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Parish of Kilrenny

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: Kilrenny
1834-45: Kilrenny

Kilrenny, a royal burgh and a coast parish in the East Neuk of Fife. The royal burgh consists of two Parts-the small rural village of Upper Kilrenny, with a post office (Kilrenny) under Anstruther, and the fishing village of Nether Kilrenny or Cellardyke, respectively 1½ mile NE and 1 E by N of Anstruther station. Originally and for a long time identified only with Upper Kilrenny, it seems to have acquired the status of a royal burgh solely by accidental misconstruction of rights that early belonged to it as a burgh of regality; and it exercised for some time the power of sending a member to the Scottish parliament, but receded in 1672 by its own consent into the condition of a mere burgh of regality. At the Union it once more rose by another mistake to the status of a royal burgh, and figuring in record as if it had obtained a royal charter in 1707, was so extended by the Reform Act of 1832 as to include the Anstruther suburb of Cellardyke or Nether Kilrenny. Afterwards it was stripped for a time of its municipal corporation, and placed under the management of three persons resident in Cellardyke; but now it is governed by a provost, 2 bailies, a treasurer, and 5 councillors, who also act as police commissioners. With St Andrews, Crail, Cupar, Pittenweem, and the two Anstruthers it unites in returning a member to parliament. The annual value of real property amounted to £4888 in 1883, when the parliamentary and the municipal constituency numbered 405 and 434, whilst the corporation revenue for 1882 was £63. Pop. of parliamentary burgh (1841) 1719, (1861) 2145, (1871) 2470, (1881) 2759, of whom 2730 were in the royal burgh. Houses (1881) 376 inhabited, 9 vacant, 5 building.

The parish, including also a small portion of Anstruther-Easter parliamentary burgh, is bounded N and NE by Crail, SE by the Firth of Forth, and W by Anstruther and Carnbee. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 27/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from N to S, is 2¾ miles; and its area is 3931 acres, of which 155½ are foreshore. The coast, measuring 21/8 miles in length, has a low shore, covered with large masses of sandstone blocks; and contains, in its eastern part, considerably above high-water mark, some caves marked in the interior with artificial cuttings and chiselled crosses. The interior ascends, from the shore to the northern boundary, in continuous gentle acclivity, attaining an elevation of from 200 to 300 feet above sea-level, and presenting the appearance of a fertile and highly cultivated slope. A few acres along the shore are constantly in pasture, a few are in a state of commonage or under wood, and all the rest of the land is regularly in tillage. The rocks belong to the Carboniferous formation; and sandstone, limestone, and coal have been worked. The soil is mostly good, and has been vastly improved by agricultural operations. The chief antiquities are a rudely carved standing stone, supposed to commemorate some battle with invading Scandinavians, and the site of Thirdpart House, long the family residence of the Scots of Scotstarvet. Sir James Lumsdaine of Innergellie, who fought under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and at the battle of Dunbar, was a native of Kilrenny; James Melville, nephew of the famous Andrew Melville, became its minister in 1586; and Drummond of Hawthornden laid in it the scene of his macaronic Polemo-Middinia. Mansions are Innergellie and Rennyhill; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 3 of between £100 and £500, 8 of from £50 to £100, and 14 of from £20 to £50. Kilrenny is in the presbytery of St Andrews and synod of Fife; the living is worth £483. The church, at Upper Kilrenny, was built in 1806, and contains 800 sittings. Three public schools-Cellardyke, Cellardyke infant, and Upper Kilrenny-with respective accommodation for 225, 239, and 147 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 199, 161, and 106, and grants of £185, 11s., £137, 0s. 6d., and £84, 7s. Valuation (1860) £7523, 7s., (1873) £12,875, 16s. 8d., (1883) ££7518, 2s. 5d. Pop. (1801) 1043, (1831) 1705, (1861) 2534, (1871) 3015, (1881) 3198.—Ord. Sur., sh. 41, 1857.

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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