Story of Arbroath
a fishing town on the east coast of Scotland, is located
about 17 miles north of Dundee and 50 miles south
For generations the town has earned its livelihood
from the sea, and remains today an important fishing
port as well as being known worldwide for its unique
place in Scottish history. A long established holiday
resort, Arbroath continues to attract visitors from
near and far.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, like many other
coastal towns in Scotland, Arbroath's fishing industry
relied heavily on the prolific herring shoals which
made an impressive appearance every season. Fishing
boats crowded the harbour, where "fishing lassies"
gutted the newly caught herring before they were cured
with salt into wooden barrels for export, often to
ports in the Baltic.
The town has also become renowned worldwide for its
'Abroath Smokies', which for generations
have been smoked over oak chips in tiny smokehouses
around the harbour. History tells us that the 'Smokie'
most likely originated in the tiny fishing village
of Auchmithie, 3 miles north of the town, perched
unbelievably high on the cliffs and practically tumbling
into the North Sea. The stretch of coast to the north
east is not only renowned for its caves, such as the
Forbidden Cave and Dickmont's Den, but also its tales
As well as the thriving fishing industry, Arbroath
was busy in the flax trade. The Brothock Burn not
only provided the power to drive the many flax mills
which had sprung up along its banks but was also a
source of drainage for the town. In fact the name
of Arbroath (Aberbrothock) was originally taken from
this hard working little river.
The town of Arbroath has a unique place in Scottish
history as it is home to the famous Tironensian monastery
- The Arbroath Abbey - the ruins of
which dominate the town's skyline with its circular
window known for centuries as the 'Round O'.
In days gone by this window was illuminated at night
as a beacon for mariners, to help guide them into
was in this Abbey that an event took place which is
held dear in the hearts of Scots at home and abroad,
the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
The year was 1320 when the Scottish King Robert the
Bruce witnessed the famous document being signed,
establishing Scotland's independence from England's
rule. The Arbroath Abbey is one of the most historically
important buildings in Scotland and in 1951 the Stone
of Destiny found a temporary home there.