Online Encyclopedia

ISLE OF MAY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 931 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ISLE OF MAY, an island belonging to Fifeshire, Scotland, at the entrance to the Firth of Forth, 5 M. S.E. of Crail and Anstruther. It has a N.W. to S.E. trend, is more than I m. long, and measures at its widest about a m. St Adrian, who had settled here, was martyred by the Danes about the middle of the 9th century. The ruins of the small chapel dedicated to him, which was a favourite place of pilgrimage, still exist. The place where the pilgrims—of whom James IV. was often one—landed is yet known as Pilgrims' Haven, and traces may yet be seen of the various wells of St Andrew, St John, Our Lady, and the Pilgrims, though their waters have become brackish. In 1499 Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, with the "Yellow Carvel " and " Mayflower," captured the English seaman Stephen Bull, and three ships, after a fierce fight which took place between the island and the Bass Rock. In 1636 a coal beacon was lighted on the May and maintained by Alexander Cunningham of Barns. The oil light substituted for it in 1816 was replaced in 1888 by an electric light.
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