Brechin, Angus, Scotland

 

Cover of guide book of Brechin undated but it is from about 1934. - Colin Stevens' Collection (purchased 2003)
Cover of guide book of Brechin undated but it is from about 1934. – Colin Stevens’ Collection (purchased 2003)

Brechin is a small, but ancient, city on the Eastern side of Scotland. For tourists, I suggest they stop and enjoy this ancient city, just off the A90 and contribute to the local economy. I have Brechin connections through my STEVEN/STEPHEN/STEPHENSON, ARNOTT/ARNOT/ARNET, NEISH, KINNEAR, FAWNS and SHIRESS ancestral families.

 

My ancestor, William STEVEN (with no “s” at the end) came from there in 1864 and went to Brooklyn, New York, USA to work for his uncle, David Shiress ARNOTT. His son William Arnott Stevens came to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. 

Brechin Church and Round Tower 1790 Colin Stevens Colelction
Brechin Church and Round Tower 1790 Colin Stevens Collection

Note that the church is under repair. A man is shown working on the section entrance projecting out below the square tower. Lumber (?) is leaning against the church in places and at the left are the ruins of the Choir. The projecting transceptal chapels were destroyed in 1806 and replaced with vestigal chapels.  “Published by L. Hooper (?) July 18 1790. Artist’s name appears to be “J. N. Sulp” – From the Colin MacGregor Stevens’ Collection. Purchased in Oct. 2006.

 
BRECHIN - An old etching from the Steven (Stevens) family souvenirs. c. 1855? Cathedral is on the far left. - Colin M. Stevens' family papers.
BRECHIN – An old etching from the Steven (Stevens) family souvenirs. c. 1855? Cathedral is on the far left. – Colin M. Stevens’ family papers.

PHOTOS TAKEN IN BRECHIN IN 1912 BY MY GRANDFATHER WILLIAM ARNOTT STEVENS

  
 
 
Tombstone of George ARNOTT died 1842-05-18 aged 64 and wife Isabella KINNEAR died 1839-11-16 aged 49 BRECHIN visit 2005 May by Colin M Stevens #180 p.26 ANGUS MI Vol 1
Tombstone of George ARNOTT died 1842-05-18 aged 64 and wife Isabella KINNEAR died 1839-11-16 aged 49 BRECHIN visit 2005 May by Colin M Stevens #180 p.26 ANGUS MI Vol 1
PHOTO TO BE ADDED
Hard to read from photo:
ERECTED 
BY
ALEXANDER ARNOTT
And of the said 
A______ ARNOTT
Who died ______ 1875?
Also of 
JAMES MITCHELL____ ANN MITCHELL
AND ____ MITCHELL GRANDCHILDREN OF 
THE ABOVE ____
WHO DIED IN INFANCY
AND MARY ANN ARNOTT WIFE OF THE ABOVE
WILLIAM MITCHELL DIED 20TH MARCH 1907.
 
BRECHIN visit 2005 May by Colin M Stevens (35) Olaque to memory of William SHIRESS born Falkirk on 1804-01-01 died Brechin 1881-01-21 & wife Mary WILL born Jamaica 1809-02-28 died Brechin 1847-04-09. #5 p17 ANGUS MI Vol 1
BRECHIN visit 2005 May by Colin M Stevens (35) Olaque to memory of William SHIRESS born Falkirk on 1804-01-01 died Brechin 1881-01-21 & wife Mary WILL born Jamaica 1809-02-28 died Brechin 1847-04-09. #5 p17 ANGUS MI Vol 1
Tablet on outside wall of Brechin Cathedral:
“TO THE BELOVED MEMORY 
OF
WILLIAM SHIRESS
For 52 years Solicitor in Brechin.
Born in Falkirk 1st January 1804.
Died in Brechin, 21st January 1881.
And of MARY WILL his Wife
Born in Jamaica, 18th February 1809
Died in Brechin 9th April 1847.
———————
“The sweet remembrances of the just
Shall flourish when he sleeps in dust.”
 

Brechin downtown streets

 

Lower Tenements (also known as Nether Tenements), now called River Street, where some of my ancestors lived

 

Brechin Cathedral, the Round Tower

The present Brechin Cathedral building was built in the 1200s (13th Century) and there may have been a church there since the 700s (8th Century). The round tower is of the Irish style and was built circa 1,000 AD. Some of my ancestors are buried there in the Cathedral Cemetery. For more information on the Cathedral and Tower, these web sites offer information:

The new “Brechin Cemetery”  – Operated by the Angus District Council Brechin Cemetery. Some of my STEVEN ancestors are buried there.

 PHOTOS TO BE ADDED

 
The same intersection in May 2005, but looking in the opposite direction.
Looking from entry road to new cemetery back into town.
River Street from the opposite end (i.e. Bridge end) in May 2005. 
St. Ninian’s Square, Brechin. Colourized post-card, probably early 1900s.  – Colin Stevens’ Collection (Purchased 2003)
Brechin Cathedral from High Street. Valentine’s company Post-card from early 1900s # B 1219.  – Colin Stevens’ Collection (Purchased 2003)
An old church called St. Columbus, in South Esk Street, just outside the gates of the new cemetery. The church was closed up when this photo was taken in May 2005 and is sill closed in February 2008 according to a correspondent in Brechin.
St. Ninian’s Square in May 2005. The iron fence around the park has gone. The old railway station is in the background. 
St. Ninian’s Square looking down the road. Monument and old train station are on your left out of sight. 
Entrance to the new cemetery.
An old school taken in May 2005.
Looking from the old school.
Steven (Stevens) family heirloom. A pocket watch winding key with the business name of G. A. MOIR, BRECHIN. – In possession of Colin M. Stevens..
Steven (Stevens) family heirloom souvenir of Brechin. This French Ivory (?) item is called a Stanhope and is less than 2″ high. If one looks through the hole, one will see a microdot with four (4 !!!) post card views of Brechin. In possession of Dr. E. M. Stevens.
History of Stanhopes – The Stanhope was invented by Charles, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753-1816) and microphotography was invented in 1839. The combination of the two was patented in 1859. A book “Stanhopes: A Closer View” by Jean Scott gives much more history. Search the Internet for stanhopes.info and who_made_stanhopes
 
Church Communion Token – “WEST FREE CHURCH – BRECHIN – 1843” “LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF – I COR.XI.28.Size: 1-1/4” at widest point. This one was purchased on eBay. I do not know if this was our family’s church or not. 
– Colin Stevens’ collection (Purchased 2003)

Upper Tenements (now Montrose Street)

 

Old “Upper Tenements” now Montrose Street. Looking West, towards the downtown. May 2005 photo.

Montrose Street looking out of town, East, towards Montrose.

Marriage record of William Steven and Margaret Arnott.  They were living in the Upper Tenements (now Montrose Street – see photos above taken in May 2005) at the time. By trade he was a Slater (i.e. a roofer).
QUOTE:
“Steven and Arnott    
16 January 1841. William Steven, Slater,
Nether Tenements, and Margaret Arnott also
residing there – both of this parish, were con=
tracted in order to marriage, and having
been regularly proclaimed, were married on
the 22nd said January.”
Found by Colin Stevens 2003 via Latter Day Saints’ microfilm.
 
//// IMAGE TO COME ////
Birth record from the Parish of Brechin in Angus County, Scotland of the birth and baptism of the three children of William Steven (sometimes misspelled as Stephen in the register) (his occupation is given as “Slater” (I.e. He worked on slate rooves) and his wife Margaret Arnott. This is in the 1849 section of the register, and all of the children were registered at the same time.
EXTRACTED INFORMATION:
Isabella Kinnear Born   8th December 1841 and baptized on the 12th December 1841.
Mary Arnott – Born 7th April 1844 and baptized 14th April 1844.
William – Born 25 August 1846 and baptized 2nd September 1846.
Found by Colin Stevens 2003 via Latter Day Saints’ microfilm.