infra portum qui nunc dicitur portus regine 1140 x 1152 W1 §2 [early 14th c. copy of a 12th c. text; see PNF 3, 569; see also discusion, below]
? passagium et navem de Invirkethin 1150 x 1152 David I Chrs. no. 172 col. 3 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 2; ‘the ferry and ship of Inverkeithing’; see discussion]
dimidium Passagii Sancte Margarete Regine 1184 Dunf. Reg. no. 239 [‘half of the ferry of St Margaret, queen’, confirmed to Dunfermline Abbey. A. O. Anderson identifies this as North Queensferry ES ii, 77 note; however it is more likely to relate to half the revenue and maintenance of the ferry itself, the other half belonging to Waldeve]
passagium Regine 1211 Dunf. Reg. no. 250 [papal confirmation]
de Passagio Regine 1321 RRS v no. 188
capellam e aquilonali parte Passagii Regine 1323 Dunf. Reg. no. 367 [‘the chapel on the north side of the queen’s ferry’; this is the chapel of St James in North Queensferry; see IKG Introduction for more details and other references 1320 x 1322]
Passagi<um> Regine 1327 RMS i app. 1, no. 24 [granted to Dunfermline Abbey]
Port<us> Regine 1407 RMS i no. 912 [‘the queen’s port or harbour’; charter witnessed there, though not clear whether at North or South Queensferry]
the Qwenys-ferry c.1420 Chron. Wyntoun vol. 4, 171 [see discussion below]
capella Beatissimi Jacobi apostoli in le Northfery situata 1479 Dunf. Reg. no. 462 [‘the chapel of the blessed James the Apostle situated in the North Ferry’]
le Quenis Ferry 1501 RMS ii no. 2574 [see ABO Introduction]
North ferry 1561 Dunf. Reg., 435 [teind wheat (teynd quhyt) within the parish of Dunfermline]
in north Quenes ferrie 1599 Dun. Reg., 495 [Latin; a tenement of land in]
Queens ferry 1642 Gordon MS Fife [the mark below may be nth, for north; South Queensferry is shown as Queensferry with a deleted mark above, possibly for south]
Queens Ferrey 1654 Blaeu (Pont) West Fife [South Queensferry marked as S. Queens ferrey]
Queens-Ferry 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [South Queensferry marked as Quuens (sic) ferry]
North Ferry 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5 [South Queensferry marked as Queensferry]
Northferry 1775 Ainslie/Fife
North Queensferry 1828 SGF
North Queensferry 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Sc queen + Sc ferry
A regular ferry was established here by Queen Margaret (died 1093) for the pilgrims going to and from St Andrews in the late eleventh century, and it is from her that the place gets its name. Turgot, biographer of Queen Margaret, writing in the early twelfth century, tells the foundation story of Queensferry as follows: ‘And since the church of St Andrews is frequented by the religious devotion of visitors from the peoples round about, she [Margaret] had built dwellings on either shore of the sea that separates Lothian and Scotland (Laudoniam et Scociam); so that pilgrims and poor might turn aside there to rest, after the labour of the journey; and might find there ready everything that necessity might require for the restoration of the body. She appointed attendants for this purpose alone, to have always ready all that was needed for guests, and to wait upon them with great care. She provided for them also ships, to carry them across, both going and returning, without ever demanding any price for the passage from those who were to be taken over’ (ES ii, 77). The royal interest in the ferries seems to have been taken over by Dunfermline Abbey by the reign of Malcolm IV (1153–65). There were other interests in running the ferries here, chief of which was that held by the lairds of Inverkeithing and Dalmeny WLO. We first hear of this in the mid-twelfth century (RRS i no. 126), but it may well have gone back to before Margaret’s time.
An even older tradition about the place is preserved in the so-called Longer St Andrews Foundation Legend (B), compiled in St Andrews in or around the 1140s using much earlier material. It relates how the head of the defeated English king Athelstan is brought by the victorious Pictish king Hungus to his own land and is placed on a stake ‘in loco qui dicitur Ardchinnechena<m> infra portum qui nunc dicitur portus regine’. The added detail ‘within the harbour which is now called the queen’s harbour’ must date from the time of compilation around the mid-twelfth century. Ardchinnechena<m>would seem to refer to the rocky height above North Queensferry. Fordun, Wyntoun and Bower all draw on this account. Fordun (IV, ch. 14) states that the head was fixed on a stake at the top of a rock in the middle of the Scottish sea (i.e. the Firth of Forth) (in medio maris Scottice). Wyntoun (vol. 4, 171) has:
Than bere it [hys hede] to the Qwenys-ferry
In to that crage he gert but let [‘without delay’]
The hewyd apon a staik be sete.
This also suggests the height at North Queensferry, at the Fife (north) end of the Forth Rail Bridge. Bower (Scotichronicon IV, 14), taking his lead from Fordun, adds ‘apud quandam insulam juxta Portum Regine que Inchgerri vocatur’ i.e. Inchgarvie, the small rocky island immediately below the Forth Rail Bridge, on the Lothian side (Dalmeny parish, formerly DFL).
The name is discussed from the South Queensferry perspective by MacDonald (1941, 11). His earliest form with ‘Portus’ is from 1364 (CPL). The Gaelic name for Queensferry is recorded in the seventeenth century as Caschilis, which MacDonald plausibly interprets as cas chaolas ‘steep strait’ (ibid. 12).
Other early references to this crossing describe it as the passage and ship of Inverkeithing (assuming that this is the same crossing and not a different one from that established by Margaret, sailing directly into Inverkeithing Bay; that it is the same crossing is argued by the authors of SBS North Queensferry, 14–15). It is so named in the grant made of it to the church of Dunfermline by David I 1150 × 1152 ‘as far as I had it in my lordship’, on condition that pilgrims and messengers on the king’s business, as well as men of his court as well as of the court of his son (Henry, who died in June 1152), should cross without having to pay (David I Chrs. no. 172).
/nɔrθˈkwinzfɛrɪ/ or /nɔrθˈkwinzfərɪ/
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1