UK Genealogy Archives logo

Arngask, Fifeshire

Historical Description

ARNGASK, a parish, in the counties of FIFE, KINROSS, and PERTH, 6 miles (N. N. E) from Kinross; containing, with the villages of Damhead and Duncrivie, 750 inhabitants. This parish constitutes a portion of the Ochil hills, and is situated around the junction of the counties of Perth, Fife, and Kinross, at Damhead. It is nearly of a circular figure, and extends in length four miles from east to west, and about three from north to south, comprising 61 16 acres, of which 4590 are arable, 1291 uncultivated, and the remainder plantations, formed chiefly within the last thirty or forty years. The surface is in general hilly, consisting of numerous undulations and smooth round eminences varying from 600 to 800 feet in height above the level of the sea. Some of them are picturesque and well-wooded, and among the many points commanding extensive and interesting views, that of Cairn-Geddes, a part of the lands of Fordel, is especially worthy of notice, as affording a diversified and magnificent prospect embracing the Firth of Tay, the Carse of Gowrie, the Sidlaw hills, the upper portion of Strathearn, and a large section of the Grampians. The Farg, a fine trout- stream much frequented by anglers, rising near the western boundary, separates the parish for more than a mile from that of Forgandenny, and divides, in its onward course till it reaches Damhead, the counties of Perth and Kinross; after which it runs between the counties of Perth and Fife, till it departs from this locality, in about the centre of the celebrated and romantic glen to which it gives its name.

The uncultivated part of the land contains large tracts of a moorish or heathy soil; but the soil which prevails in other portions is mostly a good black loamy earth, partially formed from the decomposition of the trap or wbinstone rocks, and, though light and shallow in some places, is generally rich. It produces abundant crops, consisting of the ordinary sorts of grain (including wheat), peas, potatoes, turnips, and grass for hay. In consequence of the introduction of bone manure, turnip husbandry has within these few years been greatly extended, the root being eaten off the ground by the sheep, to the decided advantage of the soil. The parish contains four mills for grinding corn, and twenty-two for threshing, twenty of which are worked by horses, one by steam, and the other by water. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4394, of which £1909 are for the Fife portion, £1344 for the Kinross portion, and £1141 for that in Perthshire.

Duncrivie village is pleasantly situated at the southern extremity of the parish: and Damhead lies in the vale through which passes the great north road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen: it has a post-office, established in 1838, in connexion with Kinross on the south, and Bridge of Earn on the north. About eight hand-looms are in operation, and there is a saw-mill worked by water. Cattle-fairs are held at Damhead on the last Tuesday in April (O. S.), the first Thursday in August, and the first Tuesday in October; there is also a cattle-market which has been held from time immemorial at Lustielaw, on the third Tuesday in May (O. S.). Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Perth, synod of Perth and Stirling, and in the joint patronage of Mrs. Wardlaw, and Robert Low, Esq., of Fordels; the minister's stipend is £178. 19. 10., with a manse and offices, built in 1829, and a glebe valued at £9. 13. 4. per annum. The church, which is pleasantly and conveniently situated, is a plain substantial edifice; it was built in 1806, and contained 240 sittings previously to 1821, at which period 140 additional sittings were obtained by the erection of galleries. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin and Greek, in addition to the usual branches; the master has a salary of £34, including allowance for garden, besides £26 fees.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis