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KINROSS-SHIRE, Scotland - History and Description, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"KINROSS, one of the smallest counties of Scotland, is bounded on the N. by the county Perth, on the W. by Clackmannan, and on the S. and E. by the county Fife. The general figure of the county is somewhat circular, although the line of boundary is very irregular. It extends from E. to W. about 13 miles, and from N. to S. 12 miles; its area is 77 square miles, or 49,631 acres. It may be described as an open vale or plain, environed by uplands and hills, the Ochill hills being on its N., the Lomond hills on its E., the Benarty Hill on its S.E., the Cleish on the S., and the Alva on the W. side. The principal streams are, the Garney, the South Queich, the Kelty, and the Orr, the two first discharging themselves into Loch Leven, which lies at the E. end of a wide vale, and nearly in the centre of the county; the small river Leven issues from it, and pursues an easterly course through the county of Fife. Besides Loch Leven, there are a few minor lakes-or, as they are popularly termed, tarns-on the eminences above Cleish. The climate is healthy, and although wet and cold, it has been of late years much improved by extensive drainage. Coal is found on the Fife border, but is not wrought within the county. Sandstone is worked at Cleish, and limestone is procured in large quantities from the Lomond hills, In red veins of lead ore are met with, The original condition of the county was of a moory or mossy nature, and a good deal of it remains so to this day, but the greater portion is now drained, and forms good arable land, resting upon gravel, intermixed with clayey loam. This district has the remarkable peculiarity in its proprietary of being much divided into farms, each owned in feu by its tenant; there are in consequence more resident lairds in proportion to its extent than in any other division of Scotland. The farms were feued about the beginning of the 18th century from the house of Kinross to the tenants then in possession, whose descendants inherit the properties, paying for them an exceedingly trifling duty or quit-rent. The farms are generally let on leases of from 14 to 21 years, and vary in size from 50 to 300 acres. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in agricultural pursuits, manufactures being little attended to except in the towns of Kinross and Milnthort, which carry on a considerable trade. The county has the advantage of good roads, the chief one running through the town of Kinross and connecting Edinburgh and Perth. It is intersected by the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee line of railway. It contains only two towns, Kinross and Milnthort, the former being the county town. It unites with the county of Clackmannan in sending one member to parliament, and was united with that county in 1807 into one sheriffdom. The population of the county in 1851 was 8,924, and in 1861, 7,977, showing a decrease in the decennial period of 947. The sheriff's court is held at Kinross weekly on Tuesday, and the sheriff's small-debt court every Tuesday during session. Quarter sessions are held on the first Tuesdays of March, May, and August, and on the last Tuesday of October. The county comprises only four parishes, and three parts of parishes; of these, three entire parishes are in the presbytery of Dunfermline, and the other in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy, but all in the synod of Fife; of the parts of parishes, one is in the presbytery of Auchterarder, and the two other parts in the presbytery of Perth, but all in the synod of Perth and Stirling. There are churches in the county belonging to the Established, United Presbyterian, and Free Church bodies. The county was severed from the county of Fife in 1426, when it simply consisted of the parishes of Kinross, Portmoak, and Orwell, but received a further addition in 1685 of the parishes of Cleish and Tulliebole, and likewise parts of three parishes of the county of Perth. At Cleish there was a Roman station, and traces of ancient camps are still visible. At Burleigh is an ancient castle, and in Loch Leven are St. Serf's Priory, Portmoak, a Culdee house, and the castle belonging to the Douglas family, where Mary Queen of Scots was confined. The most important seats are, Blairadam, Tulliebole, Greenfield, Hottonburn, Arnott, Kinross, and Cleish."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]