TORRYBURN families have said "No" to erecting a historic Fife lighthouse as a national memorial to the victims of Scotland's witch-hunt.

The village's community council told the Press that residents had objected strongly to the idea of having a 20-feet beacon on their doorstep at a public meeting last week.

Fife Council put forward the proposal after calls to build a memorial to remember the human cost of witch-hunts in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries.

It was hoped that the famous two-centuries-year-old red and white Beamer Rock Beacon, which has been redundant since it was removed in 2011 to make way for the Queensferry Crossing, could be used as a ready-made piece of architecture for the memorial.

There's been a greater interest in the subject of witches around West Fife since the discovery of stone in 2014 that Torryburn witch Lilias Adie was buried under.

In 1704, Lilias died in prison before she could be tried and, to prevent her coming back from the dead to torment the living, she was buried under a large stone on the village's beach.

Fife Council archaeologist Douglas Speirs believed The Ness at Torryburn would be a good place for a memorial because it's thought more witches could have been accused and executed in Fife then any other county in Scotland – although that is difficult to establish.

Susan Donald, secretary of Torryburn Community College, said: "I think people felt it was a good idea but that we haven't got the infrastructure to accompany it.

"The resounding theme was: 'We don't want this'.

"I believe most are for having a witch memorial but the beacon is absolutely not coming here.

"We were told it would cost over £100,000 to rebuild the beacon, and although there would likely be grants available, the community council would need to find the money for it, which we weren't happy about.

"There also seems to be some misinformation about the number of witches condemned in Fife.

"When I asked a university academic if Fife had the most witches in the country he said you would really have to be careful about making such a claim.

"It seems that Fife Council is desperate to keep this beacon but they're not dumping it here and you have to ask who is going to pay for it?

"Yes, there is an argument that it could bring tourism, but there is no infrastructure such as additional parking."

Records about the scale of witch-hunting are problematic given the fragmentary nature of them. There are approximately 3,300 records of accusations of witchcraft in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries with around 1,400 recorded executions.

Haddingtonshire prosecuted 520 cases, Edinburgh 325 and Fife 280. But Haddingtonshire records are thought to have survived better and more cases would have been referred to the capital.

Susan added: "I think the council were quite taken aback by our reaction and that it would just get rubber-stamped.

"It was also quite clear that only about half of those at the meeting were from Torryburn with many attendees from a witches' memorial society.

"It is certainly interesting but everything comes down to money and we'd rather it be spent on something else.

"I think there should be a memorial in Scotland but it's been a case of the council pushing this and quickly realising they did not have the backing of the local folk."

Craig Walker, development plan service manager, said: “Various reuses of the beacon have been suggested.

"We’ve had informal discussions with a number of groups and some exciting ideas for its reuse as a national memorial have been raised. However, there are currently no detailed plans for it.

"This is a nationally-important Stevenson-designed maritime structure, commissioned at the instruction of Inverkeithing Town Council in 1844.

"The council is keen to see the structure retained within Fife if possible, although a new home anywhere in the bridgehead or wider Forth Estuary area would be appropriate.”