for other counties, Fife shows the usual contrast between
the Old and New Statistical Accounts where the changes
in agriculture and industry that were just underway
in the 1790's were much more developed by the 1830's
far as roads go, the first turnpikes had appeared with
an act of 1753 which dealt with the Great North Road
between North Queensferry to Perth, Dunfermline to Culross,
and Queen's Ferry to Inverkeithing, Burntisland and
Kircaldy. Another act in 1790 extended the network to
Cupar and St Andrews, the East Neuk and several other
places; and these are often referred to in the OSA.
existing roads were statute labour, which was often
commuted to a monetary payment rather than having to
actually work on the roads. There are frequent comments
about how bad these roads were, especially in bad weather
and in winter.
the time of the NSA, the road system had greatly improved
with a good network of turnpikes and reasonably good
statute labour roads, with the first intimations of
railways. Where movement, both of people and goods,
had been both limited and difficult at the time of the
OSA - trips to local markets or to coal pits - this
had changed by the time of the NSA with frequent coaches
and carriers travelling to the main towns.
particular note to Fife are the links over the Forth
and the Tay, both of passenger ferries and vessels carrying
produce and manufactures. There was also an extensive
coastal trade carried on between the coast towns as
far as Dundee, Perth, Montrose and Aberdeen. Also of
note are the many references to coal mining, with the
pits of Balbirnie and Balgonie (near present-day Glenrothes)
mentioned again and again.
are the usual references to "Roman camps"
though it is interesting to see that one or two of the
writers are quite sceptical about these. There are also
mentions of the Viking incursions in the 870's. Of particular
interest is the Dane's Dyke at Fife Ness formed to protect
themselves as they retreated.
always, the Statistical Accounts can be amusing because
of their quaintness of expression or because their values
are so different from ours, though some of the matters
would not be particularly amusing to those affected
at the time. There are several references to the evils
of whisky-houses and to the infestations of beggars
and vagrants in a district and the need to control them.
from the useful references to contemporary roads and
travel, there are some valuable remarks on early bridges
and two references of particular value. One for Auchtermuchty
parish concerns a road that was said to have ran from
Rosie-brae for several miles to Falkland which suggests
that it may have dated from the 1500's. Another is a
reference to a causeway that ran from Lindores Abbey
in Newburgh parish to Ecclesia Magirdum, in the parish
of Dron. Each year the monks would proceed along this
to meet the nuns of Elcho who went to the church to
pay their devotions to their patron saint.
Much interesting information about the turnpike and statute
labour roads in Fife (as well as other historical periods)
can be found in The Roads of Fife by Owen Silver, John
Earlier Accounts of Fife
Robert Sibbald has some early references to Fife in
of Fife and Kinross, published in 1710 - see edition
of 1803 on Google Books. See also MacFarlane's Geographical
I which has some material on Fife mostly from the
Page 288 Torryburn: Mention of Newmiln Bridge
over the Bloddyr (Bluther Burn). 290 Mention of Torrie-burn
Harbour which is used by Dunfermline. Salt pans. Bridge
built by James Aird, the Minister.
Page 300 Inverkeithing: Mention of the North-ferry
Page 338 Anstruther: Bridge between Easter and
Wester Anstruther. 342 A charter of Balmerino Abbey
from the time of Alexander II refers to a grant of land
in Anstruther on the sea-coast by the way leading
Page 344 Crail: Crail has two streets running
west to east.
Page 349 St Andrews: St Andrews has three streets
well built, but now in great decay. 353
There is a small bridge over the Kinness as it runs
into the harbour.
Page 373 Bridges over the River Leven (Portmoak,
Leslie, Markinch, Scoonie parishes): There are
bridges on the Leven at the Gullet, near Loch Leven;
Auchmuir; Balbirny; Milntoun of Balgonie; and Camron-Bridge
on the highway from Kenoway to Kirkcaldie. (Note: Some
of the bridges are shown on early maps from the 1600's
- see NLS.
Adair 1687 shows roads)
Page 376 Kinglassie: East of Pitewchar (Pitteuchar,
on A92 south of Glenrothes, probably over the Lochty),
on the highway from Kirkcaldie to Falkland, is a stone
bridge of two arches built by Archbishop Bethune of
St Andrews (1473-1539). (Note: In
the scanned volume there is a handwritten note on this
page initialled DH, July 13th 1889 which says - "This
bridge has been long removed and one of a single substituted,
but chiefly built of the old materials. The voussoirs
are apparently those of Bethune's Bridge. The wing walls
are evidently original and exhibit ?? - DH may
be one of the subscribers listed at the end of the volume.)
Page 377 Bridges over the River Orr (Ballingry,
Auchterderran, Kinglassie, Dysart parishes):
The Orr has several bridges: where it leaves Loch Orr;
The Bow-bridge; Bowhill; and another bridge of two arches
by Archbishop Bethune on the Kirkcaldie to Falkland
road (presumably the Ore Bridge - see 6" map Sheet
32). (Note: DH as above says This
bridge is also removed except a small fragment. A new
bridge of three arches (??) was built in 1810 on a new
site, both the road and the river being altered and
straightened at the same time.)
There is also an interesting bridge
near here known as the "pack bridge" - see
25 - which was probably used to transport coal from
Balgonie to the coast.
Page 381 Bridges over the River Eden On the
River Edin (Eden) there is the Shiell-bridge of one
arch of stone, Ramorny-bridge started recently by local
gentry and completed by the county, Coupar (four arches),
Dairsie (three arches, built by Archbishop Spottiswoode)
and Guard-bridge (six stone arches).
Page 383 Kembuck At Kemback there is a bridge
over the water of Ceres.
Page 398 Cupar The streets of Coupar are the
Crossgate running north-south, with an old bridge to
its south; the Bonygate which meets the former at its
northern end and runs east-west; and the Kirkgate at
an angle between these two.
Page 418 Leuchars There is a stone bridge of
three arches on the Motray near Leuchars. Ferry over
the Tay at Woodhaven.
Page 419 Ferryport-in-Craig Ferry at Portincraig
over to Angus.
There are fifty carts in the country part of the parish
and twenty more in town. There is also a coach and two
The parish sees many vagrants, especially from the north,
who are travelling to the infirmary in Edinburgh.
Coal is available locally.
The roads are reasonably good and are made with the statute
labour, which is partly commuted. There are two small
bridges on the west side of the parish which were made
by the county.
There is street lighting in the town. The main village
is called Linktown; it has narrow streets and lanes.
Two fairs are held but they are very much in decline.
The post-town is Kirkcaldy; all commodities can be obtained
There are 12 miles of turnpike and 2 miles of statute
labour roads, all in good condition. There are three
large bridges and several smaller ones.
Apart from normal traffic, coaches run through from
Edinburgh to Dundee, east Fife, and Glasgow.
Mention of road from Cupar to Perth.
Licker-stanes between the Abbey of Lindores and the
church of Abdie.
Erosion caused by the Tay.
Since 1788 three quarries have been opened south of
Newburgh. The stones are taken to Newburgh and shipped
to London where they are used for the streets.
Grain sold or exported at Newburgh. Sheep and cattle
can be sold at Cupar, Auchtermuchty and Newburgh.
Four carters in the parish and four inn-keepers who
have too much business.
The roads are now improved with three turnpikes passing
through the parish, each of about six miles length.
There is also a statute labour road which is not as
good. A coach between Perth and Kirkcaldy passes through
Steam-boats sail on the Tay giving ready access to Perth
Coal, obtainable from the Newburgh shore or from the
Balbirnie or other pits, is expensive, as is lime. There
has been talk of a railway from New Inn to Newburgh.
Abercrombie or St Monans
No specific mention of roads.
Coal and salt worked in the parish.
In the past there was a considerable fishing trade carried
Parish infested with beggars from other places.
Fishing carried out here. The fish is supplied to the
Edinburgh markets, and taken into the surrounding countryside
by cadgers and fish-women.
Pittenweem, 1½ miles away, is the market and
There are two turnpike roads in the parish, one of them
along the coast. The Balcarres coach leaves Anstruther
for Pettycur three times a week and there is a daily
coach between Anstruther and Largo where there is a
steamer for Edinburgh. Many steamers pass along the
coast by which it is easy to reach Edinburgh.
There is a carrier from Crail to Edinburgh who passes
through once a week, and another who goes between Pittenweem
There is a fine bridge in Sir Ralph Anstruthers
Although there is a harbour, the entrance is narrow
and the bottom rough which deters boats from landing
Coal comes 4 miles from Earlsferry and is expensive.
|Inchcolm Abbey in Aberdour parish
As elsewhere in Fife, the roads are bad. Measures, however,
are being taken to remedy this with toll-bars being
erected and attention paid to the condition and line
of the roads.
The main street here has suffered by its causeway
being changed into a common road. It continues
long moist and is bad for health. In winter,
residents suffer from it being deep and in summer, from
the dust. The answer is a paved causeway.
There is plenty of coal, stone, and limestone although
coal comes from the neighbouring parishes. Lime is shipped
A ferry sails to Leith, mostly with grain.
Two pinnacles carry goods and passengers to Leith.
Before 1710, Anstruther was a creek under the customhouse
in Kirkcaldy. In that year it became a port, with a
customhouse. A new quay was built in 1753.
Details of the harbour, industry etc.
Weekly corn market.
Two packet boats sail to Leith every week.
There is a post office and a large number of shops in
A stagecoach goes to Edinburgh, three times a week,
through Pettycur, and daily by Largo. There is also
a daily coach to St Andrews.
Fish caught here is sent to Cupar, Edinburgh, Stirling
and Glasgow. Lobsters are sent to London.
Sea weed used as manure.
Coal and salt-works at Pittenweem.
Great storm c.1670 which damaged many houses, and another
c.1700 which washed away the Fore Street where the Town
House and other buildings stood.
Tenants had to undertake carriages of coal, stone etc.
for their proprietors.
There have been considerable benefits from the canal
giving access to Glasgow.
Mentions the floods as above.
A weekly market is held in Anstruther Easter, which
is reached by a fine bridge over the Dreel Burn - the
post office is also there.
There is only half a mile of turnpike road in the parish
on which the Edinburgh coach, by Balcarres, runs three
times a week. Each day an omnibus goes to and from Largo
to meet the steam-boat from Newhaven. There are regular
carriers to Edinburgh and the main Fife towns.
Steamers pass each day between Newhaven and Dundee,
Montrose and Aberdeen. In contrast to 30 years ago,
these places can now be reached very quickly and very
Coal is obtained locally or brought from Newcastle.
Among the improvements made since the last Account,
the bridge is one. It was built in 1831 at the expense
of the two burghs and replaced a ford which was inconvenient
and sometimes impassable. The main street has been widened
at the West Port and macadamised, and a footway has
been formed. The town is now lit by gas.
There are about 18 two-horse carts used for carrying
Black cattle sent to Dunfermline, Kinghorn, Dysart etc.
The roads, made under statute labour, are quite indifferent.
The statute labour is now partly commuted, and turnpike
roads are to be made. One will pass through here, leaving
the Kirkcaldy to Cupar road at the Plaisterers inn and
run via the parishes of Leslie, Kinglassie and Auchterderran
to the Queensferry road at Beath kirk. This line of
road is already used in summer but there will be great
advantages to a free communication through this area.
People are not hostile to the building of turnpike roads.
With the roads being so bad, farmers to the north of
the parish are unable to access the coast towns for
half the year, and so get less money for their produce.
The main market town is Kirkcaldy.
There are a few people here, called tinkers and horners,
who move about and are viewed with suspicion by residents
- two have been banished in the last six years.
Coal is very cheap.
Five trysts held in Lochgelly every year.
There are limestone quarries and several coal pits.
The main village is Lochgelly with metalled roads in
several directions. Although the lines are not well
chosen, they are in reasonable condition and have been
of great help during the recent depressed state of agriculture.
In the OSA, the writer had mentioned that parliamentary
approval had been given for a turnpike that would run
east to west from the Plasterers Inn on the Leven
to Kirk of Beath. The road would have made for a more
direct and shorter journey to Cupar, Dundee and St Andrews,
as well as towards Dunfermline, Queensferry and Edinburgh,
and Glasgow. As yet this road has not been made, just
short sections for various purposes which if the road
was built would become bye-roads. It is, however, still
possible that the road will be made as it has obvious
Another road which will run south and north from Burntisland
to the Inn of Farg in Strathearn to join the Queensferry
to Perth road is projected and is the subject of much
discussion. It will be more direct and level than the
Queensferry road. The route will be from Burntisland
by Auchtertool, Auchterderran, Portmoak, Strathmiglo
parish near Edenhead, to the Inn of Farg.
A major hindrance to this road is that it would need
the construction of a low-water pier at Burntisland,
which has not yet been done. The whole road would cost
less than £20,000 yet £60,000 has been spent
on the Carlisle to Glasgow road which benefits only
Glasgow whereas this proposal would benefit everyone
north of Edinburgh.
Cattle dealers from England have been buying cattle
directly which has injured the local markets.
One saddler in the parish.
Of the four fairs, that held in July is one of the largest
Coal has to be brought from Balgony and Balbirnie, some
6 miles distant.
Daneshalt (Dunshelt, one mile south of Auchtermuchty)
is said to mean shelter of the Danes, referring to their
flight after a battle on Falkland muir. The road to
Falkland, Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn runs through this village.
The roads and bridges are improving and the benefits
of the turnpikes will soon be felt by all, though the
common people do not acknowledge this as they consider
the statute labour a hardship.
Repair of the Perth to Kinross road by Auchtermuchty-hill
is being considered, which would benefit the town as
this route would be 20 miles shorter than going by the
It would be better to have a post-office here than at
Falkland as it is more central and lies on the Kinross
to Cupar and St Andrews road.
In the south-east of the parish there are the remains
of a road which starts at the east end of Rosie-brae
(note: this is very close to Wester Rossie - see 6"
map) and runs directly to Falkland. When ploughing along
its course, large stones are encountered. It is notable
that 50 years ago these lands were overflown with
water (note: this may refer to Loch Rossie which
was being drained about this time).
The Stirling to St Andrews road and the easternmost
Edinburgh to Perth road via Kirkcaldy and Newburgh pass
through here - a coach has been running on the latter
road for some years now.
Coal comes 2 or 3 miles from Auchterderran. A statute
labour road runs east to west through the parish. The
statute labour is rated at 10 shillings Sterling per
plough; householders pay 18 pence annually.
Wages have risen because of the growth of manufacturing
towns on the coast and the large numbers of workers
needed for the making and repairing of the roads.
Whinstone is quarried for road metal.
Kirkcaldy is 5 miles distant and regular markets are
There is no post-office which is very inconvenient.
The turnpike road from Kirkcaldy to Dunfermline passes
through the two villages in the parish. For six years
now a coach has ran on it between Kirkcaldy and Glasgow.
Coal is obtainable at several places, some four miles
distant but costs, including carriage are quite high.
Although the turnpike to Kirkcaldy is in good condition
it has some hard pulls on it. As there is an obvious
line that the road should take, one can only surmise
that the route followed was because carriage was by
horseback and the higher ground was drier. The turnpike
road from Auchtertool to Kinghorn and Pettycur is very
hilly and little used for carriage, the longer route
by the West-Bridge at Link-Town of Abbotshall being
To the west of Lochore house, there are the remains
of a Roman camp - some finds of Roman materials have
been found. Some have conjectured that this was where
the 9th Legion was attacked.
It had been said that there was a Roman camp near Chapel
Farm, but nothing can be seen today.
Coal is worked locally but lime has to be brought from
Grain is sent by boat on the Tay to the Forth and to
A ferry-boat passes twice a week to Dundee, and Woodhaven
is two miles away, where there is a public ferry with
frequent boats, and allows easy access to the Dundee
market with dairy produce.
Coal and lime is delivered here for the district.
Grain shipments began here about 30 years ago when merchants
would buy the grain at Cupar and receive it at Balmerino.
Before that time, farmers took it to Dundee where the
merchants shipped the surplus, or carried it on horseback
to the south coast.
Details of Balmerino Abbey.
The nearest market town is Cupar, seven miles away and
the nearest post-office is Newport, about four miles
There are no turnpike roads; the statute labour roads
are in good condition.
A passage-boat sails to Dundee at least once a week
and many boats land coals at the pier. Fifty years ago
it had been the major point on the southern side of
the Tay for export of grain but none at all is now shipped
except wheat to the Dundee bakers. Considerable quantities
of potatoes however are shipped to London and other
Coal is brought by sea from Newcastle and towns on the
Forth. Some farmers cart it in from the coal pits to
the south of the county.
No mention of roads.
The nearest market towns are Dunfermline and Kinross,
about six miles distant.
The post-office is at Blair-Adam Inn in the parish of
The Queensferry to Perth road runs for four miles through
the parish, on which are 3 public coaches, including
the mail each day. Bridges are good.
It is said that the town surrendered to Cromwell on
condition that he repaired the harbour and streets of
the town. The writer notes that the streets have
never been mended since, which their present state too
It has recently been proposed to have the public ferry
from here to Leith, or rather Newhaven, where a pier
would be built to allow passage at any state of the
Details of trade and manufacture as well as of the harbour,
and how it could be of utility to the Navy.
Possible Roman camp on Dunearn Hill.
Good quarries of freestone and limestone.
There are four boats which cross the Forth daily.
Possible Agricolan camp as mentioned above.
Mention of the town surrendering to Cromwell, as above.
A few years ago, the old pavement was broken up and
the main street macadamised.
Details of the herring fishing which around 1800 was
Kirkcaldy, six miles distant, is the nearest market
There is a post office here. Five miles of turnpike
road but no public coaches run regularly through here
- occasionally the Dundee and Perth coaches will pass
through if they are unable to land at Pettycur.
There are regular ferries to Newhaven but the fares
are thought too high. There are also sailing boats,
mostly for carrying goods.
Annual fair. Coal brought from Lochgelly area.
No mention of roads.
St Andrews, 3½ miles away, is the market and
post town. A turnpike road runs through from St Andrews
to the south coast of Fife. A coach runs on this three
times a week to Largo where there is a steam-boat to
Edinburgh. Another turnpike runs south from Newport
ferry, opposite Dundee. The two roads are linked by
another road at Higham Loan.
In recent years a new line of road has been made towards
the east; it meets the St Andrews to Anstruther road
In the past it was very inconvenient to reach the south
and east coast from here. A carriage had to go by Balcarres
The thirteen bridges here are in good condition.
Coal is available locally at Drumcarro and Largoward.
In a bid to reduce the spread of cholera thought in
part to be carried by vagrants, a system was introduced
to control the movement of vagrants. The author notes
that our highways are now free from those exhibitions
of squalor, filth, and deformity, with which they formerly
Smuggling used to be carried on in the district.
It would be a benefit to the parish if more attention
was paid to the cross-roads, and a greater proportion
of the statute-work allowed for putting them in some
Mention of turnpike roads in the parish, viz. Colinsburgh
to Crail via Kellie toll; Anstruther to St Andrews;
Cupar to Crail which enters the parish at Lathockar
bridge. Another road stretches from Balcarres Den in
the west of the parish over to the St Andrews turnpike.
In all there are 21 miles of road: 9 miles of turnpike,
6 statute labour, and 6 miles not classed under either.
Anstruther, Pittenweem and Colinsburgh are all less
than 2 or 3 miles distant and give access to post-offices,
markets, and harbours.
Coal, lime and stone available locally.
Barley sent to Boness, Culross, Alloa and Dunfermline;
meat and potatoes to Dunfermline.
Coal available locally as is stone - this is exported
from Torry and Limekilns.
The village of Cairneyhill stands on the road from Dunfermline
to Torryburn, Culross, Alloa and Stirling.
The bridge in Carnock is dated 1638.
Details of the coal mines in the parish. The cost of
carting coal is 4d per mile.
In summer the roads are tolerable but in winter or after
heavy rains they become near impassable because of the
softness of the soil and the number of carriages using
them. It is hoped that this will improve if the statute
labour was properly applied, or a reasonable commutation
made, as well as turnpike roads - the benefits of these
to neighbouring areas are now being acknowledged.
Possible Roman camp on Craig-Luscar Hill.
Mentions an ancient cross in the village.
Refers to Chalmers (Caledonia) saying that the Romans
had camped in the parish. There is no vestige of a Roman
camp said to have been on Camps farm. On Carneil Hill
some Roman urns and coins said to have been found but
the writer had been unable to gather any information
Says that the parochial registers refer occasionally
to collections for bridges (e.g. Cramment (Cramond)
Mention of the ancient cross which stood
in the village and which was used for road building.
The cost of a close cart is L8 - L10, an open cart for
corn or hay L3 or L6 with wheels. Hiring a horse and
cart for a day is 4s.6d.
The nearest market is Dunfermline, 3 miles away. A cattle
fair is held in Carnock in May, though it is not as
large as it once was.
A penny-post from Dunfermline was started in 1838. The
posts to Culross and Kincardine pass through Cairneyhill,
a village in the parish, as does the stage-coach between
Kirkcaldy and Glasgow and carriers to Edinburgh twice
a week, and to Auchterarder, Comrie and Crieff once
a week. There are coaches to Edinburgh from Dunfermline
and the steamers between Stirling and Edinburgh are
easily reached from here.
There are 5 or 6 miles of good turnpike in the parish
but the statute labour roads are poor, particularly
the main one between Cairneyhill and Carnock which makes
for difficult travel, particularly in winter.
There are six small bridges, two of which have been
widened. The one in Carnock has an inscription dated
Coal obtained locally.
|The Bishop's Bridge
- this is the one "that resisted the flood"
old road between Kennoway and St Andrews which passed
through Ceres - see Heritage
Paths site for more information
Two annual fairs; the one in June is one of the largest
cattle fairs in Fife. The roads are very bad as the
soil is deep and wet. A turnpike act has recently been
obtained and two turnpikes will pass through this parish.
Ceres Burn although it appears insignificant occasionally
causes much damage as when it swept away a bridge. This
has now been replaced and stands alongside an older
bridge which resisted the flood.
Details of the coal and limestone to be found in the
Cupar is only 2½ miles away, and has a weekly
market and a post office - a messenger takes letters
each day. Depending on where they live some of the farmers
use Largo and St Andrews, and a few, Dundee. Two annual
markets in Ceres, both well attended.
There is a turnpike that runs east to west across the
parish, and a road that runs north to south.
A coach runs through each day in the summer to Largo
where it catches the steam-boat to Edinburgh.
Carriers go regularly to the nearby towns.
Coal available locally.
Coal is brought 6 miles from Balgonie and Balbirnie.
There are no turnpike roads but the roads and bridges
are in reasonable condition.
The parish is crossed by the Newburgh to Kirkcaldy and
the Cupar to Kinross roads.
Near the inn of Trafalgar there are remains of two fortifications
probably intended to secure the pass here (one of two
such passes) that leads into the central part of Fife.
At Monks Moss the abbey of Lindores had been allowed
to gather moss and heather for fuel.
Before proper drainage, Pitlair was surrounded by a
moss across which there was one road.
Being on the Cupar to Auchtermuchty (& Kinross)
road, communications are easy. A runner leaves mail
at the Trafalgar Inn and at the lodges of the houses
on this road. There used to be a coach but the nearest
is now three miles away. At New Inn, six miles away,
coaches can be caught to Edinburgh and Dundee and Aberdeen.
There are carriers to several places locally and one
twice a week between Cupar and Auchtermuchty.
A railway is proposed to connect the Forth and Tay and
will run through the parish.
Much grain is sent to Glasgow and its environs; this
is now easily done by the canal whereas before there
was no outlet.
The town is thought to go back to the 9th century.
There are two streets, parallel to the shore. The one
to the north is paved, but the Nethergate is not.
It was a former important centre of the herring trade
but for various reasons this is very much in decline.
Many lobsters are sent to London.
Details of the Danes Dyke (NMRS NO60NW
5) which they are said to have raised when escaping
after their defeat in 874 at the water of Leven.
Goods are brought each week by carriers from Edinburgh
and Dundee, and sometimes from Leith by boat.
The statute labour is paid in kind on 50 plough gates;
householders pay commutation money amounting to L.12
or L.14 yearly. The road between Anstruther and St Andrews
that passes through Crail is in tolerable
condition. If the statute labour was implemented thoroughly
something could be done about the other roads. A middle
road to St Andrews would be of great benefit.
In recounting a story set in the early 1700s about
a duel, the author refers to this taking place at the
standing stone of Sauchope past which ran the road from
Crail to Balcomie.
Prior to improvements to Kingsmuir, neither man
nor beast could pass without the risk of sticking in
Mention of the Danes Dyke at Fife Ness, as above.
The landscape has greatly changed from 50 or 60 years
ago. Among the improvements mentioned are the effects
of drainage on boggy ground, and the disappearance of
wains, heavy carts drawn by oxen with two horses leading,
which were used to take manure to fields or produce
The mail is brought each day but there is a need to
reinstate a runner to St Andrews - this service had
been removed in 1829. The writer notes that the runner
took only two hours to reach St Andrews. The turnpike
and commutation roads are in good condition.
A light van or wagon goes to St Andrews with passengers
and parcels. Parcels are also carried to Anstruther,
and carriers go to Edinburgh, Dundee and Cupar. The
steamers that sail between Aberdeen, Montrose, Dundee
and Edinburgh call off the harbour each day.
The streets of Crail are lit by gas. The ends of the
streets still have the name of ports which
implies that they were closed off with gates. An act
of parliament of 1503 required towns on the sea side
such as Leith, Inverkeithing, Kinghorn, Dysart, Crale
to have these.
Up until 1700, Crail was a major centre of the herring
fishing. Details are given of the harbour and of the
The roads are good but there are no turnpikes.
There is thought to be a Roman post in the parish, and
a Northmens camp at Normans Law.
Two horse cart costs L10; a single horse cart L9.
The nearest market and post-town is Cupar, five miles
away. Carriers go there and to Dundee.
There is a turnpike road between Pettycur and Newport,
and one from Cupar to Perth. A statute labour road leaves
the Newport road and runs through Luthrie to Balmerino;
and another leaves this at Luthrie and goes to Newburgh.
Coal is brought from Balbirnie and Orr Bridge (11 &
13 miles distant), and also from Balmerino where it
is landed from England and Alloa.
There is supposed to be an Agricolan camp on Walton
Hill, and another at Newtyle in Angus.
Quarries of freestone and limestone, and evidence of
There is a stone bridge across the Eden. The road from
Kirkcaldy to Dundee has been repaired in parts but is
still nearly in a state of nature. Statute
labour is mostly in kind, but the turnpike roads that
are being made should lead to improvements.
The writer thinks it unlikely that the Romans camped
here, as suggested in the OSA.
Details of the artist David Wilkie, and his painting,
The parish registers start in 1693 and have occasional
references to collections for roads, bridges and harbours.
Thirty five years ago smuggling was common in Pitlessie,
but does not occur today.
Limestone is quarried locally and distributed widely
in Perthshire and Forfarshire. A number of carters are
employed in bringing coal in, mainly from Teasses in
Ceres parish, for burning the limestone and taking it
to the port of Newburgh. In the summer months, there
can be 100 or so carters from the surrounding parishes,
most of whom are tenant farmers gaining full use of
Cupar, 4 miles distant, is the market and post town;
there is a messenger who brings letters and parcels
on most days.
The main road between Dundee and Edinburgh passes through.
The mail runs on it as do two other coaches. Carriers
from Cupar to Edinburgh pass through three times a week,
and another carrier goes from here to Cupar.
There are 2 miles of turnpike and 6 miles 1615 yards
of statute labour road.
Coal comes from Balbirnie, about 6 miles away on the
Of the two fairs held here over many years, one that
is mostly for cattle continues and is very well attended.
Since the OSA was written in 1791 a stone bridge has
been built over the Eden at Clushford.
This is an old town and was the seat of the Thanes of
The streets have all been repaved in the past year.
Bridge on the south of the town.
Manufacturing is limited by the high cost of land carriage.
He discusses the benefits that would arise from a canal.
The writer gives a graphic description of the problems
caused by the aggressive begging of the many vagrants
passing through the town.
At Carslogie, on the road just west of the town, travellers
could see the jug tree where the iron jugs
had hung until recently.
Mystery plays and others used to be performed at the
Playfield in the middle ages and later.
In recent years, turnpike roads have been built. They
were initially disliked but people now accept their
value. The turnpikes here contain a hard and
soft, or summer and winter road. The cross roads
are very bad, and are unlikely to improve if the statute
labour is applied as it is at present. The lack of a
still-yard for weighing hay, coals etc. should be addressed.
Details of the market.
Four carriers and three messengers and one coach and
eight chaises in the parish.
At the Wards, now a fertile plain but at one time under
water, there are places called Ferry.
Coal and lime are available some 7 and 10 miles to the
south although carriage is expensive.
Six quarries in the parish, two of which are of greenstone
used for road metal.
Cupar is an important market town with a weekly corn-market
and many fairs. It is also a post-town.
Being on the great road leading from Edinburgh to Dundee
and the north, three coaches pass through each day as
well as coaches to St Andrews and Largo where a steam-ferry
boat sails to Newhaven.
It is hoped that the Royal Mail between Edinburgh and
Dundee can be routed through Cupar - consideration is
being given to building piers on both sides of the Forth
to enable this.
The town now has gas and looks very pretty at night
when lit up.
Since the last Account the main change is the great
improvement in the cross-roads which are now like turnpikes.
Three fine stone bridges have been built over the Eden.
There are proposals for a railway.
Farmers send much grain to St Andrews and the Firth
of Tay. Coal is used as fuel. There is a three-arch
bridge over the Eden, built by Archbishop Spottiswood
(1565 - 1639). Turnpike roads are just starting to be
made but the roads maintained by the statute labour
commutation money are bad.
The turnpike from Edinburgh to Cupar and Newport runs
through the village of Osnaburgh; several coaches pass
There are coal and salt works in the parish which is
exported from the harbour of St Davids; the coal is
carried here four miles from the pits on waggons.
There are major deposits of coal in the area. Coal has
been worked at Fordel for close to 240 years. A wooden
railway runs from the colliery to St Davids Harbour.
A new line is being planned for an iron railway.
The nearest market town is Inverkeithing. The only village
in the parish is the small port of St Davids.
434 Details of a useful bridge built in the town
between 1767-1770. There was also another bridge in
the town. Streets paved and lighting improved and more
attention paid to street cleaning. Mention of the stranger
poor having been a nuisance in the past - now an official
keeps a check on them.
p. 435 Coal available within half a mile although the
road to it is bad.
436 There is talk of a canal which would reduce the
cost of carriage to the coast, which has been a disadvantage
to the town. Harbours at Limekilns (image)
467 ff Details of quarries, particularly for limestone
and of its export through Charlestown to places along
the Forth and the Tay and the north of Scotland.
Dunfermline Abbey granted right to extract coal in 1291,
although this was done in quite a limited way.
p. 471 The Earl of Elgin is making a wagon way, four
miles long, to move coal to his limeworks.
p. 477 There are also wagon ways to the coast, with
the coal being shipped at Limekilns, Brucehaven and
478 A turnpike road passes east to west through
Post office, market. The roads are bad but since the
building of turnpikes they are improving, and will continue
to do so once the statute labour is converted to a monetary
payment and properly applied. There are 300 carts and
8 gentlemens' wheeled-carriages.
A charter of 1291 granted the Abbey the right of working
one coal pit and of quarrying stones. They could use
roads and footpaths though the lands of Petyncreff and
Considerable details of the coal-mining in the area
are given; mention of rail-roads running from collieries
to Inverkeithing harbour. Details are also given of
limestone and other quarries.
Gas lighting started in 1829.
Weekly market on Tuesdays for grain, and on Fridays
for dairy produce.
A police bill of 1811, besides dealing with the police,
gave powers for paving, lighting and cleaning the streets,
and for widening or constructing new streets.
There are 31 miles of turnpike road in the parish. Two
coaches run to and from Edinburgh each day. A coach
runs to Falkirk where the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
can be accessed. The bridges in the parish are in good
condition - as there are no rivers they are all small.
There are some railroads, chiefly for the movement of
coal. There are also harbours at Charleston, Limekilns
Eight fairs are held during the year for the sale of
horses, cattle etc.
Coal is easily obtained locally.
No details of the roads.
Balmerino Abbey had a small house or preceptory at the
site of Dunbog House, with adjoining land.
There was a large village in the parish which has now
An entry in the parish register for 1682 refers to voluntary
contributions ordered by the Privy Council towards building
bridges at Inverness and Dumbarton.
The nearest market and post-town is Newburgh.
Coal comes from Coul and Balbirnie about 9 miles away.
Mention of the road between St Andrews and Anstruther.
The writer notes that a supposed Roman camp is in fact
a drain from some old coal pits.
Although coal could be made available locally, an agreement
made by the owner with another proprietor not to extract
it until the others mine was exhausted means that
people have to obtain coal from some distance and at
The St Andrews to Anstruther turnpike crosses the parish;
a curricle runs on this three times a week. Both towns
have a weekly grain market. Fifteen horse and cattle
fairs are held each year within seven miles.
There are several post offices within a few miles of
Coaches run between St Andrews and Cupar and Dundee.
Coal is obtainable directly from coal mines and from
Coal seams have caught fire and have led to the rocks
near the harbour and some way inland being calcined.
There are roads near the harbour called The Pot Wynd
and the Burning.
Dysart was an important port in the 1500s but
this trade has declined.
Details of manufactures and their export - Pathhead
a major centre for the manufacture of nails - there
are also several saltpans.
Apart from markets there are several fairs but these
are less important than they used to be.
Fish are brought here from Wemyss on womens backs.
There is a good public road but the cross roads are
very bad, being almost impassable. It is hoped attention
will be paid to them once the public roads are finished.
There has been some grumbling about tolls but the benefits
of the well-made turnpikes are clear.
Roman station in the parish.
Coal has been mined here for upwards of 350 years. Ironstone
is shipped to Carron.
The Danes invaded Fife in 874, a fleet anchoring off
The town has been an important port since the middle
At Carberry, just over a mile north of the town, the
Romans are said to have had a camp but nothing can be
Details of manufactures.
At the west end of the parish is Pathhead which takes
its name from a steep path that leads to Kirkcaldy.
There are two sub-post offices, Kirkcaldy being the
Of turnpikes, there is one to Dundee and Aberdeen; another
to St Andrews by Ceres; and a branch from the Dundee
road to the interior of the county. Coaches run to Aberdeen,
Dundee, Perth, Montrose and Crail. There are good bridges
over the Oar and Lochty. There are boats to Newhaven
and Leith, and on occasion, to Dundee.
The six annual fairs used to be well attended by merchants
from the cities but little is done today.
Fuel is easily available and very cheap.
Coal available locally.
Very good harbour, although it is neglected.
The writer relates the tradition of McDuff, Thane or
Earl of Fife, being pursued by Macbeth and being ferried
over to North Berwick - see Kilconquhar.
The harbour is much decayed but as it is potentially
of great utility moves are presently being made to try
to improve it.
There is no market here, Colinsburgh two and a half
miles away, being the nearest, although if the harbour
is repaired it is likely that markets both for cattle
and grain would be established.
There is a sub-post office here.
A turnpike road runs across the parish but there are
too many toll bars. There are two on the way to Pittenweem,
four miles away and three on the way to Kirkcaldy. A
coach connects with the steam-boat between Largo and
Two packet boats sail each week to Leith. Steam sailing
vessels have done much to open up the coast of Fife
- boats to and from Dundee and Aberdeen call in here
more than once a day. If the harbour was repaired, it
is feasible that sailings to London would be established.
The roads generally are good.
Coal is obtainable within the parish and is also brought
in by sea from Newcastle and Bridgeness, near Grangemouth.
Green cloth made here is marketed at Auchtermuchty and
Cupar. Apart from a weekly market the burgh holds several
fairs which are well attended and where much business
The number of travellers through Falkland is now less
since the great north road was made by Kinross and Queensferry.
The village of Dunshelt is said to have its name from
a place where the Danes had a camp.
Reference to suggestions that the Romans had a camp
on the Lomond Hills and that the site of the battle
of Mons Grampius was here.
Seven markets are held here but all except one have
declined. Formerly, the Lammas market was one of the
largest in Scotland. These fairs used to be held up
in the Lomond Hills but have now moved to the town.
Besides the burgh of Falkland there are two villages.
Of these, the writer notes that narrow dirty streets
cross each other in every direction, and the primitive,
but most odious custom of making dunghills in front
of the houses, is still maintained.
Before drainage, the plain to the east of Falkland was
so marshy that the presbytery when asked by James VI
in 1611 to hold their meetings in Falkland instead of
Cupar refused to comply as Falkland could not be approached
across these lands in winter or after heavy rain.
Coal is brought in from Markinch and Lochgelly.
There is a ferry over to Broughty Ferry where passengers
and animals used a timber platform set on a craig or
rock to board. Although there are now piers, the platforms
are occasionally used to board horses.
The ferry was much used prior to the bridge at Perth
being built so now the road is much less busy. However,
drovers still use it as it is a safe crossing and there
is pasture on both sides of the Tay.
Some of those with horses often hire them out to drive
coals and other items. Coal has to be brought 9 or 10
miles which affects its cost. Lime comes in either by
sea or is driven from between 10 and 15 miles away.
With a constant demand for country vivres (provisions,
victuals: see DSL) in Dundee, some travel the country
collecting these for sale in Dundee.
A Kings Boat stationed here boards all foreign
vessels to ensure that customs dues are paid.
This is an old ferry that ran over to Broughty Ferry
on the north side of the Firth of Tay. Passengers used
a craig or rock to access the boats and a timber platform
was built on this to allow horses and cattle to be loaded.
Animals are now shipped at Newport for Dundee by steam
vessel and it is expected that one will be introduced
A fair, much reduced in size from the past, is still
held here. Cupar is the nearest market town of any size,
eleven miles away, but Dundee is more frequented being
easily reached either from here or Newport.
There is a fine road, three miles in length, to Newport
which was built in 1830. There is a large pier at the
ferry for landing goods and a smaller one for the ferries.
One major improvement required is the provision of a
Norman Law, which has a camp, may have been a fortified
place of the Norwegians when they raided the country.
Barley is shipped out from the shores of the Tay.
The writer mentions an extensive submerged forest existing
in the area.
In the parish registers there is an entry in 1702 of
a collection of funds for Gullet Bridge - L1 was raised
(note: there is a Gullet Bridge just
east of Loch Leven).
A double horse cart cost L12.
Fish caught locally are sent mostly to Perth for onward
dispatch to the cities.
There is no pier in the parish but coal, slate, tile
and stone are sometimes landed.
Most farmers go to Cupar with their produce but Newburgh
and Dundee are also visited. Newburgh and Cupar have
There is no turnpike road. A statute labour road runs
between Woodhaven and Newburgh about half a mile from
Although the steamers between Perth and Dundee sail
past regularly they can only be boarded at Newburgh
Coal from England and towns on the Forth is landed on
the beach except in winter where it is off-loaded at
Newburgh and Balmerino. It is also carted the 12 miles
A pier is needed both for the shipment of grain, landing
coal and lime, and giving easier access to the steamers.
There are ferries at Woodhaven and Newport. These are
not so busy since the bridge at Perth was built.
There is an enthusiasm for improving roads.
Building stone is brought from Angus.
Coal has to come by sea or overland some 8 or 10 miles
which makes it expensive.
There are begging poor from Perth and other places,
and travelling tinkers.
Whinstone is quarried locally, freestone comes from
Angus or the quarries south of the Eden and lime is
brought by sea or quarries some distance away.
Dundee on the opposite side of the Tay, and Cupar, 11
miles away, are the market towns. Post office at Newport
and coaches to Edinburgh.
The main roads are the Edinburgh road which goes to
Dundee and the north, three miles of the old turnpike
to Woodhaven, a road from this to New-Inn, Cupar to
Ferry port-on-Craig, a turnpike between the latter place
and Newport , and one between Newport and Woodhaven.
Two parish roads connect the turnpikes. All are in good
Prior to 1822, there had always been two ferries, one
at Woodhaven and one at Newport, a mile to the east,
the ferries themselves being small sail boats.
About 1790 a new turnpike was made to Woodhaven which
then became the principal ferry but in 1806 another
turnpike was made leading off the Cupar to Woodhaven
road directly to Newport. This, and the shorter ferry
crossing resulted in Newport becoming the more important
From 1807 onwards an awareness grew that the ferry crossing
was dangerous, with unsuitable boats and crews and landing
places. At the time 25 boats were in use employing 100
men and boys. Investigation showed that the revenue
from the use of the ferry boats would be sufficient
to construct piers and landing places suitable for all
tides, and introduce a more efficient system.
An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1819 which allow
work on this to go ahead. The advantages of steam-power,
as used in America, Hamburgh (stet) and the Mersey were
recognised and a steam-ferry started in 1821. The Act
stipulated that the ferry had to run alternately to
Woodhaven and Newport but as passengers found Woodhaven
inconvenient a new act was obtained allowing Newport
only to be used. Good facilities were built there and
In 1834, 86,000 passengers and 3,700 horses and carts
were carried .
Coal brought mostly by sea.
Since the last Account, there are now more roads and
these are in excellent condition.
Inverkeithing and Rosyth
A Royal Burgh founded in early mediaeval times, Inverkeithing
had rights of custom from the Leven to the east and
the Devon to the west and north as far as Kinross. Most
of these rights have now been sold or fallen out of
Streets used to be lit with lamps in winter, but no
Several markets or fairs each year.
Details of the harbour and the extensive shipping trade
The Queens ferry is so called because it was used frequently
by St Margaret to reach Dunfermline. Four boats and
four yawls operate the crossing and there are several
landing places on each side of the river. The fare of
one penny for passengers is too low.
A waggon-road, five miles long runs from the colliery
at Halbeath to the harbour.
Stone from quarries here was formerly sent to London
for use in paving the streets.
The roads here are good. The income from the toll-bar
and the statute labour money keeps them in good condition.
Royal burgh and rights of custom, as above.
St Margaret, wife of Malcolm III (Canmore) is said to
have used the ferry frequently between the palace in
Dunfermline and Edinburgh.
At the start of this century when trying to make the
older ferrymen redundant it was found that their replacements
having little knowledge of the local currents soon got
There have been proposals for a tunnel and a chain bridge
at the location.
Greenstone is quarried and used for road metal, building
etc. It was used for paving London streets, though granite
from Aberdeen is now preferred.
There is a small port here, through which coal etc.
is shipped to England and other countries.
Inverkeithing has a post office.
The main road north runs through here from the ferry
with branches to Torryburn, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy.
There are coaches to Perth and Aberdeen as well as the
Steam-vessels sail to Leith and upriver to Stirling.
There is an iron rail-road, replacing an earlier wooden
one, on which coals are brought from Halbeath, as well
as quarried stone, to the harbour.
There are five fairs but no business is now done at
Coal is obtained from pits a few miles away.
No mention of roads
No mention of roads.
Coal easily obtained from neighbouring parishes.
For some years, up to about 20 years ago the village
looked very neglected. Forty years ago, there had been
a thriving malting business and the great road between
Kinghorn and Dundee passed through the village. When
the business failed and the road moved 3 miles to the
west, the town went into decay but is now recovering.
A turnpike road is being made which follows the old
line of road through the village.
The roads are generally good; two miles are turnpike.
Cupar and Kirkcaldy about 9 miles away have markets
and are easy to reach.
There are two annual fairs but no business is now done
Coal is easily obtained at local collieries, particularly
There are three wheeled-carriages in the parish and
about 80 carts. Forty years ago there were very few
and goods were usually taken on horseback. Corn, hay
and manure with moved with wains that required two oxen
and two horses to draw them.
Details of Earlsferry.
Coal is worked at several places in the parish.
The burgh of Earlsferry in this parish owes its foundation
to Macduff Thane of Fife who was in flight from Macbeth
and was first sheltered then rowed across to Dunbar
by the local fishermen. He persuaded Malcolm III sometime
between 1057 and 1093 to make the place into a burgh
called Earlsferry with the right that all who crossed
here should be free of pursuit until they were half-way
across. The fairs and markets they were allowed to hold
fell into disuse long ago. The lack of a proper harbour
must have had an effect on trade - Elie nearby with
its pier and harbour does much more business.
Every year some 300 or so cattle are bought here and
driven to Glasgow and Dundee.
Colinsburgh is a post-town with a weekly grain market
and two annual cattle fairs.
Coaches run from Anstruther through Pettycur to Edinburgh,
and to Largo where there is a steamer to Edinburgh.
The turnpike that runs east west across Fife along the
south coast passes through here. Colinsburgh is a stage
on it with an inn with post-chaises and horses. Another
road runs northwards with branches to St Andrews. Cupar,
There are carriers to Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Cupar, St
Andrews and the coastal towns.
Coal available locally.
Coal is obtained 6 miles away but the roads there are
very bad. Using the easiest roads it is 15 miles. Even
if it is landed on the Tay there is a steep and rugged
road between Balmerino and Kilmany.
Until recently the high road between Cupar and Dundee
ran through the village which made communications easy.
However, the new turnpike runs three miles to the east,
making travel much more difficult.
There is evidence that the valley of the Motray was
once a lake, and there is a vague tradition that there
was a passage boat to Cruvie and Straiton; an anchor
was said to have been found when the area was drained
some 50 years ago.
The village here is very small, just a few houses. The
market town is Cupar, about 5 miles away, and post has
to go there or to Newport. There is no carrier which
means many items have to be brought in specially. Bread
is brought by carts from both these places and Leuchars
three times a week. Although the roads are very good
and a turnpike runs the length of the parish, few post-chaises
are seen on it since the public coaches started going
There are eleven bridges, eight of which are over the
Coal comes from pits some 12 miles away, or by sea to
Tradition that the church is dedicated to St Irenaeus,
and that devotees from Anstruther would walk up the
Hill where they could see the church, and pray to the
Details of the fishing which is much less than it used
Details of the fishing based at Cellardyke. Mussels
are brought by cart from the Eden to be used as bait.
The nearest market and post office is Anstruther nearby.
Turnpike roads run between Anstruther and Crail, and
Anstruther and St Andrews. There are also about 3 miles
of statute labour roads.
Coal comes from Carnbee and Elie, and is also brought
in by sea.
Mentions the invasion of the Norwegians, as below.
Harbours in Kinghorn and Pettycur; the latter was built
30 years ago as more convenient for the ferry to Leith.
There are 9 passage-boats and a few pinnaces for the
Coal and limestone for building available locally.
Of the 250 horses in the pariish about 70 are kept in
the town for hiring, carrying coals and post-chaises.
There are 99 carts.
He complains about all the banditti and vagabonds
of the country continually passing and repassing through
this great thorough-fare
Some of the greenstone rock available locally is very
good as road material.
An army of 9000 Norwegians landed here in the time of
Duncan I. They were defeated by Macbeth, Thane of Fife.
Relates the story of Alexander III who fell off a cliff
and was killed. He had crossed the Forth to Inverkeithing
and was making his way along the road which at that
time was at the top of cliffs to the west of Kinghorn.
His death was a disaster for Scotland and led directly
to the Wars of Independence.
The property of Abden belonged to the Crown and the
way that led to it from the shore was known as the Kings
gate. It provided accommodation as necessary if the
king journeyed into Fife.
There is a ferry between Pettycur and Newhaven and a
few boats that carry goods and cattle to Leith. Some
flax is landed from the Baltic, and potatoes are shipped
The author describes the days before the steam ferry
and coaches were introduced when the town would be full
of passengers waiting for favourable weather to sail
across. There was always a great demand for saddle-horses,
and some 60 were available in Kinghorn for hire.
The means of communication were always very good with
the ferry, stage coaches, and the post-office. There
is an old harbour at Kinghorn but this is just used
for fishing boats: Pettycur has a good harbour and is
used for the ferry, and for the movement of cattle and
Of fairs, the writer says that there is a fair
marked in the Almanack for Kinghorn, but there has not
of late been a sweety stall erected on the street, on
the day it is said to be held.
Coal comes from Lochgelly, Cluny etc, about 8 miles
Coal available locally.
Toll-bars lately erected. No other mention of roads.
The only village here is Kinglassie itself, about 6
miles north of Kirkcaldy which is the post town. Carriers
run there several times a week.
Road metal is easily available which is a factor in
the improvement of the roads, though work remains to
The Kirkcaldy to Cupar road passes through and coaches
between Edinburgh and Dundee run on this. A coach between
Edinburgh and Perth has recently started.
There are 12 small bridges.
No particular mention of roads.
There are signs of old coal workings in the parish.
St Andrews and Anstruther, both about seven miles away,
are the main market towns. The post town is Crail, three
The great coast-road of the county passes
Two fairs are held each year though much reduced in
size. The October fair used to be well attended by drovers
of sheep and black cattle, and provisions of meat were
laid in for the winter. Nowadays butcher meat is easily
Fuel: It is some ten miles to the nearest coal pits.
That in Largo is reached by the muir road but this is
impassable in winter. Coal from Ely is expensive because
of tolls. The bulk of the supply is brought in by boat
from Charleston and Dysart, as well as some from England.
There would be great advantages if the muir road through
the Kingsmuir to the coal district was to be properly
The road by Cupar between the Forth and Tay runs through
Freestone and limestone available locally. One large
quarry at Forthar employs many men carting the lime
to Newburgh for the Carse of Gowrie and other parts
of Perthshire. The coal for burning this comes 3 miles
from Balbirnie and Balgonie.
There are 128 carts in the parish.
The roads are statute labour, partly in kind, partly
commuted. A turnpike bill has recently been obtained
and is being pushed forward with expedition.
Tradition of robbers at the Clatto Den at the east of
the parish who would waylay unsuspecting travellers
on the old road between Cupar and Kinghorn and drag
them into a cavern. James IV was said to have come this
The main road between the Forth and Tay by Cupar runs
through. The road from New Inn, by Melville Gate and
Letham, to Dundee runs for a mile within the parish.
There is a large limestone quarry at Forthar, and coal
Repeats the tradition of the robbers at Clatto Den.
Prices are high and close to those in Edinburgh. Meat
comes from Cupar (6 miles distant) or Freuchie (1½
miles distant) and bread is brought from Cupar everyday.
Beer is obtained from Freuchie and Lethem.
There are five inns on the thoroughfare road.
Coal obtained mostly from Balbirnie.
The town consists of one long street along the shore
with lanes running off this. In its main part it seems
to have been wider, with the houses extended at a later
time. Now it is narrow and in places winding and irregular,
and very badly paved, although now that the statute
labour is commuted it is expected that it will be repaved.
Many take to the sands instead of the street.
etc: There are 30 carters and 3 carriers in the
town. Twenty eight horses are used as saddle-horses,
and 17 for carriages, of which 2 are coaches and 7 post-chaises.
One of the coaches and 5 of the chaises can be hired
(he notes that at the time of revising the account,
the numbers had fallen two-thirds). There are 73 carts.
Coal comes from Dysart and Cluny. Some coal is shipped
to Germany from Cluny and with the new turnpike road
to that place, it is likely this trade will increase.
Turnpikes are now starting to appear, though the writer
notes that tolls were imposed before any road-building
had begun, which had led to great dissatisfaction. As
the roads are built, however, this hostility is lessened.
He discusses at some length the clause in the act that
allowed the trustees to demolish houses to make a road
wider, as it was particularly apposite to Kirkcaldy
with its narrow street (which was turnpiked). Among
the complaints were the encroachment on the rights of
royal burghs and what constituted reasonable recompense
and who would decide what was reasonable.
The writer gives considerable historic details of the
town and its trade, particularly shipping, and notes
the adverse effect the union with England had on the
country for many years. He also gives details of manufacturing
in the town and the resultant widespread trade.
Details are given of the local industries, of the port,
and of foreign trade.
Major market for the district with retailers in the
villages being supplied by Kirkcaldy merchants. This
leads to large numbers of carriers in the streets. Details
of the grain and flesh markets are given.
Fish is mostly brought by land from Buckhaven and other
In the last 50 years many fine shops have appeared in
the town - in the past merchants from Edinburgh and
Leith would obtain orders directly from houses and deliver
the goods to them.
The streets are lit by gas, and are kept clean.
Details of the harbour.
There is a post office in the town with two deliveries
Coaches to Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, St Andrews and Glasgow.
There are frequent crossings to Newhaven by steam-boat.
It is proposed to build a railway from Lochgelly colliery
to the harbour, a distance of 8 miles.
Cattle sent for slaughter to the surrounding country
and to Edinburgh. Others are sold to English drovers.
Grain and potatoes shipped to Leith and onward to the
In the time of James IV, Sir Andrew Wood formed a canal
from his house to the church to which he would sail
on a Sunday on a barge.
There are only three small vessels belonging to the
port. The trade that used to be carried out with Campvere
and Rotterdam in coal, salt, iron, sandstone etc, and
with Norway in wood has now ceased.
Leven and Colinsburgh, each 3 miles distant, are the
nearest market towns - there are bakers here but no
Eight miles of turnpike road passes through the parish
with regular post as well as coaches from Cupar and
St Andrews to Largo and St Andrews to Edinburgh via
Largo. There is a daily steam-boat to Newhaven.
The harbour is not in good repair - if it was improved
and a good road made from Cupar this would give the
county town and the district an outlet and offer the
most direct route from Edinburgh to the north-east.
Poor coal is available locally but mostly comes from
Wemyss and Largo ward.
Beggars, with whom the parish was formerly wont
to be infested, are now, by the exertions of a new system
of police, scarcely ever seen.
A few years ago, a hillock called the Gallant Know was
thought to consist of gravel and accordingly removed
for repairing roads but human remains and some objects
were found in it.
There are whinstone quarries, coal works and limeworks
in the parish.
He gives several examples of how the standard of living
had improved in the last few decades.
The writer suggests that the area was a favoured resort
of the royal court. It was well frequented by packsmen
who could sell their wares under this protection, and
had been until recently the headquarters of the Packsmen
Society where they would gather annually and hold horse
and foot races and other events in humble imitation
of their ancient betters.
It is said that at the west end of the parish is the
place where the Caledonians disputed the passage over
the Leven after they had defeated the ninth legion on
the Orr. They were defeated and fled into the Lomonds.
The Romans are thought to have camped at Balsillie,
above Leslie, where the mounds they are said to have
raised are known as the Balsillie Laws.
Much poaching goes on with the produce being sent to
Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh.
There is a weekly market on Saturdays at Kirkcaldy,
nine miles away. The high road to Cupar and Dundee is
about 1½ miles away. Coaches to Perth, Dundee,
Cupar, Edinburgh etc pass several times a day.
There are no toll roads. The parish roads are maintained
by the statute labour conversion money and they, and
the bridges, are in excellent order.
Two fairs are held. The spring fair is for milch cows
and for a show of the horses that will travel
the county during the season.
Although there is coal locally it is much dearer than
the coal that can be obtained about five miles away.
The roads are much improved since the time of the last
There are three bridges over the Multree Burn: one is
on the road from Cupar to the north; another on the
road from the north to St Andrews; and the third is
the Guard Bridge which is partly in this parish. The
only toll here is at this bridge.
The Tentsmuir may have been formed by the gradual withdrawal
of the sea. Smuggling had been endemic in the area.
Mention of the Coble House about two miles downstream
from the Guard Bridge where a small coble or boat allowed
a saving of two miles over the way by the bridge.
Beggars travel through the parish.
A landing stage has been made just below the Inner Bridge
(¾ mile north of Guardbridge) which is very convenient
for the farmers who can load and unload from small vessels
Carriers between St Andrews and Dundee pass through
Leuchars twice a week and from towns between Crail and
Elie to Dundee at least once a fortnight. There are
also carriers from Dundee and St Andrews to Edinburgh
which pass near Leuchars.
The Eden, which is the southern boundary of the parish,
is navigable for 5 miles up to Guard bridge where there
is a small harbour.
Those farm roads that are not kept up by the statute
labour are in a deplorable condition, especially in
winter - this is a cause of much complaint where the
farmers still have to pay towards the funds.
Cupar, St Andrews and Dundee are between 6 and 8 miles
distant with carriers and the post going there each
As the soil is so dry, the roads are easily kept in
good repair. There are 14 miles of turnpike and 10 miles
of statute labour roads. Edinburgh to Aberdeen coaches
pass through each day, and a Dundee to St Andrews coach
comes through twice a week.
There are two fairs but they have declined in importance.
There are 6 alehouses, sited on the main roads.
Coal is brought by sea from Newcastle and the Forth,
as well as by land from the collieries.
No particular mention of roads.
No turnpike road in the parish. Cupar is the nearest
post town, some 4½ miles away.
The great road from Kinghorn to Cupar and Dundee passes
through the parish and has been put in excellent condition
since the turnpike act was passed. Of the several bridges
on this road, one over the Orr is very narrow and was
built about 1530 by the Archbishop of St Andrews. Other
bridges of note are over the Lochty and Leven, recently
Another road from Kirkcaldy to Cupar passes through,
with a good bridge at Cameron. There are toll-gates
on each of these roads.
A public road from Kinross to Leven, Largo and the east
passes through the middle of the parish but is not in
such good condition as the first two roads.
Other bridges are over the Orr and at Balgonie and Balfour
over the Leven.
Like elsewhere the bye-roads are very bad and in winter
and bad weather can become impassable. The benefits
of turnpike roads will be much less until these bye-roads
are put in good condition.
The collieries at Balbirnie and Balgonie supply much
of the surrounding countryside with coal.
There are terraces on Markinch Hill near the village
which some say were part of a military encampment, since
levelled for cultivation; and others that they were
formed to allow spectators to view games on the ground
below - this is called the Playfields today.
Five post-chaises and one hundred carts in the parish.
Details of the coal mining at Balbirnie.
Possible Roman camp on Markinch Hill.
In 1296 Edward I went from St Andrews to Stirling via
Markinch and Dunfermline.
The roads are excellent with easy travel to the ports
of Newburgh and Newport to the north and Kirkcaldy and
Pettycur to the south.
One (unlikely) interpretation of the name is that it
refers to the hill on the Perth to Cupar road - at
the foot of a hill one mile over.
Wheat and barley exported, and some cattle.
Tradition of a battle between the Scots and the Danes
in the NW of the parish.
Coal is brought in from Balgonie and Balbirnie; the
carriage costs almost as much as the coal.
Cupar, the local market and post town, is just over
five miles away. Three different turnpikes pass through
the parish, some ten miles in all. There are also about
ten miles of statute labour roads, maintained under
an assessment. No coaches.
Three inns. Coal is brought from Markinch and Dysart.
As Cupar is two short miles away, the parishioners get
good prices for their produce.
Coal is a long way away but there is a good turnpike
for most of the way.
Cupar, three miles away, is the market and post-town.
Just under two miles of the Cupar to Newburgh turnpike
lies in the south of the parish and a statute labour
road of just over a mile runs between this road and
the great Dundee road to the north. Additionally there
is a private farm road running through the middle of
English coal is landed at Balmerino and Newburgh, and
coal is also obtained from the pits at Balbirnie or
Dysart - tolls and carriage add to the cost of this.
of 500 tons can reach Newburgh, those of 100 tons can
easily reach Perth.
Salmon fishing near Newburgh; much of the fish is sent
In referring to the hills that run just south of Newburgh,
he mentions that abrupt rock
the surprise, and sometimes awakens the terror of strangers,
in passing along the road immediately underneath it..
Of two crosses in the parish, the Cross McDuff was sited
where the road, formerly leading towards Londores,
separates from that which at present leads to Auchtermuchty.
There is one street
in the town, with a lane leading to the shore. The street
has been paved for a long time and plans are in hand
for relaying the paving, using some of the statute labour
money and an assessment on proprietors.
The weavers employ some of their own as agents to sell
their cloth at Perth, Dundee, Cupar, Auchtermuchty and
Until recently bread, beer and butcher meat was brought
in from Perth, Dundee and the Carse of Gowrie but local
tradesmen have opened shops which makes the town more
self-sufficient and serves the neighbourhood with provisions.
Coal and lime brought in by boat. In the past much burnt
lime-stone was carted here and then taken over to the
Carse of Gowrie. Grain is also shipped for the Edinburgh
and Glasgow markets.
The area south of Newburgh is badly provided with roads.
|River Tay just east of Newburgh
Boats of 500 tons can reach Newburgh.
Tradition that the Tay had once been narrower when people
on either bank could converse with each other.
Newburgh was founded at the same time as the Abbey of
David I gave Lindores the right to obtain stone from
his quarry at Irneside.
Mention of a causeway
that extended from Lindores to the church of Ecclesia
Magirdum, in the parish of Dron. The monks would go
there annually to meet the nuns of Elcho who went there
to pay their devotions to the their patron saint. Nothing
remains of the causeway. South of the ruined church
there is an Abbots Well and a Monks Well.
Several piers at Newburgh. The street has recently been
relaid with new blocks. Gas lighting will soon be available.
There is a daily runner between the Bridge of Earn and
Newburgh post-office. The turnpike road between Perth
and the county town of Fifeshire passes through Newburgh.
One mile to the east, at Glenburnie, a road has been
opened recently over the Ochils to Auchtermuchty which
gives access to coal and lime.
A coach runs between Perth and Kirkcaldy and there are
several steam boats each day that call in at Newburgh
on their journeys between Perth and Dundee. There is
a regular passage-boat to the Pow of Errol
at high-water, and boats can be hired to reach the north
bank of the Tay.
English coal is brought by sea from Northumberland and
coal is also brought by coasting vessels from Dysart,
Wemyss and Alloa and by land from Lochgelly, Balgonie
Note: In a collection
of letters to George Paton, an early Scottish antiquarian,
there is one from a James Cant written in 1774 that
mentions the tradition of the causeway leading to Ecclesia
Magirdum. Cant writes: "From the Abbey of Lundores
to Exmagirdle or Ecclesia Magridin, about six miles
distance, there was a caseway the whole way. Vestiges
of it in several places remain till this day. It was
but lately that a part of it was discovered in Muirmouth,
where improvements by ditch and hedge began in that
part of the muir belonging to the estate of Calfargie.
Tradition says that the monks of Lundores went in an
annual procession along this caseway on a visit both
to the nuns of Ecclesia Magridin and Elcho, and that
the nuns at Elcho met them at Mugdrum cross, where they
paid the devotion, and saluted one another."
Ecclesia Magirdle belonged to Lindores. It is dificult
to say given such slender clues what route the causeway
took. One suspects it would have gone south of the Earn,
perhaps to the ford at Gowlie where it would pass near
Muirmouth or Muirmonth (see Stobie 1783). The church
would then be a couple of miles further on but it would
also have intersected the route from the south to Bridge
of Earn (a mediaeval bridge) and Perth which would give
a more substantial justification for the considerable
labour involved. It is also worth noting the presence
of the Romans in the area, though this can be suggestive
Apart from the need for better roads, there is a need
for a more regular market in the district.
The Culdees are said to have had a church at Balchrystie,
granted them by King Malcolm.
The nearest markets are at Colinsburgh and Largo, a
short distance away.
Coal is used as fuel.
Local coal and salt works.
The roads are poor; they are upheld by the statute labour
which is generally commuted. A turnpike act has now
been passed for Fife and the great road from east to
west will pass through the parish.
No details of roads other than the streets in the town.
There are some excellent shops.
Coal obtainable at nearby Blairngone.
Travelling poor from other parishes.
A camp, said to be Roman, is circular in form and was
probably a sheep or cattle fold.
The great road from Dunfermline to Auchterarder passes
Remains of two Roman camps.
Coal, lime and ironstone found locally.
Salmon caught here are taken to Perth or to Newburgh
where they are shipped to London.
The only village is Leven where there is a port. There
is also a post office.
The turnpike from Kirkcaldy to the east coast runs half
a mile north of Leven and the Kirkcaldy to Cupar road
by Cameron Bridge runs through the north of the parish.
A road is planned from Leven to Cupar, about ten miles
Coal is available locally.
There is much trouble from vagrants as the parish is
on a main thoroughfare from east to west.
The nearest bridge over the Leven is Cameron Bridge,
two miles upriver. There are two fords over the Leven
which can be passed except when in flood or at some
high tides and there is a coble or boat near the town.
There is no bridge over the Scoonie on the turnpike
road that goes to the east. Although in summer it can
be almost dry there are circumstances where it can be
dangerous even for carriages. A couple on horseback
were swept downstream for several hundred yards.
Some twenty years ago, the black cattle reared here
were in great demand by English dealers for driving
south. Most of the cattle now are supplied to the Glasgow
and Edinburgh markets, and recently taken to London
There is a port at Leven which carries out considerable
Leven, the only town in the parish is the market-town.
It has a post-office. Cupar and Kirkcaldy are ten miles
away. Streets are lit.
There is a turnpike road just above the town on which
a coach goes three times a week between Edinburgh and
the east part of Fife. A steam-boat sails to Edinburgh
There is a great need for a bridge in Leven itself as
the nearest is Cameron Bridge three miles up river.
However, there are plans to build a bridge in the near
At the mouth of the river there used to be a ferry but
this has been replaced by a suspension bridge for foot
passengers. It costs a half-penny to cross.
Formerly there were several fairs for lint seed and
the sale of linen which attracted merchants from all
over. They have now dwindled in importance and, as they
offer an occasion for dissipation and disturbance
could well be dispensed with.
Coal comes from Wemyss and Kilmux, as well as from England.
Generally, the turnpike and statute labour roads are
in excellent condition.
|Cathedral, St Andrews
||St Andrews, from
streets in St Andrews with connecting wynds: South-street
or Shoegate, Market-gate and North Street. There had
been an ancient street called Swallow-street near the
castle where merchants lived.
In the middle ages there was a fair which lasted several
weeks and to which some 200 or 300 vessels from the
continent would come. Long in decline, the trade is
now picking up.
Coal comes from inland and also from towns on the Forth
like Dysart and Alloa.
road to Cupar passes through Strathkinness. Mention
of the south road to Cupar which refers to it being
made some 30 years before. The roads are statute labour,
which is mostly commuted, and run to Crail, Anstruther,
Ely, Cupar and Dundee. The Crail road is very good being
close to suitable materials.
There are two bridges over the Kinness or Netherburn
on the roads to Crail and Anstruther, and to Ely. The
Swilian which runs through the golf-links has a bridge
on the Dundee road. There is also a bridge over the
Kenlowie on the Crail road. All are repaired by the
The Gair or Guardbridge was built by Bishop Wardlaw
and is maintained by the county. It has six arches,
is wide enough for only one carriage and is covered
with causeway-stones and flags. A chain used to be stretched
across its width and only chaises were allowed to cross;
carts had to go under the bridge. As the river is tidal
this resulted in so many delays that the chain was eventually
The turnpike roads to Cupar and Dundee separate at the
bridge; there is a toll-bar on the Leuchars side.
St Andrews has three fairs annually and three markets
each week - in the middle ages, the first of these,
held in April attracted 200-300 boats from the continent.
There is a post office with mail to and from Dundee
and Edinburgh daily.
There are 20 miles of turnpike road and 6 to 8 miles
of statute labour roads. The bridges are good, the main
one of note being Guard or Gair Bridge where the roads
coming from Cupar and Dundee meet. It is 400 years old
and was built by Bishop Wardlaw, founder of the university
(in 1411). There are six arches and it is very narrow.
Although there is a harbour it is dry at low tide.
Coal is brought in from Newcastle or ports along the
Forth, as well as from Largoward and Drumcarro, a few
miles away. Carriage and tolls add to the expense.
The surface of the streets and lanes are much improved
since the time of the last account, although pavements
are often uneven. There is now street lighting, supplied
at first by oil and now gas.
No mention of roads, although the remarks about St Andrews
will apply to it.
Very small parish which for historical reasons consisted
of land in the town of St Andrews and lands some miles
away. No mention of roads.
There are 72 carts and 2 carriages.
Coal comes from Balgonie, Balbirnie, Lochgellie and
The roads and bridges are in reasonable condition and
are made and repaired by the statute labour, which is
partly commuted. There are no turnpike roads but it
is felt that properly managed these are the only way
of ensuring good roads and bridges.
There are markets in Auchtermuchty, Milnathort, Newburgh
There are 8 miles of turnpike road and 5 miles of statute
labour roads, all in excellent order. No public carriage
There is a sub-post office dependent on Kinross.
Details of shipping. Materials carted in from Dunfermline,
then taken to Boness from where they are shipped
No particular details of roads.
Seven carriers and carters.
Market town is Dunfermline. The mail and newspapers
are brought from there by a private post.
There are 4 miles of excellent turnpike road but some
of the other roads are very bad, and almost impassable
in winter. A footpath long accepted to be a kirk road
has been closed off by the proprietor of Torry, to great
inconvenience. The same happened some time ago near
A coach runs on the turnpike between Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline
and Falkirk from where Glasgow can be reached by the
Forth & Clyde Canal. The steam-boats between Edinburgh
and Stirling can be accessed by a boat kept at Crombie
An annual fair is held here but no business is done
Details of the fishing
trade which was considerable in the past. Most of
the fish caught nowadays are sent to Edinburgh, with
the rest being carried round the district by women with
creels on their back. In the past most of the trade
with Edinburgh was with the east of Fife where the fish
caught were larger than here. At that time fish from
this parish were sold in neighbouring parishes or bought
up by men who would take them further afield, carrying
them on creels on horseback, and more recently by cart,
but this trade has now declined.
available locally. A waggon-way two miles in length
has recently been completed from the coal-works at Kirkland
to Methil harbour. There are also salt-pans, the salt
from which goes mostly to the ports between Dundee and
Inverness. Coal is exported to Amsterdam, Hamburg and
Middleberg and wood, iron, flax etc brought back on
return which is then landed at various ports on the
Forth. There are harbours at Methil and Wester Wemyss.
There is a small
bridge in Easter Wemyss which is all that is needed
for the parish. The turnpike from Kirkcaldy to Cupar
and east Fife by Kennoway runs through but is too far
from the coast to be of full use to those living here.
A stone beside the turnpike is called by some the Standing
Stone and by others the Half-way Stone between Kirkcaldy
The nearest post-office is at Dysart.
Details of the coal mining in the parish and the fishing
from Buckhaven. There were many salt pans on the coast
but there are less of them since the removal of the
Kirkcaldy, 6 miles distant, serves as the market town.
There is a good turnpike road from Kirkcaldy to Cupar
by Kennoway which runs through the north part of the
parish. The statute labour roads have improved but more
could still be done.
With a runner from Kirkcaldy to Leven every day, the
postal service is good (a post office was established
in East Wemyss in 1837).
Carriers go to Kirkcaldy from Buckhaven and from East
Wemyss twice a week, and a woman goes daily with parcels
and conducts any business she is entrusted with.
Harbours at Methil and West Wemyss and plans for a new
harbour at Buckhaven.