Jack believes he is the right man to be the fifth Earl of Dunfermline
Tour guide faces competition from the fourth earl’s great-greatgreat-great-greatgreat-great-greatgrandson
A Fife tour guide is considering applying for a job that has been vacant for some time – more than 300 years, in fact.
Jack Pryde believes he is the ideal person to take on the role of the Earl of Dunfermline, a position forfeited by its last holder in 1690.
The tongue-in-cheek suggestion by the former Dunfermline Building Society worker came as he researched ideas for a conference he is helping organise in the town.
Mr Pryde, who now enjoys an international reputation as a guide with his own Discover Dunfermline Tours business, may have to join a queue for the title, however, as it would appear there is another who can stake a claim.
The current Marquess of Tweeddale, Charles Hay, holds the historic position of Chamberlain of Dunfermline and is the eight times great-grandson of the fourth and last Earl.
The history of the little-known earldom, created by James VI in 1605, will be discussed at the Undiscovered Dunfermline conference on October 14, where speakers will include Charles Hay’s cousin, Angus.
Mr Pryde is regularly booked up months in advance by cruise ship passengers keen to explore distant family connections and the scenic and historical aspects of Dunfermline and the rest of Fife.
He said: “Having been born and brought up in Dunfermline, it’s a real joy to share my knowledge of the area with all kinds of people, whether they are local or international visitors.
“People are curious about the history and enjoy getting a personal view of the place.”
He added: “If somebody wanted to anoint me Earl of Dunfermline I would be delighted, but I’m still pondering on whether or not the job is better left mysteriously unoccupied.”
The stories of other fascinating characters with links to Scotland’s ancient capital will also be told at the conference at Carnegie Library, Museum and Galleries.
They include a Dunfermline-born Native American who became a hero in the 1812 Niagara Peninsula War and a Victorian-era pioneer photographer.
Smaller presentations about aspects of Dunfermline’s heritage and an opportunity to hear about the greatly enlarged archive at the new museum will also be included.
Further information is available on the Dunfermline Heritage Community Projects website, dunfermlineheritage.org.
If someone wanted to anoint me Earl of Dunfermline I would be delighted, but I’m still pondering on whether or not the job is better left mysteriously unoccupied. JACK PRYDE
Left: Jack Pryde thinks he has what it takes to fill the position of Earl of Dunfermline, which has lain empty since it was forfeited by the Jacobite fourth earl, James Seton, in 1690.