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Scottish Gaelic: Cuileann Ros
Scots: Culross

Culross and the Firth of Forth
Culross is located in Fife
 Culross shown within Fife
Population 395 [1]
Council area Fife
Lieutenancy area Fife
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Dunfermline and West Fife
Scottish Parliament Dunfermline
List of places

Culross (/ˈkurəs/) (Gaelic: Cuileann Ros) is a village and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland.

According to the 2006 estimate, the village has a population of 395.[1] Originally Culross served as a port city on the Firth of Forth and is believed to have been founded by Saint Serf during the 6th century.


  • Founding legend 1
  • Industry 2
  • Heritage 3
  • Notable people 4
  • Administrative history 5
  • Civic links 6
  • Culross as a location for filming 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Founding legend

A legend states that when the British princess (and future saint) Teneu, daughter of the king of Lothian, became pregnant before marriage, her family threw her from a cliff. She survived the fall unharmed, and was soon met by an unmanned boat. She knew she had no home to go to, so she got into the boat; it sailed her across the Firth of Forth to land at Culross where she was cared for by Saint Serf; he became foster-father of her son, Saint Kentigern or Mungo (d. 612).


During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town was a centre of the Upper Hirst coal seam, with ingenious contrivances to drain the constant leakage from above. This mine was considered one of the marvels of the British Isles in the early 17th century, until it was destroyed in a storm, in 1625.[2]

Culross' secondary industry was salt panning. There was a considerable export trade by sea in the produce of these industries and the prevalence of red roof tiles in Culross and other villages in Fife is thought to be a direct result of collier ships returning to Culross with Dutch roof tiles as ballast. The town was also known for its monopoly on the manufacture of 'girdles', i.e. flat iron plates for baking over an open fire.[3] The town's role as a port declined from the 18th century, and by Victorian times it had become something of a 'ghost town'. The harbour was filled in and the sea cut off by the coastal railway line in the second half of the 19th century (though the site of the harbour walls can to a large extent still be traced).


Culross Town House.
Culross Palace with its crow-step gable design.
Street in Culross

During the 20th century, it became recognised that Culross contained many unique historical buildings and the National Trust for Scotland has been working on their preservation and restoration since the 1930s.

Notable buildings in the burgh include Culross Town House, formerly used as a courthouse and prison, the 16th century Culross Palace, 17th century Study, and the remains of the Cistercian house of Culross Abbey, founded 1217. The tower, transepts and choir of the Abbey Church remain in use as the parish church, while the ruined claustral buildings are cared for by Historic Scotland. Just outside the town is the 18th-century Dunimarle Castle, built by the Erskine family to supersede a medieval castle.

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald spent much of his early life in Culross, where his family had an estate. There is now a bust in his honour outside the Culross Town House. He was the first Vice Admiral of Chile.

Notable people

Administrative history

Prior to the 1890s the parish of Culross formed an exclave of Perthshire.

Civic links

Culross is twinned with Veere in the Netherlands, which was formerly the port through which its export goods entered the Low Countries.[4]

It is within the Dunfermline and West Fife Westminster Parliamentary constituency.

Culross as a location for filming

Several motion pictures have used Culross as a location, including The Little Vampire (2000 feature film),[5] The 39 Steps,[6] Kidnapped A dying Breed,[7] and Captain America: The First Avenger} and the Starz television series Outlander.


  1. ^ a b "Population Estimates for Towns and Villages in Fife" (PDF). Fife Council. March 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Culross". Undiscovered Scotland. 2002–2009. Retrieved 8 Sep 2009. 
  3. ^ "Hearth and Home". Fife Folk Museum. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  4. ^ "The Scottish Staple at Veere". Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Scotland the Movie - The Litle Vampire, Culross". 
  6. ^ "The 39 Steps (TV Movie 2008)". IMDb. 
  7. ^ "A Dying Breed (2007)". IMDb. 18 May 2007. 

External links

  • Culross community site
  • Culross on FifeDirect
  • (1846)A Topographical Dictionary of ScotlandEntry in
  • Culross Arts and Music Festival
  • Engraving of Culross in 1693 by John Slezer at National Library of Scotland
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