Adam Smith 1723 - 1790

Robert Adam 1728 - 1792

Baillie Robert Philp 1751 - 1828

Dr. John Philip 1775 - 1851

Marjorie Fleming 1803 - 1811

Michael Nairn 1804 - 1858

John McDouall Stuart 1815 - 1866

Sir Sandford Fleming 1827 - 1915

Let’s start with Adam Smith, the world famous economist...

• Ronald Munro-Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar, GCMG, KBE, PC (6 March 1860 – 30 March 1934), was the sixth Governor-General of Australia. He was born at Raith House, Kirkcaldy.


• Frederick Coutts CBE (September 21, 1899 – February 6, 1986) was the 8th General of The Salvation Army (1963-1969).

• John Thomson, the Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper, was born in Kirkcaldy on January 29, 1909. He  lived most of his life in Bowhill and died in the old firm match on September 5 1931. He is buried in Bowhill Cemetery, Cardenden.

• Bertha Wilson (1923 - 2007)  was the first female judge of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

• David Steel (Baron Steel of Aikwood, KT, KBE, PC) (1938 -  ), former leader of the Liberal Party, was born at Stanley Park, Kirkcaldy, on 31 March 1938. He was the first Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until 2003.

• Jocky Wilson (1950) was born in Kirkcaldy on 22 March 1950. He was twice World professional Darts Champion, in 1982 and 1989. He also won the British Professional Championship a record four times between 1981 and 1988, as well as the British Open.

• Val McDermid, journalist and author (titles include: Wire in the Blood and Distant Echo) was brought up in Kirkcaldy.


• Colin Cameron, born 23 October 1972, a professional footballer and Scottish internationalist was born in the Linktown area of Kirkcaldy. He started his career with Raith Rovers F.C. and was on the line up that won the Scottish League Cup in 1994.

• Racing driver Peter Dumbreck was born 13 October 1973 and grew up in Dysart, Kirkcaldy.

• Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman was born in Kirkcaldy but moved to Kent, England, when he was 12 years old.

Other famous people born in Kirkcaldy...

• Oliver Cromwell garrisoned his troops at Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkcaldy c1650

• Daniel Defoe visited Kirkcaldy c1694

• Thomas Carlyle taught at the Burgh School in Hill Street  1816 - 1818

• Hans Christian Andersen visited Kirkcaldy c1847

• John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps, lived in Kirkcaldy when his father was Minister of Pathhead Free Church 1875 - 1888.


• Scottish painter Jack Vettriano was born 17 November 1951. He grew up in the town of Methil. After leaving school at 16 he became an apprentice mining engineer, but took up painting as a hobby in his twenties. Vettriano now has studios in Scotland and London. He is represented by the Portland Gallery, London. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE.

• Although he was born in Govan, Glasgow, Gordon Brown the Prime Minister was brought up in Kirkcaldy from the age of three. He was one of a select group of children with high IQs who were moved from primary school up to Kirkcaldy High School a year early, they were called the E Group.

• Ewan McGregor studied drama at the college now called Adam Smith College as did The Proclaimers.

Other famous people associated with Kirkcaldy...

• Reformation figure Henry Balnaves (1512 - 1579) was born in Kirkcaldy, around 1512. He was a Scottish politician and religious reformer. He died in February, 1579.


• Scottish Theologian George Gillespie (1613 - 1648) was born in Kirkcaldy.

• Alexander Lang Elder was born in Kirkcaldy on the 18th April 1815, the second son of the merchant and ship-owner George Elder.

When the Elder family decided to expand their business Alexander set sail on the family ship 'Minerva' heading for South Australia.

He landed at Port Misery (now Port Adelaide) and set up a branch of the family company whilst also looking out for other business opportunities.

Alexander’s' brothers William, George and Thomas eventually joined him in Australia but it was only Thomas who remained there. Alexander, William and George returned to Britain.

Alexander died on 5th September 1885 in London.

Today 'Elders' is a multinational company providing financial, livestock, wool, merchandise, grain and real estate services.

Find out more at:


Many thanks to Philip D. Grier for bringing the above information to our attention via this website.

Parents: George & Joanna Elder

If you find the information on this page of interest you might consider purchasing the KCS ‘Famous Folk’ books that give more details about Kirkcaldy’s famous sons and daughters.

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