DUNFERMLINE, a royal burgh, and parish, in the district of Dunfermline, county of Fife; including the villages of Charlestown, Crossford, Halbeath, Limekilns, Mastertown, Patiemuir, North Queensferry, and part of Crossgates; and containing 20,217 inhabitants, of whom 7865 are within the burgh, 12 miles (W. by S.) from Kirkcaldy, and 16 (N. W.) from Edinburgh. This place, which is of great antiquity, is supposed to have derived its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "the castle on the winding stream," or "the watch-tower upon the stream," from the erection of a castle on the summit of a peninsulated eminence in the glen of Pittencrieff, by Malcolm Canmore, about the year 1056. Of this castle only some small fragments are now remaining; but it appears, from the traces of foundations, to have been a quadrilateral structure, about sixty feet in length, and fifty feet in breadth, of great strength, and having an elevation of seventy feet above the level of the rivulet flowing through the glen. Malcolm, on the murder of his father Duncan by the usurper Macbeth, took refuge in England, where he was favourably received at the court of Edward the Confessor, till, on the death of Macbeth, slain by Macduff at the battle of Dunsinane, he ascended the throne of his ancestors. On the conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy in 1066, Edgar Atheling, heir to the crown of England, with his mother, and sisters Margaret and Catherine, attended by a numerous retinue of Saxon nobles, were, on their voyage to Hungary, driven by tempestuous weather into a bay in the north of the Frith of Forth, which has since retained the appellation of St. Margaret's Hope. Malcolm, on hearing of their landing, visited the party, and conducted them in person to his castle, where they were hospitably entertained; and soon after, Margaret, with whom, during his residence in England, he had formed a contract of marriage, became Queen of Scotland. At a short distance to the southeast of Malcolm's castle, a more sumptuous palace was subsequently erected, though the exact date is unknown; but of this once magnificent structure, the residence for many generations of the Scottish kings, and the birthplace of several of them, only a comparatively small portion remains, in which is seen the chimney-place of the apartment where Charles I. was born. Adjoining the palace was the Queen's House, erected for her private residence by Anne of Denmark, queen of James VI., to whom he had granted on the morning after his marriage the lordship of Dunfermline. This mansion was in good repair for many years after the palace was in ruins, but falling into neglect, was for some time occupied as a school, subsequently as a woollen factory, and in 1797, having become ruinous, was entirely removed.
   A priory for Benedictine monks was founded by Malcolm, which, being in an unfinished state, was, after his death at the siege of Alnwick, in Northumberland, completed by his son Alexander I., and dedicated to the Holy Trinity and St. Margaret, King Malcolm's queen, whose numerous virtues obtained for her the distinction of canonization. The institution was governed by a prior till the reign of David I., who raised it to the dignity of a mitred abbey, and in 1124 placed in it thirteen additional monks from Canterbury, greatly extended the buildings, and endowed it with ample possessions in various parts of the kingdom. It continued to flourish, and became one of the most important and richest establishments in Scotland. In 1291, Edward I. of England visited Dunfermline, where he summoned the Scottish nobility to do homage for their lands as vassals to his crown: in 1296, he made a tour for twenty-one weeks through different parts of Scotland, in which he came to this town; and on his return to England, he took with him the inauguration stone from the abbey of Scone, which he deposited in the church of Westminster, in London. In 1303, Edward visited Dunfermline on his route from Kinross, and took up his residence in the abbey, where he was joined by his queen and a party of nobility, and remained from December till March. While here he was employed in receiving the submission of such of the Scottish nobles as had not on his former visit done him homage for their possessions; and on his departure for England his soldiers set fire to the abbey, which was reduced to little more than a heap of ruins, the church only, and a few cells of the monks, being spared. In this abbey, of which the buildings were so extensive, the Scottish nobility were accustomed to hold their meetings, during the wars of Bruce and Baliol, for rescuing their country from the English yoke; and to this circumstance is attributed its desolation by the forces of Edward.
   David II., son of Robert Bruce, was born at the palace of Dunfermline on the 4th of March, 1323; and during that prince's long minority, Edward Baliol, when contending for the crown of Scotland, in 1332, after having landed his army at Kinghorn, came to this place, where he found a seasonable supply of arms and provisions laid up by order of Regent Randolph. In 1335, a parliament was held here, at which Sir Andrew Murray was made regent of the kingdom in place of Randolph, deceased; but, having gone to visit his estates in the north, in 1338, he died while on his journey, and, after being interred in the chapel of Rosemarkie, his remains were removed to this town, and deposited with those of Bruce and Randolph. In 1385, part of a large body of French auxiliaries who, on the invitation of Robert II., had come to that monarch's assistance against the English, were quartered at this place, which was visited soon afterwards by Richard II. of England, who, having burnt Edinburgh, advanced to Dunfermline, and lodged in the abbey, which, upon his departure, was burnt by the English army, together with the town. In 1441, James, son of Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, was consecrated Bishop of Dunkeld in the abbey church here, and in the same year was also made chancellor of Scotland. The queen of James IV. made a short stay at Dunfermline in 1512; and in 1515, the abbot of Kelso and other friends of Lord Home were imprisoned in the town by order of the Duke of Albany, then regent. Mary, Queen of Scots, visited Dunfermline in her route to Dysart and St. Andrew's, in 1561; and in 1581, James VI. subscribed the covenant at this place. Charles I., afterwards king of England, was born in the palace on the 19th of November, 1600; and in 1633, in his progress through Scotland, he passed a short time at Dunfermline, on which occasion he created Sir Robert Ker earl of Ancrum, and conferred the honour of knighthood on several persons. In the year 1624, the town was nearly destroyed by an accidental fire. In 1650 Charles II. visited the town, where he subscribed the confession of faith called the "Dunfermline Declaration;" and in the following year a battle was fought near Pitreavie House between the forces of Cromwell and the royalist army, in which the latter sustained considerable loss. In 1715, about a month before the battle of Sheriffmuir, a detachment of the Pretender's army, consisting of about 300 highlanders and eighty horse, under the Marquess of Huntly, was surprised and defeated, with the loss of several killed and many taken prisoners, by the forces under colonel, afterwards Lord, Cathcart.
   The town is pleasantly situated on an eminence stretching from east to west, and gradually rising from the south to an elevation of 356 feet above the level of the sea; it consists of one principal street, intersected at right angles by several smaller streets from north to south, of which those in the latter direction have a considerable declivity. The principal street was, in 1770, extended towards the west by the erection of a bridge across the glen of Pittencrieff, above which the proprietor, George Chalmers, Esq., raised a mound whereon there has been built, in a line with the High-street, a handsome range of houses with gardens attached to them, called Bridge-street. The houses in the chief streets are all substantial and well built. In several parts of the town are numerous villas and many private mansions surrounded with pleasure-grounds, which give to the place a somewhat rural appearance; and the tower and spires of the ancient abbey and public buildings, combining with other features, have a strikingly interesting aspect. Great additions to the town, and considerable improvements, have been recently made; the abbey park has been thrown open for building, and many handsome houses with extensive gardens have been erected. The streets are paved, and lighted with gas by a company established in 1828, who erected works in the lower part of the town at an expense of nearly £12,000; and the inhabitants are tolerably supplied with water brought from springs in the town moor into a capacious reservoir, from which it is distributed by pipes. The Dunfermline library, supported by a proprietary of shareholders, has a collection of about 3000 volumes, and the Tradesmen's and Mechanics' libraries, united in 1832, contain about 2000; a circulating library has been established, and in the town-hall is a public newsroom supplied with the daily journals and periodical publications. The Mechanics' institution, founded in 1825, still retains its apparatus, though the lectures have been discontinued; and a scientific association was established in 1834. The Western District of Fife Agricultural Society hold their meetings here in July, for the distribution of premiums, and the Horticultural, and Pittencrieff Horticultural Societies also meet annually; there is likewise an ornithological society in the town.
   The staple trade is the linen manufacture, chiefly of the finer kinds, and which, by a regular and progressive series of improvements, has been brought to the highest state of perfection; the principal articles are, diapers, towelling, napkins, and damasks for table-linen of every variety of pattern, and remarkable for the beauty of their texture. Toilet napkins, with the royal arms in the centre, were made here for his late majesty William IV.; and in 1840, toilet cloths, executed according to a sketch by the officers of the Queen's household, and having the royal arms, with the initials V. R., and a border of oak and laurel, were woven by the same manufacturer for her present Majesty. An order, likewise, was subsequently received from the lord steward by another manufacturer, for damask table-linen of the finest quality, decorated in a suitable manner. The rapid advance in this manufacture was much promoted by rewards offered by the board of trade, and which, though generally discontinued, are still sometimes granted for specimens of superior elegance: in 1837, one firm in the town had obtained, in the course of a few previous years, premiums amounting to £516. The finer yarns are procured chiefly from Leeds and Preston, in England, and from Belfast, in Ireland; but there are large establishments in the town for the spinning of yarn for the weaving of coarser goods, which are sold partly by hawkers in different parts of the country. Coloured table-covers of great variety of pattern have been lately made to a very considerable extent; about 3000 persons are employed in the various looms, and the value of the goods manufactured annually exceeds £350,000. There are two iron-foundries in the town, and a third at Charlestown, in the parish, in which, in addition to the usual castings of iron, are produced some of brass. The manufacture of tobacco, for which there are two establishments, is considerable. There are also two tanneries and currying-works, three roperies, a soap-work, and a candle manufactory; five breweries, three of which are in the town; four dyeworks, a saw-mill, two tile and brick works, and various other establishments connected with the trade of the town. Branches of the Bank of Scotland, the British Linen Company, the Commercial Bank, and the Edinburgh and Leith Bank have been opened here. The market-days are Tuesday and Friday, the former for corn, which is numerously attended, and the latter for eggs, poultry, butter, and provisions: fairs are held for horses, cattle, and general merchandise, on the third Tuesday in January, March, April, June, July, September, October, and November. The post-office has a good delivery; and facility of communication is afforded by excellent turnpike-roads, of which more than thirty miles traverse the parish, and by railroads, from the collieries and lime-works, to Charlestown. A railway, also, has been constructed from the lower end of the town, and communicates with the Elgin railroad. Numerous steam-boats ply in the Frith of Forth, for which a pier has been formed at Charlestown; there are likewise harbours at Limekilns and Brucehaven. The rateable annual value of the entire parish is £53,515, of which £17,532 are returned for the burgh.
   The burgh appears to have arisen gradually under the abbots of the monastery, from whom it derived certain privileges and immunities, which it continued to hold for nearly two centuries, till it was erected into a royal burgh by charter of James VI. in 1588, ratifying all former grants. The government, under this charter, is vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, treasurer, chamberlain, and a council of sixteen, by whom all the other officers of the burgh are appointed. There are eight incorporated trades, viz., the smiths, weavers, wrights, tailors, shoemakers, bakers, masons, and butchers, all of whom, except the weavers, have exclusive privileges; the fraternity of guildry is very ancient, and possesses property of the yearly value of about £300. The jurisdiction of the magistrates extends over the whole of the royalty, and the provost is ex-officio a justice of the peace for the county of Fife; the magistrates hold the ordinary bailie-court and the ninemerks' court for the recovery of debts not exceeding the sum of ten shillings. The number of cases in the latter court has very much decreased since the institution of the sheriff's court for small debts; and the criminal jurisdiction is confined to misdemeanours. The police is under the direction of commissioners appointed by act of parliament in 1811. The burgh is associated with those of Stirling, Culross, Inverkeithing, and Queensferry, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the number of £10 householders within the burgh proper is 397, and of those under that rent, but above £5,432. The tolbooth, or Town House, was built in 1771, and two upper stories were added to it in 1792; it is a neat plain edifice, with a square tower 100 feet in height, and several carved stones which formed part of the ancient cross, now removed, have been inserted in the front wall of the building. The first-floor contains the council-room and the sheriff's court; and above is the town-hall, used also as an exchange reading-room, in which are portraits of ViceAdmiral Sir Andrew Mitchell, George Chalmers, Esq., and Provost Low, with busts of the late William Pitt and Lord Melville. The third story was used as the gaol previously to the erection of a more commodious building on the town-green. The Guildhall, or Spire hotel, was erected by the fraternity of guildry for the holding of their general meetings, and also for those of the county, but was never completed for that purpose, and in 1820 it became the property of a few individuals who converted it into an hotel. It is a handsome building with a spire 132 feet high, from which it takes its name, and contains, in addition to its arrangements as an hotel, a spacious hall fifty-two feet long, thirty-five feet wide, and twenty-one feet high, which is appropriated to various public purposes. The new Gaol was built at an expense of £2070; it is three stories high, and has eighteen cells, two apartments for debtors, and accommodation for the gaoler.
   The parish, which is situated in the western part of the county, is of irregular form, about eight miles in average length, and five in average breadth, comprising 23,040 acres, of which 13,391 are arable, about 3740 not arable, 1135 woodland and plantations, and the remainder sites of buildings, water, and waste. The surface is greatly diversified with bold undulations, rising in some parts into hills of considerable elevation, of which the principal are Beath and Craigluscar, the former clothed with verdure to its summit, and commanding an extensive prospect. The coast, reaching for about a mile and a half along the Forth, is partly flat and partly high and rocky. The chief streams that intersect the parish are the Tower burn and the Baldridge burn, both tributaries of the Lyne, which, after these accessions, becomes of considerable size, and falls into the Frith at Charlestown. In the northern part of the parish are several lakes, of which the principal are, the Town loch, about a mile to the north-east of the burgh, and one mile in circumference; Loch End, two miles north of the town, formerly of equal extent, but now much diminished; Dunduff, a small sheet of water, three miles north of the town, and abounding with trout, perch, and pike; and Loch Fitty, two miles north-east of the town, one mile in length, and half a mile in breadth, containing pike, perch, and eels. Loch Gloe, or the White loch, in the Cleish hills, two miles in circumference, and Black loch, a little to the north-west of Loch Gloe, are partly in the parish of Cleish, and both abound with pike, perch, and trout. The soil is generally fertile, and the system of agriculture in a highly improved state; the crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips, peas and beans, with the various grasses; and a considerable portion of land is cultivated as orchards and gardens. The farm-buildings are substantial and commodiously arranged; the lands are well inclosed, and much waste has been improved by draining, and brought into profitable cultivation. The cattle are chiefly of the Fifeshire black breed, with some of the Teeswater on the dairyfarms, of the former about 1500, and of the latter 500; few sheep are reared, but nearly 1400 are fed upon the pastures, and there is a moderate number of swine.
   The principal substrata are, coal and limestone, which are extensively raised, freestone, and greenstone; the rocks are generally of the trap formation, and in some parts display fine specimens of columnar basalt. The coalfields are very extensive, and have been wrought from a remote period, first by the abbot of Dunfermline, to whom William de Oberwill, proprietor of Pittencrieff, in 1291 granted the privilege of working a pit on part of his lands. It is, however, chiefly since the year 1771 that they have been wrought to any great extent, and it is calculated that there are still 3000 acres unwrought in the several fields in the parish. The coal, which is of the usual varieties, and generally of good quality, occurs in seams from a few inches to eight feet in thickness, at depths of from fifteen to 105 fathoms below the surface. The average quantity raised annually is 120,000 tons, which are conveyed by railroads from the pits to the harbours of Charlestown, in this parish, and of Inverkeithing, in the parish adjoining, for exportation; seventeen steam-engines are employed, varying from twelve to 120 horse power, and 2910 persons, of whom 1180 are engaged in working the mines. The most extensive quarries of limestone are those on the lands of Broomhall; the stone occurs within a quarter of a mile from the shore, in beds from twenty to fifty feet in thickness, containing a great variety of fossil remains, and the quantity annually raised is about 15,000 tons of stone, and about 400,000 bushels of shells. The stone is conveyed from the quarries by a railroad to Charlestown, where it is burnt; the rough stone is sent principally to Stirling, and the shells to Dundee and the north. There are also quarries at Roscobie and Lathalmond, the produce of which is chiefly sold in the upper lands of the parish; and others on a smaller scale are worked at Sunnybank and Craigluscar. The parish likewise contains several quarries of freestone and trap; ironstone occurs in the Elgin coalfield, and was formerly wrought, and pyrites of iron and of copper have been found. The remains of old timber are not very extensive; the plantations consist of oak, beech, elm, plane, ash, willow, larch, and Scotch fir. Broomhall House, the pleasant and retired seat of the Earl of Elgin, is a handsome mansion, beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the village of Limekilns, and surrounded by undulated grounds richly wooded. The house has a valuable collection of paintings; and here are preserved the sword and helmet of King Robert Bruce, given to the late earl by Mrs. Bruce of Clackmannan, and also the nuptial bed of Anne of Denmark, queen of James VI., which was for some years in the possession of an innkeeper in the town, who, a short time before her death, presented it to the earl. Pitliver House, Keavil, and Pitfirrane are in the vicinity, but undistinguished by any peculiarity of features; Pittencrieff House was built in 1610, by Sir Alexander Clerk of Edinburgh, whose armorial bearings are over the doorway; and Logie is a modern house, in which is preserved a cabinet of richlycarved walnut, formerly belonging to Anne of Denmark. Pitreavie House was the ancient mansion of the Wardlaw family, and Balmulc also belonged to them: the mansion of the Hill, for many ages the residence of the Mitchells, is now occupied in several tenements.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunfermline and synod of Fife; patron, the Crown. There are two ministers, each having a stipend of £282; the minister of the first charge has also a manse, and a glebe valued at £34 per annum, but to the second charge there is attached neither manse nor glebe. The principal of the two incumbencies is filled by the Rev. Peter Chalmers, A. M., author of the highly valuable Historical and Statistical Account of Dunfermline, published in 1844, and whose accurate description of the Dunfermline coalfield, reprinted in that work, was honoured with one of the premiums of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. The church, once a portion of the ancient abbey, and but ill adapted to its purpose, was rebuilt in 1821 to the east of the former nave, which is now its western approach. It is an elegant cruciform structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower rising from the centre to the height of 100 feet, and crowned with pinnacles: the parapet is pierced with openings representing the letters of the legend "King Robert the Bruce," whose tomb lies immediately beneath. The interior is finely arranged: the nave is separated from the aisles by handsome clustered columns with decorated capitals, surmounted by gracefully-pointed arches supporting the groined roof, which is ornamented with shields at the intersections of the ribs. This part of the church is lighted by a range of elegant clerestory windows, enriched with tracery; the east window is of large dimensions and of beautiful design, and the aisles and transepts are lighted by windows of corresponding character. Immediately under the tower is the pulpit, in front of the slabs covering the tomb of Bruce, near which it is intended to raise an appropriate monument. The church contains 1400 available sittings, and was completed at an expense of £11,000.
   A church dedicated to St. Andrew was built in 1833, to replace an old chapel of ease which had become dilapidated; and in 1835 a district of the parish, about half a mile in length, and a quarter of a mile in breadth, containing a population of 3000, was assigned to it by the General Assembly, and for a short time formed a quoad sacra parish. It is a neat edifice containing 797 sittings, erected at a cost of £1560, partly by subscription: the minister's stipend is £120, derived from the seat-rents and collections, with a house and garden. An extension church, also, was erected at the east end of Golfdrum, in 1840, at an expense of £1673, of which £1002 were raised by subscription; and a district in the neighbourhood, with a population of about 3000, was formerly attached to it: the edifice contains 800 sittings, and the minister has a stipend partly secured on bond, and derived from seat-rents and collections. There was till 1843 a quoad sacra church in Canmore-street; but on the induction of its minister to the parish of Thurso, the congregation dispersed, and a Free church was built on its site in 1844. The parish likewise contains several places of worship for members of the United Associate Synod, one for the Relief Congregation, which was the first established in Scotland, one each for Baptists and Independents, and an Episcopalian chapel.
   The burgh grammar school is of uncertain foundation, though said to have been originally dependent on the monastery: Anne of Denmark, queen of James VI., granted to the town council £2000 Scotch for its support, in 1610. The buildings consist of two class-rooms, and a good dwelling-house for the rector, who has a small salary in addition to the fees; there is also a trifling bequest for an usher, but none is appointed, the rector selecting and paying his own assistant. The school under the patronage of the Fraternity of Guild, and for which an appropriate building was erected in 1816, at their expense, contains two rooms, one for English reading, grammar, and geography, and the other for writing, arithmetic, mathematics, and the classics; it is superintended by two masters, each of whom has a dwelling-house and garden rent free, in addition to the fees. About 200 children attend a school at Priory Lane, in which formerly fifty children were taught gratuitously from the proceeds of £1000 bequeathed by Adam Rolland, Esq., of Gask, and now lost; it is supported chiefly by very moderate fees. There is also a school at Golfdrum, opened in 1842, in which about forty children are instructed from the proceeds of a bequest by the Rev. Allan Mc Lean, minister of the parish. Infant schools, Sunday schools, and others, of which some have small endowments, together afford instruction to nearly 3000 children; and there are also numerous friendly societies, and institutions for humane and charitable purposes.
   The ancient monastery continued till the Reformation, when its revenue was estimated at £2513 Scots; the last abbot was George Dury, who died in 1561, when Robert Pitcairn, secretary of state to James VI., was appointed commendator, after which the abbacy was erected into a temporal lordship. Of this once magnificent structure the principal REMAINS are, the western portion of the ABBEY church, which is still entire, and presents a noble specimen of the later Norman style, with lofty massive columns and circular arches, and a timber-frame roof; the south wall of the roofless refectory, in which is a range of nine lofty windows; the western gable of the refectory, with a handsome large window of seven lights, enriched with flowing tracery; and the two towers at the entrance, of which one, north of the gable, and crowned with a low pyramidal spire, is entire, and the other, south-west of the gable, and under which is a spacious gateway, is partly a ruin. The great western doorway of the church, of receding arches enriched with zigzag mouldings, resting on a series of massive columns with flowered capitals, is a beautiful specimen of the later Norman style; and the north porch, though externally of plainer character, combines in the interior numerous minutely elegant details. In the abbey of Dunfermline were interred the remains of Malcolm Canmore and his queen, Margaret; his sons, Edward, Edgar, and Alexander I.; David I.; Malcolm IV.; Alexander III. and his queen, Margaret; Robert the Bruce and his queen, Elizabeth; the queen of Robert III.; and many of the ancient nobility of Scotland. In removing that portion of the abbey on the site of which the new church is erected, several very large slabs were dug up, supposed to indicate the royal sepulchres; and on taking away these stones, in 1819, among various other relics of the ancient kings, was found the skeleton of Robert Bruce, encased in two coverings of thin sheet lead, round which was wrapped a shroud of cloth of gold, the whole inclosed in a strong coffin of oak which had mouldered into dust. After due examination, and a careful and scrutinizing investigation of the minutest circumstances, which fully proved the identity of the body, the bones were replaced in their natural position, and, being wrapped in the original covering of lead, and deposited in a leaden coffin into which melted pitch was poured, were then reinterred in the very spot in which they had been found, in the choir of the ancient abbey, and immediately under the tower of the present church. On the lid of the coffin is the inscription, in raised letters, King Robert Bruce, under which are the dates 1329 and 1819. Upon the south-east side of the ravine, north of the tower of Canmore, is the cave of St. Margaret, to which that queen was in the habit of retiring for private devotions; it is an excavation in the rock, about twelve feet long and eight feet wide, and though of natural formation appears to have been adapted by art for that purpose. There are still some remains of the ancient Palace, consisting chiefly of the south-west wall and part of the eastern end of the building. The wall, which overlooks the glen, is 205 feet in length, sixty feet in height, and supported by buttresses; and in the ceiling of an oriel window near the south-eastern extremity, is a sculpture in bassrelief of the Annunciation, which was discovered during some repairs in 1812. At the south-eastern angle of the wall, a flight of steps leads down to a vaulted apartment called the Magazine from its having been used by the military, in the rebellion of 1745, as a store-room for their ammunition. There are remains of numerous chapels in the parish; and traces of the ancient walls surrounding the town, and vestiges of the gates, may also still be discovered. Dunfermline gives the title of Baron to the family of Abercromby.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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