Fife

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Fife

Fìobha
Fife in Scotland.svg
Fife Council Crest.jpg
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 56°15′00″N3°12′00″W / 56.25000°N 3.20000°W / 56.25000; -3.20000 Coordinates: 56°15′00″N3°12′00″W / 56.25000°N 3.20000°W / 56.25000; -3.20000
Admin HQ Glenrothes
(formerly Cupar) [1]
Government
  Body Fife Council
  Control SNP + Lab (council NOC)
   MPs Douglas Chapman
Wendy Chamberlain
Peter Grant
Neale Hanvey
   MSPs Annabelle Ewing
Jenny Gilruth
Willie Rennie
Shirley-Anne Somerville
David Torrance
Area
  Total512 sq mi (1,325 km2)
Area rank Ranked 13th
Population
 (mid-2018 est.)
  Total371,910
  Rank Ranked 3rd
  Density730/sq mi (280/km2)
ONS code S12000015
ISO 3166 code GB-FIF
Website www.fife.gov.uk OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Fife ( /ff/ , Scottish English:  [fɐi̯f] ; Scottish Gaelic : Fìobha; Scots : Fife) is a council area and historic county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross (i.e. the historic counties of Perthshire and Kinross-shire) and Clackmannanshire. By custom it is widely held to have been one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland. Fife is one of the six local authorities part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region.

Contents

It is a lieutenancy area, and was a county of Scotland until 1975. It was very occasionally known by the anglicisation Fifeshire in old documents and maps compiled by English cartographers and authors. A person from Fife is known as a Fifer.

Fife was a local government region divided into three districts: Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and North-East Fife. Since 1996 the functions of the district councils have been exercised by the unitary Fife Council.

Fife is Scotland's third largest local authority area by population. It has a resident population of just under 367,000, over a third of whom live in the three principal towns of Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes.

The historic town of St Andrews is located on the northeast coast of Fife. It is well known for the University of St Andrews, one of the most ancient universities in the world and is renowned as the home of golf.

History

The historical headquarters of Fife County Council, in Cupar County buildings, Cupar.jpg
The historical headquarters of Fife County Council, in Cupar

Fife, bounded to the north by the Firth of Tay and to the south by the Firth of Forth, is a natural peninsula whose political boundaries have changed little over the ages. The Pictish king list and De Situ Albanie documents of the Poppleton manuscript mention the division of the Pictish realm into seven sub-kingdoms or provinces, one being Fife, though this is now regarded as a medieval invention. [2] :70–72 The earliest known reference to the common epithet The Kingdom of Fife dates from only 1678, in a proposition that the term derives from the quasi-regal privileges of the Earl of Fife. [2] :132 The notion of a kingdom may derive from a misinterpretation of an extract from Wyntoun. [2] :133 The name is recorded as Fib in A.D. 1150 and Fif in 1165. It was often associated with Fothriff.

The hill-fort of Clatchard Craig, near Newburgh, was occupied as an important Pictish stronghold between the sixth and eighth centuries AD. [3] [4]

Fife was an important royal and political centre from the reign of King Malcolm III onwards, as the leaders of Scotland gradually moved southwards away from their ancient strongholds around Scone. Malcolm had his principal home in Dunfermline and his wife Margaret was the main benefactor of Dunfermline Abbey. The Abbey replaced Iona as the final resting place of Scotland's royal elite, with Robert I amongst those to be buried there.

The Earl of Fife was until the 15th century considered the principal peer of the Scottish realm, and was reserved the right of crowning the nation's monarchs, reflecting the prestige of the area.

A new royal palace was gradually constructed at Falkland, formerly the stronghold of Clan MacDuff, and was used by successive monarchs of the House of Stuart, who favoured Fife for its rich hunting grounds.

King James VI of Scotland described Fife as a "beggar's mantle fringed wi gowd", [5] the golden fringe being the coast and its chain of little ports with their thriving fishing fleets and rich trading links with the Low Countries. Wool, linen, coal and salt were all traded. Salt pans heated by local coal were a feature of the Fife coast in the past. The distinctive red clay pan tiles seen on many old buildings in Fife arrived as ballast on trading boats and replaced the previously thatched roofs.

In 1598, King James VI employed a group of 12 men from Fife, who became known as the Fife adventurers, to colonise the Isle of Lewis in an attempt to begin the "civilisation" and de-gaelicisation of the region. This endeavour lasted until 1609 when the colonists, having been opposed by the native population, were bought out by Kenneth Mackenzie, the clan chief of the Mackenzies.

Fife became a centre of heavy industry in the 19th century. Coal had been mined in the area since at least the 12th century, but the number of pits increased ten-fold as demand for coal grew in the Victorian period. Previously rural villages such as Cowdenbeath rapidly swelled into towns as thousands moved to Fife to find work in its mines. The opening of the Forth and Tay rail bridges linked Fife with Dundee and Edinburgh and allowed the rapid transport of goods. Modern ports were constructed at Methil, Burntisland and Rosyth. Kirkcaldy became the world centre for the production of linoleum. Postwar Fife saw the development of Scotland's second new town, Glenrothes. Originally to be based around a coal mine, the town eventually attracted a high number of modern Silicon Glen companies to the region. Fife Council and Fife Constabulary also centre their operations in Glenrothes.

There are numerous notable historical buildings in Fife, some of which are managed by the National Trust for Scotland or Historic Scotland. They include Dunfermline Abbey (the last resting place of Scottish royalty), the palace in Culross, Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy, Dysart Harbour area, Balgonie Castle near Coaltown of Balgonie, Falkland Palace (hunting palace of the Scottish Kings), Kellie Castle near Pittenweem, Hill of Tarvit (a historical house), St. Andrews Castle, St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rule's Tower.

Governance

Fife House, seat of Fife Council Fife House, Glenrothes.jpg
Fife House, seat of Fife Council

Fife is represented by five constituency members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and four members of the United Kingdom parliament (MPs) who are sent to Holyrood and the British Parliament respectively. Following the 2015 general election, all four of the MPs constituencies were held by the Scottish National Party. [6] In the 2017 general election, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath was regained by Labour. [7] At the same election, the seat of North East Fife became the closest seat in the country with the SNP holding a majority of 2 over the Liberal Democrats [8] Three of the Scottish Parliament constituencies are held by the Scottish National Party: Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline, and Mid Fife and Glenrothes. One is held by the Scottish Liberal Democrats: North East Fife. [9]

Fife Council's administrative headquarters and Police Scotland's P Division (formerly Fife Constabulary) are based in Glenrothes. The Council meetings take place in Fife House (formerly known as Glenrothes House) in the town centre. The west wing of the building was built by the Glenrothes Development Corporation (GDC) as their offices in 1969, which was later used as the headquarters of Fife Regional Council. [10] The former administrative seat was Cupar. [1] Since the last Scottish election in 2012, Fife Council has been run as a minority by the Labour party, with a total of 35 seats, with support of Tory and independent councillors. Alex Rowley was elected leader of Fife Council but demitted office following his election as an MSP. David Ross succeeded as leader in February 2014. The SNP and the other parties form the opposition.

Geography

Fifeshire & Kinross-shire Civil Parish map, with parishes outlined in red FIFE & KINROSS SHIRES Civil Parish map.jpg
Fifeshire & Kinross-shire Civil Parish map, with parishes outlined in red

Fife is a peninsula in eastern Scotland bordered on the north by the Firth of Tay, on the east by the North Sea and by the Firth of Forth to the south. The route to the west is partially blocked by the mass of the Ochil Hills. Almost all road traffic into and out of Fife has to pass over one of four bridges, south on the Forth Road Bridge (public transport and cyclists only) and Queensferry Crossing, west on the Kincardine Bridge or north-east via the Tay Road Bridge, the exception being traffic headed north on the M90. Tolls were abolished on the Tay Road Bridge and Forth Road Bridge on 11 February 2008.

There are extinct volcanic features, such as the Lomond Hills which rise above rolling farmland, and Largo Law, a volcanic plug in the east. At 522 metres (1,713 ft), the West Lomond is the highest point in Fife. The coast has fine but small harbours, from the industrial docks in Burntisland and Rosyth to the fishing villages of the East Neuk such as Anstruther and Pittenweem. The large area of flat land to the north of the Lomond Hills, through which the River Eden flows, is known as the Howe of Fife.

Looking across the farmland of North East Fife to the distant Lomond Hills Northeast Fife.jpg
Looking across the farmland of North East Fife to the distant Lomond Hills

North of the Lomond Hills can be found villages and small towns in a primarily agricultural landscape. The areas in the south and west of Fife, including the towns of Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and the Levenmouth region are lightly industrial and more densely populated. The only areas which could claim to be heavily industrial are Rosyth, around the naval dockyard and perhaps the Mossmorran Natural Gas Liquids fractionation plant on the outskirts of Cowdenbeath.

The east corner of Fife, generally that east of a line between Leven and St Andrews is recognised throughout Scotland as the East Neuk (or corner) of Fife, small settlements around sheltered harbours, with distinctive vernacular "Dutch" or corbie (crow) stepped gabled and stone-built architecture – an area much sought after as second homes of the Edinburgh professional classes since the Forth Road Bridge was built.[ citation needed ] The fishing industry on which the East Neuk settlements were built has declined in recent years with the main fishing fleet now operating from Pittenweem and the harbour in Anstruther being used as a marina for pleasure craft.

There are several islands located off the coast of Fife, such as the Isle of May, Inchkeith and Inchcolm. The former Preston Island south of Valleyfield is no longer an island following land reclamation work.

Towns and villages

Cupar took over as county town from Crail in the early 13th century. Glenrothes is now the administrative centre, after the decision to locate the headquarters of the newly established Fife Regional Council there in 1975. Fife's three major towns are Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Glenrothes. According to the 2012 estimate, Dunfermline is the largest settlement by population, [12] followed by Kirkcaldy then Glenrothes. The next most sizeable towns by population are St Andrews, Cowdenbeath, Rosyth, Methil and Dalgety Bay. The rest of Fife includes smaller towns such as Inverkeithing, Kincardine, Anstruther, Lochgelly, Burntisland, Leven, Newburgh, Tayport and Cupar, and villages such as Springfield, Kinglassie, Kinghorn, Elie, Auchtertool, Crossgates, Ballingry and Auchtermuchty.

The county was formerly divided into parishes, often but not always based on a town or village:

Culture

Falkland Palace Falkland Palace.jpg
Falkland Palace
Scottish Lowlands farm. Detail from Slezer's Prospect of Dunfermline, 1693 17thC Scottish Lowland farm.jpg
Scottish Lowlands farm. Detail from Slezer's Prospect of Dunfermline, 1693
A closer view of the Lomond Hills, seen from Auchtermuchty The Lomond Hills seen from Auchtermuchty, Howe of Fife.JPG
A closer view of the Lomond Hills, seen from Auchtermuchty

Fife contains 4,961 listed buildings and 48 conservation areas. [13] Domestic sites of importance include Falkland Palace, Kellie Castle, Dunfermline Palace, St Andrews Castle, Culross Palace and Kirkcaldy's Ravenscraig Castle. Fife has a number of ecclesiastical sites of historical interest. St Andrews Cathedral was home to the powerful Archbishopric of St Andrews, and later became a centre of the Scottish Reformation, while Dunfermline Abbey was the last resting place of a number of Scottish kings. Balmerino and Culross abbeys were both founded in the 13th century by the Cistercians, while a century before Lindores Abbey was founded by the Tironensians outside Newburgh; all were highly important sites.

The Stanza Poetry Festival, East Neuk Festival, Pittenweem Arts Festival are events of national cultural importance. Smaller festivals like Cupar Arts Festival also take place. The Byre Theatre in St Andrews and Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy were both highly regarded as touring venues, the latter also being the base of the grand opera company Fife Opera. The Byre has re-opened in Autumn, 2014 [14] following its going into administration in 2012. [15]

Notable Fifers

Sports

St Andrews in Fife is the home of golf, being home to the R&A, the governing body of the sport throughout the world, aside from the United States and Mexico. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, from which it was devolved in 2004, is the world's oldest golf club.

Fife has four football clubs playing in the Scottish Professional Football League: Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife (based in Methil), and Raith Rovers (based in Kirkcaldy). Kelty Hearts compete in the Lowland League, eight clubs play in the East of Scotland League while a further seven play in the SJFA East Region.

Fife Flyers (based in Kirkcaldy) are the UK's oldest ice hockey club and play in Britain's top flight, the Elite Ice Hockey League.

Fife is also home to eight rugby union clubs. Howe of Fife (based in Cupar), and Kirkcaldy play in Scottish Rugby's national leagues while Dunfermline, Rosyth Sharks, Glenrothes, Madras, Waid Academy (based in Anstruther) compete in the Caledonia regional leagues. University of St Andrews - the oldest rugby club in Fife - play in the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) system.

Kingdom Kangaroos are Fife's only Australian Rules Football team, with training held in Rosyth and Kirkcaldy.

Aberdour Shinty Club have two men's teams, two women's teams and multiple youth squads.

Fife also has two competitive basketball teams; Dunfermline Reign, who play out of St Columba's High School in Dunfermline and compete across a number of national SBC competitions, and Fife Steel, a Kirkcaldy based team, operating a number of age groups, with a Senior men's and an under 19's team currently playing in Division 3 of the Lothian Men's Basketball League.

Fife is the location of several of the nation's motorsport venues; Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scotland's national motorsport venue and the only FIA graded venue in the country, Cowdenbeath Racewall, a stock car oval racing venue, Lochgelly Raceway, a venue containing a drifting course and a 1/4 mile oval in and Crail Raceway, a venue located on a former military aerodrome containing a 1/4 mile drag strip and a karting circuit operated by the East of Scotland Kart Club.

Media

Locally published newspapers include the Fife Free Press in Kirkcaldy; the Dunfermline Press in Dunfermline; the Glenrothes Gazette in Glenrothes, the East Fife Mail in Leven, the Fife Herald in Cupar / Howe of Fife and the St Andrews Citizen in St Andrews. DC Thomson publishes Fife and West Fife editions of the Dundee Courier & Advertiser , [17] and the Counties Edition of the Evening Telegraph is sold in Fife.

The only Fife-based radio station is Kingdom FM. There is also a community radio station that broadcasts each evening and is run solely by youths, called Fife Youth Radio. Other local radio stations, Radio Tay and Edinburgh's 97.3 Forth One, broadcast to the northern and southern parts of the region respectively.

See also

Related Research Articles

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The Firth of Forth is the estuary (firth) of several Scottish rivers including the River Forth. It meets the North Sea with Fife on the north coast and Lothian on the south. It was known as Bodotria in Roman times. In the Norse sagas it was known as the Myrkvifiörd. An early Welsh name is Merin Iodeo, or the "Sea of Iudeu".

Burntisland town in Fife, Scotland

Burntisland is a royal burgh and parish in Fife, Scotland, on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 6,269.

A92 road road

The A92 is a major highway that runs through Fife, Dundee, Angus, Aberdeenshire, and Aberdeen City in Scotland. From south to north, it runs from Dunfermline to Blackdog, just north of Aberdeen.

Fife Scottish

Fife Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, in Scotland, was formed as a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Walter Alexander & Sons (Fife) Ltd and is now part of the Stagecoach Group, under the control of Stagecoach East Scotland.

Leven, Fife seaside town in Fife, in the east Central Lowlands of Scotland

Leven is a seaside town in Fife, set in the east Central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies on the coast of the Firth of Forth at the mouth of the River Leven, 8.1 miles (13.0 km) north-east of the town of Kirkcaldy and 6.4 miles (10.3 km) east of Glenrothes.

North East Fife (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

North East Fife is a county constituency in Fife, Scotland, represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament by Wendy Chamberlain since 2019.

East Fife was a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885-1983. Along with West Fife, it was formed by splitting the old Fife constituency.

Dunfermline East (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983-2005

Dunfermline East was a burgh constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post voting system.

Fife Circle Line railway in City of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

The Fife Circle is the local rail service north from Edinburgh. It links towns of south Fife and the coastal towns along the Firth of Forth before heading to Edinburgh. Operationally, the service is not strictly a circle route, but, rather, a point to point service that reverses at the Edinburgh end, and has a large bi-directional balloon loop at the Fife end.

Fife Constabulary

Fife Constabulary was the territorial police force responsible for the Scottish council area of Fife.

Kirkcaldy (Scottish Parliament constituency) constituency of the Scottish Parliament

Kirkcaldy is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality method of election. Also, it is one of nine constituencies in the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

North East Fife (Scottish Parliament constituency) region or constituency of the Scottish Parliament

North East Fife is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament. It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality method of election. It is one of nine constituencies in the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

Kingdom Caledonian Amateur Football Association

The Kingdom Caledonian Amateur Football Association (KCAFA) was a football (soccer) league competition for amateur clubs in the Fife area of Scotland. It was formed in 1984 when the top sides from the East Fife A.F.A. and the Kirkcaldy & District A. F. L. broke away and amalgamated with the aim of creating a highly competitive league with fewer games in an effort to raise the quality and the profile of amateur football in Fife. The association was affiliated to the Scottish Amateur Football Association.

Fife Coastal Path Great Trail in Fife, Scotland, UK

The Fife Coastal Path is a Scottish long distance footpath that runs from Kincardine to Newburgh along the coastline of Fife. The path was created in 2002, originally running from North Queensferry to Tayport. It was extended in 2011 with a new section running from Kincardine to North Queensferry, then again in 2012 from Newburgh to Tayport. The path, which usually takes between one week and 10 days to walk in full, now runs for 187 kilometres (116 mi). The Fife Coastal Path is managed and maintained by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, a registered environmental charity, and is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage. About 500,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 35,000 walk the entire route.

KY postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

The KY postcode area, also known as the Kirkcaldy postcode area, is a group of 16 postcode districts covering most of Fife and Kinross, post towns: Anstruther, Burntisland, Cowdenbeath, Cupar, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Inverkeithing, Kelty, Kinross, Kirkcaldy, Leven, Lochgelly and St Andrews in Scotland.

The Edinburgh and Northern Railway was a railway company authorised in 1845 to connect Edinburgh to both Perth and Dundee. It relied on ferry crossings of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay, but despite those disadvantages it proved extremely successful. It took over a short railway on the southern shore of the Forth giving a direct connection to Edinburgh, and it changed its name to the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway.

During the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, called the Protectorate, the Scottish burghs of St Andrews, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Cupar, Anstruther Easter, Pittenweem. Crail, Dunfermline, Kinghorn, Anstruther Wester, Inverkeithing, Kilrenny and Burntisland were jointly represented by one Member of Parliament in the House of Commons at Westminster from 1654 until 1659. Elections were held at Cupar.

References

  1. 1 2 Complete Atlas of the British Isles. Readers' Digest. 1965. p. 218.
  2. 1 2 3 Taylor, Simon; Gilbert Márkus (2012). The Place-Names of Fife, Volume 5. Donington, Lincs.: Shaun Tyas. ISBN   9781907730085.
  3. "The site record for Clatchard Craig at RCAHMS". Canmore.rcahms.gov.uk.
  4. "Excavation Summary by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland" (PDF).
  5. Crofton, Ian (5 November 2012). A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable. ISBN   9780857906373.
  6. "MPs of Fife". Parliament UK. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  7. "Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News.
  8. "Fife North East parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News.
  9. "Scotland Election 2016". BBC News.
  10. Ferguson A History of Glenrothes p.91.
  11. https://archive.org/stream/imperialgazettee01wils#page/n778/mode/1up
  12. "Mid 2012 population estimates of settlements" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2014.
  13. "Fife's listed buildings". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  14. "Byre Theatre to reopen after University of St Andrews agree rescue package". Herald Scotland.
  15. "Byre Theatre in St Andrews board 'deeply regrets' closure". BBC News. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  16. "Steele biography". www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  17. "The Courier - British Newspapers Online".