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Parish of St Andrews and St Leonards

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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1791-99: St Andrews and St Leonards
1834-45: St Andrews
1834-45: St Leonards

St Andrews, a parish containing a royal burgh of the same name on the E coast of the county of Fife, between the entrance to the Firth of Tay and Fife Ness. It surrounds part of the parish of St Leonards, which is separately noticed. It is bounded N by the parish of Leuchars, NNE by St Andrews Bay, SSE by the parish of Kingsbarns, S by the parishes of St Leonards, Dunino, Cameron, and Ceres, W by the parish of Kemback, and NW by the parish of Leuchars. On the N and NW the boundary is formed by the river Eden from the mouth to Nydie Mill, a distance of 6½ miles; on the SSE it follows Kenly Burn for about 3 miles, though there are divergences; elsewhere, except on the sea-coast and for 2 miles near Wester Balrymonth along a small stream flowing to Kinness Burn, the line is almost entirely artificial. The extreme length of the parish, from Nydie Mill on the W east-South-eastward to the mouth of Kenly Burn, is 95/8 miles; the average breadth at right angles to this is about 2¼ miles; and the area is 13, 312.163 acres, of which 105.344 are water and 1724.813 foreshore. The coast, from the Eden to the burgh of St Andrews, is a flat, firm, sandy beach, skirted by the links; and from the burgh to Kenly Burn an expanse of rough shelving rocks skirted by low cliffs from 30 to 40 feet in height. Among these are several caves, but Kinkell Cave, a mile to the E of the burgh, with a length of about 75 feet and a height of from 10 to 25 feet, is the only one of importance. The Maiden Rock to the N of the burgh, the Rock and Spindle to the E of Kinkell Ness, and Buddo Rock near Boarhills, also present curious features, especially the Rock and Spindle, which shows a peculiar radial arrangement of basaltic columns. The surface is generally flat along the seaboard, and rises from this slowly towards the interior boundary, heights of 360, 375, and 547 feet being reached at East Balrymonth Hill, West Balrymonth Hill, and Clatto Hill respectively. The soil is fertile, and there are over 11, 000 acres under tillage, the woodland being mostly confined to the policies of the mansions. The underlying rocks are carboniferous, consisting of beds of sandstone, with thin seams of coal, clay, and clay-ironstone. Many of the beds are fossiliferous, and there are also volcanic rocks. Basalt for road metal and paving-setts is quarried in several places, and sandstone of excellent quality for building is worked at Knock Hill and Strathkinness. The drainage is carried off by the river Eden and Kenly Burn on the borders, and in the centre by Kinness Burn, which enters the sea to the E of St Andrews, one branch rising on the W at Knock Hill, and another on the S border at Priory Bank. At the mouth of the Eden-up which the tide flows for 4 miles -there is a shallow sandy bay abounding in flat fish and shells, and along the lower part of the river salmon and sea-trout may be caught. Magus Muir, on the SW, where Archbishop Sharpe was assassinated, is separately noticed. The north-eastern part of the parish is traversed by the great coast road from Burntisland by the East Neuk of Fife to St Andrews and thence to Dundee, and by the road from St Andrews westward to Cupar-Fife, as well as by a large number of good district roads. The St Andrews branch of the North British railway system enters the parish at the river Eden at Guard Bridge, and runs east-South-eastward 3½ miles to the W end of the town of St Andrews. It was opened in 1852, and the Anstruther and St Andrews section of the North British system was opened to Boarhills in 1883. Besides the town of St Andrews the parish contains also the villages of Strathkinness (W) and Boarhills (E) and the hamlet of Kincaple (N), with part of the hamlet of Denhead (S), the first three of which are separately noticed; as is also the old bridge at Guard Bridge. The mansions are Broomhills, Balmungo, Clatto, Denbrae, Kenly Green, Kincaple, Kingask, and Strathtyrum, all of which are separately noticed; as is also Mount Melville, part of the policies of which are in this parish, though the mansion-house is in the parish of Cameron. The parish is in the presbytery of St Andrews and synod of Fife, and the charge is collegiate; the living of the first minister being worth £800 a year, and that of the second £203. It gives off the quoad sacra parish of Strathkinness, and there is a mission station at Boarhills. The churches are noticed in the following article, and there is also a Free church at Strathkinness. Under the landward school board of the parishes of St Andrews and St Leonards, the Boarhills, North Strathkinness, and South Strathkinness schools, with accommodation for 117, 160, and 142 pupils respectively, had in 1883 attendances of 72, 74, and 95, and grants of £56, 11s., £55, 12s., and £77, 1s. The principal landowner is J. H. Balfour of Strathkinness, and 16 others hold each an annual value of £500 or upwards, 47 hold each between £500 and £100, 82 hold each between £100 and £50, and 169 Hold each between £50 and £20. Landward valuation (1856) £21, 736, (1875) £26, 834, (1885) £23, 752. Pop. (1801) 4203, (1831) 5621, (1861) 7092, (1871) 7851, (1881) 7835, of whom 3531 were males and 4304 females, while 6458 were in the town and 1120 were in the quoad sacra parish of Strathkinness.

The Bay of St Andrews, which may be taken as bounded on the N by the Red Head, and on the S by Fife Ness, measures 24 miles along the line between these points, 10 miles along a line at right angles to this westward to the head of the bay. It is dangerous and stormy; and vessels driven in by easterly winds and embayed between Fife Ness and the Red Head, are compelled to run for the entrance to the Tay, with its dangerous and intricate sand banks.

The Established Church has a Presbytery of St Andrews, which is in the synod of Fife, and comprehends the parishes of St Andrews, Abercrombie, Anstruther-Easter, Anstruther-Wester, Cameron, Carnbee, Crail, Dunino, Elie, Ferry Port on Craig, Forgan, Kemback, Kilconquhar, Kilrenny, Kingsbarns, Largo, Leuchars, Newhurn, Pittenweem, and St Leonards, and the quoad sacra parishes of Largoward, Newport, and Strathkinness. The Free Church has also a presbytery of St Andrews, with congregations at Anstruther, Carnbee, Crail, Elie, Ferry Port on Craig, Largo, Leuchars, Newport (Forgan), St Andrews, St Monance, and Strathkinness. The Episcopal Church has a united diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, with churches at Alyth, Blairgowrie, Bridge of Allan, Burntisland, Callander, Coupar-Angus, Crieff, Culross, Cupar-Fife, Dollar, Doune, Dunblane, Dunfermline, Dunkeld, Dunning, Forfar, Glamis, Kenmore, Killin, Kinloch-Rannoch, Kinross, Kirkcaldy, Kirriemuir, Leven, Meigle, Muthill, Perth (3), Pitlochrie, Pittenweem, St Andrews, Strathtay, and Weem; and the Roman Catholic Church has an archbishopric of St Andrews and Edinburgh, with churches in Edinburgh (4), Bathgate, Broxburn, Dalkeith, Davidson's Mains, Denny, Dunbar, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Fauldhouse, Galashiels, Haddington, Hawick, Innerleithen, Jedburgh, Kelso, Kilsyth, Kirkcaldy, Leith, Lennoxtown, Linlithgow, Loanhead, North Berwick, Oakley, Peehles, Ratho, Selkirk, Stirling, and West Calder.

St Leonards, a small parish in the E of Fife, and forming practically part of the parish of St Andrews, though it is civilly and ecclesiastically distinct. It consists of a main portion near the centre of the S border of St Andrews parish and several detached portions in and about the town. The main part, which lies to the S of Boarhills, is bounded W and N by the parish of St Andrews, E by the parish of Kingsbarns, S by the parish of Crail, and SW by the parish of Dunino; its extreme length and breadth are 1¾ mile. The physical characteristics are the same as in St Andrews, and the height above sea-level rises towards the S till 317 feet is reached near the corner of Balcaithly Wood. The drainage is carried off by Kenly Burn, which has, along the boundary or through this part of the parish, a course of fully 1¼ mile. Another portion immediately SW of the town of St Andrews measures 4 by 2 furlongs, and there are smaller sections at the E end of the town. The land area is 820 acres; and the whole parish, which was originally the property of the Priory of St Andrews and afterwards of St Leonard's College, now belongs to the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard at St Andrews. Although the principal of St Leonard's did not always officiate as the minister of the parish, and in the case of George Buchanan (1566-70) was not even a clergyman, it is certain that for some time before the Revolution the two offices were held by the same person; and from that time till 1836, first the principal of St Leonard's, and thereafter of the United College, was always a clergyman and minister of this parish. St Leonards is in the presbytery of St Andrews and the synod of Fife, and the living is worth £315 a year. The chapel of St Salvator's College has been used as the parish church for more than a century, and was legally annexed to the parish in 1843. Valuation (1856) £859, 7s., (1875) £1660, 16s. 3d., (1885) £1377, 10s. 11d. Pop. (1801) 363, (1831) 482, (1861) 513, (1871) 741, (1881) 769, of whom 436 were females.—Ord. Sur., shs. 49, 41, 1865-57.

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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