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.
A modern street map of Brechin, Angus, Scotland
My ancestor, William STEVEN (with no “s” at the end) came from there in the mid-1800s and went to Brooklyn, New York, USA. His son William Arnott Stevens came to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
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.
PHOTOS TAKEN IN 1912 BY MY GRANDFATHER WILLIAM ARNOTT STEVENS
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:
- Brechin Cathedral’s Web Site – page about the Round Tower
- Ramparts Scotland web page on Brechin Cathedral and the Round Tower
- Wikipedia page about Brechin Cathedral
The new “Brechin Cemetery” – Operated by the Angus District Council Brechin Cemetery. Some of my STEVEN ancestors are buried there.
PHOTOS TO BE ADDEDThe 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. See www.stanhopes.info/who_made_stanhopes.html 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.