"And twenty ghosts, in winding-sheets
As snow, sat cocking on St Monan's steeple."
This small fishing town is a mile and a half further west than Pittenweem.
The old Name was Inverin, Invery, Inverie, Finvirie, or, as Sibbald calls it, Inweerie; and the little stream which rushes past the church to meet the billows, was long known as Inweary Burn. The present name, St Monans, or Monance, was derived from one of the reputed associates of St Adrian, and whose cave, or rather a small remnant of it, is still pointed out, a stone-cast to the eastward of the church. The front part of the rock has gone, and a byre has been built on the site of "St Monan's Stedd." Even this modern humble edifice reminds the pilgrim that he lives in a world of change, for, instead of being inhabited by a sedate cow, it is now partly used as a coal-cellar, and partly as a shelter for democratic ducks.
St Monan. - Wyntoun, in his narrative about Adrian and his company, says : -
"In Invery Saynct
That off that cumpany wes ane,
Chesyd hym sa nere the se
Till lede hys lyff: thare endyt he."
But, Skene, in his remarks on the legend of St Adrian, in his Celtic Scotland, while acknowledging that Wyntoun possessed sources of information as to church legends now lost to us, and that this, like all such legends, has some features which may be considered historical, yet strips it of many of its prominent points. He utterly rejects those statements of the Aberdeen Breviary, which hold forth that Adrian and Monanus were born in Pannonia, a province of Hungary; that there were 6006 of these Hungarian Christian invaders; and that "blessed Monanus preached the Gospel to the people on the mainland and in a place called Inverry in Fyf." In Monan's name he finds a clue to their native land. "Monanus," he says, "is simply the Irish Moinenn with a Latin termination. His relics are preserved at Inverry, now St Monance, and he is venerated on the 1st of March; but this is the day of St Moinenn in the Irish Calendar, who was first Bishop of Clonfert Brenain, on the Shannon, and whose death is recorded by Irish annalists in 571. This leads us at once to Ireland as the country from whence they came; and, so far from being accompanied by a living St Monan, who lived at Inverry, they had probably brought with them the relics of the dead St Moinenn, Bishop of Clonfert, of the sixth century, in whose honour the church, afterwards called St Monans, was founded."
Skene's conjecture is rendered the more probable by what he points out, to wit, that Turgesius, the Dane, who had placed himself at the head of all the foreigners in Ireland, sacked Armagh thrice in one month, in 832; that, in 841, he banished the Bishop and clergy, and. usurped the Abbacy of Armagh; that he seems to have attempted to establish his national heathenism, in place of the Christianity he found in the country; that, in 845, he burned and plundered the monastery of Clonfert Bre-nain, and many others; and that at this very time Ken-neth MacAlpin was establishing his Scottish kingdom in Pictland, and reclaiming for the Scottish clerics their old ecclesiastical foundations. "It seems, therefore," he says, "a reasonable conclusion that the two events were con-nected, and that it was probably owing to the state into which the Church in Ireland had been brought by the Danes, and to the co-incident establishment of a Scottish dynasty on the throne of the Picts, that we find....the arrival of so large a body of Scots in Fife is intimately connected with the revolution, which placed these Pictish districts under the rule of a Scottish king." The Church is the only building of antiquarian in-terest in the town. Whether St Monan, or only his bones, found their way to this place may never be quite satisfactorily ascertained; but, it is certain that the monks of May received from David the First the lands of Inverin, or Invery, which formerly belonged to Avernus. The building of the church is commonly ascribed to David the Second. According to one legend, David was wounded by two arrows at the unfortunate battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, and one of them could not be extracted from the wound, until he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Monan, when it leaped from the wound, as he paid his devotions before the image of the saint. The king was so gratified, by his instant cure, that he "replaced the humble chapel erected over the saint's resting-place, by the stately fane of which so fine a remnant still exists."
Unluckily for this version of the story, the King was taken prisoner at that battle, and was detained in England for years. According to the other version, the King was crossing the firth to Ardross Castle with his second wife, Margaret Logie, when a terrible storm arose, which so frightened him, that, he vowed to build a church to St Monan if they got safely to land, and he kept his vow. As it was in 1363 that David married Margaret of Logie, at Inchmurdach - now called Kenly Green, near Boarhills - and as he died in 1370, this would fix the date of erection between these years. In the Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland, it is stated that:- "In the Register of the Great Seal, there occurs a charter of endowment of the chapel, by David II, in the fortieth year of his reign, equivalent to the year 1369. It may be questioned whether this is the charter of foundation, as it notices the chapel as having been already refounded by its granter, and it will be seen that the building must have then made con-siderable progress. The charter does not refer to any objects of peculiar gratitude to St Monan, but is in the usual terms - for the safety of the soul of the endower, his progenitors and successors. The Chamberlain's Rolls contain various entries, running from 1362 to 1370, of payments made to Sir William Dysschyntoun, Knyht, (of Ardross,) Sheriff of Fife, for the erection of the edifice; and in the year 1369, Adam the carpenter received £6, 13s. 4d. in part payment of his services and labour in the work." To Sibbald it appeared, "from the royal arms and the Bruces arms on the roof, that either King Robert I or King David II built it."
The chapel is said to have been given by James the Third - 1460-1488 - to the Black Friars; but it did not continue long in their possession, and no trace of their monastic buildings now remains. The suppression of the convent was due to the intellectual and moral reform, through which the Dominicans or Black Friars passed in the early part of the sixteenth century, and of which their devoted Pro-vincial, John Adam, or Adamson, was the mainspring. At a chapter held at Stirling in 1516, it was resolved to apply Bishop Elphinstone's legacy in repairing the ruinous monastery of the order at St Andrews. And, from the Abstract of Writs belonging to the City of St Andrews, it appears that Adamson, in a full provincial chapter held in Edinburgh, in 1519, granted a charter by which the convents at Cupar and St Monans were suppressed, and their revenues transferred to that at St Andrews, except an annual rent of twenty merks founded by Robert, Duke of Albany, and upliftable from his lands of North Barns, now called Kingsbarns, which was reserved that two friars might say prayers at the tomb of St Monan for ever. This charter was confirmed by James the Fifth. In another charter, granted by Queen Mary and the Regent Arran in 1543, it is said that the twenty merks were granted by Robert, Duke of Albany, to two chaplains performing Divine service at the kirk of St Monan of 'Inverroy, thereafter transferred by James the Third to the Predicant Friars, and afterwards given by James the Fifth for main-taining the students of that order at St Andrews University.
Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, the chapel at St Monans became the parish church of Abercrombie. Until that time, the town and lands of St Monans were in the parish of Kilconquhar; but, an arrangement having been made between the proprietor, Sir James Sandilands, and Robert Wilkie, the minister of Abercrombie, they were joined to that parish. According to Hew Scott, the annexation was carried out by the Synod on the 21st of October 1646, and because the greatest number of the parishioners dwelt nearest to St Monans kirk, and for other reasons, the worship was ordained to be in it, and so the congregation met there after the 27th of December in that year. But in the Parliamentary Ratification passed on the 26th of June 1649, it is stated that the dis-membering and adjoining were performed by the Presbytery of St Andrews in July 1647. In this Ratification, Parliament also ordained that St Monaus should be the place of meeting, and that it should be called the Kirk of Abercrombie in all time coming. How vain are the ordinances of men! Gillies, in the old Statistical Account, says that in the records of the Presbytery, the parish was afterwards called "Abercrombie with St Monance"; but, that, long before his time, it had acquired, though improperly, the name of St Monance. Soon after the induction of Swan, as his successor, in 1804, it was attempted to revive Abercrombie as the name of the parish, but in the Ordnance Survey and elsewhere it stands simply as St Monans.
In 1772 the church was so ruinous that Gillies raised a process of reparation before the Presbytery, and obtained decree against the heritors. This led to a process between the heritors and feuars before the Lords of Session, in which the feuars were found liable to uphold the fabric. "During the process," says Gillies, "it received a partial reparation, but nothing equal to what was granted by Presbytery; and nothing more has yet (1793) been done, either by the heritors, to enforce the decree of the Lords upon the feuars, or by them, to testify their compliance with it; and if they continue long so to do, this venerable pile must sink into ruins." And then he exclaims, "What a pity is it, that such a beautiful monument of antiquity, and which perhaps has not its fellow in Scotland, should be suffered to go to desolation!" At that time, and for at least 80 years before, the transepts were unroofed, and the congregation worshipped in the chancel. Until 1826, it continued in this state, being "most uncomfortable as a place of worship: damp, cold, its walls covered with green mould, and presenting altogether an aspect of chilling desolation." Early in Feb. of that year, Swan invoked the aid of his Presbytery, a visitation ensued, the heritors consulted Burn - the architect who bungled St Giles - and he, "with strong professional enthusiasm, de-precated the idea of its being abandoned to ruin, and gave his decided opinion as to its capability of being repaired into a beautiful specimen of ecclesiastical architecture, and a place of worship singularly well adapted for seeing and hearing." Swan goes on to say that:- "After all the tedious forms connected with so great a work, we were, in June 1828, put into occupation of one of the most beautiful places of worship of which the country can boast. There was a lofty communication opened under a splendid arch betwixt the main building and the area of the steeple.
The side-wings to the north and south, forming the transept, were raised to the height of the principal building, and finished in the same style with the original roof. The pulpit was removed to the west end, immediately in front of a magnificent Gothic window. There were opened four similar windows in the south wall, and two in the north, and we were provided with a commodious vestry behind the church." Several bodies were found in the north transept, and one of these, from the insignia, was believed to be the great David Leslie. Before these alterations, the church "exhibited, in a state of perfect preservation, a complete suit of church furniture, which, neither in the pulpit, nor in the galleries, nor in the ground pews, had experienced for nearly two hundred years the least repair, or even been once touched by the brush of the painter." The calling of most of the worshippers was fitly represented by "a small old-fashioned model of a ship, in full rigging, hung from the roof like a chandelier." And the gallery, which had been made for Leslie's use, remained entire, with a number of "pious inscriptions" on its seats and canopies. In the olden time, the church-bell hang on a tree in the burying-ground, but was regularly removed during the herring-season, lest its tones should frighten the fish away. The new bell, which is dated 1822, is fixed on the top of the steeple, within the parapet, but in the open air. Sibbald, Gillies, and Swan all state that the church was built in the form of a cross with a steeple in the centre. But, as Billings has said, "there are no appearances to indicate that the edifice was ever more complete than it is at present, or that it ever possessed a nave." That eminent architect, after remarking that some public edifices raise their heads conspicuously in the coast burghs, says, that:- "The most remarkable of all these is the gray chapel of St Monance, with its steep-roofed chancel, its transept, and its stumpy square tower, surmounted by a petty octagonal steeple. . . . On entering it, one is struck, not only with the lofty effect of the ribbed roof, but with the general air of good keeping and architectural consistency, so uncommon in a Scottish village church.
The limited accommodation required by the thin population of the parish, has, in some measure, protected the architecture from being overlaid by the modern adjuncts of comfort; while a square recess, with ogee-headed com-partments for sedilia, and a lavatory niche, have been allowed to remain. There is, however, a certain freshness in the tone of the interior that imperfectly responds to the gray walls and roof and it becomes evident, on examination, that the building had, at one time, been permitted to make considerable progress towards decay, and that many of the mouldings and other decorations are plaister restorations." Nearly forty years have passed since Billings wrote, and the church now looks damp and comfortless, although a new hot-water apparatus has just been iuserted. The ugly fire-clay pipes, which formed the rude chimney of the previous stove, are still allowed to disfigure the roof. Swan had to complain, in 1837, that when he tried to increase the attendance by "clerical means," the coldness of the church, especially in winter, was thrown in his teeth, "artificial heat, by means of stoves or otherwise, never having been introduced." So far as the appearance of the church is concerned, it is a pity that this is not still the case. The coloured bands on the bases and capitals of the clustered columns are truly execrable. The chancel is long and broad compared with the narrow transepts; this feature and the absence of a nave are probably due to the fact that the building was not designed as a parish church, so that the worshippers were chiefly, if not solely, those who were entitled to have a place in the chancel. In the end of the north transept there is a mural monument in memory of Lieutenant Henry Anstruther, a gallant youth of eighteen, who fell in the battle of the Alma while carrying the colours of his regiment.
"His bosom with one
The warrior boy lay low;
His face was turned unto the heaven,
His feet unto the foe."
Burgh. - On the 1st of April 1611, Archbishop Gladstane of St Andrews, with consent of his chapter, granted a charter to William Sandilands of St Monans, erecting his lands into a haill and free tenandry and lordship, and the town of St Monans into a free burgh of barony, with a free port and harbour, which was ratified by Parliament in 1621. On the 7th of December 1611, the same Archbishop made a contract with the city of St Andrews, in which it was agreed that he should receive ten shillings Scots yearly for the duties of the markets of St Monans and Kilconquhar, and apparently this was not a new arrangement at that thne. Indeed, in 1592, Parliament ordained that an Act, against killing geese on the Bass, should be published at the market-cross of "Sant monanis." So that it may have been a burgh of barony long before Gladstane's time. It was enacted in 1705 that the weekly market should be changed from Friday to Tuesday, and that two yearly fairs should be held in July and September, of which Sir Alexander Anstruther of Newark was to receive all the tolls and customs. But no markets or fairs are held here now. Writing in 1837, Swan says:- "There are two prisons in St Monans, under one roof, one on the upper floor of the town-house, the other on the ground floor. They are equally well secured; the lower, by much the more dismal of the two. Prisoners are committed to the one or the other according to their pre-eminence in delinquency." And he adds:- "So far as I have occasion to hear, imprisonment is a rare occurrence." It would have been wonderful if it had been otherwise, for the population of 884 persons rejoiced in the oversight of three bailies, a treasurer, fifteen councillors, and twelve constables
Repulse of the English. - When the English held Haddington in 1548, "they came to Aberlady," says Pitscottie, "and shipped in some of their ablest gentlemen to pass over and spoil the coast of Fife. They came first to Anstruther and Pittenweem, but fearing to land there, these towns being so populous, they came west against St Ninians, where they landed, thinking to march on foot to Pittenweem, and fortify the same with men and victuals, and to spoil the country. As they were coming to St Ninians-Muir in arrayed battle, with some artillery, brought from their ships, Lord James, Commendator of St Andrews, the Lairds of Weemyss and Largo, with sundry others of the country, when they saw the fires arising, came posting thither, and, joyning with the common people who had convened to stop their landing, skirmished so hotely with them, that they chased them back to their ships, and slew a great number of them, beside many that were drowned and taken captives. There died to the number of six hundred and twelve, and an hundred prisoners taken."
Calderwood's reference to this event is much shorter even than Pitscottie's. He simply says:- "The English fleets went about to land their souldiours at Sanct Minnans, in Fife, but the Queen's brother, James Stewart, encoun-tered them with speed, and compelled them to retire, after they had landed about twelve hundreth. Three hundreth were slaine, an hundreth takin, manie drowned." Sir James Balfour is not quite so brief as Calderwood; but in several important respects he differs from both him and Pitscottie. He says, that Lord Clinton, who was riding at anchor with his ships, landed some 5000 men on the coast of Fife, to spoil the country; but that before they did much harm they were encountered by the Laird of Wemyss, and the Barons of Fife, all well horsed, who rode them "flat doune" with their horses, and, having killed above 700 of them, forced the remnant to save themselves by wading into the sea to their necks to gain their boats. If Sir James has not unduly magnified the number of the enemy, the Fife Barons must have done nobly. He finishes his account of the matter, by stating, that the English procured no better booty than their "back full of strokes and watt skins," and that this good entertainment saved Fife from all further trouble in the progress of that war. Bishop Lesley's account is much fuller than any of the others. Like Balfour, he makes no mention of James Stewart, and attributes the success almost entirely to the Laird of Wemyss, who, he says, caused watch and ward to be kept so strictly, both day and night, that the English Admiral could not land unperceived. Indeed, the Laird happened to be personally on the outlook that very night the invaders meant to land, and, seeing their light, hurried to "Sanct Minanis," to raise the men of that town. Alas they were "not abone the nowmer of sax scoir," but having put them in the neediest places, he chose some of the most skilful, and went with them to where he had seen the light - a dis-tance of two miles.
Being near dawn, it grew "mirker" than it had been all night, which allowed him to get close enough to the enemy to understand their manner as well as he could wish. Returning to his company, he put them in order to receive the foe, and by the break of day the English archers were upon them. The skirmishing was so sharp that Wemyss retired with his men within certain trenches, where they kindled a great fire of ferns, straw, and other things, which made "ane marvelous gret reik and fuilbik." There they had three small cannons, and while these were dealing death to the invaders, Wemyss rushed out upon them, "with a gret fureous noyce, dinging thame doune on heapes." Meanwhile, a company, mainly composed of women and children, who had been sent to "fetche a compas behind the back of ane hill, began to shaw thame selffis, making sic ane hidderous noise and cry," as though they would have borne down all before them. At this the English took to their heels, and fled in disorder to their ships, so hard pressed by the natives that several of them were slain in the water, before they could reach their boats. Lesley estimates the num-ber of the invaders at even less than Calderwood, putting them down at a thousand; but, of these, he says, less than 300 returned to their ships, the rest being either slain or drowned. The Admiral, he adds, hardly escaped, and the English did not attempt again to land in Fife. Buchanan speaks of St Monans as a populous village at this time, and gives the credit of the victory to James Stewart, who, he says, attacked the 1200 English with such impetuosity that they were forced to flee. According to this historian, the Lord James deserved the more praise as the rustics had been dispersed by the invaders, but when rallied by him they carried everything before them. With some caution he remarks that six hundred were said to be killed and one hundred taken prisoners. One boat sank in the confusion with all on board.
Harbour and Fishing. - Sibbald does not mention the harbour; but says that "the village hath usually ten fishing boats, with four men in each," and that, during the herring-fishing, "they send out twelve boats and seven men in each, and sometimes more." Gillies, however, refers to the harbour, in 1793, as remarkable for its depth of water, there being from 13 to 15 feet, at the entrance, in ordinary floods, and from 18 to 20 feet in stream tides, although "the building extends, but a very short way out to sea." He complains that the entrance was narrow, and the bottom rough, and, consequently, that it was difficult of access, and also dangerous. About 1788 the fish had so deserted the place that a single haddock had not been caught for a year. One fisherman and his family had gone to Ayr, and others were threatening to follow his example. Yet there were about 14 large boats and 20 small ones belonging to the place. In each of the small boats there were five men, while the crews of the large boats - which were only used for the herring-fishery - varied from six to eight. The present position of this thriving fishing town is shown by the table quoted on page fifty-six of the other section (Part I.) of this Guide. It must be remembered that fewer men, comparatively, are now required for the boats than formerly, owing to the introduction of the "iron-man," or patent net-hauler.
In the Annual Report of the Fishery Board for Scotland, for 1883, it is stated that:- "The fishermen of St Monance, to their great credit, unaided by any public grant, erected a good harbour there, at a cost of about £15,000. The increased size of the boats now engaged in the fisheries rendered it absolutely necessary that some rock should be excavated, and the outer entrance channel to the harbour widened, but the fishermen were quite unable to raise the amount required for these addi-tional works. After having made full enquiry into the whole circumstances of the case, we resolved that, in the event of the fishermen paying us £500, we would expend an amount not exceeding £2000 in all towards carrying out what was required. This £500 was sent to us, and we had the gratification of ordering the works to be proceeded with." A year earlier the Board reported that on the whole east coast of Scotland there were only four really good harbours for fishing boats, namely, those at Aberdeen, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Cluny harbour at Buckie.
Newark Castle stands about a third of a mile to the south-west of St Monans Church. It was long the residence of the Sandilands, a branch of the Torphichen family; but, in 1649, the famous David Leslie bought the lands of Abercrombie and St Monans from James Sandi-lands, who two years before had been raised to the peerage, and who is described by Lamont as "a ryotous youth, wha spent ane olde estate in the space of 4 or 5 yeares." David Leslie, the fifth son of Sir Patrick Leslie of Pitcairly, early entered into the service of Gustavus Adoiphus, and greatly distinguished himself in the German wars. Both the Leslies, Alexander and David, uncle and nephew, returned to Scotland when the civil war broke out. In the second invasion of England, Alexander, the old Earl of Leven, was placed in command of the Scots Army; "but it has to be noted," says Hill Burton, "because it was material to the result, that he was accompanied by his nephew, David Leslie, a greater soldier than himself, who assisted him as major-general." On the 19th of January 1644, they crossed the Tweed with an army of 20,000. The glory of the victory over Prince Rupert, at Marston Moor, has been divided between David Leslie and Cromwell; but there is little doubt that the former is most entitled to it, as Cromwell had only the command of 300 horse, and the halo of his subsequent career has magnified the laurels he won that day.
While besieging Hereford, the Scots cavalry was detached and sent back under Leslie, to oppose Montrose in his brilliant career. The result is well known. The battle of Philiphaugh, on the 13th of September 1645, was decisive. "All that Montrose's generalship could achieve was to retreat with a small portion of his force." When Cromwell invaded Scotland in 1650, the elder Leslie was commander of the army, "but so far as the arm of flesh was entitled to reliance it was on his nephew David." The Scots army, by the long contest, was worn thread-bare, but such as it was Leslie handled it well, keeping his great opponent in check for months. "The end seemed inevitable - Cromwell must either be starved into submission, or must force his way back, with the certainty that he would carry with him but a fragment of his fine army." At length the fatal day came. Cromwell was shut in at Dunbar, with Leslie above him on the Hill of Doon. The Usurper was almost in despair, when, to his amazement, on the evening of the 2nd of September he saw the Scots army beginning to descend the Hill. It is commonly said that the Committees of the Estates and the Church forced Leslie to this against his own better judgment.
Whether that be the case or not, the movement threw them into Cromwell's hands, for, perceiving his opportunity, he struck the blow next morning ere they were well formed in the plain. The battle of Dunbar threw open the south of Scotland to Cromwell; but Leslie, with the wreck of his army, took possession of Torwood, near Stirling. After watching them for months, and trying in vain to draw them out, Cromwell occupied Perth. This gave Leslie the opportunity of carrying the war into England. Lest he should reach London and increase his army there, Cromwell posted after him, overtook him at Worcester, and after a stiff fight annihilated his army on the 3d of September 1651. Leslie was captured in the retreat, and sent to the Tower of London, where he was confined until the Restora-tion of Charles the Second in 1660. By that King he was created Lord Newark in 1661, and a yearly pension of £500 was bestowed on him. Let us hope that the old warrior spent the evening of his days in peace, within the massive walls of Newark Castle. He survived until 1682, leaving six daughters and a son, David, who became second Lord Newark, but he dying, without heirs male, in 1694, and his daughter marrying Sir Alexander Anstruther, the estate passed into that family. Now, it belongs to Mr Baird of Elie.
The castle has been a very large building, the lower apartments being vaulted and having the rock as a floor. The kitchen can be distinguished by its enor-mous fireplace - about 12 feet by 6 - and huge chimney. Sixty years ago, the farm servants of Newark lived in the middle and upper storeys of this goodly old pile. Doubt-less, it was to suit them that a floor was inserted into the kitchen chimney on the level of the room above, and the recess thus formed filled by a box-bed. A small door-way has been cut through the back of the fire-place on the ground floor. The whole castle has been sadly cut up, patched, and altered. It has likewise suffered much from the ravages of time and the restless billows. In the face of the cliff under the west side, there are traces of the lower vaulted chambers, in which smugglers are said to have revelled. The most perfect portion of what was once an imposing edifice is now a roofless ruin, and several of the vaulted apartments are used for storing agricultural imple-ments. While the lordly castle has thus gone to decay the old round "doo-cot" is well preserved. Truly the glory of this world passeth away!
"Here ladies bricht were
Here valiant warriors trod;
But a' are gane! the guid, the great,
And naething noo remains,
But ruin sittin' on thy wa's,
And crumblin' doun the stanes!"
Population, etc. - In 1790, the population of the whole parish was only 832 ; but, in 1851, that of the town was 1241, and in 1881 it had still further risen to 2000. The righteous soul of Mr Gillies was vexed by "the increase of the different sects of Seceders in this part of the county," whose "teachers and managers" artfully drew off "the ignorant and unwary from the Established Church!" It is not likely that he would have regarded the plain Con-gregational Chapel, or the neat Free Church, with much more complacency - yea, he might have also denounced their members as "sectaries," who "are always ready to break the public peace!" In the town there are also a post and telegraph office, and a town-hall. Three bailies, a treasurer, and nine councillors look after the welfare of the old burgh and the interests of the inhabitants. It must be confessed, nevertheless, that many parts of the town are far from cleanly. Perhaps, it is impossible where fishing is the chief industry, and where much of the necessary work is done in the streets, to keep a town as tidy and trim as could be wished.
Formerly, the burgh was greatly ravaged by smallpox, especially in summer, when the air was much tainted by the refuse of fish, 20 or 30 children at a time being periodically swept off. That dreadful scourge, however, has been overcome by vaccination; and the place, which was always healthy otherwise, is now still more so. No doubt this is mainly due to the abundance of fresh air which permeates every house, and also to the excellent supply of water which has lately been introduced. Nowhere, are stronger, healthier-looking people to be met with, than in the confused and dirty streets of St Monans. In September 1885 it was resolved to form the town into a special drainage district under the Public Health Act.
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