Parish of Beath

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: Beath
1834-45: Beath

Beath (Gael- ` birch-tree '), an inland parish of SW Fife, intersected by the West Fife Mineral railway, and touched by two sections of the North British system- the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee (1 mile) in the south-eastern, and the Kinross-shire (9 furlongs) in the north-eastern corner, with Cowdenbeath station on the former, 5¼ miles ENE of Dunfermline, and, on the latter, Kelty station, 5 miles SSE of Kinross. It contains the mining villages of Hill of Beath, ½ mile NW of Crossgates station; Cowdenbeath, 3 furlongs N by W of Cowdenbeath station, with a post office, having money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments; Kelty, 7 furlongs W of Kelty station; Oakfield, ½ mile SSE of Kelty; and Lassodie, in the W, with a post office under Dunfermline, from which it is 4½ miles NNE.

Bounded NW by Dunfermline and Cleish in Kinrossshire, NE by Ballingry and Auchterderran, SE by Auchtertool, Aberdour, and Dunfermline, and SW by Dunfermline, Beath has a varying length from E by N to W by S of 23/8 and 45/8 miles, an extreme breadth from N by W to S by E of 3½ miles, and an area of 6401¼ acres, of which 56¾ are water- Shallow Loch Fitty (1 by ¼ mile) lies partly within the south-western border, and Lochfitty Burn runs out of it through the interior and along the Ballingry boundary on its way to the eastward-flowing Ore, which, with another affluent, Lochornie Burn, traces all the north-western and part of the north-eastern border. The surface has a general westward rise, from less than 300 feet above sea-level in the furthest E to 412 near Hilton, 587 near Leucharsbeath, 575 near Cocklaw, 710 near Thornton, and 705 at the wide-looking Hill of Beath, in the SW corner of the parish. The formation is mainly Limestone Carboniferous, and, whilst the limestone has to some extent been worked, five collieries were active here in 1879-Beath and Blairadam, Clarkstone, Cowdenbeath, Hill of Beath, and Lassodie. The soil is for the most part cold and stiff; and, though there are highly-cultivated farms, as Hilton (460 acres) and the Mains of Beath (300), their rental is low, that of the former in 1875 being only £375- Eight proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 11 of between £100 and £500,6 of from £50 to £100, and 12 of from £20 to £50. The Queen, on her first visit to Scotland, changed horses at Cowdenbeath, 6 Sept- 1842; but the most curious chapter in Beath's history is quoted in the -New Statistical from the old register of 1640, whence it appears how the poor kirk, which had been the first place of meeting that ever the Protestant Lords of Scotland had for the Covenant and Reformation, fell into decay, and how about that time it was rebuilt by Mr Alexander Collville of Blair, who was mightily stirred by beholding from his own window the piping and dancing of the poor people on the Sabbath, their revelling and deboshing, drinking, excess, and riot,-the younger men playing at football, falling out, and wounding one another, and the older sort playing at games and the works of their several callings. Beath is in the presbytery of Dunfermline and synod of Fife; its minister's income is £245. The present parish church, a handsome edifice (built 1835), stands 1 mile WNW of Cowdenbeath, 2 SSE of Kelty; and there are 3 Free churches (in Kinross presbytery) at Cowdenbeath, Kelty, and Lassodie, besides a Baptist church at Cowdenbeath. Three public schools-Cowdenbeath, Kelty, and Lassodie-with respective accommodation for 500,300, and 250 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 529, 243, and 186 children, and grants of £463, 15s., £212, 3s6d., and £114, 7s. 6d- Valuation (1865) £11,782, 2s., (1881) £21,492, 14s 2d. Pop. (1801) 613, (1821) 729, (1831) 921, (1841) 973, (1851) 1252, (1861) 2390, (1871) 3534, (1881) 5422.—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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