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Beath, Fifeshire

Historical Description

BEATH, a parish, in the district of Dunfermline, county of Fife, 2½ miles (S.) from Blair-Adam Inn; containing, with the villages of Cowden-Beath, Kelty, and Oakfield, 973 inhabitants. This parish, though now destitute of any trees of the kind, is supposed to have originally abounded with birch, and from that circumstance to have derived its name, anciently written Baith, which in the Gaelic language signifies a birchtree. It is situated on the great road from Perth to Queensferry, extending about four miles in length and three miles in breadth, and comprising 6500 acres, of which about 5300 are arable, 500 meadow and pasture, 500 woodland and plantations, and the remainder water and waste. The surface is very irregular, rising in many places into hills of considerable elevation, some of which afford rich pasture, and one called the Hill of Beath commands interesting views. The scenery has been in some parts enriched with thriving plantations, and is enlivened by the Loch Fitty, a fine sheet of water about three miles in circumference, and abounding with pike, perch, and other fish. In general the soil is good, consisting of a clay and loam, interspersed occasionally with moss; the crops are oats, barley, peas, beans, potatoes, and turnips, with wheat occasionally, and a small quantity of flax. The system of agriculture is greatly improved; a considerable quantity of waste has been reclaimed, and much land which from previous mismanagement was unproductive has been rendered fertile. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4404. Among the substrata are whinstone and sandstone: coal is found in abundance, and three collieries are worked in the parish, which afford a plentiful supply of fuel: limestone is also wrought, but on a very limited scale. Facility of communication is presented by the Dunfermline branch of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee railway. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Dunfermline, synod of Fife, and in the patronage of the Earl of Moray; the minister's stipend is about £165, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £17 per annum. The church is a handsome edifice, erected in 1835, and affords ample accommodation. The parochial school is attended by about 100 pupils; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £30 fees, and a house and garden.

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