the centuries the name of this ancient settlement has changed many
times, as has
the various conclusions as to the possible reasons for the title.
The registered coat of arms carries the feature of a stag's head
and a hill, signifying
the combination of two Gaelic words, Monadh Feidh. However, I am
more in favour
of another two Gaelic words, Monaich fother, meaning Monks land,
or Holy Place.
Undoubtedly over the passage of time Monifieth has indeed been regarded
historical holy place.
St Rules Parish Church has been a place of worship for Christians
for well over 1400
years. The present Church standing on a site previously occupied
by a Celtic or even
Pictish religious community.
St Rule the Patron Saint of the Burgh reputedly a follower of Columba,
brought the relics of the martyred St Andrew to Scotland from Patras
How long this hazardous journey lasted is unknown, some learned
estimated several years.
The journey ended in shipwreck off the mouth of the river Tay, near
becoming the place known throughout the World as the town of St
journey of St Rule did not end there in Fife. St Rule set out again
with the precious
relics and his followers in search of the local ruler, Hungas, King
of the Picts. After
crossing the river at a ford near Forteviot in Perthshire, he met
the King's three sons,
who were able to tell him that their father was on a mission of
War against King
Athelstane, King of the Saxons. Their mother, wife of Hungas, Queen
living at what was thought to be the home of her family Moneclatu,
later to be known
as Monichi. Translated as Monks house. Nearby this place was to
be found a fortified
stronghold of the Picts on Laws Hill. The treasured bones of St
overnight at the home of Queen Fichem and later a Chapel was built
to recognise the
historic place. This was named Eglismonichty.
According to notable historians the story of St Rule is mythical,
but both King
Hungas and Queen Fichem were rulers of the Picts in mid eighth century.
bringing of the relics to Scotland has been attributed to the efforts
of Bishop Acca of
Hexam circa the year 732 AD. This would indicate that the story
related rather to the
Bishop, than Rule who came to Scotland with Columba in the fourth
century to form
the Columban or Celtic Church. Fearing persecution from the Pope
and the Pictish
King, the monks became hermits and recluses, who secretly carried
out their good
work in caring for the sick.
Communities of these Monks of the Celtic Church formed into communities
beehive type cells known later as Culdees. The name supposedly derived
Irish, Ceile De, or Companion of God.
The Church of St Rule in Monifieth is built on what at one time
in the past had been a
centre of worship for the Companions of God and the Celtic Church
Several ancient Pictish and Celtic stones have been uncovered within
the area of the
Church and are now to be seen in the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.
Further evidence of the ancient past may be witnessed in the viewing
Souterrains or Earth houses all within the Monifieth district.
The Culdees belonged to the Church of Monifieth until circa 1202
, when a charter
signed by Malcolm, Earl of Angus (derivation of Hungas) , granting
to Nicholas, son of Bryce," preist of Kerriemure," the
heritage of the whole land of the Abthein or
Abbey of Monifieth.
In 1242 in another charter, Matilda, his daughter granted the whole
land to the south
of the Church of Monifieth " which the culdees held in the
life of my father, with the
entire croft to the east of the church, with common pasturage and
rights of peats from
Around 1310 Michael of Monifieth, Lord of Abathania, most probably
a descendant of
Nicholas agreed to pay the Abbot of Arbroath, dues on the croft
& feu farm he held in
Grange, an estate within the Parish boundaries of Monifieth was
at one time the
'home farm' of Arbroath Abbey. As the Grangaria or place where the
tiend sheaves or
tithes, dues to the church, were delivered and deposited
Early in the fourteenth century the Grange became separated from
and was granted to Sir William Durham, by King Robert the Bruce
rendered as a knight.
For nearly four hundred years the Grange remained in the possession
of the Durham
Lady Jean Durham of Grange was a central figure in a historic incident
with the parish when she organised and almost succeeded in the escape
of the famous
Marquis ofMontrose, who was lodged overnight at Grange house, on
his journey to
Edinburgh and execution.
Around the central Church many notable families built their residences
The Maule family. Earls of Panmure, had a castle at Ardestie in
Monifieth. The main
residence the Castle of Panmure was in a ruinous condition and in
1648 bought land
to build a new family residence. National troubles delayed the building
House until after l666. Work was not completed until sometime between
the death of
George the second Earl, who died in 1686. These delays resulted
in Ardestie Castle
becoming the main family residence of the Maules for almost forty
James Earl of Panmure, was born at Ardestie Castle. James was a
and for his devotion to 'the cause' at the battle of Sherrifmuir
lost his title and estates.
Over the years small pendicles or crofts gradually appeared around
the area of the
Parish Church. This became known as Kirkton of Monifieth.
In the early eighteenth century the main industries included quarrying,
the home and the start of manufacturing of linseed oil at a water
powered mill by the
Dighty burn, later named as Milton of Monifieth. Although Monifieth
had no harbour
a considerable amount of cargo from coastal vessels was off loaded
on the sands at
low tide and moved by horse drawn vehicles to nearby destinations.
was a very profitable trade at Milton of Monifieth. In 1825 the
rent of the fishings was
£15000 and as many as 729 fish were recorded as having been
taken during a tide.
Another popular past time in the area was smuggling of wines, spirits,
The nineteenth century and the industrial revolution changed Monifieth
establishment of spinning works, two foundries producing machinery
for export to
India and other parts of the World. The industries resulted in the
building of a rail link between Dundee and Arbroath, also links
with the Dundee Forfar direct line.
With the need for skilled workers the population of Monifieth increased
Figures show in : 1861 the Monifieth Village population at 558.
1871 " " " " " 919
1881 " " " " "1564
1891 " " " " "1835
1901 " " " " " 2134
With the expansion of the jute industry and engineering works Monifieth
of it's reputed clean fresh air, driest climate in Scotland and
became the place where the so called 'jute barons & captains
of industry, built many
superb mansion houses for their main family residences.
In 1895 Monifieth was registered at Forfar Sheriff Court as a Burgh
. No longer did it
hold village status. With the formation of a Council and Officials,
it progressed into
the next century as a very desirable place to live. A tramway service
in 1905, with cars journeying into Dundee City centre at regular
This service was welcomed by the many who travelled daily either
from the Burgh into the
City on business, or the many hundreds who commuted daily to work
in the factories
The apparent affluence of the Burgh prompted several attempts by
the City Council of
Dundee to annex Monifieth to within it's city boundaries. In 1913
a petition signed by
the residents was presented before Parliament in London and successfully
Monifieth's independence. However, government legislation in 1976
Dundee become responsible for the Burgh of Monifieth, with the abandoning
Monifieth Municipal Services.
On 1st April 1996 due to further government intervention Monifieth
themselves under the jurisdiction of Angus Council.
Monifieth has had a very interesting past history and in several
hundred years time
what the then historians will highlight as the "best times
for Monifieth" one would
hope to be the start of the twenty first century.