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History and Heritage

East Haven a place of historical importance


Our Story

East Haven is one of the earliest recorded fishing communities in Scotland dating back to 1214. The port of East Haven with it’s fishing rights was gifted to the monks of Coupar Angus Abbey by Philip de Valognes where it was formally recorded. The Ha’en is  probably much older than even 1214 but this early formal record marks East Haven as a place of historical importance. 


An extract from 'Fishing Communities in Angus and the Mearns' by David G Adams and edited by Gillian Zealand.

(available to purchase from The Pinkfoot Press in Brechin)


East Haven was part of the barony of Panmure which constituted the largest part of the parish of Panbride. It was particularly associated with the lands of Scryne which formed the southern half of the barony. The earliest known proprietors of Panmure were the de Valognes, an Anglo-Norman family favoured by King William 1 (1165-1214). Around 1214, Philip de Valognes granted the monks of Coupar Angus Abbey an acre of land in his port of Stinchendehavene (East Haven) for a toft to build on, with a toll for fishings and a right to use the Haven.


In 1541, East Haven was proclaimed a burgh of barony with rights granted to the residents to buy and sell goods and to have a market cross with a weekly market on a Tuesday, an annual fair and the right to charge tolls and fees. By 1622, there were two eight day fairs held annually from 1st August and 18th October. Old coins and medieval artefacts have been found in the fields around East Haven and Scryne from almost every century since 1166, providing evidence of its importance as a place for travellers and traders. By the mid 19th Century East Haven was a thriving and self contained community. There was a large two storey inn, a brewery and a bakehouse. A resident fish curer, weavers, fishermen, bleachworkers, railway workers and farm workers. 

The People

The Small Blue

The Hoche Nantes

On the 1st November 1915, The Telegraph reported the mystery of the Hoche Nantes, a 3 masted ship that disappeared in a great storm on the 28th October. It was feared wrecked off East Haven and hundreds of people came down to the beach in Carnoustie, West and East Haven to look for remains of the ship and it's crew. In late December, two bodies were washed ashore at the Bleachfield, confirming that the crew were not saved and that the Hoche was indeed lost.

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Airedale Terrier Dogs of War

During WW1 Airedale Terriers were trained to support troops on the battlefield. It took a long time to find a dog which had all the right characteristics to work in such a hostile environment and carry out so many vital roles. The dogs had to be able to wear gas masks, carry messages to the troops and drag injured men off the battlefield. Many of them were killed as a result of their heroic contribution.


What many people don’t realise is that these brave dogs of war began their training right here on the beaches of East Haven and Carnoustie. They were trained by Lieutenant Edwin Hautenville Richardson and his wife Blanche Bannon in Panbride House on the East Haven to Carnoustie road.


Local residents in Carnoustie and East Haven helped with the training of the Airedales. They would lie on beaches and between sand dunes and the dogs would search for them.

The Airedale Terrier Club of Scotland installed a WW1 monument in East Haven in 2018 to commemorate these brave dogs of war.


Sustrans Art Roots Project

Funding obtained from Sustran’s Art Roots project enabled this wonderful carving to be created by Iain Chalmers of Chainsaw  Creations on the Black Isle. East Haven is one of the earliest recorded fishing communities in Scotland dating back to 1214.

The art work was commissioned to acknowledge the role of fishing and fisherfolk in the development of the community at East Haven. A dedication ceremony was carried out by Donna Lyall whose fishing family can be traced back to the early 1800s in East Haven.

Panmure Estate

Panmure Estate north of Carnoustie is an area of immense historic and archaeological importance not just in Angus but across Scotland.  Panmure House was widely acclaimed as one of the finest houses in Scotland but was demolished (blown up)  when it was considered to have deteriorated beyond repair in the 1950s. Nevertheless, 13  monuments listed with Historic Environment Scotland and a number of archaeological areas of interest survive within this wonderful estate which should be conserved and properly managed for all time.

Margaret's Mount

(B listed)


This monument sits on a raised artificial mound with a stone pedestal surmounted by a
carved stone urn. It is approximately 8ft high. It dates back to the early 18th century and is said to commemorate the parting of Earl James and Margaret following his escape after
the battle of Sheriffmuir.

The Commemorative Column (A Listed)


The column was designed by Sir William Bruce and erected in 1694. It is approximately 45 feet high, has a moulded base and pedestal and is uniformly square in its extent. The north side bears the name of JAMES EARLE OF PANMURE, 1694; and on the south side, his wife MARGARET COUNTESS OF PANMURE, 1694. James was the 4th Earl and Margaret was the daughter of the 3rd Duke of Hamilton.

Camus Cross (B Listed)

Approximately six and a half feet high, the Camus Cross is an intact, free standing cross and is considered quite rare in Scotland. It was first recorded in 1481 in a legal boundaries document. The cross was removed from its original burial ground position and repositioned a little further to the north. Folk etymology suggested that the stone represented the burial ground of Camus, Leader of a Norse army. It is now considered likely that the name originated from the extinct village of Camuston and although the stone is quite badly weathered, the carvings on the Camus Cross distinctly shows similarities with those on the Brechin Hogback stone and this indicates an early medieval Ecclesiastical influence.

Bonnie Prince Charlie Bridge

(B listed)

Reference: LB18412

The West Gate (The Locked Gates) A Listed

James (4th Earl of Panmure) fought for the cause of the Old Pretender (James Francis Edward Stuart). Along with his brother, Harry Maule of Kelly and an army they had raised to join forces with their nephew, the Earl of Mar, he rode out of Panmure ordering the gates to be locked behind them until he returned triumphant.  He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715 and three hundred years later the gates remain closed.  Harry helped him to escape and it is said that he fled to France smuggled out by East Haven fishermen.  His title and estates were forfeited in 1719 and twice the Crown offered to return the estates if he swore allegiance to the House of Hanover.  This he declined and died in exile in Paris in 1723. The estates were subsequently bought back in 1764.  


Former stables and service block

(B Listed)

The East Gate (B listed)

Montague Bridge (B listed)

The spectacular Montague Bridge is 80 feet in height with 3 semi-circular arches and spans the gully over the Monikie Burn. It was erected by the Earl Fox Maule and named after Lady Panmure who died while the Panmure Estate was being improved. The bridge is dated 1854.

The Folly (B listed)

Gazebo, Corrieara Den. (B Listed)

There are 2 of these Known locally as the Love Seats


The Panmure Testimonial, also known as the 'Live and Let Live' memorial, stands approximately 105 feet high on the most elevated point of Cambustone Hill, 560 feet above sea level.  It is visible from a great distance and is considered one of the most conspicuous landmarks in the east of Scotland.  The designer was Mr John Henderson of Edinburgh. Many locals will remember the poem they learned as children:

NORTH to the Monument

SOUTH to the sea

EAST to Arbroath

And WEST to Dundee.

Copy the link below to watch a fabulous film of both the monument and the views across the whole of the landscape.

It was erected in 1839 to commemorate the generosity of William Maule the 2nd Earl of Panmure. In 1826 a particularly hot and dry summer led to a shortage of 'short corn' thus creating a more general food shortage. Local farmers were struggling desperately and as a result,  Lord Panmure suspended the collection of rent from his tenant farmers. In gratitude and thankfulness for his generosity the tenant farmers funded the building of this beautiful monument which is an A listed building. It is also on the buildings at risk register.

The Panmure Testimonial

(Live and Let Live) B listed

Ancient stairway inside the Folley

An old poem recalls the history behind the monument.  

Memorial 'tis of gratitude,

To caring Earl, whose latitude

Encompassed tenants' dues unpaid,

As harvest crops in field decayed.


Though soil may yield, harsh seasons cruel

Unequal make man's earthly duel

'gainst Nature's powerful elements

that blessings bring and harassments.


Sun can warm yet cause a drought.

Refreshing rain may help seeds sprout.

But when dark thunderclouds do lower,

The bursting floods reveal their power.

Soil and seed or swelling grain

Are washed away or battered lain,

A wasted crop! Such futile toil!

On wonders why they till the soil.

The wind, is't friend or fiendish foe?

Hay gently drying, yet, a blow

From eastern airt in Springtime calm

Will wither leaves and blossom harm.

And what of hail and sleet and snow?

Of those, the last allows to grow

The tender shoots of winter wheat

Beneath its insulating sheet.

Today, these ills we circumvent,

Appealing to the Government.

But in those days of yesteryear,

Doom and disaster bred chill fear

Of gnawing hunger and eviction.

"Fear not!" the laird said with conviction.

"Your woes and ills I understand.

Your homes will stay upon my land.

And till the future harvest's sure,

Count on the bounty of Panmure."

'Live and Let Live', we raise our glass

to him whose caring few surpass.

Ancient Oak Tree near the Stables.

Trees were planted by Prime Ministers and other notable people of the time. More evidence of the importance of this wonderful place and the rich heritage of Angus

The Maules

The twinning link between Maule and Carnoustie was first instigated by the people of Maule and established in 1992. 

The clan Maule of Scotland began with the Norman invasion of 1066 hence the initial French link. During the following 100 years the Maule family were linked to the then kings of England which resulted in William de Maule being given lands at Fowlis in Perthshire in 1138. About 1175 the barony of Panmure was given to Philip de Valoniis for services rendered to William I of England at the same time he was made the High Chamberlain of Scotland.It was Philip de Valoniis who granted the monks of Coupar Angus Abbey an acre of land in his port of East Haven in 1214. Philip’s son William inherited his father’s title and lands, his only child was Christiana. Following the death of William de Maule his estate was inherited by his brother Richard as he had died childless. In 1224 Richard de Maule married Christiana and so the Panmure estate passed to the Maule family. later years the family dropped the ‘de’ and simply became known as Maule.

In the following centuries the Maule family were closely linked to the Scottish Kings and in 1646 Charles I created the Earldon of Panmure for Patrick Maule who was one of his staunch supporters. It was his son George the 3rd Earl who built a mansion house on the Panmure estates. George was succeeded by his brother James who became the 4th Earl a supporter of James VII the Old Pretender who was later to go into exile in France. James followed him and spent the rest of his life in a town not far from the town of Maule. Because of his support for the Old Pretender James the 4th Earl forfeited his lands but these were later bought back by his nephew and so the Panmure estate returned to the Maule family. The estate later passed by marriage to the Earl of Dalhousie and was finally sold by the family in 1950 to pay death duties. The mansion was last lived in about 1860 and was sadly demolished in 1955. Since then the estate has been resold on several occasions up to 2001 when its final sale led to the estate being broken up.

The people of Maule created panels of heritage bunting (above) in 2014 to highlight the historic link between East Haven and Maule.

East Haven Railway Station

William Ramsay Maule (1771-1852), the first Lord Panmure heavily influenced and supported the development of the railway line between Dundee and Arbroath. In East Haven, the railway line was built along the site of the old post road that linked Carnoustie and Arbroath and effectively it cut the village in half.  Two railway underpasses were built to enable horses and carts to access the beach and properties on the seaward side of the railway line. The railway line was opened on the 6th October 1838. The small station was essential for the economy of East Haven as it enabled the fishermen to transport lobsters, crabs and winkles to top restaurants in Edinburgh and London. It also boasted a very small goods yard for the transport of farm produce and sugar-beet from the local farms of Scryne, Hatton and Craigmill.

By 1955 the station was manned by a signalman and two porters and a weekly ticket to Dundee cost eight shillings. Children from the village travelled to schools in Arbroath, Broughty Ferry and Dundee by train. By 1960 after ‘Beeching’s axe’ fell, East Haven railway station became surplus to requirements and was closed on 4th September 1967. 

Fishermen - The Lyall Family (memories recorded by Craig Lyall)

The Lyall family are the oldest fishing family in East Haven and have been traced back to the 1750s. The late Alex Lyall was educated at Panbride Primary, and was a Salmon Fisher all his life, only breaking during his 1st World War service in the Royal Scots Guard. Alex worked several local salmon stations, namely, Elliot, Lunan Bay, Kirkside and Westhaven. He was Skipper of the East Haven Salmon Fishing Station operated by the Tay Salmon Fishing Company from 1934 to 1938.  As Salmon fishing was seasonal, Alex had to work on the land during the winter months, and this was done at Inverpeffer. 

Salmon fishing was hard work, it still is, but modern methods make life easier. However, Salmon netting is declining at an alarming rate, and the future is bleak for this way of life. During the years that Alex fished, everything was done manually and was extremely hard work. The crew of a salmon coble was five. The coble had to be rowed, there were no engines in these days and they fished seven nets, three at the Trink, one at the Meg Stane and three at Duncan’s Den.  If they fished the West side, it would be three at the Stock Mire, three at the Bleachin, and one at the Brithers. At the weekend when the leaders had to be cleaned the crew got to go home and it was the job of Alex as Skipper to clean and store them ready for Monday morning. As the skipper, Alex was always the last man to be laid off at the end of the season. He mended and then stored all the nets in the old salmon bothy. Alex was a clever man; he could peg out on the ground the area for the salmon net and make a complete net from scratch.

Working the Fly nets was probably the hardest job. These nets were staked on the beach. Putting these nets up was demanding work and every pin and stake had to be hand driven into the sand using a gurl.

A gurl was a 4 foot long post with a point and had a steel cap to stop it breaking. You had to twist this using your weight back and forward to force it into the sand. Then, when you had the right depth, pull out the gurl and have another man ready with the pin or stake to drive it right into the hole before the hole filled up. When the nets were first up, one tide could see them flat, all to be done again.

The fly nets were worked at Carnoustie. The first net was down from the Station, then across the Barry Burn there were three, two nets just past the red flag and the last net and always the best was right round past the light house. Alex being the skipper took the best net, which was the farthest away. He would walk all the way from the Ha’en or sometimes used an old bike.

When there were fish to transport, there was a contract with Robinson the contractor, and Alex had to walk from the nets back into Carnoustie and come back with Robinson’s Horse and Cart.

Alex’s cousin Wull Vannet worked at the Boddin near Montrose and if you compare the fishing with East Haven, using the fish money received at the end of the season, which related to fish caught. Wull Vannet would have £30 fish money and Alex Lyall was lucky to receive £6 fish money. The Boddin was a good station and was still taking a good catch up to the 1990’s. Fish caught would be in the thousands where East Haven would be in the Hundreds. East Haven was always a poor station. 


Uncle Geordie made willow baskets from willow wands cut from local trees; boats in bottles; a boat in a box with a frame; lots of needles for making nets; and he made sails and full rigging for a boat that was owned by a gentleman in the Villas.

Alex Lyall also made needles for making nets; woodcarving was a pastime many Fishermen would do, as there was no TV or wireless.

Uncle Geordie also had a tame Jackdaw. The Jackdaw would go to the sea with him but when it was fed up would fly home, go down the lum and sit on the sway. Uncle Geordie once caught a very large lobster around the Dulse Craig. It was at a time when ships had been sunk in the Orkney Islands and were being towed down the coast. It was thought that there must have been fish and shellfish living inside these wrecks which had fallen out during the move. The lobster was a monster of 14 pounds in weight.

Fishermen - The Duncans

John Duncan (1862 – 1956) lived in the original cottage at No 1 Shore Row with his  wife Betsy Vannett Herd (1860 -1916). John was a fisherman and  also a keen gardener. However, as many of us have found to our cost, cultivating gardens at the shore is a challenge. John therefore created a garden on the site of what is now No 7 Tankerville. Grandson, Eric Duncan can remember being sent up to the garden with a rifle to shoot rabbits which were apparently just as much of a problem then as they are today.


Ernest Duncan (1896 - 1952)

Ernest was one of eight children and grew up in Easthaven. Ernest died when he was only 55 years of age but he lived a very full life and made an enormous contribution to the communities of East Haven, Carnoustie and Arbroath. As a young man he joined the  Blackwatch and fought in WW1 when he was wounded. Following the war he went on to become a boot and shoe operative with Messrs John Winter & Son, Carnoustie. It was perhaps here that he developed  his interest in employment rights  as he became chairman of the Arbroath branch of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives and also the Arbroath District  committee of the Trades Council. A well known figure in Labour circles, Ernest chaired the South Angus Divisional Labour Party and the Carnoustie Labour Party from 1948 to 1951. During this time, Ernest was a member of the Arbroath District Education committee, a member of the Insurance Tribunal and a member of the board of the Carnoustie Co-operative Association. Ernest married Bella in April 1924 and had seven sons and one daughter, John, Ernest, Eric, Alfred, Robert, George, Edwin and Sheila.

Ernest successfully contested Angus County Council and Carnoustie Town Council elections, was a Justice of the Peace and took a keen interest in the Old Age Pensioners Association.  Ernest died at home in East Haven on Sunday 17 August 1952.



Top Right: Eric Duncan as a little boy with his grandfather John

Right: What a catch! Eric Duncan outside his home No1 Shore Row.

Left: Eric Duncan held a Tay Fishing Salmon licence in the mid 1980's

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