The Cellardyke Echo 15/9/2022 – Issue 356


On Friday last, a foreign vessel having entered the nth, put up a signal for a pilot. A boat put off from Cellardyke for the vessel, but before it reached her, one of the crew, Andrew Robertson, fell overboard, and rose again at a considerable distance; oars, &c. were thrown out to him, but he was unable to catch hold of them. The boat drifted to a distance, and was unable to reach the drowning man before he sunk to rise no more. He has left a widow and four children to lament his loss.


At three o’clock afternoon on the 24th current, while a fleet of Cellardyke boats were returning from Eden-water with mussels for bait, one of them, the Olive, Davidson master, went down between the Carr Rock Beacon and the Isle of May, when the boat and six of the crew were unfortunately lost. One of the boats in company succeeded in saving the seventh, or only other man onboard. The man saved, named Davidson, has to lament the loss of two sons, a brother, and a brother’s son.



It is painful to be obliged to state, that this season a dangerous, and fatal distemper, broke out among the Cellardyke fishermen in Pultney. One man is seized by a fever; his friends and relations visited him of course, the disease spread, and besides those who were sent home sick, three men belonging to Cellardyke, and one man belonging to Crail, have died. Our informants attribute the origin of the disease to the great quantity of cod heads, fish guts and fulzie of every description, which according to their statement, lie in health destring, wasteful, and disgraceful profusion in that quarter.


The Cholera – At Cellardyke we understand, two cases occurred on Sunday which have both terminated fatally, and another individual it has been said has taken ill.


On the 24th Inst, a boat’s mainsail was picked up at sea opposite Slaines Castle, near Peterhead. The owner will receive it back by applying to James Anderson, boatskipper, Cellardyke Fifeshire.


Anstruther…The herring fishing at this port this year has been highly successful, and bears out our former statements that this is decidedly an excellent station. The herrings have hitherto been, upon the whole, of the finest quality; the prices given for them would, at the northern stations, have been reckoned extravagant, the average for the last five weeks being about fourteen shillings per cran, and the quantity taken has been great, each boat verging upwards of two hundred barrels. One boat belonging to Cellardyke, after completing her compliment of 250 barrels at Helmsdale, delivered here previous to the 30th ult., no fewer than 103 barrels taken at the Old Haiks, off Kingsbarns, a place from time to time frequented by immense shoals of fish. The herrings continued at it three or four days without shifting ground, and were taken at all times day and night, in great numbers. The demand by the cadgers, who have come from all quarters occasionally kept pace with the supply, and the prices were accordingly high, varying from 12s. per cran to 20s per Cran The lowest price given by the curers has been about 8s.


SCOTCH HERRING FISHERY. CELLARDYKE, —The take of herrings yesterday and to-day is quite unprecedented here; nothing like it has occurred in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. Some of the larger boats have gone off to the fishing ground, distant about half a mile from Anstruther harbour, twice within the last twenty-four hours, and have returned with between sixty and seventy cran each trip. The boats, numbering ninety, now average 350 crans each; and the price, owing to the small number of curers here, is uncommonly low; yesterday it was 4s., and to-day it is only 3s. per cran.

Toll gates and Toll Dues –

…. Notice is also given, that authority will be applied for at the said Meeting to place a CHECK-BAR upon the Road leading from Kilrenny Bridge put the Manse of Kilrenny to Cellardyke. HENRY BERWICK, CLK. St Andrews


ANSTRUTHER. The Take of Herrings at this station is quite unprecedented, nothing like it being remembered by the oldest fisherman. The average for the season is now 360 crans per boat, and there is no appearance of any falling off. Today the fishing was general, and the boats were well loaded; the price was 9s, per cran. The regular and proper mode of net-floating is again resorted to, and the fishing ground is between Crail and Cellardyke at no great distance from the shore ,

Thursday. This morning the boats have come in well fished, having upwards of 50 crans. Several boats have returned from the north country drave, and, after making up their compliment of 200 trans there by six weeks’ labour, have come to a fresh harvest at their own doors. One of these, after pulling ashore his chests and baggage, went and and set his nets near Crail, and returned next morning with 70 crans. Several vessels have arrived with salt and barrels, and more, we understand, are on their passage for Anstruther; the price is still 9s. One boat has now killed the amazing quantity of 600 barrels, and many are above 500.

Friday morning. – At the time we write., none of the boats have come in to Anstruther harbour for want of water; but some have arrived at Cellardyke with 30 and 35 barrels. Many of the boats are observed working up deeply laden.


Wick – Seldom has there been such an irregular fishing as this year, for while some boats do not exceed 20 cran.

The Brothers of Cellardyke, James Murray, Master, has this year been the most successful boat employed in the herring fishery on the Wick station- having reached, on the 22nd (Aug) , the amount of 349 crans, procured in 14 shots.

There is a week of the season yet to run, and it is to be hoped a full fishing may be made here. At no other station, except Stronsay, in Orkney, is there anything like the same quantity caught as last year; and it is much feared that a considerable falling off will be the result at many places this year. “



On the 7th ult., Bailie James Tosh, grocer, Pittenweem, to Miss Euphemia Young, Cellardyke.

CELLARDYKE. Herring Fishing.—For two days in the of this past week, a few of our boats attempted the now neglected herring fishing, and were, so to speak. wholly unsuccessful; ten crans the one night and three the other being the highest catches. the fishermen may now count their costs, as this successful Lammas drave may now said have come to a conclusion. Well may it, when a boat load of herrings could scarcely repay the toil and labour of the crew, from the extreme cheapness at which they were sold. At the commencement of the herring fishing this year, lowering prospects were entertained by those who were connected with it, that it would come to a very unsuccessful termination. But about the beginning of August the prospect began to brighten and to assume a more pleasing aspect. Then it was that the hearts of the fishermen, and all the herd of nameless scavengers who are connected with, and who gain benefit from a prosperous fishing, rejoiced. Then it was their hopes and expectations expanded with the pleasing. prosperous circumstances of the times, and they longingly looked forward to a complete realisation of their most sanguine expectations. But, unfortunately, one of the portions of this strange, and complicated piece of machinery, the horizon of their prosperity began to darken and grow misty, in the shape of a monstrous decrease in the price of the herrings. The  fishermen who the first and chief procurer of this “general good,” as it has been termed, had to moil and toil with the sweat of his brow, in bringing ashore the treasures of the deep and selling them at infinitely reduced prices to the fishcurers, who are very backward in purchasing them until there has been reduction in the price; while their hirelings, and  all others connected with this heterogeneous composition of humanity striving to earn daily bread, suffer diminution of their wages; neither will the fish curers make one sacrifice beyond common, to share little profit with the hard wrought fisherman. No, selfishness is an ingredient too firmly fixed in the nature of man to expect such a boon. We allow that the large quantities of fish that were caught might, in some measure, help to make a large reduction in the price; but not to that enormous extent which it fell, namely to 2s 6d„ 2s., and in one instance to 1s. 3d. per cran. We have ourselves seen as successful if not more successful fishings; and we can safely say, the cran of herrings reached not such a shamefully low price. However, notwithstanding the extreme cheapness at which their herrings were latterly sold, the most of our fishermen can boast their having procured good draves; and they are now making the usual preparations for again commencing the white or haddock fishing.

Cholera.—This fearful malady has at length made its appearance within our town. Situated as Cellardyke is in a low nook on the shores of Fife, with its close narrow street, and densely populated houses, and, moreover, judging from the fatal fierceness this disease, when it first made its appearance within this town, in the ever memorable year 1832, we feel justified in supposing that its ravages will be more fierce here than any of the towns in the vicinity, that are at this moment under its malignant influence. Hoping that such predictions will prove false and altogether illusory, we would take the liberty to warn the managers to use that magisterial power which they possess with firmness, in keeping the streets clean and quelling violent brawlers who are opposed to such overcleanness merely because it is a novelty. And we would also hope that the inhabitants will cordially join with the managers in doing all in their power to avert the impending danger. There have been four cases since Thursday last, two of have been fatal. The other two are in a fair way of recovery.

One week later

CHOLERA. This awful scourge has broken out with great virulence in the fishing village of Cellardyke. The deaths during the last fourteen days have been 17. Taking the small population of the place into account (about 1500.) it is very serious. Among those who died this week was a stout able woman, mother of Willie Thomson, who is well known in the locality. This woman earned a living by working among and selling fish, and to all appearance was in poverty, but did not owe a penny to anyone. When dying, she told her son that there was money in an old chest, which on being searched was found to contain, in gold, silver, bank notes and copper, the sum of £152 5s. 6d., rolled up among clothes, and concealed in different parts of the chest. The money has been placed in the bank for her son’s maintenance. (this could be the equivalent of £7 400 today)

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