NO3911 : The Waterless Road

taken 9 years ago, near to Ceres, Fife, Great Britain

The Waterless Road
The Waterless Road
The old road from Kennoway to St. Andrews which looks much as it might have over three centuries ago. Its name came from the fact that it ran along a ridge which would have been comparatively dry compared with the surrounding bogland.

Down this road, on 3rd May, 1679, rolled a coach carrying Archbishop James Sharp and his daughter Isabella, returning to St. Andrews from Edinburgh after spending the night en route at Kennoway. They stopped at Ceres where Sharp smoked a pipe with the curate, little knowing it would be his last. Unbeknown to him, a band of Covenanters lay in wait a few miles further north on Magus Muir, near Strathkinness. They had been hoping to track down the Sheriff of Fife whom they expected to find hunting in the area (forewarned, he had wisely returned to Cupar.) A local boy then tipped them off that the Archbishop was on his way, a fact they attributed to Divine Providence, for Sharp - in their eyes a traitor and arch-enemy - was an even greater prey. Though a presbyterian minister, he had avoided signing the Covenant in 1638 and had later accepted Charles II appointing him his personal chaplain in Scotland and Archbishop of St. Andrews, entrusted with imposing Episcopalian conformity. His apparent zeal in carrying out this duty had made him arguably the most hated man in Scotland. After intercepting his coach, the party dragged him out onto the ground, while one of their number, David Hackston, held back on his horse, not wishing to be directly involved. One account reports Sharp begging for mercy, crawling towards Hackston and pleading, "Sir, I know you are a gentleman, you will protect me." To this, Hackston allegedly replied, "I shall never lay a hand on you". Sharp was then stabbed to death in full view of his daughter. After the murder the Privy Council declared Hackston a rebel and put a price of 10,000 merks on his head. After fighting as a commander at Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge, he joined Richard Cameron's band and was finally captured by Sir Andrew Bruce of Earlshall ("Bloody Bruce") at Airds Moss in July 1680, taken to Edinburgh and brutally executed. It is said in St. Andrews that Sharp's coach still continues its journey noiselessly at night through the streets of the town.

NO4515 : Archbishop Sharp Memorial, Bishop's Wood

NT2573 : Earlier site of the Mercat Cross, High Street
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NO3911, 136 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 25 October, 2011   (more nearby)
Friday, 4 November, 2011
Geographical Context
Paths  Roads, Road transport 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NO 3983 1124 [10m precision]
WGS84: 56:17.3864N 2:58.4177W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NO 3989 1131
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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