Elie, Earlsferry, Williamsburgh and Liberty started off as three separate villages. Earlsferry is probably the oldest having been a community in 9th Century when a ferry was established between it and North Berwick or Direlton on the East Lothian side of the Firth of Forth. Subsequently this ferry was used by pilgrims journeying to St. Andrews where there were relics of the apostle. It became a Royal Burgh in 11th Century with consequent privileges. Elie which probably is derived from the Gaelic meaning an inlet was a Police Burgh. Williamsburgh and LIberty were assimulated into Elie in 1864 and Elie and Earlsferry were joined together in 1929.
Industry was scarce in the villages. Earlsferry in addition to golf club makers had a thriving linen weaving trade between 1830 and 1900 and Elie had a sheltered harbour at least after 1855 when a causeway was built to enable twenty four hour access from land.
The arrival of the railway in 1863 resulted in an influx of tourists and thereafter the villages became primarily a tourist resort. For more information see www.eliehistory.com