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Mediaeval Roads: Evidence from Charters
Forfar and Kincardineshire (Angus and the Mearns)

Note: The maps below are based on the 1912, 1911 and 1914 half-inch maps, sheets 15, 20 & 24, the 1909 one-inch map for Montrose and District, the quarter-inch map sheets 3 & 5, 1923 . With thanks to Ordnance Survey. Also Arrowsmith 1846 courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The image is copyright Cartography Associates but has been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use.

Brechin Charters
Brechin - Maisondieu Menmore Brechin - Bridge of Brechin Strachan
Brechin - Cookston Brechin - Roads to Petpollux and Kindrokat Brechin - various streets and lanes Dundee
Brechin - Road to Auchnacarret Brechin - Roads to Dubtoun, Corsden, Haugh of Brechin, the Den, the Mill Den Brechin - Road to Montrose Itinerary of Edward I
Brechin - Unthank and Drumgrane Brechin - Road to Fendowrie Brechin - Road to Glenesk Mounth Passes
Arbroath Charters - map & overview
Ferries Arbroath Forfar Nigg
Dunnichen Dunnichen (Dunbarrow) Dunnichen (Craichie) Dunnichen (Ochtirlowny & Forfar)
Carmyllie (Conon & Tulloch) St Vigeans Inverkeilor (Athie) Marykirk
Kingoldrum Kingoldrum (part of) Dun  

Also a Lindores charter for Newtyle; and St Andrew's Priory charters for Easter Fowlis and Kirkden

Brechin Charters


Overview map - click for larger image
Overview map - click for larger image

The evidence looked at so far for this section are charters in the Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, Edward the First's Itinerary in his invasions of Scotland and the Mounth passes that led into Aberdeenshire and the north-east. Charters for Arbroath abbey are looked at below.


Both Edward's Itinerary and the Mounth passes give a good idea of what main routes there must have been although inevitably we cannot be quite sure what route was taken in each stage of the Itinerary. This could be quite different from what is suggested by modern roads - for example, the older maps show that there was an old route between Kincardine castle and Glenbervie when the present day road did not exist. The exact routes of the Mounth passes are much more certain and were undoubtedly in use at this time - the Gough map, for example, shows two of them.


The charters for Brechin cathedral deal mostly with local roads although a mercat gate to Montrose is mentioned in 1566 and the bridge, which dates from the early 1200's, must entail routes to Forfar (and so Perth) and Dundee and possibly Old Montrose which could have served as a port for Brechin for a period. There is an intriguing "Kindrokat" (bridgend) a couple of miles west of Brechin but no tradition of this bridge and its purpose have survived.


Also long-distance is a route by Edzell, where there was an important castle, to Glenesk, from where three of the Mounth passes could be accessed. One charter mentions the road to Kincardine (Mearns) which ties in with one of Edward's stages though it is not clear if the charter route went like Edward's up towards Edzell and crossed the river to Dalladies, or if it headed to the North Water bridge where there may have been an early crossing point.


Of the local roads they are mostly to local farms or to the common land and stretch at most, 3 or 4 miles. It is not clear if they continued beyond their stated destination or if such links were a much later development, although one would suspect Brechin was an important market from early on.

There are numerous references to streets and lanes in the town.

Some charters for Dundee are included in the Register. Apart from names of streets in the town there is an Argylesgate with a road to Invergowrie and presumably Perth and perhaps further west.


The charters referred to below can be found in the Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis (2 vols).

Details of charters pre-1314 can be found on the PoMS website
Amanda Beam, John Bradley, Dauvit Broun, John Reuben Davies, Matthew Hammond, Michele Pasin (with others), The People of Medieval Scotland, 10931314 (Glasgow and London, 2012) www.poms.ac.uk.

Brechin - Maisondieu
Fundacio de Messyndew
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, Vol. I, Charter 3, page 4 (1267)

This charter records a gift of land for a chapel the donor had established near Brechin and various provisions for its upkeep. A couple of roads are mentioned as follows:

....the whole land in which the chapel is situated by its right bounds, viz. beginning at the land of Moisy the tailor (see here) as far as a certain syke which is called Gamech and from that syke as far as a certain causeway leading to the petary of Brechin and so towards the north from the western side of the ville of Balherquhynn by the road which leads to the moor and from there eastwards as far as the land called Baldouethagy with half of that land, the other half of which is held by Walterus Coquus, and then towards the south as far as the foresaid sike of Gamech and then the stream running towards the east to the high road which leads from Brechin towards Kincardine and descending by the same road to the town of Brechin.

......totam terram in qua capella sita est per rectas diuisas suas viz. incipiendo a terra Moisy scissoris usque ad quandam siketam que vocatur Gamech et ab illa siketa versus occidentem usque ad quamdam calceam per quam itur ad Petariam de Brechine et sic versus aquilonem ex occidentali parte ville de Balherquhynn per viam que ducit in moram et inde versus orientem usque ad terram que vocatur Baldouegathy cum medietate illius terre cuius aliam medietatem Walterus Coquus tenet et inde versus austrum usque ad predictam siketam Gamech et inde usque ad riuulum currentem versus orientem ad altam viam que ducit de Brechine versus Kincardine descendendo per eandem viam usque ad villam de Brechine.

It is hard to be specific about the roads mentioned at the start of this extract, other than that they would be to the north-west of the town near to Maisondieu and Cookston (which from the wording is likely to be near Baldouethagy). Other charters suggest the muir was north and north-west of Maisondieu. The track on the map that leads from the town to Maisondieu must date from early on though it is not clear if it is one of those mentioned in the charter.

The high road leading to Kincardine is the one leading directly NNE of the town but it is not certain what its route was in detail. One possibility is that it went by North Water Bridge (Canmore entry). Although this only dates from the early 1500's, it is likely enough that it was a well-used route for sometime before that though it is hard to say if it was in use at the time of the charter.

Another possibility is the route taken by Edward I in 1303 who travelled by Stracathro and Dalladies to Kincardine then onwards to Glenbervie, Stonehaven and Aberdeen. There was a "King's Ford" (referring to David I) at Stracathro which Edward must have used as Dalladies is close by on the other side of the river. Garden's Kincardineshire map (1774 - see NLS maps) shows the route from the ford to Kincardine by minor roads, and interestingly enough by a track from Mill of Kincardine on to Auchenblae and then minor roads to Glenbervie. The current road from Fettercairn (B966) did not exist at the time but there is a good chance that the old track dates from Edward's time.

Brechin - Cookston
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis
Vol. I, Charter 49, Page 84 (1435/6)

This charter details the services tenants of Cookston were required to carry out. A road called The Lonynge is mentioned, as follows:
...........and in return for this service, the bishop is bound to give them a road called Lonynge by which they are able to go to the great moor and liberty to collect heather in his moor of Fernwell for their use.

..........Et pro isto seruicio tenetur episcopus dare eis unam viam que dicitur Lonynge per quam possent ire ad magnam moram ac licenciam capiendi bruarium in mora sua de Fernwell ad usum ipsorum

Ainslie's map of 1794 shows a Cockstone Loan running for a few hundred metres ENE from Cookston. Rather than the Lonynge being to the south of Brechin near Farnell Moor it could be that the charter extract refers to the "Cockstone Loan" near Cookston and liberty to collect heather on Farnell Moor which is about three miles south of Brechin. If so, there would have been a track from Brechin to Farnell.

Road to Auchnacarret
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis,
Vol. 2, CCLXXXII, p. 325 (1583)
In this charter there is a reference to the common way from Brechin to the villa of Auchnacarret - communem viam qua itur a Brechin ad villam de Auchnacarret. Although the place name has disappeared the charter context suggests that it was to the north west of Brechin, near to Maisondieu. However, there is not enough information to identify the road.

Road to Unthank and Drumgrane
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis

Two charters mention a road leading to Unthank and Drumgrane, viz.

Vol. 2, CCLXXX, 321 (1578) ...the common road which goes from the city of Brechin to the villa of Unthank
communem viam qua itur a Ciuitate Brechinensi ad villam de Vnthank

Vol. I, Charter 89, page 184 (1458)....the common street of Brechin leading towards Drumgrane
.....communis vici ville de Brechine extendens versus Drumgrane

Ainslie's map of 1794 shows Drumgrane about a mile out of town on the main road north and opposite Onthank.

Declaration on the bounds and divisions of the lands of Menmor between the Bishop of Brechin and Johannem de Cullace
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis,
Vol. I, Charter 75, page 147 (1450)

In this document dealing with a boundary dispute in Menmuir, 5 miles NW of Brechin, there is mention of a Threpehalchfurde over the Cruik Water and a Waynfurd, which can not be identified - the name implies it was used by waggons. Threpehalchfurde is mentioned thus:

....Beginning from the east above the said Water of Cruok at the place called Threpehalchfurde on the Cruok or Alrynburne and extending above the said stream towards the west as far as the place where the Lochty enters in the Cruok or thereabouts, ever on the south side of the Cruok beyond two small islands on the north side...

..Incipiendo ab oriente super dictam aquam de Cruok a loco qui dicitur ye Threpehalchfurde in Cruok vel ye Alrynburne extendendo super dictam aquam versus occidentem usque ad locum ubi Lochty intrat in Cruok vel eocirca semper ex australi latere dicte aque de Cruok preter duas paruas insulas a parte boreali.... (See also Charter 80, page 163)

A Threep Ford is shown on the old 6" map and fits the description as the confluence of the Lochty and Cruok is upriver from the ford. The word "threep" indicates a dispute of some kind. The ford is 100 metres north of the present minor road.

Roads to Petpollux and Kyndrokat
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis

Five charters refer to roads in describing the location of properties in Brechin, as follows:

Vol. I, Charter 92, p. 194 (1471-2) .....on the one hand the king's highway on the north side which leads to Petpullox and the Petmyr and on the other the common road on the south side which leads to Kyndrochat...
viam regiam que ducit apud Petpullox et le Petmyr ex parte boreali ex parte una et communem vicum [viam?] que ducit apud Kyndrochat ex parte australi ex parte altera

Vol. I, Charter 107, p. 214 (1497-8)
the road on the north which leads to Petpollox and the road which leads to Kindrokat on the south....
viam que ducit ad Petpullox ad boream et viam que ducit ad Kindrokat ad austrum

Vol. I, Charter 108, p. 215 (1497-8) the road called the Kirkgait on the south and the road which leads to Petullox on the north
viam dictam le Kirkgait ad austrum et viam que ducit ad Petpullox ad boream

Vol. I, Charter 111, p. 220 (1505) on the north the common king's highway which leads to Petpullox and the road to the church on the south
communem viam regiam que ducit ad Petpullox ad boream et viam ecclesie ad austrum
Vol. I, Charter 112, page 222 (1505) on the north our king's street which leads towards Petpullox and on the south side the road called the Kirkgate
vicum nostrum regium qui ducit versus Petpullox ex boreali, et viam vocatam le Kirkgate ex australi partibus

See also
Vol. 2, CIX, p.171 (1515-6)
....viam quae ducit ad Petpodlox


This map shows roads to Petpullox and Kindrokat as well as Dubtoun, Corsden (Careston); Haugh of Brechin, the Den and the Mill Den (see below)

These are likely to be identical to or on the same line as the present day roads leading to Barrelwell and to Forfar. Kindrokat is Gaelic for "bridgend" but nothing is known about this presumably very early bridge.

Roads to Dubtoun, Corsden, the Haugh of Brechin, the Den and the Mill Den
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis

Roads to the above places are mentioned as follows (see above map for locations):

Vol. I, Charter 114, page 228 (1552-3)
The road which leads to Dubtoun on the north and the road that goes to the Haugh of Brechin on the south
viam que ducit ad Dubtoun ad boream et viam que tendit ad ly Hauch de Brechin ad austrum
on the north, the common king's highway (leading) to the east and the stream descending by the hollow vulgarly called the den to the west....
ad boream communem viam regiam ad orientem et riuulum descendentem per antrum siue ly den vulgariter nuncupatum ad occidentem
the lane to the north which leads and goes to Doubtoun and the lane on the south extending to Corsden..
venellam que ducit et tendit ad Doubtoun ad boream et venellam extendentem ad ly Corsden ad austrum

Vol. 2, CXVI, p.181 (1528) the road which leads to Dubtoun on the north and the road which leads to the haugh of Brechin on the south
viam quae ducit ad Dubtoun ad boream et viam quae tendit ad lie Hawich de Brechine ad austrum
Vol. 2
, CXXIV,189 (1537) common lane which leads to Dubtoun; common road which leads to Dubtoun
communem venellam que ducit ad Doubtoun; communem viam que ducit ad Doubtoun
Vol. 2, CLXVII, p. 234 (1605) road leading to the Den
viam tendentem ad lie Den

Vol. 2, CCLV, p.294 (1611)...the aforesaid road leading to the Myln Dane (Mill Dean)
viam predictam que ducit ad lie Myln Dane

The road to Dubtoun is very likely to be the same as the one to Petpullox. As the road to Corsden (entry 3 above) is differentiated from the Dubtoun road, it is probably the same as the Kindrockat road. The Haugh of Brechin lay south-west of the town but it is not clear if the road is the Kindrockat road or another road. The Den can be clearly seen on John Wood's map (1823) as a valley just to the east of the town. It was known as the Mill Dean nearer to the main river.

Road to Fendowrie

Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis,
Vol. 2, CCXLIV, p. 286 (1591)

This charter reads: ....commonly called Monboy lying on the south side of our aforesaid common moor having on the eastern side the lands of Fendowrie, commonly called the Quhite Park dyke from the southern part of the moor of Fendowrie and Balnabreich as far as the lands of Quhitesyde looking towards (?) the hereditary portioners (feuars - see here) of Petforky and from thence northwards by the embedded stones commonly called the merche stanis to the common road in the southern part of the aforesaid common moor which road leads eastwards to the house commonly called the Murehouse of Fendowrie ...
vulgo Monboy vocati jacentem ex australi parte communis mori nostri antedicti habentem ex orientali parte terras de Fendowrie vulgo the Quhite park dyke vocatas ex australi parte morum de Fendowrie et Balnabreich usque ad terras de Quhitesyde portionariis de Petforky hereditarie spectantes et abhinc borealiter per lapides infossatos vulgo the merche stanis vocatos ad communem viam in australi parte communis mori predicti que via ducit orientaliter ad domunculum vulgo the Murehouse of Fendowrie vocatum ....

The map shows those places which can be identified. Petforsky was near Whiteside and the 2nd edition of the 6" map shows boundary stones on the line of the parish boundary. It is not certain that West Muir is the Murehouse of the charter but it is very likely that the road was that which runs east-west here. It probably gave access to the common muir from Brechin.

Brechin - Bridge of Brechin
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis

Three charters refer to the bridge of Brechin, namely:
Vol. 2, LXII, page 112 (1469) ...the common king's highway which leads to the bridge of Brechin...
communem viam regiam que ducit ad pontem de Brechin
Vol. 2, CV, page 167 (1512) communem viam que ducit ad pontem Brechinensem
Vol. 2, CCXXIV, page 271 (1218 - 1222) sale of lands to provide for the upkeep of the bridge.

The bridge is thought to date from the early 1200's - see Canmore reference as well as charter CCXXIV above. The maps of Edward (1678) and of Moll and the Military Survey, both from the mid-1700's, show a road coming from Forfar by Aberlemno and then a now lost course about 1 km south of the present road to the bridge: it is joined by a road from Dundee crossing Montreathmont Moor.

Brechin - various streets and lanes in the town

A great many of the documents in volume 2 and some in volume 1 of the Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis refer to certain streets and lanes in the town when locating particular properties. As the streets can be easily seen on early maps there is no point in listing the particular charters. The streets are:

communem viam regiam. This is also listed as viam regiam; publicam viam (Vol. 2, CXXXVIII, p.212,1566-7); commoun calsay of Brechine (Vol. 2, CXLVI, p.217, 1581); common calsay (Vol. 2, CLXXVII, p.240, 1613); common high street (Vol. 2, XC, p.152, 1506); common street (Vol. 2, XCI, p.153, 1507-7); high street (Vol. 2, CXC, p.248, 1660); communis vici - common street (Vol. 2, CCXXVIII, p.274, 1461).

Also listed are viam ecclesie; kirkgait; west kirkgait; nether kirk wynd; college wynd; common vennell (over wynd) - Vol. 2, CXXV,191,1527; prentice wynd; chanry wynd.

Road to Montrose

Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis

Two charters refer to the road to Montrose:
Vol. 2
, CLXXVI, p. 239 (c.1610) the common market gait from Brechin to Montrose at the south
Vol. 2, CCXXXIX, p. 282 (1566) the public road which goes from the burgh of Montrose to the city of Brechin
publicam viam qua itur a burgo de Mantross ad Ciuitatem Brechinensem

Given the dates of these references they must be referring to Montrose rather than Old Montrose and the road must straightforwardly be identical to, or on the same line, as the present day road. This has not changed since Edward's map of 1678.

See index at end of volume 2 for entries for Murray Street, Montrose.

Brechin - Road to Glenesk
Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, Vol. I, Charter 60, page 110 (1448)

In this charter there is a mention of the direct road from Brechin to Glenesk (via directa versus Glenesk).

This must have been identical to or close to the line of the road running up to Edzell, 6 miles north of Brechin, and where there was an important castle. Glenesk proper starts just north of Edzell and gives access to some of the Mounth passes into Aberdeenshire. It is more than likely that these were in use in the middle ages.

W Douglas Simpson gives an interesting account in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol 65 (1930-31), p.115 of how Edzell castle was located in relation to routes.

Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, Vol. 2, Charter XVI, p. 23 (1429)

This document refers to a dispute about access to grazing lands in Strachan, namely:
...impeding the inhabitants of the said lands of Straheyne from going to their usual pasture by the usual ways, which pasture and way is disputed between the said lord of Drom and the said inhabitants...

ad impediendum inhabitantes dictam terram de Straheyne ne vadant ad pascua consueta (usual pastures) suis per vias consuetas de quibus pascuis et via [nunc] est controuersia inter dictos dominum de Drom et dictos inhabitantes...

There is no indication of where these lands were. Strachan itself was on the Cairn o'Mounth route between Fettercairn and Banchory.


See index at end of volume 2 for various entries, viz. Argilisgait/Argadie/Ergaylisgat/Argylesgate/Ergadie porta de (now called the West Port); commune iter de; Flukargait; Fontis vicus or Welgat; Horswynd; Murray (Murra) gait/Morauie vicus

There are also entries for two locations to the west of Dundee, reached from Ergile Port:
Inuergowry (Inuergowrie) Vol.2, pps 353, 354, 357, 358 and Blaknes Vol.2, pps 354, 357.

CCCLIII, p.353 (1586) ....the road which goes from the Ergadie port of the said burgh to Inuergowrie
viam qua itur a porta Ergadie dicti burgi ad Inuergowrie

CCCLIV, p. 354 (1586) ....the road from Inuergowry leading to the gate of this city called Ergile Port
viam ab Inuergowry ducentem ad portam dicti burgi vocatam Ergile Port
p. 354 ...the road from the aforesaid gate (Ergile Port) leading to Blaknes
viam a porta antedicta ducentera ad Blaknes

CCCLX, p.357 (1587)...our common road which goes from Inuergowrie to the Ergadie Port of the said burgh (on the south) and the road which goes from Blacknes to the same port of Ergadie of Dundie (on the north)
communem viam nostram qua itur ab Inuergowrie ad portam Ergadie dicti burgi ad austrum et viam qua itur a Blaknes ad eandem portam Ergadie de Dundie
p. 358 ....and the said road which goes from Inuergowrie to the said Ergadie port
et dictam viam qua itur ab Inuergowrie ad dictam portam Ergadie

Beyond Invergowrie there was a "road" to Perth as implied by the Argylesgate. Edward I's itinerary with his stays at Stratheghyn and Baligarny suggests however that there may have been a route running along the foot of the Sidlaws.. A road is shown on Adair's map of 1685 which has the line of the present day minor road running through Errol (the present main road did not exist) and it is more than likely this was the line developing in the middle ages. One entry for Argylesgate dates from 1443 (Vol.1, 53, p.93)

Dundee, Reg. Arbroath.
Spaldyngis Wynd in burgo de, 83, 173, 446.
vicus Sancte Marie in burgo de, 83.

Itinerary of Edward I

Itinerary of King Edward the First throughout his reign, Henry Gough, Volume II, page 142 (1296 itinerary); page 226 (1303 itinerary)

See also Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, edited by Peter G B McNeill and Hector L MacQueen, Edinburgh: The Scottish Medievalists and Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh, 1996.

Routes taken by Edward the First in his  1296 invasion

1296 campaign. Perth Kinclaven Clunie Inverquiech Forfar Farnell Montrose Kincardine (Mearns) Glenbervie Downies Aberdeen
Returning by Kincardine O'Neil Kincardine (Mearns) Brechin Arbroath Dundee Baligarny Perth

The 1303 campaign went through these places: Perth Coupar-Angus Perth Auchterhouse (3 miles SE of Newtyle) Perth Stratheghyn (3 miles N of Dundee) Aberbrothock (Arbroath) Brechin Strathegyn Brechin Aberbrothock Brechin Dolathy Kincardine (Mearns) Glenbervie Hagenhauer (unknown) Aberdeen. Places not visited in 1296 are marked with yellow square.
On his return south in October he travelled very quickly to Dundee then across to Perth.

The above map is from Arrowsmith 1846 and is courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The image is copyright Cartography Associates but has been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use.

The Mounth Passes
These were important passes that led to Aberdeenshire and the north-east of Scotland - for details see here.

Arbroath Charters

Roads mentioned in charters of Arbroath abbey - click for larger image
Roads etc mentioned in charters of Arbroath abbey. Click for larger image.

As noted above, the itinerary of Edward I and the Mounth passes offer clues to the long distance routeways available in the early 1300's. The evidence from the Arbroath charters is more indirect though useful enough. Of this evidence, ferries are a clear indication of early long distance routes. The one over the Tay was established in the later 1100's with a nearby "hospital", probably a hostel or inn for travellers. As it was at Broughty Ferry it would have served both Dundee and a coastal route to Montrose where there was another ferry. Further north again, there was a ferry over the Dee at Kincorth, just south of Aberdeen.

The charters also provide indirect evidence for two old and somewhat romantic routes. One is the King's Cadger's Road which appears in a charter as the Fyschergate. It is not absolute proof but it is in the right place and the names are consistent with each other. The road was to be the width of a mill wand and ran between Usan on the coast and Forfar - with the king's cadger commissioned to supply fresh fish to the court in Forfar.

The other is a road that from its location could be the Hunter's Path or Heckenbois Path and was said to have ran from the coast at Panbride up to the main road north via Brechin which it joined near Redford. It was said to have been built by Hector Boece, the historian, who lived 1465-1536. Given the distance of 6 miles and the relative ease of a journey on horseback this is somewhat difficult to believe of an individual, although it would be more credible if it was a repair of an existing road.

A king's highway is noted as running from Forfar to a place 3 miles S-W of the town but it is not clear if it continued beyond that point. A minor road crossed it and ran over to near Leitham. There are several fords throughout the area which were probably very localised, as too are the "green roads", often no more than tracks to access fields. One road, identified here as the "white road" of one of the charters is clearly very old as it has a parish boundary running along its length.


There was a track running for about 4 miles to give access to the church at St Vigeans, and a couple of tracks at Ethie, 7 miles north of Arbroath. One track led from Ethie haven which may indicate fishing or even early trade, perhaps gathering seaweed as well. There were two bridges near Marykirk, one being of stone. The charter is vague about the exact location of the bridges and indeed some would place the Marringtun of the charter at Maryton near Montrose. The area near Marykirk is interesting for routes - a Roman road may have passed through, there was a major ford at Kings Ford used to proceed north towards Aberdeen, later there was the North Water bridge over the North Esk, the Cairn a'Mounth pass was nearby, and Kincardine Castle, once very important, was just 5 miles north of Marykirk.


One major holding of the abbey was the parish of Kingoldrum. Some fords are mentioned but are too indeterminate to be of much use. More interesting are the Windy Yetts and the Scottisgait. The first of these, which is more likely to mean winding rather than windy, are on or close to the Kaims of Airlie, glacial deposits that may have forced a winding route on what was probably little more than a track. The name Scottisgait is interesting. Geoffrey Barrow in Scotland and Its Neighbours in the Middle Ages, page 124, gives examples of names reflecting the indigenous (and still existing) Gaelic-speaking population, names that were gradually being relaced by English (i.e. old Scots) ones - indeed, Abbot Malcolm gives names for some places in both Gaelic and English, one being the Scottismill or Myllashangly in the Gaelic. On this basis, the Scottisgait would be an English name for a track that had been established by the local Gaelic-speaking population and used by them, rather than being a "road to the Scots" living in some territory high up in the Angus glens. It is not clear, however, what route the road followed or what its purpose was.

There are numerous references to streets and lanes in the town of Arbroath.


The charters referred to below can be found in the Registers of Arbroath abbey.

Details of charters pre-1314 can be found on the PoMS website here.
Amanda Beam, John Bradley, Dauvit Broun, John Reuben Davies, Matthew Hammond, Michele Pasin (with others), The People of Medieval Scotland, 1093 1314 (Glasgow and London, 2012), www.poms.ac.uk.

Ferries - Montrose, Portincraig/Northferry, Kincorth
Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc - various

Several charters in volume 1 mention a ferry at Montrose, granted to the abbey by William I. Thus charter 9, page 12 refers to “my (i.e. the king‘s) passage boat of Montrose with the land pertaining to the foresaid boat and with all rights to the boat and to that land pertaining to it….
…Batellum passagii mei de munros cum terra ad predictam Batellum pertinente et cum omnibus rectitudinibus ad batellum et ad terram illam pertinentbus quam…
This charter may date from 1178, see Regesta Regum Scottorum, William I, edited G W S Barrow, EUP, 1971, page 270.

The ferry would have been at Ferryden to the south of the town at the entrance to the Montrose Basin. Montrose had been relocated from the site of Old Montrose which had been destroyed in a Viking raid in 980 so the ferry would have dated from after that time - see Undiscovered Scotland site.

Also mentioned is a “hospital” at Portincrag (see eg. Charter no.1, page 7, c.1178, Barrow, op.cit., p.250) which could mean either an actual hospital or a hostel/inn. The mentions in volume 2 of Portincrag as the north terminus of a ferry across the Tay sits well with a hostel/inn where travellers could wait for bad weather to abate, although it could have served a coastal route.

In volume 2, ferries are mentioned in several charters, viz. Montrose, Portincrag or the North Ferry, and Kincorth (across Dee just south of Aberdeen).

No 726, page 492 . Mention of Montrose ferry in 1529 .
No. 142, page 125 “the ferybat off Montros” 1462
No. 447, page 356 “the passage and fery bait of Montros” 1505

There was a ferry near Dundee called Portyncrag and the Northferry.
No. 97, page 82, north ferry of the ville of Portyncrag (borialis passagii ville de Portyncrag) 1453
No. 176, page 156, north ferry of Portyncrag (passagio boriali de Portyncrag), also noted as le bait in North Fery,1467
No. 289, page 240, north ferry near the burgh of Dundee (passagii borialis prope burgum de Dunde) 1485
No. 290, page 241, the Northferry beside Dunde,1485
No.324, page 262, mention of salmon caught “betuex Dunde the fery ande Montros”, 1490
No.152, page 133 This mentions a north ferry of the water of Tay (passagio boriali aque de Taya), presumably the North Ferry. 1464

There was also a ferry at Kincorth, south of Aberdeen, which crossed the River Dee.
No. 78, page 69, c.1435
No. 513, page 404 …along with a half boat, called “le wuyr ferry bayt”, on the water of Dee, 1510
The bridge over the Dee was built about 1530.

Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc - various

A large number of streets in the town are mentioned in charters, mostly in volume 2 with only the Cobgate mentioned in Volume I - charter 322 (1303) and charter 346 (1318).

Volume 2 has: Aldmercatgate; antiqui fori; ly Cobgait, ly Lorburn, communem venellam, Vici Fori (Market Gate), Marcatgait, viam regiam, Vici Fori Noui, Rattonraw, Apilgait, ly Burrowrudis, Lorburn, Brothacsyde, Seygate, communem viam regiam qua itur ad Northterre (Page 332, charter 411 - Tarry, now Warddykes, just north of abbey), communem venellam ad aquam de Brothach, communem viam ad magnum cemeterium; ly Newgait, ly common gayt vocatam Brydokys Wynd, Our Ladylone,

See volume index for specific charters. The street layout can be seen on early maps on the National Library of Scotland site here.

There was also a bridge as noted in 1524 - Page 438, no 583 "....in the chapel of Arbroath near the bridge of the same town." .in capella de Arbroyth prope pontem eiusdem ville.....


A charter (Vol.2, page 85, no. 101) for Forfar refers to the vico fori (market street), via regia and common vennel.

Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.1, Page 164, charter 230

Notandum de diuisis et metis terre de Nyg
Note of the division and bounds of the lands of Nyg
A meeting was held in 1281 on the moor of Nyg between the abbey and Philip of findvn and Thomas, son of the thane of kolly, in the presence of various others to determine the bounds of their respective lands. They reached agreement that certain lands could be used in common between them, as follows:
….from Glacarethy to the burn of Aldyny below the road, and so by that road to badvena and so ascending as far as the land/marsh? of Bodufygle….
…de Glacarethy vsque ad Riuulum de Aldyny sub via et sic per illam viam usque badvena et sic ascendendo vsque ad foth de Bodufygle

It is worth noting that we do not need to be concerned with the county boundary that runs through the north of the parish - this division dates from the Reformation, long after the time of the charter, when the city of Aberdeen gained the northern part of the parish.

The mention of Findvn (Findon) suggests that the dispute may have been over lands near the southern boundary of the parish. The occurrence of Aldyny suggests it was to the north where there is an Altens. If this is correct, one would use the present day parish boundary to start at Clash Rodney (this may be Glacarethy - Glac and Clash both have much the same meaning of hollow, ravine and arethy is similar in sound to rodney) and run up to North Altens where a small stream runs to the coast. The name Altens itself may come from aldie, a small burn. From there the boundary of the shared land must have gone either west or south west to Badvena, though this place name is lost. The final place name, Bodufglye, may be at the extreme south-west of the parish boundary at a place called Bothiebriggs. Foth is Gaelic and can mean land or marsh - Robertson’s map of 1822 shows a loch nearby.

On this assumption, the road would have gone from the Altens area to somewhere near Loirston Loch, perhaps as far as the western parish boundary though what its purpose might have been is not clear.

Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.1, Page 165, charter 232

Notandum de marchijs de Dunechtyn
Note of the marches of Dunechtyn
Two translations are used here as each leads to a different interpretation. One is provided by Alexander Johnston Warden in vol.5, pages 101-2 of his Angus or Forfarshire; the other is a more literal translation.

Warden’s reads as:
beginning at the tree of the forest nearest to the head of the corn lands of
Hochterlony, thence by the head of the same to the king's highway leading to
Forfar, and along that road until opposite the head of a certain black burn on
the east of Ochterforfar, keeping the said black burn as far as Gelly, thence along
by Tyschergate (should be Fyschergate) to the burn of Haldynhorse, then on as far as the loch of Roscolby, keeping the same to the march of the burn of Tubirmanyn, past the well of the same, and crossing the moors by a grey stone to the white road, which
formed the march as far as the burn and forest of Balmadych, thence by the
head of the corn lands of the same — as oxen move in carts (carucis) — until it
came to the nearest tree of the said forest of Ochterlony

The more literal translation reads as:
First, beginning the march at the tree of the forest nearest to the head of the arable lands of hochtirlouny, and by the head of the same lands descending to the king’s highway which leads to Forfar, and so holding to the road until opposite the head of a certain black burn on the eastern side of Ochtirforfar and as that burn forms the march as far as Gelly, and from Gelly descending to the fyschergate and following this until coming to the stream called haldynhorse and from that stream descending as far as the lake of Roskolby, and so holding to the march by the lake as far as the burn of Tubirmanyn and so to the well of Tubirmanyn ascending over a moor by a gray stone, and from that stone as far as a white road and so going by the same road until coming to the stream which bounds Balmadych and its forest, and so from Balmadych going by the head of its corn lands as the oxen move in ploughs/carts until coming to the nearest tree of the forest of Ochtirlouny.

Prima marchia incipit ad proximiorem arborem foreste ad capita segetum (arable land)
suarum apud hochtirlouny et per capita segetum suarum descendendo ad
viam Regiam que ducit apud forfar / et sic tenendo viam vsque ad oppositum
capitis cuiusdam nigri riuuli ex orientali parte de Ochtirforfar / et sic ille
niger riuulus tenet marchiam vsque in Gelly / et de Gelly descendendo
vsque, in fyschergat et sic tenendo fyschergat quousque veniat ad riuulum
qui vocatur haldynhorse et de illo riuulo descendendo vsque in lacum de
Roskolby / et sic tenendo marchiam per lacum vsque ad riuulum de Tubirmanyn
et sic ad fontem de Tubirmanyn ascendendo vltra moram per vnum lapidem
gray / et de illo lapide usque ad albam viam et sic in eadem via eundo vsque
veniat ad riuulum qui marchiat Balmadych et forestam / et sic de Balmadych
eundo per capita segetum suarum prout boues mouentur in carucis / quousque
veniat ad proximam arborem foreste de Ochtirlouny

Click for larger imageAs can be seen from the map the land in question shares some boundaries with modern parishes (in green) but varies from these in places.

Both translations are effectively the same as far as Rescobie Loch. The march begins near Lownie Moor, which is an echo of Ochterlony and which is shown on Pont’s map of Lower Angus. Heading north one crosses the via regia to Forfar to reach Auchterforfar and its Black Burn which runs north-eastwards past Gelly (later known as Gullany), then reaching the Fyschergate and the burn of Haldynhorse before coming to Rescobie Loch. It is not clear if the march was on the southern or northern side of the loch though the recent parish boundary suggests it was on the north.

Following Warden’s translation, at the far end it would reach the present day boundary and cross the burn between Roscobie and Balgavies lochs to run directly south over rising ground to the Girdle Stane which Warden considers to be a march stone and then to a white road. From there one would assume the boundary ran along the ridge of Dunnichen Hill and back to Ochtirlony.

With the more literal translation, it is possible that the Tubirmanyn was the stream running down from Haresburn (see 1:25000 map). From its source the march may have gone by a standing stone at Westerton over to the road running south from Cross Road which has a parish boundary running along it. This then reaches the Lunan which could be interpreted as “the stream which bounds Balmadych”. From there one would head westwards towards the ridge of Dunnichen Hill and the starting point of Ochtirlony.

The Roads
So far as the roads go, the king’s highway is fairly straightforward and would have had much the line of the present road. Normally one would assume it would run towards the coast but another charter (see Ochtirlony and Forfar) talks of the king’s highway from Ochtirlony so it is safer to assume no more than that.

Approximate course of cadger road from Usan to Forfar. The purpose of the road was to supply fresh fish to the palace and it was to be as wide as a mill wand. This was a a piece of wood that went through the hole in the centre of a mill stone and allowed it to be trundled along on its edge. Many local histories mention the road but not in enough detail to reconstruct its course other than it probably ran near Bonnyton and across Montreathmont Moor. From there the topography would suggest it ran along the lower slopes of Turin Hill.
Based on quarter-inch OS map The Forth & Tay, 1923. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

The fyschergate is interesting as it has every appearance of being the “king’s cadger’s road” which is said to have ran from Usan on the coast to Forfar and along which the king’s cadger had to bring fish to the court every day. Although it is mentioned in local histories such as Warden, the “road” itself is lost, except in general terms of running across Montreathmont Moor. However topography suggests that it would have headed for the western end of Rescobie Loch and the mention of the fyschergate adds credibility to this.

The location of the “white road” is less certain, depending on which translation one follows. Warden’s would suggest somewhere near the Girdle Stone, and the other the road running south from Cross Roads along which there is a parish boundary.

Dunnichen (Dunbarrow)
Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.2, Page 66, No 73


This charter gives the boundaries for Dunbarrow, which lies to the south-east of Letham, viz:

Thir ar the merchis devydand Dunberrow on euery syde that is to sa
betwex the landis of Gardyn, Connansyth, the Boch, the lordschip of
Eidwy, Auchirmegyty, and the landis of Presthok (per Walterum
abbatem anno Domini millesimo quadragintesimo tricesimo quarto) 1434.
In the fyrst begynnand at Fallaty at the north est the quhilk devydis
the landis of Gardyn Presthok and Dunberrow in that part. And sua south
as the Brery Dyke gais callit the Wod Dyke to the Cartfurde in the Denburne
devydande the landis of Gardyn and Dunberrow on the est syide of
the landys of Dunberrow and Connansyth. And sua fra the Cartfurde
foresaid west as the Denburne gais to the discens of the Sclaitwel falland
in the furde of the myl of Achskorry the quhilk furde devydis the landis
of Dunberrow the landis of Eidwy and the Boch. And sua ewyn north to
the Blyndwel of the Stotfalde. And sua north as Dunnyte Den (Idvis Burn) gais tyl
Owyny the quhilkis Mylfurde Blyndewel and Ovyny forsaid devydis the
landis of Dunberrow at the west fra Eidwy and thair Dunnyte Den in
Ovyny (Vinny Water) devydis Dunberrow at the north west syde fra the landis of Eidwy Auchirmegyty and Presthok. And sua furth est as Dunberrow streikis as
the Greyne Laich gais to the Greyne Rod on the north syidis of Fallaty
quhil we cum to the landis of Gardyn at Fallaty at the north est devydand
the landis of Gardyn Presthok and Dunberrow quhair we begane.

These boundaries would be difficult to identify if it were not for the fact that they describe a detached portion of the parish of Dunnichen and are shown on early maps (e.g. 6” map, 1st series, Forfarshire XXXIX) .

From this we can see how they start at Fallady and then run south to the Denton Burn (Denburne) although it is not clear where the Cartfurde was. The ford at Ascurry (Achskorry) is clearer and may have been used to access the mill. The boundary would then go north to the Idvis Burn (Dunnyte Den ) and near to the Vinny Water (Ovyny). The location of the green road is unclear but must have been near the Vinny Water and Fallady.

Dunnichen (Craichie)
Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.2, Page 253, no 307

Assedacio dimidii molendini de Craquhy

Assedation (lease) of one-half of the mill of Craquhy
A charter of 1486 relating to the mill of Craquhy (Craichie) gives the boundaries of Craichie as:
..the ville of Crachy by the undernoted divisions thus, extending from the stone of le Furdhyll which is to be cultivated just like Ouchtirlowny and going by the middle road between the cultivated lands of Ouchtirlowny and Crachy as far as the spring of Croston, the sheep fold of le Boybrigfald, and to the water of Ovynni…

….ville de Crachy per diuisas subscriptas prout se extendit a lapide de le Furdhyll
colendo prout colunt Ouchtirlowny et veniendo per mediam viam inter
terras cultas de Ouchtirlowny et Crachy vsque ad fontem de Crostoun et
ad ouile de le Boybrigfald vsque ad aquam de Ovynni . .

Craichie and the mill still exist and are 3 miles south-east of Forfar on the B9128. The Furdhill is lost though the names of Croston and Boybrigfald (Bowriefauld) have survived as has the Water of Vinny (Ovynni). Ochtirlowny survives in the place name Lownie just north-west of Craichie.

From the wording of the charter, one would have an approximate course for the road from between Craichie and Ochtirlowny and running east towards Crosston.

Dunnichen (Ouchyrlowny & Forfar)
Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.2, Page 95, Charter 112

Perambulacio facta inter terras de Ouchyrlowny et Forfar

Perambulation made between the lands of Ouchyrlowny and Forfar
This charter dating from 1457 details a perambulation carried out to determine the boundary between the lands of Ouchyrlowny (Ochtirlony) and Forfar. It reads:

Beginning towards the south to the great stone placed as a boundary marker on the western side of the great ford known as le Cowfurde where the king’s muir, the abbot’s lands, and the lands of Lowr come together, and so ascending northwards by various bounds placed in this inspection from the western side of the cultivated lands which are vulgarly called le Furdhill of Crawquhy as far as that stone vulgarly called le Porkstane and so ascending from the said stone, also to the north, by other bounds as far as the stream in le Gavnlydene, and so ascending towards the west using the said stream as a boundary until coming to le Welstrynde vulgarly called Cardynis Well, and so ascending northwards by other bounds, also set by the same inspection, only as far as the king’s highway which leads from Ouchtirlowny to Forfar.

Incipiendo videlicet versus austrum ad magnum lapidem pro
meta positum ex parte occidentali magni vadi wlgariter nuncupati le
Cowfurde vbi mora regia et terra . . . abbatis . . . et terra de Lowr
adinuicem coniunguntur et sic ascendendo versus boream per diuersas
metas per ipsam assisam positas ex parte occidentali terre culte que
wlgariter vocatur le Furdhil de Crawquhy vsque ad quendam lapidem
vulgariter nuncupatum le Porkstane et sic ascendendo a dicto lapide
eciam versus boream per alias metas vsque ad riuulum in le Gavnlydene
et sic ascendendo versus occidentem et tenendo predictum riuulum pro
marchia vsque perueniatur ad le Welstrynde wlgariter appellatum Cardynis
Well et sic ascendendo versus boream per alias metas eciam per
ipsam assisam positas vsque perueniatur tantum ad viam regiam que ducit
ab Ouchtirlowny ad Forfar

With so many of the placenames lost this is a very difficult charter to interpret. The main locations of the King’s Muir, Craichie, and Lour survive as does the Cardynys Well as Cardinal’s Well, and there is a suspicion that the boundary at the extreme west of Dunnichen parish could be that of the Ochtirlowny lands.

None of this matters too much as the king’s highway must have had much the same line as the present day road. As noted elsewhere it may be wiser to take the charter at face value and not assume that it continued beyond Ochtirlowny.

Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.1, page 322, charter 366

Conan et Tulloch limites
Bounds of Conon and Tulloch
In a charter of 1254 relating to a dispute, the boundaries between the abbey’s lands of Conan and Tulloch and those of Peter de Maulia of Pannemor and Christine his wife were agreed.
The boundaries read: Beginning at the river called Eloth and so ascending to the waste as far as the stream called Lecach then by that waste as far as the eastern side of Crundaly, then descending to the rock placed in the head of Kelwad, then by a sike to the marsh of Gamell then by a stream leading eastwards to the common road which leads to the bounds of the land of the lord Eustach de Baliol…….
The charter also gives the agreed boundary between Tuloch and Pannemor as:
..a certain road which lies between Kynard and Tulach and so descending to a certain ford which is called Athroby.

Incipiendo scilicet a rivulo qui dicitur Eloth et sic ascendendo ad vascellum usque ad rivulum qui dicitur Lecach et sic ascendendo per id vascellum usque ad orientalem partem de Crundaly / et sic descendendo ad petram que fixa est in capite de Kelwad et ita descendendo siket ad maresiam Gamell et ita per rivulum versus orientem usque ad communem stratam que tendit ad terminum terre domini Eustachii de Balliol……

…..quedam strata que jacet inter Kynard et Tulach et sic descendendo ad quoddam vadum quod dicitur Athroby.

None of the place names other than Tulloch (Tillyhiot), Conon, Panmure (Pannemor) and the Elliot Water (Eloth) can now be identified, nor can the common road.

As Kynard in the second excerpt from the charter cannot be identified, it is difficult to say where the road might have been. However, it is interesting (though speculative) to note that there is a tradition of an old road in the area. This is the Hunter’s Path or Heckenbois Path said to have been made by Hector Boece the historian (1465-1536) from his house at Panbride up to the main road north. This road certainly passed close to Conon and Tulloch (Tullyhiot) and would have ran through Redford which may reflect the name of Athroby which means “red ford.” See here for additional information.

St Vigeans
Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.2, page 67, no 75

The marchis that bundys the Myltounmwr the Eisterbrekkis and the biscoppis land of Sanctandros.
In the fyrst begynnand at the Ramdenheid and fra thyne passand sowth
vest to the Todholis and swa furth to the Akyn Busk (prob. oak & bush/thicket
- see DSL) and swa one to the Blynd or the Beld Stane ondyr the dikys of the
Brakkys and swa on to the Denheid of Gutheryne ondyr the gait as the
induellaris of Gutheryn cummys and gays to Sanct Vigianis kyrk.


St Vigeans lies about a mile and a half north of Arbroath. The boundaries are quite difficult to follow although one recognises Brax (Brekkis) and Guynd (Gutheryne), and the Denheid of Gutheryne may be what is now called Denhead of Arbirlot. David Miller in Arbroath and Its Abbey (1860), page 205, considers that these marches are identical to the north boundary of Arbirlot parish from the head of the Ram Den to the Elliot water.

A fairly straight track can be assumed from Gutheryne (Guynd) to the church.

Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Vol.2, page 479. no 688

Athe (Ethie) (7 miles nth of Arbroath)

This is a lease of land on the north side of the Mains of Ethie dating from 1527. It includes the phrase “to be personally occupied and laboured by the said John, swa that he be nocht inquyet be hys nychtborrys makand common gayt throw hys toft…”

Vol.2 Page 483, No.698 Athe (Ethie)

This document of 1528 refers to “half of the lands of the Manis of Athe with the teind sheaves in the sheriffdom of Forfar and regality of Arbroyth, at the sowthfyid of the sayd Manys that ys to say fra the hauyne of Athe haldand west the common gayt to the well in the town of the sayd Manys and frathynfurth euyn west the loyn to ane othir well callit the Greyn Well….”

The hauyne of Athe is now called Ethie Haven. The charter implies there was a track from the Haven to Ethie Mains, and then another (the loyn or loan) westwards - the Greyn Well may have been at Ethie Greens as shown on the 6”map (Forfarshire XLI).

Abbacie De Aberbrothoc
Vol. 1, Page 100, charter 144

Cirographum William aucupis
Chirograph of William the Fowler (Hawker/Falconer)
This is a record of an agreement that mentions two bridges. The location is either Maryton near the Montrose Basin or Marykirk on the North Esk.

"With the question turning between the Abbot and convent of Aberbrothoc on the one hand and William the Fowler on the other on whether a certain portion of land between the villa of the same William and Maringtun which land is situated from the western side of the bridge of Luffenoct and extends next to a certain bridge which is called stanbrig….."

Cvm questio verteretur inter Abbatem et conuentum de Aberbrothoc ex
vna parte et William aucupem ex altera super quadam porcione terre inter
villam eiusdem William aucupis et maringtun que terra iacet ab occidentali
parte pontis de luffenoct et pertenditur iuxta quisdam pontem qui dicitur stanbrig

The Maringtun of the document (undated but probably early to mid 1200’s) has been identified by some with Maryton on the south side of the Montrose Basin, and by others with Marykirk some 6 miles to the north on the River North Esk. The topography favours Marykirk because it used to be known as Aberluthnot, and the document mentions the bridge of Luffenoct.

In a footnote on page xxv the editors of the Register say:
“The charter has several minute particulars of curiosity for the local antiquary. The land in question lay to the west of the bridge of Luffenot, apparently the Luthnot Burn (the footnote says the Luther Water but at the end of vol.2, this was changed to Lethnot Burn) and extended to a certain bridge called Stanbrig, which appears certainly to have been a bridge of stone over the North water, a very early example of a bridge over such a stream. The land was granted to the church of Maringtun, apparently Marykirk; and as a symbol of investiture, the Falconer offered a turf of the land upon the altar of the Church.”

Although the Luthnot Burn is not named on any map it is generally said to have flowed through or very near Marykirk - the likeliest candidate would therefore be the Balmaleedy Burn. There is a definite possibility that the stone bridge was not over the North Esk but rather over the Luther Water or even the Balmakelly Burn.

Note: A chirograph (cyrograph) is a medieval document, which has been written in duplicate, triplicate or very occasionally quadruplicate on a single piece of parchment, where the Latin word "chirographum" (or equivalent) has been written across the middle, and then cut through. By this means both parties to an agreement could possess a copy of its written record, and each copy could be verified as genuine through introduction to, and comparison with, the other. (Wikipedia)

Abbacie De Aberbrothoc
Vol. 2, Page 103, no.121

Kyncoldrum limites incipiendo ad austrum per Malcomum abbatem
anno 1458.
The bounds of Kyncoldrum beginning at the south, by Malcolm, Abbot, 1458
This charter notes the boundaries of the lands owned by Arbroath abbey in the Kingoldrum area in 1458. In fact a close examination shows that they are identical to the parish boundary although if this was not marked on maps it would be very difficult to work out where the charter boundaries ran as many of the place names are lost and the descriptions very vague in places.

The charter is of interest for its mentions of three fords, viz.
The bwrne furd of Artheragy
- and swa north to Drumnagub that partis Kenny Lytil and Schangly and wp to the bwrne furd of Artheragy the quhilk partys Baldewy and Kynclwn (3156) fra Kennard (2954) and fra Pergawy (3055) and fra thyne passand wp to the west part of Mydfield that partis Kynclwne and Pergewy….

Kingoldrum - click for larger imageFrom this context the ford must have been very near to the farm of Wardend. The orientation of the associated track could have been N-S or E-W; it was probably used for local access

The Brandyrfwrd and the Cowfurd
- up the bwrne of Haldyrischanna that is to say the Gled Bwrne and wp to the bwrne of Aldalane syne wp north to Carnecaithlay syne eist the north part of Carnecaithla to the vattyr of Prossyne and syne sowth to the Brandyrfwrd and sowth owr the end of the Clwne to the Cowfurd and fra the Cowfurd to the marche reisk and sowth fra thyne to ane well and fra thyne to ane crosstane in the sowth syd of Dromakalyow….

Two fords are shown on this stretch of the Prosen on the early 6“ map: one at Glackburn and one at Prosenhaugh. These could be interpreted as one or both of the fords, but the description is so obscure that additional information would be needed to reach any certainty. Where the boundary turns sharply south, there is in fact a well near Balloch and a nearby hill is called Clune Hill suggesting the Carrity Burn was called the Clune. The place name of Balloch may suggest an early route through the area.

G W S Barrow in 'Land Routes: The Medieval Evidence', in Loads and Roads in Scotland and Beyond, ed. A.Fenton & G.Stell, 49-66, Edinburgh 1984 (John Donald) refers to four fords in Kingoldrum mentioned in an unpublished chartulary of Arbroath abbey (BL MS Add. 33245 ff.179-80). The fords are Dersy (see next charter), Aquhragy, Madzor, and Achnahilt on the Carity Burn. He identifies Aqhragy as Ascreve though, as we have seen, its location must have been on the western side of the parish rather than to the east where Ascreve lies. Although the names are quite different there is a slight possibility that the Brandyford and the Cowford are Madzor and Achnahilt - this would allow us to place the Cowford on the Carity Burn.

In the fyrst begynnand at the sowth at Carghal and passand vest to Melgone
• and fra thyne ascendand to the north to Myllaschangly that is to
say Scottismyll tyll ane strype at the west part of Lytil Kenny the quhilk
stripe deuydis it fra Myllaschangly • and syne haldand north to Monybrek
that is to say marrass of the quhilk rynnis ane strype to Melgone the
quhilk deuydis Litil Kenny fra Myllaschangly • and swa north to Drumnagub
that partis Kenny Lytil and Schangly and wp to the bwrne furd of
Artheragy the quhilk partys Baldewy and Kynclwn fra Kennard and
fra Pergawy • and fra thyne passand wp to the weft part of Mydfield that
partis Kynclwne and Pergewy • and swa wp to the bwrne of Athyncroith
that is to say the Gallaow Bwrne the quhilk diuidis Kynclune and Pergewy
• and swa wp to the Raistane Well diwidand betuix Kynclwne and
Pergewy • and syne north west to Tybyrnoquhyg that is to say the Blynd
Well • and swa wp to Carnofotyr that is to say the Pwndiris Carne • syne
eist to the corstane abwne Cargfuryngis betuix Kynclwne and Garlay
and eist the north part of Tarrak tyl ane othyr corsstane • and syne eist
the north part of Claischnamoyll that is to say the Mekylhyll and tyll ane
corsstane of Claischnamoyll • and fra thyne to the pwll of Monboy that is
to say the Yallow Pwlle • and swa wp the claische that is to say the reyske
haldand eist to the corsstane • and swa up the bwrne of Haldyrischanna
that is to say the Gled Bwrne and wp to the bwrne of Aldalane • syne wp
north to Carnecaithlay -• syne eist the north part of Carnecaithla to the
vattyr of Prossyne • and syne sowth to the Brandyrfwrd and sowth owr
the end of the Clwne to the Cowfurd and fra the Cowfurd to the marche
reisk • and sowth fra thyne to ane well • and fra thyne to ane crosstane in
the sowth syd of Dromakalyow • and fra thyne sowth owr the Lowth to the
quhit stane in the eist syd of Egnowe • fra thyne sowth owr to Leiftye.

Abbacie De Aberbrothoc
Vol. 2, Page 104, No. 122

Kyncoldrum limites vnius partis per Malcomum abbatem anno 1458.

The bounds of part of Kyncoldrum, by Malcolm, Abbot, 1458
Thir ar the marchis betuix ane part of Kyncoldrum Kynnordy and
Drumnacalyowcht. In the fyrst begynnand at the crosstane apon the vard
dyk of Drumnacalyowcht sowth owr the Lowth to the stannand stanis of
the eist syd of Egnoch and swa sowth owr tyll Achyndory and to the
furd of Dersy vest the greyn rod quhill it cum to the Scotisgait and
swa north to the Vynddy-yettis and fra thyn north owr athowrt the mwr
tyll ane strype rynnand throw Rwscha to the vattar of Crummy and fra
thyne vest to the Inner of Melgone and fra Melgone wp to the Scottismyll.

Much of this is shown by parish boundaries except for the section between Dersy and the Vynddy-yettis which mentions the roads. Drumnacalyowcht is now Culhawk Hill with the parish boundary on its western side. The Louth is the stream that ran into the Loch of Kinnordy with Egnoch or Egknowe to the south. Again the parish boundary runs through these places and down to Achindorie and present day Dairsie.

Leaving aside the uncertain middle section we can pick up the boundary at Rwscha which is shown on Gordon’s map of Braes of Angus as Runsche. This was near the confluence of the Cromie Burn and the Melgam Water. Melgone was nearby and the Scottismyll or Myllaschangly was near Shannally on the Melgam Water.

Kaims of Airlie. This rough terrain which is glacial in origin may hold a clue to the name of Windy Yetts as it would have forced people to take a winding path.

Although we have an approximate north-westerly course about four miles in length for the middle section, it is probably best not to speculate too much, intriguing though the names of Scotisgait and Windy Yetts are. There is, however, a possibility that the Scotisgait is the Roman road which was picked up at Westmuir and ran close to Reedie (OGS Crawford, Topography of Roman Scotland, page 90, NMRS records). The stripe, or small rivulet, can be seen on the parish boundary running into the Cromie Burn.

A charter for Coupar Angus abbey gave them free passage across the land of Achindory - see here.



Abbacie De Aberbrothoc Volume 2, Page 109, charter 124

This charter concerned a toft somewhere between the north of Montrose and the Dun, namely: "our toft with messuage tending in its length from Stanefurde to the torrent of the Dun….lying in the lordship of Dun between the land of the brethren of Montrose on the north side of the same and the lands of the brew-house of Dun on the southern side of the same…."

toftum nostrum cum massuagio tendens in longitudine a Stanefurde vsque ad torrentem de Dvn . . . iacens in dominio de Dvn inter terram fratrum de Montros ex parte boriali eiusdem . . . et terram Brasine (brew house) de Dvn ex parte australi eiusdem 1459

Apart from the place name of Staneforde being lost, the mention of the brethren of Montrose adds a complication if the Dominican Friars are being referred to. They had a friary to the north of the town but this is too far from the water of Dun to fit the charter. If they had land in the vicinity of Dun, one could imagine the “Stanefurde” also being in that area though from the description (from the Stanefurde to the torrent of the Dun) it may have been over a stream other than the Dun.

Lindores Abbey
William Wascelyn's Charter of the Land of Newtyle
Chartulary of Lindores, charter XXXVII, page 39. Notes, page 247. Date c.1200

Parish boundary in green. Based on half-inch Ordnance Survey map, sheet 24, 1914 with thanks.

William Wascelyn and Mabel, his wife, gave Lindores abbey "an oxgate of land in the vill of Newtyle, namely between the high way (superiorem viam) and the hill" along with common pasture with their own men for various animals.
A footnote as well as Notes (p. 247) suggests the sense of superiorem uiam may be "upper road."

As it stands there is insufficient information to tell where this road might have been other than to the hilly ground south of Newtyle. Assuming a "lower road" is implied, such a "lower road" may have been an early route to Dundee.

St Andrew's Cathedral Priory
Easter Fowlis

Carta William Masculi de foules; Carta Rogeri Mortimer de foules
St Andrew's Liber, p.40 & p.41
A charter for Easter Fowlis refers to a grant of the church and some land in Easter Fowlis to Thomas the clerk and nephew to William Masculi (Maule), and confirmed by William's successor, Roger Mortimer, in another charter.

The boundaries are practically the same in each charter. William says he gives the church "with church lands from the stream which descends to my mill by the road towards fofar (Forfar) as far as a certain division which is in the eastern part of the chutel (Cuthill), and so by the previously noted division as far as a stone below the lesser meadow and so to the foresaid burn. I concede also to God, the Church and the foresaid person, certain lands on the western side of the village to the exit for the animals between the road and the burn as far as the blakford."

This part of Roger's charter is practically identical. He has forfar instead of fofar and Cuthel instead of Chutel, and "below the lesser meadow of the church". Cuthill is a grove or small wood (DSL)

cum terra ecclesie a riuo que descendit ad molendinum meum per viam aduersus fofar vsque ad quondam diuisam que est in parte orientali de chutel, et ita per prenotatam diuisam vsque ad lapidem sub minore prato et sic vsque ad predictum riuulum. Concessi eciam deo et ecclesie et predicte persone terram quandam ex parte occidentali ville ad exitus animalium inter viam et riuulum vsque ad blakford.


The area described by the charter probably lies close to the centre of the village with its church, mill and castle

Fowlis Easter lies some 6 miles west of Dundee. Although none of the placenames have survived we can be fairly confident the charters are dealing with land very close to the village itself. We have a burn running through Fowlis, a mill which although it dates from 1668 could easily have replaced one that was earlier, and the church nearby. There is also a ford downstream from the village.

However, none of this is very helpful in identifying the road to Forfar and early maps show nothing feasible. One possibility is that the road ran east to intersect a north-south route between Dundee and Forfar; another that it went directly to Forfar by crossing the Sidlaw Hills but both these possibilities are very vague. Nor is it clear what the purpose of the route might have been.


Ordinacio Walteri episcopi de Edwy
St Andrews Liber, page 409
Alex. J. Warden, Angus or Forfarshire, Vol. IV, page 67

In volume IV of Angus or Forfarshire, the author Alex. J. Warden notes that the St Andrews Liber (page 409) records that Walter, the Bishop of St Andrews "made a visitation to the church in 1388, and issued an ordinance for changing the site of the manse of Idvies. The new ground is described as bounded on the east of the church by a ford upon the Vuany, at a heap of stones near the foot of the rock called Craignacre. The old kirk stood upon the lands of Gask in a field called the Kirk-shed."

The likeliest identification for Craignacre is Crag Monichree which is situated below the glebe and 18th century church of Kirkden (now a house). The Vinny Water runs nearby where the ford would have been. It, and any associated track, were very probably of local use only. All locations can be seen on the 6" map. 1st series. Angus or Forfarshire, Sheet XXXIX