Trade Directory (1862)

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Parish description

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Alexander Westwood's 'Parochial Directory of Fife & Kinross' was published in two editions - the first in 1862, and the second in 1866. The 1862 edition contains, for each parish, a general description of the area, and a detailed classified list of tradespersons, professional persons, 'people of independent means', etc, together with their addresses. We are very grateful to Susan Sinclair for her agreeing to our reproducing here her transcribed Burntisland section of the 1862 directory.


Pictured right - Andrew Christie, who is listed as a Carter in the directory, with his wife Christian (née Stenhouse). Andrew lived on the High Street, south side. He died in 1868. Photo courtesy of Clark Christie, Andrew's great great great grandson.

Andrew & Christian Christie


This Parish, containing a town of its own name, is situated on the south-west coast of the County. It lies opposite Granton, and is bounded on the south by the Firth of Forth, by Aberdour on the west, and by Kinghorn on the east and north. Formerly this Parish was called Western Kinghorn, but eventually it took the name of the town, which was anciently called Bertland or Bertiland, the modern name, Burntisland, being a corruption. It is two and a half miles long from north to south, by about two and a quarter in breadth. A plain extends inwards from the sea for about half a mile, when the ground becomes hilly and the soil of an inferior quality. The shore is rocky to the west and sandy to the east of the town. To the north the hills exhibit marks of volcanic action, Dunearn, which rises to the height of about 700 feet, being like an extinct volcano, the crater of which has been converted into a small lake. On the north side of the hills are basaltic columns, and on their tops are cairns and tumuli of great size.

There is a quarry of excellent freestone, and a great extent of the Parish abounds in limestone of the finest quality. Starlyburn, on the west boundary, produces stalactites and incrustations of moss and wood, and falls over a high rock into the sea, amid luxuriant foliage, forming a fine cascade. Rossend Castle, on an eminence at the west end of the town, was built in the fifteenth century, and was long a military stronghold ; and though much altered by modern additions, still forms a striking feature in the rich scenery of the district. The ruins of the original Parish Church, bearing marks of great antiquity, stand at the village of Kirkton, at a small distance from the town, and around them there is a small burying-ground. There is a very extensive distillery at Grange, about half a mile north of the town.

The town of Burntisland is a sea-port and a Royal Burgh, governed by twelve councillors, including a provost, two bailies, a treasurer, and a dean of guild, and unites with Kinghorn, Kirkcaldy, and Dysart, in returning a member to Parliament. It stands at the Fifeshire terminus of the E. P. & D. Railway, four and a half miles north from Granton. It is screened by hills in the form of an amphitheatre, which shelter the harbour from the north and east winds. The town consists of two streets running parallel to each other, with some lanes running of the main streets. The chief street is the High Street, which is broad and spacious ; and there are a number of handsome cottages for summer visitors toward the east. The town was fortified during the reign of Charles I., and was beseiged by Cromwell during the Commonwealth, the inhabitants being zealous Covenanters, and only surrendered to him on the condition that he should repair their streets and harbour, which condition he honourably fulfilled. Part of the old wall and east port still remain. The harbour is reckoned the best in the Forth, being both capacious and of great depth of water. It has also a dry dock, and a light-house stands at the entrance to the haven. It has acquired an increased importance of late years, from its being made the terminus of the Railway, which has greatly extended the trade of the harbour, especially in the export of coal and pig-iron, and the shipping business is still steadily increasing. Upwards of twenty years ago, the late Sir John Gladstone, of Fasque, erected a substantial and commodious low-water pier, making Burntisland the principal Ferry station between Fife and Mid-Lothian. The pier with the right of ferry was sold to the Railway Company on their obtaining their Act of Parliament, and has been worked by them, in connection with the Railway, ever since. A breakwater has lately been erected, which protects the harbour and pier from the west and south-west winds, the only winds to which the harbour is exposed. From the excellent position of Burntisland as a sea-port town secure from the north and east winds, its excellent bathing ground, and its contiguity to Edinburgh, it has become a fashionable summer residence, and to that, next to the opening of the Railway, its present prosperity is due. For the purpose of accommodating strangers, many of the inhabitants have built and furnished suitable houses, which they let out during the season to summer visitors, and our Directory comprises a list of those that do so ; but we would recommend strangers in quest of lodgings to consult Mr Alex. Blaikie, Wine Merchant & Grocer, Waverly Buildings, who can at all times supply information as to parties whose apartments may be still unlet, and the nature of the accommodation each is able to furnish.

The Parish Church, which was erected about the end of the sixteenth century, is a commodious and venerable edifice, overlooking the sea. There is also a United Presbyterian Church, a Free Church, and an Episcopalian Church. In addition to the Burgh School, which is also the Parish School, there is a Free Church, an Episcopalian, and several Private Schools.

A number of the inhabitants of the town are employed at the engineering works connected with the Railway, and on the locomotives and ferry-boats, and other duties connected with the harbour. The fish-curing establishments also employ a number of hands, and the remainder pursue the occupations of shopkeepers and tradesmen. In the country, the lime quarries at Newbigging, the distillery at the Grange, and agricultural pursuits, furnish the chief employments.
E, Burntisland, Andrew Bousie, Post Master. - Letters from Edinburgh and the south arrive about 7.10 A.M., and 4 P.M., and are despatched at 8.30 A. M., and 4.30 P.M. Letters from Dundee, Perth, and the north, arrive at about 8.35 A.M., and 4.50 P.M. and are despatched at 6.50 A. M., and 3.30 P.M.

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