Originally the town served as a port city and is believed to have been founded by Saint Serf during the 6th century.
A legend states that when the British princess (and future saint) Theneva or Enoch, daughter of Loth the King of Lothian, fell pregnant before marriage, her family threw her from a cliff. She survived the fall unharmed, and was soon met by an unmanned boat. She knew she had no home to go to, so she got into the boat; it sailed her across the Firth of Forth to land at Culross where she was cared for by Saint Serf who became foster-father to her son, Saint Kentigern or Mungo.
Arguably the most picturesque historic town in Scotland. Its cobbled streets are lined with wee yellow houses topped by slanting red pantiled roofs which all contribute to giving you an illusion that you have stepped back two or three hundred years in time.
The stone and slate Town House, built in 1626 was once the legal and commercial centre of Culross. A clock tower and bell shaped roof were added in 1783. Upstairs, the fine Georgian interior of the council chambers often houses exhibitions, whilst next door is the old courtroom. The building also served as a prison with debtors held on the ground floor (now the shop) and witches in the attic.
James VI granted the town a royal charter in 1588. A replica of the original 1588 mercat cross stands outside the oldest house in the village, dated 1577 on the gable. Another house has a plate with the inscription “In this spot in 1832 nothing happened”.
Culross flourished with its port and mines in the 16th and 17th centuries but when a storm destroyed the mine and the pier in 1625, its days as a commercial centre were over. Unable to recover, Culross was fortunately preserved as a rare relic of a different age.
Culross owes its present charm to a drastic decline in fortune in the 19th century when a lack of funds and development left Culross in serious decline until it was rescued by the National Trust for Scotland in the 1930’s.
Culross Town House is a Category A Listed Building (HB Number 23994).
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Featured in : Freedom to Shine : 3 May 10