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Parish of Kennoway

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: Kennoway
1834-45: Kennoway

Kennoway, a village and a parish of S central Fife. The village stands 3 ½ miles E by N of Markinch, and 1 ½ mile N of Cameron Bridge station, this being 3 ¾ miles ENE of Thornton Junction and 23¾ NNE of Edinburgh. Occupying the southern slope of an eminence, and overhanging a ravine or den, it thence has been said to have got the name of Kennoway (Gael. ceannuan-uaigh, 'head of the den'),* and it commands a magnificent view of the waters and screens of the Firth of Forth. It dates from times long prior to the existence of any of its present buildings; but in the arrangement of its streets and the style of some of its houses, it retains indications of antiquity; and it is prettier, cleaner, and more substantial than most of the seaside or the collier villages of Fife, whilst possessing a high reputation for salubrity. One of its old houses is said to have been occupied by Archbishop Sharp on the night preceding his assassination; and fifteen or twenty private houses are licensed for the reception of pauper lunatics, which has had the effect of greatly lessening the value of house property, and keeping away respectable tenants. The population has dwindled with the decline in handloom weaving, and two annual fairs have become extinct. The village is lighted with gas; and has a post office, 2 inns, a savings' bank, and several benefit and religious societies. The parish church here, built in 1850 after designs by T. Hamilton of Edinburgh, is a Norman edifice, with 650 sittings. The Free church was built soon after the Disruption; and the U.P. church is noted for having long enjoyed the ministry of the Rev. Dr Donald Fraser, biographer of the Erskines. Pop. (1831) 862, (1841) 1101, (1861) 939, (1871) 835, (1881) 770.

The parish, containing also Baintown village and Star village, is bounded N by Kettle, E by Scoonie, and S and W by Markinch. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 3 3/8 miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 1 ¼ and 2 ½ miles; and its area is 3964 ¼ acres. Sinking to 170 feet above sea-level at the southern border, the surface thence rises gradually northward to 455 feet near Dalginch, 519 near Baintown, and 669 at Lalathan, and is beautifully diversified with gentle and irregular rising-grounds that command extensive and brilliant views of the basin of the Forth and of parts of the basin of the Tay away to the Grampians. The streams are all mere burns, either tributary to the Leven or running through Scoonie to the Forth; and one of them, passing close to Kennoway village, traverses there a picturesque ravine. The rocks are variously eruptive and carboniferous; and trap, sandstone, and coal are worked. The soil, in the S and E, is mostly light and fertile; in the centre, is loam or clay, on a retentive bottom; and over part of the N, is dry loam, incumbent on trap rock. About one-sixteenth of the entire area is under wood, and nearly all the rest is in tillage. Mansions are Kingsdale and Newton Hall; and 3 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 7 of between £100 and £500, 2 of from £50 to £100, and 15 of from £20 to £50. Kennoway is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and synod of Fife; the living is worth £423. Two public schools, Kennoway and Star, with respective accommodation for 230 and 90 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 167 and 82, and grants of £135, 11s. and £81, 15s. Valuation (1860) £8520, (1883) £.8988, 14s. 1d. Pop. (1801) 1466, (1831) 1721, (1841) 2044, (1861) 2012, (1871) 1703, (1881) 1560.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40, 1867.

* A much more probable derivation, resting on the authority of Dr Reeves, is from Kennichi or Kenneth, a disciple of St Columba. The ancient name of the parish is Kennochi or Kennichin, sometimes Kennochy. The bell of the old parish church, now hung above the entrance to Borthwick Hall, Midlothian, has cast upon it in raised letters—'I'm for the Kirk o' Kennochi.' Kennoway is a comparatively modern corruption, found in no ancient documents.

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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