The house on the left in the images below (top view from the early twentieth century, lower view a century later) is Earnest Cottage. Although the name has morphed over the years into 'Ernest Cottage', the original name was spelled 'Earnest' and, through newspaper archives, the origins of that name and the cottage itself can be tracked down.
Back in 1818, a man named John Beatson was captain of a ship named 'The Brig Earnest' (see advert below from the 18 March Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser). This ship had been built in Leith in 1804 by Menzies and Goalen as a 12 gun 80 x 23 ft gun-brig for the Royal Navy. Sold by the Navy in 1816, the Earnest became cargo ship operating out of London. John Beatson had been born in Methil in 1779 but his mother, Elizabeth Guthrie, was from Largo Parish. When Captain Beatson retired from his career at sea, he returned to his roots and set up home at the junction of Largo Road and Cupar Road, naming his house after the ship which he had captained.
The cottage was built circa 1819. At what point John Beatson took ownership is unclear but by 1835 the Perthshire Courier reported that summer on the yield of his crops from the land adjoining Earnest Cottage. Beatson died on 28 December 1838 at the cottage at the age of 59. He was buried at the old Largo Churchyard alongside his parents, who had also returned to the parish of his mother's birth to end their days. Earnest Cottage is mentioned in the inscription on the gravestone. The property was put up for sale and a full description appeared in the Fife Herald of 6 June 1838 (below). It notes the cottage's "great facility for communication and travelling in every direction" with the coach service passing the house. Earnest Cottage must indeed have been an "eligible and delightful residence" in its heyday.
This blog is about the history of the villages of Lundin Links, Lower Largo and Upper Largo in Fife, Scotland. Comments and contributions from readers are very welcome!
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