customs: their provinces were inherited through the female line, the new Queen taking a male consort for marriage and defence, generally from outside the community.Their weapons, forts, social organizations, marriage customs and clothing were not so radically different from those of other communities who occupied Britain. The Picts were not a race, although they might have briefly been a nation.

Where did they come from?

At the end of the last ice age around ten thousand years ago, what we know as the land mass of Scotland and England was joined to mainland Europe. A few wandering tribes of nomadic people migrated to areas, where the ice had receded, leaving them free to hunt and fish. Some of these tribes were short, with black hair and dark skin from where we today know as the Iberian Peninsula. Others from the Scandanavian countries with fair hair & blue eyes, they fit what was described as Pictish characteristic features. A few sturdy people with red hair and blue eyes similar to the Irish were described as Pictish warriors. These facts give us no clear picture of their physical characteristics.

It is said that similar to the people of today they had their own aspirations in music and the art, forecasting, weather and very knowledgeable in the use of herbal medicine. They were extremely artistic and very skilled in the use of tools, making jewellery and sculptured stones. 

It has been written in `Historia Norwegia` a Scandinavian text of the thirteenth century: These islands were first inhabited by the Picts and Papae. Of these , the one race, the Picts , little exceeded pigmies in stature. They did marvels in the mornings and evenings, in building walled towns but by midday they entirely lost all their strength and lurked through fear in little underground houses.

The Papae were Celtic priests , specifically all monks and hermits who made their dwellings on remote isles around the coast of Scotland. The walled towns are most probably Brochs and the underground houses  Souterrains. It could be that the Pictish tribes were exactly similar to the present   population of Scotland. Migration continued over the centuries with the `hunters, gatherers` gradually settling in one district where they began to clear ground for growing a few crops and raising domestic animals.

Eight thousand years ago following a massive `land slip` the North Sea was formed and Britain became an Island. This tsunami type event meant that the only method of migration to or from the island was by boat. 

Irish legend and Pictish mythology has it`Cruithne son of Cinge, the father of the Picts reigned for 100 years. He had seven sons, whose names were Fib, Fidach, Fotlaig, Fortrenn, Cait, Ce and Circinn.`

Cat ruled for twelve years the area Caithness, Sutherland, WestHighlands, Northern and Western Islands. Fidach for forty years ruled Moray, Nairn and Ross. Ce ruled for fifteen years Banff Buchan and parts of Aberdeenshire. Fotlaig ruled for thirty years Athol, & Gowrie.  Circinn ruled for sixty years over Angus and the Mearns. Fortrenn ruled for over seventy years Strathearn and Menteith. Fib ruled for twenty four years over Fife and Kinross.

This legend indicates that there were various groups of Picts under their own leaders or `Kings`. This description was, of a nation formed by different groups and tribes or as they much later became known as clans.

A similar comparison would be the manner in which reference is made to the native inhabitants of North America as being `Red Indians` when we know that there were Apache, Sioux , Blackfeet and Cheyenne, with many others forming the North American Indian nation or the Maori and Aborigines of Australasia.

 Until the Roman invasion the various tribes were collectively named `Cruithne` by the Irish, which is probably more accurate than Pictii or `painted ones` recorded by the Roman Eumenius in 297AD. Did they paint their skin in times of battle for recognition or as `war paint`, again similar to the Indians or other tribal warriors?

In the third century there were several more tribes noted in what is now Scotland, Maeatae, Caledonii, Taezli, Venicones.

Our main interest lies in Southern Pictland and the areas at one time ruled by Circinn, Fortrenn and Fib. Monifieth was part of South Pictland which extended from the Forth to the Grampians. What is known of the Picts in the early part of history as recorded by learned historians, in the age when the population of what is now Scotland, was around 250 people, the only collection of human`s dwellings was at Ardestie, Monifieth.


St Ninian was the first missionary to visit South Pictland, at the start of the fifth century. His people `conversions` to Christianity were short lived, with a return to paganism — the worship of the sun, moon, water, air, day & night, sea, land , rain clouds and wind.

The priests were Druids, which means `wise men`. Over 150 years later Columba overcame the pagan worship. In 563AD he had crossed from Ireland to Iona to form his Christian settlement.  At Inverness in 565AD he converted King Brude, of the Picts to Christianity. Eventually his mission brought him to the banks of the River Tay. One of his reputed followers the so called St Rule or Regulas.

St Rules pre-1902

St Rules pre-1902

The existing parish Church of Monifieth, StRules, erected in 1812, is built on the site of former places of worship certainly since the year 574 AD and reputedly even earlier. From the around the 8th century a Culdee settlement was formed in Monifieth. These religious monks , of Irish extraction name Ceil De or `men of God` were monastic brothers who served the poor.  Although permitted to marry they retreated to what was the solitude of `beehive type cells` for prayer.

Unlike the Roman belief of the Christian gospels and the teachings of St Peter this Celtic religion was based on the worship of St Andrew`s gospel. St Rule the said follower of Columba has had his name given to the Monifieth parish Church and the Tower within the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral. One legend credits Rule with involvement in the relics of our patron Saint being brought from Patras in Greece to Scotland. On the hazardous journey, which if it is accurate, in Rules being in the accompanying party,  must have lasted about three hundred years .It has been written that another of the accompanying guardians was St Bridget , while others have stated it was St Catherine, both reputedly have historic connections with the local area.

The Celtic church in Monifieth survived much longer than in other areas, as records show it still existed into the twelfth century.


 King Hungas of the Picts, who reigned 729-761 AD  , had three sons, who were met by `men of the Church` custodians of the St. Andrews relics ( several bones), at Forteviot, where they gifted a tenth part of Forteviot to God & St Andrew. The group then  set forth to meet the King at what today is known as Balmossie, it was then called Moneclatu, where there was a Royal Hall. Moneclatu was later renamed as Monichi— or Holy Place. A church was built at Monichi and dedicated to St Andrew. This was sited at the place where the relics had been placed while resting from the journey. It was named Eglismonichty   — Church of the Holy Place.    

The relics of St Andrew were brought to Pictland about 730 AD and it is significant that King Hungas made in 736AD an endowment of land directly associated with St Andrew at Kilrymont for the erection of a Church and oratories. In token of this gift King Hungas in the presence of nobles and church dignitaries took a turf and laid it as an offering on the altar of St Andrew.

Queen Fichem, wife of Hungas was delivered of a daughter Mouren, who later died. She was buried at Kilrymont in consecrated ground. The first to be interred there. The Pictish royal line of descent was matrilineal , that is through the female line, which would indicate the importance of Mouren. There was much rivalry between fathers, sons and male cousins for the Kingship. This could be the cause of much fighting. Hungas although a Pictish King was most probably of Irish blood being the son of Fergus.

The Royal Hall was most probably within a close distance of the Laws fort, where in times of danger the local residents would with their `goods , chattles and stock` seek refuge within it`s protective walls.  

In his book the `Monikie Story`, the Rev Douglas Chisolm tells a story of `women with children, slowly making their way up the hill, the struggling group eventually going through the opening to safety in the walled ditches of the fort. The men already there, on guard watching for the approaching enemy.  

Who were their enemies, other Pictish tribesmen, Romans, Danish Vikings, people who would attempt to enforce upon them Christian conversion.?  The Celtic Church survived in Monifieth for many centuries, with reference frequently made to the Abbot of Monifieth. The Church with its land and properties was gifted to the Abbey of Arbroath by Matilda Countess of Angus in the 12th century.

What became of the Pictish people?

There is no real answer to the question. No records of them being `wiped out` in battle exist. They were in fact very successful warriors as proved by the result of the Battle of Nechtansmere and later many victorious battles fought by King Hungas. The Romans built Hadrian`s and the Antonine walls  to protect themselves and their interests from the `warriors of Pictland`. They were accomplished sailors with a fleet of boats, large enough to convey troops of Hungas to `do battle` in Ireland. There were constant crossings between the Western & Northern Isles.

Perhaps with the increased population and migration a gradual integration of the peoples occurred absorbing the Pictish people into some similar race, forming what is now the Scottish nation.

Contrary to many conflicting tales presented in Scottish Chronicles, written much later than the Pictish era, there was no mass destruction or genocide involved in the nations disappearance. It would appear to have been purely political following the defeat by the Scots. Eventually the process of change evolved and continued throughout much of the ninth century.  Kenneth Mac Alpin, was left with only the noble leaders of Pictavia. Those remaining whose fate lay in the hands of the new regime.  The old customs, traditions and language were discarded. The process happened quickly and was spurred on by the belief that the entire Pictish nation had been completely wiped out. This belief was so firmly embedded being openly stated at the highest levels. It appeared in the Declaration of Arbroath, the affirmation for Scottish Independence, drawn up in 1320 in defiance of English aggression. The Declaration sent to the Pope urged him to accept the Scots as rightful masters of Scotland because “they had utterly destroyed the Picts”. Several explanations were written probably in the 11th or 12th century, following the reign of Kenneth Mac Alpin, “by way of understanding for the disappearance of the Pictish nation”.  One story relates how the “over All King” Kenneth and his followers invited the Pictish aristocracy to a feast at Scone. The feast turned into a massacre of the intoxicated guests, who had been seated on a captive bench placed over a pit where their mutilated bodies were cast down”. This fictional tale of the extermination of the elite is also to be found in varying forms, in Ireland, Wales , Germany and Russia.

What can we see today that is proof of Monifieth`s Pictish connection

The vitrified hill fort at Laws of Kingennie is one of the most important memorials of our early ancestors. Covering an area of at least two acres, the buildings and fortifications having taken centuries to establish.

Defensive walls today

Defensive walls today

Despite the Romans stating `the Picts had neither forts nor cities` they certainly existed according to Adamnan`s `Life of Columba` On his visit to Inverness to the residence of King Brude ~the gate of the castle was closed against him~ and the vitrified fort at Craig Phadric, remains of which still exist , might have been his stronghold.  A mile north west of the Laws on a small hill there is a ruinous construction called St Bride`s Ring. Nothing is known of it`s history. It stands upon an apex which juts out on the east side of the hill. The headlands are very precipitous rising to the height of forty or fifty feet above the level of the ground below. The entrance to the structure is on the south, and the hill on this side extends for a considerable distance, widening out as the distance from the fort increases. The walls have been formed of undressed stones, the outside large blocks, with smaller stones on the inside. The walls are seven feet in thickness and what remains of them are about eighteen inches in height above ground level. The diameter of the fort over walls is north to south 68 feet 10 inches and east to west 69 feet 9inches , making the diameter inside the walls 54 feet 6inches. Many of the boulders have been scattered and thrown down the base of the hill.

The main Broch period was between 600BC and AD100. Well before the start of our Pictish age . These structures were fortified dwelling houses serving a household or village . It has been claimed that that four fifths of them were occupied from the mid fifth to mid ninth century. Possibly this had been a church building in King Kenneth`s time, erected by Irish clergy and dedicated to St Bridget. It`s position being chosen for safety from attacks of Danish invaders.

St Bride`s Chapel was sited in what is now the `stack yard ` of South Kingennie farm. The Grange or Grangaria, a store for the Churches tiend sheaves (a form of taxation paid to the Church) was also in this district. Many churches founded in the reign of this King were of Irish design and dedicated to St Bridget or St Bride.

St. Bride's Wall

St. Bride’s Wall

The round tower at Abernethy is said to belong to this period— it`s dedication to St Bridget advances the theory that it`s purpose was to act as a stronghold, where church valuables might be safely stored. A similar Round Tower is still to be seen at Brechin, a relic of the Celtic Church. The clergy might also retire to the safety of these towers when marauding invaders appeared in the neighbourhood.

The Danes having found `rich pickings` in the monasteries, which had sprung up and plundered what was in easy reach of the shore.  About 860 AD they entered the Firth of Tay plundered and laid to waste the country on both shores going as far as Clunie and Dunkeld.The Church at Monifieth suffered greatly at their hands but there is no authentic record of this. A grim struggle took place with the Danes near Monifieth at it`s border with Barry. Under their leader Camus one of Swein`s generals, who having came ashore between Montrose and Arbroath, marched inland, stormed and burned Brechin. Malcolm the second marched from Dundee. The two armies met at Barry links and after a fierce battle the Danes were routed. Camus was pursued and on Downie hill near Monikie received a fatal blow.  A sculptured cross was erected to mark the burial spot. At Aberlemno the shattered remains of Camus`s army suffered further disaster . Pursued as far as Cruden they were finally annihilated. The Pictish Cross erected for the Viking warrior does not depict battle scenes as does the Aberlemno stone. It portrays Church dignitaries and cherubins, which might indicate it was a memorial for some important member of the church officials.

The Cross still stands today although it has been resited at least twice away from the Viking general`s last resting place

The Monifieth Sculptured Stones can still be seen in the Edinburgh Museum of Antiquities.

Replica of the Monifieth Pictish Stone

Replica of the Monifieth Pictish Stone

The four stones belong to the era of the early Celtic church . Unlike the stones at Aberlemno, Glamis, St Vigeans, Letham and Forfar they are not on view to the public in the district where they were found.  The Fontstane, a base of a Celtic free- standing cross is to be found within the grounds of a private residence. The location and purpose of the cross is unknown, but where it has remained for almost two thousand years was once part of a wood. On early maps reference is made to it being named Chapel Wood, which was part of Grange Estate.

 Earth Houses or Souterrain

Souterrain or `under the earth` structures are to be found and viewed at Ardestie, Carlungie and Ardownie.

Ardownie Souterrain

Ardownie Souterrain

Built at least two thousand year ago their purpose has not been definitely confirmed. The living quarters or houses were built above ground, with the underground passages, thought to be used as byres, storage areas and places of safety away from marauding enemies. Some say they were easier to maintain out of the wind and hidden from view. Recent excavations of the Souterrain complex at Ardownie confirmed that the passages were`roofed over` with stones and turf. The Ardownie complex was one of the largest and well preserved ~Pictish Souterrain structures~ ever excavated. What it revealed was, over two thousand  years ago, the builders had a sound understanding of engineering  with uncut stones of great size and weight also  the ability to move them into position for maximum strength walls.  A sliding door mechanism and lintel  discovered, for the first time ever, in a souterrain excavation. It was impossible to examine the whole site as at one point the structure passed under the A92. Aerial pictures revealed what could be another two similar structures close by. Because work had commenced on the upgrading of the A92, the archaeologists recorded, measured and photographed the site before `filling it in`.

Once again out of sight , out of mind.

Despite being associated with the name of the nearby farm Ardownie, it is in very close proximity to Laws Fort, the site of former Eglismonichty Chapel and on what was Balmossie muir.   On the banks of the Dighty water, opposite the `Old Lodge` or gatehouse at what was the drive way to Linlathen House, is a well, known to locals as `The Cauld Water Wellie` or ` St Cats Well`.  Similar to other fresh water springs in the district it reputedly had medicinal properties, hence the former classification as a `Holy Well` dedicated to St Catherine of the St Andrew`s relics connection. Another medicinal well St Kane`s was to be located at the former site of Ardestie Castle, near Balhungie.

Several burial cists have been discovered on Ardownie hill where quarrying operations are being carried out, others found by men working in the fields.

Drawing of the Monifieth Crescent

Drawing of the Monifieth Crescent


At Laws farm in 1796 farm labourers when putting in a drain through a large mound found a Pictish bronze crescent. Peter Roger, who rented the farm from Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain, passed on the find to the landowner. It`s location is now unknown.

Charles Roger, the farmer`s grandson, made a drawing of the crescent and it`s elaborate designs. This drawing is now in the National Museum of Scotland.

In 1875 when the road to Barnhill was being laid, there was found east of the railway bridge, at a height of about eighty feet above sea level, a Pictish burial ground. In part of the cairn were cists, which contained human remains, an urn, an arrowhead of flint, a small bronze blade and two gold discs. Location of these items are unknown. North of Linlathen House, near Drumsturdy road is a large mound called Cairn Greg, between forty and fifty yards in diameter. Tradition asserts that a chief named Gregory, who normally resided at Colliston, in the parish of St Vigeans, at a place named Castle Gray, was killed in battle here. A stone cist was unearthed in 1834. It contained an earthenware urn, with curious scratched indentations in a zig-zag pattern.  Archaeologists claimed this to be of a domestic variety and not a cinerary type. In this instance however, it held the  `human remains` of the clan chief. Beside it near at hand as if ready for use lay his weapon a bronze dagger four and a half inches long.  The dagger and urn were removed to Linlathen house. This was only two of several belonging to the same age found at different times on the estate.

Location unknown.

Around 1820 a drain was being cut, east of Monifieth, a primitive canoe was found embedded in the peat moss about a mile from the shore.This would be somewhere in the district of Balhungie.  The derivation of the name being taken from the Gaelic meaning Township or Place of Hungie or Hungas.


We tend to think of Monifieth area as it exists in it`s present day formation of several combined communities, for example, Ardestie, Grange, Kirkton of Monifieth, Milton of Monifieth, Panmurefield, Burnside of Dighty, Balmossie , to name but a few. Others less well known such as Purlton, Elsinore and several more gone with nothing to show their existence. Present day Monikie was formerly known as Camustown. Laws of Kingennie, Drumsturdy, Temple Hall , Templelands,  Pitairlie, Carlungie, Woodhill, Balhungie, all once  within the Monifieth Parish. Monifieth parish boundaries, very often subject of much discussion still covers most of the areas mentioned. Others have changed, with the passage of time and political intervention, becoming part of another jurisdiction. This however, was long after the days of the Picts, Romans and Vikings

These are only a very few reasons for my belief the Monifieth was indeed a very important Pictish Centre.

I `rest my case` and leave you with a list of further reading which might influence your decision.

Since this was written  Roddy Mathieson has enlarged and cast in bronze the Monifieth Crescent. It will be displayed in the House of Memories sometime during March 2016 for all to see.

Monifieth Crescent in Bronze

Monifieth Crescent in Bronze