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St Andrews, West Port

Gateway (16th Century)

Site Name St Andrews, West Port

Classification Gateway (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) South Street; Southgate Port

Canmore ID 34289

Site Number NO51NW 11

NGR NO 50596 16550

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish St Andrews And St Leonards
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO51NW 11 5059 1655.

(NO 50591655) West Port (NR)

OS 25" map (1914)

One of the few surviving examples of a city gate in Scotland stands at the west end of South Street. The contract for its building dated 18th May 1589 and a supplementary contract of three months later are printed verbatim in the Transactions of the Edinburgh Architectural Ass Volume 9.

The Port, however, was 'completely renovated' in 1843, when some structural alterations were also made. It now consists of a central archway. 11 1/2 feet wide, set between two semi-octagonal gun-looped turrets and smaller archways of modern construction. The 'battling' is confined to the central portion . A modern carved panel replaces the coats of arms specified in the original contract which in time had become almost obliterated.


There is no evidence to show that St Andrews was ever a walled city, but in the 16th century the outer extremities of all the streets and wynds were closed by ports or gates (D H Fleming 1914). Original contracts for building West Port detailed in Fleming 1928.

West Port, Date of erection unknown, but it is mentioned in chronicles about 1560. Twice rebuilt, second time in 1843.

Official Guide to St Andrews 1934; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1892

The West Port remains in a good state of preservation and is as described and illustrated by RCAHMS.

Visited by OS (JLD) 16 October 1956

Above confirmed.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 28 May 1964


Watching Brief (March 2002)

NO 506 165 A watching brief was conducted between March and May 2002 on streetscape improvement works around the base of the West Port, St Andrews. Most of the area had been heavily disturbed by modern services. However, the foundation course of a wall was uncovered on the N side of South Street, immediately to the E of the West Port. This was aligned W-E, and was flush with the base of the main central arch. It consisted of several large blocks of sandstone, some bonded with a grey-white mortar cement. The wall had a maximum width of 0.88m and extended out 1.9m E from the foot of the arch. It is not clear whether this feature represented an original extension of the gateway into the town or a later embellishment. Some in situ setts were observed abutting this wall; others had been removed for the insertion of modern services.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: Scottish Enterprise Fife.

M Roy 2002


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