Records of the burgh of Tayport, Fife

Scope and Content

Council minutes, 1887-1975; Assessment rolls, 1874-1934, 1939-1970, 1974-1975; Finance committee minutes, 1974-1975; Register of bonds, ca.1880-1975.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tayport was created a burgh of barony by King James VI (1567-1625) in favour of Robert Durie in 1599, when its name was Ferryport on Craig. A burgh of barony was presided over by a feudal superior who had authority from the Crown to administer justice and to hold barony courts dealing with crimes and matters of good neighbourhood until 1747 and thereafter solely matters of good neighbourhood. It was erected as a burgh of regality in 1725 for Robert Douglas, second son of Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, Bt. The Ferryport name drew attention to the burgh's prominence near the mouth of the Firth of Tay. The main employment was mussel gathering, and from the mid-19th century boat-building and textile industries were present. A ferry took passengers across the Tay, and became a train ferry from the mid-19th century under the operations of the Edinburgh Perth and Dundee Railway. The town's name became Tayport. The opening of the first Tay Rail Bridge in 1878 seemed to be the death knell for the ferry, but it was reprieved by the Tay Bridge disaster in 1879. The population was 2,630 in 1881.

In 1888 Tayport became a police burgh after the adoption of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 and 26 Vict., c.101). Under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 and 64 Vict., c.49) the police commissioners were replaced by Tayport Town Council in January 1901. By 1971 the population had risen to 2,897. Tayport Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65). Its powers were assumed by Fife Regional Council and North East Fife District Council. These in turn were replaced by Fife Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c.39).

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Acquisition Information

Held under charge and superintendence of the Keeper of Records for Scotland.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project, based on description created by Alan Borthwick, Scottish Archive Network project, 28 February 2003, modified on 5 August 2003.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in St Andrews University Library Department of Special Collections and in National Archives of Scotland search rooms.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Geographical Names