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Montrose, Dominican Friary

Friary (Medieval)

Site Name Montrose, Dominican Friary

Classification Friary (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Blackfriars Hospital

Canmore ID 36232

Site Number NO75NW 20

NGR NO 71 58

NGR Description NO c. 71 58

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Montrose
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO75NW 20 c. 71 58

See also NO75NW 82.

A house of Dominican friars, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded at Montrose before 1275. It was apparently 'burned by the enemy' at the beginning of the 14th century and in 1518 the buildings were lying neglected although apparently still occupied, since the translation of the friars to the newly-built hospital (NO75NW 6) was authorised in that year.

It would appear that the original buildings were restored during the following six years since in 1524 the king ordained the return of the friars to their former house as the situation of the hospital in the public street disturbed their services and devotions. This translation does not appear to have taken place as, in 1559, the Lords of the Secret Council ordered the ejection of the friars and the restoration of the hospital. In 1570 the revenues and properties of the Dominicans were granted to the burgh.

The site of the house is not definitely known. Jervise says it stood on the Links of Montrose which still bore the name of St Mary in 1861, a little east of Victoria Bridge (NO 717 593). Pococke says it lay a little north of the town at Muir Montrose, a house where foundations were discovered before 1760.

R Pococke 1887; A Jervise 1861; D E Easson 1957.


Publication Account (1978)

A house of Dominican Friars had been established in Montrose by 1275 but the friary was destroyed in the fourteenth century and the convent afterwards abandoned. The house was re-founded in 1516 by Patrick Painter, Abbot of Cambuskenneth and in 1518 the friars moved into the town's hospital. A charter of May 1524 relates that the king had ordered the return of the friars to their former house, as the situation of the hospital in the street gave rise to the disturbance of the friars' services and devotions (Cowan and Easson, 1976, 119). The Dominicans, however, apparently retained the hospital building until the Reformation. In 1559 a letter from Mary and Francis II approved the ejection of the friars and ordered the restoration of the hospital (Cowan, 1976, 119). In the reign of James VI the revenues and other properties of the Dominicans were granted to the burgh of Montrose (Cowan, 1976, 119). The site of the friary is not definitely known. Pococke relates that he was shown the site to the north of the town in Montrose Muir 'where foundations of buildings have been discovered' (Kemp, 1887, 213) while Jervise said that it stood on the links of Montrose.

Information from ‘Historic Montrose: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1978).


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