Collessie in Fife – again

The photo below is of a very unusual architectural detail at Collessie Church. I don’t think the church is open but I must admit I didn’t try the door handle. It would be good to be able to see it internally some day.
Collessie Church
But the photo below shows a very unusually angled thatched roof, some extending must have gone over the years I think, but it looks like it has been renewed fairly recently. I know that in England you have to put your name down on a thatcher’s waiting list long before your roof needs to be re-thatched. I’m wondering if they have to come up especially from England as there’s no way that anyone could make a living from thatching in Scotland, there are just too few such roofs.
Thatched Cottage

The pan tiled roof of the cottage in the photo below is the more usual material for cottage roofs in Fife, the tiles were brought over from Holland as ballast in ships.
pan tiled cottage

Below is a close up of some thatch and a wee keek at a back garden.
Thatched Cottage
The cottage below is actually up for sale, I think it has seen better days though. It’ll need a lot of work done on it. The windows of most of these houses are very small. Builders are going back to that way of designing now as they try to make new houses more economical where heating is concerned.
Thatched Cottage

Below is thatch and the more traditional slate roof which must be a Victorian addition I think.
Thatched Cottage

The structure below is partially built into the churchyard wall. It has words carved into it but it’s very difficult to make out. It’s a family tomb for the local high heid yins – the Melville family.
Crypt at Collessie, Fife
Luckily there’s an information board on the stone wall.
Melville Tomb information
And below is the tomb from the other side – within the churchyard.
tomb of Melvilles, Collessie

The surrounding countryside is lovely, the crops are all just about ready for harvesting. Collessie is a lovely village but I imagine it’s a bit of a nightmare living there in the winter – unless you can hibernate!

countryside at Collessie, Fife

4 thoughts on “Collessie in Fife – again

  1. I suppose barley or oat straw is used in the thatching, rather than the more durable reed commonly used in England.

    The warm dry weather should be helpful for a good harvest.

    • Valerie,

      Interestingly the Tay reed beds which are only a few miles from these cottages were the largest beds in western Europe apparently, but the business ended in 2005, you can read about it here. There was a thriving business in reed harvesting until 2005 when the import of cheaper eastern European reeds caused the business to fail. There are hardly any thatched houses in Scotland so most of the Tay reeds must have gone down to England in the past. Heather was also used to roof Highland cottages centuries ago.

      No the farmers seem never to be happy because now they are saying that the quality of their crops is not good due to a lack of rain and of course farmers with cattle are having to buy in feed for them as the grass hasn’t been growing at all.

  2. So interesting about the reeds; a shame that imported reeds put paid to a local industry.

    Mixed farming has its benefits: there’s usually a good season for *something*, whether crops, haymaking or livestock, but perhaps it’s been too dry for the grain to fill out, or too cold or wet early in the season.

    • Valerie,
      Looking on the bright side the reed beds are now home to lots of birds and wildlife. I think the farmers in Scotland are probably quite happy with the weather as we have had rain off and on although not prolonged bouts of it, but definitely in England the weather has caused a lot of problems. I think it takes a lot of nerve to go into farming now, there are so many problems to dodge apart from the weather, and now they are targeted by thieves stealing livestock and machinery, it’s a hard life.

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