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Auchterderran, Fifeshire

Historical Description

AUCHTERDERRAN, a parish, in the district of KIRKCALDY, county of FIFE, 6 miles (N. W. by W.) from Kirkcaldy; containing 1913 inhabitants, of whom 770 are in the village of Lochgelly. This parish derives its name from the Gaelic, nachdar darran signifying "the height or ridge of oaks". It is about six miles in length, and varies from one to four in breadth. The surface is mostly flat, though varying in elevation, the lands near Lochgelly being more than 100 feet above the general level. The river Ore, which has its source in the parish of Ballingry, flows through this parish in its course to the Leven, and has two bridges, each of one arch. Viewed from the adjacent heights, the parish has a very interesting appearance, the scenery being greatly varied, especially near the lake of Lochgelly, a large sheet of water about three miles in circumference, the north side of which, being beautifully covered with wood, presents a rich and most picturesque scene, and forms a striking contrast to the south side, which is bleak and dreary, but might be much improved by planting. The soil is chiefly clay, interspersed with sand, and in several places are tracts of black loam, producing abundant crops: about one-third of the land is in pasture, about 500 acres wood, and the remainder arable in good cultivation. Great progress has been made in agricultural improvement, within the last few years, by some of the landed proprietors. A considerable tract of waste land was reclaimed by the late proprietor of Raith, now forming the farm of New Cardon; and Col. Ferguson, the present proprietor, has carried out all the new improvements, on an extensive scale, on the farm of Dothan. James Aytoun, Esq., of Capeldrae, has admirably exemplified the effect of thorough draining, on that part of his property called Harestanes. These improvements have had a most beneficial influence, and the enterprising farmers are following the proprietors' example with great spirit. The crops raised in the parish are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, beans, and peas; the cattle are of the black Fifeshire breed, and much attention is paid to their improvement. The farm-buildings are commodious, and the lands are generally enclosed with stone dykes. The annual value of real property in the parish is £5018.

There is very little natural wood, and the plantations are mostly of recent growth; about nineteen acres of moss have been lately planted with Scotch firs, which are thriving well. The substratum is mainly whinstone; limestone of excellent quality is quarried in several places, and coal is every where abundant. The coalmines at Cluny, belonging to Col. Ferguson, are very productive; about 70,000 loads are annually raised for the supply of the neighbourhood, and more than seventy persons are employed in the works. The mines on Lord Minto's lands of Lochgelly produce 50,000 loads annually, and afford constant occupation to about fifty persons; while the works at Dundonald, belonging to R. W. Ramsay, Esq., produce about 7000 loads. Ironworks have lately been erected, and from the extent and quality of the mineral field the district promises to become of still greater mining importance. Facility of communication is afforded by the Dunfermline branch of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee railway.

The parish is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and synod of Fife: the minister's stipend is £237. 11. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patrons, the Boswell family of Balmuto. Half the barony of Auchterderran came into the possession of Roger de Boswell, in consequence of his having married the coheiress of Sir William Lochore, of Lochore; and thus the family have continued patrons of the parish, though they have ceased to be proprietors in it. The church was built in 1789. There is a place of worship for dissenters in the village of Lochgelly. The parochial school is attended by nearly 100 scholars; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £25 fees, and a good house, and £2. 2. 4. in lieu of a garden. The church, the manse, and school-house are beautifully situated near the east side of the parish; immediately behind is the finely-wooded ridge from which the parish derives its name, and when the broom is in bloom, it is a scene of beauty.

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


Online maps of Auchterderran are available from a number of sites:

Postal districtKY5
Post TownLochgelly