The Cellardyke Echo – 24/03/2022 – Issue 332


FISHERMAN DROWNED. – On the return of the fishing boat Victoria Cross from the fishing ground on Wednesday morning, Skipper John Doeg reported the loss of one of his crew, named David Doeg (Wood.) It appears that they were on their way home with a fresh breeze but calm sea, and when between the Isle of May and Anstruther, a blinding snow shower came on, followed almost immediately by a heavy sea, which swept over the boat and carried Doeg away, the skipper himself only saving himself by seizing hold of the side of the boat. As soon as possible, the boat was put round and steered back to the spot, but by this time no trace of the unfortunate man could be seen. Doeg, who was a quiet, steady, and inoffensive man, was about 50 years of age, and leaves a widow and one grown-up daughter.

Boat Insurance Club. —The recent disasters at sea and consequent serious losses of fishing property have led to the establishment “The East of Fife Boat Club,” the object of which is insure owners of boats against loss or damage by the perils the sea. Upwards of eighty skippers have already joined the club, and at the meeting held in Anstruther Saturday evening, directors were appointed, six being landsmen and six fishermen, chosen from Cellardyke, Pittenweem, and St Monance. The rules adopted provide for premium of 40s per cent., and the directors have power to charge for extra risks, boat is to be insured for more than three fourths her value, fixed by a surveyor. In order to guard against any shortcoming, it was agreed that, in the event boat being lost, only two-thirds of the amount insured should paid at the time, and should the funds permit, the remainder the close of the financial year. (from another article – There are, however, 156 fishing boats belonging to Cellardyke alone, while before the summer herring fishing that number will be increase to 164; and Pittenweem and St Monance furnish another 156, giving a total of 320 for these three parts. – The meeting then proceeded to appoint directors, six of whom by the rules require to be landsmen, and the other six to be fishermen chosen equally from Cellardyke, Pittenweem, and St Monance. Provost Anderson, Provost Martin, Bailie Watson, Messrs Cook, Oliphant, and David Murray were elected as the landsmen directors, and the following fishermen were also appointed :—Skippers Martin Gardner and Thomas Birrell, Cellardyke; William Wood and Robert Watt, Pittenweem; and Robert Boyter and William Meldrum.St Monance.)


A young man named Alexander Keith, carter, residing in Cellardyke, pled guilty to having, on the public road between Anstruther and St Andrews on the 10th inst., assaulted a labourer named Thomas Jack, and was fined 30s, or twenty-one days’ imprisonment.

JOHN BUTTERS, MERCHANT, Cellardyke, has much pleasure in intimating that he has been appointed by D. Mitchell  & Sons, of Aberdeen, SOLE AGENT in this District for the Sale of DAVIES’ WINCH for HAULING HERRING NETS, awl that the Price has been Reduced to £5, exclusive of carriage. Testimonials can be had application.


Fears are being entertained in Peterhead for the safety of the Progress, belonging that port. It is now over three weeks since she left Cellardyke for the Baltic, and several vessels leaving after her have since arrived at their destination.

CELLARDYKE BURGH POLICE COURT. —A diet of this Court was held on Friday last—Provost Watson and Bailie Sharp presiding. Malicious Mischief: Christopher Moir, James Moir, two apprentices, and George Moir, sons of Agnes Lindsay or Moir, a widow, were charged with a contravention of the 251st  section of the General Police Act, in so far as, on Sabbath, the 10th  instant, between five and seven o’clock evening, at or near the public school now being erected near West Forth Street, one or more of them did wilfully and maliciously break two fire-clay cans and one fire-clay sewer pipe, the property of Mr Alex. Wallace, builder. The two former only appeared and denied the charge, but after bearing the evidence of Police-constable Forsyth and Mr Wallace, the Magistrates found them guilty, and inflicted the modified penalty of 5s each.

On Saturday last, there was launched from the building yard of Mr Fulton a splendid carvel-built boat for Skipper David Watson, Cellardyke. The boat is nicely modelled and highly finished in every particular. This is now the second boat in succession which has been launched from this yard for Cellardyke owners, and we understand a third one will shortly be laid on also for Cellardyke. Mr Fulton has now commenced to one to be owned by one of our own townsmen.

At the Anstruther Burgh Police Court on Saturday —before Bailies Darsie and White—Thomas Bett and Robert Boyter, fishermen, Cellardyke, were charged with having fought with each other and created a great disturbance near the shop in Shore Street occupied by Mr William Graham, grocer, between nine and eleven o’clock on the night of the 9th inst. They pleaded not guilty, but after hearing the evidence the Magistrates held the charge proved, and sentenced the panels to pay a fine of 10s 6d each.


At Cellardyke, on the 10th instant, JOHN, son of the late David Moncrieff, aged 26 years.

At Cellardyke, on the 20th inst JOHANNA TAYLOR, wife of John Brown, fisherman, in the 39th year of her age.

At the Hospital, Calcutta, on the 20th ult., of cholera, ANDREW THOMSON, of Cellardyke, steward of the ship ‘John o Gaunt,’ a native of Dunbar.

EGGS of Prize Poultry—Duff Cochins, Dark Brahmas, and Spanish Houdans, at 4s 6d. Dyeing Golden and Silver polish, at 2 East Forth Street, Cellardyke.


Just PublishedDemy 8vo, Cloth Gilt, Price 3s 6d

Fisher Life, or the Memorials of Cellardyke and the Fife Coast

By George Gourlay, Anstruther – To be had from the Author


The Scotsman says:- “Mr G. Gourlay, of Anstruther, has brought together, evidently at the expense of considerable labour and research, in these Memorials of Cellardyke, a record of the growth, the calamities, and the successes, of the fisheries on the Fife coast. He tells his story with great simplicity, but with both point and pathos, and his book deserves to have more than local interest, as it certainly has more than local value.”

The Dundee Courier and Argus devotes a column to an appreciative review of the work, in the course of which it says:- ” Mr Gourlay’s daily avocation of newspaper correspondent and bookseller brings him into close contact with the people about whom he writes, and through these acquaintances and friendships he has obtained numerous personal narratives of deeply affecting incidents and stirring events connected with life, which he has here presented clothed in language of fervid and impassioned eloquence. Nothing could excel in intensity of interest and thrilling excitement his descriptions of the many sad tragedies which occur on these shores. . There are racy stories also of another kind, abounding in hairbreadth escapes and thrilling incidents. . To many an earnest worker whose body is buried in the bosom of the ocean this volume is a most appropriate and lasting monument, and the people of the Fife coast owe Mr Gourley a deep debt of gratitude for preserving to them in this substantial and elegant form these interesting memorials, which are sure to be highly prized by them and all those interested in seafaring life, not more for the matter than the skilful and graphic manner in which the work has been done.”

The two Cellardyke pioneers have begun the Shetland venture under the best auspices. Both boats arrived at Lerwick on Saturday, and are now ready to proceed to the haaf, where recent trials, it is said, have been as hopeful as the oldest Scandinavian can remember.


In the grey daybreak of Tuesday a castaway vessel was seen beating about in the storm by some sailors on Crail shore. It was a melancholy sight as the black hull—masts and sails gone —rose every now and then through the foaming water; but the wildest excitement and alarm filled every breast, when one or more of the crew were seen clinging to the wreck. Had the proposed lifeboat been available at the noble harbour of Home, the message of mercy could have been run on the instant, but as it was, Mr Alexander Watson, boatman to the Northern lights, left not a moment in driving to Anstruther, in order that the lifeboat “Admiral Fitzroy” might be sent to the rescue. The signal was only needed when a volunteer crew, with Skipper John Watson, as coxswain, launched away on the gallant service, and though pulling in the teeth of the storm were in little more than an hour alongside the luckless vessel on which a solitary survivor had been seen watching their progress, as one standing on the brink of the grave. He was seemingly overcome with the horrors and misery of the situation, but the strong hand of the intrepid boatman dragged him from his fatal perch into the lifeboat, which was then steered back under sail to the harbour. In the meantime it is impossible to describe the fever of interest and anxiety which filled the shore, and which sent the inhabitants of Anstruther and Cellardyke by one wild impulse to the piers. The popular emotion, however, appeared to have the most painful effect on the forlorn sailor, who at the sight of the crowd believed himself marked out for vengeance, but kind hands were ready to lead him to a place of succour and rest. His appearance was indeed heartrending. Drenched with wet and shivering with cold, his hands and legs bleeding with the chafe of the sea or perhaps by falling upon the torn wreck, he was so exhausted and confused as to be unable to answer or understand the interrogatories which were put to him, but the office of charity continued as unremitting as ever under the care of Dr Macarthur in the house of the harbour pilot, where he at last sank into a refreshing slumber. But while information was still closed from this source, a clue to the wreck was obtained by a scroll book which, with three chests and a quantity of driftwood, was washed ashore near Caiplie, and in this way came into the hands of Mr Flynn of the Coastguard. Startling as it may appear, the vessel was identified as the Norwegian brig ” Dimantin,” of Arendel, bound with battens to Leith, which has been so much before the public in connection with the extraordinary conduct of the captain in the offing of Montrose on Sabbath last. Under the pretext that he had lost his reckoning, he attempted to land with a man and a boy in a skiff, but was only saved from perishing in the surf by the approach of the lifeboat “Mincing Lane.” Subsequently the steam tug ” Bob Chalmers” went out to the assistance of the brig, but the mate, who was left on board with two men, so far repeated the story of the captain, and refused to leave the vessel, which was then tacking to the northward about eight miles from the shore. It had been proposed to put the captain on board of his brig, but night coming on this was not attempted till the following day, when, though a search was made by the steam tug, she could not be seen, in consequence of which the captain and his two men landed and took the train to Leith, in the belief that the ” Dimantin” had proceeded to her destination in the Forth. Such in reality had been the course resolved upon by the mate, but about two hours before midnight the brig struck with a tremendous wave, which threw her on her beam ends, and reduced her to the dismal wreck we have already described. The crash of falling spars and rigging had drowned the death-cry of his two companions, but the mate had been preserved through the terrors of the night by clinging to the surf-beaten wreck, though his sufferings were so great that be almost envied the grave which was rolling in surge and darkness around him. In the course of the afternoon he had so far wakened up as to be able to communicate these particulars to his countryman, Captain Rylestad, of the schooner “Rapp,” which was cast ashore last week near Randerston Castle. The brig “Dimantin” is an old craft of about 100 tons register. The escape of the “steersman,” as the mate is called in these vessels, was truly providential, for while the lifeboat was still on the voyage between the wreck and the pier the brig fairly heeled bottom up, when, if not before, the anchor slipped, and thus by an accident, so to speak, she was saved from being dashed against the rocks. She still held fast about mile from Caiplie caves as night settled on the sea, but the beach was strewn with the timber which composed her cargo. In consequence of the telegram sent to Leith, Skipper Hoyer, who is also the owner of the ship, and Mr Hutchieson, the Norwegian Consul, arrived at Anstruther by the evening train. The unfortunate vessel broke from her moorings in the course of Tuesday evening, and next morning ship and cargo lay as so much driftwood amongst the rocks. Sea and wind had risen more violently than before, and the rotten old craft, which had gone ashore keel up, had rapidly gone to pieces on the rugged strand before Caiplie Caves. The following are the names of the crew :—Johan Hoyer, master; Olaf Rode, mate ; Andreus Rode, cook and steward ; Niels Rode, ordinary seaman; Throe Bodin, ditto; and Niels Neilson, carpenter. The last two have been drowned. The poor survivor gives some affecting particulars of their last moments. Darkness had closed upon the unhappy mariners, when seeing the red lantern of Crail like a beacon of danger to the NE., they slipped both anchors in six fathoms of water. It was about nine o’clock; cold and weary they huddled together in the forecastle till a long lurch sect the mate on deck, when he saw that the waterlogged brig was fast settling on her beam ends. The old carpenter and young Bodin sprang to his call, and the three had just secured themselves on the weather gunwale when the crash came. The frost wind blew fierce and keen, and the sea ever and anon rolled over the miserable craft, so that it was only with the grasp of despair they were able to hold on to the iron stays. Who can wonder, then, that flesh and spirit began to fail ; but after a while the old carpenter seemed to rise in a kind of sacred rapture, and telling him companions that he had made his peace with God by laying hold on Jesus, his hand relaxed and his last secret lay buried in the billows. It was midnight, and the two still clung to the chains, but the young sailor was already all but overcome by the stupor of death. The steersman forgot his own misery in his efforts to save him, but it was all In vain, and also he was washed away by the pitiless surge. Life in such an hour is little to be envied, but the eyes of the poor castaway were soon cheered by the bleated morning light, and hoping against hope, perchance he clung to the stanchions till deliverance came on the very brink of eternity, seeing that the lifeboat had scarcely turned from the wreck when she was rolling keel up in the raging storm—in fact, an escape, so hairbreadth and providential as that of Olaf Rode is scarcely recorded in the annals of the sea.

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