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Kingsbarns Community Council - General Information
Report from 'Future of Kingsbarns' sub-committee, on the future of the village
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Notes to support our response to the Fife Local Plan 2005

Historical Background of the Village.

The name ‘Kingsbarns’ derives from the hamlet that grew up around the grain stores of King John Baliol (c.1292/6). At this time there was a castle situated between the east side of the village and the sea. The castle has long gone but local tradition has it that the stones from it were used to build the small harbour, the remains of which can still be seen. The grain collected from the Crown lands was stored here and then transported to Falkland.

Kingsbarns became a parish in its own right in 1631 and a church was built at that time later to be enlarged in 1810-11. The church is a T-shape. This was a post Reformation design, ‘a device which considerably augmented auditory space, accommodating not only the laird and his family but also his tenants’. Anstruther Easter and Elie built in the late 17th century follow this design.

Parish records are extensive. Kingsbarns was a reforming parish in the 1640s. Parliament in 1592 had moved markets that ‘of before were kept on the sabbath’ to weekdays, though they left enforcement up to sessions; in the heady atmosphere of reform in 1639, they considered abolishing markets on Saturday and Monday also, lest they undermine sabbath preparation and attendance…..Kingsbarns in Fife was among the parishes that followed through on this initiative in the 1640s.’

The Manse was built in 1834-5. The parish is now joined with that of Crail

The village developed as a weaving and agricultural community and a primary school was built in 1822. The pump in the village Square was erected in 1831.

To the south of the village is the Cambo Estate. This was originally given by William de Lion to Robert de Newenham in 1250. It was sold in 1688 to Sir Charles Erskine, brother of the Earl of Kellie. In 1878 the old mansion house burnt down and was replaced by the current mansion in 1879-81. The Erskine family still live on and run the estate.

The Kingsbarns Golf Course is a links course and runs along the coast at the eastern border of the village. The coastal footpath has been preserved and upgraded and runs to St Andrews to the north and to the rest of the Neuk to the south.


The village includes a variety of types of architecture. A basic classification might be;

  • The village terraced cottage: a single storey construction of rubble with dressed stone doorways, and either pan tiled or slate roof.
  • The village house: a two storey version of the cottage but sometimes with dressed stone façade or harled gable ends, sometimes stepped.
  • Georgian buildings constructed of dressed sandstone with slate roofs. There are some modern copies of these designs.
  • Steadings: single storey buildings in courtyard shape with a reference to their farming origins. There are several modern versions of this design.
  • Modern housing from the 1970s, some detatched single storey bungalows as in Seagate, some terraced as in Back Stile, and some two storey housing.

A survey of village architecture was made in 1967 listing all buildings which were considered to be of architectural or historic interest. This is available in the archive.


There are 368 residents of Kingsbarns according to the 2001 Census.

  • 56 (15%) are aged 0-15 17
  • (4.6%) are 16-19 147
  • (40%) are aged 20-60 108
  • (29%) are aged 60+

We have few teenagers in the village; a viable school roll; a significant economically active age group and lower than the Fife average in the proportion of older people. 22% of the population is of pensionable age, taken as 65.

Housing tenure is as follows;

  • Owner Occupiers……………….228 (61%)
  • Private Tenants…………………67 (18%)
  • LA/SSH Tenants……………….56 (15%)
  • ‘Tied’ or job related tenancies…18 (5%)

28% of residents live in detached houses, 62% live in terraced or semi-detached houses and 15% live in flats. 25.8% of residents live in pensioner only households.

Economic activity.

Travel to work data shows that there are at least 164 people economically active (+ 33% of pop). Most of them travel out of the village to work, and 53 people work or study at home or walk to work.

If we exclude the home study we estimate that 32 people work in a local economy since they are shown as being able to walk to work. The data on 147 economically active residents in terms of type of employment is as follows;

  • Public Sector…………………..58 (36%)
  • Real Estate/Renting/Business…24 (15%)
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade……23 (14%)
  • Agriculture/Forestry……………18 (11%)
  • Hotel/Restaurants……………….17 (10%)
  • Manufacturing…………………..8 (5%)

If we look at occupations of 163 residents rather than sectors the picture is;

  • Elementary Occupations……………33
  • Professional Occupations…………..28
  • Managers and Senior Officials….….20
  • Technical……………………….…..19
  • Skilled Trades………………………19
  • Personal Service…………………….14
  • Admin and Secretarial………….…..12
  • Plant and Machinery Operation...…..12
  • Sales/ Customer Service………….….7

Unemployment in the village in 2001 was 3.7% (10 people). There were 84 people reported as having a limiting long-term illness. We have no other data on the health status of the residents. There were 192 vehicles owned by residents in 2001 and this figure as a ratio of population may be some guide as to the increase in traffic that can be expected from new housing development (.64 vehicle per resident).

Facilities and Quality of Life.

The village currently has the following facilities;

  • Shop and Post Office
  • Public House and Restaurant
  • Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
  • Cottages for Holiday Lets
  • Golf Course
  • Church
  • School
  • Broadband Internet Access
  • Bus Service

The “Undiscovered Scotland Guide” describes the village as an ‘exceptionally well preserved conservation village’. The sea and coastal areas provide a border of exceptional beauty and a coastal path which is a valuable recreational resource. The unspoilt and undeveloped seaside area is a great attraction and the beach is an ‘award winning’ clean stretch of superb sand. The views both south and north are exceptional. The village sits centrally on a coast whose land mass is bounded on three sides by water.

The village has had Conservation status since 1967 (?) and the developments that have taken place have been in the main ‘in filling’ developments within the village footprint. There has been no expansion of the village in this sense since the steadings development at the north west of the village.

The Fife Local Plan 2005.

The plan is an opportunity for us as residents to consider the future of the village and to take part in the consultation exercises planned in order to the shape and influence the debate.

At this stage we have the first outline proposals from Fife showing the potential areas in and around the village which may be developed for housing and other residential purposes. We are not aware of any specific planning applications in relation to these specific sites. The plans do not include developments for which planning applications could be made where there are existing buildings, for example at Barn’s Law. The plans also show a field (the Glebe) which is owned by the Church of Scotland and at this time we have no information of their intentions. The map may not in fact be accurate and this will need to be checked.

The Fife Planning Committee will consider the Plan at a meeting on January 11th and observers from KCC will attend. There will be a public consultation period on the Local Plan from March 7th to April 18th and we will be able to comment during this period so we need to get our consultations underway and prepared as soon as possible. Individuals who want to comment direct to Fife can do so also using the form attached to these notes.

It is the intention of the Community Council to undertake a local consultation on the Plan and on wider issues affecting the future of the village.

This may take a number of forms;

  • A Survey. A questionnaire to each household asking for responses to the Local Plan, seeking views on a range of other possibilities, and asking for any other proposals.
  • A village meeting to discuss the outcome of the survey, and to listen to presentations from those proposing developments and to consult with representatives from Fife Council.

There are some legal matters to be clarified in terms of the Data Protection requirements both on the collection side (can we ask householders certain questions) and on the access side (who owns and hols the date and who can see it).

There are some practical issues for certain groups, for example a household survey will not directly consult young people, and there are specific stakeholders such as the Post Office/Shop, Church, school and the landowners.

We need to devise some form of consultation for these groups.

A draft survey questionnaire is attached for discussion.

Huw Lloyd Richards
For the Subcommittee. 10/1/05.

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