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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Collessie, a post-office village and a parish in the N of Fife. The village has a station on the North British railway, 2½ miles NNW of its post-town Ladybank, this being 28¼ miles NNE of Edinburgh, and 18¾ SE by E of Perth.

The parish contains also the important junction and the rising police burgh of Ladybank, and the villages of Giffordtown and Edenstown. It is bounded N by Abdie, NE by Monimail, E by Cults, S by Kettle, SW by Auchtermuchty, and NW by Newburgh. Its greatest length from E to W is 4¾ miles; its greatest breadth from N to S is 3¾ miles; and its area is 8702¾ acres, of of which 5½ are water. The river Eden flows 2¼ miles along all the Kettle border, and lower down, 1¼ mile along the boundary with Cults; its channel was straightened about 1787, so that its floods have long been a thing of the past. Rossie Loch, too, which covered upwards of 300 acres, was drained in 1740, its bed being now good meadow and pasture land. Part of the ` Howe of Fife,' the surface, sinking to 100 feet above sea-level in the E, is almost a dead flat over much the larger portion of the parish, but, close to the western and the northern border, attains 427 feet near Craigoverhouse and 642 at Woodhead. Greenstone has been quarried, as also sandstone in a less degree; and marl is plentiful. The soil of the arable lands is deep and fertile, resting upon a trap-rock bottom, and having a fine southern exposure; since 1860 great improvements have been carried out on the Melville estate, in the way of building, wire-fencing, clearing, replanting, and reclaiming. Plantations cover a considerable extent, about one-seventh of the entire area. Near the village are a megalith 6 feet in girth by 9 in height, and a tumulus, 'Gask Hill,' which, measuring 120 by 100 feet, and 12 feet high, was opened in 1876 by Mr Anderson of the Edinburgh Antiquarian Museum. In the NW, too, stood two ancient forts, commanding the pass from central Fife to Strathearn; and near the easternmost one coins have been found of Edward I. of England, along with a cinerary urn and other relics of antiquity. Hugh Blair, D.D. (1718-1800), author of -Lectures on Rhetoric, commenced his ministry here in 1742; and the courtier and diplomatist, Sir James Melville (1535-1607), held the estate of Hallhill. The principal mansions are Melville House, Kinloch, Pitlair, Rankeilour, Meadow Wells, Rossie, and Lochiehead. Collessie is in the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife; the living is worth £436. The parish church is a very old building, long and narrow, with not more than 600 sittings; but in 1881 the erection was sanctioned of another Established church -to seat 400 and cost £2050-at Ladybank, where a new Free church was built in 1876 at a cost of £3000. Two public schools, Collessie and Ladybank, with respective accommodation for 129 and 273 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 78 and 236, and grants of £73,13s. and £227,16s. Valuation (1881) £13,182, 3s. Pop. (1801) 930, (1831) 1162, (1861) 1560, (1871) 1703, (1881) 1982, of whom 1072 were in Ladybank.—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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