- KINGSBARNS, a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife; containing 968 inhabitants, of whom 529 are in the village, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from Crail, and 6 (S. E. by E.) from St. Andrew's. This place derived its name from its having been appropriated as a granary by the kings of Scotland, to whom it belonged, as part of their private estate, during their residence at Falkland; and near the village are vestiges of an ancient building, said to have been, a castle, though in all probability its strength and fortifications were intended only for the protection and security of the grain deposited there for the use of the royal household. The remains of this building, situated on the beach, and consisting only of the foundations, were removed by the tenant a few years since, and from their small extent, showed no indications of the edifice having ever been occupied either as a royal or baronial residence. The parish is situated on the coast, between the friths of Forth and Tay, and is bounded on the east by the German Ocean; it is nearly equal in length and breadth, and comprises about 3860 acres, of which 3650 are arable, 199 woodland and plantations, and the remainder rocky land along the shore. The surface, though sloping gradually from the sea, is tolerably even, attaining no considerable degree of elevation; the shore is low, and interspersed with rocks, which form somewhat of a barrier against the encroachment of the waves, which make considerable inroads. The soil in the lower portion of the parish, towards the sea, is rather light and sandy, and farther inland a deep black loam, in some parts inclining to clay; both, under proper management, are rendered fertile and productive. The rotation system of husbandry is prevalent; the crops are, barley, oats, wheat, and potatoes, with beans and the usual green crops. The prevailing breed of cattle is the Fifeshire; the Teeswater breed was introduced by the late Earl of Kellie, but it has not been found so well adapted to the land, or so profitable to the farmer. About 150 head of cattle are on the average annually fattened for the market; sheep are kept only for home use. The woods are chiefly forest trees; but the plantations, mostly around the houses of the resident gentry, consist only of shrubberies and evergreens. The farm houses and offices are substantially built, and conveniently arranged; and considerable improvements have been made in draining and fencing the lands. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7849.The substratum is generally limestone and freestone, interspersed in parts with boulders of granite. Coal appears to have been worked formerly in some places; and at present, where it occasionally crops up, it is quarried by some of the poor; but from the quantity of water to be drained off, it would require a considerable effort and an extensive capital to render the coal-beds available to the supply of the parish. Lime is burnt on the lands of Cambo, for the use of the tenants; but no regular quarries have been opened, though both the quantity and quality of the limestone would amply remunerate the expense of working it on a more extensive scale. Ironstone is found near the shore, and a few persons are employed in procuring it by digging; what is thus obtained is usually shipped to Newcastle, and exchanged for coal. The gentlemen's seats are Cambo and Pitmilly, both ancient mansions of handsome appearance. The village has been greatly improved within the last few years; the streets have been levelled, and many of the old houses have been taken down, and replaced by others of larger dimensions, with neat flower-gardens in the front. The appearance is lively and cheerful; and the village has become a pleasant place of residence. Many of the inhabitants are engaged in weaving with hand-looms at their own dwellings; the general articles manufactured are, linens for domestic use, dowlas, and Osnaburgs. About twenty looms are constantly employed, and on an average 50,000 yards of these fabrics are produced annually. A subscription library has been for some time established in the village; a savings' bank has also been opened. There are fairs in July and October, but little business is transacted except the sale of pedlery. The parish is in the presbytery of St. Andrew's and synod of Fife, and patronage of the Earl of Glasgow; the minister's stipend is £251. 18., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum. The church is a neat structure in the later English style, thoroughly repaired in 1811. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction; the master has a salary of £34, with £30 fees, and a dwelling-house and garden. There is also a Sabbath evening school. In levelling the coast, several stone coffins containing human bones were found; and in one instance, some of the bones had the appearance of having been burnt.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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