Tag Archives: Durham

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 Session Records

Monifieth Session Records.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow, America‘s gentle poet, urges us to allow the dead past to bury the dead, and to “act in the living present,” but most of us have to act whether we will or not in order to keep the wolf from the door. As to allowing the dead past to bury its dead not a few of us think its influence is still felt in the present, and at any rate we have a curiosity to know how our ancestors lived and moved and had their being, hence our excursions into fields remote. It is a legitimate and natural feeling worthy of respect, and to gratify it in some slight degree is the object of these notes. We as a people are not content with the blood-stained annals which as a rule absorbed till lately so much of tie historian’s page, but want to know something of the social customs and manners of the past. From the session records of many country parishes light could be shed on the history and de­velopment of the nation, and the lecture which the Rev. Dr Young lately delivered on the parish ministers of Monifieth is, I hope, only a foretaste of others which he may yet give on similar subjects. That the store of information at his command is ample we have his own assurance, as also that of Dr Samuel Miller, who was minister of the parish at the time of the Disruption. From the latter’s account of Monifieth, published in 1840, it appears that the parochial re­gisters have been with some exceptions kept for a period of over 300 years—in short, they commence at the date of the Reformation.

The earliest separate register of births and marriages begins in July 1649. Before this period baptisms and marriages were regularly engrossed in the weekly record of sessional proceedings. This curious archive com­mences with a title which is much damaged, but the entry is partly legible and is as follows:—” In Apryle ye sixth day 1560, the which day it is appynted that our assemble of ye Kyrk of Monefut meet, at twa afternoon, to do with prayer untc God for His assistans what He forordains to His glory and suppressing of Satan.” It will be observed that the tenor of this entry, which is not entire, is similar to that of the bond executed at Perth in the previous year by the Reforming congregations of Perth, Fife, Angus, and Mearns, among which the congregations in and around Dundee are specially mentioned by historians.

John Knox

John Knox

It would appear also that the zeal of the people had been directed against the edifice of the Popish Church in Monifieth, and that it had undergone a dismantling similar to what overthrew more stately fabrics, for the second entry is to this effect;—”Ye quhylk day it is thoicht necesser bi us yat the hous of prayr be mendit in haist, yat God may be glorifiet yair.” The circum­stances which seem to account for the people of this parish embracing the Reformation so heartily and so early are:—

1st, The proximity of Monifieth to Dundee, in and around which George Wishart preached much and successfully;

George Wishart

George Wishart

2nd, Durham of Grange, the most influential individual in the district, and living on the spot was a zealous Protestant and a near relative of the celebrated superintendent of Angus, John Erskine of Dun. Erskine, indeed, lived frequently at Grange, and according to well-authenticated tradition, had at one time a narrow escape from the Government emissaries sent to capture him. We may, therefore, infer that during these visits this zealous Reformer organized the congregation of Monifieth, and that Durham was his hearty assistant in the work. We know further that John Knox lived much with Erskine of Dun at this period, that he was a frequent visitor at Grange and Pitkerro House—then the property of a son of Durham’s—that he was engaged visiting and conferring with these worthies as to the best means of bringing over completely all those who were alreadv favourably inclined to Protestantism, so that it is not unreasonable to suppose that Papacy was overthrown in Monifieth by the masterhand of the Reformer John Knox.

Statue of John Knox

Statue of John Knox

 

 

 

 

 

These records are full of amusing and curious infor­mation, besides throwing much valuable light on the history of the district, the manners of the people, the value of labour, and the supreme authority exercised in these times by the church in matters both civil and ecclesiastical.

 

Monifieth Parish Church

St Rules pre-1902

St Rules pre-1902

By Mhairi Pyott

 

There has been a place of Christian worship on the site of St Rules Church for over 1400 years and most probably some form of worship before then.
The town developed around the church, which at one time was identified as `Kirkton of Monifieth`.
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Laws Fort and Broch

Tayside and Angus have many ancient fortified sites. Many of those are to be found on hilltops and other places such as coastal promontories, where natural obstacles added greatly to the security of the stronghold. It is believed that they testify to a troubled period when communities found it necessary to fortify their settlements against attack by their neighbours or others. Continue reading

The Story of Monifieth Parish Church

Pre Reformation Church

Pre Reformation Church

There has been a place of Christian worship on the site of St Rules Church for over 1400 years and most probably some form of worship before then.

The town developed around the church, which at one time was identified as `Kirkton of Monifieth`.

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DURHAM STREET

Durham Street

Durham Street

 

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

 

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Monifieth’s Connection with the Marquis of Montrose

By Mhairi Pyott

James Graham, who became the first Marquis of Montrose, was born at the family home at Old Montrose, in 1612. This is where he spent much of his boyhood also with some time at Kincardine Castle. Montrose was hanged at the Mercat Cross on 21st May 1650 , to the last protesting he was a true Covenanter and a loyal subject.

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