[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
DUNFERMLINE,1 a parish, the largest in Fife. Its extreme length from north to south is about 8 miles; its breadth towards the south end about 4¼ miles, but towards the north only 3 miles. It is bounded on the south partly by the frith of Forth, and partly by Inverkeithing; on the east by Inverkeithing, Aberdour, and Beath; on the north by the parish of Cleish; and on the west by Saline, Carnock, and Torry-burn parishes. The greater portion of the parish has a southern aspect, the ground rising gradually from the sea towards the north. South of the town of Dunfermline, it is well-cultivated and enclosed; and the number of gentlemen’s seats, with their wooded grounds, gives much beauty to the scenery. Towards the north, the soil is not so good; and although much has been done in the way of improvement, the general appearance of that part of the parish is not so interesting as it is to the south. The Lyne is the only brook deserving attention in the parish. Its source is near the eastern extremity of it. Having received various accessions, it becomes considerable below the town, frequently overflows its banks, and lays the rich fields of Pittencrieff, Loggie, Cavil, and Pitliver under water. After running towards the western extremity of the parish, it unites with another small brook, and takes a southern direction towards the frith of Forth. There are several lakes of considerable depth and extent, in which perch, pike, and eel are found. Besides the town of Dunfermline, there are 7 villages in the parish, viz.:- LIMEKILNS, CHARLESTON, CROSSFORD, PATIEMOOR, MASTERTOWN, CROSSGATES, and HALBEATH: see these articles. – In the immediate neighbourhood of the town, towards the south-west, is Pittencrieff, the property and residence of James Hunt, Esq. “The moment you leave the street,” says Mercer, “you enter a private gate, and are on the verge of a deep glen filled with fine old trees, that wave their foliage over the ruins of the ancient palace. A little farther on is the peninsular mount, on which Malcolm Ceanmore resided in his stronghold, – the original germ of Dunfermline. Round the base of the mount winds a rivulet, over which is a bridge leading to the mansion-house, situate on the farther bank, in a spacious park well-wooded, adorned with shrubberies, and having a splendid prospect to the south. The ground, too, is classical; for amidst this scenery, three centuries ago, when it was even more romantic than it is at present, must often have wandered the poet Henryson, holding sweet dalliance with the muses. There can be no doubt that here was the very ‘wod’ he so beautifully describes in the introduction to one of his fables:-
‘In myddis of June, that jolly sweet sessoun,
Quhen that fair Phebus, with his beamis brycht,
Had dryit up the dew fra daill and doun,
And all the land maid with his lemys lycht;
In a morning betwene mid-day and nycht,
I raiss and put all sluith and sleep on syde;
Ontill a wod I went allone, but gyd.
Sueit was the smell of flouris quhyt and reid
The noyis of birdis rycht delitious;
The bewis brod blwmyt abone my heid;
The grund growand with grassis gratious.
Of all pleasans that place was plenteous,
With sueit odours and birdis armonie;
The mornyng mild my mirth was mair forthy.
The roseis reid arrayit rone and ryss,
The primrose and the purpure viola:
To heir it was a poynt of paradyss,
Sic myrth the mavyss and the merle cowth ma:
The blossoms blyth brak up on bank and bra;
The smell of herbis, and of foulis the cry,
Contending quha suld have the victory.’
In the 13th century this property belonged to “William de Oberwell, who, in 1291, granted a right to the monastery of working coal for their own use in his lands. In 1632 Thomas, 3d Lord Bruce of Kinloss, afterwards Earl of Elgin, had a charter of the barony of Pittencrieff; and Sibbald informs us that in his time it was the property of a Mr. Forbes. About the middle of the last century it belonged to George Chalmers, Esq. It was afterwards purchased by the father of the present proprietor. The mansion-house and finely-wooded grounds of Pitferrane, the seat of Sir John Halket, baronet, have been held by this family since the end of the 14th century, having been acquired from the Scotts of Balwearie, the previous proprietors, about 1399. From a remote period this family had the right of exporting coals from their lands to foreign countries free of duty. In 1707 the privilege was purchased by government for £40,000 sterling. – Near the sea-coast, is Broomhall, the elegant mansion of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, situated on an elevated lawn overlooking the village of Lime-kilns East of Broomhall is Pitreavie, in the 17th century the property of a family of the name of Wardlaw. Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie founded an hospital at Mastertown. His lady, Elizabeth Halket, of the family of Pitferrane, is now admitted to have been the authoress of the fine ballad of Hardyknute, which so long puzzled the antiquaries of the day, and to which Pinkerton wrote a second part, which gave rise also to much controversy. She is buried in a vault on the outside of the church of Dunfermline. The Scottish troops were defeated here by a detachment of Cromwell’s forces under Colonel Overton, on the 20th of July, 1651, when 3,000 fell, and 1,200 were taken prisoners.
The coal-works in this parish are very extensive; and an able account has been given of them by the Rev. Peter Chalmers, in the ‘Quarterly Journal of Agriculture,’ from which we have condensed the following abstract:- The largest colliery is the Elgin colliery, belonging to the Earl of Elgin. The whole area of the coal-field belonging to him, wrought and unwrought, may be stated at from 2,600 to 2,700 acres. About 800 or 900 of these, which are the most southern, are nearly exhausted. A large portion of this extensive coal-field Lord Elgin holds on a lease of 999 years, from the Pitferrane family. Almost all the coal partakes more or less of the caking quality and soft texture of the Newcastle coal. – A new pit has lately been opened near the West Baldridge farm-house, named the Wallsend pit, which is the deepest coal-shaft in Scotland, and probably one of the most valuable. It is in depth 105 fathoms, 1 foot. There are 19 beds of coal, containing altogether 49 feet, 8 inches of coal, which can be worked in 13 separate divisions, by this pit. – Immediately to the east of the Elgin is the Wellwood colliery. It is situated about a mile north of Dunfermline. The coal from this work is extensively used in the town of Dunfermline and neighbourhood, and a large quantity of it is also exported, principally to France. The steam-boats plying between Paris and Rouen are almost entirely supplied with it. The quantity of coals raised at this work, in 1839, was about 48,000 tons. The number of persons employed at the work is 252. – To the east of this colliery are the Townhill and Appin collieries. – The next large and old colliery, still farther to, the east, and 2½ miles from the town of Dunfermline, is that of Hallbeath. The output at this work, in 1837, was 18,437 tons, a great proportion of which was exported. The coals exported are shipped at Inverkeithing, whither they are carried by a railroad. – A little way to the east a small colliery has been lately begun at Nether-beath, called the Cuttlehill colliery. About 2,000 tons have been sold annually since the coal-work began; but they are expected to increase. – Limestone is found and wrought for sale on the lands of Broomhall, Roscobie, Lathalmond, and Dunduff. Those at CHARLESON on Broomland lands, are the most extensive: see that article. There are several whinstone and freestone quarries in the parish. Iron-stone pervades the whole coal-field of the Earl of Elgin, in thin hands and balls, and was once wrought to the extent of 4,000 to 5,000 tons per annum. Copper pyrites, in small quantities, is found imbedded in the clay iron-stone, with carbonate of lime, at the Elgin colliery.
Among the most eminent Scotsmen of the 15th century was ‘Maister Robert Henryson, scholmaister of Dunfermling.’ He was a poet of considerable fancy, and successfully attempted various styles of composition. His longest poem, – ‘The Testament of the Fair Cresseide,’ – “contains,” says Dr. Irving, “many strokes of poetical description, which a writer of more than ordinary genius could only have produced.” He wrote a number of fables in verse, which convey useful lessons, but are rather prolix. Of these, probably the best is ‘The Borrowstoun Mous, and the Landwart Mous.’ His pastoral ‘Robin and Makyne’ displays a love of nature and great sweetness of versification; and his ‘Abbey Walk’ is full of serious reflections. The learned civilian, Edward Henryson, LL.D., seems to have been the grandson of the poet. George Durie, abbot of Dunfermline, was made an extraordinary lord of session in July, 1541, and keeper of the privy-seal in 1554. He died in 1561. Robert Pitcairn, abbot of Dunfermline, was secretary-of-state in 1570, which office he held during the regencies of Lennox, Mar, and Morton, and afterwards under James VI. Two of the family of Seaton, Earls of Dunfermline, were extraordinary lords-of-session; and three of the abbots of Dunfermline held the office of lord-high-chancellor of Scotland. In 1839, the Right Hon. Mr. Abercrombie, late speaker of the house of commons, was called to the house of peers, by the title of Baron Dunfermline of Dunfermline.
Malcolm III., surnamed Cean-mhor, or ‘Great-head,’ resided chiefly, after his accession to the Crown, at the tower which still bears his name, in the glen of Pittencrieff, in the immediate neighbourhood of the modern town of Dunfermline, and here he married Margaret, a Saxon princess, who had, with her brother Edgar, the heir of the English throne, fled to Scotland for refuge from the Norman conqueror. Margaret was the daughter of Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, king of England. Upon William the Conqueror ascending the English throne, Edgar, son of Edward, with his mother Agatha, and two sisters, Margaret and Christian, retired into Scotland. Some authors say, that being on a voyage to Hungary, they were accidentally driven thither by a storm. The place in the frith where the ship anchored is a small bay, about a mile north-west of North Queensferry, near the present toll-bar. This bay is called St. Margaret’s Hope.2 On the side of the present road, near Pitreavie, about 2 miles from Dunfermline, is a large stone called St. Margaret’s stone. Here she is said to have rested, leaning on this stone. North and South Queensferry derive their name from St. Margaret. “The site of Malcolm’s tower,” says Mercer, in his excellent ‘History of Dunfermline,’ “was strikingly adapted for a stronghold, and could not fail of attracting a rude engineer of the 11th century. Fordun says, it was a place extremely strong by natural situation, and fortified by steep rocks; in the middle of which there was a pleasant level, likewise defended by rock and water, so that it might be imagined that the following words were descriptive of this place; – Non homini facilis, vix adeunda feris. ‘It is difficult to men, scarcely accessible by wild beasts.’ The venusta planities, – or ‘pleasant level ‘ on which the tower was built, – forms the summit of a very steep eminence that rises abruptly out of the glen, and causes the rivulet to wind round its base, forming a peninsula. The whole substructure of the glen on both sides is formed of freestone, which projects in many places from the surface; and these rugged declivities must have been clothed with thick impervious woods, rendering the summit extremely difficult of access on three sides.” At the request of his pious queen, and of her confessor, Turgot, Malcolm founded and endowed a monastery for 13 Culdees in the vicinity of his own residence, which, with its chapel, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The date of Malcolm’s foundation must have been between 1070, when he was married, and 1086, when he and his queen made extensive grants to the church of the Holy Trinity. Besides the donations from Malcolm to the church, his sons Ethelred and Edgar, both bestowed lands upon it. Alexander I. granted various lands to it, and is said to have finished the church; and his queen, Sibilla, also conferred lands upon it. He died at Stirling, but was interred at Dunfermline. David I., who ascended the throne in 1124, in accordance with his policy in other parts of the kingdom, not only added greatly to the wealth of the monastery, but introduced into it a colony of the Benedictines, or Black monks, from Canterbury in England; and for the purpose of making the change of rules under which they were brought more agreeable to the Culdees, he raised it to the dignity of an abbey, having a mitred abbot for its head, and a prior and sub-prior under him. From the style of the architecture, Mr. Leighton is inclined to think that it was during the reign of David I. that the church – the nave of which still remains – was erected.3 Gotfrid or Gaufrid, who had been prior of Canterbury, was the first abbot. He died in 1154, and was succeeded by his nephew, Gaufrid. From a statement made to the Pope in 1231, it appears that the number of monks had then been increased to 50. About the period of the death of Alexander III., it had become one of the most extensive and magnificent monastic establishments in Scotland. Mathew of Westminster says, that at this time “its boundaries were so ample, – containing within its precincts three carrucates4 of land, and having so many princely buildings, – that three potent sovereigns, with their retinues, might have been accommodated with lodgings here, at the same time, without incommoding one another.” When Edward of England invaded Scotland in 1303, he resided in the abbey of Dunfermline from the 6th of November that year till the 10th of February, 1304. At leaving it, Edward caused his army to set it on fire. “On account,” says Matthew of Paris, “of its magnitude, the nobles of the kingdom were accustomed to assemble here to devise plots against Edward; and, during war, they issued thence, and proceeded to plunder and destroy the inhabitants of England. The royal army, therefore, – perceiving that they had converted the temple of the Lord into a den of thieves, and that it gave great offence to the English nation, – utterly destroyed it, by levelling all its splendid edifices to the ground; sparing from the flames the church only, and a few lodgings for monks.” As soon as the kingdom was settled under Bruce, this monastery was begun to be rebuilt, but probably never regained its former grandeur. According to Lindsay of Pitscottie, the abbey and its church were finally destroyed on the 28th of March, 1560. The last abbot was George Durie, of the family of Durie of that ilk, who held the office from 1530 till the destruction of the monastery. He died in 1572. The abbey was richly endowed, and derived part of its extensive revenue from places at a considerable distance. Kirkaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland, Musselburgh, and Inveresk belonged to this abbey. According to a rental given up at the Reformation by Allan Couts, in name of George Durie, the abbot, the yearly revenue was as follows:- Money £2,513 10s. 8d. Scots; wheat 28 c[halder]. 11 b[oll]. 1 f[irlot].; bear, 102 c. 15 b. 1 f. 3 p[ecks].; meal, 15 c.; oats, 61 c. 6 b. 2 f.; horse-corn, 29 c. 1 b. 1 f. 2½ p.; butter, 34 st[ones].; lime, 19 c. 15 b.; salt, 11 c. 8 b. – According to another rental by the same person:- Money, £2,404 4s.; wheat, 27 c. 4 b. 3 f.; bear, 83 c. 11 b. 2 f. 2 p.; oats, 158 c. 5 b. 2 f., where of 84 c. white oats; lime, 20 c; salt, 11 c. 8 b.; capons, 374; poultry, 746.5 In 1560, Robert Pitcairn was appointed commendator of the abbey, thus obtaining a right to its lands and rents, which he held till his death in 1584. The Master of Gray succeeded him, but was extruded in 1587, when Henry Pitcairn succeeded him. In 1589, the abbey, with its lands and privileges, was erected into a temporal lordship, which was conferred upon Anne of Denmark, queen of James VI. In 1593, Queen Anne appointed Alexander Seton, 3d son of George, 6th Lord Seton, heritable bailie of her lordship of Dunfermline. Alexander Seton was appointed chancellor of Scotland in 1604, and the following year was raised to the peerage by the title of Earl of Dunfermline. This title became extinct in 1694, by the death of James, 4th Earl, without male issue; and, he being then under forfeiture, the whole estates reverted to the Crown. Charles I. granted to Charles, 2d Earl of Dunfermline, a lease for 57 years, of the feu-duties and rents of the lordship of Dunfermline, with the office of heritable bailie of the regality; which was in 1665 assigned to John, Earl of Tweeddale, for a debt due to him by the Earl of Dunfermline. In 1669, John, then Marquis of Tweeddale, had his office of bailie, &c., vested in himself by royal charter; and in 1693, obtained a prorogation of the lease of the lordship, in his own name, for 57 years. In 1748, the office of heritable bailie was abolished with other heritable jurisdictions in Scotland; but the office of heritable keeper of the palace is still retained by the Marquis of Tweeddale, who enjoys the fees of constable, mayor, and serjeant of the lordship.
Although the ruins of the ancient abbey which still remain, are sufficient to afford a glimpse of what must have been its former grandeur, yet they are but a trifling portion of the extensive conventual buildings which must have existed here, even subsequent to the demolition. The western portion, or nave of the abbey-church – which was originally a cross church – is still in tolerably good preservation; and is a fine specimen of the architecture of the age in which it was erected. It is generally said to be in the Saxon style of architecture; but Mr. Leighton is inclined to think that the style is Norman. The principal entrance to the abbey-church is from the west, where there is a very finely enriched door-way in the Norman style, and above this a handsome pointed window, divided by mullions and transoms. In the north side there is another entrance from what is now the churchyard, by a porch of later erection, which is in the pointed style. The roof of the nave is supported by a double row of splendid Norman pillars, from which spring round arches to support the upper wall, and at the west end by a clustered column on each side; a clustered pilaster from which springs a pointed arch, also supporting the upper wall. These columns likewise separate the body of the nave from the north and south aisles. The outside of the building is ornamented by two heavy towers at the west end, one of which is surmounted by a spire, and the sides by heavy buttresses characteristic of the style of the building. Immediately to the south of the abbey-church are the ruins of the fratery, or refectory, which formed the dining-hall of the monastery. Its south wall, from the windows of which there is a magnificent view, and the west gable, in which there is one of the finest pointed windows in Scotland, alone remain. The only other portion of the monastic buildings existing is the gateway of the monastery – now called the Pends – which exhibits a fine specimen of the pointed style of architecture. Mr. Swan has given views of the Norman porch, and of the Interior and Exterior of the old Abbey-church in his elegant work entitled ‘Fife Illustrated’ [Glasgow: 1839-40. 3 vols. 4to.]. The abbey-church was long the place of sepulture of our Scottish kings. Here Malcolm Canmore and his queen St. Margaret were interred, also their eldest son, Edward, who was killed in Jedwood forest. Edmond their second son, and another named Ethelrade, who was Earl of Fife, King Edgar, Alexander I. with Sibilla his queen, David I. with his two wives, Malcolm IV., and Alexander III., with his queen Margaret and his son Alexander, were also here entombed. The great Bruce, too, the saviour of his country, was here laid at rest from his many toils, with his queen Elizabeth, and his daughter Christina, the widow of Sir Andrew Murray. The remains of these distinguished individuals were all interred in the choir, which forms the site of the present church. In digging for the foundation of the new parish-church in February, 1818, the tomb of Robert Bruce was discovered, and his skeleton found wrapt in lead.6 On a subsequent day, the tomb was again opened in presence of the Barons of Exchequer, several literary gentlemen from Edinburgh, the magistrates of the town, and the neighbouring gentry. A cast of the skull having been taken, the stone-coffin in which the remains lay was filled with melted pitch; it was then built over with mason-work, and the pulpit of the new church now marks the spot where all that remains on earth of the patriotic warrior is deposited. Many of our great nobles were also buried in this church; among whom may be mentioned, the great Macduff; Constantine, Earl of Fife; William Ramsay, Earl of Fife; the Earl and Countess of Athol, in the reign of William the Lyon; Randolph, Earl of Moray, the compatriot of Bruce; and Robert, Duke of Albany, governor of Scotland. Many churchmen also of great power and influence were interred here. After the accession of Alexander, our Scottish kings frequently resided on the south side of the Forth, but they occasionally also resided at Dunfermline. When they gave up their residence in the old tower is not known, but at an early period a palace or castle appears to have been erected adjoining the monastery, and on the site of the present ruins of the palace. James IV., after his accession to the Crown, was more here than any of his immediate predecessors; and he appears to have either entirely rebuilt or greatly enlarged the palace, and added to its height, as in 1812 a stone was found in the roof of one of the windows bearing the date of 1500. James V. and his daughter Queen Mary also resided here; and James VI., previous to his departure for England, appears often to have had his residence in the palace, where Charles I. is said to have been born. In July, 1633, this unfortunate monarch visited Dunfermline, where he held a court, and created Sir Robert Kerr of Ancrum, ancestor of the Marquis of Lothian, Earl of Ancrum, and dubbed five gentlemen knights. In August, 1650, Charles II. remained several days in the palace, and here that monarch subscribed the national league and covenant, which was the last occasion of the palace receiving a royal visit. From this time it appears to have been entirely neglected, and in 1708 the roof fell in. It is now a complete ruin; all that remains being the south wall, and a sunk vaulted apartment traditionally called the King’s kitchen. The length of the palace seems to have been 150 feet by 33 in breadth. The remaining walls were several years ago repaired, and put into a state in which they may still last for ages, by James Hunt, Esq., the proprietor of the estate of Pittencrieff on which they are situated.
The town of DUNFERMLINE owes its origin to the neighbourhood of the palace and the monastery, and for a long period was only a burgh-of-regality holding of the abbot and monks. In 1588 it was erected into a royal burgh by James VI., who conferred upon it about 900 acres of muirland, situated to the north and east of the town. At this time it could be little more than a village, as in 1600 it is said to have contained only about 1,000 inhabitants. At the commencement even of the 18th century it was almost without trade; but in 1718 a small factory for the weaving of table-linen was established, since which time the increase of its manufactures and of its wealth has been gradual and progressive. It is now remarkable for this branch of the linen-trade, which has proved a source of much wealth to the town and many of its inhabitants. In 1740 the society of weavers was instituted, and manufactures were increasing; but in 1745 it was found difficult to raise £80, the cess laid upon the town by Prince Charles. About 1749 the British Linen company – then just established – began to employ a number of looms in the town for weaving table-linen; but the weavers wrought chiefly at ticks and checks during the winter, and only in the summer at table-linen. About 1763 the table-linen of Dunfermline first found its way to the London market. From this period the manufactures and wealth of the town began more rapidly to increase; improvements have been made on the mechanism of the looms, great skill and taste displayed in the devices introduced into the cloth, and a variety of other goods have been brought into the market through the enterprise of the manufacturers. The spinning of linen yarn has been extensively carried on since 1806, when it was first introduced. Table-linen is still the chief manufacture; but table-covers, either wholly of cotton, or of worsted on cotton, and a few counterpanes, are also made. The annual value of this description of goods manufactured has been estimated at £374,000 sterling.7 The number of looms employed by the manufacturers of Dunfermline in 1836, was 3,519; of which 2,273 were employed in weaving table-linen, 462 in table-covers and counterpanes, 13 in woollen goods, and of 771 it was not ascertained how they were employed. In 1838 there were 3,000 looms in the town and suburbs employed in this manufacture, and 741 in Kinross, Strathmiglo, Leslie, Falkland, &c.; making, in all, 3,741. The total number of persons in Dunfermline employed in this trade, in 1838, was 6,438; viz., weavers, 3,000; winders, 1,100; children of weavers, 1,900; warpers and warehousemen, 150; yarn-boilers, men and women, 30; yarn-bleachers, ditto, 40; cloth-bleachers, ditto, 150; lapping and dressing cloth, 30; cutting patterns, men and boys, 20; pattern drawers, 8; dyers, 10. About one-third in value of the goods are exported to America and other places abroad. There are five mills for spinning linen-yarn in the parish; but one of these has not been working for the last twelve months. The yarns spun are of various qualities from tow and flax, and are used in the manufacture of table-linen, diapers, tickings, sheetings, towelings, and plain linens. A portion is also used in the manufacture of plain and coloured threads. There are also here an iron and brass foundry, candle and soap works, a tan-work, rope-work, tobacco manufactories, and brick-works.
Dunfermline stands on an eminence of considerable extent, stretching from east to west, about 270 feet above the level of the sea, from which it is 3 miles distant, and having a pretty steep and uniform declivity to the south. It is about 16 miles north-west from Edinburgh; 6 from North Queensferry; 13 from Kirkaldy; and 30 from Cupar. The prospect towards the south, south-east, and south-west is extensive and varied; stretching over the frith of Forth to the opposite coast, with all its rich and varied scenery. The greater part of the town is situated on a rising ground, having a pretty bold declivity towards the south; the ground, however, soon flattens, so that what is called the Nethertown stands on a plain. It commands an excellent view of Edinburgh, the castle, Arthur’s seat, and the elevated grounds in the vicinity of the metropolis; in clear weather different spires of the city can be distinguished by the naked eye. Immediately in view are the opposite and fertile banks of the Forth, comprehending a part of Mid and West Lothians, Binnylavv, the pleasure-grounds northward of Hopetoun, and the borough of Queensferry. The frith is a most pleasant object, and in its course from near the North ferry up towards Culross, – sometimes concealed by an elevated shore, but here and there breaking forth in varied openings, – greatly enlivens and diversifies the beauty of the scene. From the church-steeple there are seen parts of fourteen different counties. The most distant and remarkable places are Soutra-hill in the shire of Berwick, Tinto in Lanark, Benlomond in Dumbarton, Benledi in Perth, the Lammermoors in Haddington, the Campsie and Logie hills in Stirling, and the Pentland bills in Mid-Lothian; Hopetoun-house, the castle of Blackness, Borrowstounness, the borough of Culross, and the beautiful windings of the Forth from Leith near to Stirling castle. In approaching the town from any direction it has a fine appearance, and, with its splendid church and spires, forms a most imposing object in the landscape. In the business parts of the town the streets, though generally rather narrow, are well-built, and care has been taken to improve them. The greatest improvement, however, was that made by the late George Chalmers, Esq. of Pittencrieff, on the approach from the west. He threw a bridge 297 feet in length across the glen in which the Tower burn flows, with a mound raised about it 50 feet in height, solely at his own expense. This bridge forms now one of the best streets in the town, having good shops and well-built houses upon it. The houses along the principal thoroughfares are generally well-built, and have the appearance of respectability and comfort; and within late years the town has been greatly enlarged by a handsome suburb on the west, and by additions to the cross streets. Many neat villas and houses, surrounded by gardens and pleasure-grounds, occupy the outskirts of the town, and are inhabited by persons connected with the burgh. From the industry and enterprise of the inhabitants, and the advantage of a large supply of excellent coal in the immediate neighbourhood, it seems probable that the population and manufactures will continue to increase, and the town to extend itself in proportion. The population appears to consist almost entirely of persons actively engaged in business. The principal public buildings are the abbey-church already noticed; the town-hall, and the jail – which is an old building near the cross, very inadequate for the purposes required; the guild-hall, an elegant building with a fine spire, partly fitted up as an inn; the academy, and several churches and chapels.
The town is governed by a provost, 2 bailies, a guild-magistrate, a treasurer, 17 other councillors, and a town-clerk. The provost and magistrates have the jurisdiction within the royalty as extended by the police act in 1811. They hold regular courts, the town-clerk acting as their assessor. There is a guildry, the dean of which has the power of judging in all questions of boundary of property, &c. This incorporation possesses property to the annual value of £350 per annum. There are eight incorporated trades, – wrights, tailors, smiths, weavers, shoemakers, bakers, masons, and fleshers. In 1811 a police act was obtained, which not only regulates the police of the town, but contains powers for paving, lighting, and cleaning the streets, for removing nuisances and obstructions therefrom, for opening new and widening the present streets, and likewise for increasing the supply of water for the burgh. The provisions of this act were at the same time extended over the suburbs of the town, with the exception of that of Pittencrieff. The town was in consequence divided into wards, by each of which commissioners are appointed for carrying the provisions of the act into effect, and by whom the superintendent of police and other necessary officers are appointed. The necessary funds are raised by an assessment on the inhabitants. This act has produced great improvements in the town. – The present property of Dunfermline consists of the farms of Highholm, Muircockhall, Lilliehill, Cairncubie, and part of the town’s muir, with the coal under these lands, which for some years has been worked on account of the burgh. These lands comprehend 700 Scots acres or thereby, 180 of which are planted. The burgh likewise possesses 3 or 4 acres of land, known by the name of Halliblade acres. The house-property of the burgh consists of the workmen’s houses at the town-colliery, the flesh-market, slaughter-house, and washing-house, the town-house, high school, and charity-school in Priory-lane. The burgh is likewise possessed of a number of seats in the parish-church. The whole value of the burgh-property, taking in the land rental at 30 years’ purchase, in consideration of the value of the minerals, and the value put on the wood and houses by a professional man, is stated to be £19,501 5s. 10½d. The town-house, high school, and Priory-lane school, are estimated at £2,150 more. The only alienation of the burgh’s real property of any consequence within the last 40 years was part of the lands lying immediately south of those still belonging to the burgh, which were sold to Mr. Downie of Appin, in 1829, for the price of £14,105. The annual revenue of the burgh was estimated in 1834 at about £870, composed of
|Land, coal rents, and wood about||730||0||0|
|Rents of houses, &c.||35||0||0|
|Custom and market dues, about||100||0||0|
|Burgess entries, about||2||0||0|
The estimated gross annual expenditure of the town was reported at the same date as follows:
|Yearly salaries, about||65||0||0|
|Interest of debt, about||600||0||0|
|Aliment to prisoners, about||15||0||0|
|Stipend and school salaries||38||0||0|
|Repairs on property, gaol, &c.||10||0||0|
In this view the ordinary income should exceed the necessary expenditure by £136 18s. The actual revenue for the year 1832, was £1,241 18s. 8d.; the expenditure, £1,309. The present revenue is about £1,000 per annum. The debt of the burgh in 1694 was 5,573 merks, equal to £309 11s. 2d. sterling. From the records of the burgh it appears that it was so poor in 1701, as to apply for pecuniary aid to the convention; and in the year 1745 it was obliged to borrow the small fine imposed upon it by Prince Charles.
|In 1788, the debt had increased to||£3,000|
|— 1798, it had increased to||5,000|
|— 1808, it amounted to||10,450|
The debt, as returned to parliament under the order of July, 1832, was,
|— — 1828||20,339||16||2|
|— — 1829||15,085||13||1|
|— — 1830||15,040||19||10|
|— — 1831||14,658||9||4|
The burgh has no patronage, but in the appointment of the clerk, chamberlain, fiscal, and town’s officers. There are 8 fairs or public markets during the year, viz., on the 3d Tuesdays of January, March, April, June, July, September, October, and November; and two weekly markets, – one on Tuesday for the sale of grain by sample, which is well-attended by the neighbouring agriculturists; and one on Friday for butter, cheese, eggs, &c. Since October, 1829, the town and suburbs have been lighted with gas. – The annual value of the real property within the burgh, in 1815, was £10,900 sterling; in 1843, £17,532.
The great distance of the western district of the county from the county-town, led to the appointment of a separate sheriff-substitute for that district, who holds courts weekly during time of session, and at fixed intervals during vacation. A court for the recovery of small debts is held by the sheriff twice every month during session, and once a month during vacation. A justice-of-peace court is also held once a-month. A new and commodious prison is now erecting at the north-west corner of the town-green. It embraces two acres of ground.Its cost of erection will be about £2,100. Dunfermline, in conjunction with the burghs of Inverkeithing, Culross, South Queensferry, and Stirling, sends a member to parliament. Registered voters in 18-39-40, 550; in 1842-3, 526; of whom 377 were proprietors, and 127 £10 householders. There are branches of five banks in the town, viz., of the bank of Scotland, the British Linen company, the Commercial bank of Scotland, the Edinburgh and Glasgow bank, and the National bank. There is also a National security savings bank, originally established in 1815, the funds of which as on December 12, 1843, amounted to £18,915, held by about 1,050 depositors.
Although there is no parochial school in the parish, education is well-provided for. The total number of schools in the quoad civilia parish, exclusive of North Queensferry, in 1844, was 32; the total number of teachers, 37; of scholars, exclusive of those attending evening schools, 2,622, or about 1 in 7½ of the population. The burgh school is under the management of the magistrates and kirk-session. The school-house is elegant and commodious, with a dwelling-house for the teacher. Besides his fees, the master has a salary from the town, and the interest of a mortification left by Queen Anne, amounting to £22 12s. 6d. The commercial academy, under the direction of the guildry, is a handsome building, with dwellings for the teachers, two in number. The late Adam Rolland, Esq. of Gask, left £1,000 sterling for the purpose of establishing a charity-school. The teacher is bound to educate gratis 50 scholars presented by the managers, and is allowed to take in an additional number of pupils, from whom moderate fees are charged. His salary is £32. The Lancasterian system of education has been adopted in this institution, which is erected in Priory-lane, and is attended by about 180 children. – The Dunfermline town-library was instituted in 1789, and contains nearly 3,000 volumes; the tradesman’s and mechanics’ library contains 2,000 volumes. The abbey-church library is well-selected; and there are besides several congregational and circulating libraries. There is a public reading-room in one of the rooms in the guild-hall, which is well-supplied with journals. Dunfermline has a flourishing mechanics’ institute, a phrenological society, two horticultural societies. and an agricultural society.
This parish is in the presbytery of Dunfermline and synod of Fife. From the time of the Reformation the nave of the old abbey-church, having been repaired, served as the parish-church of Dunfermline, while the choir remained a complete ruin. The necessity of additional church-accommodation having been long felt, the new church was begun in 1818, and opened for divine service in 1821. It immediately adjoins the old church on the east, and is in itself an elegant building, in the pointed style, with handsome perpendicular windows, and sittings for 2,051 persons. It is surmounted by a fine tower, 100 feet high, terminated by a balustrade, on which the name of Robert Bruce, king of Scots, has been introduced in open hewn-work, four feet in height. The charge is collegiate. Patron of both charges, the Crown. Stipend of the 1st charge £282 4s. 2d., with a glebe of the value of £34; of the 2d, £282 4s. 2d., without a manse or glebe. Unappropriated Crown tenuis £641 5s. 9d.; of private teinds £211 3s. 8d. It is an original parish; but many lands originally belonging to it have been united to the parishes of Beath and Carnock. It comprehends the quoad sacra parish of St. Andrews, erected in 1835. Church built in 1821; sittings 2,051. – There is a United Secession congregation at LIMEKILNS: which see. – Another United Secession congregation was formed in this parish in 1788. Their church, in Chalmers-street, was built in 1789; cost £700; sittings 430. Stipend £128. – A 3d congregation in connection with the Secession exists at CROSSGATES: which see. – An Original Burgher congregation was established in 1799. Church built in 1801; sittings 600. Stipend £122. – A 4th United Secession congregation was established in Maygate, in 1832. Church bought in 1833 for £440; sittings 410. Stipend £120. – A Roman Catholic congregation was established in 1823. – A congregation calling itself the Holy Catholic Apostolic congregation appeared in 1834. – St. Andrew’s parish is formed of a portion of the town, which contains above 3,000 inhabitants. The church was built in 1833; sittings 797. Stipend £120, with manse and garden. – In this parish is St. Margaret’s United Secession congregation, established in 1826. Church built in 1828; sittings 979. Stipend £175. – Queen Anne-street United Secession church was built in 1800; sittings 1,642. Stipend £200, with manse and garden. – A Relief congregation was established in 1752. Church built in 1776; sittings 520. Stipend £150, with manse and garden. – A Baptist congregation was established about 1805. Church built in 1836; sittings 310. – There is also a recently formed Independent church. – According to a census of the quoad sacra parish of Dunfermline made in 1836, of a population of 14,253, there were in connexion with the Establishment 5,385, and belonging to other denominations 8,408; and in the quoad sacra parish of St. Andrews, out of a population of 3,033, 1,621 were in connexion with the Establishment, and 1,368 with other denominations. – There were no fewer than 30 private schools in this parish in 1834, attended by about 2,400 children. Of these 3 were infant-schools. – Queen Anne-street United Secession church was originally built for the celebrated Ralph Erskine, who, while one of the parish-ministers of Dunfermline, was expelled from his charge for declining the authority of the supreme ecclesiastical court, and became one of the fathers of the Secession church.8 The pulpit which this excellent and eloquent man filled in the old kirk of Dunfermline was made into two small side-tables, which are now in the hall of Abbotsford, the side-walls of which are lined, to the height of 7 feet, with a beautifully carved pannelling of dark oak from the same edifice. – There are several mortifications for the benefit of the poor in the town and parish. 1. St. Leonard’s hospital, which is very ancient, and the founder of which is not known. The hospital-buildings were situated at the suburb called the Spittal, but are long since removed. The rent of 64 acres of land were mortified for the maintenance of 8 widows, each of whom was entitled to 8 bolls meal, 4 bolls malt, 8 lippies fine wheat, 8 lippies of groats, and 2 shillings of silver annually, and an apartment in the hospital. The Marquis of Tweeddale exercises the patronage. – 2. In 1675, Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie founded an hospital at the village of Mastertown, called the Pitreavie hospital, for the benefit of 4 widows, with which he burdened a portion of the lands of Mastertown. Each widow is to receive 6 bolls meal, or 3 bolls groats, and 3 bolls of bear, at the patron’s option, annually, and an apartment in the hospital. – 3. At the death of the last Episcopal clergyman of the parish in 1710, 600 merks Scots (£33 6s. 8d. sterling) was found in the poors’ box, which was mortified for the use of the poor. The town pays the interest yearly, – one-half to the poor of the burgh, and the other half to the poor of the landward part of the parish. – 4. John Reid, a shopkeeper in the burgh, mortified some land for the use of poor persons who had at one time been in good worldly circumstances, under the management of certain trustees. The revenues belonging to this mortification have been greatly increased from the feuing of the land; and in 1827, the yearly rental was £140 sterling. The guildry and the different incorporations also give weekly or monthly allowances from their funds to decayed members, and widows of members of their several bodies.
1 The name of this parish is derived from the Celtic Dun-fiar-llyn, signifying ‘the Fortified hill by the Crooked stream.’ The hill-fort here referred to, from which the parish has taken its name, was most probably that, a minute fragment of the ruins of which still appears or; a small peninsular mount in Pittencrieff glen, and which is called Malcolm Canmore’s tower. The arms of the town are a tower, supported by two lions, with the motto Esto rupes inaccessa, – ‘Be thou an inaccessible rock,’ alluding to the rocky height on which the tower was built.
2 On a staircase in the house of Pennycuik, in Mid-Lothian, there is a painting which represents the landing of Margaret at the Hope, – the procession from thence to Dunfermline, – and the king and queen, the day after their marriage, entertaining a number of mendicants. The procession is said to have been on foot.
3 In the library of the faculty of Advocates, in Edinburgh, there is preserved a copy of St. Jerome’s Latin Bible, in manuscript, beautifully illuminated. This Bible – according to an annexed note – is said to have been used in the church of Dunfermline in the reign of David I.
4 A carrucate of land was as much as could be tilled with a plough in a year.
5 Some of the grants to the abbey – as appears from its chartulary, of which Mr. Dalzel has given an analysis in his ‘Monastic Antiquities’ – were of a singular nature, and may not be unworthy of particular notice. David I. grants to the abbey, “omnem decimam de auro quod mihi eveniet de Fif et Fothrik,” the tenth part of all the gold he should derive from Fife and Fothrik. The latter term, Lord Hailes says, is compounded of Forth and rick, i.e. ‘the kingdom or territory at the Forth;’ and he supposes that it means that district on the northern bank of the Forth, from the neighbourhood of Stirling to where the river is lost in the salt water. In Hay’s ‘Scotia Sacra,’ the monastery of Dunfermline is said to be in Fothrick moor; and on the north side of the parish there is a moor which still retains the name of Fatrick moor. By a charter of confirmation, the same monarch grants to the abbey the seventh – after the tithe – of all the seals caught at Kinghorn. – Bastards, it would appear, were in general excluded from monasteries: Pope Innocent, at the request of the abbot of Dunfermline, grants him permission to admit one bastard into the number of his monks with this exception, “dummodo non sit de adulterio, vel incestuoso coitu procreatus.” – Malcolm IV. grants to the abbot and monks the heads – the tongues excepted – of certain fishes supposed to be a small kind of whales then occasionally caught in some particular district of the Forth near the abbey-church. The words of the grant are, “Pro salute animæ predecessoris mei Davidis Regis, capita piscium qui dicuntur crespeis præter linguam, qui in meo Dominio ex illa parte Scottwater applicuerint, in qua parte illorum ecclesia sit est.” Malcolm IV. gave them a grant of the half of the blubber – “dimidium sagiminis” of the crespeis which should be taken between the Tay and Forth, for the use of the church – “ad lummaria coram altaribus prenominatæ ecclesiæ.” – Several indulgences granted by different pontiffs are recorded in the chartulary. As oil of olives could not be procured within the diocese of St. Andrews. Pope Nicholas, by bull in 1459, grants a free indulgence to the monks of this abbey to make use of butter – et aliis lacticiniis – during Lent, and on all other days when animal food was forbidden. – They possessed a monopoly of the ferry betwixt Queensferry and lnverkeithing, on condition that those belonging to the court, as also strangers and messengers, should have a free passage. They had likewise the customs of vessels entering the harbour of Inveresk, or Musselburgh, which was under their jurisdiction.
6 According to Fordun, Robert Bruce was buried in the middle of the choir. Barbour thus describes the inhumation of this illustrious restorer of the Scottish monarchy:
They haiff had him to Dunferlyne,
And him solemnly yirded syne,
In a fair tomb into the quire;
Bishops and prelats that were there
Assoilzied him, when the service
Was done, as they best could devise;
And syne, upon the other day,
Sorry and wo they went their way.
And he debowelled was cleanly,
And also balmed syne full richly;
And the worthy Lord of Douglas,
His heart, as it forspoken was,
Received has in great dewtie,
With fair and great solemnities.
7 “In the infancy of the trade, it was the custom to weave diaper only during the summer, the winter being employed in weaving ticks and checks. This practice continued till about the year 1749, when the manufacture of ticks and checks was in a great measure relinquished. Since the above period the diaper trade has been gradually increasing; in 1788 there were about 900, and last year (1792) no less than 1,200 looms employed in the trade; of this number, above 800 belonged to the parish. The value of goods annually manufactured has for some time past been from £50,000 to £60,000 sterling, and the trade was on the increase. Astonishing improvements have been made within less than half-a-century in the art of weaving, and in the manufacture of table-linen. By the introduction of machinery labour has been greatly abridged. Formerly, in weaving diaper, two, and sometimes three persons, were requisite for one web; now, by means of the fly-shuttle, and what is called a frame for raising the figure, a single weaver can work a web 2½ yards broad without the least assistance. Many of the tradesmen in this place discover considerable genius in drawing figures for the diaper, and several of them have obtained premiums for their draughts. Table cloths can be furnished of any desired breadth, length, and fineness; and noblemen and gentlemen may have their coats-of-arms and mottos wrought into any table-linen they may choose to commission. In the chest of the incorporation there is preserved a very curious specimen of the weaving art; it is a man’s shirt wrought in the loom about 100 years ago, by a weaver of this place of the name of Ingles. The shirt is without seam, and was finished by the ingenious artizan without the least assistance from the needle; the only necessary part he could not accomplish was a button for the neck.” – Old Statistical Account.
8 The parishioners of Kinross had given a call to a Mr. Francis Craig; but another person – Mr. Stark – had received the presentation. As this latter gentleman had scarcely a single vote, the presbytery of Dunfermline refused to ordain him. The commission of the general assembly, thereupon, appointed a sub-committee to proceed to Kinross and effect a settlement. Against this unconstitutional proceeding complaints and petitions were presented both by the parishioners and by the presbytery; but these were rejected, and the presbytery were enjoined to enrol and acknowledge Mr. Stark as one of their number. Mr. Ralph Erskine and others tendered a protest against this decision, but the clerk was prohibited from entering it on the records of the assembly. The matter did not rest here, for a complaint being made at next meeting of assembly, in 1733, that the presbytery had refused to enrol Mr. Stark, the recusant brethren were forthwith summoned to the bar of the court, and sharply rebuked for their disobedience; and a committee was appointed to meet with such of the brethren of the Dunfermline presbytery as were in town, and to get Mr. Stark judicially enrolled. The presbytery were moreover, commanded to encourage and strengthen the hands of Mr. Stark in the work of the ministry, and they were forbidden to offer or receive any protest against his sitting and acting as a member of their court. “Upon the principles of Strict Presbyterian government,” says Mr. McKerrow, the historian of the Secession church, “the members of the Dunfermline presbytery cannot, in this instance, be vindicated from the charge of contumacy, in refusing compliance with the decision of the supreme court; either they ought formally to have declined its authority, as some of them afterwards did, when they joined the Secession, or while they continued to profess subjection, they ought to have obeyed. At the same time, the conduct of the assembly and of their commission was arbitrary in a high degree, and peculiarly calculated to excite opposition.” Ebenezer Erskine had early joined the Seceding party, or rather had been the principal organ in declaring a secession from the church, and in the formation of the Associate presbytery: See article STIRLING. His brother of Dunfermline, however, did not give in his open adherence to the Associate presbytery until February, 1737. On this occasion, Mr. Ralph Erskine stated that though he withdrew, for the present, from the National church, and joined his brethren of the Secession, yet he did not by this intend withdrawing from ministerial communion with those pious ministers of the Establishment, who were “groaning under, or wrestling against, the defections of the times.” “Neither,” said he, “do I hereby intend to preclude myself from the liberty of returning and joining with the judicatories of this church, upon their returning to their duty; and, so far as my joining with the foresaid, or any other ministers, in their lifting up the said testimony, and promoting the end and design thereof, and the said return can consist together; seeing if the judicatories, who at present either unjustly refuse, or unduly delay to receive that testimony, were acting a contrary part, and putting hand to reformation, the same reasons that induce to this withdrawing, would necessarily induce to a returning, which I cordially wish I may quickly see good reason for.” It was not in fact until the meeting of the general assembly in 1740, that Mr. Ralph Erskine was formally deposed. In the interim a curious contest was carried on between Mr. Erskine and his colleague Mr. WardIaw, of which Mr. Mercer has given some account from a manuscript journal kept at the time by an eye-witness apparently, of which the following are extracts:-
“Dunfermline, October 28th, 1739. The session resumed the consideration of their former resolutions of suspending their connection with the present judicatories of the established church. The plurality of the members present declared they were for continuing in an interpendent situation, without holding a connection with the established church; and agreed that this overture should be read before the session upon Sabbath the 11th of November, to be approven or disapproven of by them.
“After this a pulpit-war commenced ‘twixt Mr. Erskine and Mr. Wardlaw, which continued till Mr. Erskine was put out of the kirk. What Mr. Erskine spoke in the forenoon, with respect to the defections and backslidings of the Established church, and the lawfulness and necessity of the brethren to separate from them, Mr. Wardlaw contradicted in the afternoon, saying, that the Associate presbytery were unnatural children, and ought to have pled with their mother; and that it was at best a setting up altar against altar. Much was said on both sides, and many scriptures cited.
“May 11th, 1740. This day Mr. Erskine’s turn was to preach in the tent, forenoon; and knowing he was to meet with opposition in assaying to preach in the old kirk in the afternoon, gave suitable exhortations to the congregation how to behave, whatever should fall out, it being the Lord’s day; and also, that he was to be with his brother Ebenezer, at the sacrament in Stirling, next Lord’s day; Mr. White, probationer, to preach for him, here, that day. That the congregation should wait in the church-yard till they saw if he got entrance, if not to return to the other place of worship. Accordingly, this afternoon Mr. Hardy, minister in Culross, being appointed to take possession of Mr. Erskine’s pulpit, whose diet it was this sabbath, the Established party came a little after the second bell, and caused lock the porch-door, as the ministers always entered the east door. Mr. Erskine’s congregation were mostly without, in the church-yard, the east door was guarded by David Black of Hill, Bailie Chalmers, Bailie John Walker, and others, to keep out Mr. Erskine; but when he came through the church-yard with Mr. Brisson, many following, as they came near the east kirk door, Mr. Brisson cried out, ‘Make way for your minister.’ Upon this, some rushed in, others that were within soon turned back the gentlemen door-keepers, neither could they get the door shut, so that when Mr. Erskine came forward none of his opposers had power or courage to make the least resistance against him; his presence struck a terror in them. The way to the pulpit was lined on every side, so that Mr. Erskine had a full and free entry to it. During all this time Mr. Hardy was in the session-house, trembling; for he would not mount the pulpit till he saw if Mr. Erskine was kept out of the kirk and when the small scuffle was at the kirk-door, he called to lock the session-house door; and when the kirk was composed, and the psalms singing, he went forth, with his gentlemen door-keepers, to Bailie John Walker’s house, but was in such confusion and disorder, that when they called for a dram, he could not ask a blessing on it (as was said).
“May 18th. This day Mr. Erskine assisting at a sacrament in Stirling, and Mr. White being to preach the forenoon in the kirk; but Mr. Geddes, the other minister in Culross, and Mr, George Eddie took early possession of the pulpit; and when Mr. White came to the kirk, the pulpit was filled, and he refused entrance; so he, and our congregation, returned to our own place of worship.
“This week Mr. Hugh Forbes came to Dunfermline, and visited Mr. Erskine; and, speaking of our affairs, desired Mr. Erskine to make no more attempts to force himself into the established kirk of Dunfermline, as he wished him well, and that if he did, the consequences might not be comfortable, as it bordered upon rebellion; so we never afterward attempted it.”
6 thoughts on “Dunfermline, pp.388-395.”