- KILRENNY, a royal burgh and a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 3 miles (S. W. by W.) from Crail, and 10 (S. S. E.) from St. Andrew's; including the village of Nether Kilrenny or Cellardykes, and that of Upper Kilrenny; and containing 2039 inhabitants, of whom 1652 are in the burgh. This parish, which is situated on the north of the Frith of Forth, at the south-eastern extremity of the county, is supposed to have derived its name from the dedication of its church to St. Ireneus. The village of Nether Kilrenny, which is on the coast, is separated from Anstruther Easter only by a small rivulet; it obtained the name of Cellardykes from the numerous storehouses ranged along the shore for the use of the fisheries, which have long been carried on to a very great extent. The fish taken here are, cod, ling, haddocks, halibut, turbot, and salmon, of which supplies are sent to Edinburgh and other markets; and not less than seventy boats, with crews of six men each, belonging to this place, are employed in the herring-fishery. The fisheries are in a prosperous state, and still increasing, the fishermen hardy and enterprising, and their boats in first-rate order, and well managed. Cellardykes has a population of 1486, and consists chiefly of one main street irregularly built, and extending along the shore; a pier was erected in 1831, for the accommodation of vessels engaged in the fishery, and there is a favourable site for the construction of a commodious harbour. The village of Upper Kilrenny contains 233 persons, and is about a mile to the north-east of Cellardykes, with which it is connected by the road from Anstruther to Crail; it consists only of the church and manse, the houses of Innergelly and Renny-Hill, an inn, and some rural cottages. The post-town is Anstruther; and facility of communication is afforded with St. Andrew's and other towns by good roads which pass through the parish.The Burgh of Kilrenny, which includes both the villages already described, though said to have been erected into a royal burgh by James VI., does not appear to have received any regular charter of incorporation. The magistrates, appointed by Bethune of Balfour, the superior of the burgh, returned a member to the Scottish parliament without any legitimate authority; and at the time of the union, though it had been expunged from the list of royal burghs at the request of its magistrates, it was inadvertently classed with the royal burghs of the district. The government was until 1829 vested in a provost, two bailies, and twelve councillors, duly chosen; but in that year, the burgh was disfranchised owing to an irregularity in the election of the officers, and its affairs were placed under the direction of managers by the court of session. There never were any incorporated guilds possessing exclusive privileges, nor was any fee exacted for admission as a burgess. The magistrates had the usual civil and criminal jurisdiction within the burgh; but no civil causes had been brought for their decision within the last twenty years, and their criminal jurisdiction had been exercised only in breaches of the peace. The town-house is a small inferior building. The burgh is associated with those of St. Andrew's, Anstruther Easter, Anstruther Wester, Crail, Cupar, and Pittenweem, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the number of qualified voters is fifty.The parish is of triangular form, its base extending along the sea-shore for nearly three miles. The surface rises gradually from the coast towards the north, and is diversified with a few hills of inconsiderable height: there are no rivers in the parish, except the small burn that divides it from Anstruther, and another burn that intersects it about its centre. The coast is bold and rocky, and indented with some small bays; on the east of Cellardykes are some rocks called the Cardinal's Steps, and others are perforated with caves, of which one is of considerable extent. The soil is generally fertile, and the lands, chiefly arable, produce favourable crops of grain of every kind; the system of husbandry is improved, and sea-weed, of which abundance is thrown upon the coast, is used as manure. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of St. Andrew's and synod of Fife. The minister's stipend is £251. 17. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £27. 10. per annum; patron, Sir W. C. Anstruther, Bart. The church is a neat plain structure in good repair. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees may be said to average from £30 to £40 per annum.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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