Milton of Balgonie

   MILTON of BALGONIE, a considerable village, and also a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Markinch, district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; containing, with the villages of Balcurvie, Haugh-Mill, Burns, and Windygates, 1408 inhabitants, of whom 592 are in the village of Milton, 1½ mile (E. S. E.) from Markinch. The village takes its name from the extensive mills around which it has arisen; it is situated on the river Leven, and consists of neat substantial cottages inhabited chiefly by persons employed in the mills. Since 1836 it has greatly increased in extent and population. The mills for the spinning of flax and tow are the property of Messrs. Baxter and Stewart, and form a spacious structure, occupying three sides of a quadrangle 160 feet in length and 140 feet in width. Two sides of the quadrangle comprise the buildings for the machinery, which is propelled by the water of the Leven; and the third side contains three spacious warehouses, above which are heckling rooms. In detached situations are a warehouse capable of holding 200 tons of flax, a smithy, gas-works from which the factory is lighted, and stabling. The total cost of raw materials consumed in a recent year was £25,000; the quantity manufactured was 475 tons of flax, imported from the Baltic, Archangel, Holland, France, and Ireland. The number of persons generally employed is about 270, of whom 120 are women, and fifty children. The finer yarns spun here are sold in the adjoining districts, or exported to France; the heavier are manufactured into canvass, sacking, and other articles, chiefly for the London market. This branch of the establishment is at present carried on at Dundee, but will be soon removed to this place, when the number of persons employed in the concern will be augmented by an addition of one hundred men and fifty women. The Balgonie bleachfield, the property of Messrs. William Russell and Company, was established for the bleaching of linen yarns: the works, which are situated on the banks of the Leven, afford employment to about seventy persons, and the quantity of yarn annually averages 480 tons. The quoad sacra parish is about three miles and a half in length and nearly three miles in breadth, comprising an area of eight square miles. The church was erected in 1836, at an expense of £850, of which £140 were a grant from the funds of the General Assembly, and the remainder raised by subscription; it is a neat building containing 625 sittings. There are schools in the village and likewise in Balcurvie. Balgonie Castle, in the neighbourhood of Milton village, an ancient seat of the earls of Leven, is of considerable strength, and supposed to be an erection of the 12th century; its architecture is still very entire. The courtyard is 108 feet by sixty-five feet, and the tower on the north side is eighty feet in height.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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