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Cleish, Kinross-shire

Historical Description

CLEISH, a parish, in the county of KINROSS, 3 miles (S. S. W.) from Kinross; containing, with the villages of Kelty and Maryburgh, 681 inhabitants. This place, the name of which is of uncertain derivation, is distinguished by its having formed part of the route taken by Mary, Queen of Scots, on her flight from the castle of Lochleven, which circumstance is commemorated by the insertion of a stone in a bridge at the eastern extremity of the parish, recording that event, and marking out the road. The parish is about six miles and a half in length, and one mile and a half in average breadth. Its surface is diversified with hills, which form a continuous range between this parish and Dunfermline, and the highest of which is Dumglow, rising 1215 feet above the sea; the summit is flat, commanding an extensive view over the surrounding country, from almost every part of which it is a conspicuous object. The next in height are the hills called the Ingans, all of them more than 1000 feet in elevation. The largest stream is the Gairney, which, after forming the boundary of the parish for nearly five miles, falls into Loch Leven; it abounds with trout of a small size, and there are some smaller streams issuing from the lakes, and numerous springs of excellent water, affording an abundant supply. Of the several lakes, Loch Glow is two miles and a half or three miles in circumference, and the others of very inferior extent; the fish found in them are pike, perch, eels, and a few trout. The scenery has been much improved by recent plantations, and there are some fine specimens of stately timber, some of them of extraordinary growth; the slopes of several of the hills, and the summits of others, are finely planted. Blair-Adam, the seat of Sir Charles Adam, is a handsome residence, pleasantly situated: here Sir Walter Scott composed many of his works.

The soil is varied; in the lower grounds, clay and deep aliuvial soil, with portions of deep moss, which, when brought into cultivation, is extremely rich. The chief crops are oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips, with various grasses, which grow luxuriantly in many parts; and the hills afford good pasture for sheep and cattle. Very important improvements have been made, by which a large extent of unprofitable land has been brought into cultivation, draining has been carried on with great spirit, and the system of husbandry is in a very forward state. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of stock: the sheep pastured on the hills are generally of the black-faced breed, and those on the lower lands of the Leicestershire breed; the cattle are the Kinross-shire, Angus, and Fifeshire. The annual value of real property in the parish is £5535. Among the substrata are whinstone, greywacke, and sandstone, of which the bills are mostly composed; limestone is quarried to a great extent, and coal is found in seams upwards of thirty feet thick. Whinstone is wrought for mending the roads, and there are extensive quarries of freestone, from one of the quarries, about 14,000 cubic feet are raised annually. At Blair-Adam is a post-office, a branch of that of Kinross; and facility of communication with the neighbouring towns is maintained by good roads, of which the turnpike-roads from Queensferry and from Dunfermline to Kinross pass through the parish. Cleish is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Dunfermline, synod of Fife, and in the patronage of Harry Young, Esq.: the minister's stipend is £156. 15. 4., of which about a half is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £14 per annum. The late church, erected in 1744, was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1832, and the present church erected in its place; it is a handsome edifice, adapted for a congregation of 500 persons. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with £26 fees, and a house and garden. Two other schools in the parish are also well attended.

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