The following was extracted from a series of articles by former Provost R.M.Livingstone in the Fife Free Press, printed in the late 1960's and early 1970's. If any copyright has been infringed please contact me. I am assuming that there will be no problem with this due to the age of the articles.

An early Burntisland school

The site of the early school in the High Street

This picture was taken whilst the new police station and houses were being built just prior to the demolition of No's 27-35 High Street. No. 35 is between the lamp-post and small car on the left. The Mercat Cross is marked by the metal plate in the centre (right) of the road. The sites of early Burntisland schools are gradually becoming unknown. From 1620 until the 1920's women ran private schools in Burntisland covering a period of 300 years.

An early Burntisland school

The first, in 1620, was run by Mansie Maceggan and Bessie Davidson when the schoolmaster complained to the Town Council that they kept schools to the prejudice of the Grammar School. In 1657, Mary Malpas was granted a free house and schoolhouse for teaching young lasses. The building used by Mary Malpas was formerly known as No. 35 High Street and was demolished around 1956.

At the official opening of the Somerville Street - High Street housing development, the brochure stated: "The clearance of the old and derilect properties on the south side of the western part of Somerville Street, in Black's Close and from 27-35 High Street, marks the first stage in the re-development of the central areas of the burgh."

The house in which Mary Malpas held her school had marriage lintels dated 1626. The initials R.R. and A.M. referred to Captain Richard Ross, member of a prominent family in Burntisland history, and Agnes Michelson whose father was the Rev. John Mitchelson, Moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery and minister of Burntisland Kirk, who refused to sign the Covenant.

To prevent the marriage lintels being lost, they were inserted into the new buildings in High Street in the passageway leading from High Street to Somerville Square. This passageway was made to compensate for the loss of Black's Close which now leads into the rear of the police buildings and was a short-cut for those hurrying to the railway station.

In the days of Mary Malpas's school the area around No. 35 High Street must have been the hub of activity as the Mercat Cross was in the middle of the street opposite the "lasses' school".