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Tayport is situated on the north-east tip of Fife looking over the River Tay and Broughty Castle. To the east is the Tentsmuir Nature Reserve that goes on to the mouth of the River Eden. Our visitor guide to Tayport includes info on what to see and do and other useful information

Local Sights & Activities for Tayport

Sightseeing

Tayport & Tay Road Bridge

Nearby, on the shores of the Tay, is the mainly unremarkable village of Tayport, from where a ferry used to cross the river to Dundee. Tayport's church tower dates from the 17th century and a plaque commemorates General Ullysses Grant's visit on his way to see the first Tay Rail Bridge, which was blown down in 1879 while a train was passing over it. A new bridge has been built since, along with the Tay Road Bridge, which carries you from Fife into the city of Dundee.

Known as Ferryport-on-Craig until 1846, it was for many centuries a ferry port linking Fife with Dundee and Broughty Ferry. The town developed in the 19th Century, firstly with the arrival of the railway and the creation of a railway ferry in the 1840s, and secondly with the opening of the Tay Rail Bridge in 1878. In 1847 its harbour was rebuilt by Thomas Grainger for the Northern Railway Co. to accommodate paddle steamers. [1]

Kirkton Barns Farm
Only 12 miles from St. Andrews in the rolling Fife countryside. Enjoy a relaxing stay in this imposing rural Victorian villa with views over the rolling hills more details about Kirkton Barns Farm

Balmerino Abbey

Five miles west of the Tay Rail Bridge, off the A914, is Balmerino Abbey, on a hill overlooking the river. It was founded in the 13th century by Alexander II, whose mother Ermengarde, widow of William the Lion lies buried there. Little of the abbey remains today. In 1547 it was set on fire by the English Army during the 'Rough Wooing' and in 1559 Knox's Reformers completed the destruction on their way back to St Andrews after 'reforming' Lindores. Some of the pillars and part of the cloisters are still visible and in the orchard is a great Spanish chestnut tree, planted by the monks some 700 years ago. Unfortunately, the buildings are unsafe and inaccessible. All year. £1 (honesty box).

Balmerino Abbey

Fife - Fife Guide

Balmerino Abbey, a Cistercian monastery situated on the south bank of the River Tay in North Fife near Tayport was founded in 1229 by the widowed queen of William the Lyon, then destroyed during the Reformation. A Spanish Chestnut tree here is one of the oldest of its kind in the country.

 Balmerino Abbey, was the landing-place of the Lady Ermengarde - second wife and widow of William the Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Beaumont, and great-granddaughter of the Conqueror, mother of Alexander II, and ancestress of the succeeding sovereigns of Scotland - when, out of gratitude for the health and the peace she had found at 'Balmurynach '- there is a choice of 36 ways of spelling the name - she resolved to plant here a house of Cistercian monks, dedicated to the Virgin and to her relative 'the most holy King Edward,' the Confessor.

This resolve, made sometime at the beginning of the second quarter of the thirteenth century, was promptly carried into execution, and on St Lucy's Day, 1229, a company of monks from Melrose, under Alan, their first Abbot, were able to enter and take possession. The Abbey was a monument of sacrifice, as well as of gratitude, for the foundress had first to purchase with a thousand marks the lands representing nearly the whole of the present parish, to which the Abernethies of Carpow had succeeded as Lay Abbots of the Culdee seat of Abernethy. It was built of a red stone from Nydie, beyond the Eden. In its great days it must have been a beautiful habitation of peace, with a plan conforming to the Mother Church of Melrose, in having the cloister on the north side of the sanctuary and in other details.

Ermengarde and her son Alexander, another great benefactor, visited here repeatedly. They would ferry over from Dundee, or from Invergowrie, when coming from the royal palace at Forfar; for the Queen much visited the haunts, as well as the religious example, of her grandmother-in-law, the saintly Margaret.

In 1234 the body of the foundress was laid to rest here. But, like other landmarks of Balmerino, you will not be able to find the grave. Her stone coffin, containing her skeleton, was supposed to have been found, on the spot indicated by the records, by the tenant of the farm in the summer of 1831, while he was engaged in 'carting away hewn stones from the piers and south wall of the church' to build a house in St Andrews. It was covered by a grave slab, which was 'broken in pieces,' while the bones found within were 'dispersed as curiosities through the country.'

Mary Queen of Scots was certainly a visitor here in 1565, and more than likely lived in the Abbot's House as a guest of Sir John Hay, the first Lay Commendator of the Abbey.

Later the lands were erected into a barony, in favour of Sir James Elphinston of Barnton, the first Lord Balmerino, who after being sentenced to death, died quietly of a 'fever' at the Abbey. The more ill-fated Arthur, the sixth lord, who suffered for his part in the 1745 rebellion, is supposed to have hidden in the ruins, after an earlier adventure in 1715, and before he escaped to a vessel in the Firth of Tay which took him to France.

Of the Church itself there remains above ground only portions of the walls of the nave and north transept. Enough of the Chapter-House is left to show how endowed it was in ornament and proportions. What remains of Balmerino Abbey is kept now kept in good order and condition. Although Daniel Defoe, who visited it in 1727, saw 'nothing worthy of observation, the very ruins being almost eaten up by time,' it is well deserving this reverent care, if only for the ancient trees that are gathered around it. Among these are a magnificent old Spanish chestnut and a walnut of similar age. Another reason to visit Balmerino is the beautiful views of the Firth of Tay, the Carse of Gowrie, and the Sidlaw range of hills, with glimpses of the more remote Grampians, including Ben Voirlech on Loch Earn - a distance of about fifty miles in a straight line.

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