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How History Shaped Lives
This is the background against which our folk lived their lives. Lady Mary Crawford, the strong woman who ran a large estate and built a grand house at the beginning of the 19th century. James Melville of Halhill served both Mary Queen of Scotts and James VIth. Sandy Scotts family lived and worked in Kettle and Ladybank for generations and Sandy describes Kettle and its characters in the 1940s. There was the dissappearance of Rev. John Glennie, minister of Ladybank and the scandal of the Pitlessie minister who left his Parish rather than face the questions of Presbytery.
Kings as well as commoners played their part in shaping the history of Scotland and the Howe of Fife. The whole mix of humanity can be found within the pages of this book and their stories fascinate and outrage us in equal measure.
As we follow the story that is Scotland, at times noble, at times ignoble and at times down right stupid and cruel, the people living through the events were affected by them. In ancient times the Fifers would have been hunter gatherers, but they would not have called themselves Fifers. By the 1300s the righteous were of the Catholic Faith and grand Abbeys and Cathedrals were being built. With the Reformation these monuments were being destroyed and a new more austere faith emerged. This led to conflict with the monarchy. The Covenanters emerged and assassins were made of the honest folk of the Howe of Fife. These were the killing times and rogues could be found on both sides of the conflict.
As John Donne said, "No man is an island entire unto himself". While this is true for each one of us, it is also true for each succeeding generation. Throughout history people have responded to circumstances according to the norms, the knowledge and the culture of the time. When a past generation had a moral blind spot we tend to criticise them severely but who knows what blind spot our generation has and for what we will be heavily criticised in the future.
With the Scottish Enlightenment, Kirkcaldy produced the famous Adam Smith. Here, in the Howe of Fife, the Parish of Cults produced its own giant of the times in the form of Sir David Wilkie R.A. This much loved minister's son is still seen as a local hero. The 18th and 19th centuries once again saw politics and religion being well and truly mixed up. Secession Churches sprang up all over the country, including the Howe of Fife. Kettle had a long history of being a difficult Parish but perhaps it was at its most difficult when the Militia had to be called to protect a young minister at his induction to the Kirk. The Disruption of 1843 had a knock on effect throughout the Parish with Free Churches springing up everywhere. The 19th century also saw the coming of the railway and the development of the hamlet of Monkstown into Ladybank, a major junction.
The twentieth century saw the community rocked with two World Wars. The First had an impact on education and the workforce of the farming community which covered most of the area. By the early 1920's War Memorials built in every community and many churches remembed the sons, husbands and fathers in the four Parishes. The twentieth Century also saw the Union of the Free and Established churches which resulted in the problem of too many church buildings and what to do with them. As the century closed the membership fell and parishes were united until only one remained, The Howe of Fife Parish Church, Church of Scotland.
About the author
Angus is a native of Aberdeen . On Graduating from Aberdeen University he moved to Fife where he worked as a teacher of Religious Moral and Philisophical Studies. He is an Approved Preacher in the Presbytery of StAndrews and was Session Clerk at Howe of Fife Parish Church for a number of years. It was at this time that an Interim Minister, serving in the Parish suggested that Angus write a history of the Parish. After some consideration he decided it might be a good idea. The task grew and grew in compexity. Much research went into it's producion but in the end the completed work won the widespread approval of the people of the Howe of Fife.
Fully Illustrated Hardback book
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