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Abdie Curling Club


“Abdie man saves Europe”

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Club History

From the Archives

The above photograph was supplied by John Campbell of Cupar, now in his 88th year and a keen curler in his day and whose father and grandfather are both standing in the back row.

It shows members of Abdie Curling Club who were winners of the Cupar Province Bonspiel played on Wednesday the 19th February 1930 at Lindores Loch.

Abdie put forward 3 rinks as follows:

                          Wm. Walker (skip)   D. Adamson (skip)    J. Kidd (skip)

                          J. Ferguson            R. MacIntosh             D. Ferguson

                          J. Campbell sen.     S. Pate                     Wm. Simpson

                          J. Martin                J. Campbell jun.        G. Aitken 

According to the Abdie minute book:

"Abdie had the distinction of winning the cup with the record average of 22 and 2/3 shots (I think the secretary's maths are wrong here)

                          Wm. Walker   38      Balyarrow   Wm. Dingwall  11

                          D. Adamson  25      Markinch     A. Craik           9

                         J. Kidd          33       Melville       J. Small           5

                                    Total 96                                    Total  25

J. Kidd had the honour of the highest points victory of the Bonspiel with 28 shots "

Points to note here are; Abdie's three rinks won the cup with J. Kidd's rink winning the medal (shown in the other photographs) for the rink with the most shots up.

Other interesting points are; that the man seated holding the cup is Dr Jack who did not play but was President of the club. This means that Mr. Aitken is missing from the photograph but was, possibly, the man operating the camera.


The Tam o Shanter hats, according to Jim Stirrat, were de rigueur when playing outdoors ( I bet he's still got one) and all the men, in the photograph, played whilst wearing a tie or in the case of J. Martin, a bow tie. One or two even appear to have handkerchiefs in their breast pocket.

It also may appear that a few broom cupboards have been raided to compete in this Bonspiel, however, it is more likely that the brush held by Mr Campbell ,on the right of the picture, is also the ideal brush for sweeping outdoor ice (what do we know?) and may even have been "state of the art" compared to the other brooms in the photograph.

Finally, it is also worth noting from the minute book of 1930 that at the Annual Dinner of the Abdie Curling Club

"Rev. A.  Allison a silver fine for parting the only hair on his head in the middle."

Thanks to Gerry, our Hon Archivist, for unearthing this.

The sartorial elegance of these guys, even on what one must presume is a very cold day, puts our current members’ apparel to shame.

One hopes that our incoming President will address these deficiencies.

Pate J. Campbell (jnr)       D. Ferguson       J. Ferguson   D. Adamson   J. Martin    J. Campbell (snr)

   Dundee  Craigmill      Grange of Lindores   Blinkbonny     Newburgh     Lindores         Craigmill

         R. McIntosh          J. Kidd                 Dr Jack        WorB Walker     Captain Simpson

        Berryhill Farm    Commercial Hotel   Berryhill House     Cairneyhill        Den of Lindores

        (John’s uncle)

Abdie Winners of Cupar Province Bonspiel Lindores Loch

19th February 1930

The above photo was taken following our success at the Cupar Province Bonspiel in 1930.

The winners medal


Lindores Loch

19th FEBRUARY 1930


Abdie Curling Club


J. KIDD (skip)



From the Archives

Gerry our Archivist delves into Abdie’s archives.

Abdie Member at forefront of Medical Science

At the Abdie Curling Club Annual Meeting of 1848, held at the Commercial Inn, Newburgh, Mr. John Pitcairn junior was fined one shilling for having had a tooth extraction while anesthetised under Chloroform.

Whilst the AGM considered that this was inappropriate behaviour it is unknown if the fine was imposed because

- Pitcairn was a wimp for having had an extraction without suffering pain, or

- Pitcairn was fooling around with drugs!

In fact, Pitcairn was a hero; a pioneer and his one shilling fine would, in the circumstances, appear rather harsh.

His anesthetised tooth extraction was pioneering stuff as it was less three than months since James Young Simpson first experimented with chloroform -  

Chloroform had been deemed unsafe for human use until November 1847 when Simpson and two of his friends, tested it upon themselves.

On the 11th of November 1847 Francis Brodie Imlach, a Scottish pioneer in modern dentistry, became the first to use chloroform on a dental patient when he extracted a tooth from a fellow dentist James Darsie Morrison. Imlach’s premises was at 48 Queen Street, Edinburgh a few doors from Simpson’s at 52 Queen Street.

Imlach used only partial anaesthetic for dental extractions which was probably very wise given the lack of experiments on the use and safety of chloroform.

New Year’s day match 1861

This extract is from Abdie’s minute book

“On Monday 7th January 1861 the Abdie Club played for the gold medals. The day was fine. The ice was keen and excellent – Lunch was provided by Mr Cathcart, Pitcairlie and the number of players who came forward exceeded that of many previous years. The fineness of the day (and it being also Handsel Monday) brought forward a considerable concourse of people to witness the competition. There was also a good many of the fair sex present who enlivened the scene by getting up a dance -From the number of players who competed and there being two medals to play for, it was found that candles had to be resorted to finish the game which was concluded about six o’clock p.m. “

Length of rink 40 yards

Mr Dalgleish of Woodburn gained the Club medal making 9 points

Mr Brown Glasgow gained the Burton medal making 14 points.

Nae Luck

This extract is from Abdie’s first minute book and fining members at the annual dinner was a means of raising funds for the Club. These fines were always of an arbitrary nature as can be best seen in the case of Dr. Guthrie.

“Abdie Annual Dinner  1st February 1841.

The next matter of business which came before the meeting was the consideration of various delinquencies, faults or foibles of the individual Members of the Club which the Club as a body, hold themselves bound to take under their cognisance and fine and punish as to them may seem meet”

Dr Guthrie, although not an original member of 1831, was listed as a member in 1833 and attended the annual dinners of 1833,1834 and 1835.   He did not attend another dinner till 1846, eleven years later. His absence however did not go un-noticed and in 1841 was fined 5/- for not having attended the annual meeting for some years and with the same non-attendance, for the years 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845, was fined  the sum of  5/-, each year.

In 1846 Dr Guthrie did attend the annual dinner and was subsequently

fined 5/- for personal attendance.”

In 1847 he again attended the annual dinner and again was fined 5/- with the secretary writing in the minute book

 “ Dr Guthrie having invariably been fined for a number of years for absence at the annual meetings was assessed in the sum of 5/- for deviating there from in so far as he had made an appearance on this occasion”.

From here on in Dr. Guthrie was on a loser and by the 1850’s the first of the fines of the evening would inevitably be

Dr. Guthrie 5/- as usual” - regardless of whether he turned up for dinner or not.”   

An exception to this rule was in 1858 when the secretary wrote;

“ The meeting also in the course of the evening disposed of a considerable amount of business, in considering a variety of delinquencies by several of the individual members of the Abdie Club which club as a body have all along been accustomed to deal in a summary manner with offenders and fine and punish them as the case required - The first case laid before them was that of Dr. Guthrie who although seen on the street during the forenoon had neglected to appear at dinner and was as usual fined five shillings.”

This went on till 1861 where it must be assumed that Dr. Guthrie retired from curling as his name or fine is not mentioned again.

It also must be said that, it would appear, Dr Guthrie took his fine (for twenty years) in the best of spirits and played an active part in the Club during this time. It is also worth noting that 5/- in the 1840's would have a value of between £15.00 and £20.00 today.

How the fragile sensibilities of 2019 would have dealt with this, we cannot imagine. Not clear is what kind of Doctor Guthrie was; perhaps as a physician, he may have been able to obtain retribution by way of painful medical treatment or hefty bills!

Abdie’s Hardiness and Resourcefulness

We now play most of our weekday evening curling, indoors, at Dewars Ice Rink, Perth. This appears to be a fairly recent arrangement, by Abdie standards.  Back in the 1930's we were not quite so soft and took measures to curl outdoors in the evenings…………………

The minutes of the Abdie AGM for 1932, held at the Public Hall in Newburgh confirms this.

“Robert Crosbie suggested that powerful lamps should be obtained by the club so that the members who are unable to get a game during the daytime when ice is available would be able to enjoy a game in the evening by the aid of the artificial lights.”

The suggestion was well received by the meeting and the Council of Management was left to make the necessary arrangements about the lamps.

At a Committee meeting on the 3rd of November 1932……………..

“After a lengthy discussion it was agreed to purchase two lamps of the Tilley Hendon Paraffin Pattern. The secretary to arrange for suitable standards for hanging the lamps made.”

At the next meeting on the 23rd January 1933…………..

“The lamps were used for the first time tonight and gave excellent results. Two rinks enjoyed a pleasant evening in a friendly club game. The members being drawn principally from those unable to attend during the day.”

No incidents of hypothermia were recorded!

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Club Hut

In 1862 Robert Cathcart suggested that the club invested in a club hut. He started the funding with a donation of £15 and an offer of ground. No further records exist or the progress of its construction etc., until 1865 when it is noted as being in use.

On a cold day on Friday, 28 January 1831 eleven men of Abdie Parish, Fife gathered together on the frozen Loch of Lindores to begin an historic curling match. The Loch of Lindores is a freshwater loch situated in the north of Fife in the Parish of Abdie and the old Abdie Parish Church ruins are close to the north shoreline where these men were standing.


The Ancient Scottish Game of My Ancestors of Abdie Parish Fife.pdf

The Ancient Scottish Game of My Ancestors of Abdie Parish, Fife

By Michael T. Tracy

“Abdie and Abdie Ladies well victualled for a day on Lindores Loch in 1958”

Abdie Founding Member, and President, saves Europe

Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland KCB


A Scot, Frederick Lewis Maitland was born at Rankeilour, Fife on 7 September 1777.

In the 1810's, Europe was in a mess caused, this time, by Napoleon Bonaparte. Eventually after a mixture of successes and failures the French tired of him and, in 1814, he was made King of Elba and sent there to rule his kingdom.

Bickering over what was to happen in Europe, after Napoleon’s departure, continued. From Elba, Napoleon kept a close watch on the Continent and was troubled. Added to the political situation, Austria had allegedly prevented his wife and son from coming to join him. The last straw would appear to have been the fact that the French government refused to pay Napoleon’s allowance!

In March 1815 he was back in Paris, with an army, and quickly assumed power but it was not to last. After mixed battle successes, he met Wellington and the British, at Waterloo.

Europe became a dangerous place for Napoleon, following his defeat and abdication, so he planned an escape to America.

Enter the doughty Maitland, Captain of the 74-gun HMS Bellerophon. Bellerophon and a squadron of British ships were blockading the French navy, on the west coast of France, when news of Napoleon’s escape reached them. The information suggested that Napoleon would leave from Bordeaux.


Maitland however, believed that Rochefort in the Bay of Biscay, was the more likely point of escape. He stationed Bellerophon, at Rochefort.

Maitland was proved correct and, following nearly a week of negotiations, Napoleon and his entourage boarded Maitland’s ship bound for Britain where, without landing ashore, they were transferred to HMS Northumberland, which finally took them to exile on Saint Helena.

Upon his retiral from the Navy, the now Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland KCB returned to the family estate which encompassed Lindores Loch in the Parish of Abdie, close to the village of Newburgh.  With prize money from the Napoleonic wars, he built the nautical themed Lindores House.

Maitland’s Lindores Loch was the site for the historic curling match on the 28th of January 1831. When it would appear that Sir Frederick was the skip for the married men’s team.

At a dinner, held at Saunderson’s Inn, Newburgh, Fife shortly after the match, it was agreed at a meeting that they should constitute themselves into a body to be called the “Abdie Curling Club.” Not surprisingly Sir Fredric, decorated Naval Officer, land owner, and soon to be Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Fife, was elected to be first President of the Club.

For those of you interested Maitland later wrote a detailed narrative of Bonaparte's time on the Bellerophon, which he subsequently published in 1826.

You can view this narrative at:

The Surrender of Napoleon, by Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland  (Click Here)


                The Project Gutenberg E-book of The Surrender of Napoleon, by Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland (Click Here)