Wreath-laying in memory of the Torryburn 'Witch'.

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Published: Saturday 31 Aug 2019 by Fife Council

Laying the wreaths for Lilias

Laying the wreaths for Lilias

315th anniversary of the death of Lilias Adie



Depute Provost Councillor Julie Ford, today laid a wreath at the grave of Lilias Adie, 315 years to the day after she died in custody at Torryburn, accused of witchcraft.


Buried in inter-tidal zone on Torryburn beach, Lilias’ grave is the only confirmed example of a revenant burial in Scotland. This is a burial designed to prevent the deceased from rising from the grave. She is also the only ‘witch’ in Scotland to whom we can actually put a face.


Her skull and many of her bones were removed from her grave by curio hunters in 1852. Before being lost, her skull found a home at the University of St Andrews and photographs taken there in 1904 were recently used to produce a facial reconstruction. The whereabouts of her skull and bones is not now known. The skull was exhibited at the Empire Exhibition at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, in 1938 but none of her remains can now be traced. Today launches a campaign to find them.


Laying the wreath Cllr Ford said “It’s important to recognise that Lilias Adie and the thousands of other men and women accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland were not the evil people history has portrayed them to be. They were the innocent victims of unenlightened times.


“It’s time we recognised the injustice served upon them.


“I hope by raising the profile of Lilias we can find her missing remains and give them the dignified rest they deserve.”

Some of the fantastic wreaths created today with Lilias in mind.


Today’s event also raised awareness of a proposed Witches Memorial Trail being championed by Councillor Kate Stewart with the support of Cllrs Mino Manekshaw and Bobby Clelland. This would add a different dimension and connect to the Coastal Path at west Fife.


If you would like to know more about Lilias Adie, Fife Council Archaeologist Douglas Speirs, will be talking on the life, death and resurrection of Lilias Adie at Dunfermline Library and Galleries on 31 October.


Kate Stewart, Councillor 
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 23 20 Contact Kate Stewart online
By Post: Fife council, Fife House North Street, Glenrothes,KY7 5LT
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