The Cellardyke Echo – 11/08/2022 – Issue 351


MarriageWILLIAMSON—SMART. —At Kitchener Avenue, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on the 18th July, by the Rev. A, Maksfty, George. youngest son of Robert Williamson, Cellardyke. to Aggie, eldest daughter of James Smart, Guardbridge.



THE MISER OF CELLARDYKE. If there was humours in the characters of old Fifeshire there was also eccentricity. This was certainly the case with John Ramsay, the miser of Cellardyke, who died early in the last century. For the greater part of his life he was engaged in building dykes in the various estates in the vicinity, work for which the remuneration was very poor. The best contract which he assisted was the erection the mausoleum over the grave of General Scott in Kilrenny Churchyard, and for this his wages were only twenty pence a day. When John fell ill a young surgeon from Kennoway informed him that the only suitable medicine was Holland gin. I’se gaun tae the fountain heid, tae the kintry itsel’,” he replied, and although his neighbours laughed, he trudged to Kinghorn and took the ferry in the hope of finding boat at Leith which was about to make the journey. As luck would have it, the first person he encountered in the port was an Anstruther skipper on the point of leaving for the Maas. skilfully did the miser plead his case that he was taken board, although his belongings were only a bag oatmeal and a little salt. He remained in Holland until the boat returned, and while he contended afterwards that he had gained new vigour, he was really prematurely old, and gradually passed in misery to the grave. But his secret had been well kept, and even the aunt with whom he resided did not know until after his funeral that he had left £450. (that’s the equivalent of £57 700 today)


A foolish prank that nearly resulted in serious consequences was committed by two young Cellardyke girls on Monday afternoon. While a motor lorry, conveying a number of Territorials, was passing through Kilrenny, they stupidly threw a handful of gravel into the face of the driver, who was suddenly blinded by the sharp stones. The lorry was nearly wrecked, but the driver managed to draw up quickly before the vehicle had run into the side of the road. The driver was removed into a house, but it was some time before the gravel and small bits of glass were successfully removed from his eyes. His companions promptly searched for the girls, but they hid in the Churchyard and there escaped the just wrath of the Terriers. Had they been caught, they would undoubtedly have been severely punished for what was a most dangerous assault,

Before Provost Oliphant and Bailies Burd and McConnell on Saturday, Wm. Palmer, labourer, of no fixed residence, and John Woodward, marine engineer, 65 James Street, Cellardyke, were charged with having fought each other and created a breach of peace in Rodger Street on Friday evening. Both the accused pled guilty. The Fiscal stated that the police observed a crowd about 10.30, and on approaching, noticed the accused fighting. They were separated, and Woodward at once stepped aside and created no further disturbance. Palmer, however, attempted to reach Woodward, and was then removed to the cells. The Fiscal considered that an admonition would suffice in Woodward’s case, but asked the Court to inflict a penalty on Palmer, who was the cause of the trouble. The Magistrates adopted this view, and Woodward received a warning from the Provost not to interfere in street brawls. Palmer was given the option of paying 15s or undergoing ten days’ imprisonment. He went to Dundee for the ten days.

CELLARDYKE FISHERMEN AND THE WAR. A large meeting of fishermen was held yesterday Cellardyke Town Hall to consider as to whether any steps could be taken utilise the steam drifters, which would give employment to the fishermen whose ordinary occupation has been interrupted by the war. The men were addressed by Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie and Mr H. T. Anstruther, ex-M P. for St Andrews Burghs. Mr Anstruther submitted communications from the Admiralty to the effect that at the present the steam drifters could not be utilised for defensive purposes. Mr Anstruther submitted details of the terms of service in the Royal Naval Reserve, and about 30 young fishermen indicated that they were prepared to join this force.


The late Robert Watson, fisherman, 65 John Street, and the late Henry Stevenson, retired fisherman, West Forth Street, left £1181 14s 10d and £1040 14s respectively.

Funeral of the Late Mr Wm. Birrell. On Sunday, the remains of Mr Wm. Birrell, baker, James Street, whose tragic death we chronicled in our last issue, took place to Anstruther Churchyard. The funeral was very largely attended, the Special Constables of the three burghs, of whom the late gentleman was a member, holding a special parade, and marched in front of the hearse, one of their number carrying a wreath, while eight acted as pall-bearers up to the grave. Other floral tributes had also been received. The’ Rev. James Ray conducted the nervier at the house, and the Rev. A. Urquhart at the graveside.

Golden Wedding. Many congratulations have been received by ex-Provost and Mrs Thomson, who this week celebrated their golden wedding. With the exception of a son and a daughter, who are at present abroad, all the family were with their parents over the week-end, and a happy family re-union was the result. Mr and Mrs Thomson were married in Largo in 1865, but have spent most of their life together in Cellardyke. In his time, Mr Thomson has identified himself with the public life of the town. He was Provost for several years, and also chairman of the School Board. The hope of their many friends is that many years of life together lie ahead of Mr and Mrs Thomson.


Twice Wounded It is reported that Private A. Lowrie. Black Watch, who is a son of Mr And. Lowrie. fisherman, has been wounded in action for the second time, and is in a base hospital.

Cellardyke Black Watch men “Gassed.” It is reported that Private Andrew Dick, Black Watch, son of Mr Jas. Dick (Henderson). fisherman, East Forth Street, has been “gassed” in action in France, and is undergoing treatment in a base hospital. Private David Barclay. also of the Black Watch, was also gassed recently. but after being in Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, he is now able to he home convalescent. He is a son of the late Mr Stephen Barclay (Galletly). fisherman.

The Late Private Cunningham.  – From the Chair of the Y.M.C.A., Cellardyke, Mr Wm. Carstairs made the following reference to the late Geo. Cunningham:-

Over there in France where our minds and our thoughts so often are, amidst the din and noise of battle strife, has happened an incident carrying with it the tragic and sorrowful. Last Sabbath after the actual fighting had been accomplished, and to that extent a certain degree of danger had been safely passed, a wounded and fallen comrade required his aid, and ready as he ever was, unthinking of himself. to give assistance where he could, it was in the act of succouring this comrade that death’s shaft found him. So that to-day this Society is immensely the poorer in, his being taken from us. He was Secretary of this Society, and Treasurer of our sister Society. the Gospel Temperance Union, when he joined the Army; and no one ever brought to the duties of these offices a deeper interest or a more ungrudging service. We have lost in him one of the best types of members, and to-day we honour his memory and his! courage.

The Norwegian Consul-General under yesterday’s date :–

In your issue for Saturday last I find a paragraph headed ” Norwegian Steamer helps Submarine.” According to the paragraph the skipper of the herring boat Prestige had stated that he saw a German submarine obtaining supplies from a Norwegian steamer. Feeling certain that the statement was not correct I asked the Norwegian Vice- Consul at Methil to make inquiries, and I have today received from him the following telegram:– ” In accordance your wire of last Saturday have now seen skipper Watson Smith of herring boat Prestige at Cellardyke. Skipper states he did not see German submarine obtain supplies from Norwegian steamer and declares he has made no such report as imputed to him in newspapers.” I should like to add that even if the skipper had seen a vessel carrying the Norwegian colours close to a submarine this might well have been a ship just captured by the submarine, or a vessel disguised as a Norwegian one.


D.S.M. FOR CELLARDYKE MATE. Mr David Lowrie, Shore Street. Cellardyke, who is mate of one of HM. boats, has awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for auxiliary patrol duty. He has been active service for about three years. His son, Adam Lowrie, Black Watch, has a done his bit for his country, and having been twice wounded has now received his discharge.

Tobacco and Drink – It appears that one evening last week an elderly Cellardyke fisherman named John McRuvie went into the cream shop in Shore Street, and demanded an ounce of tobacco, for which he tendered 6d. On being told that the price of it was  6 ½ d took exception to this, stating he could get it elsewhere for 6d. The shopkeeper then told McRuvie he had better go there for it, upon which he conducted himself in a disorderly manner and challenged a fight. A sequel to all this was that McRuvie was brought before Provost Readdie at a Police Court on Friday, when he was charged with having conducted himself in a riotous and disorderly manner, the offence being aggravated by eight previous convictions being recorded against him. On being asked by the Provost if he had been drinking, the accused stated he had “a wee drop: not much.” The Provost said that the shopkeepers must be protected against such disturbances. especially in time of war. such must be put down. As accused had a bad record of previous convictions, he imposed a fine of 10s with the alternative of ten days’ imprisonment. The fine was paid.

SLIDERS DON’T KEEP OVERNIGHT. Giovinni Brattesani, ice cream vendor, at Cupar to-day was fined 10s, or five days, for selling three sliders to Cellardyke girls after eight o clock Mr T. W. Davidson, solicitor, Cupar, stated that the assistant who sold the sliders thought it pity to waste Them. The Sheriff—Do sliders not keep over night? Mr Davidson I believe not in consequence of sweetening mixture that is now used instead of sugar.

ON THE SEA. FIFE FISHING BOAT DISASTER IN NORTH SEA, Quite a sensation was caused In Anstruther and Cellardyke on Tuesday when it became known that the motor boat Jane, of Eyemouth, had been blown up a mine explosion, and that all the crew had been lost. The boat was manned by Andrew Henderson, his only two sons (Alexander and Andrew), Thomas Boyter, and James Wilson (Wallace), all Cellardyke men, who were married and leave families. Andrew was one the best known and most esteemed of fishermen in the district, and he was owner of the boats Cromorna and Ina, Cook. He had another boat building at Eyemouth, and this was to have been his last voyage with the Jane, which he had on hire. It left Anstruther on Monday afternoon, it seems that in shooting the nets they got tangled in the mine, with the result that the boat, was blown up.

2 Replies to “The Cellardyke Echo – 11/08/2022 – Issue 351”

  1. I am particularly interested in the article about the funeral of William Birrell in 1915 who is an ancestor of mine. It mentions that there had been a piece about his tragic death in the previous paper. I was wondering if you would have the time to look this up and send me details.

    In addition if you have ever come across details about Edward Johnson cork manufacturer in Upper Largo and his bankruptcy in 1887 I would be grateful for any details. Quite a colourful character from what I can see. He used to work for Henry Kirk, on Henrys death he took over the business and his wife and daughter! Everything went pear shaped and he went out of business having to sell his properties to pay his debts to Cardy Mills etc. Papers relating to this are held at St Andrews Uni but I was interested in the local take on the scandal.

    Any info gratefully received

    1. HI Vicki, I’ll see if i can find anything. also i’d be interested to hear about the cork manufacturers, it would obvioulsy be tied in with the net works at Cardy house as corks were a vital part of the Drift net. I know of one cork buisness in Anstruther but we had two net factories in Cellardyke too so there must have been significant work for them. please email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *