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Ballingry, Fifeshire

Historical Description

BALLINGRY, a parish, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife, 2 miles (N. E. by E.) from Blair-Adam Inn; containing 436 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name, of Gaelic origin, from its having at one time been an occasional residence of the Scottish kings. During the invasion of Britain by the Romans under Agricola, the neighbourhood is conjectured by some to have been the scene of the battle between the Caledonians under Galgacus, and the IX. legion, which may have been stationed here. The Romans were totally defeated; but Agricola, upon receiving intelligence of the event, put the whole of his army in motion, and, falling upon the rear of the Caledonians, compelled them to yield to superior numbers, and retire from the field. The latter, however, retreated in good order, bravely defending the fords of Loch Leven, it is said, against the invaders, and obstinately disputing every inch of ground. Numerous memorials of a contest have been met with: at the east end of the loch, and also where Auchmnir bridge now crosses that ancient ford, Caledonian battle-axes and Roman weapons have been discovered; and a few years since, a Caledonian battle-axe of polished stone, firmly fixed in an oaken handle, twenty-two inches long, was found near the spot. No vestige remains of the supposed Roman camp in the parish: near its site is now the steading of the Chapel farm.

This parish, which is of very irregular form, comprises about 3700 acres, whereof 1394 are arable, 1874 meadow and pasture, 242 woodland and plantations, and the remainder common and waste. The surface is in part a level, broken by the hill of Binarty, the southern acclivity of which has been richly planted, forming an interesting feature in the scenery. In the northern portion of the parish the soil is rich, dry, and fertile, but in other parts of inferior quality; the crops are oats and barley, with some wheat, beans, and potatoes. Great improvement has been made by draining, but in rainy seasons the drains are insufficient to carry off the water; much more draining is necessary, and stones in many places still encumber the ground: the loch on the estate of Lochore has been drained, and now produces excellent crops of grain. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4611. Limestone and coal are found in various parts; the former is of inferior quality, and not worked, but the latter is wrought on the Earl of Zetland's property, and also on the Earl of Minto's, with success: whinstone and freestone are also found here, and, on the hill of Binarty, basaltic whinstone. Facility of communication is afforded by the Dunfermline branch of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee railway. The parish is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy, synod of Fife, and in the gift of Lady Scott of Abbotsford; the minister's stipend is about £150, with a manse valued at £10, and a glebe at £20, per annum. The church is a substantial and neat structure, erected in 1831. The parochial schoolmaster's salary is £34. 4. 4., with about £4 fees, a house, and an allowance in lieu of garden. The poor are partly supported by the rent of land producing £21, and by the proceeds of a bequest of £100 by William Jobson, Esq., of Lochore.

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


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

Postal districtKY5
Post TownLochgelly