to St Andrews and bore his mortal remains to Kinross as his place of
Mr Andrew Small was Parish teacher of Kinross at this period. He
died 19th March. 1676.
Rev. James Forsyth translated from Monzie and ordained Minister
of Kinross 23d Nov.
The oldest extant Parochial Register of Kinross commences with
date 8th Oct. 1665. (vide date 1683.)
1667. There was a Curling Club in Kinross as early as this
1670. Rev. John Blackadder held open air preachings in the
neighbourhood of Kinross this year.
1675. The oldest extant Baptismal Record begins with April 1676,
and ends with 1684.
Mr John Shaw received to be School-master and precentor of
1680. The Cutlery and Ironmongery trades said to have been first
established in Kinross.
(See dates 1696, 1700, 1724, 1760, 1803, 1809, 1827.)
1682. The Rev. James Forsyth, minister of Kinross, died.
In "Historæ Scoticæ Nomenclatura," published at Edinburgh 1682,
by "Christophorvs Irvinvs," mention is made of Kinross-shire and town
of Kinrossat p. 117. as follows:
"Kinrossiana, Kinross-shire. It is a little Shire belonging
heritably to the Barons of Lochleven, afterwards Earls of Morton; it
lyeth betwixt Fife and Perthshire.
Kinrossum, the town of Kinross, lying on a beginning or head of
a point of land, that runneth into the west side of Lochleven; and
this is the reason of its name in the old language."
Probably this is the oldest gazetteer notice of Kinross, and
must be interesting to every Kinrossian, for it clearly shows that
when Irving published this bookin 1682the town of Kinross was
situated on the beginning or head of land that runneth into th
e west side of the Lochconsequently modern Kinross must refer to
some date after said year. When Kinross House was built in 1685, the
proprietor probably thought the old town was too near his residence
to ensure perfect seclusion, and would encourage its
removal to the present site, letting his ground at reduced
feu-duties. In 1708 there were already "47 tofts or steadings" on
this ground. (see dates 1500, 1708).
Rev. Henry Christie ordained Minister of Kinross.
1683. The oldest extant Parochial Register of Kinross, concludes
with date 13th May, 1683.
A deed of this date refers to Tullibole and to the Murrays of
Tullibardine, the chief proprietors in this parish. The Murrays are
the descendants of the Dukes of Athol.
1684. The "Flow Moss," near the site of Kinross House, "under
1685. Kinross-shire, when erected into a county in the year 1426,
consisted of the parishes of Kinross, Orwell, and part of Portmoak
only. This year the county was much enlarged having had the parishes
of Tullibole, Cleish, Barony of Cuthilgowrdy, &c. The
ollowing is extracted from the Act of 1685, declaring the enlargement
of the county, viz.:
"The King and Estates of Parliament,, considering the smallness
and extent of the Sheriffdom of Kinross, and jurisdiction thereof, to
support and maintain the state and rank of a distinct shire, as it
is, and anciently has been; and that it would be of g
reat advantage and ease to His Majesty's lieges, the several
heretors, residenters, and inhabitants within the paroches of
Portmock, Cleish, and Tulliboal, and to the heretors of these several
parts and portions of land lying in the paroch of Kinross, and
in the shires of Fife and Perth, and of the barony of Cuthilgourdy,
lying in the shire of Perth, and belonging to Sir William Bruce, of
Kinross, be disjoined from the said shires of Fife and Perth, and
jurisdiction thereof; and joined, annexed, and unite
d to the shire of Kinross and jurisdiction thereof, unto which the
said and lands by contigue, and most convenientlyexcepting always
and reserving the jurisdiction of the lands of Carnboe, Bridgelands,
Cruick and Cruick-Miln, lying in the paroch of Tilli
boal and Stewarty of Strathearn, whereof James, Earl of Perth, Lord
High Chancellour, is heritable Stewart, out of this Act, which is
declared to be without prejudice thereunto, infringement therof, or
encroachment thereupon, or to the detriment of other
heritable stewarty, in any manner of way whatsoever. And that John
Marquis of Athol, Sheriff Principal of the Sheriffdom of Perth; and
Margaret Countess of Rothes, and the deceast Charles, Earl of
Haddington, her husband, heritable Sheriff of the Shire of
Fife, have for their respective interests, consented to the
disjunction of the said lands and paroches above mentioned, from the
shires of Fife and Perth, and to the uniting them to the shire of
Kinross and heritable jurisdiction thereof, in favours of t
he said Sir William Bruce, heritable Sheriff of the same, with the
burden of the valuation, and all other public burdens laid on or to
be laid on the same; therefore his majesty and estates of Parliament,
upon the considerations aforesaid, hereby dismembe
r and disjoin the said several paroches of Portmock, Cleish, and
Tulliboal, and whole lands contained therein (reserving the
jurisdiction of the said land, as is reserved), and the said parts
and portions of land in the paroch of Kinross, lying within the
said shires of Fife and Perth, and the said lands and barony of
Cuthilgourdy, from the said shires of Fife and Perth, and
jurisdictions thereof, for now and ever; and adjoin, unite, annex,
and incorporate the same to the said Sheriffdom, and heritable Sh
eriffship of Kinross; and statute, ordain, and declare them in all
time coming, to be a part of the shire of Kinross, in and to all
effects and purposes, and particular in point of jurisdiction,
judicatures civil and criminal, and in all matters private a
nd publick whatsoever; and the said shire of Kinross is to consist of
the paroches of Kinross, Orwell, Portmock, Cleish, and Tulliboal, and
the lands lying within the said paroches, and of the lands and
baronies of Cuthilgourdy, with the burden of the Val
uation of the said paroches and lands. Willing and appointing the
heretors, inhabitants, and possessors of the said lands, in all time
coming to answer to the courts of the said Sheriffdom of Kinross, and
to be liable to the jurisdiction of the Sheriffs t
hereof, in all cases civil and criminal, competent to a Sheriff's
cognition, and that all legal diligences against the heritors,
possessors, and inhabitants of the said lands, with all briefs,
proclamations, and others, be used and execute at the mercat c
ross of Kinross, head burgh of the said shire; and that there be a
register kept at Kinross, for all the lands for registration of
sasines, reversions, and other writs, enjoined by Act of Parliament
to be registered," &c.
The county of Kinross, as thus enlarged, is bounded on the east
by Auchmoor Bridge. The western parts are bounded by the Devon,
giving a breadth of about 12 miles. On the North it is bounded by
Damhead; and on the south by Kelty Bridge; between which pla
ces the distance is about 10 miles. The area of the whole county does
not exceed 70 square miles, or 44,800 imperial acres.
Kinross-House re-builtthat is, it was finished this year. The
previous house or fortalice was known by the name of Newhouse,
probably to distinguish it from some older building standing at the
time of its erection. It belonged to and was for a long tim
e the residence of the Earls of Morton. When "Newhouse" and its
domains were purchased it was with the view to erect a noble
residence for James VII. in the event of his not succeeding to the
throne of Britain.*
The architect of this magnificent housenow known as Kinross
House was Sir William Bruce, who was also the architect of Holyrood
House, Hopetoun House, &c. As James VII. ascended the throne in 1685,
Kinross House was not required for a Royal residence,
and soon after it became the property of Sir William Bruce,
afterwards a great benefactor of the town. For notices of Kinross
House see dates 1706, 1723, 1769. There is a tradition that Kinross
House was built from fines levied on the covenanters.
1687. A bridge of three arches built over the Queich at the south
end of the town by Sir William Bruce. (See date 1810.)
An old note, in alluding to Lochleven, says, "the South Queche
is a famous clear broad running burn and one of the principle feeders
of the loch." It is still "a famous broad clear running burn," and no
"Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows."
1688. Rev. John Gray, minister of Orwell, translated to
Orwell Parochial Register has its first entries this year.
1689. Rev. Henry Christie "ejected" from the charge of Kinross
parish for not praying for William and Mary.
Rev. William Spence ordained minister of Kinross.
1690. Kinross, Cleish, and Orwell, were in the Presbytery of
Dunfermline as early as this period.
Rev. William Hackstoun, minister of Cleish, "remitted his
charge." Lochleven Castle had one of its turrets repaired by Sir
William Bruce of Kinross House.
The present "Town of Kinross," most probably originated about
this period. (See dates1500, 1682 and 1708.)
1693. An hospital projected at this period "for certain puir of
the parish of Kynross, but it was never caryed into effect, money was
left to be distributed to them instead." Those on "The Roll" are
designated as being on "The Hospital Fund."
1696. There appears to have been only a few hands engaged at the
cutlery trade at this period. (See dates 1680, 1700, 1760, and 1803.)
1697. A Bridge of three arches built over the Leven, near
The "flow moss," in the domain of Kinross House, thoroughly
drained and laid out.
1698. Lochleven Castle, for some time before this period had been
uninhabited and neglected. This year it became, it would appear, "ane
utter ruin and of a melancholie aspect," and this year may therefore
be considered the last year of its martial and dom
estic history. But an interest in the Castle of Lochleven will never
cease to exist so long as Scottish history is read and appreciatedso
long will its memorable historical associations command attention and
evoke fervent emotion. "The bard of Lochleven,
" the amiable Michael Bruce has some very appropriate lines on the
old castle in its ruinous state, which are worthy of a place here. He
"No more its arches echo to the noise
Of joy and festive mirth; no more the
Of blazing taper through its windows beams,
And quivers on the undulating wave;
But naked stand the melancholy walls,
Lash'd by the wintry tempests, cold and
And whistle mournfully through the
And piecemeal crumble down the tower to
1699. Rev. Robert Macgill ordained minister of Kinross.
1700. The Parish of Kinross about this date contained a
population of 1280; of the town of Kinross, 620. According to the
Session Records then, a part of the Kirk-Session perambulated the
street during public worship and made a report of their "seeings an
d doings" to the Session. In some places these "perambulators" were
known as "the Moral Police" and "Seizers," when they laid hold of a
delinquent, or any thing he chanced to be carrying.
At this period there were "about 200 weavers in Kinross; a
number of cutlers and shoemakers, one church, and two schools," and
about a population of 450.
John Row appointed schoolmaster of Kinross 11th Sept., and
shortly afterwards precentor and Session Clerk.
1702. A stone quarry at "Nivieston," Cleish, in "full working
order" as early as 1702.
1703. Rev. Ebenezer Erskine ordained minister of Portmoak parish.
(See date 1731.)
Portmoak oldest extant Parochial Register commences this year.
(See date 1659.)
1705. Professor Thomas Crawford, "a gentleman renouned for his
great learning, especially for his skill in History and antiquities,"
had his residence at Clashlochie at this period.
1706. Sir Robert Sibbald, the author of "the History Ancient and
Modern of the Sheriffdom of Fife and Kinross," visited Kinross this
Summer, collecting materials for his history. Referring to Kinross he
says. "the town is situated in the centre of the Hig
hway between the North-Ferry and Perth." Probably by "centre of the
highway" he means midway between North Queensferry and Perth.
"'Tis the head burgh of the Shire, it has been much enlarged of
late with several new buildings, and some tradesmen of several
employments have been brought to it by Sir Wm. Bruce. It is well
provided with necessaries for the accommodation of passengers
&c." Perhaps it was Sir William Bruce that brought the cutlery and
ironmongery trades to Kinross. (See date 1680.) Referring to Kinross
House, then recently built, he says:"The great avenue, with a large
gate of curious architectureas all the work of th
e great house isbegins at a small distance from the middle of the
town upon the east side, and hath enclosures of planting on each
side. The house has several courts; upon the North side of it, near
to the loch, is the manor called New-house, the seat of
the Earls of Mortoun; and upon the East side is the parish church.
The old castle of Lochleven stands in an island in the north-west
part of the loch, at half a mile's distance or so now from the shore.
Sir William Bruce drained a great deal of ground at
the west end of the loch, and thereby did recover much ground, where
now he has orchards and large parks, well planted, part of which
formerly was flow-moss, which is firm ground now, fertile, of good
grass, and full of all sorts of trees, which give bot
h shelter and a fine prospect to the building."
James Paterson appointed schoolmaster of Kinross, 10th June, and
shortly afterwards to the offices of Precentor and Session Clerk.
1708. According to an old document, there were 47 'tofts,' or
steadings, in Kinross this year.
1709. Robert, only son of the fourth Lord Burleigh of Burleigh
Castle, who had in 1707 "formed a violent attachment to a rustic
beauty, and was in consequence sent on his travel abroad that he
might forget her," returned this year from his travels, and on
hearing of her marriage to Mr Henry Stenhouse, schoolmaster of
Inverkeithing, "he went instantlie to the schoolmaster's house, at
Inverkeithing, and schot Stenhouse through the left shoulder".
Stenhouse died ten days thereafter. Young Burleigh was tried
for this murder on 4th August, 1709, and condemned to be beheaded on
29th November; he escaped in disguise from his prison, and after many
wanderings and concealments "in the hollow trunks of old trees, on
the ancestoral domain, and other places, he elude
d justice. He turned up in 1715, joined the rebels and was
attainted." An old hollow ash tree, often the place of old Burleigh's
retreat, near Burleigh Castle, was ever after known as "Burleigh's
Hole." This tree had its top swept off by the high winds, d
uring the winter of 1808-9, and was completely blown down to within a
few feet of the root on old Handsel-Monday, 1822; it stood about 20
feet distant of the west wall of the great tower.
1710. Sir William Bruce, Kinross House, Kinross, died.
1712. Rev. Alexander Barton ordained minister of the united
parishes of Tullibole and Fossoway, 23rd April; died 14th Jan., 1716.
1713. Rumbling Bridge built this year by William Gray, mason, a
native of Saline. This refers to the underarch. It is thrown over the
narrow chasm at a height of 86 feet above the Devon water. The span
of the arch is 22 feet, and breadth 11 feet, and had
no parapet defences(vide 1816.)
1714. Part of the rebel insurgents in Kinross. It seems that many
of them "took the loan of things and forgot to return them."! The
celebrated "Rob Roy" appears to have been in Kinross on this
1715. James Paterson, parish schoolmaster, deposed by the
Committee of the Synod of Fife, in consequence of "a disagreeable
quarrel he had anent the precentorship."
1716. Robert Coventry elected parish schoolmaster of Kinross, 26
Nov. and shortly afterwards precentor and Session Clerk.
1717. Rev. Alexander Ure admitted minister of the united parishes
of Tullibole and Fossoway, 25th April; died 7th April, 1742.
1718. (The Rev Robert McGill, Kinross, is the subject of an
article called 'Endorism . . Spirits that trouble the Minister's
House of Kinross', ie. poltergeists ð Ed)
1719. The celebrated heroic poem "Hardy-knute," was first
published this yearanonymously. Great curiosity manifested as to the
authorship. The critics were divided in opinion. They, however,
confined their remarks to two persons only: viz., to Sir John B
ruce of Kinross House, Kinross, and to Elizabeth Halkett, his
sister-in-law, wife of Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie. They both
denied the authorship. Sir John, on being questioned and pressed
regarding it, avowed that he "found the poem in a vault of Dunf
ermline Abbey, written on Vellum, in a fair gothic character, but so
much defaced by time that the tenth part was not legible." The Lady,
on being questioned, pretended that she "found the poem on shreds of
paper employed for what is called the bottoms of
clues." These equivocating answers show that both parties "knew all
about it." It is now generally allowed that Dame Elizabeth Halkett
was the authoress.
1722. Captain William Crawfurd of Powmylne bequeathed to the
minister and kirk-session of Orwell £100 sterling "for the use of the
poor in the parish of Orwell, born and living in the parish
virtuously and honestly." The interest of this sum is dealt out
annually to the poor.*
Daniel Defoe, the celebrated author of "Robinson Crusoe" and
other works, visited Kinross this year on his tour, collecting notes
for his work, which was afterwards published, entitled "A journey
through Scotland." Referring to Kinross, he in this work s
ays:"The Earls of Morton have been governors and proprietors of this
lake and castle from the year 1353, till the reign of King Charles
the Second; that it was purchased by that great architect, Sir
William Bruce, who built a noble palace on the banks of
this lake, and joining to the town of Kinross. This is by much the
finest seat I have yet seen in Scotland. It is built of Free Stone,
adorned with columns of the Corinthian order; the offices under
ground are all vaulted, and galleries of communication
paved with stone, are the noblest I have seen anywhere. The great
staircase is the same as at Melvil; the great saloon that goes from
it is two storey high, with a lanthorn at top, as at Montague House
at London. The great saloon is crowded with pictures,
and there are two good whole lengths of King Charles the First and
his Queen. The great avenue from the town of Kinross is the noblest
you can imagine. You enter it by a pair of stately stone gates, and
in a quarter of a mile you reach the outer court, w
ith a pavilion, stables, and coachhouses, on each corner. The inner
court is beautiful, adorned with green grass plots; and on each side
of this court, and behind the house are the gardens. There are other
two avenues from the outer court, that run to the
lake on one side, and through a wood on the other, there are also
some curious vistoes cut through this wood. This lake is full of
fish, particularly the finest fish in the world; and the town of
Kinross adjoining is a good market town." Defoe takes no f
urther notice of the town, nor does he allude to its trade and
1723. The ancient house or castle of Kinross, which stood on a
site adjacent to the present house, and commonly known as "New
House," was this year entirely removedmany of the stones had been
used in the walls of the house built in 1685, and also in encl
1724. This year there were in Kinross "35 cutlers; 10 in the iron
trade: 22 shoemakers; and 320 weavers."
1725. It would appear from an old memorandum, that the Kinross
ale-sellers, like their neighbours in other places in the kingdom,
were up and valiant in their declamations against the malt tax.
1726. The great military road to the north of Scotland, formed
under the direction of General Wade, passes through Kinross. Previous
to this period the road was "a cordouroy one, very narrow, full of
heighs and how's, ruts and dubs."
"If you had but seen the old road, before
the new one was made,
You would have held up your hands and
blest General Wade."
1727. Old Church of Kinross had its east gable and south wall
1729. The Church of Orwell was re-built this year. (in Milnathort
Church and Manse, Crook of Devon built.
The Rev. Mr Francis Craig received a most harmonious call to the
parish of Kinross. (See dates 1731, 1732, and 1733.)
Great storm of wind; part of one of the outhouses of Lochleven
Castle blown down. The Queich bridge at south end of the town
"helped," i.e. repaired.
An old memorandum, in referring to the early part of this year,
says, "The good folks of Kinross were in a very uncomfortable frame
of mind in consequence of the kirk dispute between the Rev. Messrs
Craig and Stark." This case was long known as "The Kinr
oss Kirk case," &c. (See dates 1732, 1733.)
1731. Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, minister of Portmoak, translated to
the Church of Stirling. He died in Stirling in 1754, aged 74 years.
1732. Rev. Robert Stark admitted minister of Kinross. His
settlement was the occasion of much division and strife. He was the
author of "An essay on the 'Ethiopian' of the Acts of the Apostles."
1733. The grounds at Blairadam "first planted with oak, ash,
larch, elm, spruce, silver and Scotch firabout 1000 acres were
Gairney Bridge, and origin of the Associate Synod. As previously
noted, the church of Kinross was "vacant" in 1729, 1732. The
congregation were in favour of the Rev. Francis Craig, "a man of
great ability and eminent piety." The majority of the members o
f the Synod were in favour of the Rev. Robert Stark, and ordered the
Presbytery to induct him to the charge of Kinross. The majority of
the Presbytery refused to act. The case was taken to the General
Assembly which resulted in a "suspension" of four memb
ers of the Assembly. The four "suspended brethren" continuing to
refuse to ordain a minister against the wishes of a majority of the
congregation, were at last declared "no ministers of the church of
Scotland, and loosened from their charges." The names o
f the ministers thus loosened from her charges for not acceding to do
a violent act were the Reverends Ebenezer Erskine, Wilson, Moncrieff,
The Cottage at Gairney Bridge
On Tuesday, December 4th, 1733, (says the Rev. Ralph Erskine in
his diary) I went with my brother to the Bridge of Gairney, where he
and his other three brethren spent all the Wednesday in prayer and
conference and also the Thursdayand thereafter, about
two o'clock, came to the resolution of constructing themselves into
a Presbytery, which accordingly they did, and Mr Mair and I were
witnesses. They appointed their next meeting of Presbytery to be in
Dunfermline, February the first Wednesday thereof.
The 6th December 1733 is the date of the origin of the Secession
Churchafterwards now called the U.P. Church. On December 6, 1733,
the body had, of course, no place of worship. On December 6, 1833,
when the Centenary was held, this body had 587 churches
and 283,500 members!
1736. Aldie Castle "was roofless" at this period, and
consequently a ruin. Before the abolition of the heritable
jurisdiction, a man was hanged here for the slight offence of
stealing "a caup fu' o' corn." and when brought to the gallows, is
said to have
uttered a malediction upon the family, to the effect that the estate
of Aldie should never be inherited by a male heir for nineteen
Another note refers to the castle as "ane castel of marvilous
strengthe," and that "the very names of its earlie proprietors are
getting into oblivione"
"Before time's breathlike blazing flax
Man and his marvels pass away."
1738. "The Associate Presbytery" sat at Orwell in September this
Rev. Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, moderator, January.
1739. The first pair of "fanners" (winnowing machine) first
introduced into the parish of Kinross. "At first it was viewed with
considerable suspicion and distrust." In other places it was also at
first much disliked.
1740. A most severe frost of long continuance"loch frozen
overthen came heavy falls of snow middle of January; again, hard
frost all March." "The farmers lost many of the sheep and cows."
Bad harvest, followed by a dearth; many families in "deplorable
1741. The old parish church, on the promontory west end of the
lochthe church of primitive Kinross, founded about the year 1240,
had by the year 1741 become "unsuitable for a place of worship, being
in need of repairs, uncomfortable, and too small for th
e growing wants of the parish, and also in consequence of the town
having receded from the church." At a meeting of the Presbytery, and
heritors of the parish, it was resolved that "a new and larger church
be built in the town of Kinross, on a site conven
ient for the inhabitants." Thus ended the Ecclesiastical history and
use of this venerable church, after having 'served its day and
generation' for the long period of 500 years.
The views of scenery from the "solitary walk" leading from the
town of Kinross to "the auld kirkyard" has often been alluded to as
"enchanting," as of "mild beauty," and that when "under the moonlight
when all the air a solemn stillness holds," the views
from this road to the old church yard are in no ordinary degree
sweet and soothing. The pious poet, Copland, would have been
delighted with such a "solitary walk" and old church yard. He would
have "given voice to his thoughts" as he did on a similar "so
"Here let me take my solitary way;
To the lone church yard I do love to stray!
Glad to indulge a serious thought the while,
Beside where stood a venerable pile."
1742. "The Steeple Committee,"constituted at a public meeting of
the inhabitants"the Rev. Mr Robert Stark, minister of the parish,
elected to the chair; John Steedman, schoolmaster, appointed
"Committee Clerk"when it was agreed "that considering it was
in contemplation to build a new church, a steeple might with great
propriety be added thereto." Many obstacles came in the way to
prevent this being done at the completion of the new church; it was
not until 1751 that the steeple was built. John Steedman,
schoolmaster, appointed "committee clerk."*
The new parish church built in the central situation on the west
side of the thoroughfare through Kinross.
1743. Rev. John Storer admitted minister of the united parishes
of Tillibole and Fossoway, 25th August; died 8th June, 1778.
1744. Cleish Manse re-built and offices repaired.
Heritors in the Parish of Cleish"24 small proprietors."
Potatoes planted in the garden of Kinross Housethe first
planted in the county.
1745. In "the '45" a great many "puir looking heeland sodgers" of
the rebel army were in Kinross, and it seems they had " a nack of
serving themselves without the assistance of waiters."
About this period "a school was opened at Gairney Bridge by John
Brown," afterwards the Rev. John Brown of Haddington, and Professor
of Divinity to "the Associate Synod."
1746. An old letter from David Duncan to John Henderson,
Milnathort, dated 15th Feb. demands "quarters with bread and drink
for about 70 or 80 soldiers."
Michael Bruce, born at Kinnesswood, parish of Portmoak,
Kinross-shire, on 27th March.
1747. The "Secession Church," High Street, built.November.
Collected on the occasion, £4 12s.
1748. Rev. John Swanston ordained minister of the Secession
Church, Kinross, 23rd January.
The famine of this year, as in other places, was severely felt
in Kinross-shire relief by contributions of money made to the poor.
1751. The steeple of the church finished this year by the
"Steeple Committee, after much care and assiduity." Height of steeple
Sir John Bruce of Kinross presented the town with a clock, which
was in the latter end of the year put up in the new steeple.
At a public meeting held this year it was ordered "that the bell
in the steeple be rung henceforth at 5 o'clock in the morning; 8
o'clock and 10 o'clock at night; and on Sundays at 8, 9, and 10
forenoon; and that the last bell for divine service shall co
ntinue ringing for a quarter of an hour."
1755. Population of the county of Kinross, 5944; of the parish of
Kinross, according to Dr Webster's tables, 1310; of Parish of
Portmoak, 996; of Cleish, 520; of the parish of Orwell, 1891 souls.
Cleish Church (Kinross-shire) rebuiltSee also 1832.
1756. Kinross "Weavers Friendly Society" instituted 25th
In the "Abridgement of the Chronicles of Scotland" published
this year, referring to Kinross-shire are the following
remarks:"There is Aldy, Cleish, the Loch of Lochleven, with a strong
castle, abounding with all sorts of fresh fishes, with a new house
adjacent thereto; the castle of Burleigh, the Lord Burleigh's
residence, is on the north of the Loch," &c.
A detachment of the "Sutherland Fencibles" pass through Kinross
on their way to Edinburgh.
1758. It would appear that "although the steeple was finished in
1751, it had no weather-cock. The Steeple Committee this year got one
put up by public subscription." At one of the meetings of the
committee "The principal Lord of the Chapmen compeared, an
d gave half-a-crown for carrying on the finishing of the steeple" 17
1760. This year, there were 45 cutlers in Kinross, and 18 in the
iron craft. "Kinross Whittles were highly prized, and sold at all the
fairs, and hawked about the country."
1762. That singular person known as "The Wandering Jew," in his
journeyings this year passed through Kinross and Milnathort, and as
usual was followed by crowds, and created great interest; but no
doubt that he was an impostor of the worst sort. A writer
of the period thus describes him"Tall and gaunt, turban on his head,
solemn aspect, eyes kept fixed on the ground, long flowing beard, and
wrapt up in a worn-out cloak or gown, on his feet were heavy sandals,
which made a clattering noise when he walked;
all that he was ever heard to say, and that in a moaning voice, was
"Jack alone, poor jack alone," all the while with eyes fixed on the
ground, no doubt to make an impression on his hearers, as if verses
21st, 22nd of St John applied to him." Probably th
e poet of "the period" had the "Jew" in his mind when he wrote
"His feet like hammers strak the grund;
The very moudawarts were stunn'd
An wunder'd what it meant."
1763. Great drought during the summer of this year. It would
appear there "was not a drop of rain for nearly three months; and
that the Queichs were dry to the bottom," and that "Lochleven receded
much within its usual water line."
1764. Rev. John Swanson appointed Professor of Divinity to the
Secession Church. The Divinity Hall "was instituted in the large room
of the Secession Church manse, now known as the "Lochleven Inn" (May
Robert Adam, Esq., architect to the King, resigned his
architectship, on being elected M.P. for the county of Kinross.
1765. Michael Bruce, the poet, kept a small wayside school at
Gairney Bridgehe had 28 scholarsJune.
1767. Rev. John Swanson, minister of the Secession Church,
Kinross, and Professor of Divinity to the Associate Synod, died
suddenly at Perth, on June 12th. He was an eminent Divine. A volume
of his sermons was published shortly after his death.
Bridge at Crook o' Devon (New Fossoway), built.
Michael Bruce died at Kinnesswood, Kinross-shire, on July 6th,
aged 21 years. It would appear that his celebrated "Ode to the
Cuckoo," as also "Lochleven no More," and some pieces of Scripture
paraphrased, were composed between the years 1762 and 1767. S
hortly after his death the Rev. John Logan called on his father at
Kinnesswood and got from him a MSS. vol. of the poet's compositions
with the view of publishing them "for the parents' benefit."
In the year 1770 Logan published 17 of Bruce's poems, under the
title of "Poems, on several occasions, by Michael Bruce," and sent 12
copies to his parents. This was all the "benefit" conferred on them
by Logan! In the year 1781 Logan republished them wi
th a few additional ones, as his own!!! titled thus, "Poems, by the
Rev. Mr Logan; Printed by Caddell, in the Strand, London, 1781." In
this vol. there is a hymn claimed by Logan as his own, that was in
circulation before he was born!!! After this, who ca
n feel surprised at the "Logan deed" to Bruce? Over the memory of
Logan "the literary delinquent," let a veil be drawn to cover his
"manifold sins and transgressions," and let him rest. Suffice it to
say that the works of Mackelvie and Grosart, Stephen, a
nd Mackenzie, on Michael Bruce, throw a flood of light on Logan's
"doings and dealings with his victim." They place beyond the reach of
future dispute that Bruce was the author of the many sweet and
inimitable compositions which had been filched and "fath
ered" by Logan.
1769. Thomas Pennant, Esq., the historian, passed the night of
July 14th in Kinross, being on his journey collecting materials for
his work, entitled, "A Tour in Scotland," from which, the following
are a few detached extracts. He says: "Kinross is a smal
l town, seated in a large plain, bounded by mountains; the houses and
trees are so intermingled, as to give it an agreeable appearance. It
has some manufactures of linen and cutlery ware. At this time was a
meeting of Justices on a singular occasion; a va
grant had been, not long before, ordered to be whipped, but such was
the point of honour among the common people, that no one could be
permitted to go to Perth for the executioner, who lived there, to
press, I may say, two men for that service, was the ca
use of the meeting; so Mr Boswell may rejoice to find the notion of
honour prevail in as exalted degree among his own countrymen, as
among the virtuous Corsicans.
"Not far from the town is the house of Kinross, built by the
famous architect Sir William Bruce, for his own residence, and was
the first good house of regular architecture in North Britain.
"Lochleven, a magnificent piece of water, very broad, but
irregularly indented, is twelve miles in circumference and its
greatest depth about 24 fathoms. Some islands are dispersed in this
great expanse of water, one of which is large enough to feed seve
ral head of cattle, but the most remarkable is that distinguished by
the captivity of Mary Stuart, which stands in the middle of the lake.
The castle still remains; consists of a square tower, a small yard
with two round towers, a chapel, and the ruins of
a building, where, it is said, the unfortunate princess was lodged.
In the square tower is a dungeon, with a vaulted room above, over
which has been three other stories. Some trees are yet remaining on
this little spot, probably coeval with Mary, under w
hose shade she may have sat, expecting her escape, at last effected
by the enamoured Douglas. Historians differ in respect to the cause
that influenced him to assist in his sovereign's escape. Some
attribute it to his avarice, and think he was bribed with
ewels reserved by Mary; others, that he was touched by a more
generous passion; the last opinion is the most natural, considering
the charms of the Queen, and the youth of the deliverer.
"The fish of this lake are pike, small perch, fine eels, and
most excellent troutthe best and the reddest I ever saw, the largest
about six pounds in weight. The fishermen gave me an account of a
species they called the gally trout, which are only caugh
t from October to January, are split, salted, and dried for winter
provision. The birds that breed on the isles are herring-gulls,
pewit-gulls, and great terns, called here pictarnes.
"Lay at a good inn, a single house, about half a mile north of
Kinross, 14th July."
It appears that Mr Pennant had been misinformed on some of the
points he alludes to.
1770. Wheat said to have been first sown in Kinross parish this
According to several old notices, the common dress of men was of
coarse fabric called "hodden grey," and consisted of an immense coat,
wide folding-back sleeves, buttons the size of half-crowns. The
waist-coat same, deep down, parting in the middle at th
e bottom, with large pouches; and breeches called gun-mouthed breeks,
tying over; rig and furrow worsted stockings below the knee; large
stout shoessome tied, some held by clasps; the top-piece consisted
of a flat worsted bonnet, about a foot and a half
across the top; and thus equipped and gong on a long journey, a staff
six feet long was used. The dress of women was coarse blue plaiding,
petticoats and shortgown. The married women wore a close mutch, which
on Sunday was ornamented with ribbons. Their S
unday's dress consisted of linsey-woolsey, generally spun in the
family and given out to weave. Tailors made the dresses of both men
and women, at least the bridal dress. Inside of houses were to be
seen, on rack shelves placed against the wall, large pew
ter plates, plates of wood, bickers, and bowls, wooden candlesticks,
and tables and chairs and stools a la period. Such was the "outs and
in's" of old Scotland at this period, and for some time afterwards
consequently it also reflects the costumes of ga
y Kinross in ye oulden tyme.
1771. Mr Steedman, parish schoolmaster of Kinross, and first
clerk of steeple committee (from 1742 to 1771) died 17th Jan. (Old
Tolbooth building, Kinross, restored ð Ed)
1772. The Parochial Registers of Kinross, previous to this period
are irregular and not all extant, from 1772 they are complete.
Mr John Taylor appointed parish schoolmaster of Kinross, 5th
Nov. 1772, as also precentor and session clerk. He died 18th Nov
1821. It will be thus seen that Mr Taylor had completed a true
jubilee, viz., 49 years of service. (see date 1805.)
Potatoes began to be cultivated in the open field around Kinross
about the year 1772.
1775. Cleish Church re-built. "The previous one had become
incommodious and ruinous." (See 1832.)
1776. An old topographical work notifies that down to the year
1776 the county of Kinross was "verrie marshy and overrun with
stagnant pools," and that in consequence, "fevers and agues were of
too frequent occurrence."
The Fly a chaise commenced running between Perth and
Edinburghpassing through Kinross.
1777. Kinnesswood school "found to be too small and
inconveniently situateda new and larger one built at Scotlandwell in
its stead," cost of which, including "blew slates" cartages &c., £80.
(Known as Portmoak Parish School).
1780. A large and splendid drawing of Lochleven Castle, as also
of the oldest tree on the island, drawn this year by Andrew
Rutherford. Below the view of the castle were the following lines:
"I do love these ancient ruins;
We never set our foot upon them but we set
Our foot upon some reverend history;
And question less here in these open rooms
Persons of great renown had their reward,
And moved about."
Lochleven fishings were let this year at £20 per annum.
Rev. Mr Graham ordained minister of the united parishes of
Tulliebole and Fossoway, May 3.
1782. At this period the ruins of an old circular Pictish
building, 24 feet in diameter, were visible on a rising ground called
Car-Leith (Caer-Lethe) on the estate of Aldie. This year the
proprietor ordered the old stones to be carted away for the purpos
e of making "fence dikes." On digging a little below the surface two
stone coffins were found in the centre of the ruin, 4 feet long by 2
feet broad, containing human bones and teethnothing known of these
Bad harvest; the victual would not ripen; there were falls of
snow afterwards known as the "snawy hairst."
1783. An account discharged this year shows that oatmeal at
Cleish sold at 14s 71/2d per boll.
Kinross Hammermen's Friendly Society established 15th June.
The old parish manse at the south end of Kinross was found to
"need so much repair, and as it had been for sometime uncomfortable
and too small, a new manse was ordered to be built."
Population of the Parish of Portmoak, 1040 souls.
1784. Rev. Archibald Smith inducted minister of Kinross.
New Manse of the parish of Kinross built. (See date 1783.)
On the Blairadam estate there were 584 acres of plantation laid
down this year.
1785 James Cameron, M.D., the eminent physician, born at Craigie,
Kinross-shire, October, 1785, died in New York, 12th December, 1851,
aged 66 years.
Great flood in the Devon, 14th Sept. An old account of this
remarkable rise in the waters of the Devon, says:"The rain began
about 4 o'clock in the morning, about 9 the river was increasing with
great rapidity, at 10 it had covered the marks noticed in
a former great flood; at 12 o'clock the water was at its height,
being 18 inches perpendicular above what it has been known to rise
for many years, or about 61/2 feet above the usual water line. It
carried along with it grain from the fields, a great many
trees, sheep, &c. The gurgling water, by ploughing up the banks and
surface of the ground on its foaming and rapid career, was changed
into a deep brown colour," &c.
"tumbling brown the burn came down,
And roar'd frae bank to brae."
Great snowstorm in Dec., followed by 118 days frost.
1786. Map or plan of the parish of Fossoway, drawn by Mr Stobie,
factor to the Duke of Athol.
1787. Robert Burns, the poet, arrived in Kinross from Perth on
his way to Edinburgh on Saturday 15th September. He was shortly
afterwards siezed with "a fit of colic." He stayed all night in
Kinross, and left in the forenoon of Sunday 16th, for the south.
As elsewhere, "the good folks of Kinross were vehement in their
denunciations of the bill for the emancipation of the Papists," the
Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill passed in 1788.
1788. Lochleven fishings let this year at £80 per annum.
The Centenary of the Revolution. A public fast, 20th May, and in
memory of King William, "our great deliverer."
One of our notes states that David Beveridge of Kinross"weaver,
cutler, perpetual motion seeker, and several other things," died this
year, at an advanced age. It seems that he had tormented himself all
his life scheming for perpetual motion, but as usu
al, without result, as all his predecessors had done, and all
followers will do after him. It seems from the note that "when Davit
was asked how he was getting on with his perpetual motion," he would
say "juist a pin wanted till complete it;" at another t
ime it was "juist a screw that was needed," and so on, toiling at a
phantom. The foolish hunt after perpetual motion may be likened to
"Dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up."
The minister of Crook-o'-Devon (New Fossoway), referring in a
paper to the antiquities in his parish at this period, notes them to
be as followsviz., "The Palace Brae, Car-Leith, Hall-Yard, Monk's
Grave, Gallows Knowe, Trooper's Dubb, and the Reformatio
A map of Tullibole parish drawn by John Bell, land surveyor,
Edinburgh, showing its conjunction with the county of Kinross.
1789. Sir John Sinclair, in Kinross, regarding statistics for his
for his celebrated work, "Statistical Account of Scotland."
Umbrellas introduced into the district of Kinross "by the
proprietor of Kinross House, and the unco sight was the cause of
astonishment and laughter to the people."
Captain Francis Grose, F.S.A., was in Kinross in the summer of
this year, collecting memoranda for his celebrated work, "The
Antiquities of Scotland,"published in 2 vols., quarto, 1796. He has
in his work an excellent view of Lochleven Castle. The great
er part of his remarks on Kinross are confined to a detail of the
siege in 1335. He concludes his observations in noting that "the
castle in 1790, when the drawing was made, consisted of a rectangular
wall, enclosing a small area, flanked by little towers
, some of them round; with some ruined walls, said to be those of the
chapel, and apartment where Queen Mary was confined. The keep is a
square tower; it stands in the north-east end of the area; and in it
as I have read (for I could not get in to see it)
, there is a pit or dungeon and a vaulted room over it; the chief
entrance is through a gate on the north side. On the outside of the
castle, chiefly towards the east, are several ancient trees,
particularly the remains of an ash, which appears, when enti
re, to have been of great size."
The view of the castle in Grose's "Antiquities" is taken from
the south side of the area of the castle court yard, on which spot
stand the figures of three men viewing the ruins. The portly figure
in the centre of the group appears to be that of the grea
t Antiquary. (p 32)
1790. William Michie, parish schoolmaster, Cleish. He received
from his intimate friend, Robert Burns, the poet, the following
humorous epitaph (for use when needed)
"Here lies Willie Michie's banes;
O Satan! when you tak him,
Gie him the schulin o' your weans,
For clever deils he'll mak them."
"Great political commotion in Kinross, as in other places." (The
doings in France the cause of much excitement).
1791. Population of the parish of Kinross, 1792; at the end of
1792 the population was 1839 souls; of the parish of Portmoak, 1105;
of the parish of Cleish, 593; and of the parish of Orwell, 1737
souls; of the County of Kinross, 6181.
A cairn near "the Mains," 11/2 miles west of Cleish, was opened
this year, when several urns containing human bones, charcoal, and
ashes, were found. Four of the urns were under a great stone, the
others under the cairn or heap of loose stones.
In Kinross-shire, as elsewhere, the harvest commenced in the end
of October. "Shearing in the midst of snowstorms, sleet and rain, the
victual was stacked in a wet state, and everywhere were to be seen
stacks smoking as if they had been on fire, long kno
wn as the "Reekie Hairst."
1792. Adam de Cardonnel was in Kinross in the autumn of this year
on his tour, collecting materials for his work, "Picturesque
Antiquities of Scotland, etched by Adam Cardonnel." In this work
there is a small exterior view of the castle, with the followin
g meagre remarks:
"The castle of which this view is given, is built on a small
island, situated almost in the middle of Lochleven. By whom, or at
what period it was erected, is not known. In the reign of Robert III.
a grant was made of it from the crown to Douglas, laird
of Lochleven. This island is famous for being the place of captivity
of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the ruins of a small building are shown
as her prison. Besides this there are the remains of a chapel and a
square tower, consisting of a dungeon, and three
stories of apartments above, the whole encompassed with a wall."
According to an old fly-leaf note, Niel Gow"the famous
Niel"was at Kinross House, end of this year, "discoursing sweet
music." There are several old notices of Niel. When he arrived at a
place it was quite an event, he became the lion of the place; cro
wds turned out to see Scotland's first fiddler, the man who would not
play second fiddle to any one. He also appears, according to a "bard
of the period," to have been a merry, hearty, jovial old gentleman
"As merry an old sowl
As e'er lifted a glass, or fathom'd a bowl!"
1793. Lochleven fishing let this year at £100 per annum.
Cleish Manse re-built, and offices repaired.
Rev. Mr Hay ordained minister of the Secession Church, Kinross.
Kinross streets, as also those in Milnathort, at this period
were first lighted by "the cruisey of oil."
1794. Great political agitation in Kinross, as elsewhere; and it
seems that "shoemakers and cutlers of Kinross were valiant at such
kind of work."
Severe winter"a long continued frost. Lochleven and all its
feeding burns" frozen up.
1795. A memorandum of this year mentions that there were three
schools in Kinross, and 208 scholars, "inclusive of the woman's
"The Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, by Andrew Winton, Prior of
Sancte Serf's Inch, Lochleven," published in 2 vols., 8 mo., by David
Macpherson, from the original MS. in the Advocates' Library of
Edinburgh. (See also date 1424.)
1796. "The Great North Road through the county repairing in many
places to make it more easy for the stage coaches, &c., to run on
According to a census taken at the end of this year, the
population of the town of Kinross was 1437.
1797. Trade bad in Kinross, many weavers, shoemakers, and cutlers
idle. Indifferent harvest.
"The Lochleven Penny." This year a Kinross merchant issued a
token, having on it, "a castle in ruins, and trees on an island, and
Lochleven Penny, 1797, and Queen Mary imprisoned in the Isle and
Castle, A.D., 1567, Ex P. K. fecit." (Condor p. 53.)
"A general view of the agriculture of the county of Kinross, "
published by "Daniel Ure, minister of Upsal, 1797." This is a small
quarto work, full of interesting agricultural and other statistics.
1798. "A secret society known to exist in Kinross in 1798, called
"Friends of the People," had classic names bestowed on its members.
Such asPompey, Cato, Mark Antony, &c. "They in imagination divided
the property around Kinross among themselves!"
1799. "On 4th March, this year, oatmeal was sold in Kinross at
15s, and bear meal at 12s the boll; beef, 3d the 1b."
"The mail coach with the mail bags commenced running through
Kinross on the July Fair day. Previous to this period the mail bags
were carried in a one-horse light cart; two deal boards were in the
centre, to which the bags were strapped, the post-boy sit
ting on them, driving."
The "Kinross Friendly Society" instituted, 2d Sept.
1800. The dearth year. "On 1st March, 1800, oatmeal in Kinross
rose to 52s, and bear meal to 34s 6d the boll, potatoes 20s the
Lochleven surveyed this year, and the water found to cover an
area of 3308 acres, or a little above 5 square miles.
1801. Population of the Parish of Kinross this year, 2124 souls;
of the Parish of Portmoak, 1151; of the Parish of Cleish, 625; and of
the Parish of Orwell, 2036 souls; of the County, 6725, May, 1801.
1802. The "Elf Knowe, (or Fairy Knowe), a little to the East of
Annafrech, was opened, and found to contain a coffin of unhewn
stones, in which were some bones, interspersed with charcoal."
A very bad harvest. Oatmeal sold at 3s 4d per peck, and
everything else dear in proportion. A subscription for the poor of
1803. Lochleven fishings were let this year at £143 per annum.
Rev. James Hall in Kinross this year, on his tour in Scotland
collecting notes for his afterwards published work, entitled,
"Travels in Scotland by an unusual route." The following are a few of
his remarks on Kinross taken from this work:
"Kinross seems to be a thriving place. There are considerable
manufactures here of linen, leather, shoes, and above all, of
hardware, particularly cutlery, for which it has been long famous.
Kinross scissors, razors, and pen knifes are in greater request
in Scotland than those of Sheffield. I presume that they both can
and do make as good articles at Sheffield and other places in
England, but perhaps the manufacturers find it to their interest on
the whole, to furnish the Scots with articles, though of a
n inferior quality, very cheap. But this, I should think, must be a
kind of economy.
The fishery of the lake is rated at one hundred and forty three
pounds a year by the landlord of the inn, to whom the trout is of
great value. The inn is a little way to the north of the town and is
as good as any that I have seen in England neat, clea
n rooms both public and bedrooms spacious, and an excellent
larder and cellar. Besides butcher's meat and fish of all kinds there
is always a variety of game. This inn is equi-distant from Perth and
the Queensferry, being sixteen miles from each.
Very near the margin of the lake stands Kinross House, a grand
and very elegant mansion, built by Sir William Bruce in the end of
the seventeenth century, to which you are led by a fine row of lofty
trees, a spacious court, and one of the noblest stone s
taircases anywhere to be seen.
Lochleven is near the town of Kinross. The unfortunate Mary,
Queen of Scots, was for some time detained a prisoner in a castle on
an island in the middle of it. On the second of May, 1568, about
seven o'clock, when the governor was at supper with his fam
ily, George Douglas, having got hold of the keys of the Castle,
hastened to her apartment and conducted her out of prison and ferried
her over in a boat to the mainland, throwing the keys of the Castle
into the lake." These keys were accidentally dragged
out of the loch not long ago. Mr Hall, when in Kinross, appears not
to have heard of the keys being thrown into the loch, as it is in a
foot-note that he alludes to "the find." His travels in Scotland were
not published until 1807, and it is evident by no
ticing the find in a foot-note that it was an after jotting he had
made having seen the newspaper paragraphs of the period referring
to said keys. "The walls of the Castle, half shaded by a grove of
lofty trees, in which it is embosomed, and which cover
nearly the whole island, form a very striking object. The whole
circle of the castle is 585 feet. There is another island at the east
end of the loch, called St Serf's Isle, containing about 48 acres."
Great thunderstorm, "the greatest ever known in Kinross (July),
succeeded by a great warmth and a luxuriant harvest everywhere."
1804. Rev. Dr Buchanan ordained minister of the Parish of
1805. "The Keys of Lochleven Castle were found by a boy named
William Honeyman, in the autumn of this year, near the water margin
of the Loch, a little to the east of the old churchyard. The summer
and autumn of this year were very dry, and the water of t
he Loch was uncommonly low, and had receded about ten feet from the
usual water mark on the shore. It was on this now exposed space that
the keys were found. The bunch of keys was carried immediately to Mr
John Taylor, the parish schoolmaster, they were v
ery rusty, and were fastened by an iron ring, which mouldered away on
being rubbed by the hand.
Mr Taylor after having them in his possession for some time,
sent them to the then Earl of Morton, heritable keeper of Lochleven
Castle, from whom he received a suitable gratuity to the finder, £5
to the poor, and handsome silver ink-holder to himself."
Regarding these "find of keys," it requires to be remarked that
there are historical and other circumstances opposed to their
reception as being those of Lochleven Castle. Until such obstacles
are cleared away, placing their identity beyond the possibili
ty of future doubt, great must be the faith of those who believe in
Apart from the historical difficulties in the way there is an
item still that would somewhat puzzle a physicist, viz: Mary escaped
from Lochleven Castle in 1568, and these keys were found in 1805,
giving a period of 237 years between the two events. Sup
pose these keys to have been subjected to the continued action of the
water, and attrition of the sandy margin of the Loch for 237 years;
query, how many grains of said keys would remain in 1805?
The keys in question were probably those of the great baronial
castle of Newhouse, which, until 1723, stood on the promontory at a
short distance from where they were found. The keys of this
stronghold of the Earls of Morton would be somewhat similar in
size to the keys of the castle on the island; thus their great size,
and forgetting the existence of this stronghold at the time of "the
find," may have made the first handlers of them jump to the
conclusion that they were the keys of Lochleven Castle. Fo
r historical objections, see Appendix.
"The Red and Black letter Day," an old Kinross memorandum in
referring to this day says "the news of the battle of Trafalgar and
the death of Nelson were brought to Kinross by one of the
mail-coaches on November 1st, and as in other places great grief an
d great joy prevailedgrief for the death of Lord Nelson and joy for
the important victory he had gained. Such opposites of grief and
joysuch extremes of feelingwere perhaps never experienced before."
1806. Very stormy winter. "The continued high winds in the early
part of the year did serious damage to house property, trees, &c. in
the neighbourhood of Kinross."
In Stark's "Gazetteer of Scotland," published this year, there
are short articles on Kinross and Kinross-shire. It mentions that
Kinross, the capital of the shire of the same name, is a small
straggling town, pleasantly situated on a plain at the W. end
of Lochleven, upon the great road from Queensferry to Perth from each
of which it is distant fifteen miles.
It was formerly famed for its cutlery manufacture. About thirty
years ago that branch employed 30 or 40 hands, but it has declined
since that time, and is now little practiced.
The present manufacture (1806) is the coarse linens called
Silesias, of which there is stamped on an average to the value of
There are also some branches of the cotton manufacture lately
Lochleven is a beautiful lake 12 miles in circumference."&c.
Mr Robert Forsyth the Topographist was in Kinross this year,
collecting notes for his workafterwards published in 5 volumes,
octavo, entitled "The Beauties of Scotland."
In referring to Kinross, he says, (in vol. IV.) "Kinross, which
is the central and principal town, and capital of the county, is
situated in 56° 15' north latitude and 3° 10' west longitude from
London, (56° 12' 15" N.L. and 3° 25' 18"is the correct bear
ing from Greenwich). Here is the seat of the Sheriff, Justice of
Peace, &c. This town it would appear, formerly consisted of
forty-seven steadings or tofts. That it did so is evident from an
agreement mutually entered into in 1708, for the division of a c
ommon called the Moors of Kinross, to which common each of the tofts
had an equal right. Between sixty and seventy new houses have been
added to the town within the last forty years. They are inhabited by
150 families. The rents of the houses are from for
ty shillings to seven pounds each. There are annually four fairs in
the town which are well frequented, especially for cattle and horses.
The principal manufacture in this county is that of coarse linen,
commonly called Silesias, woven from twenty-seven t
o thirty inches in breadth. Some coarse fabrics provincially called
tweeds, harns, and straikens. A great deal of linen is woven for
private use, as the people in general are very industrious, and make
all their cloth for shirts, bed-linens &c., of yarn s
pun in their own houses, and mostly of lint raised in the county.
From the statistical account of the parish, it appears that about 400
looms are employed in the weaving manufacture. Every three looms
usually require the attendance of a person to wind, ya
rd, and warp, the webs, &c., for them, so that the whole employment
in this branch amounts to about 530 persons.
"The Castle of Lochleven, now in ruins, stands upon an island in
the middle of the loch, and is encompassed by a wall of stone nearly
of a square form. The principal tower, which is a square building,
stands upon the north wall, near its north-west corne
r and there is a lesser round tower at the south-east. In the lower
part of the square tower is an apartment or dungeon, with a well in
it. Above this is a vaulted room which seems to have been used as a
kitchen. Over this were formerly three stories. T
he whole circuit of the outer rampart is 585 feet.
"The circumstance that renders this castle particularly
conspicuous in Scottish history is the confinement here of the
unfortunate Queen Mary. In the secluded fortress she languished for
months and was here compelled to sign an instrument resigning her c
rown to her infant son and appointing Murray regent. Several attempts
had been made to rescue her, which the vigilance of her keeper had
rendered abortive. At last, on Sunday, 2d May, 1568, while her
keepers were at supper, young Douglas found means to st
eal the keys out of his brother's chamber, and opening the gate, the
Queen and a female attendant reached a boat, prepared for the
purpose, and threw the keys into the lake, having previously locked
the doors, &c.
The other villages in the County are trifling, excepting that of
Milnathort, vulgarly pronounced Mills of Forth, from a rivulet upon
which are several mills, and also a distillery. Many of the houses in
this village are built of a white coloured freeston
e, which gives it a cheerful appearance. Although a small village it
has no less than three places of worship, besides the Parish Church.
They belong to Burghers, Anti-burghers, and Cameronians."
At page 25 of this work, "the Beauties of Scotland," there is a
very fine view of Lochleven Castle, dated 1st August, 1806.
The supposed keys were found in 1805. Forsyth published his
volume in 1807, a year and a half after the keys were found, and he
of course merely gives the current report regarding them.
1807. The counties of Kinross and Clackmannan united under one
Lord Chief Commissioner Adam, of Blairadam, elected M.P. for the
united counties of Kinross and Clackmannan.
1808. Cairnie-Vaen, on the Ochils, in the north part of Orwell
Parish, until this year was a conspicuous object of interest to the
antiquary. This year the proprietor carried away many hundred
cart-loads of the Cairn stones for the purpose of building dik
es. The following doggerel by some ancient "unletter'd muse" continue
to be repeated in the locality.
In the Dry Burn Well beneath a stane,
You'll find the key of Cairn-a-vain,
That will make a' Scotland rich ane by ane.
However no treasure was found, although eagerly expected by the
workmen. There was a rude stone coffin found in the centre of the
Cairn, containing an urn full of bones and charcoal, and amongst
these was found a small ornament of bone, about four inches
long, very much resembling the figure of a cricket-bat, and notched
in the edges. This was in much better preserve than the other bones.
1809. It would seem from an old memorandum of this date that "the
cutlery trade of Kinross was fast dying out," and that in a few years
"it would be no more."
The Jubilee of King George III. "held in Kinross with jovial
demonstrations, drinking of the King's health, bonfires, firing of
real guns and pop-cannons, squibs and sky rockets." The Kinross
folks, an old note says, "were not behind any place in the Kin
gdom for their loyalty on this occasion," 25th Oct.
1810. The North Queich Bridge repaired. "The South Queich Bridge
was thought too far gone to waste repairs on it."
Glenochel, a poem descriptive of remarkable objects in Kinross
and Clackmannan shires published by J. Kennedy.
"Tambouring and spinning at the spinning wheel" gave employment
to a great many of the female population at this period.
1811. The old bridge of three arches over the South Queich at the
South end of the town built in 1687 by Sir William Bruce of Kinross
House, was in a ruinous state, was condemned, ordered to be removed,
and a new bridge built.
Population of the parish of Kinross, 2214 souls; of the town,
about 1550; of the parish of Portmoak, 1273; of the parish of Cleish,
648; and of the parish of Orwell, 2172 souls; population of the town
of Milnathort, 1199; of the county of Kinross, 7245.
Rev. Dr Buchannan, minister of Kinross, commenced a process at
law for the augmentation of his stipendnot set