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FIFESHIRE is an extensive and populous maritime county in the
east of Scotland ; it is a peninsula, having the Firth of Forth on
the south, the German Ocean on the east, and the Firth of Tay on
the north, which river separates it from Forfarshire and Perth-
shire. Its western border is very irregular ; commencing at New-
burgh, on the Tay, it follows that of Perthshire south to near
Auchtermuchty, turning west as far as Damhead, whence it
extends with Kinross south to the Leven and west nearly as far
as Humbling Brig, when the Perthshire border again commences
and is continued southwards to the Firth of Forth at Torry. The
coast line is about 80 miles in extent; the breadth from its
eastern apex to its western point, where it intersects Kinross
and Perth, is about 35 miles, and a line direct south from New-
port on the Tay to Earlsferry is about 17 miles, and one from
Newburgh to Kinghorn 20 miles; towards the west, however
(from Burntisland to the verge of Kinross-shire), it is not
more than 10 mileB across; the extreme length, from north-east
to south-west, in a curved line, is fully 40 miles. The regu-
larity of its figure is much interrupted by the intrusion of
Kinross-shire, which creates a considerate indentation, not
far from its centre, on the west. The area comprises 322,844
acres of land and 1,624 of water. In regard to size, this county
is sixteenth, and in population the seventh. In 1891 the popu-
lation was 187.346 and in 1901, 218,840, viz.: males 105.124;
females, 113,716; the inhabited houses being 40,696 in 1891 and
in 1901, inhabited 18,241; uninhabited 3,868; building, 585.
Early History. — At an early period the district of Fyfe in-
cluded Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, and part of the countieB
of Perth and Stirling; it was then designated Ross, a term signi-
fying a peninsula, and seems to have been under one general
jurisdiction. This large territory has long since been dismembered
— Clackmannan, was first taken from it, and next Kinross was
erected into a distinct shire. The origin of the name " Fife "
has much troubled etymologists, nor has a satisfactory conclusion
ever been arrived at upon the subject. The monkish chroniclers
assume its derivation from one Fyfus Duffus, "a hero of whom
nothing more appears to be known than that he was a chieftain
who performed some great exploits, and did the country essential
service in war. The ancient history of Fife is enveloped in nearly
similar obscurity. Its original possessors were the Celts, and their
invaders the Romans; and towards the close of the 9th century
the King of the Scots obtained paramount sway over the district.
Between this period and the 11th century the country was in a
great measure either the property or under the jurisdiction of a
succession of "thanes" of the title of Macduff; one of these,
Duncan Macduff, was created Earl of Fife hy Malcolm III., about
1057 ; and from this time till the family honours were merged by
the marriage of female heirs or extinction in other families, and
finally lost by forfeiture in 1424, the Earls of Fife were amongst
the most influential of the Scottish peerage. After a lapse of more
than three centuries, the ancient title of Earl of Fife was revived
as an Irish peerage, in 1759, in the person of William Duff, Lord
Braco of Kilbryde, who, according to his genealogists, derived his
descent from the original earls. The Duke of Fife, who was
raised to a dukedom in 1889, is the lineal descendant of this per-
son, and now inherits the title and privileges — the estates- of the
family being situated principally in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire.
Soil, Surface and Climate. — The peninsula of Fife was originally
almost an entire forest, full of swamps, and while in this- con-
dition was the haunt of wild beasts, especially swine of a mon-
strous size; it is understood that such animals were not extir-
pated in the reign of James V., who, like his forefathers, often
made Fife the scene of his hunting expeditions. In this county
are found four kinds of soil, differing considerably in quality, and
generally occupying distinct tracts of the country. Along the
braes facing the Firth of Forth the composition of the land is for
the most part excellent, being deep, rich loam, good clay, and
gravel mixed with loamy earth, based chiefly on whin rock, and
produces good crops of wheat, barley, oats, beans, turnips and
potatoes 1 ; north from the waving line which bounds this territory
to the base of the hills' on the south side of the vale of Fife, and
from St. Andrews on the east to the western parts of the county,
the soil is in general vastly inferior — a great proportion being cold,
poor and very wet clay; the tract of the " Howe of Fife," which
comprises- both sides of the river Eden as far as Cupar, is very
productive; it consists of loam, partly deep and moist, and partly
light and dry, with also a considerable proportion of moor and
moss ; in the hilly district, from the vale to the river Tay, the
land is uniformly of the best description, having much rich" loam,
clay and gravel. The peninsula of Fife exhibits on its- surface a
series of vales, stretching from west to east parallel with the sea
on each side, and of greater or less dimensions; these vales, which
from the undulating character of the country are in some places
not so distinct as in others, are the basins of different small
streams, which merge either in the Firth of Forth or St. Andrew's
Bay. Extending in a north-easterly direction to the Tay, the
Ocnil_ Hills penetrate the county, forming a ridge of moderate
elevation, upon which many cattle and sheep are pastured. The
other eminences of greatest altitude in Fifeshire are Kellie Law,
800 feet ; Norman's Law, 850 ; Larso Law, 965 ; East Lomond
Hill, 1,470; and West Lomond Hill, 1,713 feet above the level of
the sea. The climate is, perhaps, as genial and salubrious as that
of other districts more to the south ; the fogs, which formerly
effectually dissipated by the drainage of the damp lands, and the
general spread of cultivation. Altogether Fife is a most impor-
tant district; its agricultural prosperity and capabilities, its
manufactures, its fisheries, and its mineral treasures, its burghs,
seaports, and fine harbours, and its domestic and foreign com-
merce, form a combination of advantages that most favourably
distinguish this shire.
The chief crops as appears from the " Agricultural Returns for
Great Britain, 1902," were oats, 38,852 acres; barley or bere,
21,731; wheat, 9,994; beans, 1,372; rye, 957; total of corn
crops, 72,981; turnips and swedes, 23,889 acres; potatoes,
14,552; cabbage &c. 550; vetches or tares, 551; total of green
crops, 39,714; clover, sainfoin and grasses (for hay), 28,030
acres;, ("not for hay), 38,674 acres; permanent pasture (for
hay). 3.460 acres; (not for hay), 71,761 acres; bare fallow, 300;
small fruit, 234 acres. The total area of land is 322,844 acres,
of which 9,440 are mountain and heath land, used for grazing;
24,130 acres of woods and plantations.
The live stock in 1902 comprised 7,588 horses, used solely
for agriculture and brood mares; unbroken horses, 1,981; cows
and heifers in milk or in calf, 11,642; other cattle, 38,097;
ewes kept for breeding, 37,190; other sheep, 85,842; sows kept
for breeding, 918; other pigs, 3,879.
Produce and Manufactures. — The shire is fortunate in posses-
sing inexhaustible mines of coal, with sandstone, limestone and
some ironstone. Coal and lime are wrought only in the southern
division of the county, between the two extremities, and some
miles inland; within this district there are as extensive lime
and coal works as can be seen in Scotland. In 1901, 5,601,501
tons of coal were produced, valued at £2,240,600; 34,216 tons of
fire-clay, value £5,988; brick clay (from quarries), 19,057
tons, value £1,975 ; 31,737 tons of iron ore, value £12,695 ;
78,684 tons of limestone; igneous rocks, 128,191 tons. The sand-
stone found in this part is of the very best quality; from its
beauty it is exported to Edinburgh, where some of the finest edi-
fices have been built with it. In 1901, 69,963 tons were raised.
Marl is abundant in some places, so likewise is fine clay, for the
composition of bricks, tiles and pottery. From the possession of
the above, and the exuberant produce of corn and cattle, it is a
common saying among the people of Fife that their county could
support itself better, without the aid of imported articles, than
any other district in Scotland. Besides supplying home con-
sumption, it has a very large export trade in corn, potatoes, pigs,
black cattle, lime, coal and sandstone — not to mention that of
its- manufactured goods. Lead has been discovered in the western
Lomond, and mines of this ore have been profitably worked in
the parish of Kemback; pebbles, much admired for the high
polish of which they are susceptible, have been found "in
different places, with agates and rubies of fine water. The staple
manufacture of Fife is linen goods, in the weaving of which
many towns, villages and hamlets are busily employed without
intermission; fine diapers and shirtings and the most elegant
table linen are produced from the looms of this county; of this
trade Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy are the principal seats; while
the yarns, composed of foreign flax, are mostly spun and bleached
on the Leven and in the adjacent places. Iron founding and
machine making are prosecuted with success at several places,
and the manufacture of fishing nets, floor cloth, fire clay and
terra cotta goods and linoleums and floor cloths are likewise
branches of importance. The fisheries are also a source of
wealth to this county, shoals of herrings during the spawning
jeason visiting its coast,- in the capturing and curing of which
many of the population are employed. Turbot, soles, plaice, cod,
haddock and ling are also found' in abundance, the three first-
named being taken in the shallow waters on the east coast. The
fishing industry is centred at Kirkcaldy, under which place full
particulars will be found.
Rivers and Railways.— Exclusive of the Forth and the Tay, the
county is watered by several streams — none of wh ; ch, however,
are entitled to the denomination of river, except the Eden and
the Leven, which both abound with excellent salmon: the first
rises in the Lomonds and flows through the town of Cupar, and
debouches at Guardbridge in St. Andrew's Bay; the Leven r'pes
from a loch of the same name in Kinross-shire, passes eastward
through the centre part of the county and reaches the Firth of
Forth at the town of Leven. Fife cannot boast of macv lakes,
and those that it does possess are but of small extent, the princi-
pal being L'ndores, Kilconquhar, Lochgelly, Camilla and Fittv
lochs. The North British railway* branching at Alloa to the east
and north-eaet, enters the county with the former branch »t
Oakley and proceeds to DunfermliDe, whence there are branches
north to Saline, Cowdenbeath and Kelty, and thence into Kinross,
and south to Inverkeithing and North Queensferrv; the main line
continues through Lochgelly to Thornton, where a branch leaveR
ft north to Marckinch (with a branch to Leslie), I.ndybank and
Newburgh, where it turns' westward to Moncrieff and Perth ; from
Thornton there are two branches southward, one turning to the
west runs through Dysart and Kirkcaldy to Burntisland, mid the
other sweeping eastward passes through Wemyss and Buckhaven
to Methil, opposite to Leven. The main line continues by
Cameron Bridge, through the coast towns of Leven, Largo, Pit-
tenweem and Crail, to St. Andrews ; from this latter city the line
passes through Leuchars Junction to the Tay Bridge, for Dundee,
were continually exhaling from the lochs and marshes, have been I with a loop line to Leuchars, Tayport, Newport and the Bridge

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