Celebrating Cupar’s Medieval Past

Cupar has an incredible history, none more so than the story of Sir David Lindsay, writer of what is recognised as Scotland’s earliest surviving play. Sir David was honoured at an unveiling ceremony on the bank holiday weekend as part of the town’s Coronation celebrations …

The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday 7th May in Castlehill Community Centre …


The plaque – commemorating the sixteenth century Sir David Lindsay of The Mount, Cupar – was unveiled by the Earl of Lindsay DL.

The plaque also commemorates his play Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, the earliest surviving Scottish play.

Pictured above – with the plaque on the wall behind (L-R): Raymond Young, secretary of Castlehill Community Association who appeared as a 21st century reincarnation of Sir David, Bill Pagan, Chair of Three Estates Cupar, the Earl of Lindsay DL, Margaret Robertson, artist, Guthrie Hutton, Trustee of Three Estates Cupar and Bill Giles, medieval herald trumpeter.

Bill Pagan of Three Estates Cupar, the charity established to celebrate and promote Cupar’s connections with the play, says: “The site where the plaque is mounted was chosen because Cupar’s Castle Hill was where the play was first performed on 7th June 1552.” Bill adds: “The satirical play poked fun at the church and the merchant classes of the day, and was sympathetic to Scotland’s poor.

The date of the unveiling was chosen to coincide with the weekend of the Coronation of King Charles III, because the sixteenth century Sir David was Lord Lyon King of Arms for King James V of Scotland, and organised his coronation in 1513. James V was less than two years old when he was crowned, his father, King James IV, having been killed at the Battle of Flodden earlier that year.

Local artist, Margaret Robertson, created the plaque’s design. Speaking at the unveiling, Margaret said: “It has been an honour to design a special plaque for Sir David Lindsay of the Mount and his play, The Three Estates.Having seen the play performed, here, outside, at Castlehill, in 2000, I found it fascinating, much like the man himself.” Margaret augmented the classic black and white illustration of him – “with a definite twinkle in his eyes” – following the watercolour style of 16th century illustrations. The smaller roundels illustrate the three estates – the Clergy, Nobility and Merchants, using bright colours, surrounded by cardinal red, gold, yellow and black, typical of 1552, before the austerity of the impending Reformation.

Margaret adds: “I tried to convey a wee glimpse of the sumptuous variety and fun of this play, through the combination of text and imagery. I hope the plaque will help to put The Three Estates firmly on Cupar’s cultural map, and inspire an interest in the Old Scots of Sir David Lindsay’s  literary influence beyond his time.


Need more?

Local Cupar charity, Three Estates Cupar (SCIO SC048967), was set up in 2019 specifically to celebrate Scotland’s earliest surviving play, Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, and its double connection with the former Royal Burgh of Cupar:  its author, Sir David Lindsay’s estate was The Mount, Cupar, and the play was given its first full performance on Cupar’s Castle Hill on 7th June 1552.

You can find more on the charity via this link.