Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Portmoak

Portmoak, a parish of E Kinross-shire, containing Scotlandwell village, 5 miles W of Leslie, and 6¼ (only 41/8 as the crow flies) E by S of Kinross, under which it has a post office. It is bounded SW by Cleish, W by Kinross, Loch Leven, and Orwell, and on all other sides by Fife, viz., N by Strathmiglo, NE by Falkland, E by Leslie and Kinglassie, and S by Auchterarder and Ballingry. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 5 miles; its breadth, from E to W, varies between 7 furlongs and 45/8 miles; and its area is 9957 acres, of which 124 belong to a detached farm near Strathendry, surrounded by Kinglassie and Leslie. Loch Leven, to the extent of 5 miles along its eastern and its southern shore, margins the parish; the river Leven, flowing in an artificial cut from Loch Leven, goes 1¼ mile east-north-eastward across the interior; and Gairney Water, running north-north-eastward into Loch Leven, forms for 1 mile the southern part of the boundary with Kinross. From the shore of Loch Leven (353 feet above sea-level) the surface rises southward to flat-topped Benarty Hill (1167 feet) on the Ballingry border, and eastward to Bishop Hill, which culminates near Kinnesswood village in White Craigs (1492 feet), 15/8 mile ENE of the nearest point of the loch. (See Lomond Hills.) All the parts of the parish not occupied by the two hill ridges and their skirts are narrow hanging plains; and the whole is a rich landscape of fine meadows, fertile fields, thriving plantations, beautiful braes, romantic crags, and picturesque sky-lines, exquisitely mirrored in Loch Leven. Copious springs of pure water are numerous in the north; and three within 400 yards of one another, in the neighbourhood of Scotlandwell, emit as much water as, with a suitable fall, would drive a mill. Eruptive rocks are in the hills, and have been worked; sandstone abounds, but is not quarried; limestone is plentiful, and has been calcined to the amount of 4000 tons of carbonate in the year; and ironstone and coal, the former of excellent quality, were mined a number of years ago. The soil of most of the arable grounds is light, early, and exceedingly fertile. About 350 acres are under wood; three-fourths of the entire area are in tillage; and the rest of the land is nearly all pasture. Kirkness, noticed separately, is the principal residence; and the ruin of an old chapel at Scotlandwell is the only antiquity. Andrew Wyntoun (flo. 1400), the chronicler; John Douglas (d. 1574), the first 'tulchan' Archbishop of St Andrews; and Michael Bruce (1746-67), the poet, were natives of Portmoak; whilst the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine (1680-175 4) was its minister from 1703 till in 1733 he founded the Secession at Gairney Bridge, where a monument was erected to celebrate the event in 1884. Five proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 19 of between £100 and £500. Portmoak is in the presbytery of Kinross and the synod of Fife; the living is worth £350. The parish church, at Scotlandwell, was built in 1839, and contains 730 sittings. Other places of worship are Portmoak Free church and Balgedie U.P. church. The public school, with accommodation for 162 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 134, and a grant of £113, 5s. Valuation (1860) £10, 357, (1882) £11,189. Pop. (1801) 1151, (1831) 1554, (1861) 1450, (1871) 1193, (1881) 1042.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40, 1867.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Portmoak ScoP       Kinross Shire ScoCnty
Place: Portmoak

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