Parish of Auchtermuchty

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: Auchtermuchty
1834-45: Auchtermuchty

Auchtermuchty (Gael. uachdar-muic, 'upper land of the wild sow'), a town and a parish of NW Fife. The town is divided by the Loverspool, a tiny affluent of the Eden, into two nearly equal portions; and has a station on the Fife and Kinross section of the North British, 10¼ miles NE of Kinross, 33¾ ENE of Stirling, 4¾ WNW of Ladybank Junction, 10¼ WSW of Cupar, and 33 N of Edinburgh (viâ Burntisland). It was made a royal burgh in 1517, and confirmed in its rights in 1595, but had ceased to return a member of Parliament some time before the Union; and, becoming bankrupt in 1816, it suffered the sequestration of all its corporation property, except town-house, jail, steeple, bell, and customs. Governed by a provost, 2 bailies, 2 treasurers, a procurator-fiscal, 2 joint-town-clerks, and 8 councillors, it has sheriff small debt courts on the second Monday of January, April, July, and October; a weekly corn market is held on Monday; and there are cattle, horse, and sheep fairs on the first Wednesday of February, the last Monday of April, the second Monday of July, and the first Monday of October and December. With three main streets and several lanes, Auchtermuchty is irregularly built, but of late years has been considerably improved, and commands fine views of the East and West Lomond Hills, which, distant 3½ miles S and 4 miles SW, are 1471 and 1713 feet high. It was the birthplace of the Rev. John Glas (1698-1773), founder of the sect of Glasites; but it is better known by the famous old ballad of The Wife of Auchtermuchty, wrongly ascribed to James V. There are a town-hall; the Victoria Hall, erected in 1865 for lectures, concerts, and public meetings; a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments; branches of the Bank of Scotland and Union Bank; a savings' bank, and 8 insurance agencies; gas-works; 3 hotels; a choral union; and agricultural and horticultural societies. Places of worship are the parish church (built 1780; enlarged 1838; and seating 900), a Free church, and 2 U.P. churches (North and South); and the Madras Established school and North and South public schools, with respective accommodation for 127,194, and 135 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 103,129, and 102, and grants of £80,15s., £121,5s. 6d., and £86,9s. The industrial works comprise a printing office, a bleachfield, an extensive distillery, 2 malt kilns, a scale-beam and weighing-machine factory, 3 sawmills, and 5 linen factories. The weaving of diapers, huckabacks, sheetings, etc. (chiefly by handloom), has long been the staple industry, but since 1817 has been carried on less by resident manufacturers than for houses in Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Dundee, Glasgow, and Aberdeen; there are now some 600 looms in the town, and 200 more in the parish. Burgh valuation (1881) £2506. Pop. of royal burgh (1871) 1082, (1881) 824; of town (1841) 2394, (1861) 2438, (1871) 2195, (1881) 1673.

The parish, which also contains the village of Dunshelt, is bounded N by Perthshire, E by Collessie, S by Falkland and Strathmiglo, W by Strathmiglo and Abernethy. Its length from NW to SE is 47/8 miles; its greatest breadth from E to W is 25/8 miles; and its area is 3533 acres, of which 3¼ are water. Three streams flow eastward-Beggar's Burn along most of the northern boundary, Barroway Burn through the southern interior, and the river Eden, near or upon the southern border; and from this last the surface rises north-westward to the Ochils-from 137 feet above sea-level at a point near Dunshelt to 554 feet at Mairsland, 898 in Pitlour Wood on the western boundary, and 843 in the north-western angle of the parish. The soil of the lowlands is fertile and well cultivated, that in the SE being deep rich alluvium, part of a plain that formerly was often flooded in winter, but is now as well-drained and luxuriant a district as any almost in Scotland; the soil of the uplands is light, but sharp and valuable for grass. About 220 acres are under wood. Myres Castle (Mrs Tyndall Bruce), ½ mile S by E of the town, is the only considerable mansion. It was long the residence of the Moncrieffs of Reedie, and was greatly enlarged about 1828. Two proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 12 of between £100 and £500,12 of from £50 to £100, and 36 of from £20 to £50. Auchtermuchty is in the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife; the minister's income is £465. Valuation of landward portion (1881) £8497,15s. 6d. Pop. of entire parish (1811) 2403, (1841) 3352, (1871) 2958, (1881) 2322.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40,1867.

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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