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Cellardyke

(Lower Kilrenny)
Fife

An old fishing village on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, Cellardyke now forms the easternmost part of the settlement of Anstruther, to the east of Anstruther Easter. Formerly known as Lower Kilrenny or Sillerdyke, its present name was coined, it is said, by the fishermen of Kilrenny who once kept their fishing gear in cellars near the harbour. They also built dykes on the cliff top to keep stray animals away from their fishing nets which were laid out to dry on the green.

Although the fishing industry is long gone, the 16th Century Skinfast Haven served as a harbour for Kilrenny, was rebuilt in 1829-31 by Joseph Mitchell, improved in the 1850s and partially rebuilt after a storm in 1898. It is still used by pleasure boats. The village expanded in the second half of the 19th C. with the growth of fishing and associated industries became established, such as fish-processing, barrel-making, blacksmithing, boat-building, rope and net works. The manufacture of oilskins became an important source of employment with five factories operating here by the late 19th C. Close to the Town hall stands the Kilrenny Cross (1642) and beyond the harbour lies a bathing pool known locally as the Cardinal's Steps after Cardinal Beaton of St. Andrews who had a seaside residence here in the 16th C. This was built by Bishop Kennedy of St. Andrews in 1452, was home to Andrew Bruce, the Bishop of Orkney, in the 17th C. and demolished in the 19th C.

Cellardyke was designated a Conservation Area in 1977. The arrival of the 'Sea Queen' each August is a survival of the old sea-harvest thanksgiving festivals that used to take place in coastal fishing villages.

Cellardyke Primary School closed in 2003, replaced by a new school in Anstruther.


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