Cupar: Wikis


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Coordinates: 56°19′12″N 3°00′44″W / 56.319922°N 3.012310°W / 56.319922; -3.012310

Scottish Gaelic: Cùbar
Cupar seen from the summit of nearby Tarvit Hill
Cupar is located in Scotland

 Cupar shown within Scotland
Population 8,800 (2006 estimate) [1]
OS grid reference NO374146
Council area Fife
Lieutenancy area Fife
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CUPAR
Postcode district KY14 - 15
Dialling code 01334
Police Fife
Fire Fife
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament North East Fife
Scottish Parliament North East Fife
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Cupar (Scottish Gaelic:Cùbar) is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland. The town is approximately equidistant between the larger city of Dundee and the New Town Glenrothes.

According to the recent population estimate (2006), Cupar has a population around 8,800 making the town the ninth largest settlement in Fife.



The town is believed to have grown around the site of Cupar Castle, which was the seat of the sheriff and was owned by the earls of Fife.[2] The area became a centre for judiciary as the county of Fife and as a market town catering for both cattle and sheep. [3]

Towards the latter stages of the 13th century, the burgh became of great importance staging the site of an assembly of the three estates - clergy, nobility and burgesses - organised by Alexander III in 1276 as a predecessor of the Parliament of Scotland.[3] Although, written information of a charter for the modern town was lost, evidence has suggested that this did exist as one of the many properties owned by the Earls of Fife by 1294.[2]

During the middle of the 14th century, the burgh started to pay customs on taxable incomes, which probably meant that royal burgh status was gifted sometime between 1294 and 1328.[2] The oldest document, referring to the royal burgh, was a grant by Robert II in 1381 to give a port at Guardbridge on the River Eden for the residents of the burgh to help boost trade with Flanders.[4] This grant was officially recognised by James II in 1428.[4]


County Buildings

Cupar is represented by several tiers of elected government. Cupar Community Council form the lowest tier of governance whose statutory role is to communicate local opinion to local and central government. Fife Council, the unitary local authority for Cupar, based in Glenrothes is the executive,deliberative and legislative body responsible for local governance.[5] The Scottish Parliament is responsible for devolved matters such as education, health and justice while reserved matters are dealt with by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[5] The Cupar area supports three multi-member wards with eleven councillors sitting on the committee of Fife Council.[6] The County Buildings on Catherine Street are the main headquarters for the east region of Fife Council, which deals with administrative, planning and agricultural issues.[7]

Cupar forms part of the North East Fife, electing one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom by the first past the post system. The constituency is represented by Sir Menzies Campbell, MP of the Liberal Democrats.[8] For the purposes of the Scottish Parliament, Cupar forms part of the North East Fife constituency. The North East Fife Scottish Parliament (or Holyrood) constituency created in 1999 is one of nine within the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional members to produce a form of proportional representation. The constituency is represented by Iain Smith, MP for the Liberal Democrats.[9] Cupar is also represented by seven regional MSPs from the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region.[10]


Cupar compared according to UK Census 2001[11][12][13][14]
Cupar Fife Scotland
Total population 8,506 349,429 5,062,011
Foreign born 1.60% 1.18% 1.10%
Over 75 years old 10.29% 7.46% 7.09%
Unemployed 3.10% 3.97% 4.0%

According to the 2001 census, Cupar had had a total population of 8,506. [1][11] The population of Cupar has since increased slightly to around 8,800 in 2006. [1] The demographic make-up of the population is much in line with the rest of Scotland. The age group from 30 to 44 forms the largest portion of the population (22%). [11] The median age of males and females living in Cupar was 39 and 43 years respectively, compared to 37 and 39 years for those in the whole of Scotland. [11]

The place of birth of the town's residents was 95.81% United Kingdom (including 81.64% from Scotland), 0.51% Republic of Ireland, 1.60% from other European Union countries, and 2.09% from elsewhere in the world. [11] The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 42.20% in full-time employment, 12.32% in part-time employment, 5.89% self-employed, 3.10% unemployed, 2.96% students with jobs, 3.94% students without jobs, 17.68% retired, 4.83% looking after home or family, 4.35% permanently sick or disabled, and 2.72% economically inactive for other reasons. [13] Compared with the average demography of Scotland, Cupar has low proportions of people born outside the United Kingdom but has higher proportions for people over 75 years old. [13]


Cupar War Memorial

The historic hub of the town centre, is the junction of Bonnygate and the Crossgate. This is where the town's mercat cross which dates from 1683 is located with the original shaft being supported by a unicorn.[4] To the east is St Catherine Street, which is home to the category B listed building burgh chambers and county buildings, both designed by Robert Hutchison.[4] The burgh chambers were built around 1815 and 1818 contain a three storey bow street corner and a robust domic entrance.[4][15] On the other hand, the county buildings built between 1812 and 1817 are unique in Fife for being the only example replicating the style of buildings in the New Town of Edinburgh.[4][16][17] Robert Hutchison also designed other buildings along the street at numbers 10, 12 and 14 around 1816 and 1825.[4] The B-listed tower of the corn exchange can be seen across the skyline of the town.[4]

At the east end of St Catherine Street is the B-listed Cupar War Memorial in a classical Greek style overlooking the Cart Haugh, one of several to be designed by John Kinross with assistance from leading contemporary sculptors, for the exception of the Victory statue which was done by HS Gamby.[4][18] The memorial was first unveiled by Field Marshall Earl Haig in 1922 and then again for the addition of the World War II memorial in 1950 by the Earl of Elgin.[18] Nearby on Coal Road is a former B-listed classical style prison building built between 1813 and 1814. [4][19]

Preston Lodge

On the bonnygate, at number 95, the A-listed Preston Lodge built by the Laird of Airdrie is the second oldest building in the town.[4][20][21] The date of 1623, when the house was first built, is inscribed on a stone on the west wall.[21] The house was extended in 1702 by James Preston and was remodelled by William Preston, a London goldsmith in 1765.[21] Later, the Reverend Sir James Preston occupied the house between 1775 and 1791, when he was the minister of the Cupar Old Parish Church.[21] The original design of the building is believed to have been inspired by Culross Palace in Culross.[4] Situated at the corner of the Crossgate, the C(s) Listed Duncan's institute was built around 1870-71 as a mechanics' institute for the "working classes of Cupar" by Mrs Duncan.[4][22] The building, a mixture of Gothic, Scottish and Flemish styles is recognised in the town for having a twisted spire.[4] On the Kirkgate, is the A-listed Parish Church of Cupar Old and St Michael of Tarvit, designed by the architect, Hay Bell.[23] This consists of a tower dating from 1415 and the main church building dating from 1745.[4] The tower is the only surviving piece of the old Cupar parish church, founded by the priory of St Andrews.[4][24]

Hill of Tarvit

To the south of the town on the A914 and A916 are the A-listed Hill of Tarvit mansion house and nearby Scotstarvit Tower.[25][26] The Hill of Tarvit was formerly known as Wemyss Hall, designed by Sir Walter Bruce around 1692.[27] When the house was sold in 1904, Robert Lorimer was commissioned to design a bigger house in size compared to the existing Wemyss Hall to be able to hold the owner's French architecture.[27] This was completed around 1907 and 1908, granting the present name Hill of Tarvit.[27][28] The interior of the house which showcased the owner's love of antique furniture ranging from Flemish tapestries; Louis V; Louis XI; English and Scottish have been considered by many to be Lormier's best work.[27] The service accommodation is the most fascinating aspects of the house which shows the range of rooms and equipment used by a family, prior to the First World War.[27] Situated between the Tarvit and Walton Hills, is the A-listed Scotstarvit Tower which is a well-preserved simple L-plan early 17th century tower house of five stories and an attic.[26][29]


Many people in the town are employed in food and drink, with the largest employers being Kettle Produce (fruit and vegetable producer) and Fisher Services Ltd. Other employers include: Elmwood College (Fife education); Scotsfruit Ltd (food and drink); Quaker Oats Ltd (food and drink) and Fisher and Donaldson (food and drink). There are 72% people employed in the town with unemployment below the national average at 2.1%.[30] The main shopping facilities are also located mainly here with a majority of family-owned businesses and some chain stores. Under the Cupar and Howe of Fife local plan, there is a proposal to upgrade shopping facilities in the town for the aim to become a secondary retail area in Fife.[30]

Sport and recreation

Cupar has an unusual golf course on the side of a hill to the South of the town. Stratheden, a large psychiatric hospital is located nearby.

Cupar Sports Centre has a 25 metre Swimming pool, badminton courts, squash courts and a fitness suite.[31] Cupar is also home to Cupar Cricket Club, founded in 1884 the club is celebrating its 125th anniversary in the 2009 season.


Today, Cupar is home to one secondary school and two primary schools.[32][33] Castlehill Primary School which opened to pupils in 1975 is located on the outskirks of the town and has a school role of 420.[34] Bell Baxter High School located on Carlougsie Road, serves both the town and surrounding villages. The School role recorded in February 2009, was estimated at 1620 pupils.[35]

Elmwood College has three main campuses situated in the town and surrounding area. The college has been praised as a centre for excellence in golf-related studies and being a specialist in land-based education. Local businesses also benefit from the work of the Elmwood Rural Business Centre.[30]


Cupar Railway Station

A bus service connects the town every hour between Edinburgh and Dundee. An additional express service also runs via the town. A railway station can be found to the south-east of the town centre. The station is situated on the National Express East Coast with regular services running between Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen. Nearby stations are located to the south of the town in neighbouring Springfield, Fife and Ladybank. The nearest major international airport is in Edinburgh airport with the nearest ferry sea port at Rosyth being 42 miles and 35 miles, respectively.[30]




  1. ^ a b c "Population Estimates for Towns and Villages in Fife" (PDF). Fife Council. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b c Martin, Paula Cupar: The history of a small Scottish town pp9–10
  3. ^ a b Lamont-Brown, Raymond Fife in History and Legend p49
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Pride Kingdom of Fife pp106–111
  5. ^ a b "Reserved and devolved matters". Scotland Office. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  6. ^ "Cupar's councillors". Fife Council. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  7. ^ "County Buildings, headquarters of the East Region". Fife Council. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  8. ^ "MP for North East Fife". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  9. ^ "MSP for North East Fife". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  10. ^ "Regional MSPs for Mid Scotland and Fife". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Comparative Populartion: Cupar Locality Scotland". 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Fife Council Area Scotland". 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  13. ^ a b c "Comparative Employment Profile: Cupar Locality Scotland". 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  14. ^ "Comparative Employment Profile: Fife Locality Scotland". 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  15. ^ "Historic Scotland: County Buildings listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  16. ^ "Historic Scotland: County Buildings listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  17. ^ Omand, Donald The Fife Book p200
  18. ^ a b "Cupar War Memorial". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  19. ^ "Historic Scotland: Watts listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  20. ^ "Historic Scotland: Preston Lodge listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  21. ^ a b c d Boyd Cupar: In Old Picture Postcards Volume 2 p.32.
  22. ^ "Historic Scotland: Duncan Institute listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  23. ^ "Historic Scotland: Parish Church of Cupar Old and St Michael of Tarvit listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  24. ^ Omand The Fife Book p.134.
  25. ^ "Historic Scotland: Hill of Tarvit listed report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  26. ^ a b Walker and Ritchie Fife, Perthshire and Angus p.106.
  27. ^ a b c d e Walker and Ritchie Fife, Perthshire and Angus p.89.
  28. ^ Pride Kingdom of Fife p.92.
  29. ^ "Scotstarvit tower". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  30. ^ a b c d "Cupar and Howe of Fife Economic Profile" (PDF). Fife Council. Spring 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  31. ^ "Cupar Sports Centre". Fife Council Community Services. 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  32. ^ "A list of all primary schools in Fife". Fife Council. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  33. ^ "A list of all secondary schools in Fife". Fife Council. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  34. ^ "Castlehill Primary School". Fife Council. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  35. ^ "Bell Baxter High School 2009 Inspection". HMIE. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 


  • Omand, Donald (2000). The Fife Book. Birlinn Publishing. 
  • Pride, Glen L. (1999). Kingdom of Fife (2nd edition ed.). The Rutland Press. 
  • Lamont-Brown, Raymond (2002). Fife in History and Legend. Edinburgh: John Donald. ISBN 0859765679. 
  • Martin, Paula (2006). Cupar: The History of a small Scottish town. Edinburgh: Birlinn Publishing. 

External links

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