Scotland 24/7 - The definitive guide to travel and tourism in Scotland



Collessie is a rural hamlet in North Fife clustered around a knoll dominated by the church. The Parish Church, 1838-39, though too large for the hamlet, is appropriate for the whole parish. The prominently pinnacled tower commands wide views across the Howe of Fife. There are still a few relics of its weaving past, and on the grounds, just west of the church, are two late 18th century detached weaving sheds, one dated 1662. Under a weeping willow the Kirkyard Dyke, 1609, contains a Late Gothic gateway. Strad Cottage, 1839, has stone canopies over the windows. Rose Cottage is a splendid thatched house formed out of three late 18th century weaver's cottages. The Primary School, 1846, integrating both school and house features a belfry.

Collessie Man

A Bronze Age standing-stone in a field near Collessie in Fife has the earliest depiction of a Fifer ( person from Fife ) carved on it. The carvings date from Pictish times (6th­7th century) and the figure is a naked warrior. He carries a rectangular shield and a spear which has a round object or weight on its lower end.

The Romans, who fought only summer campaigns in Scotland, portrayed their Pictish enemies as naked barbarians. Both rectangular and circular shields are seen in Pictish sculpture and there are also carvings on cave walls at East Wemyss, Fife which show similar shields to that carried by 'Collessie Man'. His spear is of a special type of its time, peculiar to Scotland. The Roman historian, Dio Cassius writing about.AD 200 described it as 'a sort of short spear with a bronze apple on the end of the shaft, so that when it is shaken it clashes'.

The stone stood erect in the field for centuries until the autumn of 1994, when argricultural operations caused it to fall. The stone was re-erected in a concrete 'doughnut' base and cleaned by Historic Scotland in August 1995. A small scale excavation suggested that the stone had been levered into a pre-prepared pit and then soil and small pebbles chocked around the base as consolidation with larger cobbles inserted as packing.

Birnie Loch Nature Reserve

A local nature reserve in the Howe of Fife to the south of the A91 and the village of Collessie. It was created in 1991 from the restored workings of Kinloch Quarry and donated to the people of North-East Fife by the family of J.S. Baird & Sons, in association with Pioneer Aggregates (UK) Ltd.

Extract from Slater's Directory published 1852.

"Collessie is a parish lying to the north of Kettle. It is 8 miles in length by 5 in breadth. It consists chiefly of fine enclosed lands, and some fine plantations rising from the Eden to the hills on the north. The village, of no importance in the way of business, is situated 3 miles from Auchtermuchty and 6 from Cupar. The railway passes through the parish. The parish church is a neat building surmounted by a spire."