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Ceres, Fifeshire

Historical Description

CERES, a parish, in the district of CUPAR, county of FIFE; containing, with the villages of Ceres, Chance-Inn, and Craigrothie, 2944 inhabitants, of whom 1079 are in the village of Ceres, 2¼ miles (S. E.) from Cupar. This place, the name of which is of very uncertain derivation, appears to have consisted originally of several distinct baronies, belonging to various families of importance. It is about eight miles in length, and of extremely irregular form, ranging from about half a mile to four miles in breadth. The surface is pleasingly diversified with hills and level plains, and intersected by different streams, of which the principal is the Eden, winding along the north-western limit of the parish for nearly a mile and a half. This beautiful river formerly abounded with trout of excellent quality, but since the erection of some manufactories on its banks, they hare greatly diminished in number. Two rivulets, flowing respectively from the south and west, unite their streams in approaching the village of Ceres, and form the small river of that name, which, after passing through the village, falls into the Eden; it is subject to violent inundations, which have destroyed one stone bridge of great strength, and occasionally do much damage to the lands. The general scenery is varied, and the ruins of several ancient baronial mansions, occupying commanding situations, and retaining much of their original grandeur, give an air of romantic interest to the landscape.

The soil is various: along the banks of the Eden, it is of a light sandy quality; in other parts, a fine loose mould, interspersed with clay; and in others, consists of moss and moorlands, which, by the recent improvements that have taken place in agriculture, have been rendered fertile. The number of acres in the parish is estimated at about 8000, of which 3200 are arable, about 4000 in pasture, and 800 in plantations and moor. The system of husbandry is in a very advanced state. Great numbers of cattle of various breeds are fed for the neighbouring markets, and large quantities of pork are sent hence to the London and other markets. The annual value of real property in the parish is £12,562. The plantations are well managed and flourishing, and on the lands belonging; to several of the proprietors is some stately timber. The substrata are chiefly freestone, whinstone, and limestone, with portions of columnar basalt; and coal is found in some parts of the parish. The freestone and whinstone are extensively quarried for building and other purposes, and large quantities of the latter are employed in the construction of drains and fences; the limestone is very abundant, of various qualities, and also wrought to a great extent. The coal, which is likewise of various quality, has been extensively wrought, but the workings have been discontinued some years; the seams of coal are found in a direction parallel with the limestone, from which it is separated by masses of trap. Edenwood, the property of Sir George Campbell, is a splendid modern mansion, beautifully situated in grounds tastefully laid out. Teasses is also a handsome mansion, commanding a fine view of the Firth of Forth.

A considerable number of the inhabitants are employed in the spinning of flax, tow, and yarn, the raw materials being brought from Dundee, to which town, and also to the manufacturers of Fife, the yarn is sent. Two mills for these purposes were erected in 1827, on the lands of Pitscottie Easter, they are usually propelled by water, but in dry seasons, when the supply of water is insufficient, are driven by steam, and they afford employment to a considerable number of persons. There is likewise a spinning-mill at Tarver, which was erected in 1799, and is driven partly by water and partly by steam: it also comprises machinery for sawing timber. A bleaching establishment was opened at Duraden in 1825, which, from a well in the vicinity of the works, is called the St. Ann's Bleaching Company; and which affords employment to about forty persons. The articles woven in the parish were formerly confined to brown Silesias, but since the erection of the mills, and the establishment of the bleachfield, sheetings and dowlas have been chiefly mauufactured, about 900 persons are thus employed, and the average value of their produce amounts to £60,000 per annum. The village is pleasantly situated, and surrounded by scenery containing many highly interesting features; the river Ceres flows through the centre of it, and a good bridge of stone has been erected. The houses are chiefly inhabited by persons engaged in weaving and in the various manufactures carried on in the parish; it has been considerably extended by the erection of numerous houses beyond the bridge, and the church, which was formerly at one extremity of it, is now, by that addition, almost in its centre. Fairs are held on the 24th June and 20th October, for the sale of wool, grain of all kinds, cattle, and horses, and are numerously attended.

The church formerly belonged to the religious establishment of Kirkheugh, at St. Andrew's, and was afterwards under the direction of the presbytery of St. Andrew's; the parish is now in the presbytery of Cupar, synod of Fife. The stipend of the incumbent is about £230; the manse was built in 1788, and the glebe comprises about seven acres: patron, the Earl of Glasgow. Ceres church, erected in 1806, near the site of the former, is a neat and substantial edifice, adapted for a congregation of 1100 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Presbyterian Synod, and Associated Antiburghers. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction, including the classics and mathematics, the master has a salary of £34, and £38 fees, with a house. In the old church was an aisle belonging to the family at Craighall, which, previously to the Reformation, was a chapel dedicated to St. Ninian. There are some interesting remains of the seat of Craighall, about half a mile from the village of Ceres; they are situated on the bank of a deep, sequestered, and richly-wooded dell, and still present a striking memorial of ancient grandeur. The remains of Struthers, the seat of the Earls of Crawford, situated in a park of 200 acres inclosed with a stone wall, have been reduced to a mere ruin; the venerable and stately timber on the lands has either perished or been cut down, and of the once splendid castle, with its lofty embattled towers, one solitary tower alone is left. There is also in the parish a tower about twenty-five feet square and sixty feet high, built of hewn freestone, and situated on an eminence commanding an extensive prospect over the surrounding country: about two centuries ago it was the residence of the Scotstarvet family. Lindsay of Pitscottie, author of a History of Scotland, was a native of this parish; and Thomas Haliburton, professor of divinity in the university of St. Andrew's, was minister of Ceres in the beginning of the last century.

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


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

Postal districtKY15
Post TownCupar