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Parish of Kingsbarns

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: Kingsbarns
1834-45: Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns, a village and a coast parish in the East Neuk of Fife. The village, standing 5 furlongs inland, is 3 miles NNW of Crail, and 7 ESE of St Andrews; it has a post office under St Andrews, a station on the Anstruther and St Andrews railway, and fairs on the first Tuesday of June and the third Wednesday of October, both o. s. A royal castle by the seashore was rather an appurtenance of Falkland Palace than itself a royal residence, and appears to have been a fortified edifice of no great extent, containing the barns or granaries of the royal household. Hence it took the name of Kingsbarns, and gave that name to a tract of land around it, which tract, together with some contiguous lands, belonged to Crail parish till 1631, but then was constituted a separate parish.

The parish is bounded N by St Andrews, NE by the German Ocean, S by Crail, and W by Crail and St Leonards. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 3 miles; its utmost breadth is 25/8 miles; and its area is 4370 acres, of which 480¾ lie detached and surrounded by Crail, and 296¼ are foreshore. The coast, 31/8 miles in extent, is low and rocky, with no very marked projection, and, suffering tremendous buffeting by the sea in easterly gales, has for many years being undergoing perceptible denudation. The interior rises gently south-westward from the shore, till, on the western border, it attains a maximum height of 300 feet above sea-level. The rocks belong chiefly to the Carboniferous formation, and consist mainly of sandstone and limestone. Coal appears to have been once worked, but now is very scarce; limestone has been calcined at the shore of the Cambo estate; and some ironstone is found among the rocks on the coast. The soil, in the lower district, is partly light and sandy but fertile, partly a deep black loam, tending in places to clay; in the upper district is partly strong and heavy, partly a thin clay and moorish, lying generally on a wet bottom. With the exception of some 160 acres of wood, almost all the area is in tillage. The chief residences are Cambo and Pitmilly, both noticed separately; and Sir Thomas Erskine divides the parish with 4 lesser proprietors holding each an annual of £500 and upwards, 1 of between £100 and £500, and 2 of from £50 to £100. Kingsbarns is in the presbytery of St Andrews and synod of Fife; the living is worth £381. The church, at the village, was built in 1631, and, as enlarged in 1811, contains 650 sittings. The public school, with accommodation for 216 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 123, and a grant of £117, 8s. 6d. Valuation (1866) £8756, (l873) £10,590, (1883) £8919, 6s. 11d. Pop. (1801) 832, (1831) 1023, (1861) 937, (1871) 922, (1881) 795.—Ord. Sur., shs. 41, 49, 1857-65.

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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