the Ceres Inn surveying the passing scene from his niche in the wall is the
Toby-Jug figure of the Rev. Thomas Buchanan, Minister of Ceres 1578-99, known
as "the Provost of Ceres". This squat, grinning little figure has
a colourful history and has done a great deal of travelling in his time.
According to a well known book on old Ceres, "The Croft House Andersons", the statue was the work of a local stonemason called John Howie, whose best known work is the statue of David Maitland Magill Crichton that still stands by the side of the main road near the railway station in Cupar. He was born in 1820 and brought up in Saughtree Cottage in Ceres.
The statue is reputed to be a likeness of the Rev Thomas Buchanan, a man of great learning and a nephew of George Buchanan, the famous historian. He was minister of the village Kirk and the last Provost of Ceres, being presented to the post in 1578 by King James the Sixth. The statue's original resting place was in the gardens of Kirklands, the old church manse that once occupied what is now the church car park, where he was placed in 1837 by his first owner the Rev Joseph Crichton, minister of Ceres for almost 60 years. Howie apparently also carved the surround for his statue, placing the figure in a niche above a large panel which is said to depict a cavalry skirmish at the Battle of Bannockburn with a carved head on each side.
Almost forgotten, the statue remained in his niche In the Kirklands wall, undisturbed for almost a century, until he was pushed into sudden notoriety in 1933 when he was sold by Mr Ogilvie the postmaster, at that time the owner of Kirklands, to a Mrs Lindsay of Cupar. Such was the indignation caused by the loss of the figure to the village, that the people of Ceres insisted he be brought back as soon as possible.
Thanks mainly to the efforts of the minister of the time, the Rev Ian Simpson, the Provost was soon returned home where he was duly placed in a corner of the churchyard. After a while it was decided that the statue should be moved to a more prominent position in the village, and to this end an appeal was launched under the chairmanship of Rev Simpson.
There was no lack of response from Ceres people both abroad and at home, and the sum of £54 7s was soon raised. This money was used to erect the figure into his present home.
The lower portion of the facade is original but the original niche was replaced with an ornate fire surround reputedly taken from Craighall Castle. He was officially unveiled at l pm on the Saturday of the Ceres Games in June 1939 by Mr Jamas Henderson Stewart, MP for East Fife.
At the time all that remained to be done to complete the work was the erection of a railing around the facade but, with the outbreak of the Second World War, this was forgotten and the work is still pending!