FP100: No. 98

Capon weathervane

Capon weathervane

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Capon weathervane

The East Neuk of Fife has plenty of interesting sculptures and monuments but there is a particuarly quirky one you are likely to miss unless you look... up.

Sitting atop the Tollbooth in historic Crail is a rather unusual weathervane – a Crail Capon.

While Arbroath Smokies and the humble kipper still hold their rank among the great maritime delicacies, the Crail Capon has disappeared from plates and memory.

But at one time it was a grand treat and an important export, apparently dating back to the 9th century, and one that greatly helped the prosperity of the area.

According to the Dictionary of the Scots Language the Crail Capon was a haddock dried but not split and, as quoted from: “...Smoked in the chimney lum, the most plentiful kind of food in that remote quarter.”

The Tolbooth itself stands in the centre of the burgh and has a characteristic tower and a European style roof, similar to buildings in Holland – with Crail of course, in its heyday, having strong trading links with the Lowlands. It was originally built in the early 17th century though the Capon weathervane is probably a 19th century addition.