The Cellardyke Echo – 1/1/24 – Issue 423

Saturday Jan 1st – 1853 – From The Pittenweem Register

Final Departure of the Fishermen for Australia

On Saturday last letters arrived in Cellardyke, Pittenweem and St Monance, from the agents of the emigrant ship Wacousta, warning them to be on board on Friday the 31st December, and on Tuesday last the whole part with the exception of George Allan and William Davidson who went by Dysart, embarked on the Xantho Steamer, on their way to Glasgow. The weather during the Morning, and up to the hour of sailing, (one o’ clock) was so stormy that doubts were entertained whether the steamer would be able to leave the harbour of Anstruther. It being pretty generally known that the men would take their departure on Tuesday, and the occurrence being one of no ordinary nature their friends and acquaintances from the various towns in our neighbourhood began to assemble on the pier before the hour of Sailing, and at one, the multitude was greater than had ever before been witnessed on Anster Pier. When all was ready for starting, and the time was come when the nearest and dearest should separate – the parting scene which took place was most affecting. – the stoutest hearts of those in the immediate vicinity were softened, and tears of manly pity tricked down the cheeks of many of the beholders. When the last bell was rung, the Fishers went on board, and the steamer prepared to leave the harbour, although the wind blew fiercely in her teeth. The crowd stood still, with a feeling which indicated that they were prepared to help, if help was wanting, but they vessel cleared out as usual, notwithstanding the gale and proceeded on her voyage.

Jan 8th 1853

Saturday last, being New Years Day, was ushered in with the usual hearty welcome. At five o clock on Friday Morning the youngsters were running through the streets, cheering as the signal for collecting their forces, and then took for their “cakes”. Some of the knowing ones changed their dress and came for a second supply, which the gudewives considered unfair, and those that were caught in this dirty trick got very unceremonious treatment. On the evening of Friday, balls were held in the Town Halls of Cellardyke Anstruther and Pittenweem, which were kept up until the next morning. About ten o clock on New Years Day the Shooting Matches commenced by way of Raffles, which were carried on until dusk. This kind of sport extended along the whole East coast, and for several miles inland. During the forenoon the Teetotal Band of Elie visited their brethren of St Monance and the Pittenweem band went to Anster – Indeed only for the stir occasioned by the Teetotal bands of Music, the day would have passed over without anything which would be called for observation. We did not see one person in a state of drunkenness during the day. In the evening Guizers were parading, with grotesque dresses, some of them singing, others playing on instruments and dancing. The Guizers of this season are more numerous than those of last year.

(Description of Guizers in Pittenweem in 1845 – The Pittenweem Register)

The Sports of New Year’s Day’s evening begins with the children going about as Guizers; two of them very pretty youths, a boy and a girl, fantastically dressed, entered our house and sand “Awa’ my Soger Laddie” in a very creditable style.

 Here, again, enters three men in one company, and in a minute after them came other two, one of them a pretty young woman, dressed in Turkish costume, which she became exceedingly; the young man who came along with her looked the character of a gallant British seaman, in disguise. One of the three men first mentioned assumed the character of Prince Charlie. They Stopped a short time, sung a song and passed on.

Scarcely had they got outside the door when in marches six more, but in shat character or costume, or whether they were men or women, it wouldn’t be easy to tell. Some of them resembled the witches in Macbeth, only they were young and supple – more akin to those that Tam o Shanter saw dancing at Alloway Kirk. Their gambols consisted in walking round the room, arm in arm, laughing as they walked, and well they might for their figure was most grotesque. One of them, a tall good looking girl, wore a huge wig, or rather three or four wigs, with large bunches of hair hanging all round, the tresses of which occasionally went aside, and discovered her youthful countenance.

Half past nine o clock – three more masquerarders to enter, in character of African fishermen.

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