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Statistical Accounts of Scotland


Old and New Statistical Accounts

Ferryport-on-CraigLeucharsSt Andrews (and St Leonards)KingsbarnsCrailKilrennyAnstruther West and EastPittenweemAbercrombie or St MonansElieDuninoCameronCarnbeeForganBalmerinoFliskKilmanyLogieCreichMoonzieDairsieKembackDunbogAbdieNewburghAuchtermuchtyMonimailCuparStrathmigloKilconquharNewburnCollessieFalklandLeslieCeresCultsLargoKings KettleScoonieKennowayMarkinchWemyssSalineTorryburnCarnockDunfermlineKinglassieDysartKirkcaldyBeathBallingryAuchrerderranAbbotshallInverkeithingDalgettyAberdourBurntislandAuchtertoolKinghorn

References are to the GoogleBooks site, usually to the main entry on roads. There may be other passing references to roads in a parish account.
Additional information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site.
The map extracts are from the 1913/1914 OS half-inch map, sheets 23, 24, 27. With thanks.

Abbotshall Ballingry Crail Dysart Kilconquhar Leslie Saline
Abdie Balmerino Creich Elie Kilmany Leuchars Scoonie
Abercrombie or St Monan’s Beath Cults Falkland Kilrenny Logie St Andrews


Burntisland Cupar Ferry Port-on-Craig Kinghorn Markinch St Leonards
Anstruther Easter Cameron Dairsie Flisk Kinglassie Monimail Strathmiglo
Anstruther Wester Carnbee Dalgetty Forgan Kingsbarns Moonzie Torryburn
Auchterderran Carnock Dunfermline Inverkeithing and Rosyth King’s Kettle Newburgh Wemyss
Auchtermuchty Ceres Dunbog Kemback Kirkcaldy Newburn  
Auchtertool Collessie Dunino Kennoway Largo Pittenweem  

As 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 and 1840's.

So 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.

The 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.

By 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.

Of 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.

There 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.

As 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.

Apart 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.

Note: 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 Donald 1987.

Earlier Accounts of Fife

Sir Robert Sibbald has some early references to Fife in his History of Fife and Kinross, published in 1710 - see edition of 1803 on Google Books. See also MacFarlane's Geographical Collections, Vol I which has some material on Fife mostly from the 1720's.

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 or Queensferry.

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 to Craill.”

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 NMRS NT39NW 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 post-chaises.
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.
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 each day.
Steam-boats sail on the Tay giving ready access to Perth and Kirkcaldy.
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 Monan’s

No specific mention of roads.
Coal and salt worked in the parish.
In the past there was a considerable fishing trade carried out here.
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 post town.
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 and Cupar.
There is a fine bridge in Sir Ralph Anstruther’s pleasure grounds.
Although there is a harbour, the entrance is narrow and the bottom rough which deters boats from landing here.
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 to Carron.
A ferry sails to Leith, mostly with grain.

Two pinnacles carry goods and passengers to Leith.

Anstruther Easter
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 the town.
A stagecoach goes to Edinburgh, three times a week, through Pettycur, and daily by Largo. There is also a daily coach to St Andrews.

Anstruther Wester

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 cheaply.
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 coal etc.
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 advantages.
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 in Fife.
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 Ferry.
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 held there.
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 preferred.


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 some distance.


Balmerino AbbeyOSA
Grain is sent by boat on the Tay to the Forth and to the Canal.
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 away.
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 places.
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 Cleish.
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 clearly proves.”
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 tide.
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 very substantial.
Kirkcaldy, six miles distant, is the nearest market town.
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 at Wakefield.
In the past it was very inconvenient to reach the south and east coast from here. A carriage had to go by Balcarres dykes.
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 abounded.

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 better repair.”

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 Bo’ness, 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 about these.
Says that the parochial registers refer occasionally to collections for bridges (e.g. Cramment (Cramond) brig 1647).
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 1638.
Coal obtained locally.


The Bishop's Bridge - this is the one "that resisted the flood" The 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 parish.
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 Monk’s 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 Dane’s 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 1700’s 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 the mire…”
Mention of the Dane’s 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 to markets.
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 shipping.

The roads are good but there are no turnpikes.
There is thought to be a Roman post in the parish, and a “Northmen’s” 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 coal.
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, including Pitlessie Fair.
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 their horses.
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 Kirkcaldy road.
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 Fife.
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 each day.


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 David’s 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 David’s.


p. 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.
Limekilnsp. 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) and Charlestown.
p. 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 Inverkeithing.
p. 478 A turnpike road passes east to west through the town.
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 Galurigs.
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 and Brucehaven.
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 disappeared.
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 other’s mine was exhausted means that people have to obtain coal from some distance and at additional expense.

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 here.
Coaches run between St Andrews and Cupar and Dundee. Coal is obtainable directly from coal mines and from the ports.

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 1500’s 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 women’s 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 Dysart.
The town has been an important port since the middle ages.
At Carberry, just over a mile north of the town, the Romans are said to have had a camp but nothing can be seen today.
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 post-town.
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 Newhaven.
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.


Falkland Falkland Palace

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 is conducted.
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.

Ferry Port-on-Craig
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 King’s 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 here.
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 steam ferry.


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 post offices.
There is no turnpike road. A statute labour road runs between Woodhaven and Newburgh about half a mile from the river.
Although the steamers between Perth and Dundee sail past regularly they can only be boarded at Newburgh or Balmerino.
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 from Balbirnie.
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 condition.
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 ferry.
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 at Dundee.
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 use.
Streets used to be lit with lamps in winter, but no longer.
Several markets or fairs each year.
Details of the harbour and the extensive shipping trade in coal.
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 into difficulty.
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 mail coach.
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 them.
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 at them.
Coal is easily obtained at local collieries, particularly Balgrie.

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, Dundee etc.
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 through Cupar.
There are eleven bridges, eight of which are over the Motray.
Coal comes from pits some 12 miles away, or by sea to Balmerino.


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 saint.
Details of the fishing which is much less than it used to be.

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 ferry.
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 King’s 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 to London.
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 goods.
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 away.

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 be done.
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 miles distant.
“The great coast-road of the county” passes through here.
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 obtainable.
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 constructed.

King’s Kettle

The road by Cupar between the Forth and Tay runs through the parish.
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 way.

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 at Balbirnie.
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.


Streets: 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.
Carts 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: 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 towns.
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 each day.
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 west country.
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 buchers.
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 Account.


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 there.
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 day.
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 rebuilt.
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 the parish.
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. 1843

Lindores AbbeyVessels of 500 tons can reach Newburgh, those of 100 tons can easily reach Perth.
Salmon fishing near Newburgh; much of the fish is sent to London.
In referring to the hills that run just south of Newburgh, he mentions “that abrupt rock…which excites 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 Glasgow.
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 east of Newburgh
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 Lindores.
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 Abbot’s 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 and Balbirnie.

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 only.


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 through Saline.

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 away.
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 by boat.
There is a port at Leven which carries out considerable trade.
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 each day.
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 future.
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.

St Andrews

Cathedral, St Andrews St Andrews, from beach

Three 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.
The old 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 county.
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 removed.
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.

St Leonards

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 Kettle.
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 and Cupar.
There are 8 miles of turnpike road and 5 miles of statute labour roads, all in excellent order. No public carriage passes through.
There is a sub-post office dependent on Kinross.


Details of shipping. Materials carted in from Dunfermline, then taken to Bo’ness from where they are shipped to London.
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 to Crombie.
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 Point.
An annual fair is held here but no business is done nowadays.

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.
Coal 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 and Kennoway.
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 salt tax.
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.