Streetwise: Fairmuir

Name Plate

Fairmuir, on the east side of Strathmartine Road, near Downfield, was long used as a market-place for cattle, in lieu of Stobsmuir, which had been used for Fairs and weekly Markets from remote times.

The Annual Fairs were usually held on the day of the patron Saint of the burgh; and as St. Clement held that position till the close of the twelfth century, the Fairs in the Market-gait of Dundee were held on the day of his martyrdom, 23rd November.

When the Church of St. Mary, founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon, about 1190, eclipsed the older Church of St. Clement, the Fair Day was changed to the day set apart for celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin, 15th August, which was known as “Our Lady Day”. This was afterwards corrupted into “Lady Mary Fair”. In the fourteenth century the Scrymgeours, Constables of Dundee, instituted a second Fair on the day of the Nativity of the Virgin, 8th September (now 19th September), which was known as “the Latter Fair”, and still retains that name.

 

Early in the eighteenth century another Fair was organised, which, of course, in Protestant times had no Saint’s dedication, and the scene was removed from the Market-gait to Stobsmuir, the name of “Stobs Fair” being given to it. This Fair continued to be held there till about 1830, when a murder that occurred during the turbulence of this Carnival led to the removal of the site of the Fair to the ground in Strathmartine Road, which came to be known as ”Fairmuir”. The ground was on the property of the Ogilvys of Inverquharity, who had a right to exact payment for its use and this continued until 1883, when the late Sir John Ogilvy of Inverquharity, Bart. (1803–1890), generously gave over the Fairmuir to Dundee to be used as a recreation park. The Town Council accordingly made it suitable for cricket, football, and other games. It contains about 17 acres.

Source: ‘Glimpses of Old and New Dundee’ – A.H. Millar, January 1925