Westwood's Parochial Directory for the Counties of Fife and Kinross, 1862
pages 107 - 108
Parish of Forgan
This parish, which contains the villages of Newport and Woodhaven, is on the northern border of the County. It lies on the Firth of Tay, opposite Dundee, and is bounded by the parishes of Ferry-Port-on-Craig and Leuchars on the east, by Leuchars and Logie on the south, by Kilmany and Balmerino on the west, and by the Firth of Tay on the north. Its greatest length eastward is nearly six miles, and its greatest breadth upwards of two miles. A northern spur of the Ochils runs through the Parish, and presents a pleasing succession of heights and intervening hollows, which in several places such as St Fort and Tayfield, where there is a great portion of fine wood, present a very beautiful and picturesque appearance. The highest ground is at St Fort and Newtown, where the hills rise to the height of 300 feet above the sea. The northern boundary runs along the Tay for about three and a half miles, with a bold and rocky coast, rising from thirty to fifty feet above the beach; and of late years, along the brow of these rocks, a great number of handsome marine villas, constituting the villages of Woodhaven and Newport, have been erected, which, with their gardens and shrubberies, add greatly to the interest of the landscape. These villas are chiefly occupied by merchants and others connected by business with Dundee, who prefer residing with their families apart from the smoke and discomforts of such a large manufacturing town; and the passage betwixt that town and Newport, per steamer, affords every facility for going to and from their places of business. Indeed, Newport may be said to derive its chief importance from the circumstance that, though separated from Dundee by the Tay, it is to all intents and purposes one of the finest of its suburbs. The mansion houses are St Fort and Tayfield; the former is a large, handsome, modern structure in the Elizabethan style; and the latter, though partly an old building, has entirely a modern appearance, and stands amidst most beautiful grounds, a short distance from the Tay.
The soil is generally fertile, the greater part being black loam and clay, but other portions are light and gravelly. There is no manufacture of any importance carried on in the Parish, the working classes in the country being almost wholly engaged in rural labours. There is a number of tradesmen and a few shopkeepers in Newport, and others find employment in connection with the ferry and with the salmon fishings during the season; but, as we have already said, the great proportion of those residing in the villages have their places of business in Dundee; and in the Directory will be found a separate list of such parties. A number also let out either a part or the whole of their houses to visitors during the bathing season, of whom a separate list is also given.
Previous to the invention of steam navigation, the ferry passage between Fife and Dundee was carried on in small pinnaces, the port on the south side being Woodhaven. About forty years ago, however, the substantial low-water piers at Newport and Craighead were erected, since which period the passage has been conducted by steam-boats. The opening of the E. P. & D. Railway, however, about fourteen years ago, drew away the major part of the ferry business to Tayport, since which period the Newport ferries have lost much of their importance. The roads from Cupar to Newport, and from Ferry-Port-on-Craig to Newburgh, and other good cross-roads traverse the Parish.
The Parish Church is centrally situated on the public road, two miles to the south of Newport. The old Church, the ruins of which may be seen at Kirkton, was a very ancient building; and, though situated near the southeastern extremity of the Parish, and away from the bulk of the population, continued to be used as the Parish Church until 1837, when the present building was erected. There is also a Free Church and an Independent Church at Newport. The Parish School is at Friarton, a little to the north of the Church, and may be considered a suitable building, in connection with which there is a Female Industrial Department, There is also a Free Church School, with a Female Industrial Department, at Newport, and a Female Industrial School, under the patronage of Mrs Stewart, of St Fort, at Seggieden.
The Post Office for the entire Parish, the extreme eastern portion excepted, (which is Ferry-Port-on-Craig,) is at Newport, Thomas Webster, Post Master - Letters from all parts arrive (from Dundee) at 7.30 A.M. and 11.30 A.M., and are despatched at 9.20 A.M. and 4.20 P.M.
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