Holiday Cottage Fife Lower Largo near St Andrews
When Mr Brown prepared the New Account, in 1837, the proportion of Dissenters was about the same; but six years later he headed the Free Church movement in the parish, and so increased the Dissenters still more. What is now the U. P. congregation was formed in connection with the
In 1770, they applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh. The patron was generous enough to grant them a site for a place of worship. On this site they began to build the proposed edifice. But being very limited alike in number and pecuniary resources, they could not readily command the co-operation they required. Nothing disheartened, they at length set to work. Men, women, and children, were alike zealous, and when the masons towards the end of their day's labour left off their work for want of material, they were often surprised next morning to find an abundant supply - the men with barrows, the women with their aprons, and children with creels, having procured it for them over night from the beach, which skirts the village. The congregation met in the open air till the church was completed. It cost, exclusive of free carriages, the modest sum of £18 4s." The new church, which is a very neat building, is seated for 400, and cost £1200. It bears, under the initials of the esteemed pastor, the date 1871. John Goodsir, who was "a physician by profession, and a pastor by principle," preached to the Baptists of Largo for twenty years. He was grandfather of the famous Professor Goodsir. The population of
Harbour and Fishing. - The Harbour is a very small miserable affair, at the mouth of the Kiel Burn, near the imposing railway bridge. The fishing has had many ups and downs. Lamont complains that in 1657, 1658, 1662, and 1663, there were few or no herring caught on the Fife side, and not many at
Alexander Selkirk. - Two centuries ago, there was a prosperous shoemaker and tanner in
It would have mattered little, to one of his age and disposition, whether the obnoxious minister was Presbyterian or Prelatic. Such an opportunity for furious fun would have been irresistible, even although his eldest brother had not been ring-leader, and accordingly he took part. Six years later, he was summoned before the Kirk-Session for misbehaving in the church; but, instead of appearing, he went "away to the seas." His disposition seems to have remained unchanged, for in another six years, to wit, in 1701, when he was again at home, a strong young man of five-and-twenty, he raised a tumult in his father's house. His younger brother Andrew, who was of weak intellect, had brought in a can of salt water, and laughed at him when he took a drink of it by mistake. Alexander was so enraged at being laughed at, that he struck him twice with a staff. Andrew cried for his eldest brother, John; but, before he could appear on the scene, Alexander tried to get into the upper room, where he had a pistol, and was only prevented by his father sitting down on the floor with his back to the door. On seeing John, he cast off his coat and challenged him to a combat of "dry neifs." The father then rushed between his sons to separate them; but the young sailor seized them both and bore down his brother's head.
It was good for this brother that he had a wife. She now came into the room, and at once set to work to wrest Alexander's hands from the head and breast of her husband, who gladly escaped from the house, as soon as his better half managed to release him. For this outbreak, he was dealt with by the Session, and publicly rebuked before the congregation. Soon after this he went back to sea, and became sailing master of the
Selkirk - for he altered his name to that form - who had no confidence in Stradling, had a remarkable dream "in which he was forewarned of the total failure of the expedition and shipwreck of the
The Cinque Ports cruised for several months along the shores of
His early training and his father's godly example came back on him, and much of his time was spent in devotion. With tears in his eyes, he afterwards said, that "he was a better Christian while in his solitude than ever he was before, and feared he would ever be again." He remained monarch of all he surveyed for four years and four months, when, curiously enough, he was relieved by another privateering expedition, of which Dampier was also the projector, but not the commander. On the 31st of January 1709, the Duke and Duchess came in sight of Juan Fernandez, and a party landed next day. They were as surprised to see him as he was pleased to see them. He caught goats for them which their swiftest runners and a bull-dog could not overtake. Salt and spirits he did not relish, owing to his long abstinence from them, and shoes caused his feet to swell. He soon became a favourite, and got the command of their second prize, which was fitted up as a privateer, and named the Increase. Captain Rogers seems to have been a model bucaneer, as, on one occasion, it is specially mentioned, that before attacking a ship, the crew went to prayers: and he was so tolerant, in his "floating common-wealth," that while he used the Church of England service on the quarter-deck, the Papists had mass in the great cabin below - being, as he said, the low church-men in this case.
It was not until October 1711 that Selkirk landed in
Like most other wives, Sophia Bruce made a great difference on her husband, and when Sir Richard Steele met him in the streets of
The house in which he was born is demolished; but the accompanying illustration will recall it to those who knew it, and acquaint others with its appearance. A recess has been made in the wall of the upper storey of the house which now stands on its site, and, there, a striking monument in bronze, designed by Mr Stuart Burnett, has been placed, at the expense of Mr David Gillies, net-manufacturer, who is a relative of Selkirk's. The 11th December 1885 will ever be a red-letter day in the local calendar. The triumphal arches, the great processions, the Earl of Aberdeen's speeches, and the unveiling of the monument by his Countess, will never be forgotten. Selkirk would not have been so famous if De Foe had not elaborated his adventures in the inimitable "Robinson Crusoe." In the old, crowded burying-ground of Bun-hill Fields, a striking monument to De Foe is to be seen, built by the penny subscriptions of his youthful readers; for he is best remembered by this popular story; while most of his other works are only known to book-collectors. On Juan Fernandez itself, a tablet in memory of Selkirk has stood for eighteen years, and now a statue of Crusoe graces his birth-place.
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