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

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - claire war­ren­der cwar­ren­der@the­courier.co.uk

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

Pic­ture: Steven Brown.

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.

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