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A Heritage Mobile Phone App lets you Meet the Pilgrims from the 13th Century

Fri 10 Aug 18

Journey back through time to the 13th century chapel at Earlsferry. As you walk into the chapel, the bell tolls, seagulls swoop overhead. In the flickering candlelight the pilgrims are preparing to say prayers and give thanks for a safe journey across the river Forth from North Berwick to Earlsferry. They are resting in the chapel before setting off to walk to the cathedral at St. Andrews. An aerial view of the bay shows where their boat landed and they climbed up to the chapel, cold and tired after their sea crossing.

A swipe of your phone will allow you to see and experience their journey and the history of Elie and Earlsferry through the ages from the 13th century to the current time. With the help of Dr Alan Miller and his team at St. Andrews University, Elie and Earlsferry History Society has created a heritage mobile phone application which captures the history of the area through images, audios, text and digital reconstruction.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has made the whole thing possible.
In addition to the pilgrims, information on the industrial heritage of the area including weaving, mining and fishing can be accessed via the app as well as the story of transport and communications through the ages starting with the introduction of turnpikes and toll roads. Listen to some songs the weavers in Earlsferry sang as they worked in their cottages until the Town-hall bell tolled at 8pm to signal the end of the working day.

The app also covers the history of the Mars boys. These were previously under privileged boys who spent time from the age of 9 on board the Mars ship moored off Wormit where they were looked after and provided with skills enabling them to make a living once they left the ship. Each year, like the pilgrims they travelled sometimes by foot, to Elie, where they holidayed for 6 weeks in the Granary at Elie Harbour. An advance party was sent to clear out the rats, as the Granary was at that time a working building. Two songs about the Mars boys have been composed for the app by Gordon Douglas who has undertaken considerable research on the Mars ship.

With the help of graphic designers Merle and Stein Olsen, the History Society has also created a series of storyboards which describe the history of the villages. They have been positioned on Chapel Green in Earlsferry. A storyboard describing the history of the Mars boys has been also been placed at the Harbour.

The storyboards are to be inaugurated by Elizabeth Riches MBE and Gordon Douglas on 27th August. The History Society is also hosting a workshop in conjunction with St. Andrews University on 29th August at the sailing Club in Elie. The workshop is aimed at others who might be interested in creating a heritage phone app for their own area.

For more information and advice contact Graham Johnston at [email protected] or Angela Anderson at [email protected]

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