- ANSTRUTHER EASTER, a burgh, sea-port, and parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 9 miles (S. S. E.) from St. Andrew's, and 35½ (N. E. by N.) from Edinburgh; containing 997 inhabitants. This place, which is of great antiquity, was, in the reign of Malcolm IV., the property of William de Candela, Lord of Anstruther, whose sons assumed the name of their patrimonial inheritance, and whose descendants are the present proprietors. It appears to have derived its early importance from its favourable situation on the Frith of Forth, and the security of its harbour, in which, on the dispersion of the Spanish armada, the captain of one of the vessels found an asylum from the storm. The town, which was first lighted with gas in 1841, is separated from the parish of Anstruther Wester by a small rivulet called the Dreel burn, over which is a bridge, and consists of a long narrow street, on the road from the East Neuck of Fife to Kirkcaldy and Burntisland, extending along the margin of the Frith. The trade appears to have been formerly very considerable; a custom-house was erected here in 1710, and in 1827, the jurisdiction of the port was extended to those of St. Andrew's, Crail, Pittenweem, St. Monan's, and Elie. The amount of duties once averaged £1500 yearly; ship-building was carried on to a considerable extent, but, after gradually declining for several years, it was at length entirely discontinued. The chief manufacture now pursued is that of leather; barrels are made for the package of herrings taken off the coast, and more than 40,000 barrels of them are annually sent from this port, properly cured, for exportation. The trade at present consists principally in the fisheries, in the exportation of grain and other agricultural produce of the surrounding district, and in the importation of various articles of merchandise for the supply of the neighbourhood. There is also a large brewery. The number of vessels belonging to the port is nine, of the aggregate burthen of 964 tons; two packets ply regularly between this place and Leith, and the Edinburgh and Dundee steamers touch at the port. The harbour is safe, and easy of access, and is protected from the south-easterly winds by a natural breakwater, and an extensive and commodious quay; the custom-house, though an independent establishment, has, since the decline of the trade, communicated with that of Kirkcaldy. The market for corn and other produce, is held on Saturday.The burgh was incorporated by charter of James VI., under which the government was vested in three bailies, a treasurer, and fifteen councillors, assisted by a town-clerk and other officers; the bailies and treasurer are elected by the council, who are chosen by the registered £10 electors, under the provisions of the Burgh Reform act. The bailies are justices of the peace within the royalty of the burgh, which is coextensive with the parish, and exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction; since 1820, however, few cases have been tried in the civil court, and in the criminal court only twelve cases, chiefly petty misdemeanours: the town-clerk, who is appointed by the magistrates and council, during pleasure, is assessor in the bailies' court. By act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., the burgh, together with those of Cupar, St. Andrew's, Anstruther Wester, and others, returns one member to the imperial parliament; the right of election is vested in the resident burgesses and £10 householders, and the bailies are the returning officers. The town-hall is a neat building. The parish is situated at the head of a small bay in the Frith, and comprises about 9 acres of land, formerly included within the parish of Kilrenny, from which they were separated in the year 1636. The rateable annual value is £1115. The incumbency is in the presbytery of St. Andrew's and synod of Fife; the minister's stipend is £131. 15., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £25 per annum; patron, Sir Wyndham Carmichael Anstruther, Bart. The church, built by subscription, in 1634, and to which a spire was added about ten years after, was repaired in 1834, and is well adapted for 700 persons. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and members of the Free Church and the United Secession. The burgh school is attended by about 90 scholars; the master has a salary of £5. 6. 8., and about £65 from fees, with a house rent-free. There are several friendly societies, of which one, called the "Sea Box Society", established in 1618, and incorporated by royal charter, in 1784, has an income of £300, for the benefit of decayed ship-masters and seamen belonging to the port. The Rev. Dr. Chalmers, and Professor Tennant, of the university of St. Andrew's, are natives of the place.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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