Welcome to the Elie & Earlsferry History Society website.
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Overview of Elie & the Royal Burgh of Earlsferry
“Elie” meaning place on bank of river where bodies are brought ashore – this is one of the thoughts on where the name derived from. Another is that it is a derivation from the Greek word signifying a marsh; but more likely it means “the island” that is the island of Ardross. The harbour of Elie was originally known as the harbour of Ardross.
The Burghs of Elie & Earlsferry were united in 1929, but they were once separate burghs with very different origins. Earlsferry was in Kilconquhar Parish till 1890 and each village had independent Town Councils until Local Authority changes amalgamated them as one in 1929.
Earlsferry is the older dating from the 11th Century. The Earls of Fife held land at Earlsferry and at North Berwick across the Firth of Forth. A ferry supported by the Earls plied between the two places mainly for pilgrims heading for St Andrews, hence the village name. In 1541 Earlsferry became a Royal Burgh allowing it to trade overseas. In 1600 however the ferry had ceased and the town never developed with most boats using the better harbour of Elie.
Elie grew up around the bay which provides a safe anchorage protected by an island with a causeway. It became a Burgh of Barony in 1589 under the Lairds of Ardross. As such Elie was forbidden to engage directly in foreign trade and was dependent on the Laird of Ardross who controlled the Town Council and Court. In the 1850s the harbour was improved and a road built on top of the causeway. Fishing and trading were carried from the harbour and goods were stored in the granary at the end of the pier. The granary, which lay derelict for many years, was recently restored and converted into flats.
- 17 March 2016Pilgrims and Fife
- 14 April 2016Early days of Discovery of Tourism in Scotland
The Rock Formations Around Elie Bay
A fantastic new resource has been produced with the aim of being the definitive guide to the many rock formations and bays along the Elie and Earlsferry coastline. This magnificent piece of work has been prepared by Steve Blaney with information from Jimmy Linton, Philip Scott and Albert Lawrie. We are grateful to them…
The Life of Thomas Buist – a Fife photographer
The story of Thomas Buist by Michael T. Tracy, his Third Great Nephew. Click link below to open story. A Fife Photographer The Life of Thomas Buist
ELIE & EARLSFERRY ROLL OF HONOUR
Names taken from local newspapers and Council Minutes 1914 and early 1915 Researched and compiled by Alan Provan. Published in August 2014 to mark the Centenary of The Great War Adams, Ord. Muircambus Lieutenant. Royal Field Artillery Affleck, William G. Rankeillor Street. Bank Accountant. Private. Canadian Corps. Affleck, George B….