The Cellardyke Echo – 18/11/2021 – Issue 314


Turnip Stealing.— Before Provost Martin Cellardyke Police Court on Saturday three young boys pled guilty to stealing turnips from a held near the Infant School belonging to Mr Hutton, farmer, Kilrenny Mill. Accused were let off on the recognisances of their parents to come up for sentence within the next six months if they did not behave themselves during that period, and were ordered to pay Is 6d of costs each

The publishers of the `Free Press,’ Aberdeen have issued the above useful almanac for 1896. As usual it contains a great deal of needful information to fishermen and seamen, and every care has been taken to secure accuracy. Tide tables are given for Aberdeen, Yarmouth, Shields, Hartlepool, and a number of other ports, while the information as to the dues, depth of water, and lights at all the various harbours must prove of great advantage to all who require to know these different points. A list of Scotch vessels, when built, the tonnage and the names of the owners and masters is given, as well as the list of the fishing boats in Scotland, with the names of the owner or master, and the length of keel is printed at the end of the book. Thus under Anstruther and Cellardyke the names of 130 boats, eight steam liners, and the S.S. Faith are given. The St Adrian and East Neuk are not included. In Pittenweem there are 42 boats, and in St Monans 69. The almanac should meet with a ready sale from those interested.


A meeting of fishermen and others was held in Cellardyke on Saturday, to ask the Harbour Commissioners to arrange for the opening of the Anstruther harbour during the winter herring fishing. A deputation was appointed to wait on the Harbour Commissioners, which they did on Monday, and received the promise that everything possible would be done to meet the necessities of the case. Arrangements have since been made whereby the improvements at the harbour will be discontinued before the commencement of the winter herring fishing. The same gentlemen were instructed to inquire into the new scale of dues and charges to be made by the Provisional Order, and to report.

Several cues of scarlet fever are reported this week in Anstruther and Cellardyke, but the fever fortunately is of a mild type, and none of the casts are serious.

Kilrenny Parish Council

THE LIABILITY OF SONS TO PAY FOR THEIR PARENT’S. The Inspector reported that he had called upon the son of one old woman to refund the money the Council had paid out for attendance to his mother, but he had refused on the ground that he was unable to do so. Since the claim had been made she had stopped the woman, who had attended her. Rev. Mr Ray considered that the Council should have made it plain to this woman that her son was liable for any expense incurred in attendance upon her and her husband. He did not know the son, but he did not like to approve of this application to the son, because they had gratuitously given this attendance to his mother. The Chairman It is a principle we have acted upon all along both in this Council and in the old Parochial Board, that when relief was given to any person, and any of the family able to pay, that, we fall back upon them for the expense. Rev. Mr Ray—l understand that that has been done, but in this case, I was informed that the son had made very little at the drave, and quite unable to pay. The Chairman-Supposing he had done well at the drave, is it not fair that he should, try and help his parents. Rev. Mr Ray—Decidedly, I think we should try and make it plainer to Cellardyke young men that it is their duty to look after their parents, and that in future when we give attendance to old people we will apply to them for payment. Mr Martin Gardner – I don’t see why any old body should not be looked after even if the son is not responsible for the repayment of the money, for there are some in Cellardyke who don’t care where their parents sink or swim. Mr Marr- It is only by taking action like this that we can bring them to their senses. It was then agreed to press for the money from the son. Mr Marr reported that he had seen the fisherman whose wife was in the asylum, and pointed out the necessity for him contributing more than 3s weekly towards her maintenance. He promised to pay 4s and 5s if he was able. The Inspector said the fisherman had also called on him, and agreed to pay 4s per week during the present time when the liners were at their worst, but during the rest of the year he would try and make up the sum to 5s per week. The offer was accepted.

THE NESS FISHING COMPANY. The first general meeting of shareholders in this company was held in the Council Chamber on Tuesday evening. There was a good attendance of local shareholders, including Bailie Darsiet, Messrs Andrew Wilson, Alex Marr, William Bayne, W S. Bonthron, Thomas Cunningham, A. C. Mackintosh, H. Watson, and others. Mr John Marr was on the motion of Bailie Darsie, called to the chair. Mr Mackintosh produced Memorandum of Association and the Certificate of Incorporation and the agreement with Hall Russell & Coy., Aberdeen, to build a combined liner and trawler for the Company, the details of which have already been described in our columns, at a cost of £3.305. The boat is to he named the Fife Ness It was agreed that the number of directors be nine, and the following gentlemen are unanimously elected :—Stephen Williamson, George Darsie, John Irvine. Aberdeen, Alex Marr, Cellardyke, A. C. Mackintosh W. S. Bonthron, John Marr, Wm. McLaren, Innergellie. Wm Payne. Mr Cunningham, Harbour Head, was appointed manager of the Company, Mr H. Watson, the auditor. At a meeting of Directors held afterwards, Mr John Marr appointed Chairman of the Company, and the payments of calls were arranged, which payable at the National Bank of Scotland, Anstruther, Cellardyke, and Pittenweem.

THE BAY FISHING COMPANY LIMITED. —The first general meeting of the shareholders of this company was held in the Council Chamber on Tuesday evening. Mr Alexander Marr, Cellardyke, presided over a large attendance of local subscribers, including Ballie Darsie. Messrs John Marr, Andrew Wilson, Philip Anderson, John Bett, Robert Heugh. W. S. Bonthron, Henry Watson, Thomas Cunningham, A. C. Mackintosh. Henry Bett, William Lothian, Alexander Lothian, Donald Fraser, Robert Murray, David Wilson, &c. Mr Mackintosh laid on the table for inspection by the shareholders a copy of the memorandum of association and the certificate by incorporation of the company. The agreement with the Dundee Shipbuilders Company was produced to build a steel boat, the dimensions of which we have already described, at a cost of £2980. It is expected the boat will be ready for sea by the beginning of March. Mr Bonthron reported on behalf of the Committee that they had seen Mr Jarvis, and had all but closed a contract with him for a wooden boat at the cost of £2550 to be ready for sea by the first of September. The Dundee built boat is to be named the Largo Bay, and the boat to be built by Mr Jarvis the Mill Bay. The following gentlemen were appointed Directors of the Company: Messrs Stephen Williamson, George Darsie, Wm. McLaren, Innergellie; John Bett, John Blair, W. S. Bonthron, A. C. Mackintosh, Alex. Mum and Philip Anderson. Mr Thomas Cunningham was elected Manager of the Company, and Sir H. Watson, the Auditor. At a meeting of directors afterwards held Bailie George Darsie was unanimously appointed Chairman of the Company, and the dates of payment of calls were arranged, which are payable at the National Bank of Scotland Limited, Anstruther, Cellardyke, or Pittenweem.

(the wooden  boat in the end was  not called Mill Bay but Rothesay Bay, launched September 1897)


The Anstruther and Cellardyke Gas Company are to take in estimates for the erection of a new gasometer at their works East Green, in order to be able to store more gas, in view of the increased consumption of recent years.

A number of Cellardyke boats have arrived home from the fishing at Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The earnings of the crews range from £150 to £400

THE FACTORY ACT AND THE FISH TRADE. The concessions which the authorities have at last made the fish trade shows the absurdity of making a hard and fast rule in all trades for the administration of the Factory Acts. The rules in regard to the hours of working for young persons and females have had to be relaxed in order that one important part of the food supply of the country might not be lost or rendered useless by exactions which many still regard as grandmotherly legislation. The Acts, in the fish as well as other trades, press very hardly, and there should be some relaxity in special cases, where the conditions of employment are not at all onerous or prejudicial to health. For the fixed rules an opportunity should be afforded employers to change the hours of employment with the sanction of the Inspectors to suit the exigencies of the trades from time to time as required. Those who are in this position should follow the example of the trade, and ask for an alteration in the rules to suit their business.

A WARRANT FOR APPREHENSION. — At the Burgh Court on Monday, the case against Thomas Murray, junior, fisherman, Cellardyke, was called but he failed to appear. Sergeant Anderson said he had cautioned Murray to appear. The Fiscal applied for a warrant of apprehension which was granted by the Magistrates. It was understood that the warrant would not be put in force if Murray consented to come to next Court.


On Saturday night at nine o’clock, while Agnes Ritchie, net factory worker, Rodger Street, Cellardyke, was returning home from Pittenweem, she met with a severe accident. Just as she turned the Buckie House corner, a large black dog came running along the pavement at a great speed, and before she could get out of the way, it collided with her, knocking her down. She fell on the concrete, breaking her right collar bone, and the right side of her head was cut and bruised. She was assisted into Mr Robert Pratt’s house by her sister and Mr John G. Gray, who happened to be passing at the time. Dr Ferguson as sent for, and dressed the wounds, after which she was conveyed home. She is progressing very favourably since then.

On Friday morning, Mrs Peter Murray, Rodger Street, while going about her usual household duties, took a shock of paralysis, from which she died in about two hours. She was 52 years of age.

Derelicts and Wreckage

Calais, Oct. 27.—0n the 22nd inst. a French smack picked up, to the NS of Cromer, about 20 fishing nets, much damaged, 20 floats for supporting the nets, 3 hawsers of 50 fathoms length, each in good condition. This property is marked Black and Co., Patent Cellardyke, Fife,” and is in the possession of the marine authorities at this port.

DIAMOND WEDDING AT CELLARDYKE. The Weekly News Old Folks’ Competition was the means of revealing many wonderful records of married life, but a modesty which old people maintain is unknown to younger folks, kept Mr and Mrs Davidson, Cellardyke, from taking the place in it in their length of wedded life entitled them to.

They were married on the 16th November, 1838, and thus yesterday (Wednesday) celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their nuptials. Hearty and numerous were the congratulations that poured in upon the aged and happy couple. Friends vied with each other in their friendly remembrances of the anniversary. Gifts from the family were also handed in. The couple received their friends with cordial hospitality, and pleasant little gatherings were held in home daring the week. They are a couple typical of Scottish life, warmly affectionate, God-fearing, and industrious. Born and brought up in Cellardyke, they have spent their days within its bounds, save, of course, the absence at the fishing from other ports, or in the old days when in the mansion house near Colinsburgh Mrs Davidson acted as maid. They were married in the same street as their present house by the late Rev. Mr Dickson, the parish minister. Eleven children blessed the household but of these only four are alive, some resting in far-off lands.

There are thirty-three grandchildren alive and seven great-grandchildren. Mr and Mrs Davidson are hale and hearty. Mr Davidson carries his eighty-three years lightly, and his wife, two years his junior, is able to move about her household duties. They have an interesting life story. For sixty years Mr Davidson prosecuted the fishing. He has seen complete revolutions in the industry – methods, boats, and resorts. As a hauflin he worked in the 30-feet crafts that then represented the best and biggest of the fleet. Today the boats exceed 60 feet. He has seen the reform in the outfit, the introduction of steam, and the changed feelings with which the fishermen now regard it. Herring was then, as now, the chief part of the fishing, but as he tells, the men now follow it round in whole coast from north to south. The haddocks held a second, but important, place in the life of the fishermen: in the ‘forties they were followed ten to twenty miles to sea in the small open boats: now in season it is an everyday trip half-way to Norway in pursuit of the cod, with mileages of line that would have served four or five of the old-time crews. But on that theme Mr Davidson’s, reminiscences are well-nigh inexhaustible.

During his lifetime at sea narrow escapes were inevitable, and four of these, where the boat was mercifully spared by the Higher Hand, are ineffaceably impressed on his memory. One of these dates back to the year ‘60 when Skipper Bett’s boat was swamped by a heavy sea. but kept up. Next, in Yarmouth River, he was sinking tor the third time when succour reached him. Again, five miles east of the Carr, the boat was filled and momentarily expected to go down, and nearer home, one day when running for Anstruther Harbour, the craft had a miraculous escape from going to pieces on the Beacon. But vividly, and still as if yesterday, will ever be before his mind’s eye the terrible scene at the May Island when, on the 1st July, 1837, no fewer than thirteen women and children perished within a stone’s throw of the shore. He was one of the young men who, in accordance with the time-honoured custom, manned a drave boat to give friends and neighbours a holiday on the island. It was a Saturday morning, a glorious day, when five boats set out from Cellardyke Pier, each crowded with excursionists. The “Johns,” the admiral of the fleet, carried sixty-five souls. This and that consort took other creeks, but the “Johns” was steered for the little pier at Kirkonhaven. All were preparing to land, but at the moment a wild plunge and a deafening crash heralds the fact that the doomed boat had been washed by the surf upon the skerry. All was confusion and terror; women and children shrieked in despair, but already brave men had seen the one chance, and firm feet bearing precious burdens were leaping the chasm as the boat lay with the gunwale to the sloping skerry. A panic seized the remnant, and pushing to the higher gunwale, they sent the boat reeling from her perch, when she sank like a stone leaving a frantic mass of women children clinging to each other with the grasp at death.

Mr Davidson says but little of his own share in what followed, but happily others can tell the story. Of the brave men who plunged again and again to the rescue, returning with a struggling woman or child, he was conspicuous; his work was not over so long as a head or hand could be seen above the water. As the bodies were recovered, for all floated again, he was also active. One by one the corpses were carried up the beach, but one– was it instinct? caught his eye ” This woman’s no’ dead,” he declared and setting to work, he eventually had the pleasure of seeing her look up and recognise him. His work amongst the rescued was highly recommended by Dr Goodsir. This was the ending of a once favourite holiday trip.


The Cellardyke boats which have been fishing at Yarmouth and Lowestoft returned home on Thursday and Friday after the most successful season in the history of the South fishing. Twenty-four boats were engaged, and the average shot is considerably over £600, the highest yet on record. The best boats had fully £900, and the most, between £500 and £600; some to £700 and £800, and the lowest £300. It is computed that the boats have brought home fully £10 000 from the South.

(£10 000 would be the equivalent of £1 349 541 today –  the lowest earning £40k the Highest £135K)

Changing the Luck – The wife of a Cellardyke skipper with whom I acquainted once told me that she caught the wife of another skipper one washing morning taking the first jug of hot water from the boiler“ I kent fine what she was after” said my friend “She wantit oor Jamie’s luck. He had been daein weel a’ the season an’ her man had naething; but I made her put back the water.” This was young, wife, fairly intelligent and when at school had passed the preliminary examination for pupil teacher.

One Reply to “The Cellardyke Echo – 18/11/2021 – Issue 314”

  1. I was delighted to read about my Great Great Grandparents, David and Margaret Davidson and to learn so much about their lives recorded here to the delight of future decendants . The other old stories are all so interesting too and we can see life as it was so long ago.

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