History of Fife village documented in new book

The book is available from author Donald Dallas.
The book is available from author Donald Dallas.

The interesting history of a Fife village has been detailed in a new illustrated book.

Letham, The History, was written by local historian and author Donald Dallas. The 112-page hardback book features 115 photographs dating from between 1880 and 1960, most of which have never been published before.

The village is more than a millennia old. Although some 17th and 18th century buildings remain, the Letham we know today was all built in a relatively short period, from 1800 to 1820, by the Earls of Leven and Melville, including the West End, the Row, the pub, the old village hall, the school and the church.

The book gives a detailed history of many of the houses and businesses in the village, as well as the lives of several of the inhabitants, from the Baronet of Letham to the Monimail Hermit.

It provides details on everything from resurrectionists (grave-robbers) at Monimail Cemetery in the 1820s and an infamous murder at Whinny Park in 1830, to being bombed twice during World War II.

The book also explains the history behind Letham’s Deodar Cedar tree. The Hon. William Leslie-Melville from Melville House entered service with the East India Company and discovered this tree in the Himalayas in the 1820s.

He brought back seeds to London and the nurseries at Letham with the result that the Deodar Cedar is an established tree in Great Britain – and there are still fine examples flourishing in Letham.

The book is available from the author, £30, at balyarrow@aol.com.