The Newport, Wormit & Forgan Archive

Newport and the Dundee Guildry

from Burgh Laws of Dundee, with the History, Statutes, & Proceedings of the Guild of Merchants and Fraternities of Craftsmen by A J Warden, 1872, pages 171-176


(The ground and pier was at first called New-Dundee. It was afterwards changed to New Port-Dundee, and finally to Newport.)

Purchase of Property, etc. - 13th April 1713. - The Dean represented to the Court - that the Council had under consideration the decay of the passage by want of accommodation to strangers on the south side of the water, there being but one house there, and that they thought fit to recommend to the Guildry whether it will be for the advantage of the town in general, and to the Guildry in particular, to bestow a part of your stock upon buying as much land at or about the Sea Mills as could provide a tenant in a good house and office houses [could be outbuildings or privies], and furnish him in other necessaries for horses suitable to the passage. The Dean and Court, all in one voice, agreed to the buying of as much land on the other side of the water as will answer the proposal, and appointed a Committee to go to the other side of the water and commune with the heritors of the ground at the Sea Mills, and view the same, and make a full report of all at next Court day. On 16th April the Dean reported that the Committee went to Fife, and communed with St Foord and Enverdivot [St Fort and Inverdovat], and viewed the place for a harbour, which they found very good, and thereafter the articles proposed between the Guildry and gentlemen were read. The meeting appointed the Provost, Dean, etc. - to meet with the gentlemen, and to end with them in the articles read, or what more they think fit to give. On 4th May the Committee bought from the laird of Enverdivote [Inverdovat] 3.5 acres of land, at £924 Scots, and from the laird of St Foord 2.5 acres, at £693 Scots, both payable at Martinmas following, or as soon thereafter as disposition of the land was got, free of all encumbrances, and a further payment to St Foord of twelve guineas of gold, which was paid him for the timber of the biggings [cottages] of Caldwell. The Court approved. The Committee were instructed to arrange for paying the price, and for getting a house and piers erected immediately; and also for making a highway from New Port-Dundee to Kirkcaldy. On 20th June the Committee agreed - to erect a bulwark or landing place for boats and yoals [yawls].

Voluntary Contributions. - 8th August, 1713. - The Committee, to assist in defraying the expense of the erections at New Dundee (as Newport is then generally called in the minutes), agreed that a voluntary contribution should be made through the town. Some of the members also went to Cupar in Fife, and applied to the Justices of Peace for assistance of the adjacent parishes to rectify the high road from New Port-Dundee, to Kirkcaldy, which they frankly granted, and appointed two men for each plough in the six adjacent parishes to serve at the said work, and for that end produced an act of the Justices dated 5th August. It was resolved that the Provost and the Dean should write to all the burghs to the north of Dundee for contributions to aid in making the new harbour. Applications for assistance were also made to the noblemen and gentlemen in the district around, and as far north as Inverness. On 21st September it was reported that the turnpike is made good. On 27th September the Guildry were summoned by the minister of St Fillans (Forgan) for augmentation of stipend on the new purchase, and intimation of this was made to the Guildry's authors. The house and new port or pier on the south side were let for a term of years at six per cent (? on the outlay).

Collections for New Port-Dundee. - 7th April, 1714. - The Committee reported the following collections, viz: - In the Murraygate, £32 0s 8d ; Overgate and Seagate, £12 15s 4d ; Nethergate, £49 16s ; made by Colonel Clephan, £67 19s—in all, £162 11s Scots.

Cost of New Port-Dundee, and Harbour. - 19th March, 1715. - It was reported by the Committee who had examined the accounts for New Port-Dundee that - the charge is £4640 13s 2d. The payments made is £3840 14s 4d, and there is still to pay to tradesmen, etc., £799 18s 10d, besides £240 borrowed from and due to Wallace Craigie, per bill, and £120 borrowed from and due to Baillie Wedderburne, making up £1159 18s of present demand on the Guildry. The Dean was instructed to pay the sum due to the tradesmen; also - £30 Scots to an Inspector for half a year's attendance at the building of the new port. A sum of three guineas was paid the architect - for his attendance on the road, for his draughts of the house. The further consideration of his pains being referred to the Guild Court.

In 1711 - 1712 sundry small payments were made, amounting in all to £116 15s 8d, but these payments should have been entered next year, as the accounts for that year ought to have been closed before the payments were made. No farther payments are entered in the regular accounts for several years, but in the docquet to the accounts for 1714-15, dated 30th September, 1718, the auditor says he found that several bonds, etc., were wanting, and on inquiry it was discovered that the money in them had been received during the previous three years, and expended upon Newport. The amount thus expended, including £924 paid to Inverdovat for the 3.5 acres of land, is about £4300 Scots; but the accounts are by no means clearly stated, and the docquet mentions that they were then neither audited nor instructed. They were not, therefore, passed, and the three Deans by whom the money had been expended - had still to satisfy the Guildry anent the same. The entries in the account book in connection with this matter are not among the regular states of charge and discharge, but are entered by themselves in the end of the book. In 1716-17 there is a sum of £1221 19s 4d entered in the regular accounts for the year, as expended on buildings, pier, etc., at Newport. The full details of these payments are given, and this account is regularly docqueted and discharged. (It is unfortunate that the several Deans, by whom the harbour was formed, had not kept their accounts regularly, as the correct outlay on the works cannot be ascertained. One of the Deans is specially blameable, and his accounts were never discharged.)

Let of Newport. - 17th May, 1716. - The tack of Newport for three years was this day exposed, by public roup, within the Tolbooth at a yearly rent of 400 merks Scots. The reserve price was not bid, and the Guildry bought it. It was subsequently sublet to a tacksman at £20 sterling of yearly rent.

Offer to purchase New-Dundee. - 5th August, 1717. - The Dean intimated that a certain party, not named, wanted to purchase the Guildry's interest in the south side of the water, if the Guildry were disposed to sell. The Court agreed to sell, if fair conditions were got. On 6th February, 1718, the Dean reported that Mr Gentleman, vintner, had offered 8000 merks for the Guildry's interest in New-Dundee. The Court, after voting, resolved not to sell the Guildry's interest in it. The pier had already broken down once or twice, and been repaired. It now wanted repairs again, and this was ordered to be done.

Roup of Newport. - 25th August, 1725. - The land, houses, and pier were let, by public roup, for a term of years at £20 l0s of yearly rent. The previous tenant complained that though he kept six very good horses for hiring, yet little or nothing was got for them.

Shore Dues at Newport. - 26th February, 1726. - The Court authorized the Dean to choose a person to collect the shore dues on victual shipped at Newport.

Dues to be charged. - 8th March, 1729. - The Court, considering that several vessels load and discharge their cargos in the Harbour of Newport without paying tonnage or shore dues, and that the building and maintaining that harbour was a considerable charge to the Guildry, they statute and enact that in all time coming the same tonnage and shore dues be charged at Newport as at Dundee - except by such as are exumed [sic] therefrom by the agreement made at the purchase of Newport, and they empower their tenant there to collect the dues, and to account for same to the Guildry.

Let of Newport, etc. - 1732. - Newport was let, by public roup, for a period of years, and brought £20 sterling, the Guildry being bound to enclose the whole ground within two years with stone walls, the tacksman paying interest on the outlay.

About this time charters were got from the proprietors of St Fort and Inverdovat for the land of Newport which had been purchased from them, and for some additional ground which had been bought from other parties subsequent to the original purchases.

Division of a Muir. - 24th October, 1747. - The Court and Dalglish of Scots Craig and Hamilton of Inverdovat, mutually appointed arbiters for dividing a Muir near Newport, in which the Guildry had an interest.

A Basin. - 25th April, 1748. - The tacksman - applied to get the pier repaired, as it was failing in several places; and to get a basin made within the harbour, such as was at Woodhaven.

Sale of Newport. - 23rd August, 1749. - The Court, considering that as the rent had been ill paid, and that they look upon Newport to be a burden upon the Guildry stock, appointed the said lands of Newport to be publicly rouped in the Guild hall of this burgh, upon the first Tuesday of October next, and the same be advertised accordingly, and that the articles of roup and progress of works are to be seen in the Town Clerk's hands. At the sale no offer was made.

Price unpaid. - 15th September, 1761. - The Court appointed the Dean to converse with Mr Maxwell of Bogmiln, to see if he would implement his bargain as to Newport, by paying the price, as yet unpaid, at Martinmas next, and to report. The Court ordered the articles of roup of the lands of Newport to be put into the Clerk's hands, which was there done with the whole enactments upon the same. (The property had been sold by public roup some time previously, but no record of the transaction is in the minutes.)

Sale of Newport. - 8th October, 1782. - The Dean represented to the assessors that the lands of Newport, belonging to the Guildry, were at their request sold by public roup on 13th March, 1782, by the trustees for the creditors of David Maxwell of Bogmiln, who had acquired an interest therein by former articles of roup, but had never completed the bargain, a considerable part of the price remaining unpaid. That John M‘Nab, writer in Edinburgh, had been preferred to the purchase, at the price of £340 sterling, which was payable at Martinmas next. That the said price was to be applied towards payment of the debt due by Mr Maxwell to the Guildry, reserving to the Guildry action against Mr Maxwell for what part of the debt due by him to the Guildry should remain unsatisfied by the said price of Newport. That the said lands of Newport consist of two acres and a half of the Estate of St Fort, now belonging to Alex. Duncan, Esq., and of 3.5 acres of land of the Estate of Inverdovat, now belonging to Mr John Lyon, and that the purchase was made by the said John M'Nab for behoof of these gentlemen, that each of them might have restored to his Estate that part of Newport which formerly belonged to it, and it was now necessary that authority should be granted for executing dispositions by the Guildry in favour of the said A. D. and J. L. to their different shares of Newport. The meeting ratified and confirmed the whole steps taken in the sale of Newport, and authorised the Dean, for himself and in name of the Guildry, to subscribe and deliver same with the usual clauses of warranty, etc. The meeting agreed to lend the £340 to the town, which, with a sum of £100 already due, and £60 they were to make up, would make £500, for which they took the town's bond.

In the accounts for 1781-2 there is entered as due by D. Maxwell £189 of principal for the lands of Newport, and £192 of interest on same - £371. In the charge for the following year this entry appears - D. Maxwell for the lands of Newport, now sold to John Lyon for £340 sterling, which with interest included till paid is £358 11s 10d. This left a balance due to the Guildry on the re-sale of the property.

On 14th February, 1787, the agent for Mr Maxwell's creditors reported that there was still a balance of £21 14s 9d sterling upon the original debt due by him to the Guildry, and asking them to accept of a composition of 10s. per £ as in full thereof, which the Court agreed to do. The amount received for dividend and interest was £15 15s.

Original at Internet Archive, Texts


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