PLACES OF INTEREST

Abdie Old Kirk

The Old Abdie Kirk is situated to the east of the present Church. This is where Alexander Laing is buried.

 In the Mort House beside the gate is the Lindores StoneThis Pictish symbol stone which originally stood on the crest of Kaim Hill but was then moved to a garden wall at Lindores and subsequently (in 1970) to its present site within the Old Mort House at Abdie Parish Church.

The stone (which measures 1.67m by 0.55m and 0.37m thick) is decorated with the triple disc symbol, crescent and V-rod symbols and also has a mirror symbol on one side. A sun dial and bench mark have been added to the principal face at a more recent date. The stone is also known as The Lindores Symbol Stone.

Lying beside the stone is the figure of a monk.

Ballinbreich Castle

The ruins of Ballinbreich Castle lie to the east of Newburgh beside the River Tay. This was home to the Earls of Rothes. Ballinbreich means “town of trout”. In its day, it was four storeys high and an extremely impressive fortress with a moat surrounding it.

Bethunes’ cottage

Alexander and John Bethune were local peasants and poets who lived in the early part of the 19 century. They worked in the weaving and quarrying industries and endured great poverty. “Tales and Sketches of Scottish Peasantry” was written by Alexander in 1838. Their works were much admired despite their having little education. The cottage that they built stands on the hill above Newburgh

Denmylne Castle

Denmylne Castle is a short way out of Newburgh towards Cupar. The castle stands at the side of the A913, in the garden of what was built as a 19th-century farmhouse, and the steading buildings of that farm are to the rear of the castle.It was home to the Balfours of Denmylne. Two brothers in the family were well known in their time: James (1600–1657), a historian, and Andrew (1630–1694), who founded Edinburgh Botanic Garden.

Denmylne Castle consists of a rectangular main block, with a square tower on one of the long sides that housed a circular stair and contains the entrance. There is a smaller offshoot on the other long side that housed a pair of closets on each floor above basement level. Unusually, the floors were divided by a cross wall into two chambers, with a fireplace in each, and with good provision of windows. At the wall head, the sides of the tower that were outside the principal courtyard have a machicolated wall walk running around them, but this was omitted on the sides that were within the courtyard.

The cross-shaped plan of the tower was most unusual in Scotland, and it is possible that the idea was taken from a French prototype. The tower would once have been part of a larger complex of buildings, some of which may have been on land now occupied by the steading.

Denmylne was a possession of a branch of the Balfour family since at least 1500, when the lands were granted to John Balfour by James IV. It is thought that the castle was built after the lands were re-granted in 1541 to John’s son, Patrick, with the stipulation that he should build a hall and policies. The Balfours of Denmylne had a number of distinguished members who were notable for their intellectual achievements. Sir James Balfour (1600-57) was a leading courtier of Charles I, and was Lyon King of Arms. Sir Andrew Balfour (1630-94) was a noted botanist. 

Lindores Abbey

Highlights of Lindores Abbey’s existence included the apple and pear orchards (the monks made Perry wine) cultivated by the monks who also fished in the River Tay, possibly from windows at the river side of the abbey. Famous visitors to the abbey included Alexander, Prince of Scotland, who died there in 1284. This eventually resulted in the war with England because of arguments over who should be next Scottish king. Sir William Wallace visited the abbey after his victory at the battle of Blackearnside (just east of Newburgh) in 1298. Alexander III visited the abbey in 1265 and Edward was there in 1291 and 1296. Possibly the earliest reference to Scotch whisky is also recorded in the abbey’s exchequer rolls.

Following a fiery reformation sermon by John Knox in Perth, the abbey was sacked, with distinctive red sandstone from abbey buildings used in other parts of Newburgh in later years. Some of the abbey’s ruined building relics still stand, including an impressive arched gateway. 

A bear and flagstaff stone believed to be from the abbey, is now found in the wall above the entrance to the Bear Inn in Newburgh High Street. The bear and ragged staff symbolise the Earls of Warwick. The connection with Newburgh is that the title was offered to King of Scotland, William the Lion, who gave it to his brother, David, who founded Lindores Abbey. A bear and staff is carved in the hillside to the east of Newburgh above Parkhill and its outline is lit up by beacons on festive occasions from time to time.

In 2017 the new Lindores Abbey Distillery opposite the site of the Abbey opened to once again produce Whisky at Newburgh..

Mugdrum Island

Mugdrum Island lies in the River Tay beside Newburgh. There was a farm on it up to the twentieth century when the buildings were knocked down. Reeds from Mugdrum Island and the Tay were once used for thatching, and one building in Newburgh High Street still uses this roofing material.

Mugdrum Island Farm
Sheep going over to Mugdrum Island to graze for the summer.

Captain Thomas Anderson lintel stone

A High Street building has a lintel stone above the doorway commemorating the marriage of Thomas Anderson to Janet Williamson in 1759. Thomas was a ship’s captain. The carved ship and anchors on the stone mark Newburgh’s naval past when it was said that Newburgh contributed many good sailors to the British navy. Newburgh was once a busy port, not least as a calling point for pleasure steamers taking people from Dundee jute mills to Newburgh for their holidays in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.