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Sunday, 16 December 2007

Inverkeithing Fife Scotland

Inverkeithing Parish Church, Fife, Scotland. The parish church of St. Peter stands in its large churchyard on the east side of Church Street. Tour Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland, Rent a Cottage in Scotland. Inverkeithing 1846. Inverkeithing, a parish, sea-port, burgh, and market-town, in the district of Dunfermline, county of Fife, 12½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the village of Hillend, 2530 inhabitants, of whom 1674 are in the burgh. This place, which is supposed to have derived its name from its position at the influx of the Keithing into the sea, and which at present includes the ancient parish of Rosyth, so called, in the Gaelic language, from its peninsular situation, appears to be of considerable antiquity; and the adjacent ferry was, on her flight from England, the landing-place of Margaret, who afterwards became the queen of Malcolm III. Several battles have at various times occurred in the immediate vicinity, the last of which was between the Scots and the forces of Oliver Cromwell, in 1651; and there are still the remains of a redoubt, said to have been thrown up by Cromwell's army while they were encamped on the Ferry hill. The TOWN is pleasantly and advantageously situated on an eminence overlooking the bay of St. Margaret's Hope, in the Firth of Forth, and consists chiefly of one principal street, from which a smaller street and some lanes branch off in different directions. The houses are in general well built, of sandstone or greenstone; and many of the older buildings have been taken down, and replaced with others of more modern and handsome appearance. There are a public subscription library, a circulating library, and one exclusively for religious works, all of which are well supported. The envirouns are pleasant, and abound with objects of interest; and the place has, on the whole, a clean and cheerful aspect.

A distillery is conducted on a very extensive scale, employing about eighty persons; and the produce, which is chiefly whisky, is shipped off for the supply of the London market. There are two iron-foundries, where works of the larger kind are cast; and in connexion with them are forges, in which steam-engines and various kinds of machinery are manufactured, the whole affording occupation to fifty persons. Bricks for common uses, and fire-bricks of very superior quality, are made in great numbers; and chimney and other ornaments are manufactured, resembling freestone in appearance. There are a tannery, salt-works, and a laboratory for magnesia, in full operation; two mills for meal and flour; one for barley; and a mill worked by steam for crushing bones for agricultural purposes, of which the produce is sent to most places on the eastern coast. The town has also a large yard for building and repairing ships, where a considerable number of people are engaged. The trade of the PORT was once rather more extensive than at present, from the great number of persons employed in the quarries of greenstone, of which vast quantities were shipped off for paving the streets of London, but which has of late been partly superseded by the use of granite from Aberdeen. Much stone was likewise used in the construction of the pier at Leith and the bridge of Stirling, the shipping of which was, of course, discontinued after those works were completed. At present, the trade consists chiefly in the exportation of the produce of coal-mines and manufactories, and in the importation of timber, bark, and large quantities of bones; but much stone is still exported. In 1843 there were twenty-eight vessels, varying from twenty to 160 tons' burthen, registered as belonging to the port, and mostly employed in the coasting trade. Steam-boats sail from the village of North Queensferry, in the vicinity, to Leith, Stirling, and other ports, affording a facility of intercourse with the principal towns in this part of the country; and several lines of good turnpike-road, also, serve to maintain an easy communication with the neighbouring market-towns. An iron railway has been recently constructed, in place of a former one of wood, for conveying coal, lime, bricks, and also stone from the quarries, to the port, for exportation. The market, on Monday, for grain and live stock, is held in a handsome and commodious markethouse. Five annual fairs are held in the town, for horses, cattle, and various kinds of merchandise, which formerly were numerously attended by dealers from various parts; but very little business is at present transacted, except at the cattle-fair in May, and the Lammas fair on the first Friday in August, which latter is resorted to by considerable numbers of people from the neighbouring districts, when horse and foot races regularly take place.

The inhabitants of the Burgh received a charter of incorporation at a very early period, which is recited in a charter granted by William the Lion, and was confirmed and enlarged by charter of James VI., giving to the burgesses the customs on vessels navigating the port from the great stone near Milnathort, on the north, to the middle of the Firth of Forth, on the south; and from the river Leven, on the east, to the river Devon, on the west; with certain tracts of land, and various other privileges. By this charter, the government is vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and a council of ten burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk and other officers, all chosen under the regulations of the Municipal Reform Act. The provostship was made hereditary, by a grant of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the family of the Hendersons, of Fordel; and the provost of this burgh was, in public processions, next in precedence to the provost of Edinburgh. By their ancient charter, the magistrates had power of jurisdiction in capital offences; and a rising ground near the town still retains the name of Gallow-hill, being the place where criminals were formerly executed. The provost, bailies, and the other officers of the corporation were formerly all elected by the council; and the council filled up vacancies as they occurred from the burgesses, by a majority of their own body. There are five trades, viz., the hammermen, tailors, shoemakers, bakers, and weavers, which are severally governed by deacons; and the freedom of the burgh is obtained by becoming a member of any one of these companies, on the payment of certain fees. The jurisdiction of the provost and bailies, the former of whom is always a justice of the peace by virtue of his office, extends over the whole of the royalty of the burgh, and the magistrates hold courts for the determination of civil actions to any amount; but all criminal cases, except in trifling misdemeanours, are referred to the county assizes. The burgh unites with those of Culross, South Queensferry, Stirling, and Dunfermline, in returning one member to the imperial parliament; the right of election is vested, by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., in the resident householders of the annual value of £10 and upwards. The number of electors is ninety, of whom thirty-four are burgesses; and the number of persons whose houses are below the value of £10 per annum, is forty-five, of whom six are burgesses. The town-hall is a neat building of stone, and is well adapted to the use of the corporation, and for holding the courts: the prison, which is only for the temporary confinement of offenders, is small and insecure. The market-cross is a neat, and rather lofty, pillar of stone; and between the town and the village of North Ferry, is a handsome building originally erected for a lazaretto, but which has been superseded by stationing a frigate in the bay of St. Margaret's Hope, for the quarantine service. The annual revenue of the burgh is between £600 and £700.

The parish extends for six miles along the shore of the Firth, including the bay of St. Margaret's Hope, so called from the landing of Queen Margaret; it comprises about 2500 acres, chiefly arable, with a moderate portion of pasture, and a few acres in plantations. The surface is greatly varied, consisting of hills of considerable elevation with intervening valleys, and level sands stretching along the coast and frequently interrupted by cragged heights. In the Frith are the rocky island of Inch-Garvie and the rock of Bimar, which latter has been the cause of frequent shipwrecks. The streamlet called the Keithing, as already stated, here falls into the Firth; and two small burns, after intersecting the parish, unite their streams, and also join the harbour. The scenery is marked rather with features of romantic character, than of picturesque beauty; and the want of ornamental timber gives an appearance of bleakness to the landscape. The soils are various, but generally fertile, and much waste and mossy land has been reclaimed by draining, and brought into profitable cultivation; the system of husbandry, also, has been greatly improved. The crops are, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips; the little pasture there is, is on the acclivities of the hills. The plantations are chiefly of recent growth, and consist of larch and fir, interspersed with oak, ash, beech, and elm trees; and on the banks of the streams are some alder and willow. The farm-buildings are mostly substantial and commodious, and several, of modern erection, are of very superior style; the lands are inclosed principally with hedges of thorn which are kept in good order, but a few of the fields are fenced with stone dykes. The substratum is generally greenstone, of which the hills consist; and limestone and sandstone abound: coal is found in the northern part of the parish. Among the minerals are, quartz, steatite, felspar, sulphate of barytes, calcareous spar, and pyrites of iron; and boulders of chlorite and mica-slate are frequently found. The greenstone is quarried extensively for building, paving, and for mending the roads; and large quantities are shipped from the port: the sandstone is also quarried, and sent to the towns on the neighbouring coast; and there are quarries of limestone of excellent quality, of which great quantities are forwarded to distant places. The coal is likewise worked to a very considerable extent, about 30,000 or 40,000 tons being annually raised. The rateable yearly value of Inverkeithing is £7431. On the estate of Duloch is an ancient mansion; also a modern house, the occasional residence of its proprietor; and on a promontory near St. Margaret's Hope is a handsome marine villa.

Inverkeithing is in the presbytery of Dunfermline and synod of Fife, and in the patronage of Lady Baird; the minister's stipend is £263. 8., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £40 per annum. The church, which is situated in the centre of the town, is a handsome edifice in the later style of English architecture, built, with the exception of the tower, in 1827, to replace the former structure, destroyed by an accidental fire in 1825. It is a conspicuous feature in the view of the town, and is adapted for a congregation of nearly 1000 persons. There is a place of worship for a congregation of the United Associate Synod. The parochial school, for which an elegant building has been erected, and which is also the burgh school, affords a liberal education to 170 scholars: the master, who is appointed jointly by the town council and the heritors, has a salary of £34, with £100 fees, and a house and garden. A female school has been established for teaching reading and sewing, the mistress of which is appointed by the council, who pay her a salary of £5, in addition to the fees. There are some Druidical remains on the summit of Letham hill; and in the north of the parish is a stone pillar, about ten feet in height, on which are rudely-sculptured figures of men and horses, which are much defaced by time; it is supposed to have been raised in commemoration of some successful conflict with the Danes. On the summit of a rock in the bay connected by a narrow isthmus with the main land, are the remains of the ancient castle of Rosyth, consisting of the walls of a square tower, which, from the traces of foundations, appears to have been at the north-east angle of a quadrangular range of buildings. The castle is said to have been anciently the baronial seat of the Stuarts, of Rosyth, descendants of Walter, high steward of Scotland, and father of Robert II.; it is now the property of the Earl of Hopetoun. Over the gateway is a coat of arms, much mutilated, but clearly Queen Mary's, surmounted by a crown, with the inscription M. R. and the date 1561; and near the door on the south side is a couplet in the Scottish dialect, having allusion to the bell, as summoning the guests to the banquet. On the transoms of the windows in the hall, also, are engraved the initials M. S. and M. N. An old building in the town is said to be the remains of the residence of Annabella Drummond, queen of Robert III., in which she died in 1403: the tenement, though in the centre of the town, is exempt from the jurisdiction of the magistrates, who, under their charter from that monarch, were obliged to pay her 100 shillings annually. Near it are numerous ruins, among which were recently discovered the foundations of an ancient chapel belonging to one of the monasteries founded here for brethren of the Franciscan and Dominican orders. There are also in the town some old houses well known to have been residences of the families of Fordel and Rosebery. During the repairs of the former church, was found a beautiful hexagonal font of sandstone, richly sculptured on each face of the shaft with the bust of an angel with expanded wings, bearing on its breast a shield of antique form, in which were the arms of Scotland and of several of the monarchs; it had been apparently buried with care.

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