Dundee in the Middle Ages




Dundee grew up as a small port in the 11th and 12th centuries. Its name may be derived from the words Dun Diagh (Dun meant fort). In 1191 King William gave Dundee a charter. That was a document granting the townspeople certain rights. It gave them the right to have their own local government and their own court.

By the 14th century Dundee was one of Scotland’s most important towns. It may have had a population of 4,000 people. That seems tiny to us but settlements were very small in those days.

Medieval Dundee was, of course, a busy port. Large quantities of wine were imported from France and Spain. Grain was also imported into Dundee. The main exports were hides and wool. At first raw wool was exported but by the 15th century wool was woven and dyed in Dundee.

By the 13th century Dundee had an annual fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year. People would come from all over Angus, Perthshire and Fife to buy and sell at a Dundee fair.

In the 13th century friars arrived in Dundee. The friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world they went out to preach. The friars in Dundee were Dominicans. They were known as black friars because of their black costumes. Furthermore St Mary’s Church was built in the 14th century.

In the Middle Ages Dundee had a castle. It was probably built at the end of the 12th century. Little is known Dundee castle and it is not known exactly when it was demolished. The castle lives on in the name Castle Street.

Dunhope Castle was built in the 13th century for a family who were hereditary constables of Dundee. It was rebuilt in the 16th century.


Post from fbook page Caledonia –┬áby Paul Cunningham


Dundee is a venue in my novel DARK LORD, which is book two of the Dark Birthright trilogy.