"On Wednesday afternoon, the cot-houses on the farm of Sunnybraes, on the south side of the road leading from Largo to Leven, were observed to be on fire; and, as they were roofed with thatch, and everything about them was very dry, notwithstanding great endeavours were made to save them, the flames could not be checked, so that in a short time nothing remained but the blackened walls. They were inhabited by the families of the servants on the farm, who, by the destructive element, have lost nearly all their little property and been rendered destitute. Subscriptions have been entered into for their relief. The fire is supposed to have been caused by a spark having lodged in the thatch while the servants cooked their dinner at noon with a fire of sticks, and which they had not observed when they left their dwelling to resume their afternoon's work."
This sad story illustrates how tough life would have been for farm workers in the place at that time. The 1841 census records 18 individuals at Sunnybraes. The farmer, his wife and one servant were living in the house. Also on the farm were a family of four, a family of five and six other labourers, five of whom ranged in age from 12 to 15.