Big plans for Declaration’s 700th anniversary

Arbroath Abbey Timetheme's re-enactment of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath is one of the highlights of the annual Tartan Day Scotland Festival
Arbroath Abbey Timetheme's re-enactment of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath is one of the highlights of the annual Tartan Day Scotland Festival

The 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath will be specially commemorated in the town, it has been revealed.

On April 6, 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was sent by the nobles of Scotland from within the mighty walls of Arbroath Abbey to the Pope. Now widely acknowledged as the most famous document in Scotland’s history, today (Wednesday), plans were revealed for Arbroath’s celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary.

“On April 6, 2020, it will be 700 years since the Declaration, with its internationally renowned sentiments of freedom and democracy, was issued from Arbroath Abbey,” said Norman Atkinson, chair of Arbroath 2020, the organisation which has been established to encourage, develop and organise events to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Norman explained that Arbroath 2020 comprises of a group of local enthusiasts who are working closely with Historic Environment Scotland, Visit Scotland and Angus Council to ensure Arbroath celebrates this momentous occasion in style.

“As part of the build up to the many events which will happen during the 700th year of the Declaration, Arbroath 2020 plans to ‘rebrand’ April 6 as ‘Declaration Day’ and also intends to create a lasting, and fitting, legacy for Arbroath,” continued Norman.

“Arbroath 2020 would like to see the area in front of the Abbey developed into a civic space – perhaps named ‘Declaration Square’ - for the people of Arbroath.

“As part of these plans, we are currently in discussions about moving David Annand’s wonderful Declaration sculpture from the outskirts of the town to this proposed square, where it would be seen by residents and visitors alike in an historic and highly relevant setting.”

In recognition of the part the Declaration of Arbroath played in the history of Scotland, on Friday, April 8, Susan Wilson, Principal Officer of the US Consulate General Edinburgh, is making a special visit to the Arbroath Abbey.

During her tour of the Abbey, The Provost of Angus, Councillor Helen Oswald, will present Susan Wilson with a framed copy of the Declaration and members of Arbroath 2020, including Norman Atkinson and Graeme Dey, will share their plans for the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, which is thought by many to have inspired the American Declaration of Independence.