Guardbridge (Scots: Gaire Brig) is a village in the north-east of Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It is approximately 3 miles (5 km) north-west of St Andrews, and is situated on the estuary of the River Eden, at the junction of the A91 road between St Andrews and Stirling and the A919/A914 road between Leuchars and the Tay Road Bridge.
Guardbridge has a number of local amenities including a school, general store, garages, hotel, takeaway food shop, hairdresser, furniture maker, and bowling and fishing clubs. The village has also become a very popular dormitory settlement due to its close proximity to St Andrews and Dundee.
The village takes its name from a 15th-century six-arched bridge built by Bishop Henry Wardlaw who founded the University of St Andrews. 'Gaire', although Anglicised as 'guard', actually means a triangular piece of ground in Scots and probably describes the course of the Eden where it is crossed by the bridge. (Alternatively, "Gare", the French word for "station" or the older Latin version of "Statio" referred to the Statio located on the low escarpment on the rise to Seggie. The Statio was the last overnighting stop used by caravans of pilgrims on their way to the Holy City of St Andrews, which was one of the two most important sites of mediaeval pilgrimage in Europe.) - see following reference to this statio, but referred to using the word "Hostel" which isn't entiely accurate. Guardbridge was the site of the last hostel for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews. From there, the Augustinians regulated the number of pilgrims visiting the cathedral.
In 1852 the north-east Fife railway line was extended to St Andrews, and a viaduct was built over the Eden. However, after The St Andrews Railway was closed in 1969 by British Rail (not as part of the Beeching cuts as is commonly supposed) the viaduct was demolished, save for its supporting piers, which are still visible in the river.
In 1873 William Haig and two of his sons formed the Guardbridge Paper Company to find a more profitable use for their Seggie whisky distillery which had been established there since 1810. The mill went into production in 1874. As the mill developed the village grew around it, with new housing and roads to attract and accommodate workers. Before the First World War the labour force reached over 400, reaching a peak of 620 in the late 1950s.
The paper mill was previously the main local industry and was operated by Curtis Fine Papers. On July 24, 2008, the mill went into receivership and 180 workers were made redundant. Many locals were employed elsewhere in Fife, Dundee, Edinburgh or even further afield. The building which played host to the mill is now Eden Brewery.
- "Guardbridge". Scotland Census 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
- Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (New Edition, Vol III
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- "Jobs lost as paper maker closes". BBC News. July 24, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
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