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Upper Largo, Largo Home Farm, Sir Andrew Wood's Canal

Canal (15th Century)

Site Name Upper Largo, Largo Home Farm, Sir Andrew Wood's Canal

Classification Canal (15th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Old Largo House; Largo House, Home Farm; Largo Canal

Canmore ID 32840

Site Number NO40SW 7

NGR NO 4213 0363

NGR Description NO 4201 0356 to NO 4233 0357

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/32840

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Largo
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO40SW 7 4201 0356 to 4233 0357

(NO 4201 0356 - 4233 0357) Canal (NR) (Track of)

OS 6" map (1938).

Sir Andrew Wood, in the reign of James IV of Scotland, built this canal from his house almost to the Church, upon which he used to sail in his barge to the church every Sunday in great state.

OSA 1792.

Track of canal, near Largo House. The remains some 1/4mile in length can still be traced in the field behind Largo home farm. It is believed to have been constructed by a former proprietor of Largo estate, Sir Andrew Wood.

RCAHMS 1933.

The course of this canal runs parallel, to and on the north side of, an old, ornamental enclosure bank. Slight remains are evident at NO 4217 0360 as a slight scarp and at NO 4231 0258 where a short stretch of a shallow channel is evident. Elsewhere there is no trace of the canal.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (EGC), 18 October 1962.

Constructed about 1495, this canal ran between Largo House and Largo Church, a distance of about a quarter of a mile. Built with no locks, it was abandoned some time before 1790. It is reputed to have been constructed by the Scottish admiral Sir Andrew Wood of Largo for the purpose of being able to 'sail in his barge to the church every Sunday in great state.' The remains of this canal can still be traced, a quarter of a mile in length, as a track in a field close to Largo House. The connection with Sir Andrew Wood places it as by far the earliest canal to have been built in Scotland.

J Lindsay 1968.

Excavation revealed no traces of clay, necessary to retain water if this was a canal. If anything, this was a drainage ditch.

Information from J Howdle, 11 August 1992.

This waterway is marked as Canal (remains of) on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1987) and there is a line on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Fife 1855, sheet 25) following the same course.

Information from RCAHMS (MD), 27 June 2002.

The current edition of the OS (GIS) AIB notes what appear to be lengths of canal earthwork between NO 4214 0362 and NO 4220 0361, and between NO 4230 0360 and NO 4233 0357. The former length is noted as Canal (remains of) [NAT].

The line of the canal may have headed E from the vicinity of Largo House (NO40SW 3.00) towards Upper Largo (Kirkton of Largo) village.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 7 June 2006.

Activities

Field Visit (18 August 1925)

Canal, Track of, near Largo House.

The remains of this canal track, about a quarter of a mile in length, can still be traced in the field immediately behind Largo home farm on the north-east side. It is believed to have been constructed by a former proprietor of Largo estate, Sir Andrew Wood, so that, on retiring from active sea-faring life, he could sail from his mansion house to the parish church of Largo.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 18 August 1925.

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

A curious canal, probably Scotland’s earliest, about 200–300 yards long, said to have been made in ca.1490 by Scottish admiral Sir Andrew Wood of Largo so that he could travel in state from his castle by barge to Largo Church on Sundays. The barge is reputed to have been ‘rowed by some English prisoners of war still in his service’ and, at death (1539?) his remains were borne in his barge by torchlight to his last resting place in the vault of Largo Church. Part of the track of the canal at the bottom of the manse garden and westwards can still just about be seen.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

Publication Account (2013)

UPPER LARGO CANAL

Largo Home Farm

A short canal dug in the late 15th century, c1495, to allow Admiral Sir Andrew Wood to travel by barge from his castle to Largo Church on Sundays, and to his final resting place. The track of the canal can be seen in the manse garden. However a dig in 1992 did not find any clay puddle

to retain water.

M Watson, 2013

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