1500 The name 'Smithycroft' is in use.
1502 Abbot David Lychtone dies.
1503 James Stewart, King James IV's younger brother, becomes Commendator of the Abbey.
1504 (-1513) George Hepburn is Abbot.
1510 Hepburn becomes Bishop of the Isles, but continues to hold
the Abbey in commendum.
1513 (Sept 9) George Hepburn is killed at the Battle of Flodden.
1514 Gavin Douglas & Andrew Forman briefly considered as commendators.
1514 (-1517) James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, is Commendator of the Abbey.
1517 (Aug) Peter de Accoltis claims some right to be commendator.
1517 (Oct) James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, commendator of Arbroath, resigns by letters presented to the Cardinal of Ancona. A detailed description of the Abbey exists from that meeting, and Arbroath is described as a town of 'about 200 hearths'.
1517 (-1524) James Beaton is Commendator.
1524 (-1545) David Betoun (Beaton) is Commendator. He grants part of Abbey lands to his mistress. Two of it's churches he grants to illegitimate sons.
1525 David Beaton sits in the Scottish Parliament.
1528 The harbour, due to lack of revenue, has fallen into a dilapidated state. All inhabitants are required to offer their labour with an 8d fine for those absent.
1529 'Sometime before' this date, Ladybridge is constructed.
1529-30 Trees are bought at South Ferry and the harbour pier reconstruction begins.
1538 Part of the rents levied on 'Common-Folds' etc is used tae bigg up the hawyn (build up the haven).
1539 John Guthrie & Isabella Ogilvy are granted land at Colliston by Cardinal David Beaton. Isabella is probably Beaton's daughter.
1545 Colliston Castle is erected. It is believed that the remains of the old building on Cairnconon were removed by the fuears of Colliston after it's alienation from the Abbey by Cardinal Beaton & used in this construction.
1545 (-1551) James Betoun (Beaton), nephew of David Betoun, is Commendator.
1546 David Beaton has George Wishart executed and in the same year (May 29) is himself murdered by Protestant reformers in St Andrews, whereafter, it is said, they formed the first congregation of the Church of Scotland.
1546 George Douglas is nominated unsuccessfully for the Abbacy.
1551 (-1568) Lord John Hamilton is Commendator.
1560 (?) The reformation brings only slight change to St Vigeans Kirk - the alter is removed & the pulpit is placed centrally to suit Presbyterian worship.
1561 The Abbey's 'post Reformation' possessions are contained in the Book of Assumptions and the account of the Collector General of the thirds of benificies. Click here: (see 1592)
1562 Mary, Queen of Scots, visits the Abbey, staying at the Abbot's house.
1564 The Merkat Cross (topped by a unicorn) in Copegate (now lower High St.) is mentioned when a Dundee burgess is accused of breaking it and removing part of the Cross. It will eventually be removed in 1746 when deemed to be a traffic obstruction.
1568 (-1572) George Douglas is Commendator.
1573 (-1579) Lord John Hamilton is again Commendator.
1573 From now to 1860, what we know as Hill Place, is School Hill.
1579 A son of Lord Gray burns & sacks Red Castle after a period of siege.
1579 (-1583) Esme Stuart is Commendator.
1580 Regality courts are held at Cairnconon as late as this date.
1580 The Old or Parish Church (above) is built at Kirk Wynd (later Kirk Square) using stone taken from the dormitory of the abandoned Abbey.
1582 Kinblethmont is sold by the Guthries to Sir Peter Young of Seaton, who in turn will sell the estate to the Woods of Bonington.
1585 (-1604) Lord John Hamilton is again Commendator.
1585 (approx) Arbroath parish is disjoined from St Vigeans parish.
1590 From around now Abbey stone is being used for town building projects. This practise will continue until Abbey preservation begins in 1815.
1590 Services are still held up to this date in the lady-chapel, 'stripped of it's alters & images'.
1590 The harbour is once more in a ruinous state.
1591 The town receives a grant of £60 for harbour repairs.
1592 The Abbey's 'post Reformation' possessions are contained in the 'Charge of the Temporalitie' as annexed to the Crown. Click here: (see 1561)
1594 By this year the weavers have formed a guild, the strongest of the seven incorporated trades of Arbroath.
1597 George Gladstanes is minister at Arbirlot.
1597 John lord Hamilton (abbey commendator 1551-1597) is granted the temporalities of the lordship of Arbroath.
1599 (Nov 23) The town receives it's royal charter from James V1. ....."a free burgh known for all time in the future as the royal burgh of Arbroath".
1599 John lord Hamilton is created marquis of Hamilton.
1500 - 1599
James IV's royal charter
of 1599 - Courtesy Angus Archives
a late 1500s map of the area around the town
( see other maps )
Arbroath struggles for most of this and part of next century to maintain a sea-proof harbour. The lands on this 1539 map will in due course, however, provide lucrative trade for boats from the town. This is a portion of 'Carta Marina' by Olaus Magnus.