|Administrative History||The Old Town of Stonehaven, in the civil Parish of Dunnottar, was a small fishing settlement lying on the south of the Carron Water and probably dates from the 16th century. Around 1600 it became the County Town following the gradual decay of the old royal centre of Kincardine. This honour was bestowed by the 4th Earl Marischal who had reputedly erected Stonehaven as a Burgh of Barony in 1587. A burgh of Barony is where the land is held directly from the baron (as opposed to the Crown, as in Royal Burghs). No charter evidence, however, has survived to confirm this, except the Fundamental Charter of 1624 detailing the agreement between the feuars of the town and the Earl of the terms by which the town was to be governed.|
Under the Charter, the Town was governed by a Board of Managers, elected by the feuars of the Old Town to which body the Superior elected bailies. Meetings were held in the Tolbooth by the Harbour (which had been the Earl Marischal's storehouse in a previous life). This continued until 1879 when it met in the Court House of the County Buildings. When the administration of the Old & New Towns was amalgamated under one Town Council in 1889, meetings were held in the new Town Hall.
The New Town of Stonehaven lies in the neighbouring Parish of Fetteresso. It dates from 1759 when its patron, Robert Barclay of Ury, first purchased land for the project - the Links of Arduthie - although major construction did not begin until the 1790s. Many of the central streets are named after members of Barclay's family. It remained confined to the flat low ground until the later 19th century, when building spread westwards and upwards to the railway line. The turn of the century saw the erection of some of Stonehaven's finest private residences (Arduthie Road, Bath Street & Gurney Street).
In 1856, the New Town residents constituted themselves into a Town Council: a committee of magistrates was elected by the local feuars, along with a provost, two bailies, four councillors, a treasurer and a clerk.
The area continued to be governed by two bodies until 1889 when the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862, was adopted and a board of Police Commissioners appointed to administer both the Old and New Towns of Stonehaven. In so doing, the Burgh was made exempt from the operations of Kincardine County Council when the latter body was formed the following year. This position was consolidated by the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act of 1892. After the passing of the Town Council (Scotland) Act of 1900, Stonehaven met as a Town Council with a provost, two bailies and nine councillors. A 'council' continued to meet to administer the properties of the feuars of the Old Town until the last of these responsibilities were finally absorbed by the Town Council in 1904.
The Town Council was abolished in 1975 with the establishment of Grampian Regional Council.