Newburgh, Fife

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The Tay estuary from Newburgh harbour - - 46734.jpg
The Tay estuary from Newburgh Harbour
Grid reference: NO234183
Location: 56°21’6"N, 3°14’18"W
Population: 2,040
Post town: Cupar
Postcode: KY14
Local Government
Council: Fife
North East Fife

Newburgh is a small royal burgh of Fife, with a population of about 2,040 (estimated in 2004). Newburgh has grown little since 1901 when the population was counted at 1,904 souls.

The town stands on the coast of the Firth of Tay, 7 miles northwest of Ladybank Junction alongside the Edinburgh to Aberdeen railway line (between Perth and Ladybank). Newburgh railway station closed in 1955 (before Beeching), and has never reopened in spite of local campaigns for its reinstatement. Stagecoach used to have a depot at East Shore Road but the depot closed in 1991, and nowadays Newburgh is an outstation of Glenrothes depot (three double-deckers are parked overnight every night).

For some time, its industries chiefly consisted of the making of linen and floorcloth, malting and quarrying, and there were fisheries, especially of salmon. The harbour was used for the transshipment of the cargoes of Perth-bound vessels of over 200 tons. But most of these industries have now gone. A linoleum factory, owned by Courtaulds, which had been the town's principal employer, closed in May 1980 after a large fire destroyed much of the building. After many years of lying derelict, the factory has since been completely demolished and cleared and its site is now a recreational waterfront. Local services and a few shops provide limited employment, but most residents now commute to larger towns. However, one quarry, for many years owned by Bell Brothers, is still operational, and is now owned by Ennstone Thistle. T Robertson & Sons, of Whinpark Quarry, still run a road contractors' business, although the quarry itself is no longer in operation.

Sights about Newburgh and area

Town house

The plain Georgian town house, with central tower and spire, was built on the south side of the High Street in 1808. It forms a continuous block with the other houses. The Laing Museum and Library was added to the north side of the street in 1894-96.

Macduff's Cross

On high ground, about a mile southwest at Macduff's Cross, stand the remains (only the pedestal) of Macduff's Cross,[1] which (in legend) marks the spot where the Clan Macduff in return for its chief's services against Macbeth was granted rights of sanctuary and composition for murder done in hot blood.

Denmylne Castle

Denmylne Castle is a ruined castle possibly of the 15th century, standing about a mile southeast of Newburgh on the Cupar road. It was the home for more than 250 years of the Balfour of Denmylne family, of which the two brothers, James (1600–1657), the annalist and Lord Lyon King of Arms, and Andrew (1630–1694), founder of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, were the most distinguished members. The Castle was abandoned in 1772 when the estate was sold, now stands within a 19th-century steading whose construction will have necessitated the removal of the Castle's subsidiary buildings. It been unroofed for at least 200 years and is in an increasingly dangerous state of disrepair. A lintel dated 1620 has been re-used in one of the steading's building.

Lindores Abbey

Lindores Abbey is the remaining ruin of a mediaeval abbey near the Tay, on the east side of the town. Of the Tironensian (reformed Benedictine) abbey, founded about 1190 by David, Earl of Huntingdon, brother of William the Lion, there are only fragmentary remains, although the ground plan of the whole structure can still be traced. Best preserved are the south-west gateway through the precinct wall, various discontinuous fragments of the wall itself, and part of the east cloister range, including the still vaulted slype (passage from the cloister to the east end of the church), all built of local red sandstone. The monastic church itself had a single aisle on the north side, with aisled north and south transepts, a central tower (presumably) and a detached western tower or campanile, as at Cambuskenneth Abbey.

The monks were noted agriculturists and their orchards famous. Many of the houses in Newburgh's High Street have orchards with trees descended from the original plantings, although many plots have now been sold and developed for housing. Numerous architectural fragments from the Abbey are built into buildings in the town.

Lindores Abbey is also famous as the birthplace of Scotch Whisky owing to its links to Friar John Cor and the Exchequer Rolls of 1494.

Clatchard Craig Hillfort

The multi-walled Pictish hill-fort of Clatchard Craig once stood to the south of the town.[2][3]

Archeological excavations have shown that the fort was occupied between the sixth and eighth centuries AD, as a site of high status.[2][3] The fort was destroyed by quarrying during the late twentieth century.


Lochmill Loch

Nearby Lochmill Loch has been dammed to provide the town with a water supply and fishing.

At Blackearnside, a forest of alders, to the east of the village, William Wallace defeated Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke in 1298.

Mugdrum Island, opposite the large Mugdrum estate from which it takes its name, ("ridge of the pig[s]" in Gaelic), is offshore in the Firth dividing it into 'North Deep' and 'South Deep' channels. For many years cattle were ferried over to the island for summer grazing, but this is no longer practised.


  • Football: Newburgh FC
  • Sailing: Newburgh Sailing Club, an RYA recognised training centre

Outside links