According to Statistical Reports there was no shipping of any consequence in the early 1700s, only five ships from 10 – 20 tons used to tranfer salt to Lieth and return with wood and iron for local salt pans and the lime trade.
By 1740 Kincardine had become a major ship building location with 30 vessels being built ranging in size from 16 – 60 tons.
Kincardine became the 2nd largest port on the Forth after Leith.
By 1786 it had 91 vessels registered to the port grossing a total of 5461 tons = average 60 tons per ship.
Ships from Kincardine sailed worldwide with strong links to Australia, South America, East / West Indies and Mediterranean countries and also had major trade with the Baltic States for the import of timber.
Stoving in of King’s Boat
In May of 1801 the King’s Boat was vandalised as she lay for repair at Kincardine.
One of the men suspected of this ‘wicked’ crime was a former co-owner of Robert Stein’s ‘Rachael of Kincardine’.
The King’s boat sounds a grand affair but would be better known to us today as a Custom’s Cutter probably nothing more than a large open rowing boat.
Please see correspondence relating to this incident and the pleas from Robert Meiklejohn, carpenter, begging for payment stating he is unable to feed his family or go to church for want of decent clothing for a man of his station.
It is also interesting to note that no-one is willing to give information relating to this incident.
Poaching on the Sabbath
Another amusing article we discovered about the River Forth was a report from the Kirk Session meeting on 3rd January 1694.
It stated that two church elders came across a group of 40 – 50 people poaching on the river. If this was not bad enough in itself, they had the nerve to do it on the Sabbath. The reaction from the crowd was to continue fishing whilst they threatened to throw the elders into the river.
The civil authorities refused to interfere so the only action the elders had left was to excommunicate the evil doers which they duly did.