- ANSTRUTHER WESTER, a royal burgh, and parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife; adjoining Anstruther Easter, and containing 449 inhabitants, of whom 339 are in the burgh. This place, of which the name is supposed to be, in the Celtic language, descriptive of the low marshy ground on which the church was built, is situated on the Frith of Forth, about six miles to the westward of Fifeness. The people, who, during the wars consequent on the attempt to establish episcopacy, were zealously devoted to the Presbyterian form of worship, joined the Covenanters; and many of them fell in the battle of Kilsyth. The town suffered greatly by an inundation of the sea, in 1670, which greatly injured the harbour, and undermined the foundations of many of the houses: a second inundation, which took place towards the end of that century, swept away the houses in the principal street, and destroyed nearly one-third part of the town. The present town is separated from Anstruther Easter by the Dreel burn, over which a bridge was erected, at the joint expense of the two burghs, in 1801; it has been much benefited by the widening of the principal street, and the houses in that, and also in the other streets, have been considerably improved in their appearance. The streets are paved and macadamised, and the town is well lighted, and supplied with water. The place was erected into a royal burgh by charter of James VI., in 1587, and the government is vested in a provost, two bailies, a treasurer, and eleven councillors, elected annually, the old council choosing the new council, and the latter electing the provost, bailies, and treasurer. The magistrates hold a bailie court; but few cases of civil actions have been brought before it for some years; and their jurisdiction, in criminal cases, seldom extends beyond that of petty offences, in which they are assisted by the town-clerk, who acts as assessor. The town-hall is a commodious building. The burgh is associated with those of Pittenweem, Anstruther Easter, Kilrenny, and others, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the number of inhabitant householders, of the yearly rent of £10, is twenty-four, of whom twelve are burgesses.The parish is bounded on the south by the sea, and is about two miles in length, and of irregular form, comprising not more than 600 acres, of which, with the exception of a few acres of common pasture, the whole is arable. The soil, near the sea, is, in some parts, a rich black loam, and in others a light sand mixed with shells, both of which, though of no great depth, are very fertile; in the higher grounds, the soil is of lighter quality, intermixed with tracts of deep clay. The crops are grain of all kinds, with potatoes, turnips, and other green crops; the lands are chiefly inclosed with stone dykes, though in some places with hedges of thorn. The rateable annual value of the parish is £1998. Grangemuir, the seat of Lord William Douglas, of Dunino, a handsome and spacious mansion, built by the late Mr. Bruce, and greatly enlarged by the present proprietor, is pleasantly situated in grounds laid out with much taste. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of St. Andrew's and synod of Fife; the minister's stipend is £142. 5. 6., of which part is paid from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £22. 10. per annum; patron, Sir Wyndham Carmichael Anstruther. The church is a very ancient structure situated in the burgh, near the sea-shore. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £4 per annum, the interest of a bequest, and a house and garden, and the school-fees average about £75 per annum. There is a bursary in the college of St. Andrew's, for a scholar from this parish, endowed by the late William Thomson, Esq., chief magistrate of the burgh.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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