Left at Rattonraw and on to Fisher’s Vennel ...

Jane Ann Liston in Baker Lane, formerly Baxter Wynd. (Pic Dave Scott).
Jane Ann Liston in Baker Lane, formerly Baxter Wynd. (Pic Dave Scott).

An ambitious plan to link St Andrews with its historic past by way of its street names has won the backing of the town’s heritage organisations.

Councillor Jane Ann Liston, has harboured the idea for a number of years having been intrigued by the former names once attributed to streets, passageways, and lanes in the town.

Now she wants to develop a plan to add a number of the evocative original names, such as Maggie Murray’s Wynd, Cowgait, Windmill Path and Fisher’s Vennel, dating back as far as the eleventh century, to the existing signs in the town centre.

Mrs Liston believes it would enhance the historical links with the town’s past, both for residents and the many visitors that come to St Andrews each year.

“There are some really wonderful and evocative names which have been changed as the town has evolved over the centuries, and the idea is to give people a sense of what those locations once were,” Mrs Liston told the Citizen.

“For example South Castle Street was formerly Heukster’s Wynd in the sixteenth century and was originally called Rattonraw or Fisher’s Vennel a century before that.

“Two hundred years ago Gregorys Lane was once known as Dickiemans Wynd, while Muttoes Lane was formerly Bakehouse Close.”

Mrs Liston said she got the idea from the current road sign in Baker Lane which has ‘formerly Baxter Wynd’ added below.

“Adding descriptions of the past names to some of the signs would just go some way to preserving that rich and wonderful history we have in St Andrews,” she added.

Now her idea has the backing of a number of key groups, including the town’s Community Council, St Andrews Preservation Trust and Pilgrim Foundation.

“Certainly we support the idea in principle,” said Patrick Marks, secretary of St Andrews Community Council.

“The Victorians sanitised some of the names and I’m sure there are some of the ancient names that won’t be seen as appropriate for today’s modern values.

“But, where appropriate, it would offer a tangible link with the past, which we would be in favour of.”

Mrs Liston has now put the idea to Fife Council to get an idea of how much the project could cost.

“The Council is looking into costs but it’s important to stress that there would be now burden on Fife Council’s budget, we’d aim to have the project externally funded,” Mrs Liston explained.

“We are at the very early stages of the project but I’m pleased by the support.

“I’m not wanting to change the street names as we know them today, just link them historically to the past.”