Anstruther is a small town in Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The two halves of Anstruther are divided by a small stream called Dreel Burn. Anstruther lies 9 miles south-southeast of St Andrews
St Andrews
St Andrews is a university town and former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife in Scotland. The town is named after Saint Andrew the Apostle.St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife....

. It is the largest community on the stretch of north-shore coastline of the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

 known as the East Neuk
East Neuk
The East Neuk or East Neuk of Fife is an area of the coast of Fife, Scotland, which is geographically ill-defined but nonetheless stirs local passions....

, with a population of about 3,500 people. The village of Cellardyke
Cellardyke is a village in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. The village is to the immediate east of Anstruther and is to the south of Kilrenny.- History :...

 forms an easterly extension of Anstruther.


It was originally a fishing village, and is home to the Scottish Fisheries Museum
Scottish Fisheries Museum
The Scottish Fisheries Museum is an award-winning museum in Anstruther, Fife, that records the history of the Scottish fishing industry and its people from earliest times to the present day....

, but its main industry is now tourism, although other small scale manufacturing and service industries continue. Pleasure craft now moor in the harbour, and there is a golf course
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

. Anstruther Pleasure Cruises operate sightseeing/wildlife cruises from the harbour to the Isle of May on board the 'May Princess' from April till October, the Isle of May is considered the UK's No.1 Puffin location, there is also an abundance of other interesting wildlife and seal colonies on the Island. The Waid Academy
Waid Academy
The Waid Academy is a public secondary school located in the town of Anstruther, Fife. The schools catchment area extends out to the area of Lundin Links and Largo but accepts pupils from town such as Leven, Kennoway and Markinch.-History :...

, the local state comprehensive school, is often a focus of the community and through its secondary role as a community centre offers a wide range of activities & sports, and hosts entertainment for young and old. Sports Hall, Gym, Swimming pool etc. are also situated here and open to public use.

It has a double award-winning fish and chip
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

 shop, Anstruther Fish Bar
Anstruther Fish Bar
The Anstruther Fish Bar is an award winning fish and chip shop in Anstruther, a fishing village in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland.The Bar is situated on Shore Street, the harbour front in Anstruther, and is particularly popular with tourists...

, which won Fish and Chip shop of the year in 2001-2002 & was awarded the same prize once again, by Sea Fish Organisation, in 2009, as well as other fine fish and non-fish takeaways, and relaxed and formal dining restaurants.
The many famous names from Anstruther include religious thinker and leader Dr Thomas Chalmers, co-founder of the Free Church of Scotland
Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900)
The Free Church of Scotland is a Scottish denomination which was formed in 1843 by a large withdrawal from the established Church of Scotland in a schism known as the "Disruption of 1843"...

 (whose house is preserved), sports writer Graham Speirs, and was the childhood home of BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

Disc jockey
A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, "disc" referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium.There are several types of disc jockeys...

 Edith Bowman
Edith Bowman
Edith Eleanor Bowman is a Scottish music critic, radio DJ and television presenter. She is mostly known for hosting the weekday afternoon show and from September 2009 weekend morning on BBC Radio 1 and for presenting a variety of music related television shows and music...


Anstruther is a popular tourist destination and has a number of guest houses, hotels and self-catering options available.

Anstruther has a fine parish church at its centre, perched on a small hill. This incorporates a tower/spire feature rare to Britain, but having several other examples in this area.

Anstruther War Memorial is located in the cemetery, somewhat further inland. It is of unusual form for a war memorial, being totally flat to the ground, in the centre of a landscaped roundel. It broadly adopts the form of a celtic cross
Celtic cross
A Celtic cross is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. In the Celtic Christian world it was combined with the Christian cross and this design was often used for high crosses – a free-standing cross made of stone and often richly decorated...


Somewhat outwith the town centre, on the coastal road to the west, stands the Dreel Tavern (taking its name from the adjacent burn). This fine building dates from the 17th century.

Notable inhabitants

James Melville
James Melville (1556-1614)
James Melville was a Scottish divine and reformer, son of the laird of Baldovie, in Forfarshire. He was educated at Montrose and St Leonard's College, St Andrews....

, nephew of the more celebrated reformer, Andrew Melville
Andrew Melville
Andrew Melville was a Scottish scholar, theologian and religious reformer. His fame encouraged scholars from the European Continent to study at Glasgow and St Andrews.-Early life and early education:...

, who was minister of Kilrenny, has given in his Diary a graphic account of the arrival at Anstruther of a weatherbound ship of the Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

, and the tradition of the intermixture of Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Fife blood still prevails in the district. Anstruther fair supplied William Tennant
William Tennant
William Tennant , Scottish scholar and poet, was born at Anstruther, Fife.He was lame from childhood. His father sent him to the University of St Andrews, where he remained for two years, and on his return he became clerk to one of his brothers, a corn factor...

, who was born and buried in the town, with the subject of his poem of "Anster Fair." Sir James Lumsden, a soldier of fortune under Gustavus Adolphus
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

, who distinguished himself in the Thirty Years' War, was born in the parish of Kilrenny
Kilrenny is a village in Fife, Scotland. Part of the East Neuk, it lies immediately to the north of Anstruther on the south Fife coast....

 about 1598.

David Martin
David Martin (artist)
David Martin was a British painter and engraver. Born in Fife, he studied in London and Italy, before gaining a reputation as a portrait painter.-Family:...

 (1737–1798), the painter and engraver; Thomas Chalmers
Thomas Chalmers
Thomas Chalmers , Scottish mathematician, political economist, divine and a leader of the Free Church of Scotland, was born at Anstruther in Fife.-Overview:...

 (1780–1847), the great divine; John Goodsir
John Goodsir
John Goodsir was a Scottish anatomist, born at Anstruther, Fife. He was a pioneer in the study of the cell.- Life :Goodsir was trained in St Andrews and Edinburgh...

 (1814–1867), the anatomist; and Robert Fowler
Robert Fowler (artist)
Robert Fowler was a Scottish artist who painted mythological scenes and landscapes.Fowler was born in Anstruther, Fife, and was brought up mainly by his uncle and aunt while his parents were away on business. He showed a very early aptitude for art, starting first with pencil drawings then moving...

 (1853–1926), artist, were natives of Anstruther. Archibald Constable
Archibald Constable
Archibald Constable was a Scottish publisher, bookseller and stationer.He was born at Carnbee, Fife, as the son of the land steward to the Earl of Kellie. In 1788 Archibald was apprenticed to Peter Hill, an Edinburgh bookseller, but in 1795 he started in business for himself as a dealer in rare...

, Sir Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

's publisher, was born in the parish of Carnbee, about 3 miles to the north of Pittenweem
Pittenweem is a small and secluded fishing village and civil parish tucked in the corner of Fife on the east coast of Scotland. According to the 2006 estimate, the village has a population of 1,600. At the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 1,747....

. Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart
R. H. Bruce Lockhart
Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart KCMG , was a journalist, author, secret agent, British diplomat in Moscow and Prague, and footballer...

 (1887–1970), director-general of the Political Warfare Executive
Political Warfare Executive
During World War II, the Political Warfare Executive was a British clandestine body created to produce and disseminate both white and black propaganda, with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the Occupied countries....

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was also born in Anstruther. Anstruther has also become known as the base for the Fence Collective, a network of nu-folk musicians.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the town was also the home to The Beggar's Benison
The Beggar's Benison
The Most Ancient and Most Puissant Order of the Beggar's Benison and Merryland, Anstruther, better known simply as The Beggar's Benison, was a Scottish gentlemen's club devoted to "the convivial celebration of male sexuality"...

, a gentlemen's club devoted to "the convivial celebration of male sexuality".


Anstruther is in the North East Fife
North East Fife (UK Parliament constituency)
North East Fife is a county constituency in Fife, Scotland, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom currently held by Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats...

 UK Parliament constituency (MP is currently Sir Menzies Campbell of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Scottish Liberal Democrats
The Scottish Liberal Democrats are one of the three state parties within the federal Liberal Democrats; the others being the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats in England...

), Fife North East
Fife North East (Scottish Parliament constituency)
North East Fife is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament. It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament by the plurality method of election...

 Scottish Parliament constituency (MSP is currently Rod Campbell
Roderick Campbell
Roderick Campbell is SNP MSP for North East Fife, elected in 2011.Campbell was educated at Reading School and graduated BA in politics from Exeter University...

 of the SNP
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

) as well as the Mid-Scotland and Fife Scottish Parliamentary region and the Scotland
Scotland (European Parliament constituency)
Scotland constitutes a single constituency of the European Parliament. For 2009 it elects 6 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.- Boundaries :...

 European Parliament constituency. In local politics the ward of East Neuk and Landward in the Fife Council is represented by a number of councillors elected under the Single Transferable Vote system.

The Secret Bunker

Following the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, one of Anstruther's best kept secrets has become a major tourist attraction. A secret nuclear bunker
Fallout shelter
A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War....

, built in 1951 and operational until 1993, located on the B940 near the village and beneath what during its operational lifetime was an ordinary looking domestic dwelling, has been renovated and is now open to the public as a museum. The bunker was a subsidiary Regional Seat of Government
Regional Seat of Government
Regional Seats of Government or RSGs were the best known aspect of Britain's Civil Defence preparations against Nuclear War. In fact, however, naming conventions changed over the years as strategies in Whitehall changed....

 in time of Nuclear emergency and would have been occupied by UK Armed Forces, UKWMO, Royal Observer Corps
Royal Observer Corps
The Royal Observer Corps was a civil defence organisation operating in the United Kingdom between 29 October 1925 and 31 December 1995, when the Corps' civilian volunteers were stood down....

, and other Civil Service personnel.

External links

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