Leslie High Street
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Leslie High Street

A burgh town in central Fife, situated on a ridge overlooking the River Leven immediately to the west of Glenrothes. Originally known as Fettykil, its name was changed to Leslie in 1283 when Norman de Leslie obtained a grant of land here. Leslie House, designed by Sir William Bruce, was built 1667-74 for John Leslie who was Lord Chancellor in the reign of King Charles II and was created Duke of Rothes. The town flourished as a centre of spinning, bleaching and papermaking in the 19th Century, much of its industrial activity taking place by the River Leven.

Created a burgh of barony in 1458, Leslie's ridge-top Mediaeval layout is still visible. To the west, the Prinlaws quarter of town was developed for factory workers by the enlightened industrialist John Fergus and to the east, outside Christ's Kirk on the Green, stands the Bull Stone, a relic of bull-baiting at Mediaeval fairs. Although paper-bag manufacturer Smith Anderson left in 2007, having operated from the B-listed Fettykil Paper Mill since 1859, Leslie is still a centre of papermaking.

Leslie once had a railway station which was the terminus of a branch line. It lost its passenger service in 1923, although the line continued to serve the Fettykil Mill until 1967.

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