Dr. SamuelJohnson & James Boswell's brief visit to 'Aberbrothick'
An extract from:
' A Journey To The Western Islands Of Scotland '
by Samuel Johnson L.L. D.
( pages 13 & 14 )
" We stopped awhile at Dundee where I remember nothing remarkable , and mounting our chaise again, came about the close of the day to Aberbrothick.
The Monastery of Aberbrothick is of great renown in the history of Scotland. It's ruins afford ample testimony of it's ancient magnificence: it's extent might, I suppose, easily be found by following the walls among the grass and weeds and it's height is known by some parts yet standing. The arch of one of the gates is entire, and of another only so far dilapidated as to diversify the appearance. A square apartment of great loftiness is yet standing; it's use I could not conjecture, as it's elevation was very disproportionate to it's area. Two corner towers particularly attracted our attention. Mr. Boswell, whose inquisitiveness is seconded by great activity, scrambled in at a high window, but found the stairs within broken, and could not reach the top. Of the other tower we were told that the inhabitants sometimes climbed it, but we did not immediately discern the entrance, and as the night was gathering upon us, thought proper to desist. Men skilled in architecture might do what we did not attempt: they might probably form an exact ground-plot of this venerable ediface. They may from some parts conjecture it's general form, and perhaps by comparing it with other buildings of the same kind and the same age attain an idea very near to the truth. I should scarcely have regretted my journey, had it afforded nothing
more than the sight of Aberbrothick.
Leaving these fragments of magnificence, we travelled on to Montrose.....
Background image : An engraving of David Miller's drawing produced for his historical work 'Arbroath & It's Abbey', published 1860
* I'm fairly certain this is not the case today ! - ed.