Friday, 21 December 2007
Leslie Fife Scotland
Leslie, Fife, Scotland. was originally known as Fettykill, before its name was changed to Leslie in 1283 when Norman de Leslie obtained a grant of land here. Tour Leslie, 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. Leslie in 1846. Leslie, a parish and manufacturing town, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; containing 3625 inhabitants, of whom 2000 are in the town, 9 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkcaldy, and 20 (N.) from Edinburgh. This place is by some writers supposed to have derived its name from the Gaelic Lis, a garden, or richly-cultivated spot, and from its situation on the river Leven; others, however, deduce it from the earls of Rothes, who became possessed of certain lands here, to which they gave their family name, and from which that appellation was in process of time extended to the whole parish. At the period of the Roman invasion of Britain, the Caledonians, who are said to have defeated the ninth legion on the Orr, disputed the passage of the Leven at this place, and on being repulsed, retired to the heights of Lomond, while the Romans encamped on the heights of Balsillie, in the western confines of the parish, where both Roman and Caledonian battle-axes and other warlike instruments have been discovered. The parish appears to have been distinguished at an early period as a favourite resort of the Scottish kings, for hunting and the celebration of various sports; and many of the lands are still called by appellations referring, in their Gaelic origin, to these games, which seem to have been continued till within a very recent period. The earls of Rothes, of whom one was created a duke by Charles II., granted the inhabitants numerous privileges by a charter which erected the place into a burgh of barony; and their descendants still retain possession of their ancient lands, the property of the present earl.
The parish is about five miles in length and from three to four miles in breadth, and is bounded on the south by the river Leven, which separates it from the parish of Kinglassie; it comprises nearly 6000 acres, of which 4300 are arable, 1000 meadow and pasture, and thirty undivided common. The surface is pleasingly undulating from the bank of the Leven to the heights of Lomond, and is intersected by two streams that flow into that river from the north and west respectively, enlivening the scenery, which is otherwise agreeably varied, and richly embellished with the plantations in the grounds of Leslie House, Strathendry, and other handsome seats. The Leven issues from the lake of that name, and, after a course of about twelve miles through a fertile and highly-cultivated district, falls into the sea at the thriving town of Leven. The banks of this river abound with beautiful scenery; and its stream gives motion to numerous mills, and affords an abundant supply of excellent water for the bleachfields in the parish, and for other works that have been erected on its sides. Previously to the establishment of the bleachfields, the river abounded with trout and eels of remarkably fine size and flavour; and so abundant were the latter that the lands of Strathendry, before the dissolution of monasteries, paid a tribute of many thousand eels annually to the abbey of Inchcolm, on which they were dependent. The soil is every where rich and fertile, and the lands are in the highest state of cultivation under an improved system of husbandry; the crops are, barley, oats, wheat, potatoes and turnips, with the usual green crops. The farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged; great improvements have been made in draining and inclosing the lands; the fences on some farms are hedges of thorn, and on others stone dykes, and both are kept in good order. The plantations are ash, elm, beech, oak, and silver fir, with some larch and sycamore; the trees on the Leslie estate are remarkably fine, and leading to the house is a noble avenue of beech, of more than two hundred years' growth, several of the trees measuring nearly seventeen feet in girth at a height of four feet from the ground. The substratum is generally whinstone, interspersed in places with gravel and sand, which rest upon it to a considerable depth; lime-stone, is also prevalent, and quarried for manure; and in the eastern part of the parish, coal is found, but the mines have been nearly exhausted, and are not wrought to any great extent. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5488. Leslie House, the seat of the Earl of Rothes, a noble quadrangular mansion erected by the Duke of Rothes in the reign of Charles II., was mostly destroyed by an accidental fire in 1763; but a remaining side of the quadrangle, forming the present residence, was repaired by John, Earl of Rothes, in 1767. It is beautifully situated in a tastefully-disposed and richly-embellished demesne, comprehending much interesting and picturesque scenery, and through part of which the Leven winds its course between banks crowned with flourishing plantations. The house contains many stately apartments, with a valuable collection of paintings and family portraits, and some beautiful tapestry: among the subjects of the last are, the Story of Leander, the Journey of the Children of Israel through the Wilderness, and the Anointing of Saul by Samuel. Strathendry is a handsome spacious mansion in the Elizabethan style, erected within the last few years; it is pleasantly situated in a wide domain, and has thriving plantations, chiefly of modern growth.
The town is neatly built, and mostly inhabited by persons employed in manufactures and in agriculture. The weaving of linen is one of the chief branches of trade, in which nearly 300 persons are engaged, for the manufacturers of Glasgow: there are six mills for spinning flax, affording occupation to more than 800 persons; and three bleachfields, in which almost 150 are occupied. Prinlaws, a very considerable village, has arisen since the recent establishment of an extensive flax-mill and bleaching-ground by John Fergus, Esq.; it contains 760 inhabitants, chiefly employed in the works. The houses, to each of which is attached a garden, are neatly built, and ornamented with shrubs and evergreens. Fairs are held on the first Thursday in April, O. S., for milchcows and horses, and the 10th of October for lean stock; the former of these is numerously attended, but the latter has been for some years declining. The town, as a burgh of barony, is under the government of two bailies and a council of sixteen; but they exercise no jurisdiction of any consequence, except in matters of police. A circulating library is supported by subscription, under the management of a committee. A daily penny-post has been established between this place and Markinch; and facility of intercourse with the adjacent towns is maintained by good roads, kept in repair by statute labour. The parish is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and synod of Fife, and in the patronage of the Earl of Rothes: the stipend of the incumbent is £257. 8. 6., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £18 per annum. The church situated in the centre of the parish, is a neat and substantial edifice, with aspire, erected in 1820, and adapted for a congregation of nearly 1000 persons, including 300 free seats. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession, the former very lately erected. The parochial school affords a liberal education; the master has a salary of £34, with £38 fees, and an allowance in lieu of a house and garden. The poor have the interest of funds belonging to the Kirk Session for their use, and producing annually about £30. Leslie Green, in the parish, is said to have been the scene of King James' poem of Christ's Kirk on the Green. Upon several of the eminences are large erect stones, on the removal of one of which, some time since, a coffin containing human bones was discovered. On these eminences, which are generally called Knowes, and, in allusion to some warlike exploits, also distinguished by proper names, other relics of antiquity have at various times been found: on the Gallant Knowe, near Strathendry, an urn of Roman pottery was discovered in 1760. Near Pitcairn House, a tumulus was opened in 1770, in which was a kistvaen containing a great number of human bones; and at the eastern extremity were two urns of blueish clay, filled with bones which had evidently been burnt. A fragment of a deer's horn, nine inches and a half in circumference at the widest end, has been found in a bed of gravel, at seven feet below the surface. Arrow-heads of flint, and the head of a spear apparently belonging to a standard, have been also found here.