The Cellardyke Echo – 5/8/ 2021 – Issue 299


PUBLIC MEETING (Anstruther Easter). A public meeting of this place and the two neighbouring burghs Cellardyke and West Anstruther, was held evening of Monday last-Provost Greig in the chair —for the purpose of expressing satisfaction at the passing of the Anstruther Union Harbour Act of Parliament, and the passing vote of thanks to our member, Mr Ellice, for his praiseworthy efforts to get the bill passed safely through both Houses. Mr Mackintosh, banker, read a lengthened resume of the transactions connected with the originating and passing of the bill, and the different measures adopted by the local committee for bringing the bill before Parliament, from which it appeared that the counsel and aid given by Mr Ellice were greatly instrumental in bringing it to a successful issue.

Mr John Todd, fishcurer, moved the first resolution—”That this meeting, composed of the inhabitants of East and West Anstruther and Cellardyke, in public meeting assembled, unanimously express gratification with the passing of the Anstruther Union Harbour Act, and that the meeting believes the harbour, when erected, will render the fisherman’s occupation, more remunerative and less hazardous; will not only prove a boat harbour of refuge, but will be available for the general coasting trade and will lead to the development of the resources, and to increase the commercial importance and of the whole district.”

In support of his resolution, Mr Todd said that one fact of great importance that would be derived by the passing of the act would that the boats could enter or depart from the harbour at any state of the tide, thereby not only enabling the fishermen to go oftener to sea at less risk, but also that the different markets would be supplied with the fish in a fresh state, for which a higher price would be got, which would both benefit fishermen and the inhabitants of the district. …..


Herring Fishing.—Since Thursday last little has been done at any of the stations of this district. From one to six crans have been the highest takes landed within this period, and only a very few crews have been so successful, the majority having such poor results as not to be marketable. The St Monance and Pittenweem boats still continue to prosecute the fishing the Firth, but many of the Cellardyke boats have proceeded to the north. Prices have been well maintained at from 30s to 37s per cran.


 Dr Guthrie’s talk on behalf of the benevolent Institution and coast Missions in Thurso

…….THE CELLARDYKE FISHERMEN PRAISED. Our fisher friends here will be delighted hear me extol the fishermen, but I do it honestly and sincerely. I was lately over in Fife, and at famous fishing place, Cellardyke. The fishermen of this place are fishers to much greater extent than the Newhaven folks. A finer people you will not see. Well, when I was there I spoke to one of them and asked him about the habits of the place. “Oh, Dr Guthrie,” he said, “the habits of the people are much improved in the last thirty years. I remember when no boat went out to the German Ocean without two or three bottles of whisky, and I remember when no herring boat was hauled up, when the fishing was over, but she cost many shillings (I forget the exact sum) for whisky. Now,” said he, “Sir, do you see these boats?” and I saw about 70 boats run up the beach, and lying there during the winter season. “These boats have been all run up twenty years ago, and cost £25 for whisky. These boats were run up last year, and not drop of whisky was drunk. Now, instead of our men taking their whisky when they out to sea (some of them, indeed, do that still, but not the bulk) they take coffee; they take (I think he called it) a coffee boiler; (it was not a coffee pot); they take machinery for making coffee. They plough the deep and ride through the storm, and come back again sober as judges, and more sober than many judges used be.


CELLARDYKE. DOG-FIGHTING. – A burgh court was held here yesterday—Bailies Sharp and Watson on the bench. John Scott, carter, Cellardyke, was charged, at the instance of the burgh fiscal, with committing an offence within the meaning of the Act 13 Vict. c. 92, entituled ” An Act for the effectual prevention of cruelty to animals (Scotland) 1860,” by encouraging and inciting a dog in his charge to fight with another dog belonging to George Henderson, Cellardyke, on the evening of Monday the 18th of July, near the town hall, in consequence of which both dogs fought for a considerable time and injured each other, whereby he rendered himself liable to a penalty not exceeding £5. The panel pled guilty, and he was sentenced to pay a fine of 10s or go to prison for ten days. Bailie Sharp said the bench had mitigated the penalty in order to allow the panel an opportunity of paying the fine, but should he appear again before them on a similar complaint, it would be more serious for him, as the Magistrates were determined to put an end to the practice.


Pleasure Seekers from Leith.—ln thee course of the last eight days so generally observed as a holiday time in Edinburgh and Leith, the steamer Forth has made repeated cheap trips from that port, which induced not a few to make a passing visit to the East of Fife. These pleasure seekers appeared for the most part to belong to the industrial classes, but although the weather was occasionally wet and unfavourable for being out of doors, they, with only a few exceptions, avoided the common temptation of the public house, and conducted themselves with exemplary order and propriety. Chalmers’ birthplace was looked at with curious interest, and many eager inquiry was made after Maggie Lauder’s house, but though disappointed in this instance, many our Edinburgh friends were much struck and delighted with the long streets and clean comfortable houses of Cellardyke, so widely different from the usual characteristics of a Scottish fishing village. Large numbers visited Pittenweem with much interest, and a few enterprising groups extended their walk as far as St Monance and Crail, when the beautiful sea braes and the boats on their way to the fishing ground were gazed with lively enthusiasm and pleasure; and altogether their visit to the East Neuk appeared to yield the highest satisfaction and enjoyment to pent-up denizens of ” Auld Reekie,” well those of its prosperous seaport.


Drowned at Sea.—On Monday afternoon a lamentable accident happened near the Bell Rock, by which a young man named Andrew Carstairs, one the crew of the Cellardyke fishing boat ” Planet,” No. 22 (Skipper Duncan McRuvie), lost his life. He had gone to the side of the boat to draw some salt water with the peggin”—a wooden vessel fitted with a long handle —when in attempting to lift it on board he was dragged overboard by the strength of the current, owing to the speed at which the boat was going through the water. This circumstance, however, enabled the boat to tack with the utmost readiness, but promptness and activity were all unavailing, as before the drowning young man could be reached, his boat mates, looking with feelings not to be described, saw him throw his arms into the air, and then sink into a watery grave. Carstairs was about twenty years of age; but however short his lifetime he had been peculiarly the child of misfortune and sorrow. In early youth he was deprived by death of both his father and mother, and some years ago a melancholy calamity having overtaken his maternal grandmother, who lived in comfortable circumstances in Crail, he was sent into the world all homeless and friendless growing up without any steady employment, and open to every snare and temptation around him; and now that his brief blighted life is over, leaving few if any to mourn his untimely fate.


French Fishermen.—Several French fishing vessels have arrived Anstruther harbour this season for the purpose buying the old nets of the Cellardyke fishermen, with which to prosecute the herring fishing in the North Sea. These vessels are lugger rigged; but, though clumsy in appearance, they are good sea boats. They have a crew of twenty men and boys, who, when compared with our fishermen, have few if any of the comforts of life. Sleeping, in their clothes on the hard planks, and using cider only instead of hot tea or coffee, where for dinner they have a miscellaneous diet of fish, flesh and vegetables, which they devour out of the cooking pot, in the same way that country urchins sup their porridge out of same bowl. Notwithstanding, however, the many discomforts of such a life, they maintain all the gaiety and flow of animal spirits so characteristic of Frenchmen; and on an evening they land from their vessels and dance and caper and sing with all the glee of children, drawing around them large numbers of the town folks, who enjoy many hearty laugh over their fantastic manoeuvres. The French luggers, though fitted out with gear which the Scottish fishermen regard as useless, are frequently very successful in the North Sea ; but they are the dread of our home crews, who have not only reason to fear a collision with their stronger tackling, but who also not suspect then wrongly of pirating their nets and herrings.

A boy named Alex. Martin, ten years of age, son of Skipper Alex. Martin, was drowned last week a little to the west of Cellardyke harbour.

The Cellardyke Echo – 29/7/2021 – Issue 298


Friday 28th July

Displenishing Sale at Cellardyke of the horses, Carts, Harness and other stock, which belonged to the late William Kirkcaldy, Contractor, comprising

  1. Livestock – 3 horses suitable of lorry work, 1 driving mare, 1 cross bred mare with foal at foot. 1 pig; also the pure Bred Clydesdale Stallion “Lathrisk Topsman” ( No 11784, Vol XXV, foaled 3rd June 1900
  2. CARTS, HARNESS, etc. 3 Heavy Lorries, 2 Coup Carts, 5 stone Carts (1 without wheels), 1 Wood Cart, 2 Heavy Spring Carts, several Sets Lorry Harness and Cart Harness, and Cart and Plough Chains, Irish Car, Gig, Governess Car, 2 Sets of Gig Harness, Wheel- barrow, Corn Box, Meat Barrow, Stable Utensils, Pails, Tubs, Harrows, Grubber, Water Trough, Sheep Troughs, Cattle Feeding Box. Turnip Cutter, Sheep Balks, Sheep Nets, Stobs, Bosses, Wood, Old Iron, etc., etc.
  3. AND THE FOLLOWING:— The produce of 1 acre, 35 poles, 17 yards POTATOES, “Langworthy,” growing at the Milton, West Anstruther.

The PASTURAGE up till Martinmas 1905 of the PARK at Cellardyke, which was occupied by Mr Kirkaldy.

WOODEN SHED in above-mentioned Park.

WOODEN SHED in the Ground at Anstruther Easter, belonging to the Harbour Commissioners.

Roup to commence at Two o clock p.m. DAVID MORTON, Auctioneer. Clydesdale Bank Buildings, Anstruther.



“Puritan” KY144, wrecked on rocks in Shetland, 19 July 1906, being salvaged. Skipper Jas Wood, St Monans. Scottish Fisheries Museum image

Last Thursday a fierce gale broke over Scotland, and the herring fleet at Shetland suffered considerably, while returning to the harbours. On Thursday afternoon, word was brought to Lerwick that a large fishing boat, the Puritan, KY. 144, (skipper James Wood), belonging to St Monans, was ashore on one of the outlying rocks near the north entrance to Lerwick harbour. The boat was stated to be in a bad place, and the crew in a perilous position. It turned out that the boat had first struck on the “Unicorn” rock, and had afterwards drifted on to the Green Holm, where the crew got ashore.

On the matter being reported, the Cellardyke drifter, Vanguard 111. KY. 693, (skipper Martin Gardner), immediately left the harbour to render assistance. Information was also conveyed to the coastguard station at Fort Charlotte, and steps were taken to send out the rocket apparatus to the scene of the wreck. The apparatus was put on board the drifter Mary Stephen, PD. 116. There was considerable excitement while the coastguards were bringing down the apparatus from the Fort, and the work of getting the articles on board the drifter, which was lying at Victoria Pier, was witnessed by a large crowd of people. Lieut. Buckle. Divisional Officer of Coastguards at Lerwick, proceeded with the vessel, and the apparatus was in charge of Chief Officer Drysdale, who has had considerable experience In life saving work. Mr James Moffat, Lerwick, went with the vessel as pilot. The Mary Stephen left harbour about seven o’clock, but when she arrived at the scene of the wreck, the Vanguard had just succeeded in getting the wrecked men safely on board.

Both vessels arrived back at Victoria Pier shortly after eight o’clock, when it was learned that the crew of the Puritan had been saved with great difficulty, and only after several attempts had been made to reach the isle in the small boat. The men had jumped ashore from their small boat on to the rocks. and in doing so one of them, named Patrick Rath, a native of Ireland, employed as a hired hand on the boat, had suffered injury by striking his head on the rocks. Medical aid having been summoned Dr McLennan came down to the vessel to attend to the injured man. Rath was quite unconscious, and he had to be taken ashore for treatment. Another of the crew, Thomas Guthrie, got one of his ankles badly injured while jumping ashore. The Puritan, by the time the crew were rescued, had sunk, there being nothing visible above the waves but the mizzen.

Great praise is given to the skipper of the Vanguard 111, for the persistent manner in which he stuck to the task of rescuing the crew of the Puritan. Being coxswain of the lifeboat at home, he has had much experience and possesses great skill in work of the kind. His crew also wrought very hard to get to the wrecked men, who were in a very exhausted condition when they were rescued.

In the course of an interview, skipper Martin Gardner of the Vanguard 111. gave the following narrative of the rescue:—

Word was brought here by one of the English drifters that the Puritan was on the rocks, and said he could not risk his own vessel as he was not acquainted with the place. I said I would go if I could get a man to pilot me there. We left harbour about half past four o’clock, and when we got out we saw the b oat on the Green Holm, and the men on the island. They signalled to us to run to the other side of the island, and we did so, and launched our small boat, and put five men into her. We ran in as far as we could go with safety, being in about 21/2 fathoms of water. There were only two oars in the small boat, and the wind was blowing so strong that they were unable to reach the island. They were driven off, and we had twice to go and pick them up. We were then going back to get more oars when we met a YH drifter and got a couple of oars from him. We then made another attempt, and the third time we were successful. The whole of the crew were taken on board at the same time. They were pretty exhausted, having been exposed for so long on the island to the cold and wet.

Vanguard III KY 693

James Wood, skipper of the Puritan, stated that they left Baltasound on Wednesday. They were reaching in for the north entry when they struck on the north part of the “Unicorn. This was about three o clock in the afternoon. They put up signals of distress, showed flagss and burned blankets and though there were three drifters that passed they took no notice of them. Then a sailing boat came along and saw and took the word to the harbour, and the Vanguard 111. came out to their assistance. Before this they had drifted on to the Green Holm where they got ashore. When trying to swim ashore, Rath struck his head on a rock and got hurt, and another man, Thomas, Guthrie, got an injury to his ankle. But for the Vanguard (said the skipper) they might all have been dead men in the morning. The Vanguard deserved great praise fur the way he did the business _ –

The Puritan was a first-class boat. 67 feet of keel, and was fully equipped. Most of the gear and the men’s effects were saved.

Rath recovered consciousness about one o clock Friday morning, and has since been making satisfactory progress towards recovery.

WRECKED ST MONANS CREW LANDED AT ABERDEEN. The steamer St Ninian, belonging to the North of Scotland Steam Navigation Company, arrived in Aberdeen last night with five members of the crew of the fishing boat Puritan, of St Monans, which was wrecked on a reef of rocks off Green Holm, near Lerwick, during the severe storm about ten days ago. Those who were landed last night at Aberdeen were James Wood, skipper and owner of the boat, St Monans; David Wood, 16 years age, son; William Davidson, St Monans; Thos. Swankey, Arbroath; and Patrick Rath, native of Ireland. The crew of the Puritan had an exciting experience, and were in an exhausted condition when rescued by the steam drifter Vanguard 111., of Cellardyke (Mr Martin Gardner, skipper). The unfortunate men were taken to the Sailors’ Home on their arrival in Aberdeen, and were provided with railway tickets to enable them to proceed to their homes.

( the boat was salvaged gaff rigged and worked from Shetland for a while . see photo here)


Boat wrecked at Eyemouth

On Tuesday forenoon a misfortune befell one of the Eyemouth fishing boats, whereby the vessel became a complete wreck, a considerable portion of the gear was destroyed. The boat was named J Ritchie Welch, and had been purchased recently from Cellardyke by James Patterson, one of our local fishermen. On the morning in question the fleet was proceeding to sea, but owing to the direction of the wind considerable difficulty and danger was experienced in getting out of the bay. About eleven o clock the J Ritchie Welsh mis-stayed in the roadstead and drifted onto the rocks at the east entrance of the bay. There was a heavy roll, and the boat and crew were in an eminently perilous position. The boat reeled to and fro and appeared as if she would capsize altogether. Great excitement prevailed on shore, where large crowds had gathered. The coble and a small boat went out to render assistance, but nothing could be done, even in the way of saving the men’s lives, as it was found to venture near such a dangerous position would bring destruction to their own craft. To add to the excitement and anxiety of the moment some fishermen, anxious to have the lifeboat launched jumped into the harbour in order to swim across to the lifeboat house, but they had not proceeded far when they showed signs of drowning and were picked up by a small boat in a very exhausted condition. Meantime a crowd of fishermen had gathered at the “Green-ends” where the unfortunate boat was being furiously lashed by the waves. Communication was ultimately effected and cork jackets from the lifeboat were sent aboard for the men. Amid great excitement and danger each member of the crew jumped into the water and was pulled ashore. The last to leave the boat was James Patterson, skipper whose coolness during a most critical time was most commendable. He was the only one who received personal injury, but we are glad to know this was not of a serious nature. When the tide receded, a large number of people viewed the wreck. The boat was smashed to pieces, and nets and sails and gear mixed up in a most inextricable tangle. The boat’s messenger and some nets were saved.

(The James R Welch KY 393 was the largest of the fleet when it was launched March 1886 at 57ft built by Jarvis of Anstruther for James Smith of Cellardyke. It was named after a St Andrews town councillor and friend to the Fife fishing community.)


The new steam drifter, Alices, built to the order of Messrs Bett, Cellardyke, and launched by Messrs Geddes, Portgordon, has been completed Messrs Cooper and Grieg, Dundee. After getting her gear on board at Anstruther this week, the vessel sailed for the fishing  on Wednesday.


Major Anstruther Gray asked the President of the Board of Trade, in the House of Commons on Tuesday, whether his attention had been called to the case of Alexander Smith, a fisherman of Cellardyke, whose nets were taken on or about 2d February last to the Elie Coastguard Station under the misapprehension that they had been abandoned or lost at sea ; whether when this fact was explained the nets were not delivered to their owner, but a claim made of £4 for salvage ; whether these nets were left out all night in frost and snow, and suffered damage thereby ; how many days and nights they were so exposed ; whether these nets were now to be sold by auction; and whether seeing that the owner, a hard-working man, had been deprived of the use of them ever since the beginning of February, and had thus suffered financial loss which he could ill afford, he would cause the nets to be handed over without payment to their owner and grant him some compensation for the loss he had sustained?

Mr Kearley—I am aware of the circumstances of the case. I am advised that the nets in question, having been found adrift, were properly brought as wreck by the finder to the chief officer of coastguard at Elie, representing the receiver, and that Section 546 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, accordingly operated to give the salvor a claim for reasonable salvage. It became the duty of the receiver under Section 552 of that Act to detain the nets pending a settlement of the claims or until security—which in this case was fixed at £4—had been given. I understand that the chief officer of coastguard did everything in his power to protect the nets, but that while they were spread out to dry and in his absence on duty a snowstorm unfortunately came on and covered them. They were then dried and stored as soon as possible, and l am informed that they do not appear to be any the worse of their exposure. The receiver was instructed by the Board to endeavour to effect an arrangement between the salvor and the owner of the nets, but though the claim of the former was substantially reduced the owner still objected to pay, and his solicitor stated that the receiver could keep the nets. In these circumstances instructions have been given for the a sale of the nets by auction, and the proceeds, if any remain after the settlement of the salvage expenses, will be handed to the owner, but I cannot hold out any hope that he will be paid anything beyond balance.


Shortly after the arrival of the trawler Rivardale of Aberdeen in Burghead Bay at 6 p.m. on Wednesday last week, a few of the crew came ashore for the evening. Between 9.30 and 10 o’clock, one of the number, John Falconer, of Cellardyke, recently in Aberdeen, set out for the vessel alone in a small boat. His departure was witnessed by a few persons standing on the quay, and when the boat was some distance out, he was seen to move about in it, overbalance himself, and fall into the water. The alarm raised by the onlookers was quickly answered by the coastguards, who, in a very few minutes, were on the scene of the accident, but despite a careful and prolonged search for the unfortunate man, they were forced to return unsuccessful. It is understood be was 32 years of age and unmarried, and resided at 60 Menzies Road, Aberdeen.

During a gale the Berwick coast Friday night the Fifeshire (KY43), a Cellardyke fishing vessel owned Thomas Reid, was wrecked on the Links, between Holy Island and Bamburgh, four men being drowned. (the boat had left Anstruther a couple of weeks before)


A herring fishing boat belonging to Cellardyke, has been wrecked in gale the on the Berwick coast, at Ross Links, between Holy Island and Bamburgh. There are no signs of the veesel’e crew, and it is feared that there has been loes of life. The vessel is stated to have been making for Sunderland. ,

Further information regarding the fishing vessel wrecked on Ross Links forms an extraordinary story. The boat is the Fifeshire, Cellardyke fishing vessel. No. 43. She arrived in Holy Island on the 9th, and remained until Monday evening, when at nine o’clock, in a strong breeze, she put out with her sail half up and only one man aboard. Nothing was seen of her until the following night, and she is believed to have picked two hands, for she was seen, making north from Seahouses with three persons aboard, and as she was labouring good deal the coastguard beckoned her to put in. She proceeded north, however, and on Monday morning was wrecked Ross Links between Holy Island and Bamburgh.

A telegram received in Sunderland on Monday stated that the crew of four or five men of the Cellardyke fishing smack Fifeshire, wrecked between Holy Island and Bambury on Saturday, had been picked up by a vessel trading to the continent. It was feared that the men had been drowned.

Later news

CREW OF THE WRECKED BOAT, Inquiries in Sunderland reveal a number of facts of interest.

It appears that the man Martin who hail charge of the boat was chartered to carry a cargo of coal from Sunderland to Holy Island for Brigham, and that he left the island the same day he arrived bound for the Wear, arriving there on Tuesday last, and discharging ballast at Wylam’s Wharf.

Later a cargo of thirty tons of coal was shipped ait Lambton Drape through Mr Cuthbert Wilkinson, coal exporter, West Sumnside. , _ ,

Martin engaged three or four men at Sunderland to assist him in working the vessel. The three of them were:—

James Miller (19), Russell Street.

George Lancaster (22), of Hogg’s Yard.

Christopher Craddock (18), High Street East.

The name of the fourth is not forth coming, but it is said that agreed take the trip for pleasure, and to work for his food and passage.

Four persons in addition to Martin were seen on board when his boat was towed out of the Weir on Thursday evening last week bound for Holy Island. Those on board the tug Kate which towed the vessel out to sea, remarked that her holds were uncovered.

The three men whose names are given had not been to sea as sailors, and it was not known that Miller had been employed until the boat had put to sea.

( The Fifeshire was 52ft in length and at least 20 years old)


When the herring fishing boat Star of Hope, KY. 672, arrived in Aberdeen on Wednesday night, the skipper reported that Angus McLeod, fisherman, was killed on board by the breaking of the mizzen mast about 75 miles south-east of Aberdeen that morning. The crew were shaking herrings out of the nets when the mast broke, and a heavy part of it struck McLeod, death being almost instantaneous. Deceased, who spoke Gaelic, is said to have belonged to the West Highlands.

The Cellardyke Echo – 22/7/2021 – Issue 297


MORE SAD NEWS FROM FIFE. ANOTHER BOATING DISASTER FEARED. FATE OF ANSTRUTER VISITORS. Great anxiety prevails in Anstruther regarding the safety of two visitors, an anxiety that has now deepened into belief that the worst has happened. Following so soon after the disaster at Leven, but a few miles to the west, it is not surprising the circumstances are exciting the community in an extraordinary degree. William Watson, a native of Cellardyke, but resident in Aberdeen and of the crew of the steam trawler Faith, and John Swanson (Haddington), swimming master, engaged in one of the Edinburgh baths, who had both come to spend a holiday in Anstruther, set off Wednesday after dinner for a sail. At the last moment they decided to go the May. Their boat, the Maggie Brown, a partan yawl, belonging to Mr William Sutherland, was smart craft, a little over twenty feet long, and rigged with a lugsail. Few other crafts were out so far, and no townsmen spoke them, but the island had been made all right. Both men were spoken to by the lighthouse keepers, and as they put off from the May about seven o’clock Watson remarked that he intended to show his friend round the island.

Shortly after the light craft was observed tacking round the South Ness, holding east, then the helm was put up, throwing her on a southerly course. Thinking the visitors intended making for Dunbar or North Berwick, the keepers paid no further attention to her. That was the last seen of the yawl and crew so far as is known.

As night fell those at home became alarmed, but they could do nothing. Next day inquiries were instituted in every direction, and, acting on the information secured from the May, telegrams were sent to Berwick, Dunbar, and other ports. Nothing had been observed from the south shore, and it is feared that in the grey of Tuesday night the craft must have heeled over, struck by a flange, and sunk. Circumstances which make the accident all the more pathetic are that one of the supposed victims was revisiting the scenes he left twelve years ago and mixing with his old companions. All gave William Watson hearty welcome, and were glad to hear from him how well the Faith was doing. This steam trawler was an experiment by Mr Stephen Williamson, who, anxious to see how his old townsmen would act a modern craft, had her built, and placed Skipper Michael Doig and a Cellardyke crew in charge. They did well, and Watson had run south for a brief holiday, bringing one of his children. He met Mr Swanson two or three times since the latter, accompanied by his wife and two children, came from Edinburgh to spend the week in Anstruther. The anxiety of Mrs Swanson and her children is exciting the liveliest sympathy in their terrible position, and deeply also do those in Anstruther feel for Mrs Watson and her children in Aberdeen, eight of a family being left. The only gleam of hope is that the yawl had met with an accident to the mast or sail, and that the men had been picked up by ship outward bound.

Proof was led—before Sheriff Armour—at yesterday an action at the instance of David Keith, fish-curer, Cellardyke, against Wm. Donaldson, farmer, Cauldcoats The sum sued for was .£8 10s, being the price of a horse which pursuer said defender purchased from him on 28th  March last Defender denied that he bought the horse his version of the transaction being that pursuer sent the horse up to his farm for his use for its keep, as had been done preceding season with a horse belonging to pursuer’s son. After hearing evidence, the Sheriff said he had considerable difficulty in coming to a decision, but the whole considered the balance of evidence was in pursuer’s favour, and therefore granted decree for the sum sued for, with £1 10s of expenses’ For pursuer.


Walter Peat, fireman, Fowler’s Street, Cellardyke, and Thomas Bowman, labourer, Kingseat Asylum works, pleaded guilty in Aberdeen Sheriff Court to-day having quarrelled and fought with one another in a train between Ellon and Pitlurg and smashed a pane of glass in the window of the compartment. The Fiscal said the accused were the only occupants of the compartment. When the train started the passengers in the other part of the carriage heard the accused singing together. Before they had proceeded far, however, high words arose between the pair. The guard asked them to pay for the broken window, but they refused, so noisy were they that he had to travel in the carriage with them to prevent a further disturbance. Sheriff Begg imposed a fine of £2, with the alternative of ten days prison, on each.

THE VISITORS. –  The Edinburgh and Glasgow holidays, and also those of other places having begun in the end of last week, there was a very large influx of visitors to Anstruther and the East of Fife on Saturday, special trains were run to this district from Edinburgh and Glasgow, and were well patronised, The trains were considerable late. Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting lodgings by many of the people, and the streets in Anstruther and Cellardyke on Saturday night and Sunday were patrolled by many strangers. The weather was tine and bracing, and in strong contrast to the wet of the past week.

The housing accommodation, both in Anstruther and Cellardyke, has been taxed to its utmost. The Billowness, where both bathing and golfing can be enjoyed, has proved a source of attraction while Kilrenny Common, with its rustic beauty, has also claimed a fair share of attention.

Cellardyke Town Council

Mr Marr asked if it had ever been thought to try incandescent lamps for the streets. It might be as well to ask Anstruther if the lamps were a success or a saving of gas. Bailie Butters said there had been a good deal of expense with the mantles, and Cellardyke was a very drafty place, but they might resolve to try one or two lamps. It was left to the Committee to ascertain and report to Council.

The body of the late Mr George Fowler was brought across the Atlantic and was landed in Glasgow on Wednesday. The remains were conveyed to Anstruther at night, and taken to deceased’s house in East Forth Street, Cellardyke. The funeral takes place this afternoon to Kilrenny Churchyard. On his deathbed Mr Fowler had a great longing to get back to Cellardyke, and it was at his own request that his remains should rest in Kilrenny Churchyard beside “kindred dust.”

A Geelong newspaper says:—ln November, 1902, the Marquis of Linlithgow, a ketch belonging to Captain Cunningham, of Geelong, was lost at Sea Elephant Rock in a gale, and the captain and crew experienced much difficulty in saving their lives. The ketch was all that Captain Cunningham possessed in the world, and although he is a very old man he has since then built with his own hands another ketch, the Earl of Elgin, with which he has just completed a trip to and from Sea Elephant rock. He succeeded in recovering most of the spars, anchors and chains belonging to the wrecked ketch, but the sails and carpenters tools were not to be found.

 (Alexander was born May 1843 and would only be 59 at this point not a “very old man” he went on to live to be 92 and passed away in 1935)

Alexander Cunningham in Australia

The Cellardyke Echo – 15/7/2021 – Issue 296


Dundee – The New Fish Dock Committee of Dundee Harbour Trust on Friday agreed to lease for three years seven poles of ground at the New Fish Depot to Messrs Cunningham & Bonthron, Anstruther, for ship chandlers’ premises. The premises are to be erected according to a general plan prepared by the harbour engineer.

CELLARDYKE DISTRESSING FATALITY ON THE TAY. –A drowning fatality, the circumstances connected with which are of a distressing character, occurred on the Tay on Tuesday afternoon. About three o’clock the steam liner Edith, of Anstruther, left the new Fish Dock, where her catch had been discharged. The vessel had scarcely proceeded three-quarters of a mile on the outward voyage when Thomas Smith, the mate, fell overboard. Smith was engaged at his duty on deck, when he slipped and fell over the ‘bulwark into the river. The engines were immediately put full speed astern, but the unfortunate seaman, clad as he was in heavy clothing and sea boots, sank before the means of succour were at hand. Smith, who was 26 years of age, resided at 13 Rodger Street, Cellardyke, and was the son of the master of the Liner—this being the second son who has, met his death by drowning. Grappling operations were conducted till a late hour on Tuesday night, but all efforts to recover the body proved fruitless. Operations were continued on Wednesday, and these at length proved successful, the body being recovered about 8 o’clock in the evening and brought home to Anstruther. The sad news was telegraphed to Anstruther to Mr William Birrell, Shore Street, and caused very general regret in the community. Smith was well known in he community and highly respected.

The Choir of the Cellardyke Parish Church had their annual outing on Wednesday. They journeyed to Falkland Palace where they inspected the grounds etc., and altogether spent a most enjoyable day.

Rev. Thomas Cunningham, Scottsdale, Tasmania, a brother of Mr Alex Cunningham, Cellardyke, was inducted to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church at Scottsdale on the 24th of May, Mr Cunningham has officiated in the denomination upwards of 35 years as a missionary in Ceylon, South Australia, and during the past 9 years in Scottsdale. About 2 years ago the Presbytery were approached with a view to his being then admitted into full standing in the Church, but circumstances did not permit of it being accomplished. Since then, however, the difficulties have passed away, and a course of study prescribed. .The examinations thereon were successfully negotiated with credit and the culminating point was attained on 24th May by his receiving ordination and induction in presence of a large gathering off the congregation and friends of all denominations.


MR STEPHEN WILLIAMSON RETIRES FROM BUSINESS. On Saturday Messrs Balfour, Williamson, & Co., Liverpool, issued to their friends and clients a circular intimating that Mr Stephen Williamson, their senior partner, has retired from the firm, of which he has been a member since its establishment in 1851. Mr Williamson founded the partnership which now represents the largest purely merchants’ business in the world, in association with the late Mr Alexander Balfour (of Leven). In laying the foundation of the fortunes of the firm, he was for several years in South America. Mr Williamson, who formerly sat in Parliament for St Andrew’s Burghs, and later for Kilmarnock has long been identified with public and philanthropic movements in Liverpool, as well as a great figure in commerce, while his charities to Anstruther and Cellardyke, his native town, have kept his name there a household word.

On Monday first an enquiry, under the fatal Accidents Act, will be held in the Lerwick Sheriff Court, into the death of Thomas Reid, of Cellardyke, who was drowned on the passage to Cullivoe.

Fatal Accidents Enquiry. Monday an enquiry was held under the Fatal Accidents Enquiry Act, into the cause of the death of Thomas Reid, fisherman, Cellardyke, who was drowned on June last near the Brethren Rocks while on the passage from Lerwick to Cullivoe, off the boat Prospects Ahead, KY. 1656. The enquiry took place in the Sheriff Courthouse—before Sheriff Moffatt and a jury.

The following gentlemen were appointed on the jury Messrs B. S. Copland, David Beaton, John Henry, Charles Arthur, James Goodlad, D. W. Dalgliesh, and Robert Fraser.

After the jury had been empannelled, the following evidence was led :

William Sutherland deponed that he was 33 years of age, lived at 47 John Street, Cellardyke, and was skipper of the boat Prospects Ahead, KY.1656. She was a first-class decked fishing boat, 31 tons burden, and 49 feet over stems. They had been engaged at the early herring fishing this year at Shetland, and left Cellardyke on 3rd June for Cullivoe. They carried no small boat, and had no lifebuoys on board. On their way to Cullivoe they passed through Lerwick harbour, where they arrived about 7.30 on the morning of the 5th  June. They left at noon of the same day, but they took no small boat or lifebuoys from Lerwick. When they left the wind was SW. by S. and moderate. They had to run dead before the wind for some time, jibing the sail three or four times. After leaving Lerwick the wind increased, and when they were about 1 ¼ or 1 ½ miles from the harbour they had to dip the sail to go on the starboard tack. After this had been done he ordered the sails to be set and two reefs taken in forward. After they had got the sail hoisted hand high—that was far as it could be got hand over hand, the haulyards were passed over the roller. The roller was fixed into a timber in the boat’s side. When the haulyards were put over the roller, deceased sat down on the gunwale and put his foot on a timber behind the block. Witness was inside the deck behind the deceased, and the others were sitting behind him. Deceased was on the gunwale, and while giving an extra haul on the haulyards and pulling with all his might, the haulyards slipped off the roller, were jerked out of his hand, and he went into the water. The boat was going about six knots an hour the time. Everything had been cleared up and stowed below, so there was nothing to throw to the man in the water. Witness threw the haulyards to him but that was of no use. Thomas Reid was the deceased’s name, and he was married, and 34 years of age, and the son of David Reid and Ann Burrows or Reid. They did not recover his body. The helm was put hard a-port to bring the boat to the wind, but about two minutes after the deceased went overboard he sank. Witness did not see him sinking, but he went to get a tackle and put it the sail when Alex. Johnson said to him “Ye needna care aboot it, Willie; he’s awa” They did not go back to the spot where the accident occurred, there being no use as the man had sunk.

By the Court—There was nothing to throw to the man in the water, and in the confusion they were all upset. There were oars on the boat’s deck they might have thrown to him, but they did not think of it at the time.

Q.—Do not fishing boats carry lifebuoys.

A. Winter boats carry lifebuoys, but summer herring fishing boats seldom do. There was nothing like a lump of cord or anything that sort about the deck that could throw in cases this kind.

Mr Fraser—Was the sail on the side the man fell over

A—Yes ; we were pulling on the weather side, and the sail was on the port side.

Alexander Johnson deponed that he was a miner, but went to the fishing as a hired hand. He was a hand on the boat Prospects Ahead, of Cellardyke, on 5th June. After leaving Lerwick harbour on that date they were shortening sail off the Brethren rocks. After they shortened sail they had got the sail hand high, and then took the haulyards to the roller. Witness was standing behind the roller. Deceased was next the in setting up the sail the haulyards came out and he went overboard. The roller was about four inches in diameter and two inches above the deck. There was no catch on it to prevent the haulyards slipping. The roller was about five inches in length.

Thomas Anderson (28), first hand on the Prospects Ahead, deponed that he resided at 25 Shore Street, Cellardyke, and along with Sutherland owned the boat Thomas Reid had a share in the nets, and the rest of the crew were hired men. These men received a fifteenth share of the earnings. Reid would have got the same, and something extra for his nets. He then gave corroborative evidence as to how the accident happened.

By the Court—The roller is of iron and just like the sheave of a block. There was nothing on it to prevent a rope slipping off. They were trying to work the boat up to windward when they saw the accused had sunk, and therefore it was no further use.

Alex. Johnson (recalled) deponed that the man did not call out when he fell overboard. Witness saw him sink about two minutes from the time of his going into the water. He was about a mile and half from the boat when he sank.

The Sheriff—A mile and a halt there must be something wrong there, if he was only two minutes in the water before he disappeared, and the boat going six miles an hour. He could not have been a mile and a half away.

Witness —It might have been a mile. I could not say exactly.

Q.—Did anyone else beside you see him sink ?

A.—Yes; William Sutherland.

Q.—How long did you spend looking for him

A.—l could not tell. Perhaps ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.

Q—None of you threw anything to him !


Q, There was no small boat or lifebuoy or lifebelts !

A.—No ; there were oars about the deck, but none of us thought of throwing any of them

 Andrew Gowans, miner, 64 Dewery Street, Methil, deponed that he was miner, but went to the herring fishing in the summer season. He gave corroborative evidence as to deceased falling overboard.

The Sheriff—How far was he from the boat when sank? A.—About half a mile. There was nothing thrown to him, as we all lost our presence of mind in a case like that. We looked for him until he had sunk out of sight. By Mr Fraser—The sail did not come down to the deck when the haulyards slipped off the roller, as the men held on and kept the sail up.

James Anderson, grocer’s assistant, 7 Dove Street, Cellardyke, deponed that he was a hand on the Prospects Ahead when the accident happened. He was steering the boat at the time, but owing to the mizzen sail he could not see ahead. He saw Reid being carried past the stern of the boat where he was sitting steering. The boat was travelling about six miles hour, and witness had nothing at his hand that he could throw to the man overboard. He put down the helm, and the boat came up to the wind, and she went to windward until they saw the man went down.

This concluded the evidence, and Mr Galloway addressed the jury, asking them to find a verdict in accordance with the evidence. Sheriff Moffatt then briefly addressed the jury, informing them that all they had to do was to find a verdict in terms of the prayer of the petition that deceased met with his death by accidentally falling overboard from the boat Prospects Ahead, about 11 miles from the Brethren rocks, and being drowned. In the course of his remarks he referred to these fishing boats not carrying lifebuoys. For safety, and possibly for the saving of life, there should be some lifebuoy or lifebelt, or something that would float, lying handy on the deck, which could be thrown by someone from the boat to anyone who chanced to fall into the water. There were oars on the deck of this boat, but the skipper told them they did not think of them at the time; and another of the crew said they lost their presence of mind. That was very unfortunate, but they could not be held blameworthy. The initial cause was the haulyards slipping over the end of the roller, and that could be made preventable by having something placed on the end so that they could not slip. But they—the jury—bad nothing to do with that. All they had to do was to record their opinion to how the death of the deceased Thomas Reid was caused. Without leaving the dock the jury, through W. Dalgliesh, intimated that they found the accident had happened as stated in the Fiscal’s petition.

While the boat Venus Star, of Cellardyke was some 40 miles E.N.E of Peterhead on Thursday evening, making for Fraserburgh, a carrier pigeon came on board the craft, evidently in a exhausted condition. The bird had rubber ring on its leg marked R 38 while its wing was stamped with the figure 4. The bird is now possession of the skipper of the boat, who is at present located here (Fraserburgh). It is assumed that the pigeon one those that took part in the recent Lerwick London race.

The Cellardyke Echo – 8/7/2021 – Issue 295


Mr FOWLER, ARTIST.–Mr Fowler of Liverpool who has been residing at Cellardyke for a week or two, has since his arrival been very busy transferring to canvas, many choice bits of scenery, chiefly between Cellardyke and Caiplie. Those who are fortunate enough to obtain a view of them will be more than delighted, as it is seldom that an artist of his calibre visits the East of Fife district. In most of his pictures done here, Mr Fowler has caught the sea on this coast in its holiday moods, and one can fancy even looking at them, that they sparkle and flash, and bring with them the smell of the salt, salt sea.’ Those who can appreciate genuinely artistic work should endeavour to see them, or better still secure one for themselves.

MR JOHN MONTADOR, son of the late Mr John Montador, (Watson), Cellardyke, has passed his examination at Dundee for Second Mate. He is in the Ship “Eaton Hall “

Cellardyke Fisherman Drowned Hartlepool.—James Watson, fisherman, Cellardyke, one of the crew of the steam liner Anster Fair, was drowned on Saturday night at Hartlepool. The Fair had been fishing at that port all week, and was very successful. Watson was last seen at ten o’clock on Saturday night, when several of the crew left him and retired for the night, he promising to follow soon after. It was Sunday morning ere the crew became aware that had never been in bed the whole night. A search was at once made, and his body was seen floating upright about a foot from the surface. Life had by then been extinct for a few hours. The body was brought to Anstruther in the liner Tuesday morning and taken to deceased’s residence in Cellardyke. He has left a widow and nine of a family. He was 46 years of age, and he had been a most successful and enterprising fisherman.


THE LATE PROVOST MARTIN, KILRENNY. The funeral of the late Provost Martin took place last Friday to Kilrenny Churchyard amid many manifestations of sorrow. Flags were hoisted half-mast high in Anstruther and Cellardyke, while the shops in the latter place were closed for two hours. The bell in Cellardyke Church tolled a notified peal. The funeral was one of the largest seen in the district for many years. Fully 150 fishermen attended, and relays of them carried the coffin shoulder-high from St Ayles Crescent, Anstruther, to Williamson Street, Cellardyke, where it was transferred to the hearse. The cortege was preceded by the members of Kilrenny Town Council, all of whom were present, followed the coffin which was of polished oak and brass mountings, the mourners, the fishermen, about 50 members of the late Provost’s Bible Class, and the general public, who largely attended, followed by about a dozen machines. On arriving at the Churchyard, the remains were carried to the grave by the elders of Anstruther Free Church, his colleagues. A short service was conducted, Rev. Mr Macalpine reading a few passages of Scripture, prayer by Rev. Mr Gregory, Kilmalcolm, singing of a hymn by the Bible-class, and the benediction by Rev. Mr Jackson, Crail. Some pretty wreaths were sent, including one from the Town Council with the following inscription: ‘ A tribute of affection from his colleagues in the Town Council of Kilrenny.’ From his employees, the wreath bore the following :–” A tribute of respect and esteem to a worthy master from his workers.” The coffin plate bore the simple in script ion of the name, dates of birth and death of deceased. The funeral was a moat impressive sight, and was witnessed by large crowds of people all along the route.

The furniture of the old Infant School was exposed by public roup on Wednesday by Mr Bonthron, and realised £3 15s

THE. GEELONG ADVERTISER of June 2d has the following:—The sea-going qualities of the cutter Earl of Hopetoun, which has just returned from a deep sea fishting cruise, were fully tested by the terrific weather experienced in the Straits on the 15th ult. When the disturbance occurred the little vessel was 32 miles N.N E. of Care Wickham, but warned by the rapid fall of the barometer, Captain Cunningham had sailed closed reefed and weathered the gale, which brought him quickly in sight of the King’s Island light, shining bright and clear 23 miles off, After a severe buffeting the. Earl of Hopetoun got under the lee of New Year’s Island. Captain Cunningham is a native of Cellardyke. (Alexander Cunningham who previously had been a boat builder in Cellardyke)


GOOD OPENING FOR BAKER. TO LET, That Commodious BAKERY, at 25 Shore Street, Cellardyke, where a good business was long carried on by the late Mr Donaldson. The bakehouse and oven are in good condition; there is a large flour loft; convenient shop and 3 roomed house. Entry may be had any time after 1st August. Apply to Alex Marr Grocer.

Mr John Montador, son of the late Mr John Montador (Watson) has passed the Board of Trade as first mate at Aberdeen He served under Captain Lowrison in the Eaton Hall,

At the presentation of prizes at Aberdeen Navigation School on Saturday, Mr John Doig, son of Skipper Mitchell Doig of the S.S. Faith, gained the third prize, a book on astronomy, with 98 per cent. The class consisted of 26 fishermen.


The inventory of the personal or movable estate and effects of the late Mr John Ritchie, formerly fish-curer, Cellardyke. thereafter residing St Ayle’s Crescent, Anstruther, has also been lodged. The total amount the estate is £1308 13s 5d, and the Estate Duty £45 2s 9d.

AN OLD STORY. Old grandmother Lothian, who was born at Cellardyke In 1714, and died in 1804, aged 90 years, used to relate the following curious occurrence, which happened in Kilrenny Kirk one Sabbath afternoon while she was there:—A sailor named John Smith, who had been long on board a Man-of-War, came home and got married to a gay young lass, who before twelve months had fled brought him a fine boy. At that time, as at the present day, it was customary to take the child to the Kirk to be baptised. John was proud of his young son, and invited several of his neighbours in Cellardyke to the christening. The whole party went up to the Kirk with the child, and when the ceremony was to be performed, the young woman who carried the child, not being properly initiated, placed its head on the wrong arm. John held up his first-born bravely, having no suspicion that there was anything amiss. When the Minister looked over the pulpit and saw the mistake, he told John to change its position. John, not understanding what he meant, only moved the child a little to one side, when the Minister said, “That will not do yet John.” The seaman looked up to his Reverence with an air of surprise, and inquired—” What, then, shall I capsize it, or turn it end for end?” Minister—” None of your sea phrases here, John.” Odds bodken,” said John; “if you have any objections to the job, I will put him in a handkerchief and go to Crail, I know the road.” Fortunately, the midwife was among the party, who had experience in that way, saw the mistake, and placed the infant in the proper position on John’s arm, when all went on smoothly.

The Cellardyke Echo – 1/7/2021 – Issue 294


Waterproofs for Fishermen.—Messrs Black & Co., Cellardyke, who advertise in our present issue, are, we observe, the possessors of a patent registered design for their petticoat trousers,” which reach to the knees, and are used solely by fishermen, also for their canvas floats, which are rapidly coming to the front as the only ones which fulfil all the requirements of that article. They are made in four pieces of cotton in a shape resembling a cone, being first steeped in a patent mixture in India rubber, linseed oil, etc., then coated on the inside five or six times, turned, and tied or lashed by machinery of Mr Black’s own invention, capable of turning out 30 in an hour. The firm’s patent canvas sea-boots, which keep out water better than the ordinary leather kind, are becoming very popular among seafaring men.


FAILING TO EDUCATE—Skipper David Davidson, Cellardyke, was charged before Provosts Anderson and Duncan on Saturday, with a breach of the attendance order in the case of his two boys—the one having only made 15 and the other 21 out of 40 possible attendances. He was fined 5s with 5s of expenses.

The number of boats fitted out for the Lammas drive has not been so limited for the last 25 years. The Cellardyke fleet does not now exceed 145 boats, while a few years ago it numbered 207. At St Monans the number is reduced to 71, being at least 30 below what it was five or six years ago.


On Wednesday forenoon a couple of children, sons of Mr David Wood, fisherman, Cellardyke, were playing on the middle pier, nearly opposite the signal cannon, one of them fell into the harbour between the boats and the quay. With the exception of the brother, one saw the mishap, and he ran to the west pier to inform his father. A half-dealsman, however, chanced to look into the harbour, and gave the alarm to Skipper Pratt, who managed to catch hold of the lad from the boat’s side. The child had been some time in the water, as one may guess when the father was in time to receive him the pier. A messenger was despatched for a doctor, but in the meantime by following out the instructions of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which were attended with great success, and the arrival of Dr Ferguson signs returning consciousness were visible. He was then conveyed to the house of Mr Thomas Cunningham, where under medical treatment he was fully restored, and is now little the worse of his adventure.

The number of boats leaving Cellardyke to take part in this fishing is given 152, while 48 leave Pittenweem, and 65 from St Monance.  This is a great increase previous years, and it to be hoped that success will attend their efforts. The large number of half-dealsmen are now engaged, and already the town wears its usual look. The half-dealsman Hugh Mooney, who received a severe fracture last Wednesday while leaping from a boat to the quay, died on Wednesday evening after lying a week unconscious. He has some money in a bank, but it will be difficult to get the advantage of it. Mooney was thirty-eight years of age, and a widower. He was buried on Friday in East Anstruther Churchyard.


PROPOSED CLOSE TIME. A of fishermen took place at Point Law, Aberdeen, on Friday, for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken to secure a close time for the herring fishing in future years. Mr Archibald Macpherson, Hopeman, presided. Mr A. CUNNINGHAM, Cellardyke, proposed the following resolution :-” That this meeting, in view of the satisfactory results of the early fishing, when herrings are immature and prices so unprofitable, would strongly recommend to the different Associations that steps be taken at the earliest opportunity to secure a close time for the east coast of Scotland from 1st June to 10th July of each year.” Mr JOHN FLETT, Lossiemouth, seconded. The resolution was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

The Cellardyke boat Maggie Morris was in collision with a trawler in Aberdeen on Tuesday, but very little damage was done.

Yesterday morning the Cellardyke boat Black Prince reached Anstruther with 7 ½ crans of overday’s herrings. They were sold to Mr Keith for 8s per cran. Some of the Cellardyke boats are doing exceedingly well at the north, especially those at Fraserburgh and Peterhead, and others again have done extremely little. Same have already upwards of £100 to their credit, and one or two others made more than £50 last week. This week the calm weather has retarded fishing operations at the north, and the boats have not been able to get out each night.

Black Prince KY 1169

The Cellardyke Echo – 24/6/2021 – Issue 293


The arrangements for supplying the inhabitants of the East of Fife with telegraphic facilities are being rapidly carried out, and in a short time the wires will be in all the Post Offices in the district. In addition to the wire which has been in operation here for a considerable time, a new wire has lately been erected between St Monance and Anstruther, which is to be extended to Cellardyke and Crail. The head office for the district is Anstruther, where all messages for any of the neighbouring towns are first transmitted through the direct wire, and then forwarded to their destinations by the other wire.

WARNING TO PERSONS KEEPING DOGS WITHOUT LICENCES. —A Justice of Peace Court was held here on Wednesday. William Murray, Esq., Provost Todd, and Bailie Darsie on the bench, and John Smith, Esq., acting as assessor. After the disposal of two or three small debt cases, Wm. Pattie, carter, Cellardyke, was charged at the instance of Mr William Webber Sparke, officer of Excise, with keeping a dog without a licence, whereby he was liable in a penalty of £5. He pled guilty and was fined in the mitigated penalty of 25s. James Watson, fishcurer, Cellardyke, pled guilty to a similar charge, stating that he had inadvertently neglected to take out the licence and was fined 25s. James Salter (Carstairs), fisherman, Cellardyke, was fined 25s for the same offence. In the cases of David Brown and Thomas Tarvit, fishermen, Cellardyke, who did not appear personally, the service of the summons was sworn to, and no defence being set up, a fine of 25s each was inflicted. At the instance of Mr Stephen Youden, officer of Excise, West Anstruther, Alexander Watson, fisherman, Cellardyke, was charged with the same offence. Mr Sparke, who appeared for the Crown, said in this case the defendant had been keeping a dog for two years and five months without a licence, and he submitted that a heavier fine ought to be inflicted. Watson having admitted the charge, their Honours sentenced him to pay a fine of 35s. The fines were all paid.


A SEA HARVEST. Friday the 14th instant, will be long memorable in the East Neuk for the remarkable cod fishing in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The deep sea boats had been detained for nearly day on the homeward voyage by calm weather, and only a few had arrived on the morning tide of the day in question. One of these -belonging to Skipper George Smith, of Cellardyke—landed what is believed the best take of fish on the east coast of Scotland. It consisted of upwards of 100 splendid halibut, with several fine turbot, or the famous  ‘bannock fluke,’ and about thirty-six score of fine cod, besides many ling and skate ; and with her noble freight, the large boat had all the appearance of a creer gunwale deep with herrings. This princely ‘shot’ was discharged at Cellardyke, and when spread out on the bulwark the singular sight attracted much curiosity and attention, and more than one old greybeard was heard to wonder over it as ‘the biggest tak’ he had ever seen . It was purchased at £25; but in Lent, or at a time when ‘mother sea ‘ was less fruitful, it might have had a value of nearly £100. In this way the arrivals of the morning anticipated the scenes which would take place with the evening tide; and certainly more interesting a picture was never presented at a fishing port. No fewer than thirty-two big boats came in, all well fished ; and when take after take was spread out for auction, and the old rusty piers of Anster, encored with the rich treasures of the deep, actually looked, in the words of a scientific cobbler, who could only tap his snuffbox with delight, ‘as if they bad been sulvereesed.’ In the previous week it is computed that nearly 20,000 cod were landed at Anstruther, and last week the takes were little less remarkable ; so that the sea is, in the meantime, yielding its stores to an extent altogether unparalleled on the Scottish coast. In general a ready market is obtained in England for halibut at the rate of or 3d or 4d a pound;  but cod fish are reserved for cure in a dry state, and, in consequence of the immense supplies, this branch of the business has scarcely before had a tithe of its present importance in the East Neuk.

Kindness to Excursionists.—The Band of Hope connection with the Good Templar Lodge of Cellardyke inaugurated their first excursion on Friday when they visited in grand style the picturesque sea braes of Kincraig, near the old burgh of Earlsferry. There were about 150 children of both sexes and the little army marched through the streets to the railway station and many an eye brightened with delight the animated spectacle, each and all being attired in real holiday fashion, and seemingly as proud of the “collar and rosette” as a lord of his star and garter There was no absence of flags, but one of the special features of the procession was the singing of many fine hymns, in which the sweet little voices joined with touching effect. On reaching Elie they marched in the same pleasing order through the broad sunny streets of the less ornate if ancient thoroughfares of Earlsferry to the beautiful braes, where the rich sward being in choice condition, the children had a famous opportunity of enjoying “the sports of the green.” Here they were visited by many good friends to the cause, amongst others being Mr Scott Moncrieff and his family, and Mrs Waddell, the lady of the respected town-clerk of Earlsferry. Mr Moncrieff addressed the children in a most affectionate and judicious manner; and his amiable family also evinced a kindly interest in the ruddy faced and comely little visitors from Cellardyke; while Mrs Waddell displayed as usual her true womanly sympathy and benevolence in promoting the comforts of young and old. The weather was exceedingly sultry, and there seemed to be no well springs in the vicinity but any inconvenience, if not actual suffering, from these causes, was entirely obviated by Mrs Waddell, who generously provided at her own charge an abundant supply water from Earlsferry, while, as a crowning act of considerate kindness, she entertained the mothers of the party to tea, which was particularly agreeable and welcome under the circumstances, and for which we are requested to tender the most grateful regards. In the course of the afternoon the happy party once more retraced their steps to the railway station, and after a pleasant ride the streets of Anstruther and Cellardyke once more echoed with their beautiful hymns, and in this way they concluded a holiday which appeared to be fraught to all with the liveliest pleasure and delight. As we have already incidentally stated, many friends accompanied the youthful excursionists, and special thanks are due to Mr Brown, farmer Anstruther; Mr Thomson and Mr Grubb, Cellardyke, for the affectionate care they evinced of the children.


The Herring Fleet of 1873

According to the preparations now so actively begun, the present season will see the largest herring fleet ever sent afloat from the East of Fife. Cellardyke promises to contribute about 175 of the finest and largest boats to the Scottish herring squadron, and Pittenweem can muster over 50, while St Monance, in that true spirit of progress which distinguishes her, soon will be able, if required, to send 105—making a total for the three stations of 335 first-class boats.

Artists in the East of Fife.—There are at present many five artists —including the distinguished landscape painter, Mr Samuel Bough, of Edinburgh—sketching various points of interest in the East of Fife. The favourite subject with all seems to be the romantic sea shore, where the busy fisher craft may be everywhere seen speeding along with dark, brown wings; but the memorable and picturesque, wherever it may exist in the neighbourhood, is likely to have more or less of the attention of these interesting visitors.

Birth at St Adrian’s Cave.—ln the course the last week or two band of gipsies have been “camping” out in the neighbourhood, though certainly with nothing of the romance and poetry which the popular fancy loves to associate with the swarthy and fortune telling tribe. Indeed, a more squalid and miserable crew could scarcely be supposed in a civilized land— dirty, ragged, and unkempt, hawking or rather begging away their tin ware by day, and sleeping under the midnight stars on the bare sward of some common or stray corner, just as chance or necessity may have led them thither. The gang consisted of two men and two women, with a motley group of young children; and they seem to have continued their rambles cheered, however, all propitious occasions by the ” wee drappie drink”— till one of the matrons, who was in a state of advanced pregnancy, was taken ill, in the end of last week, while the party were lurking amongst the herring boats at the green of Cellardyke. With that kind and sisterly feeling for distress which ever forms such beautiful characteristic of the seafaring life, some of the housewives spread a bed in the adjoining washing-house for the poor stranger; but some circumstance or another induced and her people to remove a mile or two along the shore to St Adrian’s Cave at Caiplie, where, the gossips tell truly, in the cell, and resting on the altar at which the holy Bishop of St Andrews is said to have prayed exactly one thousand years ago, before he was martyred on the Isle of May, the gipsy mother gave birth to male child on Sabbath last. There are few more interesting spots to the archaeologist than the cave of Caiplie; but for all that a more wretched place could not well be for a lying-in hospital; though, nevertheless, the swarthy mother and the ” little saint,” whose first hymn wakened up again the grand old echoes of the holy cell, prospered as well as if they had been surrounded by all the delicacies and comforts of palace. Her partner in love and lot took the place of midwife or doctor; but we may add that a mother’s agony was no sooner at a close than a panacea was next instant found in the darling “black cutty,” which, with true conjugal spirit, passed from her husband’s lips to her own; and so well did she improve that in the course of a single day or two she and the tribe were once more on the ” trail.”

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.