St Monan’s

St Monan’s Kirk from 1369.

St Monan’s is a small seaside village east of Elie. A significant battle took place in St Monan’s near the church in 1548, when the English were defeated. All historical documents were lost when Oliver Cromwell ordered all Scottish records to be shipped to the Tower of London. Several barrels filled with documents were lost at sea. However, there is one surviving record of the battle recovered in an account written for Mary Queen of Scots.

The village got its name from St Monance, who was killed by invading Danes around 875. You really cannot trust the Danes to behave, can you!

The harbour is first mentioned in documents from 1650. Maybe the most interesting part of the harbour is the quirky zigzag formed breakwater just outside the harbour. At least it forms an interesting object for photography. 

To the west of the village is St Monan’s Kirk erected in 1369 and situated only 20 metres from the sea. It is said that of all churches in Scotland, St Monan’s is the one closest to the sea. And it is definitely one of the finest remaining in Scotland from the Middle Ages. Originally it was built for Dominican Friars. It was probably never finished, as it lacks a nave (but the choir and transepts are there). We tried to get in, and although it says on its website that it is open during daytime, we failed to open any door! 

St Monan’s village with its windmill in the background. The windmill was actually used to pump up seawater to salt pans, which where then heated to get the water to evaporate and produce sea salt.

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