Cupar & North Fife Preservation Society was formed on March 12, 1962, at an inaugural meeting in Cupar, arranged by the National Trust for Scotland.
The constitution defined the society’s aim to preserve the architectural and historic character of the north and central parts of Fife.
The area is a large one and includes six former burghs and 21 parishes.
The first project undertaken by the society, in the year of its inauguration, was the restoration and conversion of the 18th century St John’s Masonic Lodge in Ceres, into a dwelling-house of character.
In 1965, the society was given the 17th century Weigh House in High Street, Ceres, by the Mitchell family.
This interesting building had been part of the Tolbooth when Ceres was a Burgh of Barony under the lairds of Craighall, the Hope family.
Following the purchase of two adjoining weavers’ cottages, the decision was taken by the society to form the Fife Folk Museum.
This opened in 1968, and through the years a notable collection has been built up as a result of the generosity of local people who have given or lent exhibits.
In the late 60s the society was responsible for the preservation of Creich Old Kirk against further decay. A similar task was carried out at St Fillans, the old parish kirk at Forgan.
Mov ing on to 2003-04, the society headed up a fund-raising campaign to finance the restoration and refurbishment of the Fife Folk Museum.
This project included the repair to and rebuilding of a listed burn wall at the museum site.
Total cost of the project was £395,000 which was funded by grants obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Fife Environment Trust, Fife Council and a number of local charity trusts.
In 2006-07 a project was mounted to find the necessary funding to make repairs to and restore the society’s doo’cot at Letham; also the former windmill — now doo’cot — at Melville House.
Following successful applications for grant-funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Fife Environment Trust, the restoration contract was awarded to Milestone Restoration Ltd., of Cultshill, under the supervision of Hurd Rolland Architects.
In 2008 it was decided that the Provost Statue/monument at Ceres Cross was in dire need of repair and restoration.
The society undertook to act as stewards of ‘The Provost’ and set about the task of raising funds for the restoration project.
The main contributors were Fife Council and the Fife Environment Trust; the stonemasonry repairs were carried out by Milestone Restoration Ltd.
Following discussions with Ceres and District Community Council and the Kirk Session of Ceres, Springfield and Kemback churches, the society assumed the lead role in obtaining funding for the restoration and electrification of the Ceres clock.
Fund-raising was organised by both the community council and Kirk Session; and the society was successful in obtaining grants from FET and Fife Council.
The total cost of this project was £14,000; the contract was awarded to James Ritchie & Son (Clockmakers) Ltd., of Edinburgh, and was completed in February 2011.
Later in 2011 the then chairman of CNFPS, Robert Scott, was approached by a member of the society, Councillor Margaret Kennedy, with the request that the society should undertake fund-raising for the restoration of Cupar’s only statue, the memorial to David Maitland Makgill Crichton.
The challenge was accepted and the restoration cost of £14,000 was raised by the society with grants and donations from FET, Tesco, Fife Council, Cupar Community Council and the Railway Preservation Society.
An Edinburgh company, Nicolas Boyes Stone Conservators Ltd., was contracted to carry out the repairs and restoration; the work was completed in September 2011.