Inverkeithing - a fascinating and ancient Royal Burgh in the magnificent Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, has maritime heritage; witnessed a pivotal Civil War battle, was a major pilgrimage route, and critical trading centre. This podcast series parallels a heritage-led regeneration scheme, running 2019 - 2024. It includes discussions with archaeologists, historians, heritage professionals and others. The Heritage Regeneration project is delivered by Fife Historic Buildings Trust, making heritage live in Fife. The Training and Development Officer for the project, Emma Griffiths, is the series host.
This episode's guests are both closely connected with Fife Historic Buildings Trust: Robert Gibson makes sure everything financial is under close, careful and cheerful control, while volunteer Jim McLeish matches that goodwill and get-on-with-it spirit, in a variety of office tasks. Listen to hear what Jim's interest in maps, and honed research skills has revealed about industries and occupations in Inverkeithing in the nineteenth century. Robert picks up the thread, and gives wonderful first hand accounts of a childhood in Inverkeithing, his parent's work for two of the major local employers, and some colourful local and family details.
Jim recommends (and we share his enthusiasm for) the amazing resources at the National Library of Scotland's specialist Map Library, where there are over 200,000 digitised maps available online, free to anyone. National Library of Scotland - Map Images (nls.uk).
This is the last episode in series one, we hope you've enjoyed the podcasts so far. We will be making a series two, beginning in 2021, so if you have suggestions for themes or topics, requests or queries, please get in touch. Thanks for listening.
A bonus length episode, at almost 27 minutes, this is a true story from Inverkeithing's past: of dark deeds, and surprising twists.
A murder by a member of the gentry of Inverkeithing's apparently honest, respectable and harmless school master. The accused took flight, was however brought to trial in Edinburgh, found guilty and sentenced to death. The events that follow are no less extraordinary.
The lives of the ordinary people involved in the matter are also intriguing, and humbling too: of debts repaid, adversity overcome, and a Burgh Council that acted honourably to support the murder victim's widow.
The guest contributors are Claire Webb and Marion Watt, who have been doing extraordinary and valuable work as two of the volunteers on the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project.
The resource Claire recommends for research is www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.
This fascinating episode takes the listener on a journey - beginning with a departure from Edinburgh Castle, a Forth crossing on a dark and stormy night, to Inverkeithing's safe harbour - where, had Alexander III taken the sage advice of his advisor, another Alexander - perhaps the whole sequence of events in the first and second phases of the Scottish Wars of Independence might have played out completely differently.
Dr Tom Turpie explains brilliantly how Medieval Inverkeithing's strategic position, status and relationship with Royalty, meant that it was an important staging post, and what the turbulent period's events and charged political context meant for the town, for the Baron of Inverkeithing, and a particularly dark legal case.
In 2020, the year of its 700th anniversary, Tom also reveals Inverkeithing's important connection with the Declaration of Arbroath.
Listeners interested in following up their keenly whetted intellectual appetites, will find the online exhibition of the Declaration of Arbroath here: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/Declaration,
Very reliable and cleanly presented information from the Scottish History Society on the first and second Scottish Wars of Independence here
Tom also recommends the Scottish medieval historian authors Geoffrey W S Barrow, Michael Penman, and Michael Brown.
In this archaeology-focussed episode, Dr Gavin MacGregor discusses material culture. What we mean by material culture, where we find material culture, and how that can be, and is, interpreted. Examples from Inverkeithing include the Town's 17th century bell, displaying the name of it's Dutch maker, and affluent, we assume, original local donors. The bell is currently displayed in the Civic Centre.
The wide ranging discussion covers definitions, the ways that significance is ascribed to objects, and what we can learn from them, about the times they were made, how they were made, and who used them. This in turn leads to cultural objects telling us stories of the past: the makers, the users, the finders, the keepers! Gavin discusses evolving and digital technologies, and how these techniques further our understanding of material cultural objects, from the micro to the macro scale.
Two excavations are planned for the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project - in this episode, Gavin explains the thinking that take place before there's trowel, a flask or a waterproof in sight. Exciting times ahead for Inverkeithing.
For listeners interested in seeing some of the digital technologies referred to, helping interpret and widen understanding of significance, Gavin recommends visiting the website of the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, https://wemysscaves.org/shop/books/west-wemyss-village-and-walkabout/
and within that website, visiting the 4D website http://4dwemysscaves.org/cave/index.php?ccode=jc
Enjoy using all the techniques there to explore virtually, there's even a virtual torch which can be used to create shadow, to help "read" the carved surfaces. Enjoy travelling through time, and getting up close to Pictish carvings, in a beautiful coastal setting in Fife.
This episode shines, as ever, a fascinating light on the connections between early religious life in Scotland, early Christian sites, and places of interest near to and in Inverkeithing. Listen to find out from Dr Gavin MacGregor about a possible Roman harbour near Inverkeithing, about some of the earliest evidence of Christianity on the nearby island of Inch Colm, and about other early Christian artefacts found in Fife itself. Dr Tom Turpie explains just how significant a role the church played in daily life, for everyone in Medieval Scotland, and how the cult of Saints played out in everyday life. Tom explains about local Saints in Scotland, who often had shrines and chapels, and Inverkeithing's very own, somewhat mysterious Saint, Erat, possibly also known as Heroth, and evolved to Heriot.
Medieval people hoped Saints could cast some of their particular magic on those who followed them with devotion, and expressed their devotion in various ways, including by making pilgrimages. Inverkeithing is still fantastically well located for transport in the East of Scotland, near to the capital the shortest crossing of the Forth, on rail lines and with a good road network. Its heritage was much the same: it would have been a well-known place for pilgrims, and in this episode, you'll find out what remains, and where, from those times.
Tom recommends for further study, resources on the Fife Pilgrim Way website: https://fifecoastandcountrysidetrust.co.uk/plan-your-trip/resources/fife-pilgrim-way/
The Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, available online at ScotlandsPlaces.gov.uk, recommended for maps, locations, references.
In this episode, Roz Artis, Director of the Scottish Lime Centre Trust explains just what is involved in surveying the literal building blocks of a historic town centre. The Scottish Lime Centre Trust (SLCT) won a commission to carry out the survey on behalf of the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project - listen to find out the why, and the how!
Roz also explains jut how remarkable the Lime Centre's Charlestown location is, a remarkable heritage site near Inverkeithing, easily accessed along the Fife coastal path, from the equally fascinating Inverkeithing.
Roz has led the Scottish Lime Centre Trust, a pioneering training and advocacy organisation, promoting and teaching the use of traditional building methods and techniques, for over 25 years.
For listeners inspired by the episode, and wishing to find out more about SLCT's work, which has included Stirling Castle, Glasgow School of Art, and Pittencrief House Museum in Dunfermline, their website, https://www.scotlime.org/en/case-studies/, has lots of pictures, case studies, resources and pointers to further information. A wide range of training courses are also advertised on the website: for educational groups, householders, contractors and sector professionals.
While Inverkeithing's historical connection with witches is known to some, this podcast episode helpfully sets context, explores the background to the practice of witch trials, and explores some common questions. Were witches always female? If there historical precedent for any of the traditional witch trappings, of cats, pointy hats and broomsticks? Dr Gavin MacGregor helpfully sets the context from the archaeologist's perspective, while Dr Tom Turpie encourages critical examination of historical evidence, and provides fascinating answers. Do we hear from the victims at witch trials? What sort of factors led to witch trials?
Keen listeners can find out more, by reading Stuart MacDonald's book on The Witches of Fife, and Tom also refers to the University of Edinburgh resource, The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, with a database, and links to reliable further sources -http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/
The range of sources on the internet on this subject is unsurprising, extremely varied.
Inverkeithing's charter to become a royal burgh was granted in the late 12th century, and it is likely that the present Town House contains some remaining fragments which date from that time - some of the walls could be an astonishing 800 years old. As the centre and showpiece of the town's civic, financial and legal life, it was adapted through the centuries, to reflect Inverkeithing's increasing prosperity, growth and architectural fashions.
In this episode, archaeologist David Sneddon describes the recent community standing building survey, and Lorraine Bell, Manager of Fife Historic Buildings Trust explains how the Town House fits into the regeneration project overall, how local people have been using the building, and what the bright future looks like, for this important historic building.
If listeners would like to read the report of the Standing Building Survey on Inverkeithing Town House, it is available on Fife Historic Building Trust's website, here https://fifehistoricbuildings.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/People-Making-History-Inverkeithing-Town-House-Level-1-SBS.pdf
For people interested in the subject, David Sneddon also highlights a great book for people who'd like to know more about the architectural history of this type of building:
Tolbooths and Townhouses: Civic Architecture In Scotland To 1833, produced by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, RCAHMS, now part of Historic Environment Scotland. While not easily found to purchase new, many libraries will have it in reference sections, and second hand copies are available.
In this episode, archaeologist Dr Gavin MacGregor introduces the impacts of disease on humans from the earliest times - with fascinating local examples discovered in excavations in Fife. Gavin explains the types of plague that have ravaged populations over millennia, and gives details of some of the earliest evidence of the disease, from around 5000 BC. Dr Tom Turpie explains the devastating impacts of plague on populations in Britain, and Scotland, through successive outbreaks across the centuries.
Tune in to find out how closely the plague outbreaks in the past mirror the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, measures that were historically used to identify the disease, and to deal with it, once it was known to be threat. Learn about Inverkeithing's heritage in the context of this disease, and the way it's situation influenced the way the disease impacted upon the town.
If you'd like to find out more, there's great information from an exhibition at the National Library of Scotland, and a wealth of digital learning resources at https://digital.nls.uk/learning/scots-plague-buik/.
Archaeologist Dr Gavin MacGregor places Inverkeithing in it's ancient geological and geographical context, which contributed to it's extraordinary success through history as a Royal Burgh in the Kingdom of Fife. Medieval historian Dr Tom Turpie has extensive knowledge of early historical records, and shares his fascinating knowledge about the goods and ships trading in Inverkeithing. He elaborates on the perils of the high seas, explains the differences between pirates and privateers, and offers listeners pointers for further reading.
Recorded in Scotland during the early months of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Gavin and Tom have sourced and identified resources for listeners, that are accessible freely, and digitally, anywhere.
Inspired to find out more? Tom recommends the phenomenal resource, An Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, available online at Scotland's Places, https://scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/digital-volumes/published-gazetteers-and-atlases/atlas-scottish-history-1707#:~:text=An%20Atlas%20of%20Scottish%20History%20to%201707.%20An,resources%20to%20paint%20a%20picture%20of%20early%20Scotland. Full of maps, charts, and a wealth of reliable, intriguing information.
Listen to this introductory episode, meet Fife Historic Building Trust manager Lorraine Bell, and find out more about the work of this quietly impressive heritage charity and it's transformational work in Fife. Lorraine explains what the excellent and diverse team they've assembled for the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project hope to achieve in this historic Royal Burgh.
Dr Gavin MacGregor of Northlight Heritage explains his role in the project, and the particular focus his expertise brings to the archaeological ambitions and targets, but reveals a personal connection as well. These two team members hint at subjects to be covered in this first series of Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration podcasts - subscribe now to make sure you don't miss out.
For listeners interested in learning more about Fife Historic Buildings Trust, this link https://fifehistoricbuildings.org.uk/project/inverkeithing/ goes straight to the Trust's Inverkeithing page. Please explore the site, and consider signing up to receive the project newsletter.
The impressive range of projects that Northlight have facilitated can be explored on their website here: http://northlight-heritage.co.uk/conc5/