Britannia, by William Camden


Angus. Big U UPON the Æstuary of the Tay, and a little way within it, along the North-Eske, lies Angus, called by the genuine Scots Æneia; extending it self into Fields very fruitful in wheat and all other sorts of grain, with large hills, lakes, forests, pastures and meadows; and beautified with very many forts and castles. AEstuary Estuary AEneia Forfar. ⌈From the head Town hereof, Forfar, it is likewise called the Shire of Forfar, and is always so named in the Rolls of Parliament. It is bounded upon the South with the Ocean and the Firth of Tay; upon the West and North-west, it is divided from Perthshire by a line twenty seven miles long; towards the North, the ridge of Binchinnin-mountains parts it from the Brae of Marr; and to the East it is separated from the Mernes by the water of Tarf, and a line drawn from it to the water of North-Eske, which to its mouth continues to divide this Shire from the Mernes. It is in length about * * Others, 32.twenty eight miles, and in breadth about † † Others, 28.twenty; and in circumference about ninety. It was anciently divided between the Scots and Picts: the Picts possess’d the low Champain part lying next the Sea, and the Scots inhabited that part of the Grampian Mountains which lie in this Shire. But, upon the Subversion of the Pictish Monarchy in the reign of Kenneth the second, King of Scotland, it came to be wholly possess’d by the Scots.

They have, in this County, several Quarries of free-stone, and much slate, with both which they drive a good trade. Near the Castle of Innemarkie, there are Lead-mines; and they find great plenty of Iron-ore near the wood of Dalboge. The higher ground, called the Brae, abounds with Hart, Hind, Roe-buck, Doe, and Fowl; and their Salmon-trade turns to good account.

Where this Shire joins to that of Perth, lieth the Town of Cowpar,Cowpar. surrounded with large Corn-fields. Here, Malcolm the fourth, King of Scotland, founded an Abbey of Cistercian Monks, in the year 1174; and, upon the dissolution of Religious Houses at the Reformation, King James the sixth erected the Abbey into a temporal Lordship, in favour of James Elphingston, second son of James Lord Balmerino; but he dying without issue, the Honour was swallowed up in the title of Balmerino.⌉

At the first entrance into this County from Gowry, stands Glamis,Baron Glamis. a Castle, and Barony of a Family sirnamed Lyons; which have been famous ever since J. Lyon, a great favourite of King Robert the second, received this and the dignity of a Baron with the King’s daughter in Marriage,The Shield Arg. the Lyon and Treassure flowry, B. and therewith (as I find it written,) the sirname of Lyon, with a Lyon in his Arms, within a Treassure Floury, as the Kings themselves bear, but in different colours. ¦ ¦ Now living, C.Patrick Glamis obtain’d * * Very lately, C.the honour of Earl of Kinghorn from King James the sixth; ⌈which title hath been changed from Kinghorn to Strathmore, as being the largest Strath in Scotland, running through Perthshire and Angus, where the Estate of the said Earl, for the greatest part, lies.⌉

Sheriffdom of Forfar. At a little distance, is Forfar, where Justice is administer’d by the Barons Greys,Baron Grey. hereditary Sheriffs, who are descended from the Greies of Chillingham in Northumberland, and ⌈* * Came, C.are said to have first come⌉ into Scotland with King James the first, when he returned out of England. Upon † † The first, of whom, nam’d Andrew, the King bountifully conferr’d the Lordship of Foulis, with ¦ ¦ Janet.Helena Mortimer for his Wife. ⌈The said Sir Andrew Gray of Foulis made a very bright figure in the times of King James the first and second, and was in that reign one of the great Barons, who were fixed Hereditary Lords. And true it is, that by this marriage the Family was greatly enriched; but it is also true, that a person of both the names, who was also Son of the Lord Gray, came into Scotland long before, viz. in the reign of King Robert Bruce; and had from that Prince, in consideration of his great Services, a Grant of all the Lands which had appertain’d to Sir Edmund de Hastings, lying in this County. Sir Walter Ashton, an English Gentleman, was created Lord Forfar by King Charles the first; and Archibald Douglass, brother to James, Marquiss of Douglass, was, by King Charles the second, created Earl of Forfar.⌉

Dundee. Near the Tay’s mouth, is Dundee, which the ancients called Alectum,J. Skene de de verb. signif. and others Taodunum; a Town ⌈of great note, good trade, and well-built;⌉ whose Constable, by special privilege, is Standard-bearer to the Kings of Scotland. Hector Boetius. Hector Boetius, who was born here, expounds the name Dundee, by allusion, Donum Dei, or the gift of God. This person, in the age when Learning reviv’d, wrote an elegant History of Scotland, out of Monuments of Antiquity so ancient, that Paulus Jovius wonder’d, there should be in his writings concerning these remote parts of the World, the Hebrides, and the Orcades, Records of above one thousand years standing; when in Italy (the nurse of excellent wits) there was, for so many ages after the expulsion of the Goths, such a scarcity of writers. ⌈The name seems to be derived from Dun a hill and the river Tay, (on the north-side whereof it is situated.) It stands in a pleasant Plain, and (besides the advantages just now mentioned) hath two Churches, a very high Steeple, and a harbour for Ships of burthen. The Inhabitants are generally rich; and those who fall to decay, have a large Hospital provided for them. Sir James Scrimgeor, of the ancient Family of the Scrimgeors of Dudop, and Constables of Dundee, was first created by King Charles the first, Viscount of Dudop, and by King Charles the second Earl of Dundee. Which title being extinct, King James the seventh created Colonel John Grahme of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee; who was slain at the battle of Gillichrankie in the year 1689.⌉

But upon this place Johnston, who was born not far from hence, hath these Verses;


Quâ Notus argutis adspirat molliter auris,
Hàc placidè coëunt
Taus & Oceanus.
Hic facili excipiens venientes littore puppes,
Indigenis vasti distrahit orbis opes.
Sæpe dolis tentata, & belli exercita damnis,
Invictis animis integra præstat adhuc.
Fama vetus crevit cum Relligione renatâ,
Lucis & hinc fulsit pura nitela aliis
Alectum dixere priùs; si maxima spectes
Commoda, fors
Donum dixeris esse Dei.
Tu decus æternum gentisque urbisque Boëti,
Cætera dic patriæ dona beata tuæ

Where the calm South with gentle murmurs reigns,
Tay with the Sea his peaceful Current joyns.
To trading Ships an easie Port is shown,
That makes the riches of the World its own.
Oft have her hapless sons been forc’d to bear
The dismal thunder of repeated War;
Yet unsubdu’d their noble souls appear.
Restor’d Religion hath advanc’d her height,
And spread through distant parts the sacred light.
Alectum once ’twas nam’d; but when you’ve view’d
The joys and comforts by kind heav’n bestow’d,
You’ll call it Donum Dei, Gift of God.
Boetius, honour of the Realm and Town,
Speak thou the rest, and make thy mother’s honours known.

Brochty-Crag. Hence, we have a sight of Brochty-crag, a Fort defended by a Garrison of English for many months together,1547. when, out of an earnest desire of a perpetual peace, they sued for a Marriage between Mary of Scotland and Edward the sixth of England, and, upon promise thereof, demanded the performance by force of arms: but the Garrison at length abandon’d it. ⌈About four miles north-east from this, stood the old Castle of Panmure,Panmure. which was gallantly defended by Robert Maule of Panmure (a strenuous opposer of the said Match,) against the English Garrison of Brochtycrag; but at last was forced to surrender. Which Castle was afterwards demolished; and now, about half a mile from it, stands the new House of Panmure, a very noble Structure, built since the Restoration of King Charles the second, and adorn’d with fine Gardens and large Inclosures. Of this family (descended from the Lords de Maulia in Normandy,) Patrick was created by King Charles the first * * Now forfeited by Attainder.Earl of Panmure.⌉

Then, to the open Sea lies Aberbroth, by contraction Arbroth,Arbroth. ⌈(a Royal Burgh and a Harbour; and of old)⌉ a place consecrated to Religion by King William, in honour of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and endow’d by him with large Revenues. ⌈Here he lies interred, and hath a stately Monument. Here also is a famous Mineral Water, which is very much frequented for various Diseases.⌉ Near Aberbroth, the Red-headRed-head. shoots out into the Sea; a Promontory to be seen at a great distance. Hard by, South-EskeSouth-Eske. enters the Ocean, which flowing out of a Lake, passes by Finnevim-Castle,Finnevim-Castle. much fam’d for being the seat of the Lindsays,The Lindsays. Earls of Crawford; of whom I have spoken already. Kinnaird. ⌈Beneath, on the same river, standeth Kinnaird, the Inheritance of the Karnagies; who, by being Members of the College of Justice, did greatly advance their Fortunes; and of whom, Sir David was created Lord Carnagy by King James the sixth, and afterwards, by King Charles the first, Earl of * * Now, forfeited by Attainder.Southesk; also, Sir John Carnegie was by King Charles the first created Lord Lour, and afterwards Earl of Ethie; which titles his eldest son David exchanged, by permission of King Charles the second, for those of Earl of Northesk, and Lord Rosehill; as being more agreeable to the title of Earl of Southesk, the chief of the Family.⌉

Brechin. Then, Brechin stands upon the same River, which King David the first adorned with a Bishop’s See: ⌈It is a Royal Burgh of great Antiquity; and a Market-Town, considerable for Salmon, Horses, Oxen, and Sheep. It has a stately bridge over the river Esk; and shows the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace, and of the Canons houses. It is likewise famous for a memorable slaughter of the Danes not far from it. On the South-side of the Town, stood the old Castle of Brechin, famous for the brave and heroick defence of it by Sir Thomas Maule, against Edward the first, King of England, in the year 1303. Where this Castle stood, a very stately new House hath been built, which is one of the finest and most pleasant Seats in these parts.⌉

Mont-rose. At the very mouth of South-Esk, is Montrose, that is, The Mount of Roses, a Town anciently called Celurca (risen out of the Ruins of another of the same name, and situated between the two Eskes,) which gives the title of † † Earl, C.Duke to the Family of Graham. ⌈King James the fourth conferred the title of Earl of Montrose, upon William Lord Graham, in the year 1504; and afterwards James Earl of Montrose was created Marquiss by King Charles the first; being the person so much celebrated in our Histories, for his glorious Actions in the Civil Wars. Whose Descendant, the present Inheritor of this ancient Title and Estate, a person of great Honour and Wisdom, and highly deserving of his Country, was further advanced by Queen Anne to the dignity of Duke of Montrose.⌉

Upon this Town, Johnston writes thus:


Aureolis urbs picta rosis: mons molliter urbi
Imminet, hinc urbi nomina facta canunt:
At veteres perhibent quondam dixisse
Nomine sic prisco & nobilitata novo est.
Et prisca atque nova insignis virtute, virûmque
Ingeniis, Patriæ qui peperere decus

A leaning Mount which golden roses grace
At once adorns and names the happy place.
But ancient times Celurca call’d the Town;
Thus is it proud of old and late renown;
And old and late brave sons, whose wit and hand
Have brought new Trophies to their native Land.

Boschain. Not far from hence, is Boschain, belonging to the Barons of Ogilvy,Barons Ogilvy. who are of very ancient Nobility, as being descended from that Alexander, Sheriff of Angus, who was slain in the bloody battle at Harley against the Macdonalds of the Isles.

Airlie. ⌈In this Shire, is also Airlie, which was the first title of the Lord Ogilvie of Airlie; and James Lord Ogilvie was created by King Charles the first Earl of Airlie; the seat of which family is at Cortochie,Cortochie. in this County, at the foot of the Grampian hills.

Before we conclude, we must observe, that in this Shire it was, that the General of the Danes was kill’d by the valiant Keith, who thereupon was advanced to great honours by King Malcolm the second, who was present at the battle. Upon the General’s Grave, there was a high Stone erected, which carries the name of Camus’s Cross. And about ten miles distant from this, at Aberlemno, is another Cross, erected upon some of the Danes kill’d there. Both these have some antique Pictures and Letters upon them. In this river, below the Castle of Brechin, are found Pearls; some of which are so fine and large, that they may be compared with many that are Oriental.⌉

Earls of Angus. As for the Earls of Angus; Gillebred, and his son Gilchrist, of Angus (a person illustrious for his brave exploits under Malcolm the fourth,) * * Was, C.were the first † † Earl, C.Earls of Angus that I read of. About the year 1242. John Comin was Earl of Angus, who died in France; and his Dowager (perhaps heiress of the Earldom) was married to Gilbert Umfravile, an Englishman. For both he and his heirs successively were summoned to the Parliament of England till the third year of King Richard the second, under the title of Earls of Angus. But the English Lawyers refused in their Instruments to stile him Earl (because Angus was not within the Kingdom of England,) till he produced in open Court the King’s Writ, whereby he was summoned to Parliament under the name of Earl of Angus. In the reign of David Brus, * * Thomas, C.Alexander Steward was Earl of Angus,Scotochroni­cum. who took Berwick by surprize, but presently lost it again; and a little after, died miserably in prison at Dunbritton. The Douglasses, Men of noble brave Spirits and invincible Courage, have been Earls of Angus, ever since the reign of Robert the third (after that George Douglass had married the King’s Daughter,) and are reputed † Primi Scotiæ Comites.the chief and principal * * Now Dukes.Earls of Scotland, whose Office it is to carry the Regal Crown before the Kings, at all the solemn Assemblies of the Kingdom. The sixth Earl of Angus of this race, was Archibald, who married Margaret, daughter to Henry the seventh of England, and mother to James the fifth of Scotland; by whom he had issue Margaret, Wife to Matthew Stewart Earl of Lennox.scotochronicum She, after her brother’s death without issue, willingly resigned her right to this Earldom (with the consent of her husband and sons) to David Douglass of Peteindreich, her Uncle’s son by the father’s side; to the end that by this obligation she might engage that Family (already the nearest in Blood) more closely to her. At the same time, her son Henry was about to marry Q. Mary: From which marriage, King James ⌈the 6th,⌉ Monarch of Great Britain, was happily born for the general good of these Nations; ⌈and from the Earls of Angus and Douglass, the Duke of Douglass is lineally descended.⌉


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52