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.

Lothian Street

Lothian Street as it was

Burntisland has many historic buildings, some of which have been and are being preserved, but one or two had to go as being unsuitable for modernisation. One such group of buildings which was demolished was that at the corner of Lothian Street and High Street. The addresses were 34 High Street and 2 Lothian Street.

One historian reckoned that 34 High Street was the one-time residence of Admiral Sir Andrew Wood. Mr D.J.Kirke of Greenmount, in a lecture "Burntisland 1511", showed that on the testing of the 'Great Michael', Scotland's great battleship, King James IV came from Falkland to meet his Admiral Schir Andrew Wood, who had a house at Burntisland and boarded the 'greate schip' in the roadstead of Burntisland.

The oldest title deeds now existent go back to 1671 when Robbert Hoggan, a Bailie in Burntisland, provided a bond of marks Scots to James Forrester, a mariner Burgess of Burntisland. In 1681 the rent was 26 Scots. Among the persons mentioned in the earlier titles is a John Forrest of Cullinauld, who was granted ownership by Sir John Forrester in 1700. In the same year, Robert Bell of Aberdour became owner and left it to his son John Bell, a sailor in Leith, when the agreement was signed before the Bailies of the Canongate in 1735. The successors were then John Mitchell, a brewer in the Yardheads of Leith in 1737, who was succeeded by his nephew Henry Kidstone in 1766. In 1767 Patrick Stevens of Old Meldrum was the owner and he eventually sold the property in 1776 to John Young and his spouse Christian Wyld.

The interesting point in the history of the Youngs is that they resided in the group of buildings right up to the period of demolition around 1959/60. John Young, one of many descendants, still resides at 3, Kirkgate, Burntisland, and other members reside in the town. This provides a continuous family history for 200 years. One title entry in 1753 is a registered disposition by Margaret Forrester, spouse to Alexander Farquhar, late Dean of the Skinners in Edinburgh, in favour of James Bathgate, minister of the Gospel at Dalgety. In 1777, his son James Bathgate gave a disposition to John Young and Christian Wyld.

There were occasional litigations about the property - the type that filled many romantic tales in Scotland. John Young, a baker, had a son of the same name who had a natural son, also a John Young. The grandparents reared young John, who apparently was a favourite and became a doctor of medicine. He went to the settlement of Belize in British Honduras and the grandparents left the property to him. His aunt, Christian Young, was executrix and did not inform her nephew of his good fortune. Instead she collected the rents of all the houses till eventually the doctor heard the true story. He then appointed Edmund Logan, W.S. of Edinburgh, to act on his behalf. After a long drawn-out court case, during which the aunt returned more than 800 and another two defenders failed to appear in court, Dr Young succeeded to the property in 1849.

Lothian Street today

He sold it to his sister Mrs Christina Young or Davidson, wife of John Davidson M.A., formerly a teacher in Burntisland, who passed the property on to John Balderston, baker in Burntisland, in 1853 for 400. The wee baker's shop at the corner of the building was in use as such for 200 years. Succeeding owners were Thomas Strachan, baker, Provost of Burntisland in 1880; Mrs Anne Manson or Thomson, residing at 34 High Street; and finally, in 1959, the Provost, Magistrates and Councillors of the Royal Burgh of Burntisland. The last to run the shop as a baker's was Mr Page. The value of the property went from its original price of 650 marks to 400, then 2,000 and finally 200.

Lothian Street was formerly named Young's Wynd, supposedly named after the Youngs of the Grange Distillery who widened the road to allow their cattle to travel to the ferries. Lothian Street we now understand as being named after a former bailie.


Interestingly, since this page was published on the site I have received an e-mail from a descendant of one of the people mentioned here, John Balderston. I reproduce part of it here:
I just happened to find your site as I was searching the name of John Balderston and the search engine gave me your site and the reference to John B. John Balderstone was my gr.gr gr.grandfather and I have found out some more info on him as well. Your article on him says that he bought the bakers shop in 1853 and it was later sold in 1880. Well John B also had a bakers shop at 309 High St Kirkcaldy at about the same time. We visited Kirkcaldy in May 2001 and were able to find the bakers oven still in the back yard of that address... What a find!!! but I have not been able to find where he or any others of that family have been buried.I went to the Kirkcaldy library and searched the local cemetery registers for any tomb stone inscriptions but to no avail. John B had a son John B who came to Australia in 1853. This John B was a 5th generation baker and he built a bakers shop in Ballarat,Victoria where gold had been recently found. After about 40 years there he moved to South Gippsland and the family started farming there. But first they had to clear the great forest to farm.
No further information has been received at this point, but I hope to hear more.