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TAMH: Source Material
Arbroath Harbour: Earliest Harbour: Upkeep
From the Guide 3rd January 1953.
HISTORY OF ARBROATH
It was also found necessary not only to clear the harbour of sand and stones but to renew the pier. In 1529 trees were bought at South Ferry for this, although the work of rebuilding the pier was not begun until the following year. From records about 1538, it appears that a portion of the rents of the common-folds and other parts of the common-good of the burgh were applied to 'bigg up the hawyn' (haven).
By 1590 the harbour was again in a ruinous state. At the Aberdeen Convention of Burghs in that year supplication was made by Arbroath 'craving support to the reperalling of their decayed harbour'. A grant of £60 was given the next year. Further appeals followed and in 1612, meeting at Arbroath, the Convention admitted the necessity of repair work and recommended the burghs to grant voluntary contributions for carrying it on. Dundee Town Council agreed to give 'the soum of ane hundred pounds to the harbour of Arbrothock', and Edinburgh council gave 250 marks.
The general repair which was then effected on the old harbour early in the seventeenth century began some years before any money was voted for it by the Convention. Most of the timber came from Ferryden. The stones and timber were drawn to the harbour on sledges, and harbour-making entries in the records regarding 'gallons aill' and other potations, must have been an occasion for festivity in which the 'haill toun' had a part.
When more repairs were undertaken in 1654, at a time when the anchorage or shore dues were about £80 Scots or £7 sterling, contributions to the expense were made in the churches throughout the county. More appeals were made to the Convention in the next 50 years and various sums were voted, but they were insufficient, even with local effort. A disastrous storm in 1706 broke up the greater part of the harbour, and it remained in a semi-ruinous condition for many years, although the subject of many reports at meetings of the Convention.
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