Although I write about my walking experiences in Edinburgh & Leith (see www.edinburghwalks.com) I do stretch my legs a bit further at times and go elsewhere. Very recently I took the short train journey to Fife, land just to the north of Edinburgh across the estuary of the River Forth know as the Firth of Forth. The train crosses the estuary on the world famous Forth Bridge and I decided to get off in Dalgety Bay and walk part of the Fife Costal Path (www.fifecostalpath.co.uk) which stretches the 117 miles from Kincardine to Wormit all along this famous and beautiful Kingdom.
A few miles east out of Dalgety Bay, I came across the stunning and very well maintained St.Bridget’s Kirk on the coastline.
Built around 1170 and for 500 years the ancient church of the Canons of Inchcolm, this building with its open graveyard sit right on the shoreline.
After the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, the building was redeveloped to provide a central pulpit with aisles added along the sides. The former Chancellor to Scotland and 1st Earl of Dunfermline Alexander Seton was buried here in 1622. The Kirk fell into ruin after 1830.
But what is also of interest in this graveyard is the stone hut which sits along the West wall on the outside of the premises.
This was built to accommodate the families of the deceased who were interred here in the late 18th and early 19th Century. Due to the danger of the body of their loved one being dug up by the resurrection men – or body snatchers – who would dig up fresh cadavers for the dissection table of the medical school in Edinburgh or elsewhere, the family were encouraged to stay and guard the grave until the body had likely decomposed enough that it was worthless to sell. Being on the shore, the grave robbers could easily have come in by boat.
It really is worthwhile taking time to visit Fife and even to try a section or two of the Fife Coastal Path.
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