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Arbroath, Angus

Arbroath is the largest town in the county of Angus in Scotland with a population of approximately 23,000 people. It is situated on the coast, around 16 miles north-east of Dundee and 55 miles south of Aberdeen. It is famous for the smoked fish, known as Arbroath smokies, for its ancient abbey, now fallen into ruin, and for the declaration of independence known as the Declaration of Arbroath, signed by Scottish nobles in the 14th century.

The following is from the 1911 edition of Britannica. It needs wikification, proofreading and updating.

ARBROATH, or ABERBROTHOCK, a royal, municipal and a police burgh, and seaport of Forfarshire, Scotland. It is situated at the mouth of the Brothock water, 17 miles NE. of Dundee. The town is under the jurisdiction of a provost, bailies and council, and, with Brechin, Forfar, Inverbervie and Montrose, Arbroath returns one member to parliament.

The harbour, originally constructed and maintained by the abbots, by an agreement between the burgesses and John Gedy, the abbot in 1394, was replaced by one more commodious in 1725, which in turn was enlarged and improved in 1839. The older portion was converted into a wet dock in 1877, And the entrance and bar of the new harbour were deepened. The Signal Tower Museum, was built in 1813 as the shore station for the Bell Rock lighthouse on the Inchcape Rock, 12 miles south-east of Arbroath, celebrated in Southey’s ballad. The principal public buildings are the town-hall, a somewhat ornate market house, the guildhall, the public hall, the infirmary, the antiquarian museum (including some valuable fossil remains) and the public and mechanics libraries. The parish church dates from 1570, but has been much altered, and the spire was added in 1831.

The ruins of a magnificent abbey, once one of the richest foundations in Scotland, can be found at the top of the High Street. It was founded by William the Lion in 1178 for Tironesian Benedictines from Kelso, and consecrated in 1197, being dedicated to St Thomas Becket, whom the king had met at the English court. It was William's only personal foundation. and he was buried within its precincts in 1214. Its nave was mainly Early English, the western gable Norman. The cruciform church measured 276 ft. long by 160 ft. wide, and form a structure of singular beauty and splendour. The remains include the vestry, the southern transept (the famous rose lit window of which is still entire), part of the chancel, the southern hall of the nave, part of the entrance towers and the western doorway. It was here that the parliament met which on 6 April 1320 addressed to the pope the notable Letter of Arbroath (drafted by Bernard de Linton), stating the independence of their country and reciting in eloquent terms the services which their "lord and sovereign" Robert Bruce had rendered to Scotland. The last of the abbots was Cardinal Beaton, who succeeded his uncle James when he later became archbishop of St Andrews. At the Reformation the abbey was dismantled and afterwards allowed to go to ruin. Part of the secular buildings still stand, and the abbot's house, or the Abbey House as it is now called, is inhabited.

Arbroath was created a royal burgh in 1186, and its charter of 1599 is preserved. King John exempted it from "toll and custom" in every part of England excepting London. Arbroath is "Fairport" of Scott's "Antiquary". Auchmithie, 3 miles north—east ("Musselcrag" of the same romance), is a quaint old-fashioned place, where the men earn a precarious living by fishing. On each side of the village the coast scenery is remarkably picturesque, the rugged cliffs creating in the promontory of Red Head, the scene of a thrilling group of curiously shaped caves and archways which attract large numbers of visitors. At the 14th century church of St Vigeans, 1 mile north of Arbroath, stands one of the most interesting of the sculptured stones of Scotland, with what is thought to be the only legible inscription in the Pictish tongue. The parish — originally called Aberbrothock and now incorporated with Arbroath for administrative purposes — takes its name from a saint or hermit whose chapel was situated at Grange of Conon, 31/2 miles north-west. 6 miles west by south are the slate quarries of Carmyllie, the terminus of a branch line from Arbroath, which was the first light railway in Scotland and was opened in 1900.