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Raith


(Raith House)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Raith, a mansion in Abbotshall parish, Fife, 2½ miles W of Kirkcaldy. Standing on the eastern face of a hill, and originally built in 1694, it has received the addition of two wings and a fine Ionic portico; and is surrounded by extensive and beautifully-wooded grounds, containing a picturesque artificial lake (1812) of 21 acres. Near the summit of the hill, behind the mansion, 400 feet above sea-level, stands square Raith Tower, 54 feet high, whose top commands a magnificent view of fourteen or sixteen counties. Sir John de Melville of Raith swore fealty to Edward I. in 1296; and among his descendants were Sir John Melville, beheaded for treason in 1549; Sir Robert Melville of Murdocairnie (1527-1621), created Baron Melville of Monimail in 1616; his younger brother, Sir James Melville of Hallhill (1530-1607), well known by his curious Memoirs; and George, fourth Lord Melville, created Earl of Melville in 1690. (See Melville House.) After his death in 1707, the estate was purchased by Robert Ferguson (1690-1781); and Raith House was the birthplace of the Peninsular hero, Gen. Sir Ronald Craufurd Ferguson, M. P. (1773-1841), whose grandson, Ronald Craufurd Munro-Ferguson, Esq. (b. 1860; suc. 1868), holds 7135 acres in Fife, 3350 in Elginshire, and 14, 582 in Ross-shire, valued at £13,919, £2529, and £3603 per annum, his father having succeeded to the estates of Muirton and Novar in 1864. His grand-uncle and father represented the Kirkcaldy burghs from 1831 to 1861; and he himself was elected Liberal M.P. for Ross-shire in 1884. A quoad sacra parish of Raith, formed out of Abbotshall in 1883, is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and the synod of Fife- Its church is the former Free church of Abbotshall, acquired by the Establishment in 1875, and reopened after reconstruction at a cost of over £5000 on 9 Sept. 1883.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40, 1867.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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