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Parish of Ferry Port on Craig

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Ferry Port-on-Craig
1834-45: Ferry Port-on-Craig

Ferry-Port-on-Craig, a town and a parish in the extreme NE of Fife. Standing on the southern side of the entrance of the Firth of Tay, the town by water is 7 furlongs S of Broughty Ferry and 3½ miles E by S of Dundee, whilst by rail it is 11¾ miles NNE of Cupar and 45½ NNE of Edinburgh. It sprang into being and took its name from an ancient ferry, whose port was dominated by a rock or craig; and it acquired a great and sudden increase of prosperity, from the purchase in Sept. 1842 of the right of ferry by the Edinburgh and Northern (now the North British) Company, by whom the ferry has since been worked in connection with the railway. Thenceforth it came to be occasionally known as Tayport, a name that has now almost superseded its older designation; and it has, ever since the opening of the railway, been a place of important thoroughfare. Tayport, besides, is a favourite bathing resort, with many new villas and cottages commanding delightful views of the opposite coast; and employment is furnished to its townspeople by a flax and jute spinning mill, 2 linen factories, 2 sawmills, a timber-yard, engine works, a bobbin factory, and a shipbuilding yard, as also by the valuable salmon fisheries and mussel dredging of the Tay. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the North of Scotland Bank, 7 insurance agencies, gasworks, 3 inns, a new public school, a Young Men's Christian Association, a masonic hall, and a temperance hall, which last, erected in 1877, measures 60 by 3 4 feet, and has accommodation for 500. The parish church (1794; repaired 1882) is a neat edifice, containing 850 sittings; and other places of worship are Free and U.P. churches. The railway works include a large artificial basin; an outer mole or breastwork, constructed with great skill and at vast expense, to shelter this basin from E and N winds; an inner breastwork or landing-slip, 600 feet long and 30 high, divided into two inclined planes with rails along them, for ready conveyance of the carriages to the steamer's deck at all states of the tide; and a quay-wall, 200 feet long, at the eastern end of the basin, to facilitate embarkation and debarkation in even the most unfavourable circumstances of tide and weather. The harbour thus comprises a sheltered floating basin, fully 600 feet long and 200 in average breadth, with a depth of 28 feet of water at full spring tides, and of not less than 8 feet at the lowest tides. Steamers ply regularly in direct line to Dundee; so that both the townspeople and railway passengers have the option of going either direct to Dundee or circuitously by way of Broughty Ferry. Pop. of town (1831) 1538, (1861) 1773, (1871) 2498, (1881) 2630.

The parish, constituted in 1606, and supposed to have previously formed part of Leuchars, is bounded N by the Firth of Tay, E by the German Ocean, SE by Leuchars, and SW and W by Forgan. Its utmost length, from WNW to ESE, is 43/8. miles; its utmost breadth is 15/8 mile; and its area is 4952¼ acres, of which 2177½ are foreshore. The coast to the E of the town is flat and for the most part sandy, including nearly all this large expanse of foreshore, but westward of the town it is rocky and irregular, and inland the surface rises rapidly to 129 feet at Spearshill, and to 300 at Waterloo Towers and Scotscraig Law. The rocks are chiefly eruptive, and include considerable quantities of beautiful spar. In part of the parish the soil, though light and variable, is kindly and fertile; and upon Scotscraig Mains there are a few fields of very superior land, the rental of the entire farm, which extends over 502 acres, having risen from £977 in 1864 to £1210 in 1876. Two lighthouses, to E and W of the village, serve, with those on the Forfar shore of the firth, to guide the navigation of the Tay. An old building, now represented by scanty vestiges, and usually called the Castle, seems to have been erected subsequent to the invention of gunpowder, and was probably designed to act, in concert with Broughty Castle, for defence of the entrance of the firth. Scotscraig is the chief mansion, and Maitland Dougall is a principal proprietor, 3 others holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 1 of between #100 and £500, 6 of from £50 to £100, and 28 of from £20 to £50. This parish is in the presbytery of St Andrews and synod of Fife; the living is worth £279. The public school, with accommodation for 576 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 348, and a grant of £286, 9s. 6d. Valuation (1866) £5972, 12s. 9d., (1882) £10,168, 14s. 8d. Pop. (1801) 920, (1841) 1714, (1861) 2013, (1871) 2674, (1881) 2818.—Ord. Sur., sh. 49, 1865.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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