The Cellardyke Echo -18/June/2021 – Issue 292

Cellardyke Pond

Page 199 of Harry Watson’s book “Later in the decade ambitious plans were drawn up for a golf course at the east end of Cellardyke – the ‘architect’ being the great James Braid of Earlsferry. Unfortunately the scheme fell through on the grounds of expense, but a proposal to cut out a swimming pool at the east end of the town was more successful, largely because much of the labour was undertaken by unpaid volunteers. The ‘Pond’ was opened on June 17th 1933 and at the suggestion of Provost Carstairs was called the ‘Cardinal Steps’ nearby a hut was erected for the East Neuk model yacht club.”  Harry then goes on to quote the whole of Poetry Peter’s poem “The Pond” which describes the building of the pool.

27 Sept 1930

Improvement plans – a mass meeting of Cellardyke rate payers was held in Cellardyke town hall. Almost 200 were present, and Mr Alex. Myles, Cellardyke, presided. Discussion centred around improvements which could be carried out to Cellardyke, including the building of a new bathing pond.

Advert 1931 – 1933

ANSTRUTHER and CELLARDYKE, the Fifeshire Coast.—Bracing air, low rainfall; facilities for Golf, Tennis Bowling, Boating, etc.; Swimming Pond;

 5th August 1932

Cellardyke Swimming Pond

The swimming and model yachting pond which is at present being built at the shoals, Cellardyke, by R Terras, builder East Wemyss, is expected to be completed within a fortnight or so. The original idea was to build a small boating pond, but the Cellardyke Putting Green Committee and the Improvements Committee decided to put their funds together so as to enable them to embark on a larger undertaking. A pond which also provides facilities for swimming has resulted.

The funds of the committees have been exhausted in the scheme, but the pond promises to be a very serviceable one. The deepest point, six feet, is at the middle, and the water grows gradually shallower towards a sandbank each end where children will be able to play in safety. There is unfortunately no retaining wall, but this addition may be provided at some future date.

29th Sept 1932

CELLARDYKE SWIMMING POOL SCHEME. Cellardyke Improvements Committee, Ratepayers’ Association, and Putting Green Committee are to co-operate in an endeavour to finish the construction of the new bathing pond. Bailie Carstairs and Councillor Mitchell have been elected presidents of the new body, and the other officials are the joint secretary and treasurer, Messrs Butters and Bowman. It has been resolved to proceed with the construction of the west retaining wall. When completed the pond will be one of the largest in Fife.

17th Oct 1932

Model Yachting Trophy Cellardyke Town Improvement Committee has received gift from Mr G. W. Wortley, of Falkirk. It is in the form of a beautiful silver cup to be named the Sherriff Cup, and to be used for model boat sailing. The condition laid down in connection with the Sherriff Cup competition is that boats must be made locally and sailed by the builder. Already many hands have been work, and on the return of the fishermen from the south some exciting races are looked forward to. The new bathing and yachting pond at Cellardyke is now completed and is expected to largely patronised both as a model yachting pond in the winter and bathing pond in summer.

27 Dec 1932

BOAT-BUILDING IN CELLARDYKE BOAT-BUILDING is booming in Cellardyke. Down at the harbour and in the streets there is no unusual activity. The town wears that pre-occupied demeanour, habitual to her after the close of the Yarmouth fishing. And the population is-to all appearances -quietly and methodically engaged in preparing for the coming “winter herring.” Nor is there anything secret or sinister about the new “industry.” Through the efforts of the Ratepayers’ Improvement Association, a large pond has recently been completed “east the toon,” beside the famous Cardinal’s Steps. This pond, which, I understand, is the largest of its kind in Fife, is to be formally opened early in the New Year as a yachting pond. During the summer months it will be used for swimming.

PERFECT MODELS A “Model Boat Club” is presently in process of formation. Nearly every man, young and old, is interested, and every day we see a boat-laden procession going pond-wards. In garrets, cellars, back shops, and by cosy firesides in the winter evenings, every “man body ” in the town, from the youthful schoolboy to the aged ” Dey,” is busily engrossed in making ” model boats.” Each dainty vessel is perfect in every detail, and thus reflects the greatest credit on the skill, ingenuity, and patience of her builders. There is no flaw in her exquisite workmanship, no error in her dimensions. With white sails set, she awaits that thrilling moment when, carried proudly Fife’s Biggest Yachting and Swimming Pond to Be Opened in New Year Ratepayers’ Improvement Association Provides Town with New Recreation

THE SPIRIT OF RIVALRY ABROAD By Mrs A. R. ROWLANDS I thither in the arms of her builder, she is launched, not only into her native element, but also into strenuous competition against her sister ships. It is charming sight to see the tiny craft, sails all taut, darting through the wind-ruffled wavelets of the pond, responding, as it were, to the shouts of encouragement from admiring and enthusiastic spectators, some of whom in their excitement run the risk of toppling into the > water. “THE FIFIE” At the first casual glance the boats | seem to differ only in size and colour. , A closer scrutiny reveals the fact that each has been designed from either of two models. The “Fifie ” type, which has no connection with our old friend of the Tay Ferry, is modelled on the lines of old-time fishing boat. She has two masts and carries jib, main, and mizzen sails. Her direction is controlled by the weight of her keel and the manipulation of her sails. The yacht models, on the other hand, have been designed to take the path of least resistance. As they cut through the water, their long, slender, graceful lines are easily discerned. Their complement is one mast and four sails, forejib and aft-jib, main-sail and top-sail, and they are directed by a rudder.

AN OLD AMBITION The “old order changeth.” This is true of Cellardyke. Altered conditions of living have engendered the desire for improvement, and improved circumstances have, in their turn, created the need of recreation The new bathing and boating pond has been the result of the united efforts of Cellardyke Ratepayers’ Improvements Association to foster the spirit of enterprise and to supply by artificial means that something lacking in the natural endowments of their burgh. The “Dykers” are well noted as a keen-witted, far-sighted, and progressive community; it has long been their ambition to make their clean and caller town valuable asset to her inhabitants. They are now endeavouring not only to cater for their own requirements, but also to minister to the needs of those who spend a brief annual holiday on their shores.

YOUTH ROUSED This new “industry” or “hobby,” as some may term it, has awakened the interest of Cellardyke youths. It has roused their latent ability and stimulated their ambition, for not only must they emulate their experienced elders, they must also attempt to surpass them by exhibition of workmanship superior to that of the “old-timers.” Although the spirit of rivalry is abroad, it is a friendly and kindly spirit. Each man tries to outvie his neighbour in the production of “champion racer.” Well and merrily, therefore, may the bonny boaties speed, their billowing sails filled by the sportive winds of the Forth.

12 Jan 1933

The Board of Trade intimated that they would grant the council a lease of the around on the site of Cellardyke Bathing Pond for 31 years at a rent of 10s per annum. The council resolved hand the letter over to Cellardyke Improvements Committee, who owned the pond.

19th Jan 1933

Cellardyke Improvements Committee held a bazaar in Anstruther Town Hall with view to raising funds to defray the cost of the new bathing and model-yachting pond at Cellardyke. Over £450 was realised. Provost Carstairs declared the bazaar open. He suggested that pond should be given a distinctive name, such the “Cardinal Steps Bathing Pond.”

The stallholders were:—Mrs Anderson, Mrs Boyter, Mrs Butters, Miss Smith, Airs Maxwell, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Fortune, Mrs Gardner, Mrs Bett, Mrs Mitchell, Mrs Watson, Miss Isa Henderson, and Mrs Birrell. Mrs Hosie and Mrs Swinton supervised the tea arrangements, and Messrs John Harrow and James Laing were in charge of the amusements.

16th March 1933

MODEL YACHT CONTEST AT CELLARDYKE BIG ENTRY FOR SATURDAY’S EVENT. Under the auspices of the East Fife Model Sailing Club the first heats of the Mitchell Cup competition were run off yesterday afternoon the Cardinal Steps pond, Cellardyke, about 20 entries being received. There was a large number of spectators. Weather conditions were ideal, and competition between the various craft was keen. About 80 entries have been received for Saturday’s events in the same competition. The finals will also held on Saturday if weather permits.

21 April 1933

MODEL YACHT RACE AT CELLARDYKE CUP COMPETITION FOR JUVENILES. The Wilson Cup competition for juveniles promoted by the East Fife Model Sailing Club, was held the Cardinal Steps Pond, Cellardyke, 31 models being entered. A large number of spectators watched the young competitors sailing their models. It is expected another competition for the juveniles will held before the start of the bathing season.

13th May 1933

CELLARDYKE. Improving Swimming Pond. —Work is fast going in improving the local swimming pond, and it the plan the Improvements Committee remove all the skerries from the pond floor and cover it with sand as much as possible. Much of the rock has already gone. A new feature to introduce this year is a water chute, while preparations are also being made for installing a set of diving boards at various heights. Members of the committee were at St Andrews swimming-pond on Monday studying its layout in effort bring about like conditions in Cellardyke.

20 May 1933

Names were taken for a party to attend the opening gala of the Cellardyke Improvement Committee, whose pond is to be formally opened 2nd June

10 June 1933

TEP ROCK AMATEURS.—On Thursday evening, Mr W. Bruce, the former Scottish diving champion, and Mr W. Reynolds, the well-known Midlands swimmer, commenced their classes at the Step Rock Pond. On Saturday next week, a party of Step Rock Amateurs are travelling to Cellardyke (leaving St Andrews at 3.30) to give a display at the opening of the new swimming pond

20 July 1933


A swimming gala was held by the Shaulds Amateur Swimming Club at the Cardinal Steps Pond. Cellardyke, last night, when prize-winners were: —Girls’ race—Lizzie Gardner; boys’ race —John Beaton; boys’ diving— 1. John Horsburgh, 2 Alex. Keay; open 100 yards race —Wm. Duncan; yards local handicap—Wm. Duncan; open diving competition—John Kellie; greasy pole fight—George Ritchie and John Smith (equal).

14 Sept 1933

Ancient Rite to Be Revived Next Wednesday evening an ancient rite is to be revived at Cellardyke. At 7.15 p.m. a torchlight procession of inhabitants dressed in fancy costumes will leave the town green. The local fishermen, as in olden times, will march through the streets and wallop ” the ” fast-steekit ” doors of the houses with tangle, or seaweed. The rite has been revived by the Cellardyke Improvements Association, who inaugurated the swimming pond at the Cardinal’s Steps

15 Jan 1934

AST FIFE MODEL SAILING CLUB COMPETITION. The East Fife Model Sailing Club held a competition at the Cardinal Steps Pond, Cellardyke, on Saturday, when 22 entries were received. With a fair westerly wind the various heats in each class were quickly sailed. Different members of the committee acted as umpires. The following were the winners:—24 in. and under—Martin Sutherland in. and under —Martin Sutherland; 30 in. and under —John Rodger, jun., in. and under—James Tarvit; i and under Thomas Murray. in. and over—James Stewart.

9th April 1934

Model Sailing Contest The members of the East Fife Model Sailing Club, Cellardyke, are looking forward to their second contest with Perth Model Yacht Club at Perth on Saturday, 19th May. The East Fife Club will compete with a team of four model ” Fifies,” which will be the four fastest boats belonging to the members. The last competition between Perth and East Fife took place at the Cardinal Steps Pond, Cellardyke, on 14th October last, but calm weather somewhat marred the event. On that occasion Perth Club defeated East Fife by 22 points to 10. In anticipation of the forthcoming competition trials are to be conducted at the Cellardyke Pond, and the four models gaining the most points during these trials will be selected for Perth.

1st June 1934

Bathing Pool Improvements The members of the Cardinal’s Steps Amateur Swimming Club, Cellardyke, are looking forward to a successful season. Galas have been organised for various dates in June, July and August, and an invitation extended to neighbouring clubs. During the winter about £200 has been spent on improving the Cellardyke pond. An additional diving board and cement platform have been provided, and the diving pit, 29 feet in radius, has been deepened to 8 feet 9 inches. At the outer wall extra sluice has been constructed, making it possible to empty the pond in about 1 ½  , hours

21 July 1934

CELLARDYKE. Cake and Candy Stall. Cellardyke Improvements Committee held a cake and candy sale on the town’s green on Wednesday. It was unfortunately marred by wet weather. The sale, which was in aid of improvements to the bathing pond, was opened Bailie Mitchell, and those in charge were:—Drapery—Mrs Gardner. Mrs Sutherland. Mrs Laing, Miss Williamson. Miss C. Smith, and Mrs Jas. Bett; tea—Mrs Hosie, Mrs Swinton, and assistants; amusements Councillor Laing. Messrs Motion, Myles, Brown, Sutherland, Wilson, and Stewart.

21 August 1934

COMEDY GALA. —The carnival spirit was much in evidence at Cellardyke pond, when a comedy gala was held under the auspices of the Cardinal’s Steps Amateur Swimming Club. Novelty races were provided in abundance. Regulation rules governing galas went by the board, and the awards were given, not to the actual winners, but in some cases to the last competitor. The “Good-night Race” in particular provided much merriment. The six male competitors carried candles and were arrayed in nightgowns and mutches. The starter and judge was the club president, Mr Duncan Macintyre. Results:- Boys’ race–Robert Davis; ” good-night ” race—Robert Cunningham; boys’ diving —John Horsburgh; girls’ race—Maggie Ritchie; men’s diving—Win. Duncan; ” bun and ginger pop ” race—Agnes Gardner; ladies’ race—Maggie Ritchie An open-air entertainment was afterwards held on the town’s green, at which Mr Reid, the Paisley ventriloquist, entertained a large crowd. Songs were also given by Messrs Gray and Burns, Glasgow.

July 1936

Swimmers from St Andrews assisted Cellardyke Improvements Committee with their swimming gala held at the Cardinal’s Steps Swimming Pond at Cellardyke on Monday night The visitors gave displays diving, swimming, and life-saving. The gala, which attracted a crowd about 2000 spectators, was organised by Mr Earl Gillespie, the coach the East Neuk district.

24th June 1937

RICYCLE SLIPS OVER SEA WALL CELLARDYKE CHILD INJURED. The three-year-old daughter of Mr and Mrs George Brown, Shore Street, Cellardyke, sustained severe head injuries when she fell over the sea wall the Cardinal Steps Bathing Pond, Cellardyke, yesterday. Her mother had taken her for outing to the east end, and the child, who was riding a tricycle on the braes, suddenly slipped over the sea wall and fell several feet on to the rocks. She was attended by Dr D. C. Wilson, who found her suffering from concussion and shock.

30 Sept 1938

STONE-AGE “FIND” AT CELLARDYKE A relic of the Stone Age has been found by Mr Robert Brown, Shore Street, Cellardyke, in the vicinity of Cellardyke Bathing Pond. It is a very fine example of a stone axe, and is now in the collection of Mr William White, F.S.A.(Scot), Shore Road, West Anstruther.

26 Feb 1947

To Attract Visitors Cellardyke resident Alexander Smith has started a “Monday Night at Eight” dance session for young and old. Object to gather funds for a children’s playing field and an improved bathing pond, additional attractions for holidaymakers. Mr Smith concerned with the effects of the decline of the fishing industry on the  population of the Anstruther united burghs In recent years has devoted much time to calling attention to this trend, and it was largely through his efforts that the East Fife Joint Development Council was formed. He is the council’s first chairman, and prosecuting plans for bringing light industries into the coast area. Its development a holiday centre it also receiving his enthusiastic support, and he now putting Cellardyke in the van of the movement for better summer facilities. Mr Smith served for a time on Anstruther Town Council.

20th Aug 1953

A sea queen is crowned Miss Agnes Brunton, 15-year-old Anstruther schoolgirl, goes to her crowning as Sea Queen of Anstruther at the Cardinal Steps Bathing Pond at Cellardyke. Crowning was by Miss C. Smith, niece of the late Provost W. W. Carstairs, Anstruther. The retiring queen, Miss Moira Stewart (16), of Anstruther, transferred her authority to the new queen by handing over the sceptre.

The Cellardyke Echo – 17/6/2021 – Issue 291


We understand that Messrs Sharp and Murray, the well-known general merchants of Cellardyke, have just purchased the extensive and eligible fishcuring premises in the East Green of Anstruther, erected and occupied for some years by Mr Walter Ireland of Buckhaven. These premises may be regarded a model of their kind, and in the present unprecedentedly low state of the trade they realise a rental of £50, but the purchase price is understood to be only about £600, which is fully £200 less than the outlay in erecting the premises some fourteen years ago. A few weeks since, Mr David Murray, of the same firm, bought Mr Ireland’s villa for about £520, which was less by about £350 than the cost of the property only eight or nine years before.

The Late Mr Robert Pratt.- Early on Monday morning, before the rest of the town had awaked from their slumbers, an old man passed calmly and almost imperceptibly to his long rest, who deserves more than the usual brief obituary notice. We refer to Mr Robert Pratt, sailmaker, whose death will call up many old remembrances to his numerous friends and acquaintances in all the towns along the coast. Mr Pratt’s early life was a more than usually adventurous one, and the following particulars, for which we are indebted to the kindness of his brother, Mr John Pratt, himself an old whaler, will perhaps not be unacceptable to our readers. He was born in 1789, and at the early age of eleven years he went to serve in the “Prince of Wales” excise cutter, commanded by Captain Henderson, whose tombstone may be seen on the east side of Anstruther Church. At that time the duties of the cutter, which cruised about the Firth, were more arduous than fall to their lot now, smuggling going on at every suitable place with great activity. After being four years on board the cutter, Mr Pratt went to Dundee, from which port he sailed on board the “Mary Ann,” to Greenland to the whale fishing. On returning to Dundee, and thinking to escape the numerous press-gangs which then infested the country, he went to Leith, where he got in as mate of the smack “Hope,” a trader between Leith and London. His efforts to escape being impressed, however, proved unsuccessful, for he was seized and had to join the “Ardent” guardship, lying in Leith. He was taken on a Friday, and on the Monday his brother Alex. , who had been on his second voyage, singularly enough was brought face to face with him, having been taken out of his ship by the press-gang at the Hynds near Arbroath, and conveyed to the guard-ship. While on board the “Ardent,” Robert was rated boatswain’s mate, and also managed to get married to a woman belonging to St Andrews. Three week after being impressed, he succeeded in making his escape from the ship, by jumping on to the rigging of the ferry boat crossing to Burntisland. On getting to the shore, he made his way inland as quickly as possible, and travelling round by Kellie Law, arrived in Cellardyke on a Sunday night. After this he went to St Andrews, from which port he sailed to London, where he was again pressed while going up the river, and taken on board the Thetis. He did not remain long, however, for five weeks after being impressed, along with a companion also belonging to Cellardyke, named Thomas Watson, the frigate being about a mile and a half off Greenwich, he dropped into the sea through the hawse-hole, and attempted to swim ashore. Pratt managed to get near enough the shore to touch the ground with his feet, but he had just succeeded in getting a foothold when he heard his companion, who was some distance behind him, exclaim, “Oh, Lord God, have mercy on me!” and turning round, saw him sink. To have attempted to rescue Watson in his exhausted state would have been madness, and therefore he wended his sorrowful way to the land, where he fell in with a company of sweeps. Gathering a large quantity of sticks, they quickly lighted a fire, at which he got his clothes dried, he having tied them round his neck before leaving the ship. At Greenwich, he got into a whaler, and made another voyage to Greenland. After coming home, he joined the transport service, and was in the “True Love,” carrying troops from Flushen, for about five years. Leaving this, he went to Shields, and got into a brig going to Falmouth with coals. On the voyage, they were captured by a French vessel, and taken to France, where they were confined in a prison. Mr Pratt often related this portion of his history to his friends, graphically describing the sufferings and hardships which he, along with his companions, underwent while confined there. After being five or six weeks in prison, they managed to punch out the iron bolts in the windows by means of a small marlinspike which had escaped the vigilant search of their captors, and Mr Pratt and 18 others got out by the window, by tying their blankets together, and dropping to the ground. Their prison, however, was situated far from the shore, and before they could get out of the country they had to travel a long distance without food or the means to procure it with. Travelling all night, Mr Pratt lay all day, covering himself with snow to prevent discovery. To procure food, he took the mother of pearl buttons which were on his coat, and sold them to the villagers for food. After these were all gone, he cut off his hair, which at that time was worn very long, and with the money obtained from this, and any food which he could obtain on the way, he supported himself till he arrived at the sea coast. He was not long there before he was fortunate enough to gut away in an English vessel. Shortly after arriving in Britain, he went away to the whale fishing, and made no less than 37 voyages in succession to the Greenland whale fishing. On his last voyage he was struck by a whale, and so much hurt that every bone in his body seemed broken. He was brought home, and during all the next winter was laid up by the injuries he had received. After this he settled down in Cellardyke, and having been learnt by his father, along with the rest of his brothers, to sew a very necessary accomplishment to a sailor he began sailmaking, and continued up till last year at that work. About the New Year, his strength began to fail him, and he had to take to his bed, from which time he was gradually sunk, till on Monday morning, as stated above, he breathed his last, at the age of 81. Mr Pratt was a quiet, sober man, and was much respected by all who knew him. He was well known along the coast, and also in Dundee and Aberdeen, from having sailed so often from these ports.

The Cellardyke Echo – 10/6/2021 – Issue 290


Provost Black, Cellardyke, yesterday presented Mr William Sutherland, fisherman, coxswain of Anstruther lifeboat, with the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society, and Mr Thomas Pratt, fisherman, with a certificate from the society, for having saved the lives two boys in Anstruther Harbour on 21st April. The two fishermen had previously been presented with £15 aid £5 respectively by Mrs Walker, West Calder in recognition their bravery.

Kilrenny Parish Council Poor relief

A CELLARDYKE CASE. Mrs Reid or Brown’s appeal was next dealt with. The Chairman explained that the husband bad died some four months ago, and the family of 7 had been left with nothing. The woman had kept off the Board until she was absolutely compelled to go on. Her husband’s nets and gear were taken to sea, and it was very good of the fishermen to take them. This could not go on, however, and the gear had to be returned, and the woman became absolutely penniless. She said she would have kept off the Board had her gear been taken to sea. They had granted her 6s a week a month ago. The Council decided to increase this aliment to 7s 6d per week.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir, –As this is the day of public inquiries, and as it seems to me that the Kirk session of Kilrenny are appointed to act in the interests of the parishioner., I would like if you or any of the members of the same can tell me what has become of the money that was left by Mr Orphat for the keeping up of the Kirk yard. As far as I can learn there was £100 invested at four per cent, the interest of which was to be spent in keeping the Kirk yard clean. L am credibly informed that it is nearly twenty years since the present caretaker got any of it. Where is it going to or is it lost?: or what has become of it? is what your humble servant wants to know. I am, etc.,


Last week homer pigeon alighted one of the (Cellardyke) boats at sea, about 30 miles off Shields, and on the voyage home laid an egg. The bird, however, died on Monday.

Factory Act Prosecutions— At Cupar Sheriff Court on Tuesday before Sheriff Armour—Messrs J. Martin A Company, waterproof clothing manufacturers, Cellardyke, were prosecuted at the instance of Mr W. Buchan, H.M. Inspector of Factories, for employing three girls under 18 years of age, on the April last, until 9 p.m., when they should have stopped work at seven o’clock in the evening. The firm pleaded guilty, and a fine 30s was imposed, with costs.


The Pioneer ML 30

The experiment of applying auxiliary power to an ordinary sailing fishing boat, initiated in 1905, was continued during the summer and autumn months of 1900, and was followed with deep interest by the fishermen and all the fishery authorities of the United Kingdom, as well as those engaged in the marine motor engineering trade. A new skipper (John Mackay, Cellardyke) and crew were engaged, the latter consisting of six men—one from Cellardyke, two from Barra, two from Stornoway, and one from Helmsdale —the terms of agreement being that each man was to receive one-seventeenth of the net earnings as wages. The skipper supplied three-sevenths of the fleet of nets, and in return for this received an additional three-seventeenths of the net earnings, leaving seven-seventeenths for the Board, three seventeenths for the boat, and four seventeenths for their share of the nets.

The Pioneer left Anstruther on the 1st of May and arrived at Castlebay on the 11th, having made calls at Wick, Scrabster, Loch Eriboll, and Stornoway, at which places fishermen and others interested in the fishing industry were given an opportunity of inspecting the motor. Fishing operations were commenced on 13th May and were continued till 10th June, but the results were most disappointing, the total earnings amounting to only £27. Various causes were assigned for this result, but the principal cause was the disinclination of the skipper to risk the loss of his fishing gear by fishing close inshore, where herrings appear to have been most abundant during the early summer, but even in the case of other boats the catches were very unequally distributed.

The motor was not in any way to blame for the result; indeed, it proved of considerable benefit to the crew in enabling them to go to and return from the fishing grounds during calm weather. From Barra the Pioneer proceeded to Lerwick, where she arrived on 14th June, after calling at Loch Boisdale and Stornoway, and from that date till the 30th, when she left for Wick, her earnings were better, though they can hardly be called even fairly satisfactory, amounting to £89, as compared with an average of £92 secured by sailing boats and £202 by steamers during the same period. The overheating of the shaft bearings of the motor, which had begun to manifest itself at Castlebay, became more pronounced at Lerwick, especially after fairly long runs, and to this defect was added the accumulation of water, oil, and dirt round the fly-wheel through lack of a pump to remove it. These drawbacks very materially interfered with the proper working of the boat.

On reaching Wick (4th July) the motor was thoroughly examined and overhauled by Mr Keir, the fishery officer of Anstruther district, to whom great credit is due for the close attention paid by him to the experiment, and for the interest he has taken in the motor. The necessary pump was now fitted into the boat, and the engine was thoroughly cleaned.


On Saturday forenoon quite a stir was created in Cellardyke when it became known that a young child, about two years old, the son of Robot Moncur, fireman on the drifter Vanguard, had been drowned in a tub. It appears that the mother had been doing some washing and the boy was playing about beside her. She had left him for a few minutes and had returned to find the unfortunate child immersed in a tub of water. Medical aid was summoned and Dr Wilson was soon on the spot, but although artificial respiration was tried for about two hours, it was of no avail. Mr Moncur, who was with the Vanguard at Aberdeen, was wired for, and the vessel left immediately for home. The sad event cast quite a gloom over the community, and much sympathy was expressed for the parents.

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND GUILD EXAMINATION. —The subject of examination this year was St Luke’s Gospel, chapters 1 and 2. Eleven members of Mr Ray’s junior Bible Class sat the examination, and the results, which have just come to hand, show that all the young people have taken certificates. No certificate is given unless the candidate takes at least 50 per cent of the possible marks. Three Cellardyke girls have acquitted themselves exceptionally well, namely, Jeannie D. Fleming, Charlotte Gardner, and Minnie Brown, Jeanie Fleming being ninth on the list of successful candidates, with 89¼ – per cent., Charlotte Gardner 20th with 85 per cent., and Minnie Brown 25th with 80¼ per cent. Those three receive merit certificates and book prizes. Merit certificates are also awarded to Jessie H. Brown, who took 77½ per cent., Helen Watson, who took 74 per cent, and Maggie Williamson, who took 68 ¼ per cent., while pass certificates are awarded to Mary McRuvie, with 62 ½ per cent., Janet Hodge, with 57 per cent., Barbara I. Smith, with 57 ½ per cent , Thomas Tarvit, with 51 ¼  per cent., and Thomas Lothian with 50 per cent. It is hoped that the success of the above will lead a larger number of the young people to compete next year. At the close of the morning service last Sunday Mr Ray read the results of the examination and expressed his gratification with them.

The Cellardyke Echo – 03/06/2021 – Issue 289


At a meeting of managers of the Church on Monday night, Mr Bisset, Granton, was appointed organist and choirmaster by a majority in room of Mr Pattison, Crail, who resigned. Rev. Mr Ray, the minister, left yesterday on a three weeks deputy mission work among the fishing population at Barra.

Private James Duncan, son of Mrs William Duncan (late of Cellardyke) , writes detailing his life and duty during the siege of Kimberley. We had no big guns to reply to the Boers shelling, but only a few mussel-loading 7-pounders, which were no use against 12 and 15 pounders. We have had some narrow escapes from shells. One day I was going down a street from the house, and on turning the corner into another street, a shell came and burst on the pavement, sending pieces flying all round. During the same day shells were coming into the town at a great rate, making large holes in the streets and wrecking houses. Mother, Willie, and I had a very narrow shave. They came up to visit me at the camp at the Sanatorium, in the afternoon. I took them to see the position where the Boers were firing from, a ridge about 5 miles away. I took them down to the end of the ground, and we stood watching the smoke of the gun. 2 or 3 shells were fired, but they burst a long way off. When the next one came it made a fearful noise going through the air, and it exploded right in front of us 10 yards away. Mother did the wise thing by getting fiat down on the ground. William got through the wire fence, and picked up a few bits scattered on the road, on which the train runs. It had passed 2 seconds before the shell came. We all got a fright, but it helped us all the better to stand the brutes of 100 pounders. They did terrible damage to the town. The firing of the shells at night when the town was at rest was most barbarous. All the shelling of the Boers never gave them any advantage. If they had shelled the defences and redoubts round the town, and then attacked the place, they might have gained something, but their purpose was to kill women and children, and fire at the hospital. The Boers knew that all the husbands and brothers were out at the different posts round the town, which were the safest places from shell fire. The only little bit of a scrape I had was on the day when the relief column came. We were relieved on a Thursday, but on the Wednesday we took a Boer position, Alexandersfontein. My company was sent out to relieve the townguard. We left at 3 o’clock and went to a place sailed Davis Koppie, stayed there until 8 o’clock at night. Then 25 of us marched to Alexandersfontein through torrents of rain. We were wet through in spite of the overcoats. We arrived there about ten o’clock p.m. We started to dig trenches for protection against rifle fire, which we knew would come with daylight. About 6 o’clock in the morning we were busy putting up a redoubt of sand bags, when whiss, ping, came a few bullets over our heads, and with that shell fire as well. Work was stopped at once, but only for a time. It was work that had to be done quickly for protection’s sake. An hour after we started again and worked a while when bullets and shells came again all round. The Boers had a twelve pounder gun on a koppie called Spitzkop, and a 40 pounder on another called Susanna, so that we had 12 pounders firing into the right of us and 40 pounders into the left. It was not pleasant to stand there and be targets for bullets and shells. Several of the party were out at different points, and noticing the enemy’s fire they started with maxim and rifles, preventing the Boers from coming to the redoubts. Meanwhile the Boers were trying to get round a position, an empty house, in which there were 12 of our fellows. Another section of 12 men, of which I was one, was sent out to check them. We advanced from the redoubt in single file, six paces from each other, taking all the cover we could behind bushes, ant heaps, &c.. until we reached a ridge. We saw the Boers and let them have plenty of fire. As we advanced over the ridge, the bushes got very scarce, and so little cover could be found we had to lie down and crawl along, firing a shot only now and again. The Boers were situated on a clump of big stones, and had excellent cover. They could see every move we made. I was lying behind a bush 3 feet high, and every now again would fire a round, and then lie flat, when the bullets would come and knock the leaves off the bush. The nearest bullet was 2 feet off. I dug it out of the ground. We had a hot time of it. One of our fellows was hit in the head. He was my messmate. It was at this time we were getting a cross fire from all sides. We had to lie in one position flat on the ground, for 1 ½ hours without seeing or firing a shot. Then the Maxim gun came up and played on the Boers. We dare not show ourselves even then, but had to slide along the ground flat for about 300 yards before we got to cover. The chap who was hit was able to help himself away. He was in the hospital 3 weeks, and now he has a piece of his skull about the size of a sixpence, to hang on his watch chain. Altogether 13 were wounded that day, and while the ambulance waggon was receiving them the Boers shelled it.

Our object was not to attack the enemy unless they attempted to advance. We were there to keep them back off the flat veldt, where the relief column was coming through, and to hold the dam and springs of water. At 3.30 P.M. we sighted the relief coming through the kopjee, where the 40 lb. gun was. A splendid sight it was. The gun immediately stopped shelling, the column captured it, and came into Alexandersfontein. Then the Boers ran off for dear life. Shortly afterwards the relief column marched into Kimberley.

Private Duncan concludes his interesting letter by saying he got the Queen’s box of chocolate all right, and hoping the war will soon be over. He says he had not slept in a bed for over 6 months, and all that time about 6 times in a tent, having had to sleep out in trenches, redoubts, and on tops of koppies. He had not had his clothes off to go to bed all the time.


Launch of Fishing Boat.—Yesterday afternoon Mr Miller (Anstruther) launched a fishing boat which he has built to the order Messrs James Muir and James Tarvit, fishermen, Cellardyke. The boat was named the True Vine by Miss Muir, daughter of (me of the owners. She 68 feet over all, with a beam of 20 feet 10 inches, and depth of 8 feet.

Theft from a Harness-Room.

At a Police Court yesterday, David Ross, a carter, Cellardyke, pled guilty to stealing a horse’s collar from Kirkcaldy’s harness-room at the Dreel Castle stables and was fined 10s 6d, or seven days.

Robert Keith, carter, Cellardyke, was fined 7s 6d or five days, for a disturbance on Saturday night Shore and East Green Streets.


Three Cellardyke boats which have been fishing for the past four weeks on the Donegal coast, arrived home on Saturday. The season was a very poor one, the stormy weather preventing them frequently getting to sea. The earnings were about £5O, and the prices sometimes went up to £3 per cran for the herrings, which were of splendid quality. The rest of the Cellardyke boats are to remain for three or four weeks yet in the hope that better weather will enable them to secure more herrings.

The earnings of the liners last week were as follows:—Rothesay Bay £78, Anster Fair £69, Glenogil £6O, Innergellie £42, and William Tenant £9O.


The many friends of the late Mr Thos. Cunningham of Cellardyke will be very pleased to hear of his son, Rev. Thomas Cunningham’s great success and honour in ministerial work. He is the Minister of “Scottsdale” and “Ringarooma,” Tasmania, where he has laboured for the last twelve years, and at the last General Assembly of the Presbyterian church of Tasmania, he was elected to the moderator’s chair. Prior to this honour being conferred on him, the ladies of his congregation presented him with lovely new pulpit-robes, showing how much he is esteemed and beloved. It is the heartfelt wish of all his friends that the rev. gentleman may be spared in health and strength to labour amongst those who all love him so dearly.

PROPELLOR FOR FISHING BOATS. We hare much pleasure in calling attention to MACDONALD’S IMPROVED STEAM CAPSTAN, and to their New and Highly Satisfactory PORTABLE PROPELLOR for FISHING BOATS. The Propellors, which can be fitted into any boat, have surpassed all expectations, and are capable of driving a boat at six knots without interfering with her as a sailing craft. We shall be glad to give particulars to interested parties regarding this most important invention to Fishermen. AGENTS- JOHN MARTIN & Co., CELLARDYKE:


THE FISHERY STATISTICS OF THE ANSTRUTHER DISTRICT. The tables prepared on behalf of the Fishery Board for Scotland, and given in the annual report recently issued, show that in their Anstruther district last year there were 11 steam vessels engaged in the fishing with 116 of a tonnage, and of the value of £10,725. The value of the lines was £518, of the nets £1055, and of the bush, buoy ropes and buoys £378. The length of the lines in yards was 308.700, and 315,000 square yards of netting and 23,240 yards of ropes. The number of men and boys engaged was 71.

The fishing boats in the district last year numbered 515, of a value of 299,504, while the value of the nets was £60,042, the lines £4,440, the bush and buoy ropes, &c., £14,954, and the crab and lobster creels £801, or a grand total of £179,741, The area of netting in square yards was 20,469,844, of the lines 2,678, 940, and of the ropes 908,410. The number of crab and lobster creels was 5,760. The number of fishermen and boys was 2,178.

In Anstruther and Cellardyke there are 142 boats with 434 resident fishermen and boys and 163 non-resident fishermen and boys. The value of all kinds of fish landed last year was £38,987.  ( this figure is incorrect as in the winter herring season alone that year 32 000 crans were landed and the minimum value being  £1 per cran) In Pittenweem there are 66 boats with 227 resident and 87 non-resident fishermen while the value of the fish landed was £40,047. In St Monans there are 100 boats with 372 resident and 204 non-resident fishermen, and the value last year was £9,157. In Crail and Kingsbarns there are 42 boats with 78 fishermen, and the value was £5433. In Crail alone the value was £4803. In Anstruther district there are 2801 persons employed in the industry.

The Cellardyke Echo – 29/5/2021 – Issue 288


The dashing North Sea clipper “Alaska” of Cellardyke has just been exchanged by skipper Thomas Ritchie for the “Margarets,” belonging to his young townsmen, Mr David Davidson. The Skipper, we believe, is induced to take this step as a veteran will do who finds his strength no longer equal to the fire of the race, and so, however reluctantly reefs his sail.


Owing to the heavy gales of Monday and Tuesday the fishermen have suffered great loss of gear, many of the nets, when shot for bait, have been torn to shreds. Very fair shots of big fish were landed by 56 boats, and the sums realised ranged from £4 to £33 The prices were—cod, 12s to 16s per score ; ling, 1s 3d to 2se each ; halibut, 3s 9d to 5s per stone; and skate. 1s 3d to 1s 6d each. The most of the fish were bought by the local fishcurers to be dried. Six Cellardyke boats left Anstruther lost week to prosecute the herring fishing on the Irish coast at Kinsale.

A Cutting from the Log

“Eiast oot for the muckle creel ” was the watchword of Tom Murray, who lived in the days of Queen Anne and as true at this hour as it was a hundred and eighty years ago. Only see, for example, the last time the sail was furled at Anster Pier. There would seem to be little to glean or gather on the edge, but how widely different is the harvest in the outer sea! The boats to leeward—that is, forty to eighty miles east of the May—realised five to twenty pounds, but the supplies to windward are the big sheaves of the year. Thus it was that by the fifty-six sales on Friday the broad quay, stretching like a great arm a couple of furlongs to sea, was once and again, as alter a snowstorm, by the white fish laid out for market. But let a single anecdote illustrate the whole. As the shadows began to fall on Monday, the boats, as if by given signals, took in sail to fish for bait. Not so one gallant craft which, like the curlew, holds her onward flight. Now the curtain falls, and nothing is to be seen save the stars at their sentinel-watch on the battlements of night, and now the sun goes forth like a bridegroom on sea and sky; but she flies on till but two hundred miles are spun by the log away from the May, when first the net and then the line is cast on the smiling deep. It is the Jessie, of Cellardyke, and Skipper Brunton has so exactly hit one of the green spots of ocean that well may the veteran exclaim : “I say, if this is no Shetland, it’s as gude,” as the well-filled hook goes thumping on the deck ; and so, by and-bye, the long run ends at Anstruther pier with the magnificent take of 490 cod, 70 ling, and 20 halibut, of such a size and condition as would have thrown Imperial Rome into ecstasies, not to count the 12 or 13 score of codlings, &c., reserved for the winter use of the crew. The seventy takes fetched £5 to £31, at such prices with first arrivals as cod 17s, and ling 5s and 30s per score ; but there was the usual backward swing, need we say after the lest whistle of the train. Several of the Fifeshire boats were caught within the circle of the gale. Happily no damage was sustained at sea, but the favourite was dismasted in Fisher Row Bay, and the Herbert Gladstone snapped her foreyard, and so was left to drift for a time at the mercy of the tide. Never, perhaps, did the fleet put to sea under more favourable auspices than on Monday. By daybreak the last sail was only seen, if seen at all, like a speck, so fair was the wind ; but by-and-by the sky was strangely overcast, and that night the hardy fisher had to watch by tiller and sheet in one of the wildest storms of the season. Telegrams are to hand telling that several had taken shelter at Aberdeen, Stonehaven, &c.; but as a rule, the fleet kept forereaching at sea with the hope of being able to continue the cruise. The fifteen Fifeshire boats have now sailed for the herring fishing at Kinsale.—Fish Trades Gazette.


On Friday evening last about 7 o’clock some alarm and excitement were created in Cellardyke by a report that a boat had gone ashore on the rocks to the westward of Cellardyke harbour. It seems that there not being enough water to get into Anstruther harbour, the “J. Ritchie-Welch” (Skipper, James Smith), was bringing up to lie until the tide flowed, when, being close inshore, the swell carried her on to the ” busses ” rocks lying to the west of Cellardyke harbour. Assisted by the flowing tide, however, she was soon got off, not much the worse of the mishap. L

LARGE CATCH of Big Fish.—The returns of the enormous quantities of big fish landed at Anstruther on Friday and Saturday of last week have just been made out, and show that there were delivered no fewer than 18,018 cod, 1056 halibut, 2961 ling, 458 skate, and 1901 coleman, making a total of 24,394 fish put out of 62 boats. The highest fished boats were the Jessie, skipper Brunton, who delivered 1191 fish, and received £33 (£4,437.35 in today’s money); and the James Ritchie Welch, skipper Smith, 1108 fish, which realised £35 7s. The money value of the total catch was about £1OOO.( £134,465.12 approx. value today)

ST Cyrus.-On Monday a carrier pigeon alighted at the small fishing village of Tangle Ha’, being the bearer of the following message from fishing boat at sea —”To Anstruther—From boat Vine, Cellardyke—1 o’clock, —25 miles off May—15 miles off Northland. Very little wind, and a little thick, but we see land north. First one went towards, Northland.—T. C.”

ln addition to the two patents, which Messrs Duncan & Black, Cellardyke, hare taken out for buoys and sea boots, and which have proved a decided advantage to the fishing community throughout Scotland, they have just secured a registered design for the improvement of fishermen’s brooks. Formerly it has always been a complaint by the fishermen that when hauling their lines or nets in stormy weather, they are often drenched into the skin by the water getting in at the side of the trousers. Owing to the construction of the flap, water is admitted freely, and in order to obviate this Messrs Duncan & Black have put on what they term ” flap-guards,” that is a piece of cloth sewed in at the sides, and when the brooks are buttoned up these guards are so placed that any sea water striking a fisherman will at once run off, and thus keep their inside clothes thoroughly dry. The brooks have now been appropriately named “Keep-me dry,” and a number of fishermen, who have seen them, have given orders for them, and speak highly of the advantages that will accrue to their class by wearing them.


On Monday morning David Wilson, aged 15, an apprentice in the bakery of Mr David Quillan, Cellardyke, was at work with the biscuit machine. While in the attempt to adjust a pin his right hand was caught by the revolving wheels, and so shattered that Dr McCallum found it necessary to amputate several of the fingers.

In the Sheriff Court on Tuesday an action was raised by John Gilchrist, shoemaker, Anstruther, against David Stewart, baker, lately in Cellardyke and now in Cupar, for a half-year’s rent of house, shop and bakehouse, lately tenanted by defender. The case for the defence was that the bakehouse had to be left after being used for a short time, because of its insanitary condition, and that the house which had been let along with the bakehouse, and had been left shortly afterwards, was of no service to defender without the bakehouse by which he earned his livelihood. The father of the defender, examined by Mr J. E. Grosset, Cupar, stated that he had complained to pursuer four times about the state of the bakehouse, the roof of which was so defective as to allow the snow and rain to enter and the floor of which in damp weather was flooded with water from a drain. The pursuer had not employed a practical man to make the repairs, but had done so himself, and the consequence had been that matters had never been put right. On the 17th of March, after the sanitary inspector and the medical officer of the burgh had condemned the place as insanitary and not a fit place in which food should be prepared, he left the premises. He had previously warned the landlord that he would not remain unless matters were put right. When he left the pursuer sequestered his baking utensils and furniture. Mr James Jack, sanitary inspector, corroborated the evidence as to the insanitary condition of the bakehouse, and said the smell arising from the damp was sufficient to taint the bread. Mr Gilchrist, pursuer, examined by Mr W. A. Taylor, Cupar, said the place bad been occupied as a bakehouse for seven or eight years. He admitted that the roof was so far defective as to allow snow to be blown through the crevices, but he maintained that the flooding of the floor with surface water, which came from an outside drain, and the unclean state of the walls arose from negligence on the part of the defender. The roof had been put in repair as soon as the weather permitted the work being done. His lordship said there was no doubt that the place had been in an insanitary condition, but as this was due as much to want of proper care of the part of the defender as pursuer, he granted decree as craved. No expenses were asked.


On Saturday afternoon George Smith, Cellardyke.  A dumb and deformed young man, was walking through West Anstruther when he was struck by a horse and knocked down, the cart passing over his body. When picked up it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, and he was also otherwise injured.

(another article reporting the same accident)

As George Smith was selling, in his old characteristic way on Saturday about the doors of West Anstruther, the fish so kindly given by the skippers, a passing horse threw him to the ground. He regained his feet and limped about a hundred yards, when he became so ill that he had to be driven to his mother’s house in Cellardyke, where it was seen that with other injuries two or three of his vibe were broken.

About 100 boats from Cellardyke will be engaged at Shetland, so that very few will be left at home in the course of three weeks.

CELLARDYKE- THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY.—Tuesday was observed as the Queen’s Birthday holiday in Cellardyke. The weather was delightful, and a good number left the town during the day by rail and machine.


There will be SOLD by Public Roup, (in virtue of the powers contained in Bonds and Dispositions in Security), within the TOWN HALL, Cellardyke, on MONDAY the 10th day of June 11889, at Two o’clock Afternoon.

THE NET and OILSKIN FACTORY, OIL-HOUSE. DWELLING – HOUSES, SHOPS, STORES, OFFICES, and other PERTINENTs numbered 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, and 39 James Street, Cellardyke with the ground belonging to same, all as presently occupied by Messrs Black & Company, Manufacturers, Mr Fortune, Druggist, and others.

For further particulars apply to Messrs Jamieson & Guthrie, Solicitors, Anstruther, in whose hands are the Title Deeds and Articles of Roup.

The Cellardyke Echo – 20/05/2021 – Issue 287



A new Friendly Society has just been formed here under the name of the Cellardyke Fishermen’s Union and Benefit Society. According to the rules, which have a curious identity with those of the Odd-fellows, none but fishermen may enter; but all such have an open door as long they go in the deep-sea boats. The entry money is only one shilling, and the payments two pence a-week; but the promoters build on these a platform wide enough to provide for hurt and ailing members, and even give permanent relief after “three score,” and to widows whenever rendered so by the dispensations of Profidence. This is by no means new experiment in the district; but has been launched at a time when there is a loud knock every door to provide, as Heaven shall give the means for a possible day of trouble and distress; and it speaks well for the true Scottish heart of the community that already about one hundred have embarked in the Association. Economists will be no less gratified to hear that life assurance is taking such good root in Cellardyke, that within the last week or two some twenty are entered for sums ranging from £50 to £200. Simultaneous with all this, active effort going on for the relief of the widow and the fatherless. Mr Robert Davidson, in his district of John Street, has collected £8 9s ; while Provost Watson and Mr Black, amongst the neighbours of Forth Street, have raised £12 0s 6d, and the other sections of the town are expected to be overtaken this week with no less substantial tokens of Christian sympathy and regard. The appeal is a touching one, and the public heart is vibrating to it; but special thanks are surely due to Mrs Murray, ST Alye’s Crescent, for her untiring devotion in the paths of the Good Samaritan. The total subscriptions this date in the hand of Mr Peter Thomson, treasurer, border on £100.

The Magistrates of Kilrenny are still in doubt and difficulty about pure water supply for Cellardyke. The other day saw them out on a tour of exploration in the uplands of the parish, when they visited the old mines at Pitcorthie and Carvenom, where like the “tappings” of some mighty cistern, the springlet sings gaily all through the longest summer day. Cool and crystalline also, they are in this respect, in grateful contrast to the thick and muddy streams flowing beside them in ditch and brook, though their birthplace in the iron and other mineral strata forbids their use or adaptation for the town. The complaints, especially in the west end of Cellardyke are, of course, increased and increasing as the drought advances, and the inconvenience and discomfort of the neighbours fully warrants the outcry which is to be heard upon the subject. In this, however, they are not alone – so far as the pure element goes, the inhabitants of Anstruther are in no better plight, though none but the housewife may know the sacrifices that have been made over kettle and tub. Sharing then as they do the same pressing wants, had almost said in those days of typhoid or worse – the same urgent peril – it is obviously the duty of the authorities of both towns to unite in the spirit, and for the object suggested at late meeting Provost Halson Anderson as to meet by some well-considered scheme, the necessity of both towns.


New Fishing vessel- -Important Improvements

Our townsman. Mr Alexander Cunningham, will launch in a day or two the largest fishing boat yet built to the order of a Fifeshire fisherman. She Is built on the lines of the model which obtained the Norwich award of medal to her builder, and is about 53 feet in length, 17 in beam, and over 30 tons Is measurement. Her cabin is designed with a special eye to the comfort and convenience of the crew, who, instead of cooking and sleeping it the same dingy cockpit are as snugly berthed as in any ocean liner. The stowage of gear or cargo is no less ingenious and complete; but the most salient feature of “Our Queen.” as she is to be christened is her rig, which is to be on the fore and aft principle so long advocated by the friends of the fishermen. The insuperable difficulty, as it proved on a recent occasion, of unshipping the mast when at the drift, has been met by a simple but effective arrangement. From the first, however, there were those who saw no great impediment in this matter, if only from the fact that the spar is about one third or so lighter as compared with one for such a boat rigged in the ordinary way with lug sail and jib. The sails, of course will be worked with an immense saving in tell and danger, and it will now be possible to hoist a flying topsail so as to take advantage of a light or summer breeze, when without it the reef points would be rattling idly on the sluggish folds. The bravest of the shore have perished while ” dipping the sails,” as it is called, but Mr Cunningham has another claim on the regard of the coast -to wit, in the safety rail, or bulwark, with which the smack is fitted. It will not soon be forgotten in Cellardyke how boat after boat came in, in the course of last year, with one or more of the gallant crew washed away in the storm, but, as a special preventative, a knee deep rail is built over the gunwale, which gives to the deck all the appearance and security of a first class sea trader. The smack is otherwise a superior specimen of her class, in respect both of material and workmanship. She is one of several orders to our coast builders from St Andrews, her owners being the Messrs Black, who, with characteristic energy, are to join in those branches of the fishery which have done so much of law to develop the wealth of the Scottish sea.

The first launch at West Anstruther took place on Friday, when the dashing craft, which is to the order of Mr John Seller, Cellardyke, was christened the “Pride of Fife.” Her handsome sister found her destined element on Monday, under the name for ever sacred to grace and beauty, “The Lady the Lake.” She is for Mr Alexander Davidson, also of Cellardyke. Councillor Millar has now his hands free to proceed with a cruising yacht. Our townsman. Councillor Jervis, has completed a first-class boat on the lines for which he, as in the case of Mr Alexander Cunningham, obtained a silver medal in Norwich. She is in the meantime quite an attraction to the Forth, and opinions are as one amongst the old salts about her capabilities fast and powerful sea boat. She is to the order of Thomas Anderson and Alexander Murray, and to, we hear, to be named the “Carmi.” The Councillor has two other first-class boats on hand for the drave –one and all for Cellardyke; but, with this exception, we have said, the trade is waiting for the “moving of the waters” in that all-important event of the fisher year. The Cellardyke is fleet then to number scarcely less than 180 boats which will make the total outfit from the East Fife not under or 340, being a decided advance on any former effort of the coast.


At a Burgh Court held on Monday–before Provost Anderson and Bailies Darsie and Graham—Alexander Macleod, labourer, residing in Cellardyke, was charged with offences within the meaning of the 251st section of the General Police Act, in so far as, between the hours of one and Iwo on Sunday morning, he did conduct himself in a riotous and disorderly manner by shouting and bawling; and also with having destroyed a pail while in one of the police cells. After some hesitation he pleaded not guilty. From the evidence of Police-constables Spark and Martin, it appeared that while patrolling Shore Street on the morning in question they came upon Macleod lying in the street drunk, and Spark knowing where he lodged endeavoured to get him home. He, however, threw himself from them, and lying down on the street commenced to roar at the pitch of his voice and tried to kick the constables. He was then handcuffed, and despite his struggles was removed to the cells. Here he continued to make a great noise, and apprehensive that he might do himself some injury his hands were handcuffed behind his back. In this position he managed to get hold of a pail, which he destroyed by repeated knocking on the door. Having nothing to say, the Magistrates imposed the modified penalty of is7s 6d, with the alternative of seven days’ imprisonment.

The Cellardyke deep-sea going boat, “James and Agnes,” has just been sold by Skipper Smith to Captain Joseph Moss for the sum, as the story goes, of £147. Captain Moss is well known in the Forth, seeing that instead of laying his fishing snack at the end of the season like his neighbours on the beach he used to fit her up as a kind of packet in the coasting trade. She had been a French pleasure yacht in her day, and a finer sea-boat did not weather St Nicholas Gap till she went to places in the midnight gale the other month on the English coast. Captain Moss and his crew all but found a grave in the raging sea, but, with the courage of a true sailor, he is to begin the world again with his Fifeshire boat. She sailed the other day for Yarmouth, there to be fitted out for the North Sea drave, in which her crew will engage, not on the old feudal system, which still continues like a rusty relic of the past to enslave the beachmen, but on the “share and share alike principle” of our Scottish fishermen, whose example, as well as the good seed of the temperance mission, is, as we see, here proving no mean leverage amongst the fishermen of the south.


The International Fisheries Exhibition, Norwich

… The show drift nets and other deep-Sea fishing tackle is large, and the nets differ from each other in appearance very little except in the size of the mesh. Wonderful progress is shown to have taken place even in the of this kind of thing, and the different varieties on view easily open for those who hold strong opinions one way or the other the controversy as to the size of the mesh. The leading exhibition, either English or Scottish, in the department of nets, lines, and fishing appliances of all kinds, are Messrs Sharp A Murray, Cellardyke, who base a most artistically arranged stand, a net with cured herrings being hung from poles as it would be suspended in the sea. The stand is very attractive, and few would have imagined without seeing it, the novel and pretty effects in the way of decoration which Means Sharp and Murray have accomplished with no other material than nets. The net with the herring in the meshes just they are caught has naturally been an object interest and the stand has a complete collection of deep sea fishing gear of all kinds.

On Wednesday night the large steamer “Queen,” of the Leith and Shetland steamships, called at Anstruther harbour about five o’clock. to take, in a cargo of barrels from Messrs Sharp & Murray, Cellardyke. In less than an hour and a half fully 1,500 barrels were packed away, and the steamer had sailed for Fraserburgh to take in another cargo there, and thence to proceed to Shetland. The pier was a scene of great activity for the time being, a large number of spectators being present, who apparently watched with evident interest the work as it was carried on. The steamer, which took on board a similar cargo here last year, is the largest that has ever been in Anstruther harbour. A good number of passengers (relatives of the fishermen who have gone from this quarter), left with the “Queen” for Shetland.


CELLARDYKE CRICKET CLUB. (To the Editor of the Record.) I was glad to see in your paper of last week that the Cellardyke Cricket Club had got started once more. The young men of this Club deserve every encouragement to go on with this manly end healthy exercise. But the question is, how can they go on when they haven’t a public park, or a park of their own to play in, where they can have every freedom? Why can’t the Magistrates of Cellardyke and Anstruther go hand in hand and purchase a park, where the young men of both towns could enjoy such healthy exercises as cricket and football? There is scarcely a town now but has its cricket field or bowling green. Elie, Leven, Crail, and St Andrews have their links, and Cellardyke and Anstruther can’t even boast of a cricket field. No doubt there’s a lawn tennis club, but it’s only those and such as those who are members of it. Numerous are the letters which have been published in your paper about the young men standing at street corners, but what else can we expect? There is no attraction to take them elsewhere. Numerous though the letters have been, they have failed to stir up the Magistrates to procure a remedy for this evil. Let them rent a park, say Bankie Park, or the park behind Union Place, where there would be ample room for cricket, football, bowling, and quoits, being freely indulged in. This, I think, would be a capital remedy. What I could say to the Cricket Club is to go on and persevere. Let your eleven practice often together. Challenge the Pittenweem and Colinsburgh Cricket Clubs to play a match, and charge so much for admission into the field, which would greatly help to increase your funds. I wish the Cellardyke Cricket Club every success.- I remain, yours truly, ALPHA.

The Cellardyke Echo – 14/5/2021 – Issue 286


The fund which Sir Robert Anstruther originated, and which owes so much of its success to the ardour which he threw into the preliminary steps, for the relief of the widows and children of the Cellardyke and St Monance fishermen lost at sea in the dreadful gales of November now reaches £7235, ( a figure equivalent to £853,730 today) a figure which the most sanguine supporter of the movement never anticipated. The public have thus shown in the most practical and handsome manner their sympathy with the bereaved, and the only danger now to guard against is the fostering of a spirit of dependence on the liberality of others on the part of those who prosecute so dangerous a calling as fishermen. As of the outcomes of the calamity is the formation of a Boat Insurance Club, those who neglect to take advantage of this means of protecting themselves and their families against loss cannot expect that the public will be so liberal in the event of any similar catastrophe, and the moral now sought to be conveyed is that fishermen like other classes should take a rier advantage of the benefits of insurance.

The largest capture of fish for this season has this week landed at Anstruther harbour, and was secured by the crew of skipper James Brunton, belonging to Cellardyke, who bad been at the deep sea fishing. The catch comprised 51 saithe, 39 ling, 101 halibut, 130 skate, and 600 cod; total, 925 fish all in prime condition. The halibut alone were sold at £39 and the whole catch realised the goodly sum of £63.  (£63 is the equivalent of £7434. today)


Hearse Society.

The annual meeting of the members of Kilrenny Hearse Society was held in the Town Hall on Saturday – Mr George Watson presiding. Mr Baldie, the treasurer, read a statement of the accounts, from which it appeared that the receipts had amounted to £91 and the expenditure to about £97. It was agreed to continue the entrance fee at 2s 6d, but that the yearly levy should be doubled and the hire of the hearse raised.

CLASS FOR SIGHT-SINGING.-It will be seen that Mr Brechin, the well-known teacher of music reading, is to form a class here this evening in the Town Hall. We trust it will be well attended, as it is seldom that such an opportunity occurs of requiting a competent knowledge of this art.

On Friday morning a distressing accident occurred in Cellardyke, in the case of a little girl of two-and-a-half years of age, the grandchild of Mr George Anderson, farm servant, who was play with another child of the household, when her flying skirts, it is said, 1led to the overturning of a pot of boiling water which a minute before had been lifted down on the hearthstone. The poor innocent fell into the scalding stream, and so terrible were the consequences that after lingering in intense and hopeless agony she was mercifully released by the sleep of death within twenty four hours after the deplorable event.


STONEHAVEN. LOSS OF NETS BY FISHING BOATS. The boat No. 1527 K.Y., of Cellardyke (James Smith, master), put into Stonehaven late Tuesday morning, and reports having been caught in the gale on Tuesday morning, about 60 miles S.E. by S. off Buchanness. The gale burst on the boat with such violence that she was driven from the drift, and lost 22 new nets. The Ann, of Cove, and the Sunbeam, of Aberdeen, also put in yesterday morning, both having been driven from their drifts, the former with the loss of twelve and the latter of ten nets. The nets recovered were greatly damaged.

Boat Picked Sea —As the Cellardyke deep sea going boat “Polar Star,” Martin Gardiner master, was on the homeward run last week, the crew observed a shallop or skiff adrift in the waves some sixteen miles beyond Fifeness. The skiff was taken shore and given up to the acting receiver of wreck. Her length is about fifteen feet, but she has evidently had service while on duty as the longboat some foreign vessel, the name of which, however, is obliterated.

A Burgh Court held in Cellardyke on Thursday morning—all the magistrates being on the bench—when an unfortunate young man, of imbecile intellect, named Hector Maclean, was charged with committing breach of the peace in his father’s house, during which he had brandished an open razor and also sharp axe to the terror of the inmates, and likewise with assault in far that be scratched the hand of Constable Forsyth, who had been called in to quell the disturbance which had taken place on the previous day. The unhappy lad pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to fine of 20s or 20 days in jail. The bench were also agreed as to the necessity of placing the poor prisoner under permanent restraint, particularly after the father, old Hector Maclean, had made a declaration to his hopeless fatuous condition, when Mr Thomas Brown, the inspector of the poor, was sent for, but we understand that the nature of his detention, whether as prisoner or patient, will rest with the medical examination which will take place in course in the county jail.

It is pleasing to observe that a marked improvement has taken piece in the health of the Coast. Scarlatina and other epidemics scarce linger on the threshold; but a fatal case of a sebrile nature occurred in Cellardyke on Sabbath, in the death of a child of seven years, the daughter of Mr David Boyter

There are no news of any particular interest elsewhere; but betides the ten or eleven Cellardyke crew, at distant fishing grounds, other two have left this week for the herring drave at Howth.

The Cellardyke Echo – 6/5/2021 – Issue 285


Anstruther. Furious Driving.

At the Burgh Court of West Anstruther on Monday-Bailies Darsie and Dougal on the bench

David Brown, who was convicted on Saturday in Cellardyke, was charged with furious driving to the danger of the lives of the lieges on the High Street on the evening of Wednesday last. He pleaded guilty, and after receiving a suitable admonition from Bailie Darsie, he was sentenced to a fine of 5s, or eight days’ imprisonment.

A lover in Burgh Court

The magistrates of Kilrenny held a court on Saturday, when David Brown, carter, Anstruther, appeared before them charged with having committed a breach of the peace, and also with malicious mischief, at the house of Thos. Pringle, cooper, on the previous Monday evening. According to the evidence adduced, the panel was in the habit of paying his addresses to a young woman residing in the house, but on the evening in question he had been so much more the devotee of Bacchus than of Cupid, that the attempt to reach his ” ladye love’s bower” he had fallen on the stair, which had there and then become to him the friendliest couch, but in trying, we may presume, to find out the softest place in the steps, he had attracted the landlord, Thomas Pringle, to the spot, who in attempting to dislodge him with a poker had to some degree tasted the truth of the old proverb, ‘It’s best to let sleepin’ dogs lie,” for Brown, after disarming his assailant, had raised such an outcry as alarm the whole neighbourhood, and by way of finish up had smashed in two panes of the landlord’s windows. The panel pleaded not guilty, and tried to throw the blame on Thomas Pringle for using the poker, but after hearing the witnesses, the magistrates found the charge fully proven, and sentenced Brown to a fine of 10s 6d, or ten days’ imprisonment.

Harbour Commission.

The monthly meeting of this Board was held on Monday evening – Provost Todd in the chair. The minutes of last meeting were read, but those of interim special meeting were reserved as strictly private. The treasurer then submitted his usual statement of the monthly revenue of the harbour, being for the period from 21st March to 20th April, according to which the various receipts had yielded a total of £68 5s 0 1/2d, being an increase of £7 10s 8d as compared with the corresponding month of last year. The Board then made the usual arrangements for the letting of the curing and boat stations. The treasurer then reported that the “pauls” used in beaching the boats on the west shore were to great extent unserviceable, when he was instructed to have the same renewed or repaired, as might be found necessary. The treasurer also reported that Skipper William Watson (Jack), of Cellardyke, had landed his fish at that harbour, and then driven the same for sale on the quay here, but unlike the other skippers in such a case, he refused to pay the ordinary fish rates on the ground “that it was a new thing,” and not competent for the Commissioners to levy the dues. The Clerk read the provisions of the Harbour Act as to the levying of the dues, by which it was declared that all goods were chargeable whether ” shipped or unshipped, received or de livered,” on the piers and other works of the harbour. The meeting was of opinion that Skipper Watson’s objection was fully and explicitly met in the latter definition. The Clerk suggested a prosecution, but Bailie Sharp said that this was quite unnecessary, as he would take opportunity to meet with and explain the matter in a friendly way to Skipper Watson, and this course was unanimously approved of.


Cellardyke – Disturbing the Peace

Thomas Lindsay, sometime a shoe maker, but present fisherman in Pittenweem was placed at the bar of the Bailie Court on Saturday last, charged with having committed a breach of the peace, by being drunk and disorderly, and with threatening to fight with Robert Moncrieff fisherman, about the midnight of Saturday, the 13th ultimo, to which he pleaded guilty, and after reprimand by Provost Martin, was sentenced to a fine of 10s 6d, or ten days in jail. We may state that for some time past it has been habit of young Pittenweem scamps to parade the streets of Cellardyke, insulting the peaceful neighbours and trying to instigate a quarrel with all and sundry hey met. It is no rare thing, indeed, for the solemn silence of the Sabbath morning to be interrupted by their drunken shouts, and with such blatant doggerel chorus as

 “Our game shall be,

Down with the Dykers as we go,”

and various encounters had actually occurred; but the salutary severity with which, as in this case, our public spirited magistrates have dealt with offenders, will, there is reason to believe, effectually scotch out the nuisance.

Nine Cellardyke fishing boats left this week to prosecute the herring fishing at Barra, on the west coast. Some of them are engaged at 9s per cran for this month,. And 16s for the remainder of the season, and the others at 15s per can for the whole time.


The East Anstruther Bailies held Criminal Court on Tuesday last, when Robert Christie, carter, Cellardyke, pleaded guilty to having committed assault on Alexander Carmichael, also carter in Cellardyke, during some contention about “turns” on the pier the previous Wednesday, which he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to fine of 7s 6d. James Thomson, another hopeful knight of the whip, from the Queen of fishing towns, was charged with furious driving along the west end of the High Street on the Fest-day. Thomson pleaded that he was no more guilty than his neighbours, but on the evidence Constable David Gordon and Bailie Robert Brodie, he was convicted of the charge and sentenced, as in the case of his towns fellow, to a fine of 7s.


At a Burgh Court held here on Tuesday—all the Magistrates being present—Margaret Inglis or Wilson, a widow, and Agnes Wilson, her daughter, were charged with assaulting Jacobina Scott or Montodore, wife of John Montodore, fisherman, on the 28th ult. They pleaded not guilty, and five witnesses were examined on each side, from whose evidence it appeared that two dogs—one of them belonging to Montodore and the other to the accused – had been fighting on the street below Montodore’s house, and in order to separate them Mrs Montodore threw a pitcher containing some water at them. The panels alleged that the pitcher was thrown at Mrs Wilson, and on Mrs Montodore coming to the street she was attacked by the panels, one of whom tore her ‘ mutch’ off her head. The dogs meanwhile continued their battle, the result being that one of them got an eye nearly torn out. The Magistrates found the charge proven, and fined them 3s 9d each. The case, which lasted nearly an hour, attracted a large audience of men and women.

Alarming Fire at Cornceres

The fine farm house of Corn Ceres- the most picturesque homestead in the East Neuk, narrowly escaped being destroyed by fire on Tuesday week. It appears that one  of the chimney flues had taken fire, and that, all unperceived and unsuspected, the burning soot had lodged in the cavity of the double ridge till it had ignited the ‘ tinder dry’ wooden grating overlying the gutter, which, melting the lead, gave the flames ready access to the timber work of the roof. Happily at this crisis a burning smell was felt by a domestic, who at once gave the alarm to the people of the farm, who, by lucky chance, were work in the thrashing mill, when willing hands lost no time in crowding to the rescue. Strength and zeal, however, might have been all unequal to arrest the progress of the fire, which was now rising in a dense canopy of smoke and flame, the veteran Cellardyke builder, Andrew Duncan, ascended the roof, and with all the vigour and agility of youth, stripped away the slates, when flames being thus unbosomed the copious stream of water, which resolute hands played upon them, the fire was subdued Justas the rafters had come within the devouring embrace. Bring thus in time the damage was restricted the section the roof where the fire originated; but under the circumstances much praise is due to the farm workers, both men and women, for their brave and willing aid. Nor should we forget to state that the preservation of the beautiful homestead was largely due to the presence of mind and well-directed exertions of David Gray, Esq., Rennyhill, who, by singular good fortune, chanced at the time to be calling on his brother, Mr William Gray, the respected farmer of Corn Ceres .

The Cellardyke Echo – 29/4/2021 – Issue 284


An Old Offender.

A Cellardyke fisherman named John McRuvie was brought before Provost. Readdie, at a Police Court in Anstruther on Friday, charged with having, on the 16th inst.. in Shore Street, conducted himself in a riotous and disorderly manner and challenged several persons to fight. He admitted the offence. and it was stated by the Procurator-Fiscal (Mr Masterton) that there were eight previous convictions recorded against the accused, who, however, had been trying to reform, it being four years since he was last before the Court. The accused stated that he was sorry at what had happened, but unfortunately he had taken too much drink on this occasion, and had so far forgotten himself. The Provost said that he was pleased to know that the accused had been endeavouring for some time to lead a better life, and it was to be regretted that he had not continued to do so. In the hope that this would be a warning to him, he imposed a lenient sentence of a fine of 7s 6d, with the alternative of five days’ imprisonment. The fine was paid.

Believed the Sergeant.

Too much faith in the powers of recruiting sergeants appears to have been the responsible factor in bringing David Reid, 13 Dove Street, Cellardyke before Hon. Sheriff David Osborne, at Cupar, last Thursday. He was charged with having failed to report as a reservist under the Military Service Act.

Mr T. W. Davidson, solicitor. Cupar, stated that he had advised the accused to plead guilty. The facts were that this man suffered from a serious affection of the eye; he was very nearly blind. About six months ago he met a recruiting sergeant in St Monans, and had a conversation in regard to joining the Army. This recruiting sergeant looked at his eye, and told him it was no use his attesting and as a result when he got the first notice he paid no attention. When the second was received, the accused’s father went to the Clerk to the Kilrenny local Tribunal, and asked for a form on which to appeal on ground of infirmity. The Clerk he in was informed, refused to give him an appeal form on the ground that it was too late. The accused was afterwards arrested on his way to work, and on being brought up at Cupar tendered a plea of not guilty. Having been arrested when he had no money on him, and having no time to arrange, he was imprisoned for one night in Dundee Prison before he (Mr Davidson) could wire the money for his bail, and have him liberated. Hon Sheriff Osborne said he would impose no penalty, but would hand the accused over to the military escort.

Another War Victim.

Though no official intimation has yet been received, it would appear that, Cellardyke has another to add to its already long list of natives who have made the supreme sacrifice. Mrs John Wilson. Shore Street, recently sent a letter to her son, Sergt Geo. Wilson, of a Canadian contingent located “somewhere in France,” and this has been returned from the General Post Office, London, with the bald announce-1 men on it, “Killed in action; location un-, known.” It must be admitted that this, is a very unfeeling way in which to intimate such a sad event, and Mrs Wilson is naturally very much upset, and in a state of suspense awaiting further particulars It would seem that Sergt. Wilson was in the same company of the contingent as Private Alex. Moncrieff (Doig), also a Cellardyke lad, whose death was announced last week, and it is presumed that both were killed in the same action Sergt. Wilson, who was 47 years of age and unmarried, served his apprenticeship as a plumber and tinsmith with Messrs Gray & Pringle, Anstruther, and went to Canada some three years ago. He was getting on well there, and was among the first of the Canadian contingents to enlist after the outbreak of war. He was an exceptionally fine young fellow, and before proceeding abroad was an enthusiastic local Volunteer. He was also a member of the Chalmers’ Memorial Church, and the, second son of Mr John Wilson, fisherman, who has other two sons in the Colours, both on patrol service, John in the Dardanelles and David off the coast of Ireland. Deep sympathy is felt with the bereaved family, and it is to be hoped that more definite information will soon reach them.



Mrs Munro. The Schoolhouse, has received the following letter in acknowledgment of what has been sent by the Women’s Work Party of Cellardyke:


We received today three boxes containing 317 pairs of socks addressed to Captain Munro. As Captain Munro is at present away from the Battalion, the boxes were opened, and the socks will be distributed throughout the Battalion. For this magnificent gift we beg to convey to yourself and those who so kindly helped the sincere thanks of all ranks. Such splendid socks are always greatly appreciated. Assuring you of our deep gratitude.—Yours faithfully, H. Sutherland, Lt. Col.. Commanding Black Watch.” His many friends in the district will regret to learn that Captain Munro has been very ill with trench fever, and is at present undergoing treatment in a hospital at Le Treport. France.

In all 503 pairs of socks and a number of mufflers, etc.. have been sent out from Cellardyke  since February…

A Gordon Highlander who was intimately associated with Cellardyke has made the supreme sacrifice, in the great push in France  his wife having received a letter on Monday from the chaplain (Rev. Malcolm’ Macleod), stating that her husband. Private Andrew Hallcrow, was killed in action on 10th inst. In the letter it is stated further that “his, remains were buried with some of his comrades in a spot which they had gained from the enemy. Your husband was a good and faithful soldier, and served the cause for which we fight well. His supreme sacrifice was not all in vain, but it is very hard, and I pray for you in your great loss and loneliness. May the Lord comfort and help you. I am sure that He will He promised.”

Private Hallcrow was a native of Sandwick. Shetland, and was a cooper to trade. He was working at his occupation in Aberdeen when the war broke out, and enlisted at once in the Gordons, a regiment that has been very severely hit in the great campaign. He was only about 27 years of age, and was greatly respected for his exemplary disposition. He leaves a widow and son, for whom much sympathy is felt in their bereavement. Mrs Hallcrow, now resides with her mother, Mr. Pattie. John Street.



Cellardyke Baker Fined £7.

A plea of guilty was tendered in Cupar 1 Sheriff Court this afternoon on behalf of Alexander Neilson, master baker, Cellardyke, who was charged with having sold a 2-lb. loaf that had not been baked 12 hours previously.

Mr J. K. Tasker, his agent, said Mr Neilson was doing just as everybody else was doing – selling new bread. He believed in Dundee and elsewhere it was the common ‘ practice to sell new bread. Hon. Sheriff Osborne said the regulations were still in force, and heavy fines and been inflicted quite recently. He could not accept a plea of ignorance. The sentence could be a fine of £7, or thirty days’ imprisonment.

(I thought this was a strange law and looked it up – here’s what I found- )

During the First World War, British food supplies were affected by a number of factors: poor harvests at home and abroad; reduced food imports as a result of enemy action; and decreased manpower due to workforces being siphoned off by the military. By May 1917, the Minister for Food warned the Cabinet that feeding the country after September would be ‘a difficult problem’.

Action needed to be taken. With wheat and other cereals suffering from acute shortages, the supply of bread, a nationwide staple, was of specific concern. The government launched a propaganda campaign encouraging bakers and housewives to use potatoes to bulk out their loaves and commanded that commercial bakers could only use ‘standard flour’, a mix that contained more of the grain that, during peacetime, would usually be discarded.

As a further measure, the Ministry of Food and wider government made attempts to influence consumption, as well as production, by introducing the Bread Order in 1917. This regulation made it illegal to sell bread until 12 hours after it had been baked. According to The Times, the government realised that stale bread was ‘more nutritious’ and would be consumed 5% less than fresh bread.

The Cellardyke Echo – 23/04/2021 – Issue 283



Animated scenes were witnessed in the Parish Church of Kilrenny yesterday, when the Presbytery of St Andrews visited the church and conferred with the parishioners the ” vexed question ” of the services held in the church

At Kilrenny the minister (the Rev. George S. Anderson) attends at the church at the usual hour of forenoon service, and his contention is that no one attends. The only service of the day at Kilrenny is held at two o’clock in the afternoon. Before the congregational conference the Presbytery conferred with the minister and the Kirk Session in private. At the parishioners meeting the Presbytery desired to know why their injunction of two years ago calling upon the minister and Session to hold a forenoon service had not been complied with.

About one hundred parishioners were present, ladies predominating, the male members, mostly fishermen, being away from the district.

“A Piece of Nonsense.”

The Rev. John Turnbull, St Monans, moved that they proceed to inquire individually at any members who cared to make statements in regard to the situation.

The Rev. Dr Baxter said that that was absolutely impracticable, and a piece nonsense. .

The Rev. John Turnbull —I rise to speak.

Rev. Dr Baxter—You have no right to speak. (Laughter.)

The Rev. Mr Turnbull’s motion was carried.

The Rev. Mr Murray—The position amounts to this—Do you prefer an afternoon to a morning service? (Cries of “Yes,” and dissension from two ladies, one of whom exclaimed, ” The minister told not to come in the forenoon.”)

The Moderator —This most important. We should have the statement of these ladies on oath. Mrs Jane Rodger, East Pitkerrie, was then put on oath, and declared that on several occasions she turned up to the morning service. She had been a member of the church for sixteen years.

Did Not Want a Service.

Following on one of the occasions on which she was present at the forenoon service, the minister came to her house and asked not to come in the forenoon. He said that the Cellardyke folks did not want a service in the forenoon, they had their houses to tidy up, and the dinner to prepare. (Uproar.)

The Moderator —This disgraceful conduct must cease. Mrs Rodger, continuing, said the manner which Mr Anderson conducted the fore noon services last summer was such that it was impossible for her follow him.

Mrs Janet Wilson alleged that she had seen the Rev. Mr Anderson turn people away from the church door. These people, she said, had come to attend the forenoon service.

Miss Robina Reid, (George Street) who was also put oath, said she was member of the choir, and after the Presbytery’s injunction to hold a forenoon service Mr Anderson had written to her and the other members of the choir re questing them to attend. The church precentor, Mr Reid, corroborated the statement of Miss Reid.

The Rev. Dr Baxter moved that they put the question to each of the parishioners which of the services they preferred.

The Rev. Dr Playfair, St Andrews, moved that that be not done, and his motion was carried. . ,

The Rev. Dr Baxter asked that his strong dissent be recorded

The Moderator then pronounced the benediction. Angry scenes ensued, and for a time the parishioners refused to leave the church.

The members of Presbytery retired, and deliberated in private.


“Kilrenny’s makin’ a braw name for itself, but maybe we’ll get things put richt noo —an’ no’ afore time.”

The speaker was one of Kilrenny’s oldest inhabitants, with whom discussed the “kirk or kail” question within the shadow the picturesque old church, with its little God’s acre, where lie the sturdy ancestors of the present villagers.

His remark suggested that the present situation in regard to the vexed question of ” forenoon or n0 forenoon” service was the sequel to long-standing complaint, and my inquiries in that direction brought to light many events having a direct bearing upon the question now being so eagerly debated. The aged parishioner with whom I conversed has followed the events in the history of the Auld Kirk, and his retentive memory helped considerably in probing the deadlock which has provoked so much comment far beyond the bounds of the parish.

Discontent at Its Height.

While the harmony in the congregation has never been disturbed to such extent as at the present moment, it is quite evident that discontent has been prevalent for a long time. Now it seems to have reached its height, and, as I have pointed out, only the most tactful and masterly handling of this complicated problem will prevent what will undoubtedly prove most unfortunate and vexatious disturbance of church activity in a parish noted for the zealousness of its church attenders.

The congregation just now is unquestionably divided, and he will indeed be a diplomat of the first rank who can effect a real amicable and lasting settlement between them.

Will the Presbytery tackle the task? Much downright hard thinking will have to be done, and I venture to suggest that a most important duty for those charged with the work will be to visit Kilrenny, as have done, and take pains to become acquainted with the undercurrent of affairs. Evidence of great value is to be had, although there is 0n the part of the villagers a disinclination to stand in splendid isolation as the guide of the Presbytery. Already the evidence of two of the members is in possession of the Presbytery, but neither of the statements made on oath 0n the occasion of the Presbyterial visitation withdrew the veil upon many important points in this regrettable dispute.

Five Years Absent from Church.

For example, the head of one household declared that he has not set foot in the church for the last five years although he is, to the best of his belief, still a member the church, in respect that has’ not ” lifted his lines,” nor has he, he says, been interrogated to the reason for his prolonged absence from the church in which up to that point he had sat all his days.

A Presbyterial investigation of the whole facts of the case at Kilrenny is desired by the members, and in justice to all parties would most assuredly be a wise step.

The handling of the deadlock must of necessity be a patient and careful undertaking, for it will be found that opinions in Kilrenny are rock-like in their fixity. And the breach widens with time.


An outwardly calm and contented parish, Kilrenny surprises the stranger with its crosscurrents and discontent, “for ‘ and “against” aspect is everywhere to be encountered, and indeed so keen has the controversy become that the war has been completely shelved—save for a passing reference to the latest development in the great conflict in which, by the way, many sons of the parish are playing a noble part.

“Thrums” for its “window” is quite outdone in Kilrenny. Those douce folks attending the forenoon service are conscious of their progress to kirk being observed from cover of a curtain, and this consciousness is made all the more leal from the knowledge that the “afternoon section” is subjected to same scrutiny some two and a half hours later. This will afford some idea of the intense interest being manifested in the “kirk or kail ” question.

An Element of Comedy.

To the outsider there is an element of comedy in the dispute. To hark back to the history of few years ago, it should explained, to meet the requirements of this scattered parish a quoad sacra church was established in Cellardyke, the object in view being to cater to the wants the members residing in that section of the parish.

But how has the plan operated’ Certainly not in accord with the result anticipated its promoters. Every Sunday, for the afternoon service be it noted, a large number of the church-going walk to Kilrenny to worship in the “auld kirk” as though the newer edifice at their own doors was non-existent. And, on the other hand, not a few of the Kilrenny folks find their way either to Cellardyke or Anstruther.

That is a situation which is, to say the ‘least of it, a bit of a puzzle. And just why it should be  so must, the villagers say, be investigated by the Presbytery if church affairs in the parish are to be put upon a satisfactory footing. As matters stand at present, they are certainly quite contrary to what was expected when the desire for quoad sacra from Kilrenny was granted.

“Tae bide in Kilrenny and gang tae worship in Cellardyke,” said a villager to me, “and bide in Cellardyke and gang Kilrenny tae worship is a queer wey o’ things, but nae doot a’body has their reason.” This is the state of affairs, and certainly gives much food for reflection, even allowing for the sentimental aspect of attachment to the auld kirk of Kilrenny.

The Minister’s Mission.

Why is it that the forenoon service at Kilkenny is so sparsely attended? I set myself to find answer to this question, and travelling to East Pitkerrie, outlying part of the parish, interviewed Mrs Jane Rodger, who with her husband is a member of the church.

Mrs Rodger, at the Presbyterial visit to the congregation, was put on oath, and made statement in which she declared that the Rev. George S. Anderson, the minister at Kilrenny, had called upon her and suggested that she should not come the forenoon service.

“Do you prefer forenoon service?” I asked her.

“Well,” she replied, “I have always been accustomed to it, and when I knew that the church was open for one I attended.”

“How often did you attend?”

“Four or five times. I took the children with me, and they remained for the Sabbath School. ” I think was after the fifth Sunday that Mr Anderson called. After chatting with my husband he- rose, and just as he was leaving said to me, ‘ Oh, Mrs Rodger, I would prefer that you would not come to the forenoon service. You know the Cellardyke folks do not want a service in the forenoon, as they have their houses to tidy and the dinner to prepare.

Kail and Kirk.

“That was all, but I understood from his remarks that it was plain hint that he did not want to have forenoon service.”

‘”Can you manage to tidy your house and prepare the kail?”

“Oh, yes; quite easily. I thought it was a strange remark for a minister to make, generally they are very anxious to encourage people to come to church. After that I remained away from the forenoon service, and after what happened at the meeting last week I do not intend to go back again. What I told the Presbytery was the truth, and nothing but the truth. I made the statement of my own free will, and the words were not put into my mouth.

” Was the forenoon service well attended?”

“No. On one occasion there were thirteen bairns and seven grown-up folks, and on other Sundays there weren’t so many. One Sunday I remember the congregation comprised the minister’s wife and housekeeper and two visitors. There seemed to be a difference between the forenoon service and that of the afternoon, and, to tell the truth, the experience one Sunday didn’t leave me with any great desire to go back. I, all events, felt unsatisfied somehow, and you must bear mind that Mr Anderson is, as a general rule, a very able arid interesting preacher. However, I continued to go until I was requested to stay away.

“Bell for the Empty Kirk.”

After leaving East Pitkerrie I called at a house in Kilrenny, where I gleaned information which was not volunteered to the Presbytery. Once more it was put me that Mr Anderson had dissuaded people from attending the forenoon service.

“What the minister said to me,” said the party interviewed, “was, ‘I know you’ll hear the bell ringing, but you need not come out to church, as there won’t be anyone there.’

‘ Will you be there?’ I asked, and he replied, ‘Oh, yes; but nobody else comes.’

” It struck me being strange well as amusing that a minister should go out of his way to discourage attendance at church.

” As the result of that conversation the family now attend church in Anstruther. The Kilrenny bell tolled every forenoon, and we remark to one another, ‘ There’s the bell for the empty kirk.’ “

The attitude of those absenting themselves from Kilrenny Church is summed up in this way, ” If we’re not wanted at the forenoon service, then we’ll stay away altogether.” This will show how seriously many of the villagers have taken  the matter to heart.

A Feathered ” Orchestra.”

Kilrenny Church would delight the eye of the artist viewing it from the brow of the hill. It’s elevated site sets it out in relief against rural scenery, and the pigeons which flutter around where once a clock recorded the passing hour —rude Boreas some years ago played havoc with the ” nock,” and its repair and reinstatement have been indefinitely postponed—add a pleasing note to , picturesque scene.

These self-same pigeons frequently take it upon themselves to supply accompaniment to the singing, but the unromantic beadle —is a beadle ever romantic? —does not see the beauty of this impromptu orchestral effort, and leaving his seat to put a check on the zeal of the feathered congregation, his vigorous ‘ shoo ‘ the signal for a regular uproar up where the ‘ dim religious light’ battles with the darkness. Forenoon or afternoon, it is all the same with the pigeons; the church is their shelter, their home, and from it not a regiment of beadles will alienate them. A sermon in contentment and complete harmony in themselves!

Minister Calls For a Vote.

At the service on Sunday the minister (the Rev. George S. Anderson) requested those of his congregation who desired a forenoon service to stand. Only one did so. On a similar request being made with regard to an afternoon service those present again showed their unanimity by rising  as one man. Excluding children. 190 stood up in favour of the present afternoon service, while only one voted in favour of a forenoon diet.