The Fisherwives of St. Abbs

I don’t normally do public works of art, statues, sculptures and the like, some of which I find absolutely awful. But these statuettes overlooking St. Abbs harbour are tasteful and very moving. The small bronze figures, no more than six inches high, represent the families of three St. Abbs men, Charles Purves and brothers James and William Thorburn, forever looking out to sea for the return of their menfolk. The three men were lost at sea in the great storm of 1881, a storm which claimed the lives of a total of 189 fishermen from the small fishing villages dotted along this east coast of Scotland. The impact on the families and the villages, with the loss of so many breadwinners, is unimaginable.

St Abbs harbour dates from 1833 although fishing was carried out from here at the time of nearby Coldingham Priory which dates from the 11th century when Edgar, King of Scots granted the monks of Durham permission to build a priory. The village was originally known as Coldingham Shore, Coldingham being an anglicised form of Urbs Coludi.


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