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Sunday, 9 December 2007

Auchtermuchty Fife Scotland

Auchtermuchty, Fife, Scotland. Auchtermuchty in 1846. Auchtermuchty, a royal burgh, and a parish, in the district of Cupar, county of Fife, 9 miles (W. by S.) from Cupar; containing, with the village of Dunshelt, 3356 inhabitants, of whom 1340 are in the burgh. This place, of which the name, in the Gaelic language, signifies "the cottage of the king," is supposed, from that circumstance, to have been appropriated to the accommodation of part of the royal household, during the king's residence in the palace of Falkland, about three miles distant, and which had been previously one of the strongholds of Macduff, Earl of Fife. The Town, which is situated on the road from Kinross to Cupar, is irregularly built, consisting of several ill-formed streets and lanes of houses of mean appearance, many of them having thatched roofs, though intermixed with some of more modern and handsome character, with neat gardens attached; it is inhabited by an industrious and thriving population, and has a public library, supported by subscription.

The inhabitants are chiefly employed in hand-loom weaving, for the manufacturers of Dunfermline, Newburgh, and Kirkcaldy; the principal articles are linen goods, consisting of checks, drills, dowlas, sheetings, and other fabrics, in making which about 1000 persons are engaged. A considerable number were formerly occupied in these manufactures, on their own account; but there are only one or two establishments of the kind now remaining. On the banks of a rivulet near the extremity of the town, are, a bleachfield, flour-mill, and saw-mill; and there are also a thriving distillery, and an extensive malting concern. A branch of the Union Bank of Scotland has likewise been established. The market, which is on Monday, is well supplied with grain and provisions of every kind; and fairs are held on the 25th of March (O. S.), the 13th of July, and the 21st of August, for horses and cattle; the July fair is also a statute-fair. The inhabitants were first incorporated by charter of James IV., who erected the town into a royal Burgh; and its liberties, as such, were confirmed by James VI.; but the right of sending a member to parliament has been lost, from disuse, though it still retains its corporation, and most of its other privileges. The government is vested in three bailies, a treasurer, and a council of fifteen members, chosen under the authority of the Municipal Reform act. The magistrates have jurisdiction over the whole of the royalty, and hold courts for the determination of civil pleas to any amount; in criminal cases, their jurisdiction is confined to misdemeanours. The post-office has a tolerable delivery; and facility of communication with the neighbouring towns, is afforded by good roads, of which the turnpike-road from Stirling to St. Andrew's passes through the southern extremity of the town.

The parish is about four miles in length, from north-east to south-west, and is from one to two miles in breadth, comprising about 2900 acres, of which 220 are woodland and plantations, 90 undivided common, and the remainder arable land and pasture. The surface is varied; in the south-east, an extensive and richly fertile plain; and in other parts, rising to a considerable elevation. The soil, in the level lands, is a deep loam, producing abundant crops of all kinds; and the system of agriculture has been brought to a state of great perfection, under the auspices of the Auchtermuchty Agricultural Society, which holds an annual meeting in the town, on the first Monday in October, for the distribution of premiums. The lands have been drained and inclosed; the farm-buildings are substantial and wellarranged; the pastures are luxuriantly fertile, and the cattle, which are chiefly of the Fifeshire black breed, bring a good price in the market. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6845. The substratum is mostly whinstone, which forms the basis of the higher grounds; the plantations, mainly of modern growth, are in a thriving state. Myres Castle is the principal mansion in the parish, and was, for many years, the seat of the Moncrieffs, who disposed of the estate a short time ago: the building, to which a considerable addition was made about the year 1830, is finely situated in a park of about thirty acres. Bellevue and Southfield are also pleasant residences. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife; the minister's stipend is £253. 11. 3., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patron, Mrs. Tyndal Bruce, of Falkland. The church, a plain building erected in 1785, was enlarged by Mrs. Bruce, in 1837, at a cost of £500, and now contains 1100 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, and the Relief Synod. The parochial school is attended by a considerable number of children; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees.

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