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1500  The name 'Smithycroft' is in use.


1502  Abbot David Lychtone dies.


1503  James Stewart, King James IV's younger brother, becomes Commendator of the Abbey.


1504 (-1513)  George Hepburn is Abbot.


1510  Hepburn becomes Bishop of the Isles, but continues to hold

the Abbey in commendum.


1513  (Sept 9)  George Hepburn is killed at the Battle of Flodden.


1514  Gavin Douglas & Andrew Forman briefly considered as commendators.

1514 (-1517)  James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, is Commendator of the Abbey.


1517  (Aug)  Peter de Accoltis  claims some right to be commendator.

1517  (Oct)  James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, commendator of Arbroath, resigns by letters presented to the Cardinal of Ancona. A detailed description of the Abbey exists from that meeting, and Arbroath is described as a town of  'about 200 hearths'.

1517 (-1524)  James Beaton is Commendator.


1524 (-1545) David Betoun (Beaton) is Commendator. He grants part of Abbey lands to his mistress. Two of it's churches he grants to illegitimate sons.


1525  David Beaton sits in the Scottish Parliament.


1528  The harbour, due to lack of revenue, has fallen into a dilapidated state. All inhabitants are required to offer their labour with an 8d fine for those absent.


1529  'Sometime before' this date, Ladybridge is constructed.

1529-30  Trees are bought at South Ferry and the harbour pier reconstruction begins.


1538  Part of the rents levied on 'Common-Folds' etc is used tae bigg up the hawyn (build up the haven).














1539  John Guthrie & Isabella Ogilvy are granted land at Colliston by Cardinal David Beaton. Isabella is probably Beaton's daughter.

1545  Colliston Castle is erected. It is believed that the remains of the old building on Cairnconon were removed by the fuears of Colliston after it's alienation from the Abbey by Cardinal Beaton & used in this construction.

1545 (-1551) James Betoun (Beaton), nephew of David Betoun, is Commendator.


1546  David Beaton has George Wishart executed and in the same year (May 29) is himself murdered by Protestant reformers in St Andrews, whereafter, it is said, they formed the first congregation of the Church of Scotland.

1546  George Douglas is nominated unsuccessfully for the Abbacy.


1551 (-1568)   Lord John Hamilton is Commendator.


1560 (?) The reformation brings only slight change to St Vigeans Kirk - the alter is removed & the pulpit is placed centrally to suit Presbyterian worship.


1561  The Abbey's 'post Reformation' possessions are contained in the Book of Assumptions and the account of the Collector General of the thirds of benificies. Click here:      (see 1592)


1562  Mary, Queen of Scots, visits the Abbey, staying at the Abbot's house.


1564  The Merkat Cross (topped by a unicorn) in Copegate (now lower High St.) is mentioned when a Dundee burgess is accused of breaking it and removing part of the Cross. It will eventually be removed in 1746 when deemed to be a traffic obstruction.


1568 (-1572)  George Douglas is Commendator.


1573 (-1579)  Lord John Hamilton is again Commendator.

1573  From now to 1860, what we know as Hill Place, is School Hill.


1579  A son of Lord Gray burns & sacks Red Castle after a period of siege.

1579 (-1583)  Esme Stuart is Commendator.


1580  Regality courts are held at Cairnconon as late as this date.

1580  The Old or Parish Church (above) is built at Kirk Wynd (later Kirk Square) using stone taken from the dormitory of the abandoned Abbey.


1582 Kinblethmont is sold by the Guthries to Sir Peter Young of Seaton, who in turn will sell the estate to the Woods of Bonington.


1585 (-1604)  Lord  John Hamilton  is again Commendator.

1585 (approx) Arbroath parish is disjoined from St Vigeans parish.


1590  From around now Abbey stone is being used for town building projects. This practise will continue until Abbey preservation begins in 1815.

1590  Services are still held up to this date in the lady-chapel, 'stripped of it's alters & images'.

1590  The harbour is once more in a ruinous state.


1591  The town receives a grant of £60 for harbour repairs.


1592  The Abbey's 'post Reformation' possessions are contained in the 'Charge of the Temporalitie' as annexed to the Crown. Click here:      (see 1561)


1594  By this year the weavers have formed a guild, the strongest of the seven incorporated trades of Arbroath.


1597  George Gladstanes is minister at Arbirlot.

1597  John lord Hamilton (abbey commendator 1551-1597) is granted the temporalities of the lordship of Arbroath.


1599  (Nov 23)  The town receives it's royal charter from James V1.  ....."a free burgh known for all time in the future as the royal burgh of Arbroath".

1599  John lord Hamilton is created marquis of Hamilton.






1500 - 1599



James IV's royal charter

of 1599 - Courtesy Angus Archives


a late 1500s map of the area around the town

( see other maps     )

Global 1500-1599 4517701660_220x162.jpg

Flodden 1513


Arbroath struggles for most of this and part of next century to maintain a sea-proof harbour. The lands on this 1539 map will in due course, however, provide lucrative trade for boats from the town. This is a portion of 'Carta Marina' by Olaus Magnus.

4518221496_280x134.jpg Colliston Castle

Colliston Castle