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Arbroath
Arbroath from Inchape Park.JPG
Arbroath from the south
Arbroath is located in Scotland
Arbroath
Arbroath
Population 23,500 (2020)
OS grid reference NO641412
• Edinburgh 45 mi (72 km) SSW
• London 371 mi (597 km) SSE
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ARBROATH
Postcode district DD11
Dialling code 01241
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • Angus
Scottish Parliament
  • Angus South
List of places
UK
Scotland
56°33′40″N 2°35′10″W / 56.561°N 02.586°W / 56.561; -02.586

Arbroath or Aberbrothock (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Bhrothaig) is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the council area of Angus, Scotland, with a population of 23,902.

It lies on the North Sea coast some 16 miles (25.7 km) ENE of Dundee and 45 miles (72.4 km) SSW of Aberdeen.

There is evidence of Iron Age settlement, but its history as a town began with the founding of Arbroath Abbey in 1178. It grew much during the Industrial Revolution through the flax and then the jute industry and the engineering sector. A new harbour created in 1839; by the 20th century, Arbroath was one of Scotland's larger fishing ports.

It is notable for the Declaration of Arbroath and the Arbroath smokie. Arbroath Football Club holds the world record for the number of goals scored in a professional football match: 36–0 against Bon Accord of Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup in 1885.

History

Toponymy

The earliest recorded name for the town was 'Aberbrothock', a reference to the Brothock Burn which runs through the town, the prefix 'Aber' coming either from the Gaelic 'Obair', or the earlier term 'Aber' which could be either Goidelic or Brythonic for 'river mouth'. The name 'Aberbrothock' can be found in numerous spelling variations. In the earliest manuscripts available, it is seen as 'Abirbrothoke' (in the letter to Edward I confirming the Treaty of Salisbury, which agreed that the Queen regnant, Margaret, Maid of Norway would marry Edward I) and 'Aberbrothok' (in the subsequent letter giving consent for the marriage). In the Declaration of Arbroath, it is seen as 'Abirbrothoc'. Early maps show a number of variants including Aberbrothock, Aberbrothik, Aberbrothick, and Aberbrothwick.

The modern name 'Arbroath' became more common in the mid-19th century, with the older name being largely dispensed with by the time of the first edition of the Ordnance Survey Maps. However, variants of 'Arbroath' had been used since the 17th century, including 'Arbroth' and Aberbreth.

Early history

Pictish.stone.St.Vigeans
Drosten Stone

The area around Arbroath has been occupied since at least the Neolithic period. Material taken from postholes from an enclosure at Douglasmuir, near Friockheim, about five miles north of Arbroath have been radiocarbon dated to around 3500 BC The function of the enclosure is unknown, but may have been for agriculture or for ceremonial purposes.

Bronze age archaeology is to be found in abundance in the surrounding area. Examples include the short-cist burials found near West Newbigging, about a mile to the North of the town. These burials included pottery urns, a pair of silver discs and a gold armlet. Iron Age archaeology is also well represented, for example in the souterrain nearby Warddykes Cemetery and at West Grange of Conan, as well as the better-known examples at Carlungie and Ardestie.

The area appears to have been of some importance in the early Christian period, as evidenced by the Pictish stone carvings found during the restoration of St Vigeans Church, and now housed in the small museum there. The stones had been used in the building of the old church and, unfortunately, many been badly damaged. One of the stones, the 9th century Drosten Stone, has the distinction of being one of the few Pictish artefacts to have an inscription in Latin text: 'DROSTEN: IREUORET [E]TTFOR CUS', which has been interpreted in various ways, but it is thought that the second line refers to the Pictish King Uurad, who reigned between 839 and 842 AD.

Medieval history

Arbroath Abbey1
Ruined Arbroath Abbey, built from local red sandstone

The first modern development in Arbroath was the Abbey, founded by King William the Lion in 1178 for monks of the Tironensian order from Kelso Abbey. It received consecration in 1197 with a dedication to Saint Thomas Becket. It was the King's only personal foundation, and he was buried within its precincts in 1214. The Abbey was not finally completed until 1233.

Arbroath was the location of the Battle of Arbroath in 1446. A series of disagreements between the Chief Justiciary of Arbroath, Alexander Lindsay, third Earl of Crawford and Bishop James Kennedy of St Andrews resulted in Lindsay sacking the bishop's lands and burning his properties. Lindsay was excommunicated for his troubles and it was felt that this was incompatible with his role as Chief Justiciary. The monks of Arbroath Abbey selected Alexander Ogilvy of Inverquharity as his replacement and the insult led to pitched battle in the town, leaving 500 dead, including Lindsay and Ogilvy. Large parts of the town were destroyed in the aftermath by the Lindsay family.

The abbey relatively quickly fell into disuse and eventual disrepair after its dissolution at the Reformation, the lead from the roof rumoured to have been used in the 16th century civil wars and the stonework plundered for housebuilding throughout the town. The ruins were a popular site for travellers during the 17th and 18th centuries, and finally in 1815 the remains were taken into the care of the State for preservation. The remains are now administered by Historic Scotland.

On 6 April 1320 the Scottish Parliament met at Arbroath Abbey and addressed to the Pope the Declaration of Arbroath, drafted by the Abbot of the time, Bernard. This document detailed the services which their "lord and sovereign" Robert the Bruce had rendered to Scotland, and affirmed in eloquent terms the independence of the Scots.

Arbroath was created a royal burgh in 1599 by James VI.

In the 17th century, at the church of St Vigeans, near Arbroath, communion was not held for several years because the villagers believed there was a curse on the church. The curse said that if communion were held then the church would fall into a large subterranean lake.

Modern history

During the Jacobite rising known as the Forty-Five, Arbroath was a Jacobite town. A large portion of its able bodied men joined the Jacobite army. It was one of the principal ports where men and supplies could be landed from France. It and other Jacobite ports along the north-east coast collectively formed ‘an asset of almost incalculable value’ to the Jacobite cause.

During the Industrial Revolution, Arbroath's economy expanded and the population of the town expanded, with new housing having to be constructed to house the influx of workers. Arbroath became moderately well known for jute and sailcloth production, with 34 mills employing 1,400 looms and producing over one million yards of osnaburg cloth and 450,000 yards of sailcloth in 1875. Arbroath is believed to be the source of the sails used on the Cutty Sark. In 1867, the mills in Arbroath employed 4,620 people. Arbroath was also prominent in the manufacture of shoes and lawnmowers; local firm Alexander Shanks supplied mowers to the Old Course at St Andrews and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Arbroath today is mostly known for its connection with the Scottish fishing industry. After the original harbours, dating from the 14th and 18th centuries, were replaced in 1839 with a larger harbour, the local council tried to find fishermen who would be interested in migrating to Arbroath in order to take advantage of the new facilities offered. The town council contacted fishermen in nearby Auchmithie and further afield, including Shetland. The fishing industry grew and at its peak years between 1900 and 1980, around 40 whitefish and pelagic vessels worked from Arbroath, with hundreds of men employed directly as fishermen, hundreds more employed ashore to service the fishing vessels and to process the fish. Quota cuts and decommissioning took its toll on the fishing industry throughout Scotland from the 1980s to present. Today, Arbroath remains a designated whitefish landing port, and although no fish auction takes place, the fishmarket remains open and is used for landing shellfish. There is now only one large fishing vessel operating regularly from Arbroath, and a further three Arbroath owned vessels operating from Aberdeen and ports further north. The fish processing sector remains one of the largest employers in the town however, but fish for processing now comes from Aberdeen, Peterhead and occasionally from Iceland, Norway and Ireland.

Geography

At 56°33′31″N 02°34′58″W / 56.55861°N 2.58278°W / 56.55861; -2.58278, Arbroath is located on the North Sea coast in eastern Scotland 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Dundee, within the Angus region. Geologically, Arbroath sits predominantly on Old Red Sandstone. Lower-lying parts of the town were below sea level during and immediately after the last ice age.

Arbroath is located 98 miles (158 km) northeast of Glasgow, 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Aberdeen and 77 miles (124 km) from Edinburgh. The neighbouring villages of St Vigeans, Carmyllie, Friockheim, Colliston and Inverkeilor are considered part of Arbroath for the purposes of council representation, and together with Carnoustie, share the 01241 telephone area code with Arbroath.

Panorama of Arbroath Cliffs in winter

Climate

Arbroath has a typical British marine climate, that is heavily influenced by its position by the sea. There are narrow differences in temperature between seasons. January has an average high of 6.4 °C (43.5 °F) and July has 18 °C (64 °F). The climate is somewhat dry and sunny compared to Scottish standards with 628.6 millimetres (24.75 in) of precipitation and 1538.4 hours of sunshine. All data is sourced from the 1981-2010 averages from the Met Office weather station in Arbroath.

Climate data for Arbroath 15m asl, 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
(43.5)
6.7
(44.1)
8.5
(47.3)
10.4
(50.7)
13.1
(55.6)
16.0
(60.8)
18.0
(64.4)
17.8
(64)
15.5
(59.9)
12.3
(54.1)
9.0
(48.2)
6.7
(44.1)
11.7
(53.1)
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
(34.9)
2.0
(35.6)
2.9
(37.2)
4.5
(40.1)
6.6
(43.9)
9.4
(48.9)
11.4
(52.5)
11.3
(52.3)
9.6
(49.3)
7.0
(44.6)
4.1
(39.4)
1.9
(35.4)
6.0
(42.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 55.1
(2.169)
38.7
(1.524)
42.4
(1.669)
44.1
(1.736)
55.9
(2.201)
48.3
(1.902)
51.7
(2.035)
58.9
(2.319)
57.8
(2.276)
72.4
(2.85)
55.8
(2.197)
47.6
(1.874)
628.6
(24.748)
Sunshine hours 59.7 83.3 126.0 161.2 197.1 184.6 183.5 176.8 136.0 103.9 74.7 51.8 1,538.4
Source: Met Office

Demography

Residents of Arbroath are called Arbroathians but often call themselves Red Lichties after the red lamp that shone from the harbour light and foghorn tower at the harbour entrance, as an aid to shipping entering the harbour.

At the 2001 census, the population of Arbroath was 22,785. About 88.9 per cent were born in Scotland 97.7 per cent in the United Kingdom as a whole. Most Arbroath residents are between 16 and 65, with 19.8 per cent under 16, 59.5 per cent between 16 and 65, and those over 65 making up 20.7 per cent. There are 47.1 per cent males to 52.9 per cent females.

Arbroath has a moderate unemployment – some 2.7 per cent claim job-related social welfare benefits.

Transport

Arbroath Station
Arbroath railway station

The A92 road connects Arbroath to Dundee and Fife to the south-west, and Stonehaven in the north-east. The A92 joins the A90 north of Stonehaven and leads to Aberdeen further north. The A92 is dual carriageway from the southern outskirts of Arbroath to the northern outskirts of Dundee. It then proceeds through Dundee before crossing the Tay estuary into Fife via the Tay Road Bridge. The A90 can also be reached at Dundee heading both north (to Aberdeen) and south (to Perth and Edinburgh).

Arbroath has a modest public bus system, with Arbroath Bus Station as its main terminus. Stagecoach Strathtay and Wisharts Friockheim operate most local services and Stagecoach Strathtay most rural services. Arbroath has a railway station, a short walk from the bus station, with regional services to the east coast of Scotland, Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow. Intercity trains reach English destinations such as Newcastle, Birmingham, York and London. Passenger services at Arbroath are provided by ScotRail, CrossCountry, Caledonian Sleeper and London North Eastern Railway. Dundee has a regional airport with flights to London City Airport five times a week. The airport has a 1,530-yard runway capable of serving small aircraft and lies 1.8 miles west of the city centre, adjacent to the River Tay. The nearest international airports are in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Arbroath has a sizeable airfield at the Royal Marines military base on the western outskirts of the town, but this remains a dedicated military airfield.

Places of worship

Old and Abbey Parish Church - geograph.org.uk - 1152028
The Old and Abbey Parish Church

The neighbouring villages of St Vigeans, Carmyllie, Friockheim, Colliston and Inverkeilor are considered part of Arbroath for the purposes of council representation

The Church of Scotland has a number of congregations that meet in Arbroath. The Old and Abbey Church is located in the centre of town at West Abbey Street, and will shortly welcome Rev. Dolly Purnell as its minister. St Andrews Church, Arbroath is located in Hamilton Green, and the minister is Rev. Dr. Martin Fair with associate minister Rev. Stuart Irvin. Knox's Church is located in Howard Street and the minister is Rev Dr Nelu Balaj. The West Kirk is located in Keptie Street and the minister is Rev. Alasdair Graham.

There are also a number of Church of Scotland kirks in the surrounding villages. St Vigeans Church, St Vigeans is linked with Knox's Church in Arbroath and services are led by Rev Dr Nelu Balaj. Arbirlot Church is linked with Carmyllie Church. Colliston Church is linked with Friockheim and Kinnell Church and Inverkeilor and Lunan Church. The minister of these three churches is Rev. Peter Phillips.

There is an Episcopalian congregation based at St Mary the Virgin Church in Springfield Terrace. The Minister is Rev. Dr. John Cuthbert. St Mary's Church evolved from a meeting house set up in 1694 by Episcopalians forced out of Arbroath Parish Church. The present church building dates from 1854. The Scottish Episcopal Church in Arbroath is part of the Diocese of Brechin. There is also a Scottish Episcopal Church in Auchmithie; King David of Scotland Church.

The Roman Catholic Church meets at St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Dishlandtown Street. The priest is Rev Kevin J. Golden. The church is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld. The parish includes a primary school and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1998.

The Methodist Church have one of their earliest established churches in Arbroath, St John's in Ponderlaw, which was opened in 1772. Services are led by David Nicoll.

Other groups that worship in Arbroath include the Arbroath Corps of the Salvation Army, who meet in Marketgate, the Elim Pentecostal Church, led by Alan Herd, who meet in Ogilvy Place; the Baptists who meet at the New Life Church in James Street, the Jehovah's Witnesses, who meet at the Kingdom Hall in Lindsay Street, the Springfield Christian Assembly, who meet in the Gospel Hall in Ponderlaw Lane; and the Arbroath Town Mission, an interdenominational group led by Dr Robert Clapham, who meet in Grant Road.

Followers of other faiths and denominations travel further afield to worship.

Culture

Arbroath's Webster Theatre has featured among others Harry Lauder, Jimmy Tarbuck, Charlie Landsborough, the Illegal Eagles, the Drifters and the Chuckle Brothers and was the first venue the Alexander Brothers, a Scottish easy listening act, performed in as a professional duo. The Webster Theatre recently went through a multi-million pounds refurbishment and opened in February 2008.

There are several amateur theatre and musical companies based in and around Arbroath, the best known being the Angus Minstrels group, the last group in Britain to regularly perform blackface. In 2005, following pressure from Angus Council, who feared legal action, the show began performing with normal stage makeup, and the group changed its name from 'The Angus Black and White Minstrels' to simply 'The Angus Minstrels'. The decision to stop performing the show in blackface received widespread press coverage in the UK.

Beginning in 1947, a pageant commemorating the signing of the Declaration has been held within the roofless remains of the abbey (last full-scale event 2005). This was run by the local Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society, now Arbroath Abbey Timethemes, a registered charity, and re-enacts the story and history of the signing. The group also spearhead Scotland's Tartan Day celebrations on 6 April in association with Angus Council as well as educational visits to local schools.

Arbroath Male Voice Choir was established in 1934 and is now one of only a few male voice choirs left in Scotland. At 2012 the choir has over 45 members drawn not just from Arbroath but also Angus and Dundee. The choir's musical director is Sheena Guthrie. They sing a mix of songs from classical, through Scottish, showtunes to pop. The ensemble perform two main concerts each year (one at Christmas and another in spring) and several smaller events for good causes. The choir are notable for attracting well known, often international singers to their annual spring concert as guests. In recent years these have included, Jamie McDougall, Karen Cargill, Gordon Cree, Cheryl Forbes and Colette Ruddy. March 2012 saw international diva Lesley Garrett as the choir's special guest.

The author Sir Walter Scott is famous for the Waverley series of novels, including Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. Scott is known to have visited Arbroath three times, and his personal favourite in the series, The Antiquary (1816) features affectionately fictionalised versions of both Arbroath ("Fairport") and Auchmithie ("Musselcrag").

Arbroath has one museum, the former Bell Rock Lighthouse Signal Tower. In 1807 Arbroath became the base of operations for the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The shore station for the lighthouse – the Bell Rock Signal Tower – was completed in 1813 and acted as a lifeline for the keepers offshore. Signal Tower Museum was opened in 1974 as a visitor centre detailing the history of the lighthouse and the town of Arbroath.

Arbroath smokies

Arbroath smokies, for which Arbroath is well-known nationally and internationally, are made solely in Arbroath following the award of Protected Geographical Indication in 2004, which limits Arbroath smokie production to within 4 km of Arbroath. Smokies are made from haddock using traditional methods dating back to the late 19th century where the fish are first salted overnight to preserve them, before being left tied in pairs to dry. Next, the dried fish are hung in a special barrel containing a hardwood fire and covered with a lid. After around an hour of smoking, the fish are golden brown and ready to eat. The preparation of smokies remains a cottage industry in Arbroath, centred almost exclusively at the harbour area. However, one larger processor, RR Spink, supplied Arbroath smokies to several UK supermarket chains. It appears that, nowadays, the firm concentrates on smoking other fish such as salmon or trout and no longer supplies the Arbroath Smokie.. They have a royal warrant as a fishmonger to the Queen for which the company holds the Royal Warrant.

Economy

Arbroath has no sizeable employers outside of the public sector; most workers commute to Dundee. Arbroath itself has an economically active population of 9,192, with the public sector (21.8%) the largest employer of town residents, followed by manufacturing (16%) and retail (15.4%). The fishing industry accounts for 0.4 per cent (fewer than 50 people), although the processing sector is counted separately under manufacturing and the figure of 50 relates directly to the catching and support sectors.

History

Arbroath's prospects originally revolved around the harbour. The original harbour was constructed and maintained by the abbot within the terms of an agreement between the burgesses and John Gedy, the abbot in 1394 AD. This gave way to a more commodious port in 1725, which in turn was enlarged and improved in 1839, when the sea wall, quay walls and breakwater were added to the old inner harbour, at a cost of £58,000. Arbroath became a major coastal shipping port and in 1846 there were 89 Arbroath-registered vessels, totalling 9,100 gross tons. In the same year, 599 vessels docked at Arbroath, 56 from foreign ports (mainly Baltic ports) and the remaining 543 employed on the coastal trade. Bark, flax, hemp, hides, oak and fir timber, and guano for manure, groceries from London, and numerous articles of Baltic produce were imported via Arbroath, with manufactured goods (mainly sailcloth) exported.

Arbroath Harbour
Arbroath Harbour

Driven by the needs of the fishing and sailing industry, Arbroath-based sailmaker Francis Webster Ltd perfected in 1795 the art of adding linseed oil to flax sails, creating an oiled flax. This developed in the late 19th century into waxed cotton, which drove Arbroath as a manufacturing centre until the early 1970s, when it began to decline. A major employer, Keith & Blackman, closed in 1985 and Giddings and Lewis-Fraser wound down about the same time, with the whole plant later demolished to make way for a supermarket. Alps Electric Co. was a large employer in Arbroath from 1990 to 2001, employing 180. All were made redundant when the plant closed.

Armed forces

Arbroath is home to 45 Commando of the Royal Marines, which has been based at RM Condor since 1971. The barracks were built in 1940 and commissioned as RNAS Arbroath/HMS Condor, a Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) until 1971. The Royal Marines moved to Arbroath in 1971 and remain a contributor to the local economy; in addition to the Marines stationed at Arbroath, some 600 residents are employed by the Ministry of Defence. In 2004, there was speculation that RM Condor would be transferred to the Army as a replacement for Fort George and the barracks become a permanent base for a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. This went on further than the planning stage. In 2005 it was confirmed the Marines would remain.

Housing

House prices in Arbroath in April–June 2006 were just £99 below national average: £113,646 compared to a national £113,745. The average house price across Angus rose by 14.9 per cent to £124,451 in the year up to November 2006. Angus Council suggests the upgrading of the A92 between Arbroath and Dundee to a dual carriageway has lured Dundonians to Arbroath, which may be boosting house prices.

Tourism

Tourism plays some part in the Arbroath economy, with Arbroath Abbey attracting over 14,000 visitors a year. Attractions in the summer months include the Seafront Spectacular, which includes an airshow, and the Seafest, themed around Arbroath's maritime heritage. There is also a re-enactment of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (the declaration of Scottish independence) and in past years a mock Viking invasion, culminating in the burning of a longship.

KerrRailway
Kerr's Railway, seen here in August 2019, just over a year before its closure in October 2020.

Arbroath was home to Kerr's Miniature Railway, the oldest miniature railway in Scotland, which had been operating since 1935 and at its height, in 1955, saw 60,000 visitors. The railway was operated as a hobby by a group of volunteers and remained popular with locals, tourists and railway enthusiasts until its closure in October 2020.

The town features a multimillion-pound Harbour Visitor Centre close to the Town Quay. This multimedia experience for visitors is maintained by the Scottish tourist company VisitScotland. It explains the town's fishing history and hosts a restaurant and gift shop.

Sport

Arbroath has one professional football team, Arbroath, who play in Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish Professional Football League. Arbroath plays its home matches at Gayfield Park, which holds the record for being the closest stadium to the sea in European football (around 5½ yards from the high tide line). Arbroath holds the world record for the largest winning margin in a senior football match, 36–0, in their Scottish Cup match against Bon Accord (a scratch team from Aberdeen) on 12 September 1885. Further goals were disallowed either for offside or because it was unclear whether the ball had gone into the goal. For this reason the AFC supporters' club is called the 36–0 club in memory of the event. Arbroath are nicknamed the Red Lichties, after the red light used to guide fishing boats back from the North Sea to the harbour (lichtie being a Scots word for light). Arbroath and the surrounding areas are home to several amateur senior and junior teams competing in the various amateur leagues, such as Arbroath Victoria and Arbroath SC.

Arbroath has an outdoor Arbroath Lawn Tennis Club. It was upgraded in 2014–2015 from fundraising and a grant from Sportscotland.

Arbroath has a rugby union club, Arbroath RFC, and several bowls clubs, with former World, British and current Commonwealth Games singles champion Darren Burnett a native of Arbroath.

Arbroath has a successful cricket club. It won the CSL Eastern Premiership in 2013 and the Scottish Cup in 2015.

Arbroath is a popular location for angling.

Education

Arbroath has a further education college, Angus College, based in the former Arbroath High School buildings. There are two secondary schools and 11 primary schools. One primary school is Roman Catholic, the remainder non-denominational. There were 2,260 pupils in primary-school education in Arbroath and 1,720 pupils in secondary education in 2007.

Secondary schools

The two secondaries are Arbroath High School and Arbroath Academy. The high school (the older of the two), was originally a grammar school and the academy a comprehensive. The Academy is near the Mayfield area and the High School near Keptie Pond. Both are well regarded, with exam results and reading and writing performance indicators above the national average. Arbroath High is the larger with some 1,200 pupils. The Academy has around 600 pupils.

Noted alumni of Arbroath High School include Michael Forsyth, former Scottish Secretary and Andrew Webster, a professional footballer who plays for St Mirren.

Further education

Angus College, a further education college, has around 8,500 students, with 80 per cent passing the course for which they enrol. There are about 1,700 full-time students, with part-time students making up the majority. Arbroath is not a student town and there are no student residences. The student population is solely local students living within commuting distance of the college. Angus College offers courses up to Higher National Diploma (HND) level in a variety of trade-related and academic disciplines from construction to social sciences, and a large number of programs relating to computing, information technology and office administration. Many of the student body are mature students taking evening classes in computing, digital photography and various software packages.

School leavers going on to study at university have the choice of several local institutions – the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee, the University of St Andrews and the University of Aberdeen all within around one hour's travel from Arbroath.

Notable people

In alphabetical order:

  • Gus Alexander (1934–2010), footballer
  • Marion Angus (1865–1946), poet
  • Neil Arnott FRS LLD (1788–1874) invented the waterbed and the hot air stove.
  • David Dunbar Buick (1854–1929), founder of the Buick Motor Company. Inventor of the enamelled bathtub and the overhead valve engine
  • James Chalmers (1782–1853), inventor of the adhesive postage stamp and promoter of the Penny Post
  • Dominik Diamond (born 1969), TV presenter
  • Ned Doig (1866–1919), Scottish footballer
  • Martin Fair (born 1964), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 2020–2021 and minister at St Andrew's Parish Church, Arbroath
  • John Ritchie Findlay (1824–1898), proprietor of The Scotsman newspaper and philanthropist.
  • Graham Gano (born 1987), American football placekicker for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL
  • James Glen Sivewright Gibson (1861–1951), architect
  • Robert Pearse Gillies (1789–1858), poet and writer, born near or at Arbroath
  • George Gordon (1829–1907), civil engineer working in the Netherlands, India and Australia
  • Patrick Hennessy (1915–1980), realist painter
  • Harry Lauder (1870–1950), Scottish singer and comedian. He lived in Arbroath until age of 14
  • Durward Lely (1852–1944), opera singer, especially Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Bernard de Linton (died c. 1331), Abbot of Arbroath, Chancellor of Scotland and Bishop of the Isles (also known as Bernard of Kilwinning) widely credited since the 18th century as the author of the Declaration of Arbroath; Abbot at Arbroath Abbey from 1309 and immortalised in the town in a statue with Robert the Bruce holding aloft the Declaration sited at the West (or Cricket) Common
  • David Nicoll Lowe FRSE (1909–1999) botanist
  • Landles Nicoll (1889 - 1940), captain of the ill-fated SS City of Benares which was torpedoed and sunk in the Second World War with the loss of 258 people including 81 children. Nicoll was a hero of the night, but he went down with his ship
  • James Mackay, 1st Earl of Inchcape (1852–1932), Chairman of the P&O Line and the British India Company
  • Gareth Murray (born 1984), player/coach of Glasgow Rocks, represented Great Britain at seven or more major tournaments. Grew up in Arbroath.
  • Morris Pert (1947–2010), Scottish composer, drummer, percussionist, and pianist. Recorded with many musical artists including Phil Collins
  • George Scott Railton (1849–1913), Scottish missionary, first commissioner of The Salvation Army and 2nd in Command to William Booth
  • Ally Riddle (born 1941), footballer
  • Alexander Ross (1895–1972), first-class cricketer
  • Robert Sievwright (1882–1947), international cricketer for Scotland
  • David Frederick Skea (1871–1950), was a Scottish association football player (1890s).
  • Andy Stewart, (1933–1993), musician and entertainer, lived in Arbroath as a boy and retired to Arbroath.
  • Gavin Swankie (born 1983), footballer
  • Paul Tosh (born 1973), footballer
  • Kerr Waddell (born 1998), footballer for Dundee F.C.
  • Andy Webster (born 1982), footballer and Scotland international with 22 caps to date; he captained Dundee United to Scottish Cup victory in May 2010.

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