Parish of Beath

BEATH, a parish, in the district of Dunfermline, county of Fife, 2½ miles (S.) from Blair-Adam Inn; containing the villages of Cowden-Beath, Kelty, and Oakfield. This parish, though now destitute of any trees of the kind, is supposed to have originally abounded with birch, and from that circumstance to have derived its name, anciently written Baith, which, in the Gaelic language, signifies a birchtree. The church is a handsome edifice, erected in 1835, and affords ample accommodation.

The name of the parish was anciently spelt Baith, and sigifies, in Gaelic, birchwood—of which there is not a vestice now to justify the etymology.  Its surface is rugged and hilly, but there are no mountains.  The only lake in the parish is Loch Fitty.  At presnet there are three collieries in operation in the parish.  In 1821 the population was 729 and in 1831 it was 921.  About 400 of the populatoin lives in the villages of Kelty and Oakfield.  The number of families is 180.  The increase of population is owing to the additional number of hands employed at the collieries, and to a system of euing lately introduced.  The average number of births for the last seven years was 15, of marriages 5, and of deaths 13 (based on the parish records, but not all births and deaths are registered.)  During the last three years there have been 4 illegitimate births in the parish.

There are 5276 acres under cultivation.  All kinds of produce are grown including potatoes, turniops, cabbages, etc.  Hay is also grown.  Cattle is grazed.  There are no markets town in the parish, nor a post office.  The parish church is the only place of public worship.  The new church was built about 1835.  Of the population nearly 200 are Burgher Seceders.  Their number has greatly diminished within the last twenty years.  The parochial school is the only one in the parish.  It is attended by an average of 100 scholars.  There are one inn and four public-houses in the parish, and their effects are notoriously injurious to the morals of the people.  The fuel used in the parish is coal, of which there is great abundance at a reasonable price.

The above extract is taken from the account written in April 1833 and revised in April 1836.

Records Available

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