Craigforth and the Outhwaites
Craigforth and the Outhwaite Family
The other large house at Chapel Green in Earlsferry along with Earlsneuk is Craigforth. It was built about the same time (1880) and although similar in size it is constructed of what may be local or imported sandstone whereas Earlsneuk is whinstone and was likely to have been sourced locally. The area of ground upon which both houses are built was at one time part of the “commonty” of Earlsferry. “Commonty” was ground owned in common by the residents of Burgh and used for a variety of purposes. The two areas of ground were feued off by the town council in 1880 or so and Craigforth was built during the next few years. The Outhwaite family moved into Craigforth shortly after it was built in about 1888.
Mrs Outhwaite’s husband died in 1897 so the full family did not live in it very long. The family originally came from Harrogate and lived for time in North Berwick and then at Lathallan shortly before their house was finished. There were two sons John Hewly Outhwaite and Thomas Roland Outhwaite who in their time were distinguished golfers. John died as a result of illness in the Punjab whilst on service there in 1899 and it was left to Mrs Outhwaite and her son Thomas Roland Outhwaite to continue the house. Mrs Outhwaite, widow of Lieut.-Colonel Outhwaite, 4th Battalion H.L.I. was a prominent church worker, and was instrumental in having built, on her own ground, St Michael’s Episcopal Church. T. Roland Outhwaite was a member of the Earlsferry Thistle and won many golf trophies during his time. He was a motor engineer and established one of the first car dealerships in Scotland in Cupar and pioneered the Vinot and the Daimler cars.
Mrs Outhwaite died in 1932 and the Episcopal Church (Tin Tabernacle) had to be removed from its home in the field beside Craigforth. It was moved, lock, stock and barrel to a new site in Rotten Row where it remains today. After the end of the war the hospital was of course eventually unnecessary but interestingly in 1939 there were plans to re-open it as a maternity hospital for evacuees. There was a newspaper article referring to some muddle but it never came to pass. Thomas Roland Outhwaite was involved in a court case in 1911 when his motor car knocked down a lady on the Edinburgh – Glasgow road. She sued him for damages of £500. In his defence Outhwaite said that his chauffeur was in no way to blame ! He died in 1949.
Some of the injured servicemen and staff at Craigforth.