This is a listing of publications about Burntisland, grouped according to broad category. It is fairly comprehensive, but no doubt a few will have been missed. We'd be delighted to add these to the list. Please contact us with details.
Most of the listed publications are available in the Reference Section of Kirkcaldy Central Library (now part of Kirkcaldy Galleries), and a number of them at Burntisland Library. It might be possible to obtain some of them via inter-library loan. The more recent books may be available in local shops, or by ordering through a bookseller. Second hand copies of the older books are often available and can be traced using an internet search engine.
The 'Burgh Buzz', the quarterly newspaper of Burntisland Community Council, contains articles on the history of the town.
The publications are grouped in the following categories:
History ~ Churches ~ Industry &
Transport ~ Miscellaneous
A Social History - Sommerville, Iain - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2009
Voices: Recorded Memories of Local Folk 1910-1970 - Edited by
Sommerville, Iain - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2005
|HISTORY TO 1707||
Burntisland: Port of Grace -
Sommerville, Iain (with Archibald, Ian; and Mabon, Helen)- Burntisland
Heritage Trust - 2004 (reprinted with minor changes in 2012)
|1st WORLD WAR||
Fallen 1914-19 - Burnett, John - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2007
|2nd WORLD WAR||
Fallen 1939-45- Burnett, John - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2005
|HISTORY TO 1924||History
of Burntisland: Scottish Burgh Life More Particularly in the Time of
the Stuarts - Young, A. - Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire Advertiser - 1913
History of Burntisland: Scottish Burgh Life More Particularly in the Time of the Stuarts (Second Edition) - Young, Andrew - Kirkcaldy, The Fifeshire Advertiser Ltd - 1924
These were at the time the definitive histories of the town, and in that respect the title is a little misleading. The coverage is comprehensive, with the 2nd edition containing much new material. The Parish Church, in which Andrew Young had a major personal interest, receives special attention. Second hand copies now sell for around £60 to £70, depending on condition.
|HISTORY 1845-1925||Glimpses of Modern Burntisland: A
Series of Impressions and Reminiscences - (Ex-Bailie) Erskine, William
- Strachan and Livingston Ltd, 'Fife Free Press Office', Kirkcaldy -
Based on a series of articles in the Fife Free Press and anecdotal in style, this is an immensely readable history of the town from about 1845 to 1925 - although at times imprecise, and occasionally inaccurate. If you're looking for your ancestors, the book is packed with sympathetic pen portraits of local worthies. Second hand copies can fetch £70.
|HISTORY TO ABOUT 1715||Burntisland:
Early History and People - Blyth, John J. - Fifeshire Advertiser - 1948
The history of the town from the early days to about 1715. Carefully researched and drawing from a wide variety of original sources. A lot of detail in its 198 pages. Strongly recommended for the serious student of the period.
- Pearson, John M, - Edmonds Advertising, Edinburgh - 1992
A short history of the town, taking the visitor on a walking tour. £3-50.
on the History of Burntisland - Livingstone, Provost Robert M., J.P.
Published in the Fife Free Press April-July 1954. Includes what the author hoped was a complete list of Provosts of the town.
Past and Present - Livingstone, Provost Robert M., J.P.
Published in the Fife Free Press January-March 1955. Includes a good description of the artefacts currently in the Burgh Chambers.
Burntisland - Wilson, Rhona - Stenlake Publishing - 1998
Based on old photographs, with an informative and accurate commentary. £6-50.
Portrait of a Town - Kirkcaldy District Museums - 1982
Reproductions of old photographs.
and Burntisland in Old Picture Postcards - Simpson, Eric - European
Library, Zaltbommel/Netherlands - 1993
|CHARLES I's TREASURE||A
King's Treasure Lost - Murray, Howard J. - Silverscreen Print - 1999
A recreation of the events of 1633, when King Charles I's baggage ferry sank off Burntisland.
|STREET NAMES||The Origin of Burntisland and Kinghorn Street Names - Williamson, May G. - Kirkcaldy District Council - undated (but probably published in the 1980s)|
Place-Names of Fife Vol. 1 (West Fife between Leven and Forth) - Simon
Taylor with Gilbert Márkus - Shaun Tyas - 2006
The chapter on Burntisland parish (with maps) is on pp. 184-203.
Castle: A Recent Story of Reconstruction after 25 Years of Struggle -
Rolland, L.A., and Partners - 1977
The fight to save the castle from the bulldozers.
Painted Ceilings from Rossend Castle, Burntisland- Apted, M.R.
& Robertson, W. Norman
Two Armorial Panels at Rossend Castle - Robertson, W. Norman
(both reprinted from 1971-72 journal)
History, detailed descriptions and photographs.
Castle (4th edition) - 1905 (reprint from the 'Fifeshire Advertiser',
29 April 1873)
History of the castle (14 pages).
Painted Ceilings from Mary Somerville's House - Apted, M.R. (reprint
from 1957-58 journal)
A detailed description with photographs. Includes the history of the house, and Mary Somerville's memories of it.
Short History of Burntisland Shipyard Amateurs Football Club -
Campbell, George - Touchline - 1991
The story of the club from its formation in 1923.
Burntisland Golf Club 1797-1997: 200 Years of Golf in Burntisland -
Burntisland Golf Club - 1997
Golf House Club 1898-1998 - Burntisland Golf House Club - 1998
The history of the Club and details of its personalities.
Days in Burntisland - Dick, A.O.B.
An article from the Scots Magazine (June 1975). Reminiscences of an exile.
Burgh Court Books: 1737-1805 and 1805-1854 (typescript)
Lists of persons with 'Date of admission' and 'Designation'.
|ELECTORAL REGISTER (1864)||Alphabetical List of Persons Entitled to Vote in the Election of a Member of Parliament for the Burgh of Burntisland, 15 August 1864|
and Kinghorn: The Reform Act Plan of 1832 with Descriptive Text -
Historical Discovery - 1992 (facsimile)
Contains a brief description and plan of the town around 1832.
|WATSON'S MORTIFICATION||Copies of the Deeds of Mortification - John Watson - 1694|
Guide to the History of the Parish Church - N.B. Mackie - c2004
A booklet detailing the history of the church building, with some interesting anectodes (32 pages).
Parish Church: 400th Anniversary - Rev Jim Monaghan - 1992
Commemorative brochure with colour illustrations (12 pages).
Kirk - War Comforts Committee - undated (but probably published about
Includes a number of contemporary photographs.
Church, Burntisland, 1738-2003: A History of the Congregation -
Sommerville, Iain - Session of the Erskine United Free Church of
Scotland - 2003
Published to mark the centenary of the new Erskine Church, which was opened for public worship on 14 October 1903. It tells the story of the church over 265 years, and includes photographs, lists of the Ministers and Session Clerks, etc.
£4 plus postage (150 grammes). Available via Iain Sommerville.
Bicentenary of Erskine United Free Church Congregation, Burntisland:
Notes on the History of the Congregation - Session of Erskine Church -
Notes on the History of the Congregation of the Erskine United Free Church, 1738-1953 (2nd edition) - Session of the Erskine Church - 1953
The 2nd edition was issued in October 1953 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Erskine Church for public worship. It includes the history of the church and its ministers, and lists of prominent lay members.
|ST ANDREW'S CHURCH||St
Andrew's Parish Church, Burntisland: 1861-1961: Centenary Brochure -
Allan, Alexander - 1961
Includes brief biographies of the ministers, and lists of prominent lay members.
Serf's Scottish Episcopal Church, Burntisland: 1905-1995 - Robert J.S.
Christie - 1995
Published to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the new church building. Contains material on the history of the church, school and priests; and a partial reprint of the 1948 booklet on George Hay Forbes (see next entry).
|GEORGE HAY FORBES||George
Hay Forbes: Priest, Scholar, Saint, Rector of Burntisland 1848-75
(Centenary Booklet) - 1948
A biography which includes the story of the Episcopal Church in the Burntisland area and its ministers.
|SUBJECT||Industry & Transport|
Fife's Railway Port - Peter Marshall - Oakwood Press - 2001
Describes the activities of the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd. The later issues, with slightly different titles, include the activities of the sister company, Hall Russell of Aberdeen. Kirkcaldy Central Library has three bound volumes of the Journal for the period 1920 to 1966 (incomplete).
Shipbuilding Co Ltd (various books and papers, including a full list of
Kirkcaldy Central Library has various books and papers, including a full list of ships built. See also
from My Diaries - Sir Wilfrid Ayre
Four volumes, covering the period 1901-1960. They contain Sir Wilfrid's life story and concentrate on his family's ownership of the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd.
|SHALE OIL WORKS||The
Binnend Oilworks and the Binn Village (Second Edition) - Stephen,
Walter M. - publisher unknown - undated
Research conducted by Fife Education Committee's Adult Education Class in Industrial Archaeology during spring 1968. Gives a fairly detailed history of the venture. Please note that the cover photo and Plate D have been inadvertently printed as mirror images.
|SHALE OIL WORKS||
Burntisland Oil Shale Works - Edwards, Ron - Craigencalt Rural
Community Trust - 2015
Covers the background to the industry, including geology, and the history of the Burntisland works. Describes the remains still visible today. Available as a free download from the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust website. To obtain a paper copy, use the contact details on the website.
Ports: Burntisland - Moffat, Tom
A five page article from the Railway Magazine (1912). The development of the port, and a description of it as it was at the time of publication.
Geology of Burntisland - Law, Keddie - 2009
Reference copies of Keddie Law's paper are available in Burntisland Library and Burntisland Heritage Centre. It can also be accessed online by clicking here.
in and around Aberdour and Burntisland - Buckner, J.C.R. - 1881,
reprinted in 1898
The Burntisland section covers early history, the Parish Church, Thomas Chalmers, Mary Somerville, Rossend Castle, the Kirkton Church, Dunearn Hill and the geology of the area.
|THE BINN||Burntisland Binn: A Wayfarer's Walk - Gray, Tom (typescript)|
Beckoning Binn - Brown, Hamish
Article on the Binn hill and surroundings, published in the Scots Magazine, December 2003.
of Burntisland and District - Hutton, Robert
- undated (perhaps early 1900s)
The equivalent of the more recent postcard booklets. Published by Robert Hutton, who was the proprietor of The Bazaar at 86 High Street in the town.
to Burntisland, with an Account of the History, Geology and Botany of
the District (2nd edition) - Folkarde, Herbert - 1911
Published by Herbert Folkarde, a family grocer and wine merchant at 80 High Street in the town. Quite detailed, and includes a section on the local geology by Rev James Patrick.
Kirkcaldy Central Library holds copies of some old town guides. These include:
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1922)
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1956)
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1960)
Town Guide (1963)
Summer Programme of Events (1977)
On the Sunny Side (Official Guide) (undated)
Links, Burntisland - Nelson, Douglas M. (Director of Planning) -
Kirkcaldy District Council - June 1983
Webpage by Iain Sommerville;
on bookmarking this page.