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Parish of Moonzie

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: Moonzie
1834-45: Moonzie

Moonzie, a very small parish of N Fife, whose church stands 3 miles NW of the post-town, Cupar. It is bounded W and NW by Creich, NE by Kilmany, SE by Cupar, and SW by Monimail. Its utmost length, from NNW to SSE, is 2 miles; its utmost breadth is 1¾ mile; and its area is 1257¾ acres. Sinking to less than 200 feet above sea-level along the boundaries, and rising to 453 feet near the church and 430 at Colluthie Hill, the surface presents a pleasing diversity of hill and dale. A considerable loch or marsh- on Lordscairnie farm was drained about the beginning of the century-; and Moonzie Burn, issuing from what was once its bed, runs eastward to the river Eden's estuary. Trap tufa is the predominant rock. A few acres on the top of Colluthie Hill are under plantation; about 36 acres on Lordscairnie farm are reclaimed moss, under the plough; and all-the rest of the parish has excellent soil, partly a strong clay, chiefly a black loam, and is in a state of high cultivation. An interesting antiquity is Lordscairnie or ' Earl Beardie's ' Castle. This is said to have been built about the middle of the 15th century by Alexander, fourth Earl of Crawford, commonly called ' Earl Beardie ' from his great beard, or the ' Tiger Earl ' from the fierceness of his disposition. All that remains of it is the keep or donjon, and a round tower which formed a defence for the wall that surrounded the courtyard. This ruin is four stories high, and appears to have lost nothing of its original height, with the exception of the bartizans. It is 53 feet long and 42 broad without the walls. The walls are strongly built, and between five and six feea thick. The ground floor-as is common in such structures-appears to have been wholly occupied by cellars having arched stone roofs. The second floor was occupied entirely with the great hall, which is 40 feet Long and over 20 feet broad. The defence of the castle and its outworks was anciently strengthened by a broad morass, which appears to have entirely surrounded the slight rising ground on which they were situated. Colluthie, noticed separately, is the only mansion; and the Earl of Glasgow divides the parish with two Lesser proprietors. Moonzie is in the presbytery of Cupar and the synod of Fife; the living is worth £225. the church, which from its elevated position serves as a landmark to mariners entering the Firth of Tay, is a Small old building, containing 171 sittings, and greatly improved by extensive repairs in 1882. Although it were impossible to ascertain the exact date of the present structure, there can be no doubt as to its great antiquity. The church and teinds of the parish of Moonzie were Gifted in 1238 by Bishop Malvoisin to a religious fraternity at Scotlandwell in Kinross-shire. About 1564 Moonzie was conjoined with Cupar, but this arrangement lasted only a few years, after which it was again made a separate parish. After the Revolution, we find it stated in the Kirk Session records, that, when the minister was ' outed,' the great hall of Earl Beardie's castle was fitted up as a meeting-place for him and his adherents; and in 1693 ' the Session appoynts that the seats now standing in the meeting-house at [Lords-] Cairnie be transported with all conveniency to the Kirk.' The public school, with accommodation for 54 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 40, and a grant of £49, 5s. Valuation (1866) £2338, 4s. 3d., (1884) £2614, 7s. Pop. (1801) 201, (1831) 188, (1861) 179, (1871) 154, (1881) 148.—Ord. Sur., sh. 48, 1868.

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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