Both Kilconquhar Estate and the picturesque village of Kilconquhar go back into the mists of time. The village church, which overlooks Kilconquhar Loch, marks a site that has seen Christian worship since 1243 with more ancient forms of worship having been recorded there prior to that date.
Records of the estate go back to 1200 when it belonged to the Earls of Fife. In 1270, Adam, Earl of Fife died on a crusade and his widow married Robert Bruce (father of Robert 1st of Scotland). This led to the estate passing to Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, who had married Christian Bruce, sister of Robert 1st.
Kilconquhar remained in the Dunbar family until 1564 when it was bought by Sir John Bellenden, whose descendents owned the estate until 1634 when they sold it to John Carstairs. His family in turn sold it in 1722 to Thomas Bethune of Tarvit, a descendent of the famous Cardinal Beaton. When Thomas died in 1764, Kilconquhar Estate passed to George Lindsay of Wormiston, who had married Thomas’ daughter, Margaret Bethune. It has remained in the Lindsay family ever since.
The Kilconquhar Estate today belongs to Jamie Lindsay (16th Earl of Lindsay) who lives nearby with his family. The estate includes a range of commercial activities:
Farming: Kilconquhar is a mixed farm with wheat, barley and oats as well as grassland for rearing sheep and cattle. In total, the estate is around 400 hectares acres. It is committed to environmentally responsible farming and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming).
Many of the arable operations are performed by our neighbours, the Gilston Estate.
Equestrian: Kilconquhar has a successful equestrian business at Incharvie – on the small road that connects Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh villages.
Kilconquhar Loch is jointly owned and managed with the neighbouring Elie Estate. The loch is an important site for both breeding and wintering water foul including the rare little grebe that rears its chicks in the reed beds around the loch. Given the importance of the loch for bird life, Scottish Natural Heritage designated the loch and surrounding area a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
In 2009, together with Elie Estate, we entered into a Management Agreement with Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure the loch continues to be managed for the benefit of the environment. The water level is regulated by a complex drainage system known as the ‘loch run’ that runs south, largely in a deep underground culvert and finally out to sea through the Elie Harbour wall. Greatest care is taken to preserve the peace and quiet of the natural surroundings of the loch and the use of watercraft is strictly controlled by Fife Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.