St Andrews, West Port
St Andrews, West Port
One of the last city gates still extant in Scotland, West Port was built in 1587 and rebuilt in 1843. There are two 'ports', or city gates still standing in St Andrews, the other being Sea Yett, where The Pends reaches the harbour.

The towers of the West Port are said to have been modelled after those of Netherbow Port in Edinburgh (which, in turn, was based on the Porte Saint-Honore in Paris). The gateway consists of a decorated central arch with the addition of side arches added during the 1843 rebuilding work.

The gate was not intended for defence but as an impressive entrance into the city; a mark of civic pride, meant to impress visitors.

Unlike many historic monuments we know exactly who built the Westport Gate; it was the work of Thomas Robertson, who incorporated parts of an earlier gateway on the same site. Robertson created a central, rounded arch flanked by semi-octagonal towers. Between the towers ruins a corbelled parapet sporting a series of waterspouts in the style of cannons.

The gateway was allowed to fall into decay and was comprehensively restored in 1843 by John Grant, who removed a large buttress and substituted several small ones. He also added a plaque with the city coat of arms, two side arches flanking the central arch, and a panel depicting David I on horseback.

West Port is in the care of Historic Scotland, and only the exterior of the gate can be viewed.