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This is a listing of publications about Burntisland, grouped according to broad category. It is fairly comprehensive, but no doubt a few will have been missed. We'd be delighted to add these to the list. Please contact us with details.

Most of the listed publications are available in the Reference Section of Kirkcaldy Central Library, and a number of them at Burntisland Library. It might be possible to obtain some of them via inter-library loan. The more recent books may be available in local shops, or by ordering through a bookseller. Second hand copies of the older books are often available and can be traced using an internet search engine.

The 'Burgh Buzz', the quarterly newspaper of Burntisland Community Council, contains articles on the history of the town.

The publications are grouped in the following categories:

History ~ Churches ~ Industry & Transport ~ Miscellaneous

FROM 1700

Burntisland: A Social History - Sommerville, Iain - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2009
Describes the major components of life in Burntisland from 1700 to date. Its five chapters cover the churches; the schools and library; the economy, industries and employment; personalities (35 of the town's most interesting individuals and families); and personal reminiscences. 212 pages. 258 illustrations, 48 of which are in full colour. B5 format. £11-95. Full details including availability.


Burntisland Voices: Recorded Memories of Local Folk 1910-1970 - Edited by Sommerville, Iain - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2005
Based on the spoken memories of 25 local folk who were born during the years 1904 to 1939. Most of the oral history recordings on which the book is based were carried out in 2005. The book covers the period from approximately 1910 to 1970. It includes chapters on Recreation and Entertainment, Shopkeepers and Traders, the Second World War, the Binn Village, the Shipyard, and the Railway. 155 pages; 132 black and white illustrations; B5 format. £8-95. Availability - please see BHT Publications page.


Burntisland: Port of Grace - Sommerville, Iain (with Archibald, Ian; and Mabon, Helen)- Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2004 (reprinted with minor changes in 2012)
The story of the Royal Burgh of Burntisland to the Union of Parliaments in 1707. Based on James Speed's notes on the history of Burntisland, which were transcribed by Alexander Foster in 1869. The 16th and 17th centuries were a time of great turmoil in Scotland, particularly on the question of religion. This book gives the reader an understanding of what life was like during that period. 156 pages, 24 in full colour. 85 illustrations. £11-95. Availability - please see BHT Publications page.


Burntisland Fallen 1914-19 - Burnett, John - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2007
This booklet lists the men of Burntisland who lost their lives as a result of the First World War and whose names appear on the Burntisland War Memorial. It links the names on the Memorial to personal information from census returns, newspaper articles, obituaries and historical military records. It also includes, inter alia, the history of the War Memorial itself, lists of medal winners, and information about men from Burntisland who served in overseas forces. 68 pages; A5 format. £3-50. Availability - please see BHT Publications page.


Burntisland Fallen 1939-45- Burnett, John - Burntisland Heritage Trust - 2005
This booklet provides details of all the 42 men who gave their lives in the Second World War and whose names are inscribed on Burntisland War Memorial. It also includes contemporary material from the local press - articles on the War Memorial itself, prisoners of war, escapees, the peace celebrations in Burntisland, and the Douglas Bader connection; plus two poems by local folk. 28 pages; A5 format. £2-50. Availability - please see BHT Publications page.

HISTORY TO 1924 History of Burntisland: Scottish Burgh Life More Particularly in the Time of the Stuarts - Young, A. - Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire Advertiser - 1913
and also
History of Burntisland: Scottish Burgh Life More Particularly in the Time of the Stuarts (Second Edition) - Young, Andrew - Kirkcaldy, The Fifeshire Advertiser Ltd - 1924
These were at the time the definitive histories of the town, and in that respect the title is a little misleading. The coverage is comprehensive, with the 2nd edition containing much new material. The Parish Church, in which Andrew Young had a major personal interest, receives special attention. Second hand copies now sell for around £60 to £70, depending on condition.
HISTORY 1845-1925 Glimpses of Modern Burntisland: A Series of Impressions and Reminiscences - (Ex-Bailie) Erskine, William - Strachan and Livingston Ltd, 'Fife Free Press Office', Kirkcaldy - c1930
Based on a series of articles in the Fife Free Press and anecdotal in style, this is an immensely readable history of the town from about 1845 to 1925 - although at times imprecise, and occasionally inaccurate. If you're looking for your ancestors, the book is packed with sympathetic pen portraits of local worthies. Second hand copies can fetch £70.
HISTORY TO ABOUT 1715 Burntisland: Early History and People - Blyth, John J. - Fifeshire Advertiser - 1948
The history of the town from the early days to about 1715. Carefully researched and drawing from a wide variety of original sources. A lot of detail in its 198 pages. Strongly recommended for the serious student of the period.
GENERAL HISTORY Burntisland - Pearson, John M, - Edmonds Advertising, Edinburgh - 1992
A short history of the town, taking the visitor on a walking tour. £3-50.
GENERAL HISTORY Notes on the History of Burntisland - Livingstone, Provost Robert M., J.P.
Published in the Fife Free Press April-July 1954. Includes what the author hoped was a complete list of Provosts of the town.
GENERAL HISTORY Burntisland Past and Present - Livingstone, Provost Robert M., J.P.
Published in the Fife Free Press January-March 1955. Includes a good description of the artefacts currently in the Burgh Chambers.
OLD PHOTOS Old Burntisland - Wilson, Rhona - Stenlake Publishing - 1998
Based on old photographs, with an informative and accurate commentary. £6-50.
OLD PHOTOS Burntisland: Portrait of a Town - Kirkcaldy District Museums - 1982
Reproductions of old photographs.
OLD PHOTOS Aberdour and Burntisland in Old Picture Postcards - Simpson, Eric - European Library, Zaltbommel/Netherlands - 1993
CHARLES I's TREASURE A King's Treasure Lost - Murray, Howard J. - Silverscreen Print - 1999
A recreation of the events of 1633, when King Charles I's baggage ferry sank off Burntisland.
STREET NAMES The Origin of Burntisland and Kinghorn Street Names - Williamson, May G. - Kirkcaldy District Council - undated (but probably published in the 1980s)
  PLACE NAMES The Place-Names of Fife Vol. 1 (West Fife between Leven and Forth) - Simon Taylor with Gilbert Márkus - Shaun Tyas - 2006
The chapter on Burntisland parish (with maps) is on pp. 184-203.
ROSSEND CASTLE Rossend Castle: A Recent Story of Reconstruction after 25 Years of Struggle - Rolland, L.A., and Partners - 1977
The fight to save the castle from the bulldozers.
ROSSEND CASTLE Two Painted Ceilings from Rossend Castle, Burntisland- Apted, M.R. & Robertson, W. Norman
Two Armorial Panels at Rossend Castle - Robertson, W. Norman
(both reprinted from 1971-72 journal)

History, detailed descriptions and photographs.
ROSSEND CASTLE Rossend Castle (4th edition) - 1905 (reprint from the 'Fifeshire Advertiser', 29 April 1873)
History of the castle (14 pages).
MARY SOMERVILLE Two Painted Ceilings from Mary Somerville's House - Apted, M.R. (reprint from 1957-58 journal)
A detailed description with photographs. Includes the history of the house, and Mary Somerville's memories of it.
FOOTBALL A Short History of Burntisland Shipyard Amateurs Football Club - Campbell, George - Touchline - 1991
The story of the club from its formation in 1923.

The Burntisland Golf Club 1797-1997: 200 Years of Golf in Burntisland - Burntisland Golf Club - 1997
Includes a brief history of the Club, and lists of officials and medal winners. Available from Burntisland Golf Club.

GOLF Burntisland Golf House Club 1898-1998 - Burntisland Golf House Club - 1998
The history of the Club and details of its personalities.
GENERAL HISTORY Old Days in Burntisland - Dick, A.O.B. (reprint)
An article from the Scots Magazine (June 1975). Reminiscences of an exile.
COURT BOOKS Burntisland Burgh Court Books: 1737-1805 and 1805-1854 (typescript)
Lists of persons with 'Date of admission' and 'Designation'.
ELECTORAL REGISTER (1864) Alphabetical List of Persons Entitled to Vote in the Election of a Member of Parliament for the Burgh of Burntisland, 15 August 1864
REFORM ACT Burntisland and Kinghorn: The Reform Act Plan of 1832 with Descriptive Text - Historical Discovery - 1992 (facsimile)
Contains a brief description and plan of the town around 1832.
WATSON'S MORTIFICATION Copies of the Deeds of Mortification - John Watson - 1694
SUBJECT Churches
PARISH CHURCH A Guide to the History of the Parish Church - N.B. Mackie - c2004
A booklet detailing the history of the church building, with some interesting anectodes (32 pages).
PARISH CHURCH Burntisland Parish Church: 400th Anniversary - Rev Jim Monaghan - 1992
Commemorative brochure with colour illustrations (12 pages).
PARISH CHURCH Burntisland Kirk - War Comforts Committee - undated (but probably published about 1944)
Includes a number of contemporary photographs.
ERSKINE CHURCH Erskine Church, Burntisland, 1738-2003: A History of the Congregation - Sommerville, Iain - Session of the Erskine United Free Church of Scotland - 2003
Published to mark the centenary of the new Erskine Church, which was opened for public worship on 14 October 1903. It tells the story of the church over 265 years, and includes photographs, lists of the Ministers and Session Clerks, etc.
£4 plus postage (150 grammes). Available via Iain Sommerville.
ERSKINE CHURCH 1738-1938: Bicentenary of Erskine United Free Church Congregation, Burntisland: Notes on the History of the Congregation - Session of Erskine Church - 1938
and also
Notes on the History of the Congregation of the Erskine United Free Church, 1738-1953 (2nd edition) - Session of the Erskine Church - 1953
The 2nd edition was issued in October 1953 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Erskine Church for public worship. It includes the history of the church and its ministers, and lists of prominent lay members.
ST ANDREW'S CHURCH St Andrew's Parish Church, Burntisland: 1861-1961: Centenary Brochure - Allan, Alexander - 1961
Includes brief biographies of the ministers, and lists of prominent lay members.
EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Serf's Scottish Episcopal Church, Burntisland: 1905-1995 - Robert J.S. Christie - 1995
Published to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the new church building. Contains material on the history of the church, school and priests; and a partial reprint of the 1948 booklet on George Hay Forbes (see next entry).
GEORGE HAY FORBES George Hay Forbes: Priest, Scholar, Saint, Rector of Burntisland 1848-75 (Centenary Booklet) - 1948
A biography which includes the story of the Episcopal Church in the Burntisland area and its ministers.
SUBJECT Industry & Transport


Burntisland: Fife's Railway Port - Peter Marshall - Oakwood Press - 2001
Running to nearly 200 pages and containing more than 140 illustrations, it relates Burntisland's history as a major railway centre, as a ferry terminal and as a port - from the first arrival of the railway to the present day.
It should be available from Stenlake Publishing (who now own Oakwood Press, the original publisher).

SHIPYARD Burntisland Shipyard Journal
Describes the activities of the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd. The later issues, with slightly different titles, include the activities of the sister company, Hall Russell of Aberdeen. Kirkcaldy Central Library has three bound volumes of the Journal for the period 1920 to 1966 (incomplete).
SHIPYARD Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd (various books and papers, including a full list of ships built)
Kirkcaldy Central Library has various books and papers, including a full list of ships built. See also Shipyard page.
SHIPYARD Notes from My Diaries - Sir Wilfrid Ayre
Four volumes, covering the period 1901-1960. They contain Sir Wilfrid's life story and concentrate on his family's ownership of the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd.
SHALE OIL WORKS The Binnend Oilworks and the Binn Village (Second Edition) - Stephen, Walter M. - publisher unknown - undated
Research conducted by Fife Education Committee's Adult Education Class in Industrial Archaeology during spring 1968. Gives a fairly detailed history of the venture. Please note that the cover photo and Plate D have been inadvertently printed as mirror images.
SHALE OIL WORKS Burntisland Oil Shale Works - Edwards, Ron - Craigencalt Rural Community Trust - 2015
Covers the background to the industry, including geology, and the history of the Burntisland works. Describes the remains still visible today. Available as a free download from the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust website. To obtain a paper copy, use the contact details on the website.
RAILWAY Railway Ports: Burntisland - Moffat, Tom (reprint)
A five page article from the Railway Magazine (1912). The development of the port, and a description of it as it was at the time of publication.
SUBJECT Miscellaneous
GEOLOGY The Geology of Burntisland - Law, Keddie - 2009
Reference copies of Keddie Law's paper are available in Burntisland Library and Burntisland Heritage Centre. It can also be accessed online by clicking here.
LOCAL WALKS Rambles in and around Aberdour and Burntisland - Buckner, J.C.R. - 1881, reprinted in 1898
The Burntisland section covers early history, the Parish Church, Thomas Chalmers, Mary Somerville, Rossend Castle, the Kirkton Church, Dunearn Hill and the geology of the area.
THE BINN Burntisland Binn: A Wayfarer's Walk - Gray, Tom (typescript)
THE BINN The Beckoning Binn - Brown, Hamish
Article on the Binn hill and surroundings, published in the Scots Magazine, December 2003.
LOCAL PHOTOS Views of Burntisland and District - Hutton, Robert - undated (perhaps early 1900s)
The equivalent of the more recent postcard booklets. Published by Robert Hutton, who was the proprietor of The Bazaar at 86 High Street in the town.
LOCAL PHOTOS Burntisland and Aberdour: Souvenir View Album, Published by Andrew Young from his Photographs - Young, Andrew - undated
A collection of Andrew Young's local photos, selected by himself. A very rare publication.
DISTRICT GUIDE Guide to Burntisland, with an Account of the History, Geology and Botany of the District (2nd edition) - Folkarde, Herbert - 1911
Published by Herbert Folkarde, a family grocer and wine merchant at 80 High Street in the town. Quite detailed, and includes a section on the local geology by Rev James Patrick.
Kirkcaldy Central Library holds copies of some old town guides. These include:
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1922)
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1956)
Burntisland: The Official Guide (1960)
Town Guide (1963)
Summer Programme of Events (1977)
On the Sunny Side (Official Guide) (undated)


The Links, Burntisland - Nelson, Douglas M. (Director of Planning) - Kirkcaldy District Council - June 1983
A brief history and description of the Links. Recommends that the area be classed as a Conservation Area (which it was).

Webpage by Iain Sommerville; Help on bookmarking this page.