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There is a tradition that the origins of Culross were as a 6th century Christian community, headed by St Serf. St Mungo, or St Kentigern, is reputed to have been born here and a chapel, the ruins of which can be visited, was built on the site of his birth. An abbey was founded in the 13th century and the monks began coal mining. There was an iron industry too, and salt panning. It was a busy port. In 1575, Sir George Bruce, a descendant of Robert the Bruce, was granted the lease of the abbey's collieries. Bruce built what is believed to be the first coal mine to extend under the sea, and invented the means by which it could be kept drained. He was also the builder of Culross Palace. James VI visited and granted the burgh of Culross royal status – so as ‘the Royal Burgh of Culross’, it prospered. However, a great storm destroyed the submarine coal mine. For a while, Culross had a thriving boot and shoe industry. But industries declined and so did the town. The National Trust for Scotland acquired the palace in the 1930s and set about preserving and restoring it, as well as many of the town’s other buildings. The result is that Culross looks like something from the 17th century, albeit a little sanitised version of it (thank goodness). In addition to the ochre-coloured palace and its garden, highlights include the Town House (reputedly used as a prison for witches) and the abbey. But simply wandering round the old cobbled streets is very pleasant too.
There is a car park a short walk from the village centre.