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Buckhaven

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Buckhaven, a large fishing village in Wemyss parish, Fife, on the Firth of Forth, 2¾ miles SW of Leven by road, and 5½ miles E of Thornton Junction by a branch line opened in 1881. An old-fashioned place, on the slope of a steepish headland, it has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Royal and Commercial banks, gas-works, a flax-spinning and twine factory, 2 networks, and a pier and harbour formed under the auspices of the Board of Fisheries. The fisher-folk, said variously to be descendants of Norsemen or of the crew of a Brabant ship wrecked in the 17th century, retained not a few peculiar traits of character and appearance a hundred and odd years since, when they were satirised in a curious pamphlet, History of the College o-f Buckhaven, or the sayings of Wise Willie and Witty Eppie. Defœ had written of Buckhaven: ` It is inhabited by fishermen, who are employed wholly in catching fresh fish every day in the firth, and carrying them to Leith and Edinburgh markets. The buildings are but a miserable row of cottages; yet there is scarce a poor man in it; but they are in general so very clownish, that to be of the college of Buckhaven is become a proverb. Here we saw the shore of the sea covered with shrimps like a thin snow; and as yon rode among them, they would rise like a kind of dust, and hop like grasshoppers, being scared by the footing of the horse. The fishermen of this town have a great many boats of all sizes, which lie upon the beach, ready to be fitted out every year for the herring season, in which they have a very great share.' Buckhaven now is included in the fishery district of Anstruther. At it are a Free church, a U.P. church, and 2 public schools, Links and Madras, which, with respective accommodation for 203 and 302 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 129 and 170, and grants of £103,4s. and £116,14s. Pop. (1841) 1526, (1861) 1965, (1871) 2187, (1881) 2952.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40,1867. See History of Buekhaven (priv. prin. 1813), and an article in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, Dec. 14,1833, by the Fife poet, David Molyson.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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