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PORTMOAK - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

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

"PORTMOAK, a parish in the county of Kinross, Scotland, 4 miles E. of Kinross, and 28 from Edinburgh. It is situated on the Fife border, under West Lomond and Benartie hills, and takes its name from St. Moak, in honour of whom a priory for Culdees was founded on the banks of Loch Leven in the 9th century by Ungus, a Pictish king. The parish includes the villages of Kinnesswood and Scotland-wells. The surface comprises mountains, rich meadows, and thriving plantations, lying around Loch Leven. The arable land lies chiefly about the eastern extremity of the lake, and on the banks of the river Leven, which issues from it, while the remainder of the parish is hilly pasture. The prevailing rocks are limestone and sandstone. The soil is light, early, and very productive, and the climate healthy. Limestone is extensively quarried at Bishop's Hill, and there are freestone and muirstone quarries in different parts of the parish. The river Leven is crossed by a bridge, but the roads are not well kept. A portion of Loch Leven, which is about 12 miles in circumference, is in this parish, and abounds with fish and aquatic fowl: On St. Serf's Island in this lake, which comprises about 48 acres of good pasture, are the ruins of the ancient priory of Loch Leven, dedicated to St. Servanus, and was annexed in the 12th century to the priory of St. Andrew's by David I. The castle of Loch Leven, anciently a royal residence, stands on another island in the lake, and was formerly a place of great strength. In 35 it sustained a siege by Sir John de Stirling, and the English partisans of Edward Baliol; and in the 16th century was the place of confinement of Mary Queen of Scots, after she had separated from Bothwell, and was made captive by the confederate lords at the battle of Pinkie. It is now the property of the ancient family of Douglas, Earls of Morton, to whom it gives the title of Baron Douglas in England. After his victory at Inver-Keithing, Oliver Cromwell halted here on his way to Perth, and lodged in the house of Kirkness, the seat of the Earls of Morton. This parish is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and synod of Fife. The minister has a stipend of £250. The living was once held by Ebenezer Erskine. The church was built in 1659. There are also a Free church, and several other places of worship. To the E. of the village are the ruins of the old castle of Arnott. Andrew Winton, prior of Loch Leven, in the reign of James I. of Scotland, and who wrote "The Loch Leven Chronicle," in Scotch metre, John Douglas, the first Protestant archbishop of St. Andrew's, and M. Bruce, were natives of this parish."

"BALGEDIE, a hamlet in the parish of Portmoak, in the county of Kinross, Scotland, 3 miles from Kinross."

"KINNESSWOOD, a village in the parish of Portmoak, county Kinross, Scotland, 5 miles E. of Kinross. It is situated under West Lomond Hill. This village was the birth-place of Michael Bruce, the poet (1746-67). A fair is held here on the second Tuesday in April (old style)."

"SCOTLANDWELL, a village in the parish of Portmoak, county Kinross, Scotland, 1 mile S.E. of Kinnesswood, and 4 miles E. of Kinross. It is situated on Loch Leven. There are traces of a hospital founded by the bishops of St. Andrew's in the 13th century."

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