Issued: 2 February 2009
Regeneration Project Unearths Clues To Brechin's History
It is believed that part of Brechin's old tollbooth might have been uncovered during the alteration works to the Town House Museum.
Tollbooth is the historical Scottish term for the building where councils met and where the civic affairs of the town were carried out and the first reference to a tollbooth in Brechin occurs in 1450. In 1580 and 1697 there were notices of repairs being carried out on the tollbooth which apparently stood on the corner of High Street and Nether West Wynd (Church Street). It is known that the main part of the Town House was built in 1789.
During the course of current work to upgrade the Town House a wall built from very high quality masonry was uncovered just to the east of the barrel vaulted cells, located within the 2-4 Church Street section of the building. There is a large door opening within this wall with finely tooled stone jamb stones. Judging by the way the door is detailed it appears to have been a main door facing east into the High Street. The section of the building that is now 2-4 Church Street dates to the 1600s judging by the detailing of fire surrounds on the first floor. The section of wall that has been uncovered might be even older.
Officers are still assessing the significance of the find but they now suspect Brechin's market place was possibly much wider up until the late 1700s. The Town House of 1789, the Old Bakehouse and 22 High Street to the north might all sit upon what was originally part of the market place. The older building line in this area might have been defined by the line of the buildings behind the Old Bakehouse in Cross Keys Close.
The masonry has been carefully recorded by archaeologists commissioned by Angus Council.
The Town House Museum project is the first priority project to be grant aided by the City of Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative. The cost of the project of £383,000 is being met by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland (the Historic Environment Regeneration Fund), Angus Council and the Brechin Common Good Fund.