Parish of Cleish

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: Cleish
1834-45: Cleish

Cleish, a village and a parish in the S of Kinrossshire. The village stands on the N border of the parish, near the left bank of Gairney Water, 2¼ miles SSE of Cleish Road station, 2½ W by N of Blairadam station, and 3 SSW of Kinross, under which it has a post office.

The parish is bounded N by Fossoway and Kinross, NE by Portmoak, E by Ballingry, S by Beath and Dunfermline, W by Dunfermline, and NW by Fossoway. Its greatest length from E to W is 6½ miles; its breadth from N to S varies between 1¼ and 2¼ miles; and its area is 6214¾ acres, of which 14 are water. Black Loch (2 x 1 furl.) and Loch Glow (6 x 31/3 furl.) lie on the Dunfermline border; near them, in the interior, are the still tinier Lurg and Dow Lochs. The Pow Burn traces the north-western, Gairney Water the northern, and the early course of the sluggish Ore great part of the southern, boundary; and the two first receive from the interior ten or twelve northward-flowing rivulets. In the E are Blairadam Inn (337 feet above sea-level), Brackly Wood (1072) on a western outskirt of Benarty, and Blackdub (393); westward, the surface attains 707 feet near Blairadam, 933 in Cowden Wood, 589 near West Mains, and 1240 on Dumglow, the highest of the Cleish Hills. The rocks are variously eruptive, Silurian, and carboniferous. Basalt is quarried, and excellent sandstone is plentiful; good limestone occurs, and coal was formerly worked. The arable soil, in the W, is clay; further E is good loam; still further E is gravel and sand; in the SE is stiff retentive loam; and elsewhere is of various character. The grass on the highest hills is of fine quality, and forms excellent pasture for sheep. Traces of an ancient fort or camp are on one of the summits of the Cleish Hills; and urns, containing human bones and pieces of charcoal, have been found under former cairns. A rock, the Lecture Stone, is in a stone dyke ¼ mile E of the parish church; and was used, in pre-Reformation days, as a rest for the coffin during the reading of the burial service. A stone, inserted in a bridge at the E end of the parish, bears an inscription indicating the road here to have been that by which Queen Mary fled from Loch Leven Castle. The schoolhouse, in which the poet Michael Bruce (174667) was schoolmaster, stood on what now is the farmstead of Gairney Bridge; and the public house, in which Ebenezer Erskine and the three other fathers of the Secession formed themselves into a presbytery (15 Dec. 1733), stood on the site of that farmstead's stables. The principal mansions are Blairadam and Cleish Castle. The latter, 7 furlongs W of the village, is a fine old structure; its owner, Harry Young, Esq. (b. 1816; suc. 1840), holds 1910 acres in the shire, valued at £1979, 10s. per annum. Eight lesser proprietors hold each an annual value of upwards of £50. Cleish is in the presbytery of Kinross and synod of Fife; the living is worth £188. The church, rebuilt in 1832, is a very neat edifice containing over 400 sittings; a public school, with accommodation for 81 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 42, and a grant of £46,6s. Valuation (1882) £6775,8s. Pop. (1801) 625, (1831) 681, (1861) 649, (1871) 539, (1881) 498.—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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