The Cellardyke Echo – 25/11/21 – Issue 315


The sloop Industrious Mary which lately struck the Carr rock, and went to the bottom, has by great exertions, been weighed by a few boats from Cellardyke, and taken to Crail Harbour, where she now lies to be repaired. The Cargo is all lost, a subscription is begun behoof the owner.



Cellardyke, which has of late years suffered much from accidents by sea, has again been plunged into a state of extreme grief by the loss of another bout with eight of a crew. Friday morning was very stormy, the wind prevailing from the north-east. The crews as usual proceeded to sea, but the storm increasing, the crews returned without attempting to work lines. It is reported that one crew observed some floating material of a wreck, but took no notice at the time until night came on, and the unfortunate crew not returning excited alarm. It is supposed that they had suffered a few miles east of the May Island. Conjecture will be afloat, of course, and people will be busy. The gale was heavy, but whether the boat had been overset in a squall, or some other unforeseen accident happened the boat, none can say. One of the sufferers was saved, about six years ago, when all the crew were drowned. This dreadful calamity has thrown six widows and twenty-seven fatherless children to the care of the benevolent.  (The boat was the “John and Mary”)

The fishermen of Cellardyke are last bestirring themselves. The stereotype character which a well-known writer attributes to this class appears to breaking up in the “East Neuk” by the calamitous event of the 3rd instant, whereby twenty-eight of their townspeople have been deprived of their natural protectors, they are now throwing aside their past indifference to the dreary future in reserve for their dependents in the event being overtaken by a similar fate. In London there is a society, The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Benevolent Society,” membership to which constituted annual payment of half-a-crown. Should a fisherman, being member, have his boat or gear damaged, a certain small sum is paid him in name of repairs, or if he should himself lost, a sum, varying from five to ten guineas, is paid to his family. Although conditions more favourable could scarcely be invented, and although the society, for years, has had an agent the spot, yet, at the time the above catastrophe occurred, out of our adult population of about three hundred, only two fishermen were enrolled members. A few benevolent individuals resolved to make an effort to awaken the fishermen to the advantages held out by the society, and for that purpose secured the services of the clergymen of the neighbourhood for a public meeting of the inhabitants. This meeting, which was numerously attended, was held in the Infant School-room on the 9th inst,, and although there was more speaking over and at the audience than with them, its result was gratifying. An auxiliary to the parent society was organised with staff of working officials; before the meeting broke up sixty-five fishermen had enrolled themselves members. There is room for a wider extension of the society, and no reason why every adult in should not be entitled to the privileges of a member. Whether the fact originates from their class feelings, from the limited/range to which they confine their ideas, or from the ever-awake selfishness lest fate should make them benefactors rather than their families recipients of the society’s beneficence, there are none more jealous of being taken advantage than they. And were it not that strong faith may be placed In the staff of the auxiliary, fears might be entertained lest this promising appearance should prove but a mere periodical ebullition of a feeling which will die away, and exhibit the same symptoms on the recurrence of a similar calamity. This being the first seamen’s meeting we had the’ opportunity of attending, we had much pleasure in finding it formally conducted and more orderly than many landsmen’s. And while the eye occasionally rested on one (as will in all similar meetings) who seemed a walking argument for the repeal of the soap duty, and on another whose unkempt locks and bearded cheeks were rather hirsute, yet, as a whole, we have seldom seen a roomful of men whose clean appearance and respectful demeanour, and whose brawny, well-knit muscular frames, made them favourable specimens of humanity. Gratifying as was that meeting, was our happiness on the following evening to attend another in the Town Hall, which, from the promising hopes it excites, is more interesting still: the first annual meeting of the Cellardyke and Kilrenny Savings’ Bank. As stated in the director’s report, during the forty-seven weeks of its existence, deposits had been paid to the extent of £442, and the balance then outstanding due depositors was £386. And to show its working, it was stated that 106 of the accounts, the balance under £5. There no class in our county on whom banks for savings have stronger claims than on our fishermen. There are many amongst them who can bear comparison with those other trades; yet it may be said of them in general, that the uncertainty of their earnings, their dangerous, laborious, and incessant occupation, have called into exercise habits of the most reckless improvidence and wastefulness, which have acted, as naturally they must, on their moral and intellectual natures. And we fully adopt the words of the directors’ report, maintaining that the bank “has claims on the community, from the more elevated ideas of comfort it is calculated to excite, and the habits of prudent forethought, economy, and independence it will naturally foster and maintain.” Cellardyke, with a labouring population of about 1600, has been stated annually to squander from £1800 to £2ooo in tobacco and whisky. Looking at the sanitary condition of the place, its ill-ventilated houses and densely packed population, its miserable sewerage, although washed the sea, its uneven streets with (at certain seasons) their stagnant pools and heaps of putrescence, and the consequent domestic discomfort and frequent fevers and sicknesses of its inhabitants, one cannot help wondering at so expensive a purchase of misery, and concluding that there is urgent necessity for a Savings’ Bank to gather up, and if possible to retain from working mischief, the loose sixpences of its improvident inhabitants. We understand the funds of the institution are lodged in the chartered Branch Bank at Anstruther, and every confidence may be reposed in the directors of the Savings’ Bank : Mr Murray, chief magistrate of East Anstruther, being one of them, and Mr Fowler, the active and benevolent chief magistrate of Cellardyke, chairman. Steps are being taken to entitle it to the provisions of the Act of Parliament anent Savings’ Banks.

John Smith, master and owner of the boat, left a widow and four children, the eldest five years, the youngest seven months.

James Fleming, left a widow pregnant, besides seven children from two to sixteen years old. Henry Reid left a widow and seven children, five of whom are under fourteen years, the youngest being born on the same morning on which the father perished.

Thomas Fleming, left a widow and six children, four whom are from nine to sixteen years old. A son Thomas Fleming perished along with his father.

James Dick, left widow and two children, eldest five years.

David Birrell left a widow, supposed to be pregnant.

James Dickson, unmarried.


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, That virtue of the Powers contained an Act passed in the Third and Fourth Years of King William the Fourth, intituled “Act to enable Burghs in Scotland establish a General System of Police,” the Occupiers of Premises of that part of the Burgh of Kilrenny, called Cellardyke, of the real Yearly Rent or Value of Ten Pounds and upwards, are hereby required to meet upon Wednesday the 29th current at  twelve the Clock, within the Town hall in this Burgh, for purpose of Electing One Commissioner in the place of one going out of Office, in terms of said Act.

JAMES FOWLER, Chief Manager. Cellardyke, Nov. 19, 1849.

Queen’s and Lord Treasurers Remembrancer’s Office, Exchequer Chambers, Edinburgh, 12th Nov 1849.

Notice hereby given—That William Thomson, residing in Cellardyke, in the Parish of Kilrenny and County Fife, has applied to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury for a Gift of the Estate of Alexia Martha Muir Alexander, otherwise Martha Alexander, who resided in Cellardyke aforesaid, deceased, which Estates has fallen to Her Majesty as Ultima ….

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