MBHSMontrose Basin Heritage Society

The History of Montrose and its Surrounding Parishes


Dun parish lies on the north-western edge of Montrose Basin, although it had a strange small outlying section surrounded by Montrose, in an area now covered by the Royal Infirmary, until the 19th century.

Dun has been described as one of the most important baronies in Scotland. John de Hastings received the Barony of Dun from William the Lion in the 12th Century, and it passed to the Erskine family about two hundred years later. They controlled the whole parish, and appear to have been the family who held their lands the longest in continuous occupation - over six centuries.

The name 'Dun' reflects the antiquity of the area and suggests that there was once a defended fort site here guarding the north side of the river crossing, perhaps as early as the prehistoric period. It is possible that it lay on the west side of the Den of Dun on the outcrop where the medieval castle once lay, or if larger, it could have lain on the higher ground to the north.

By the 17th century the castle site had been shifted to the east of the Den of Dun, and the 18th century House of Dun (now owned by National Trust for Scotland) lies close to its site. The dominance of the Erskines throughout much of the medieval and post-medieval periods did not allow rival estates to grow in the parish, although at times some of the major farms would be used as dower houses, indicating they might well have been of some importance. Some farms such as Balwyllo, Balnillo and Mains of Dun are survivors on much earlier sites. Broomley apparently was improved and its grounds laid out in the 18th century.

Other Parishes

Montrose - Ecclesjohn - Maryton - Craig - Dunninald

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