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Dairsie Bridge

Road Bridge (Medieval)

Site Name Dairsie Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) River Eden

Canmore ID 32943

Site Number NO41NW 6

NGR NO 41577 16102

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Kemback
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO41NW 6 4157 1609.

(NO 4157 1609) Dairsie Bridge (NAT)

OS 6" map (1920)

For (adjacent) cottages, see NO41NW 32.

Dairsie Bridge bears the arms and initials of James Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews and there can be little doubt that it was built by him during his episcopate from 1522-1538.

A H Millar 1895

A medieval bridge of three arches, each with four stout chamfered ribs on the soffit. The bridge is 97ft 10ins long and the roadway 11ft 4ins wide, there are projecting cut-waters on the piers. The parapets and the approach at either end have been renewed but otherwise the bridge remains unaltered.


There was certainly an earlier bridge at Dairsie 'as one summer day in 1496, as the king journeyed from St Andrew's to Stirling, he passed over it, and the Lord High Treasurer records the sum of 'Viijd' as given 'to ane pur wif at the brig of Dersie as the king raid by''.

Trans Edinburgh Architect Ass 1892

Dairsie Bridge is as described and illustrated by RCAHMS. It has been restored, and is still used for vehiclar traffic. There is one bay on the bridge near the SE end (see illustration). The River Eden runs under the two southern spans - the remaining span is on the bank. The armorial panel mentioned is the only inscribed stone seen on the bridge - it is on the east face and is considerably weathered.

Visited by OS (JLD) 24 October 1956

OS (JLD) confirmed.

Visited by OS (RDL) 25 May 1964.

This bridge carries an unclassified public road across the River Eden which here forms the boundary between the parishes of Dairsie and Kemback.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 13 February 1998.


Field Visit (2 June 1927)

Dairsie Bridge.

Within 200 yards of the church, the Eden is spanned by a fine mediaeval bridge of three arches, each with four stout, chamfered ribs on the soffit. The bridge has a length of 97 feet 10 inches, and the roadway is 11 feet 4 inches in width, the soffit measuring 14 feet 1 inch in width; on the piers are projecting cut-waters, one being carried upwards as a refuge. The parapets and the approach at either end have been renewed, but otherwise the bridge seems unaltered. On the north-eastern side is a panel with a trefoiled hood containing a shield, behind which appears an archiepiscopal staff with trefoiled arms set between what may be the initials I.B. From the river bank the arms cannot be deciphered, but they have been identified (1) as those of James Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, 1522-1538. His arms appear on his seal as: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, a fess between three mascles ; 2nd and 3rd, on a chevron an otter's head erased; on the cross-staff behind the shield the arms have bulbous ends.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 2 June 1927.

(1) Northern Notes and Queries, IV, p. 17.


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