Photo of Jean, Elaine and Lindsey at our table

Jean, Elaine and Lindsey at our table

On Saturday 8th October the Society had a stall at the Family and Local History Fair which
was held at the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline. The stall was manned by the committee and a couple of members of the Society who volunteered to help. There were stallholders from all over Scotland – mostly Family History Societies – and a number of these Societies display and sell booklets and CDs on family history in their area. Dunfermline Historical Society does not produce booklets for sale but we feel our stall was colourful and attractive and not only gave an insight into what the Society does, but showed some of Dunfermline’s past in the form of old photographs.

The taking of a stall at the History Fair had a twofold purpose. Firstly, to let people know about Dunfermline Historical Society and what we do which could attract new members. Also, to enable us to network with Societies from Fife and beyond. Both of these purposes were fulfilled as we had a lot of interest from members of the public and interesting discussions with other Societies. It has been many years since Dunfermline Historical Society took part in such an event but the success of this Fair will hopefully lead to our taking part in future similar events.

Obituary, John Crane


by Dr Jean Barclay

When John Crane passed away in June after a three year battle with cancer the people of Saline recognised that they had lost a wonderful supporter of the local community but how many knew what a first-rate local historian he was.

John Robert Crane was born in Sheerness, Kent in 1942.  As a MOD (naval) civil servant, John`s work took him all over the country, including to Greenock, Barrow-in Furness, Bath and London.  Even when he was finally based in Rosyth from 1977, John did a great deal of travelling, much of it abroad including to the Falkland Islands.

At home in Saline, with his wife, Marie, and his daughters, Fiona and Morag, John worked endlessly on behalf of the local community, starting with the PTA in the late-70s, then the Horticultural Society, the Saline Environmental Group and the Community Council, of which he became chairman.  In 2005 he was influential in setting up the West Fife Exhibition of Art and Photography, which he managed for eight years.  In 2014, John was awarded a British Empire Medal for his `services to Saline Parish`.

All this time John followed his interest in history and joined organisations for like-minded people in Dunfermline and Saline.  A pleasant easy-going man, John was always generous in sharing his knowledge, sometimes obtained through hours of work, with fellow researchers.  People and places in the Saline District interested him most and from this came two books, `The Saline Parish Historical Trail`, in 2004 and an extended edition `Saline Parish: of Cabbages and Kings` of 2011.  The latter book includes biographies of several Saline notables, Annie S. Swan, a famous authoress, Sir Kennedy Dalziel, a famous surgeon, William Erskine (Lord Kinnedar) and others.  But perhaps he wrote most sympathetically on the `Steelend heroes`, the ten men who had behaved with exceptional courage in a mine accident at Lethans Colliery in May 1909, rescuing a comrade who would have died without their intervention.

Many local people knew of John`s writing about Saline, but not everyone knew that he had become something of an authority on Scotland`s early royals, particularly Malcolm III (Canmore), his wife Margaret and their successors.  In an article entitled  `Saline man becomes King of Scots`, John described the rise and fall of Donald, 8th  Earl of Mar (c.1300-1332) who was for a short time, if not king, the regent and ruler of Scotland.

John`s funeral at Dunfermline Crematorium was well attended not only by his family, but by friends and colleagues from his various walks of life and the choice of music `There`ll always be an England` and `Loch Lomond` were fitting for a man who never forgot where he was born but took Scotland and its history to his heart.