Cellardyke

Cellardyke KRY S NO5703 1 374

the siller dyk 1579 Watson 1986, 29 [quoting the Kilrenny Parish Register]
Sellerdyke 1579 Watson 1986, 29 [quoting the Kilrenny Parish Register]
in Silverdyke 1596 Watson 1986, 29 [quoting St A. Tests]
in Silver Dykes 1597 Watson 1986, 29 [quoting St A. Tests]
in Silverdykes 1599 Watson 1986, 29 [quoting St A. Tests]
Silverdyck 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Silverdyke 1644 St A. Presb., 19
Silver Dyck 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Cellar Dykes 1753 Roy sheet 19, 5
Silver Dykes 1757 RHP22806
Cellar Dykes 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Cellar Dyke 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

Sc siller + Sc dyke

‘Silver wall’ (or possibly ‘ditch’, since in Older Scots dyke often had its original sense of ‘ditch, something dug’). ‘Silver’ may refer to an abundance of herring (cf SSE silver darlings referring to shoals of herring)[198] or other fish. In the mid-nineteenth century Cellardyke was ‘one of the most important fishing stations in the County. Its fishermen, who comprise the bulk of the adult male population, are hardy and industrious, and immense quantities of cod, ling, haddock, and herring, are caught by them during the season’ (Parochial Directory for Fife and Kinross, on-line).[199] The image of a ‘silver dyke’ connected to fishing may suggest Sc haik, ‘a frame for drying fish’, as found on the Fife coast near Kingsbarns (see Old Haiks KBS). According to the OS Name Book, ‘The principal occupation of its inhabitants is fishing, particularly for herring, in the season great quantities of which are taken by the Cellardyke fishermen and cured both here and in Anstruther’ (82, 91).

OS Name Book also speculates that the name derives from ‘cellars where the fishermen used to stow away their fishing tackle &c. and the dykes that were built to prevent the sea from washing in on the cellars, hence Cellardykes (85, 32), but this speculation is based on a misunderstanding of the first element of the name as SSE cellar, while the early forms show that it is Sc siller ‘silver’. For a good detailed discussion ot the sixteenth-century development of Cellardyke, see H. D. Watson’s chapter ‘From Skinfasthaven to Silverdyke’ (1986, 20–32). As the chapter title suggests, Watson is also of the opinion that the first element of Cellardyke derives from Sc siller ‘silver’.

The place was formerly called Skinfast Haven (q.v.), first recorded in 1544, a name which survives on the modern (OS Pathf.) map as a coastal feature. Cellardyke was also known in 1861 as Nether Kilrenny (Parochial Directory for Fife and Kinross [on-line version]).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 3