Streetwise: Thorter Row

Name Plate

Thorter Row – can be traced under that name from about 1488, and is supposed to have been so called from a corruption of the word “athwart,” because it ran through the block of houses between High Street and Overgate. The word “Thorter” is an old Scottish term. In this street there formerly was, on the west side, what was known as “St. Blaise Land,” and it is quite erroneously supposed by early Dundee Historians that this implied that there was formerly a chapel here dedicated to St. Blaise.

When James IV was in Dundee in September, 1492, he confirmed a charter by which Elizabeth Masoun, relict of James Scrymgeoure, burgess, instituted one or more chaplains to officiate at the Altar of St. Blaise in the parish church of St. Mary, giving over her land “on the west side of Chakker Raw” (afterward Thorter Row), and also other parts of Dundee, for their sustenance. The property was secularised in 1556, and is still in the hands of the Town Council. The term “Chakker Raw” indicates that the Exchequer Chamber was here, and that the accounts of those who levied dues upon the inhabitants and importers to be rendered to the King were kept in this place. St. Blaise was martyred in 316 A.D. He is often represented as holding an iron comb in one hand, such as were used by the Wool–comber Craft, and has been accepted as the Patron Saint of that Trade.

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