Cardinal Steps

Cardinal Steps KRY C NO580041 1 374 0m

Cardinal’s Steps 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

SSE cardinal + SSE steps

‘Fine large rocks about 30 feet from each other, and in a right line, they are parallel to the coast and are prominent at low water … There is a tradition in the locality stating that they were the stepping stones of Cardinal Beaton and to that circumstance they owe their name’ (OS Name Book 85, 26). Cardinal David Beaton, the famous archbishop of St Andrews from 1537 until his dramatic murder in May 1546, seems to have taken on mythic proportions here.

Harry Watson (HDW) is of the opinion that it could well relate to a genuine local tradition that Cardinal Beaton landed here. As he points out, the Cardinal’s nephew John Beaton of Balfour was laird of Kilrenny as well as keeper of St. Andrews Castle in the 1540s. The feature is known locally as Caunle Staps /ˈkɔnəl staps/ (HDW).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 3