The lands of Anstruther in Fife were granted to William of Candela in the early 12th century. Family tradition has it that he was of Norman/Italian descent, a son of William Count of Apulia, who accompanied William the Conqueror in the conquest of England. Many of such knights were given lands in Scotland by the twelfth-century Kings of Scots, and it may be that William was given lands in Anstruther by Kings Edgar (1097-1107), Alexander I (1107-1124) or David I (1124-1153). A William of Candela was certainly a benefactor of Balmerino Abbey (founded in 1229), giving the monks rights to lands in Anstruther. A Henry de Anstruther, accompanied Louis XI to the crusades and swore fealty to Edward I in 1292 and 1296.
Andrew Anstruther of Anstruther was confirmed in the lands of Anstruther by charter under the great seal dated February 1483/4. He fought at the battle of Flodden in 1513. His son John married a Douglas of Loch Leven and their great-grandson Sir James was chosen as a companion of the young king James VI, who in 1585 appointed him Hereditary Grand Carver, which office is still held by the head of the family. In 1595 he became Master of the Household. His elder son William was made a Knight of the Bath. William's brother, Sir Robert, was ambassador to the King of Denmark and to the Holy Roman Emperor. He became a Privy Councillor and is buried in Westminster Abbey. The early pictures in the Royal Collection were bought by him when he was in Germany.
Sir Robert's son Philip was a Royalist and received Charles II at Dreel Castle in Anstruther after his coronation at Scone in 1651. Among the five brothers of the next generation was the first Lord Anstruther and Sir Robert Anstruther (1658-1737), first Baronet of Balcaskie, who bought the estate near Pittenweem in 1698. Notable later members of the family include: Brigadier General Robert Anstruther (1768-1809), Scots Guards, who died commanding the rear guard in the evacuation of Corunna in 1809. The 5th and 6th Baronets were Lords Lieutenant of Fife. Sir Ralph Anstruther of that Ilk (1921-2001) served in the Coldstream Guards, was the 7th Baronet of Balcaskie and the 12th Baronet of Anstruther and a longstanding member of the household of Her Majesty the Queen Mother.