Upon St Serf's, the largest, which commemorates the patron saint of Fifeshire, are the ruins of the Priory of Portmoak - so named from St Moak, the first abbot - the oldest Culdee establishment in Scotland.
It became the prison at various periods of Robert II.; of Alexander Stuart, earl of Buchan, "the Wolf of Badenoch"; Archibald, earl of Douglas (1429); Patrick Graham, archbishop of St Andrews (who died, still in bondage, on St Serf's Island in 1478), and of Mary, queen of Scots.
9 Even in 13th century England more than half the population were serfs, and as such had no claim to the privileges of Magna Carta; disputes between a serf and his lord were decided in the latter's court, although the king's courts attempted to protect the serf's life and limb and necessary implements of work.
The Culdees of Lochleven lived on St Serf's Inch, which had been given them by a Pictish prince, Brude, about 850.