View over Forfar
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

View over Forfar

The administrative centre of Angus, a royal burgh situated in the heart of the valley of Strathmore 14 miles (22.5 km) north of Dundee. A conical mound known as Castlehill at the northeastern end of the town was the site of a royal residence dating from the time of Malcolm Canmore in the 11th Century. This castle, which appears on the burgh's seal, was alleged by the historian Hector Boece to have been the meeting-place of the parliament in 1057 at which surnames and titles were first conferred on the Scottish nobility. To the west lies Forfar Loch where Malcolm's queen, St. Margaret, is said to have founded a chapel on the Inch.

Forfar was granted the status of a royal burgh by King David I (1124-53), a charter reaffirmed by King Charles II in 1665. It was also the county town of Forfarshire. Once noted for its gloves, shoes and clothing, Forfar was a centre for tanning and the manufacture of coarse linen and jute in the 19th century. In addition to its present roles as an administrative centre and livestock market town, Forfar has dairy produce, food processing, textile, light engineering and electronics industries. Strathmore Spring mineral water is produced on West High Street, now a subsidiary of Cumbernauld-based A.G. Barr Plc. The Scottish Guide Dog training school is based at Orchardbank Business Park in the west of the town. The Meffan Gallery and Museum in the High Street illustrates the history, art and industry of Forfar which gives its name to the meat pastry known as the Forfar Bridie. There is a leisure centre and 18-hole golf course at Cunninghill and each June the Forfar Highland Games are held at the Lochside.

Forfar had a railway station between 1848 and 1967 on the Scottish Midland Junction Railway from Perth. Its goods yard continued to operate until 1982.

Notables born here include plant collecting brothers George Don (1798 - 1856) and David Don (1800-41), mathematician Joseph Wedderburn (1882 - 1948), educationalist A.S. Neill (1883 - 1973), architect Sir William Kininmonth (1904-88), and academic and pacifist Lord Ritchie-Calder of Balmashanner (1906-82).

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