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Cleish Orwell
Kinross Portmoak

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CleishPortmoakKinrossOrwell The OSA references below are to the Edina site. In most cases they are to the main entry on roads for each parish but some additional links are provided to other relevant information. When Edina page appears go to browse scanned pages for the link.

NSA references are to the GoogleBooks site, usually to the means of communication section. 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 half-inch OS map for Dundee, Perth & Stirling, 1913. With thanks.

Early Accounts

Some notes from Sibbald, History of Fife and Kinross, 1710 relating to Kinross-shire are given below:
274 A bridge of several arches has been built by Sir William Bruce over the South Cuich, just south of the town of Kinross. It is on the highway between the North-ferry and St Johnstoun (Perth). There is another old bridge over the North Cuich.
There is a bridge of several arches over the Water of Garney near Lathro.
In recent years a bridge has been built over the Leven where it flows out of Loch Leven, just to the north of Kirkness. It is on the highway between the coast and Perth. There is also a bridge at Achmure.
The town of Kinross is on the highway between the North-ferry and Perth.
282 There was a spittal here, where pilgrims could stay.

Annals of Kinross-shire, Part I: 490 to 1861, E Henderson; Part II: 1862 to 1870, R L Wright
There are quite a few short notes relating to roads and bridges in these Annals. There is an online copy on the Kinross Museum website.


Cleish parish
Mention of a road running through the parish from east to west.
If “rotten rock”, which is common here, is used on a road, it changes into a reddish earth within a few years. Lime is available but it is so deep and the road to it so inconvenient that little benefit has been gained from it.
Fuel: Good coal is available locally, as is peat.
Thirty carts in the parish.
CleishMiscellaneous Observations: There are 4 inns on the Queensferry to Perth road. The selling of sprits at turnpike houses has a bad effect
In recent years, considerable improvements have been made to the roads. They were made and are now maintained under the statute labour system. The carriage of materials still has to be done but personal labour has been commuted. Suitable gravel for the roads is available locally.
Several bridges have been built recently. Although the roads are generally well made, and continue to improve, more thought should have been given to make them less hilly.
There is a toll on the Queensferry to Perth turnpike, set up in 1753.
There are four forts, sited on an east-west line that are thought to have been part of a chain of posts built by the Romans to protect against incursions from the north.
One tenant performs personal services for his landlord, viz. making and stacking hay and carting 90 loads of coals.


Basalt which is used for dykes and road metal is available at Craigencat, beside the main road from Kinross to Dunfermline. It is easily quarried.
Admiral Adam has contributed liberally to the costs of an important public road which goes through his land from Red-Moss, on the great north road, to Cleish, Tullybole, and the Crook of Devon.
A quarter of a mile east from the church there is a large rock called The Lecture Stane which was used in pre-reformation times to support the coffin while the burial service was conducted.

The bridge mentioned below - more properly it is a commemorative monument marking the old road to Perth and an incident involving Mary Queen of Scots. The inscription on the left reads "The Road to Perth anciently St Johnston passed here within memory. The Ravine was much longer and deeper. Cottar Houses stood around called Parenwell from the Spring which rises a hundred yards below southwards." The middle inscription is now nearly illegible but can be seen on the lower of the two bronze plaques which record the stone inscriptions. The right-hand inscription is the larger plaque. NT 139 968

At the east of the parish, there is an inscription on a bridge marking the road by which Queen Mary fled from Lochleven Castle.
In a description of drainage schemes in the parish, the writer remarks that the ground, up till then very soft, was now able to bear loaded carts.
Market-Town: The nearest market-town is Kinross, about three miles away. However, much of the grain, butter, and cheese produced locally is sold at Dunfermline.
The turnpike roads from Queensferry and from Dunfermline to Kinross run through the parish from south to north. The roads and bridges here are in good condition. There is a post-office at Blair-Adam, in the east of the parish: the main post-office for this area is in Kinross.

Kinross parish
Four annual fairs for sale of horses and black cattle.
Mention of the Gulet Bridge at Loch Leven.
There are two inns. Seven post chaisses are for hire, and seven horses.
Coals are obtained from 5 miles away.
Although there are few indigenous begging poor, the town is infested with those who travel here easily because of the excellent roads.

Kinross Loch Leven at Kinross

Parochial Economy:The town of Kinross has had street lighting since 1793. At present there are 42 gas lamps.
Kinross, the only town in the parish, used to have a weekly market; but the local market is now held in Milnathort, in the parish of Orwell, two miles away. Kinross is a post town with daily deliveries.
Turnpike Roads: There are 16 miles of these, all in good order, particularly the great north road. The Royal Mail from Edinburgh to Aberdeen passes through as does the Defiance, which has been used recently to carry letters north, and the Saxe Cobourg which runs between Edinburgh and Perth.
The writer notes that although the old mail coach passed through on the Sabbath, it did so in the middle of the night and later on the Sunday evening, which was not thought to be of too much consequence. However, the Defiance runs during the day and although it carried few if any passengers at the start, it is now as full as on any weekday. Attempts to stop this “desecration of the Sabbath” had been unsuccessful.
Apart from small bridges, there are 13 larger stone bridges, all in good condition.
Fairs: There are four fairs held each year, mostly for cattle and for hiring. Inns etc: There are three inns, two of them very good. Kirkland’s Inn to the south keeps 3 post-chaises, 1 landau, 1 hearse, 34 post-horses and 4 post-boys. Kinross Green Inn, or Macgregor's, has 3 post chaises, a drosky and gig, 5 horses and a donkey, 7 stables; 4 post-boys, 7 strappers and 1 hostler,
Another inn, the Salutation, near the town centre, has 3 horses and 2 gigs.
Fuel: Good quality coal, obtainable at a reasonable price comes from Kelty, 5 miles away, and from Lumphinnan near Lochgelly, 8 miles away.
Gas Establishment: Details are given of the gas company.
April 1839.

Orwell parish
Two excellent roads run through the parish: the North Ferry to Perth road and the Stirling to Kinross road, which leaves the first at the bridge of Queegh.
Rivulets, Bridges, and Mills: Of the two rivulets here, the Queegh runs into Loch Leven. There is a good stone bridge over it on the turnpike from the Ferry to Perth.
The other stream runs through Milnathort and has several mills on it, hence the name of the village. There is a bridge in the village.
Fuel: With no coal in the parish, it has to be obtained from Kelty, 6 miles to the south. Peat is used by the poorer people.
Many passengers to Perth and the north pass through Milnathort.

Market-town: Milnathort is the only market-town, and is the only village in the parish. There is a weekly corn-market, attended by distillers or their agents. Ten years ago an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish a butter, cheese and poultry-market.
The mail-coaches pass through Milnathort twice daily. There is only a penny-post to Kinross.
There are about fourteen miles of turnpike roads and another 14 miles of statute labour roads, all in good condition. The bridge over the Queich, to the south of Milnathort is old and badly constructed and in need of repair. It needs the attention of the trustees of the great north road who have carried out unimportant repairs elsewhere.
The mail-coaches for Aberdeen and Inverness, the Saxe-Cobourg to Perth, and the Defiance to Aberdeen, run daily from Edinburgh on the great north road. The Cobourg and Defiance do not run on Sundays. Sometimes other stage-coaches use the road. A service between Cupar and Stirling via Milnathort ran for a while but stopped operating some years ago.
Fairs: There are six annual markets or fairs. Two are for the sale of fat cattle and the others are for cattle, sheep and horses.
Fuel: Coal is easily obtained from pits in Fife which are 7 or 8 miles away.
Miscellaneous Observations: The roads are in excellent order.
April 1839.

Portmoak parish - click for larger image OSA
The only bridge, that over the Leven, was built about 100 years ago. The roads are in poor condition. They are made under the statute labour system, which is now commuted.
Advantages and Disadvantages: Fuel is cheap with the coal pits of Lochow, Keltie and Lochgelly close at hand. Peat also is available locally.
The parish however is distant from markets and has very bad roads.
A great improvement would be effected if a turnpike road were to be made between Kinghorn or Burntisland through various parishes including Portmoak, to join the Queensferry to Perth road, north of Kinross. This would make for a shorter journey to Edinburgh. There would be a slightly longer crossing but considerable advantages in facilitating access to the market-towns on the coast.


Loch Leven from Portmoak parish with St Serf's Island in foreground

Fairs: The two largest villages have fairs, but they are very small with little business conducted at them.
Kinross is the nearest post-town. It does not have a market.
Means of Communication: Two turnpikes run through the parish but there are no public carriages. Roads and fences are in good order as are two bridges lately built over the Leven.