Britannia, by William Camden

Fife.

Clackmans. Big I IN this large Country of the Caledonians, beyond Sterlingshire (of which I treated last) are two little Governments or Sheriffdoms; Clackmans, of which a Knight named de Carss, and Kinross.Kinross, of which the Earl of Morton * * Is, C.was Sheriff; ⌈(but the first hath been purchased by Bruce of Clackmannan, and the second by Sir William Bruce.) Clackman­anshire. Clackmananshire (so called from the head burgh of it, Clackmanan) is bounded to the north by the Ochill-hills, to the south by the Firth of Forth, to the east with part of Perthshire, and to the west with part of Sterlingshire. It is about eight miles in length; and where broadest, but five. Towards the Firth it is a plain Country, and a fertile soil; the rest is fitter for pasture; but that below the Ochill-hills abounds both with Grain and pasture. About Alloa and Clackmanan, they have great store of Coal-pits; the Coal whereof, together with their Salt, furnish a foreign trade. It is watered with the river Devan, which runs six miles through the shire.

Clackmanan. Clackmanan is seated on a rising ground; the Castle whereof is a stately dwelling, with fine gardens and good Inclosures. Alloa. Alloa is a pleasant little town, with a small harbour for ships; where is a Castle, which hath been the chief residence of the Earls of Marr, hereditary Governours of Sterling-Castle. It is also adorned with fine Gardens and inclosures.

Kinross-shire. Kinrossshire is another little tract, lying to the north, so called from a town seated in the middle of the Shire; not far from a Loch, about four miles in length, and as many in breadth, which abounds with Pykes, Trouts, &c. and with all sorts of water-fowl. It has one Island, upon which the Castle stands; and another, wherein are to be seen the ruins of the Priory of Port-molloch, which belonged to Monks of St. Augustine’s Order: It is called St. Serf’s-inch, and was anciently the residence of some of the Kuldees. Out of this Loch flows the water of Levin. Between the town and the Loch, is a pleasant plain, where a stately house hath been built by Sir William Bruce, which for the goodness of the stone, the curious Architecture, and the avenues, gardens, and inclosures, together with the pleasant prospect of the Lough and the Castle, gives place to few seats in Scotland.⌉

Fife. Beyond these Sheriffdoms, lies Fife, a very fine Peninsula, wedged in as it were between two Arms of the Sea, the Forth and the Tay, and shooting out a long way to the East. The land yeilds great plenty of Corn, Forage, and Pit-coal: the Sea, besides other fish, yeilds abundance of Oysters and Shellfish; and the coast is well planted with little towns, that breed good store of lusty Seamen. ⌈This Sheriffdom was anciently called Ross; the remains of which name are still preserved in Culross, i.e. the back or hinder part of Ross, and Kinrose, i.e. the head of Ross. The name of Fife, it had from Fifus, a Nobleman, to whom it was given by King Keneth the second, for his great service against the Picts. The Sibbalds of Balgonie, for more than an hundred years, were Hereditary Sheriffs of it; and upon the failing of that Family, the Sheriffdom was transferred to the Family of Rothess. To the north, it is divided from Angus by the Firth of Tay; to the northwest, from part of Perthshire by the same Firth of Tay, meeting also with part of Strathern; to the west, it hath the Ochill-hills, Kinrossshire, and part of Perthshire; to the south, the Firth of Forth, dividing it from the Lothians; and to the east, the German Ocean. It is in length, thirty two miles, and about seventeen wide. To the west it is more mountainous; to the east much plainer. The north and south parts are very fertile in corn, and full of Towns with good bays and harbours; but the middle is more proper for pasture. On the south side also, there is much coal, and many salt-pans, where very good salt is made. They have a quarry at Dalgate of excellent free-stone, employ’d in the best pieces of Architecture; and near the water of Ore they find Lead, as also many fine Chrystals of several colours at the Bin and at Orrock. They have likewise several Mineral Waters; as, the Spaw at Kinghorn, and Ballgrigie.⌉

In the south-side hereof, upon the Forth, we first have a sight, Westward, of Cul-ross ⌈aforesaid, seated on a descent; the chief Commodities of which are Salt and Coals. Its greatest ornament, is the stately building of the Earl of Kincardin, with the gardens and Terrace-walks about it, which have a pleasant prospect to the very mouth of the River Forth.⌉ This is a † † So said, ann. 1607.late erected Barony in the person of John Colvill. ⌈Near Culross, to the north-west, is Kincardin; of which Edward Bruce of Carnock was created Earl by King Charles the first.⌉ Dunferm­ling. Then, we see Dunfermling, seated on an Eminence, and a famous Monastery in former times; which was built by King Malcolm the third, and was also the place of his Burial. ¦ ¦ Now it gives, C.It gave the style and title of Earl, to that wise Statesman Alexander Seton, who was deservedly advanced from Baron of Fivy to be Earl of Dunfermling, and was also made Chancellor of the Kingdom of Scotland, by James ⌈the sixth⌉ King of Great Britain. Then, upon the Frith stands Kinghorn,Earl of Kinghorn. from which Patrick Lyon, Baron Glamys, by the favour of King James the sixth, * * Lately, C.received the title and honour of Earl, ⌈and they are also Earls of Strathmore.⌉ Dysert. After this, upon the shore, is Dysert, situate on the side of a rising ground, with an open heath of the same name stretch’d out before it. Here is a good large place, which they call the Coal-plot, that hath great plenty of an earthy Bitumen, part whereof † † Ann.1607.is on fire, not without damage to the neighbours.underground subterranean ⌈It hath a harbour, and much trade in Coal and Salt; and is the residence of the Lords Sinclaire. William Murray of the family of Tullibardin, was by King Charles the first created Earl of Dysert; which title of Dysert was also confer’d on his daughter and heiress, and from her conveyed to her son Sir Lionel Talmash, the present Earl.⌉ Near Dysert, lies Ravins-heugh, that is, the Raven’s craggy hill, the seat of the Barons St. Clare,St. Clare. or Seincler; ⌈who were advanced to the honour of Peerage by King James the fifth.⌉ The River Leven. Above this, the River Levin buries it self in the Forth; which River runs out of the Lake Levin, wherein stands a Castle of the Douglas’s, now Earls of Morton.

⌈Sir Alexander Lesly, General of the Scots forces, was by King Charles the first created Earl of Levin, in the year 1641.⌉ Wemmis-Castle. The Forth hath at its mouth Wemmis-Castle, the seat of a noble family of that sirname, who were * * Lately, C.advanced to the dignity of Barons by King James the sixth; ⌈and in the year 1633, to the dignity of Earls; to whom belongs the new built Haven, very commodious for Shipping.⌉

Fif-ness. From hence, the shore bends inwards, with many windings and turnings, as far as Fif-ness, that is, the Promontory or Nose of Fife. St. Andrews. Above it, St. Andrews, an Archiepiscopal City, hath a fine prospect into the open Sea. ⌈It takes the name, from St. Andrew (whose bones are said to have been brought over hither from Patras in Peloponnesus, by Regulus a Grecian Monk, in the year 368.) and was the principal See of the old Culdees.⌉ The more ancient name of this place was Regimund, that is, St. Regulus.St. Regulus’s Mount, as appears by certain old Evidences, in which we read, Oengus or Ungus, King of the Picts, granted unto God and St. Andrew, that it should be the Head and Mother of all the Churches in the Picts Dominions. And then an Episcopal See was placed here, whose Bishops, as all the rest of the Kingdom of Scotland, were consecrated and confirm’d by the Archbishop of York; till, at the intercession of King James the third, by reason of the frequent Wars between the Scots and English, Pope Sixtus the fourth constituted the Bishop of St. Andrews Primate and Metropolitan of all Scotland; and Pope Innocent the eighth bound him and his successors to the imitation of the Metropolitan of Canterbury, in these words,Ex Cam. Apostolicâ l.24. f.24. That in matters concerning the Archiepiscopal state, and the offices of Primacy and Legatine power, with their rights, and the free exercise thereof, and the honours, charges, and profits; they should follow, keep, and inviolably observe the laudable customs of the famous Metropolitan Church of Canterbury, whose Archbishop is Legate-born of the Kingdom of England, &c. But before this, Lawrence Lundoris and Richard Corvil, Doctors of the Civil Law, reading publick Lectures in this place, had laid the Foundation of an University; which is now grown famous for the many learned men it hath produced, and for its three Colleges, and, in them for the Regius-Professors. ⌈The City lies towards the east, with a pleasant prospect to the Ocean, as hath been said; and has a harbour for Ships. It had formerly a very strong Castle, some remains whereof are yet to be seen upon the rocks to the north; and the ruins of the Cathedral Church and Monastery show their ancient Magnificence. The chief Church is that called the New Church (not far from the New College) wherein is a very stately Monument of Archbishop Sharp; they have also another Church, which is called St. Leonard’s. But their greatest ornaments, are the three Colleges before-mentioned; 1. St. Salvator, commonly called the Old College, founded by James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews, together with a Church, wherein he hath a curious Monument. Dr. Skene, Principal, repair’d and augmented it; and also founded a Library, which is now very well furnished with Books. 2. St. Leonard’s College was founded by James Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews; in which is a Principal, who is always Doctor of Divinity, and the four Professors of Philosophy; to whom Sir John Scot added a Philology-Professor, with a liberal Salary, and augmented the Library with the gift of several considerable Volumes; since encreased by the great Collection of Books left to it by Sir John Wedderburne. 3. The New College was founded by James Beaton, Archbishop, wherein are two Professors, always Doctors of Divinity, the one stiled Principal Professor of Theology, the other only Professor of Theology. To these was added a Professor of Mathematicks; for the improvement of which Science, the first Professor, Mr. James Gregory, procured an Observatory to be erected in the College-garden, and also furnished it with many Mathematical Instruments.⌉ In commendation of this place, J. Johnston, Regius-Professor of Divinity there, hath these Verses;

Fanum Reguli,
Sive
Andreapolis.

Imminet Oceano, paribus descripta viarum
Limitibus, pingui quàm benè septa solo?
Magnificis opibus, staret dum gloria prisca
Pontificum, hic fulsit Pontificalis apex.
Musarum ostentat surrecta palatia cœlo,
Delicias hominum, deliciasque Deûm.
Hîc nemus umbriferum Phœbi, Nymphæque sorores
Candida quas inter prænitet Uranie.
Quæ me longinquis redeuntem Teutonis oris
Suscipit, excelso collocat inque gradu.
Urbs nimiùm fœlix Musarum si bona nôsset
Munera, & ætherii regna beata Dei.
Pelle malas pestes urbe, & quæ noxia Musis,
Alme Deus, coeant Pax Pietasque simul
.

In equal Streets the beauteous Structures run,
And tow’rd the Ocean stretch the Spacious Town.
While Rome and Mitres aw’d the easie State,
Here the great Prelate kept his splendid Seat.
In lofty Courts the gentle Muses reign,
And cheer with heavenly numbers Gods and Men.
While tuneful Phœbus charms the sounding groves,
And wond’ring Nymphs repeat his sacred loves.
Here me, returning from the German Coast
To those dear Comforts I so long had lost,
Me Phœbus blest with his peculiar care,
Me in his honours gave the largest share.
Too happy Town, did she but rightly know
The gifts that Heaven and Heaven’s dear tribe bestow.
Far hence, ye guardian powers, all dangers chase,
But crown the Muses and the sacred place
With constant joys of piety and peace.

Hard by, the little river Eden or Ethan hath its entrance into the Sea; which rises near Falkland,Falkland. formerly belonging to the Earls of Fife, but now a Royal Retirement, and excellently well seated for the pleasures of hunting. ⌈It was built by King James the fifth, and the Duke of Athol is Hereditary Keeper of it. It is particularly famous for giving the title of Viscount to the Family of Cary, in England; of which was Lucius Lord Falkland, a person of excellent Parts and Learning, and eminent for his Loyalty to King Charles the first.⌉ From thence Eden runs (under a continued ridge of hills, which cuts this Country in the middle,) by Struthers,Struthers. so called from the abundance of Reeds that grow there; and a Castle of the Barons Lyndsay, ⌈of whom was descended John Lord Lyndsay, created by K. Charles the first Earl of Lyndsay.⌉ Next, Eden runs by Cupre,Cupre. a noted Borough, where the Sheriff keeps his Court. Upon which J. Johnston hath these Verses;

Cuprum Fifæ.

Arva inter, nemorisque umbras & pascua læta
Lene fluens vitreis labitur
Eden aquis.
Huc veniat siquis Gallorum à finibus hospes,
Gallica se hîc iterum fortè videre putet.
Anne etiam ingenium hinc & fervida pectora traxit?
An potius patriis hauserat illa focis?

By fields, by shady woods, by flowry meads,
His chrystal stream the gentle Eden guides.
To these blest seats should Gallick strangers come,
They’d find no change, but think themselves at home.
Did that kind neighb’ring country lend the town
The wit and courage she so oft hath shown?
Or was she better furnish’d from her own?

The shore now turns towards the North; and upon the æstuaryaestuary of Tay, stood two famous Monasteries; viz. Bolmerinock,Bolmerinock. built by Queen Ermengerd, wife to King William, and daughter of Viscount Beaumont in France, and proud of its Baron James Elphinston; ⌈who was created in the year 1604. by King James the sixth, and whose Descendants do still enjoy the same honour:⌉ and Lundoris,Lundoris. founded amongst the Woods by David Earl of Huntingdon, and † † Now, C.the Barony of Patrick Lesly; ⌈who was created Lord Lundoris about the year 1600, and whose Descendant is the present Lord Lundoris.⌉ Between these two, lyes Banbrich,Banbrich. a seat of the Earls of Rothes, strongly built in form of a Castle. But concerning the Towns of Fife, lying along the shore, take, if you please, these verses of J. Johnston:

Opida sic toto sunt sparsa in littore, ut unum
Dixeris, inque uno plurima juncta eadem:
Littore quot curvo
Forthæ volvuntur arenæ,
Quotque undis refluo tunditur ora salo;
Penè tot hic cernas instratum puppibus æquor,
Urbibus & crebris penè tot ora hominum.
Cuncta operis intenta domus, fœda otia nescit;
Sedula cura domi, sedula cura foris.
Quæ maria, & quas non terras animosa juventus
Ah! fragili fidens audet adire trabe?
Auxit opes virtus, virtuti dura pericla
Juncta etiam lucro damna fuere suo.
Quæ fecere viris animos, cultumque dedere,
Magnanimis prosunt, damna, pericla, labor
.

O’er all the shore so thick the towns are shown,
You’d think them thousands, and yet all but one.
As many sands as Forth’s great stream can hide,
As many waves as swell the rising tide,
So many vessels cut the noisy flood,
Such numerous tribes the scatter’d hamlets crowd.
On land some ply their work, and some on seas,
And scorn the pleasures of inglorious ease.
Through what strange waves, to what forsaken shores,
The lab’ring youth still urge their slender oars?
Thus riches come, and happy plenty flows,
But riches still to accidents expose;
And he that gains must ever fear to lose.
Thus bred in hardships and inur’d to care,
They trust their courage, and forget to fear.
Loss, pains, and all that angry fate can send,
Prove but incentives to a noble mind.

The Governour of this County, as likewise of all the others in the Kingdom, was in ancient times a Thane,Thane. that is, in the old English tongue, the King’s Minister, as it is also in the Danish at this day: but Malcolm Canmore made Mac-duff, who was Thane of Fife before, the first hereditaryEarls of Fife. Earl of Fife; and, in consideration of his good services, granted that his posterity should place the King (at his Coronation) in the chair, and lead the van-guard in the King’s Army; and if any of them should by chance kill either a Gentleman or a Commoner, he should compound for the murder with money. Not far from Lundoris, stands a stone-cross,Cross Mac-duff. which is a boundary between Fife and Strathern, with old barbarous verses upon it; and it had thus far the privilege of a Sanctuary, that any Manslayer ally’d to Mac-duff, Earl of Fife, within the ninth degree, if he came to this cross, and gave nine cows, with a * * Colpindach.Heifer, he should be acquitted of the manslaughter. When his Posterity lost this title, I cannot learn; but it appears by the Records of the Kingdom, that K. David the second gave this Earldom to William Ramsay, with all and every the immunities, and the Law which is called Clan Mac-duff. And it is look’d upon as undeniable, that the families of Weimes and Douglas, and that great Clan Clan-Hatan, whose head is Mac-Intoskech, descended from them. I find also by the learned J. Skene, Clerk-Register of Scotland, in his Significations of words, that Isabella, daughter and heir to Duncan Earl of Fife, granted the Earldom of Fife upon certain conditions to Robert the third, King of Scotland, in trust for Robert Steward, Earl of Menteith; who being afterwards Duke of Albany, and ambitiously aspiring to the Crown, put David, the King’s eldest son, to the most miserable of deaths, that of hunger. But his son Murdac suffered the punishment due to the wickedness both of his father and his own sons, being put to death by King James the first; at which time, a Decree passed, That the Earldom of Fife should for ever be united to the Crown. But the authority of Earl of Rothes. Sheriff of Fife belongs by inheritance to the Earl of Rothes.

Balfours. ⌈In this Shire, several other persons of note have been advanced to the dignity of Lords. Sir Michael Balfour of Balgarvie, was created Lord * * Now, forfeited by Attainder.Burghlie by King James the sixth; and Sir Robert Melvil,Melvils. Lord Melvil, by the same King; of which Family, George Lord Melvil was created Earl of Melvil by K. William and Q. Mary. Lindsays. Sir David Lindsay was created Lord Belcarras by King Charles the first, and his Son Alexander, afterwards, Earl of Belcarras by King Charles the second. Sir Thomas Erskine, who had before been advanced to the dignity of Viscount FentounFentouns. by King James the sixth, was created by the said King, ann. 1619. Earl of Kelly. Levingstons. Sir James Levingston of Kinnaird was created Lord Newburgh by King Charles the first, and Earl of Newburgh by King Charles the second. Sandilands. Sandilands, Laird of St. Manans, was created Lord Abercromby by King Charles the first; and Lieutenant General Lesly, Son to the Lord Lundoris, was created by King Charles the second, Lord Newark.Newark. And from Kingstown, Sir Alexander Seaton, younger Son of George Earl of Winton, received the title of † † Now, forfeited by Attainder.Viscount from King Charles the first.⌉

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06