Wishart Arch, gateway 50m E of 15 Cowgate, Dundee
The monument is a stone gateway that once formed part of the medieval walls around Dundee. Its initial construction probably dates to the early 16th century, but historical sources suggest that it was repaired in 1592, 1650-51 and 1824, and then restored during the 1870s with the addition of a crenellated parapet. The structure measures about 10.9m N-S by 1.5m (maximum) transversely and stands about 5m high. It incorporates a central round-headed arch flanked by a gun loop to the N and a pedestrian gate to the S. The southern end of the structure preserves the corner of a late 18th-century building. The monument stands 10m OD on relatively level ground at the E edge of the medieval burgh of Dundee, just N of the Cowgate and E of the modern A991 road. The monument was originally scheduled in 1937, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amended entry rectifies this.
The scheduled area is an irregular shape on plan, to include the remains described above and the ground below them in which evidence for the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. It comprises the fabric, footprint and foundations of the arch itself, but no surrounding ground. The scheduling specifically excludes the stone setts beneath the main arch and the paving slabs beneath the S gateway to allow for their maintenance.
This monument can significantly enhance understanding and appreciation of Scotland's medieval burghs and their defences. It is a very rare upstanding example of a Scottish burgh gateway and remains an impressive masonry structure retaining interesting features such as a gun loop. It makes an important contribution to today's townscape. Good historical records enhance our knowledge of the gate's development sequence and indicate potential associations with the protestant reformer George Wishart. Our understanding of the character of medieval Scottish burgh gateways and the manner in which they might be adapted and renovated in later centuries would be diminished if this monument were lost or damaged.
RCAHMS records the monument as NO43SW 7.
Beatts, J M, 1878 History of Dundee, pp. 211, 214.
Maxwell, A, 1884 History of old Dundee, p. 220.
Perry, D R and Bowler, D P, 1989 'Wishart Arch, Cowgate', Discovery Excav Scot, p. 62