Portmoak

   PORTMOAK, a parish, in the county of Kinross, 6 miles (S. E. by E.) from Kinross; containing, with the villages of Kinnesswood and Scotland-Well, 1616 inhabitants. This place, anciently called Servanus, derived that appellation from a priory on the island of St. Serf, or Servanus, in Loch Leven; and its present name, though upon very questionable authority, has been derived from St. Moak, to whom a priory by the side of the lake is said to have been dedicated, and from the village affording a convenient landing-place for the monks. The parish is about nine miles in length and five in breadth, of very irregular form, and bordering on the lake; it comprises 10,644 acres, of which 6444 are arable, 2000 pasture and meadow, 400 woodland and plantations, and 1800 covered by the water of Loch Leven. The surface rises gradually from the east margin of the lake till it attains a considerable elevation at the eminence called Bishop's hill, which is more than 1000 feet above the level of the sea; while to the south of the lake, the land ascends more abruptly, forming the hill of Benartie, of nearly equal height. Beyond these points the surface becomes level, constituting an extensive and pleasant plain. The river Leven issues from the lake here, and two excellent stone bridges have been erected over it; there are also numerous springs of pure water, of which several are very copious, and might be rendered available to the working of mills. The scenery has been much improved by comparatively recent plantations, and some pleasing views of the surrounding country are obtained from the higher lands. The soil is various; in some parts of the parish, a heavy loam; in others, light and sandy; and in some, a deep moss covered with heath. The crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is in an improved state; the lands have been drained and inclosed, and a considerable quantity of unprofitable ground has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation; the farm houses and offices are in general substantial and well arranged, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. Much attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock; the cattle are now exclusively of the Fifeshire breed, and about 250 milch-cows, 350 calves, and 1200 head of young cattle, are annually pastured on the average. The sheep are of the Leicestershire and Cheviot breeds, of which 300 are annually bred; and there are about 300 horses, of equal quality to those of the Lothians. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8468.
   The plantations are principally larch and Scotch fir, occasionally intermixed with forest-trees of every variety, for which the soil is well adapted. The substrata are chiefly whinstone, freestone, and limestone. The whinstone is of great compactness, and, from the difficulty of working it, little is quarried; the freestone, except in some few instances, is soft and porous. The limestone, which is of excellent quality, was once extensively quarried, and about 4000 tons were annually raised, of which much was made into lime for manure; but from its elevated situation, the working of it is attended with an expense which has tended to diminish the demand for it since other quarries in the neighbourhood have been opened. The manufactures carried on are those of woollen shawls and parchment, which are conducted with success; there were formerly a tannery and a thread manufactory, but they have both been discontinued for some time. Fairs are held annually, but very little business is transacted. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads with Kinross, the nearest post-town, and with other places in the district. The parish is in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and synod of Fife, and in the patronage of Sir Graham Montgomery: the minister's stipend is £254. 2. 5., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £10 per annum. The church was erected in 1832, in place of an older edifice which, after being rebuilt, was found to be too small and also unsafe; the present edifice, of which the cost was about £800, is neat and substantial, and is adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and for the Associate Synod. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £20 fees, and a house and garden. There are also two libraries, one parochial, and the other supported by the congregation of the Secession church. In draining part of the lake a few years since, some spear heads and a shield were dug up; and there are some remains of the priory of the island of St. Serf, and also of an ancient chapel at Scotland-Well.
   See Kinross.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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