Thursday, March 10, 2011

@mpesce History of Cults in Fife

Cults, a parish of central Fife, containing to the W the post-office village of Pitlessie, 4½ miles SW of Cupar and 2½ E of its station and post-town, Ladybank, this being 28¼ miles N by E of Edinburgh. Bounded N by Monimail and Cupar, E by Ceres, S by Kettle, and W by Kettle and Collessie, it has an utmost length from N to S of 2½ miles, a varying width from E to W of 9 furlongs and 25/8 miles, and an area of 2925 acres, of which 95 lie detached, and 1 is water. ...

The Eden winds 3 miles north-eastward along the Collessie and Cupar borders and through the interior; where it quits the parish in the furthest N, the surface sinks to close on 100 feet above sea-level, thence rising to 698 feet near Brotus in the SW and 622 at Walton Hill, which latter, however, culminates just within Ceres. The rocks are chiefly carboniferous; and sandstone and limestone are extensively worked, whilst coal was at one time mined. The soil, in the N, is a light brownish sand; in the centre, is chiefly a soft black loam; on the sides and tops of the hills, is a strong fertile clay. A fort on the western slope of Walton Hill is the only antiquity of Cults, whose greatest son was Scotland's greatest painter, Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841), born in the simple manse. His father was parish minister, and at the school here Davie is said to have liked best 'to lie agroufe on the grun wi' his slate and pencil,' at the church to have sketched the portraits for 'Pitlessie Fair' (1804) and the 'Village Politicians' (1806). Crawford Priory is the chief mansion, and the Earl of Glasgow is chief proprietor, 3 others holding each an annual value of between £100 and £500,1 of from £50 to £100, and 5 of from £20 to £50. Giving off a portion to Springfield quoad sacra parish, Cults is in the presbytery of Cupar and synod of Fife; the living is worth £210, The church, 1 mile ENE of Pitlessie, was built in 1793, and, as enlarged in 1835, contains 430 sittings; the interior is adorned with a noble piece of sculpture by Chantrey, erected by Wilkie in memory of his parents. At Pitlessie also are a U.P. church and Cults public school, which, with accommodation for 150 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 82, and a grant of £64, 17s. Valuation (1882) £6596,17s. 8d. Pop. (1801) 699, (1831) 903, (1861) 800, (1871) 767, (1881) 704.—Ord. Sur., sh. 40,1867.

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