The East Neuk of Fife Preservation Society (SCIO)
Newsletter - July 2023
Annual General Meeting 1st May 2023
Over 60 members and guests attended our AGM in Earlsferry Town Hall, which after the election of trustees and officeholders included an update and clarification on local church closures from Revd Donald MacEwan, chair of Fife Presbytery’s Historic Churches Working Group, whose remit is to assist communities to find uses for their redundant churches, ideally as community assets.
The invited speaker for the evening was Dr Bess Rhodes, who gave an excellent and illuminating talk based on her researches on the East Neuk’s ancient religious sites at Crail, St Monans, Kilrenny and Pittenweem and on how they functioned as collegiate churches or priories prior to the Reformation. The vote of thanks by Graham Forbes noted how the fragile and shifting situation of the churches at the Reformation was being repeated in our own times.
ENFPS visit to Drumeldrie 27th May
About 40 members and guests enjoyed a visit and guided tour of Carrick, the home of ENFPS Treasurer David Jenkins and his wife Pam, at Drumeldrie near Upper Largo.
Carrick Villa is located just off the Fife Coastal Path right down on the shore, with fabulous views of Dunbarnie Links, Shell Bay and the Forth estuary.
Its beautifully landscaped grounds include a natural waterfall and pool and the remains of an old watermill which have been incorporated into a spectacular guest room, boathouse and workshop.
David explained the history of the house and we enjoyed an idyllic sunny afternoon strolling around the garden before sharing in light refreshments on the terrace.
A donation of the proceeds of ticket sales was made to David’s chosen charity, the Lower Largo Pier project. A full report of the visit and more photographs will be available on ENFPS’s new website via this link – https://eastneukpreservationsociety.co.uk/what-we-do
Sea Queen Chairs in ENFPS's office in St Monans
Following the transfer to Fife Cultural Trust of the historic caquetoire chairs that had been in housed in ENFPS’s St Monans office for decades, a set of replacement chairs in similar style has been obtained at very modest cost thanks to the efforts of Landward rep Pat Hughes
The chairs have already been put to use at this year’s Sea Queen Festival, as well as supplementing the seating in the office. They now have seat cushions complete with the ENFPS logo as this photo shows, and the Sea Queen chair has a plaque recording ENFPS’s historic role in providing the coronation throne for the ceremony.
The cushions were donated by Stephen Aynscough, our Colinsburgh rep., who commisioned his niece Georgiana Maas with their making and digitally monogramming.
Lorimer Society Annual Lectures 13th May
The annual lectures took place on Saturday 13 May in Kellie Castle and, as always, proved most invigorating and interesting. Professor Kenneth Mackinnon and Professor Gerry Simpson focused on Professor James Lorimer, who first spotted the then ruinous Kellie Castle in the 1870s and began the long family association and who played an important part in university reform and international law. Members of ENFPS were in the audience and greatly enjoyed the lectures in convivial surroundings on a very wet Saturday morning.
ENFPS Visit to Sandford House Newport-on-Tay Sunday 24th September
Our next visit is to the award-winning Sandford House, as featured in the full length BBC2 programme - Restoration Home, Sandford House – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_TfLtoV3Xk
You are asked to meet at Sandford House, St Fort, Newport-on-Tay DD6 8RG at 2.30pm, where parking is available at the car park beside the house.
In the last few years, Sandford House has gone through a major restoration that has brought it back to its former glory from a very dilapidated state, the work having been undertaken by our hosts Ralph Webster and Evelyn Hardie, who feature in the BBC programme.
This impressive building is one of only two houses in Scotland designed by the celebrated architect MH Baillie Scott, a leading member of the Arts and Crafts movement, for the Valentine family in the early 1900s.
Harden J Valentine was a photographic publisher from Dundee notable for his firm’s postcards and was photographer to Queen Victoria.
The visit will end with light refreshments.
To book one of the limited places on this visit, please email our Secretary, Jane Forbes, on
Pittenweem Priory – ENFPS project for interpretive panels
A total of £9,300 has now been raised from sponsors towards this project, and £2,000 has been committed from our own reserves. We will be seeking further funding to enable us achieve the standard of illustrated interpretive information provided at Historic Environment Scotland sites, as we believe that the Priory’s historic buildings are important enough nationally to warrant this.
We learned that Revd Professor Stuart Hall died on his 95th birthday and give grateful thanks that his family asked that any contributions at his Thanksgiving Service be given to the work of ENFPS. We know how important Elie was to him and are very glad to support the project for refurbishment work to the Elie fountain/ water pump. Stuart was a committed supporter of the Preservation Society and we celebrate his long life. His daughter Nicky and son-in-law Andy, now a local Rep, continue that excellent work.
ENFPS Christmas social event Pittenweem Coastline Church 7 December
Following the success of last year’s Christmas social, we’ll be repeating the exercise with a guest speaker (to be announced) and the usual mulled wine, mince pies and other festive nibbles.
With our very best wishes
Bill Kennaway, Chair, East Neuk of Fife Preservation Society