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Anstruther


Fife

Shore Street, Anstruther
©2017 Gazetteer for Scotland

Shore Street, Anstruther

Situated on the Firth of Forth in the East Neuk of Fife, the resort town of Anstruther comprises the settlements of Anstruther Easter and Wester, the old fishing village of Cellardyke (formerly Nether or Lower Kilrenny) and the inland rural settlement of Kilrenny (formerly Upper Kilrenny).

Anstruther Easter, which became a burgh of barony in 1572 and a royal burgh in 1587, lies between Caddys Burn on the east and the Dreel Burn on the west. It has a skyline once dominated by the Chalmers Memorial Church (1847), named after Thomas Chalmers, the first moderator of the United Free Church who was born here in 1780. This building was abandoned in 1982 and destroyed by fire in 1991. Other notables born here include portraitist David Martin (1737-97), poet William Tennant (1784 - 1848), surgeon John Goodsir (1814-67) and his brother the ill-fated Arctic explorer Harry Goodsir (1819-45), Captain John Keay (1828 - 1918), geologist Andrew Lawson (1861 - 1952), and broadcaster Edith Bowman (b.1975). Anstruther was also home to Titaua Marama, a Tahitian Princess, who played a notable role in her own country, married a local man, retired to Anstruther and died here in 1898.

The harbour of Anstruther Easter was the capital of the winter herring fleet prior to the First World War and close to it stands the Scottish Fisheries Museum which was opened in 1969. Other significant landmarks include St Adrian's Parish Church (1634), the Mercat Cross (1677), the Old Corn Mill (1702) and Melville Manse built in 1590 by the diarist the Rev. James Melville (1556 - 1614).

There are also fragments of Dreel Castle, built in 1663 by Sir Philip Anstruther and visited by Charles II who described its tower room as 'a craw's nest'. This castle was the meeting place of the notorious Beggars' Benison of Anstruther secret society, a 'Scottish Society of an erotic and convivial nature composed of the Nobility and Gentry of Anstruther' founded in 1739.

Anstruther Wester situated to the west of the Dreel Burn was designated a burgh of barony in 1154 and a royal burgh in the 1580s. Amongst many fine old merchants' houses stands the former parish church of St. Nicholas (now St. Adrian's Church Hall) with its 16th-century bell tower.

An attractive coastal village with many interesting old buildings, Anstruther was designated a Conservation Area in 1972. For visitors there are sea angling, diving, swimming and bowling facilities, as well as a 9-hole golf course, and boat trips to the Isle of May.


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