Mrs Mary Ann Martin (née Low)
The third wife of David Martin Esq, a former merchant, Mary Ann Low lived her married life at Roseangle. Widowed for nine years, she maintained family friendships, particularly with her widowed sister Frances and her two nieces at Hawkhill Place.
Subscription value in 1863:
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Personal details and history
Mary Ann Martin (née Low)
Date of birth
Place of birth
Age at death:
Place of death:
2 Roseangle, Dundee
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Clubs / societies
Subscriber 68 – William Ogilvy Dalgleish – grandson of David Martin Esq, husband of Mary Ann (Low) Martin
Subscriber 69 – David Ogilvy Dalgleish – grandson of David Martin Esq, husband of Mary Ann (Low) Martin
Subscriber 177 – David Pitcairn – nephew and business partner of David Martin Esq, husband of Mary Ann (Low) Martin
Subscriber 252 – Miss Whitson – fellow member of the Dundee Female Society and named beneficiary of a keepsake in Mary Ann (Low) Martin’s will
Subscriber 265 – James Ogilvy Dalgleish – son in law and executor of David Martin Esq, husband of Mary Ann (Low) Martin
Career and worklife
Place of work
Career to date:
At the time of her marriage in 1848 to David Martin, flax merchant and shipowner, Mary Ann was already 50 years of age, while her husband was 20 years her senior. He was the son of the Rev Dr Samuel Martin of Monimail, Fife, and had been widowed for a second time before marrying Mary Ann Low. Previously, he married Elizabeth Marshall, in 1808 and Janet Ramsay in 1818. His only surviving child (by his first wife), Isabella Marshall Martin (b 1809), was later to marry Captain James Ogilvy Dalgleish of Woodburne in Fife. Also, a grand niece of David Martin, Eliza Russell Meldrum, married William Lindsay Boase, another subscriber to the Albert Institute.
David Martin was a renowned ‘green cloth. merchant’ of long standing in Dundee. His career began in the 1790s when he was a partner with Robert Stirling in the firm of ‘Stirling & Martin.’Their business was dissolved in 1825. Thereafter, David Martin, after trading on his own account, entered into partnership (around 1834) with his nephews, David Pitcairn and David Martin Jnr, under the style of ‘Messrs David Martin & Co.’ It was reported in 1869 that the firm ‘have conducted one of the largest business in Dundee for a great many years and, during the whole period, they have been highly respected by their fellow merchants and noted for their integrity and honourable dealings.’
David Martin was made a merchant burgess in 1816.
The Martin’s home at 2 Roseangle had been the residence of David Martin from the time it was built. What must have been a rather imposing villa, standing at the junction of Perth Road with Roseangle, is reputed to have been erected between 1815-1820. It has been attributed to David Neave, the city architect of the period from 1813-1833.
It has been said that Neave;
‘will be best remembered however, as the favoured architect of Dundee’s mercantile élite. He completed South Tay Street in 1818, and the first section of King Street in 1825, and designed 21 – at the very least – neat classical villas in Park Place, Perth Road, Magdalen Yard, Seagate and down into Roseangle. Their interiors were cleverly planned, smart whilst remaining unpretentious, with some fine ceiling plasterwork.’
Its location and size was testament to the status of David Martin. His then business partner, Robert Stirling, also lived on Roseangle. His home was Gray Bank. After Stirling’s death (and also that of his brother John who inherited the property), an advert was placed advertising his plot of land – ‘that beautiful lot of ground lying between the Magdalen Yard Road and the River Tay, to the west of Grey Bank which would form an eligible site for a genteel dwelling house.’
Sadly, today, the Martin’s home still stands, a B listed building, almost two hundred years old, in a sorry state, having lain empty for almost 40 years.
At the time of giving her donation towards the Albert Institute, Mary Ann (Low) Martin had been a widow for 11 months. Her husband, by then aged 85 years, died at the start of that year on 13 January 1863. She would appear to have spent her energies in supporting charitable organisations, engaging with like gentlewomen and her church. Her younger sister, Frances Low, together with her two daughters, had returned to Dundee from India, having been widowed. Her husband (John Low) had been a merchant in Calcutta and Rangoon. He died at Ava in the East Indies in 1850. Frances Low and her daughters (both born in Calcutta) lived close to her sister in nearby Hawkhill Place.
Again, Mary Ann (Low) Martin’s status and lifestyle was mirrored in a codicil to her will, in which she bequeathed a number of personal items, trinkets and keepsakes to friends and relatives. To her sister, she left items such as ‘a work table, dressing box, India shawl, cameo brooch, brooch with Cpt and Mrs Dalgleish’s hair.’ There were numerous items of jewellery either made of or containing hair of loved ones (not all deceased). Some of the items included what must surely have been ‘mourning brooches,’ while others may have been fashionable items of the time actually made with hair. To a nephew she left the ‘scarf pin containing his dear mother’s hair (Mary Ann’s sister, Margaret Dun Low) which she gave to my father.’ Another important item was her Bible.
Mary Ann (Low) Martin’s inventory also made mention of her possession of ‘1 share of the Albert Institute (Ltd) Dundee of no value.‘
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. (1797). 282/ 160 77. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1872). 282/1 509. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1848). 282/ 230 237. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Aberdeen Press & Journal. 12 January 1848. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-72. National Library of Scotland website.
- Census Returns. Dundee (1851). 282/ 22 11. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1861). 282/ 2 13/ 5. scotlandsPeople website.
- Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1873). SC45/ 31/ 24. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Fife Herald. 22 January 1863. p.3. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1808). 282/140 79. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1818). 282/ 140 294. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. (1809). 282/90 405. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Ferry Port on Craig. Marriages. (1831). 429/ 30 59. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. St Andrews. Marriages. (1867). 453/ 6. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Birmingham Journal. 18 June 1825. p.1. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 4 February 1869. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- The Locket Book. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1822. p.227. National Library of Scotland website.
- Buildings At Risk Register. Historic Environment Scotland website.
- McKean, Charles and Whatley, Patricia. Lost Dundee, Dundee's Lost Architectural Heritage. (2008). Edinburgh. Berlin. p.72
- Northern Warder & General Advertiser. 26 June 1845. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Montrose, Arbroath & Brechin Review. 13 September 1850. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
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