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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 56°03′36″N 3°13′50″W / 56.0600°N 3.2305°W / 56.0600; -3.2305

Burntisland 1.jpg
A View across Burntisland
Burntisland is located in Scotland

 Burntisland shown within Scotland
Population 5,667 [1] (2001 census)
est. 5,700[2] (2006)
OS grid reference NT233859
Council area Fife
Lieutenancy area Fife
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district KY3
Dialling code 01592 87
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
Scottish Parliament Kirkcaldy
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Burntisland is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland on the Firth of Forth. It is known locally for its sandy blue flag beach, the 15th century Rossend Castle, and its traditional summer fair and Highland games day. To the north of the town a hill called The Binn is a landmark of the Fife coastline; a volcanic plug from the same volcano as the Edinburgh Castle Rock, it rises 193m (632ft) above sea level. Burntisland is Fife's first Fairtrade Town.

The town is served by Burntisland railway station.



Early evidence of human activity in this area has been found in rock carvings on The Binn, thought to be about 4000 years old. The Roman commander Agricola used the natural harbour and set up camp at the nearby Dunearn Hill in 83 AD.

The earliest historical record of the town was in the 12th century, when the monks of Dunfermline Abbey owned the harbour and neighbouring lands.[3] The settlement was known as Wester Kinghorn and developed as a fishing hamlet to provide food for the inhabinants of Rossend Castle.[4] Ownership of the harbour was then sold to James V by the abbots of Dunfermline Abbey in exchange for a parcel of land.[4] The land was granted royal burgh status by James V in 1541.[3] When the status was confirmed in 1586, the settlement gained independence from the barony of Kinghorn and was renamed "Burntisland".[4] The town became so well established, that a new church known as St Columba's was built in 1592.[5]

Burntisland developed as a seaport, being second only to Leith in the Firth of Forth, and shipbuilding became an important industry in the town. In 1633 one of the barges, the 'Blessing of Burntisland', carrying Charles I and his entourage from Burntisland to Leith sank with the loss of Charles' treasure. In 1601, the King James VI chose the town as an alternative site for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. This was where the first translation of the Bible was discussed.[5]

Burntisland became an important port for the local herring and coal industries, and in 1847 the Edinburgh and Northern Railway opened from Burntisland north to Lindores and Cupar. By 1850 the world's first roll-on/roll-off rail ferry service was crossing the Firth of Forth between Burntisland and Granton, enabling goods wagons to travel between Edinburgh and Dundee without the need for unloading and re-loading at the ferries. (Passengers had to get off the train and use separate passenger ferries). This operated until 1890 when the Forth Bridge opened. In the late 19th century, the area experienced a short-lived boom in oil shale mining and processing at the Binnend Works.

Shipbuilding was a major 20th century industry until the shipyard closed in 1969. A plant for the refining of alumina was also opened in the early 20th century, closing in 2002. Industries related to the North Sea oil industry remain important for the town. A vessel called ALVA was built at Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Owner Glen & Co. Ltd Glasgow. ALVA was a steam merchantship of 1584 tons. The vessel was attacked on 19 August 1941 and sunk by U-boat U-559 Cpt.Hans Heidtmann, 48.48N 17.46W, complement 25 (1 dead, Cpt. Cyril Spencer Palmer, and 24 survivors.).

The town is also home to the eleventh oldest golf club in the world, Burntisland Golf Club (The 'Old Club', as it is known among its members). Although it is not a course owning club, its competitions are held over the local course now run by Burntisland Golf House Club.

Town twinning

Burntisland is twinned with the Norwegian town Flekkefjord.


The town currently has only one school, Burntisland Primary School. The school first opened in 1876 and is spread across five separate buildings on Ferguson Place. The school role is around 570 pupils with 20 pupils in the adjacent nursery.[6] A plan for a new Burntisland Primary School to be built on an alternative site within the town is being considered by Fife Council instead of £3 million to improve the facilities of the existing properties.[7] The majority of Secondary school pupils attend Balwearie High School in nearby Kirkcaldy.


In the summer months the annual fair comes to town.

There is a leisure centre called The Beacon. Facilities include a 25m swimming pool with a wave machine and flumes.

There is also the Burntisland & District Pipe band. They have achieved well in the 2007 Competition Season, and the drummers of the band have achieved the status of British Drumming Champions 2007, European Drumming Champions 2007 and the Drummers Champions of Drummers 2007.


A major part of Burntisland's economy is retailing. There are a number of stores and supermarkets in the town with many being privately operated businesses owned by residents. In recent years the town's High Street has seen significant redevelopment to attract retailers to properties and encourage visitors through convenient car parking. Burntisland also benefits from having a lower than average crime rate.

A regular bus service is operated by Stagecoach in Fife which covers most areas of the town. The small bus offered by the company serves as a meeting point for many residents as they make their way from residential areas to the town centre.


External links

See also


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Burntisland [1] is a coastal town with a population of 6000 in the kingdom of Fife, Scotland.

Get in


Burntisland is on the "Fife Circle" train line from Edinburgh. Trains from Edinburgh take 35 minutes, and there are often 2 per hour.

Get around

The main sites can be explored on foot.

  • Museum of Communication[2] 131 High Street KY3 9AA Saturday and Wednesday May - Sept. Exhibition changes every year - Great Scots who changed the World for 2009.
  • Burntisland Heritage Trust. An exhibition of town history is held in the Burgh Chambers on the High Street on Wed-Sun in summer. Also a good place to ask for general tourist information.
  • St Columba's Church opened in 1594 and has an interesting painted interior (open summer Saturdays). It was the first church to be built in Scotland after the Reformation.
  • Beach with Promenade next to The Links.
  • Rossend Castle. See this from the outside only as it is now occupied by a firm of architects.
  • Go to the Fair in Summer on The Links.
  • Walk the Fife Coastal Path[3].
  • Go for a swim at the Beacon Leisure Centre[4].
  • Excellent fish and chips are to be had at Romanos on the High Street.
  • There's decent basic food at the Ramblers Rest deli.


The town is well serviced by hotels and bars catering to all tastes commensurate with the standing of a Fife coastal town.

  • Burntisland Sands Hotel [5] Lochies Road 01592 872230
  • Kingswood Hotel [6] Kinghorn Road, near Burntisland, Fife KY3 9LL 01592 872329.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BURNTISLAND, a royal, municipal and police burgh of Fife, Scotland, on the shore of the Firth of Forth, 54 m. S.W. of Kirkcaldy by the North British railway. Pop. (1891) 4993; (1901) 4846. It is protected from the north wind by the Binn (632 ft.), and in consequence of its excellent situation, its links and sandy beach, it enjoys considerable repute as a summer resort. The chief industries are distilling, fisheries, shipbuilding and shipping, especially the export of coal and iron. Until the opening of the Forth bridge, its commodious harbour was the northern station of the ferry across the firth from Granton, 5 m. south. The parish church, dating from 1594, is a plain structure, with a squat tower rising in two tiers from the centre of the roof. The public buildings include two hospitals, a townhall, music hall, library and reading room and science institute. On the rocks forming the western end of the harbour stands Rossend Castle, where the amorous French poet Chastelard repeated the insult to Queen Mary which led to his execution. In 1667 it was ineffectually bombarded by the Dutch. The burgh was originally called Parva Kinghorn and later Wester Kinghorn. The origin and meaning of the present name of the town have always been a matter of conjecture. There seems reason to believe that it refers to the time when the site, or a portion of it, formed an island, as sea-sand is the subsoil even of the oldest quarters. Another derivation is from Gaelic words meaning "the island beyond the bend." With Dysart, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy, it unites in returning one member to parliament.

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