Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
South Queensferry, originally a Royal Burgh in West Lothian is now part of the City of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located some ten miles to the north of the main part of the city on the Firth of Forth, between the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge. Its population is around 9,000 people.
The town is named after Saint Margaret of Scotland who used to cross the firth by ferry from "Queen's Ferry" to visit her chapel in Edinburgh Castle. She died in 1093 and made her final journey by ferry to Dunfermline Abbey. Her son, David I of Scotland, awarded the ferry rights to the abbey.
There had been ferries at South Queensferry until 1964 when the Forth Road Bridge was opened. Ferry services continue to run from the harbour to the islands within the Firth of Forth, including Inchcolm.
The Ferry Fair
A local fair dates from the 12th century. The modern form, dating from the 1930's, takes place each August and includes the crowning of a local school-girl as the Ferry Fair Queen, a procession of floats, pipe bands, and competitive events such as the Boundary Race.
The Burry Man
South Queensferry hosts the strange annual procession of the Burry Man during the Ferry Fair. This unique pagan-like cultural event is over 300 hundred years old, but its true origins are unknown. A local man is covered from head-to-toe in burrs - the hooked fruits from the Burdock plant - which adhere to undergarments covering his entire body, leaving only the shoes, hands and two eyeholes exposed. On top of this layer he wears a sash, flowers and a floral hat and he grasps two staves. His ability to bend his arms or sit down is very restricted during the long day and his progress is a slow walk with frequent pauses. Two attendants in ordinary clothes assist him throughout the ordeal, helping him hold the staves, guiding his route, and fortifying him with whisky sipped through a straw, whilst enthusiastic children go from door-to-door collecting money on his behalf. The key landmarks on the tour are the Provost's office and each pub in the village.
The Looney Dook
Literally: the lunatic duckings. A recently instituted event whereby people dive into the chilling waters of Firth of Forth on New Year's Day.
Places of Interest
On the High St.
- St Mary's Church - The oldest building dating from 1441.
- Black Castle - Built in 1626. When the original owner, a sea-captain, was lost at sea his maid was accused of paying a beggar-woman to cast a spell. Both women were burned for witchcraft.
- Plewlands House - A 17th century mansion right in the centre of the village, managed by the National Trust for Scotland since 1953.
- The TolBooth - On the High St. dating from the 1600's, with clock-tower built in 1720.
- Hopetoun House - Two miles to the west, a splendid Georgian stately home designed by the Scottish architects Sir William Bruce and William Adam and situated in 150 acres of parkland. Home to the Earls of Hopetoun since 1699.
- Dalmeny House - Two miles to the east, Dalmeny House was built by English architect William Wilkins in 1817 and is the home of the Earls of Roseberry. It houses the Roseberry and some of the Rothschild Collections.
- Dundas Estate - One mile to the south. A 9-hole golf course has been established in its parkland since 1957. Each year it hosts a "The Life of Jesus Christ", an Oberammergau-type open-air play.
- The Gazetteer for Scotland - Overview of South Queensferry
- Undiscovered Scotland - Queensferry
- Queensferry and Cramond]
- BBC Scotland, Where I live: South Queensferry
- The Burry Man
- Flora Celtica: The Burry Man
- Official Ferry Fair website
- History of the Ferry Fair
- Hopetoun House
- Dalmeny House
- The Life of Jesus at Dundas Estate
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