Above: Gardeners Cottages, Cambo Estate, Fife , Scotland where James Falconer was Head Gardener.
By the time Mary Hargreaves Falconer married Hugh F Dunbar (my great great grandparents) in 1899 the Falconers had been in Manchester for two generations. Their roots however take us back to Fife in Scotland and North Yorkshire.
The earliest know Falconer were John Falconar and his wife Mary Low, daughter of John Low and Mary Duncan who was born to 2nd October 1765. John Falconer and Mary married 16th September 1781 in Montrose, Scotland. In 1781 John lived at Dron, Fife from where he moved to St Andrews, Scotland to work as a Gardener in Strathtyrum Estate, now a Historic country house with golf course used for wedding and other events in the very walled John would have worked in. John was named in an account (1861 Parochial Directory For Fife And Kinross See below ). Their son James was born 18th February in 1787 in St Andrews Scotland. Mary Low died 2nd November 1821 in St Andrews Scotland at age 56.
Like his father James worked as a Gardener eventually as the Head Gardener, from 1851 to 1861, at Cambo House, Kingsbarn, , Fife. Below excerpt names James and gives us an idea of the types of workers in the Kingsbarn Parish at this time.
James married Isabella Cunninghame born 23rd March 1798 in Anstruther, Fife, daughter of John Cunninghame who, in 1798 at least, was a Sailor living in Anstruther, Fife and Elizabeth Taylor born 23rd January 1789 in Kilrenny, Fife. Isabelle had a sister Elizabeth Cunninghame born 2nd December 1792 also in Kilrenny, Fife.
James Falconer (1787) and Isabella and had 7 children: They were:
Right and below: Photos taken at Cambo Estate in 2011.
The (Cheape) family influence began in 1782, when James Cheape of Wellfield acquired the Strathtyrum estate which adjoins the southern boundary of the links. James Cheape was a competent golfer and in 1787 won the silver cup, which entailed the Captaincy of the Society of St Andrews' Golfers. At about the same time, the managers of the links in the form of the Town Council were deemed incapable of continuing with the administration of its business, due to "an abundance of strong liquor". Thus the links were rescued from drunken and incompetent councillors but passed to another hazardous environment, that of rabbit farming. Were it not for James Cheape who purchased the links in 1821 and in doing so rescued the links from the ravages of the rabbit, it is most likely the world would have been deprived of arguably the greatest golf course of all time.