Royal Burgh of Elie & Earlsferry
“Unitas Alit Comitatem 1589-1598”
“Unity fosters courtesy”
followed by the foundation dates of the two Burghs.
Elie and Earlsferry united to form a single Burgh in 1929.
One of four Royal Burghs which is quite special since it was never represented in Parliament, or in the Convention of Royal Burghs until modern times, they are known to historians as the four inactive Royal Burghs of Fife.
Elie was created a Burgh of Barony in favour of William Scott of Grangemuir i n 1598-99, while Earlsferry received from King James VI in 1589 a Charter, which confirmed that it had been a free Burgh ” beyond the memory of man”. The united Burgh has been accepted as a Royal Burgh. The arms recall in the 1st and 4th quarters Earlsferry, the older Burgh, the ship with MacDuff’s arms on its sail alludes to “The Earl’s Ferry” (“Passagium Comitis”) between the town and North Berwick which was for a time one of the main routes from the Lothian’s to Fife.
The name of the Burgh and of the Ferry is traditionally associated with the assistance given to MacDuff, Earl of Fife, by local fisherman who ferried him over to East Lothian when he was fleeing from Macbeth, the Mormaer of Moray, who succeeded Duncan I as King of Scotland (1040-1057). The 2nd and 3rd quarters are for Elie, also by the sea, and repeat the ship motif; in this case the ship’s sail bears the arms of Scott of Grangemuir.