Angus Family History · Gauldie Family History

Mary Mitchell of Abirlot and the Lunan miller’s wife

Mary Mitchell was born at Cottertown of Cuthlie in 1807 and christened on the 17th of November at Abirlot Church, the oldest of three known children of David Mitchel(l) and Katherine Smith.

mary mitchell
Mary Mitchell’s birth record. It says David Mitchell and “his spouse” Katherine Smith, but fails to say “lawful”. 15th November 1807.

Her brother David was born two years later, in January 1809 and her parents married six months later. Her sister, Ann, was born in 1810.

Katherine Smith and David Mitchell marriage
David Mitchell and Katherine Smith’s marriage record, June 20th 1809.

It is has been hard to find out much about Mary’s life. We know, from documents written after her husband’s death, that she could neither read nor write. Family stories dictate that her future husband was seen as a step down socially, although it would seem she was the daughter of a very small time farmer, known in Scotland as a crofter.

No records survive of a marriage to her future partner, William Gauldie. But we do know that he was a miller, first serving his apprenticeship and then working at Cotton of Carmyllie. Towards the end of the 1830s, they moved to the mill at Lunan, which sat in the shadow of the village of Inverkeilor.

Lunan Mill
Site of Lunan Mill from John Ainslie’s map of Map of the County of Forfar or Shire of Angus, 1794. (http://maps.nls.uk/view/74400191#zoom=4&lat=8868&lon=6175&layers=BT)

The problem with this mill was that the railway was built straight through the middle of the site, making access difficult.

On the death of William, in 1851, after a long illness, Mary’s two oldest sons, John and David, ran the business for a while, before the family went their separate ways and the assets were dispersed equally, between Mary and her children, a sum amounting to around £200 per head(1).

Lunan Mill on the first Ordnance Survey map, 1850-60
Lunan Mill on the first OS map. (from NLS)

After this, Mary and her younger children, moved to Arbroath, living at various addresses around the seaside town until her death in 1894.

Mary Mitchell's death certification
Mary Mitchell’s death certification, 14th September 1894.
Mary Mitchell death Thursday 20 September 1894 , Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs
Mary Mitchell’s death in the Arbroath Herald and Advertiser, 20 September 1894.

Footnotes-

  1. “In 1860, £200 0s 0d would have the same spending worth of 2005’s £8,632.00” (source-http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/results.asp#mid)