Brechin’s Macfarlane Fountains

Location: Brechin, Angus, Scotland

In 1903, the town erected a bandstand and a fountain in the public park. The elaborate cast iron fountain was donated by Robert Duke Esq. of Bearehill and manufactured by Walter Macfarlane and Co.’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated in a circular basin, the single pedestal with canted corners hosted lion masks set into concave mouldings which spouted water into basins with fluted edge. Cranes were located on each corner beneath the upper basin. A crane with open wings and head raised operated as a water jet. It was listed as a Category B historic building on 4 August 1986.

Standing immediately in front of this spray model was a drinking fountain also manufactured by the Saracen Foundry. Number 47 originally designed as a ‘ground basin’ enrichment was, in this instance, supported by a single fluted column with cornice and square capital. An open fretwork canopy with central rosette projected above the fluted font. The finial was a decorative spike.

On Park Road near the Caledonian Steam Railway was another Macfarlane drinking fountain. Design number 7 was a single pedestal basin with four decorative columns rising from an octagonal plinth. Four salamanders descended the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery. The basin had a scalloped edge and decorative relief. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

The area of St. Ninian’s Square was popular with children who played in the water receptacles. A cattle trough was located a few feet from the drinking fountain which had a basin large enough to sit in and a dog trough at ground level. This is demonstrated in an image which the Angus Archives refused to give permission to use unless I paid a fee. You can view it at this link,

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  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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