Robert Barclay, Laird of Ury and a "Heaven born improver" bought the waste coastal moorland that is now Stonehaven, in 1795 for £1500. Recorded documentary evidence tells us that 12 acres were laid down for the town and that streets were to be "regular" with a minimum width of 48 inches. An additional 2 acres were allocated for a central square.
It was Captain Robert Barclay-Allardice the son of Robert Barclay who conceived the idea in 1826 of the Market buildings on the edge of the Square with open arcades or piazzas, originally for the accommodation of stalls then as the "pends" or covered ways. A stone water trough provided refreshment for animals.
Public subscription at the time provided a steeple; with clock and bell, the Square became the focal point for the new town and that of the local agricultural economy.