The Culross Witch Haters

Culross on the West coast of Fife, in Scotland, is typical of the old sea towns and villages spread up and down the coastline. Traditional narrow streets, are lined by old stonebuilt 3-400 year old houses  with remarkably small doorways – the theory being the bigger the doorway, the more you had to heat the house! There’s always a proud Parish standing tall in these little fishing villages as there is one here, an Abbey formerly run by monks but incorporated into a parish during the reformation of 1560 under the English monarch Henry VIII.

Culross also has a Tollbooth, built in 1625, which governed the four square miles that held the population when Culross was a rich busy haven of a place. It once had 50 salt pan houses down by the beach, houses designed for the extracting of seawater then boiling it down in huge metal pans. Once boiled dry, the sea salt could be scrapped into bags and used to cure fish in barrels. It was a costly process, taking about 5 tonnes of coal to make 1 tonne of salt, but having a prosperous coal mine in the little town everything depended on each other to profit! The fishermen needed salt, the salt needed coal and the coal had to be dug out from the mine. Jobs for all!

With a population of around 600 in 1625, the Tollbooth was built to show a high status community at large. It had a council chamber for its Baillie’s (magistrates) and a jail… but the year the Tollbooth was built was the year tragedy visited Culross and everything collapsed in on itself…

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