First published in two volumes in 1886, Guide to the East Neuk of Fife by David Hay Fleming sets out, as its subtitle suggests, to "embrace all the towns and villages, antiquities and places of interest between Fifeness and Leven". This it does, and the result is a truly fascinating insight into how this part of Fife looked to the visitor a century and a quarter ago: far enough back in time to make it a very different place from the East Neuk you find today, but not so far back that you cannot identify with the language and sentiments of the author, or with the places described.
David Hay Fleming was a native of St Andrews who sold the family china and stoneware business in 1883 in order to focus full time on the study of Scottish history. In the early 1900s he lectured on Church History at the University of Edinburgh, and he also played significant roles in the Scottish History Society and St Andrews Cathedral Museum. His best known book was his Guidebook to St Andrews, published in 1881 but his Guide to the East Neuk of Fife takes a rather broader view. On his death, the 13,000 books he collected were left to St Andrews University.
Like other eBooks whose texts are reproduced on Undiscovered Scotland, Guide to the East Neuk of Fife, by D Hay Fleming is long out of copyright. What sets the Undiscovered Scotland version apart is the cross linking between the text of the book and features elsewhere on the site, allowing the reader to explore beyond the text itself, finding out more about the places and people mentioned.
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