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Kirkness, Kinross-shire





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Portmoak was formerly in Fife, and is now in the county of Kinross.


Scotland's Places says: "Portmoak, a parish in Kinross-shire until 1975. It was sometimes known as Kirkness parish. A medieval parish and a parish for civil and religious purposes from the sixteenth century until 1975. The boundaries of the civil parish were altered by the Boundary Commissioners in 1891."


Kirkness. These lands, lying in the south-eastern end of Portmoak parish, are mentioned in the first entry in the Chartulary of St. Andrews, and were for a long period Church property. The name is of Teutonic origin, meaning the ness or promontory of the church.
The locality, however, in no way accords with this meaning. But in the Constabulary of Crail there was the Kirkness, and there appears to have been a Kirkness near Balmerino. The Church seems, therefore, to have transferred to these lands the name of an earlier possession on the coast, and so superseded an old Celtic name. In contrast to this, here, as in many places, the fields bear old Celtic names, e.g. Drumshandry


Kirkness is, in 2010, a large ruined farm containing several dwellings and a walled garden in the parish of Portmoak, near Loch Leven. 


It was at one time owned by the Douglas family (Douglas of Kirkness) Sir George Douglas of Kirkness, d1609, 4th son of William, 6th earl of Morton, is,  the first 'Douglas of Kirkness', in Kinross.


In 1103, Edgar, King of Scotland, in a Charter confirmed the gift of Macbeth of Portmoak, Kirkness, Bolgin, Markinch, Scoonie, Keldad-Earnoch, Auchterderran, and Pentements, &c., belonging thereto.


It is recorded that Macbeth and Gruoch granted the neighbouring lands of Kirkness to the Culdees.


In 1152, Robert, Bishop of St Andrews, by Charter, conveys St Serf's Priory, Library, Lands, &c., to the Priory of St Andrews, including:

"Lochleven, with all its pertinentsthat is, Findahin, and all its appendages; and Portmoak, and all its appendages; and the Mills at the Bridge; and a Mill in the land of Fundahin; and Chirtness (Kirkness), with all its appendages; and the half Village of Urechechein, with its appendages; and the Kirktown of Scoonie, with its appendages; and twenty meles (71/2 stones) of cheese and one pig from Markinch, and ten meles and four meles from Breis, and one pig from Etmor, and twenty meles of barley from Balchristee, and twenty meles of cheese and one pig from Bolgin, son of Thorfin; and the tithes of our House on the Island, and the tithes of the whole rent which we are to receive at the House, and the Church of Vestments which the Culdees had".


In 1395, Andrew Wynton, Canon Regular of St Andrews, was Prior of St Serf's Priory, Lochleven, as early as this year, as he was then present with others at a Perambulation for dividing the baronies of Kirkness and Lochor.


In 1684, a charter was ratified in favour of Sir William Bruce of Kinross which makes mention of 'Robert Douglas of Strathhendry, Mr George and Elizabeth Douglas, children to late Sir William Douglas of Kirkness,' and 'with another charter granted by the principal and masters of St Leonards College of St Andrews, to the said Sir William Bruce and his foresaids, of the lands and barony of Kirkness, with the priories, manse and ward in the town of Kirkness and inch in Loch Leven, called St Serf's Inch, with the boat, fishings and others therein mentioned with the pertinents, lying within the sheriffdom of Fife,'



David Marshall's Kinross-shire & and its Owners, pp700. 3 vols, apparently lists details of the Barony of Kirkness & its Owners - Reidie, Douglas, Donaldson,Wylie, Douglas, Clephane, 1039-1056 to 1887. There are only four copies of this book and they are held at Kinross Library, Perth Library, Scottish Record Office, and one privately held.




'Red Dave', has kindly allowed us to use the following images. They may not be copied without his permission.


What are either the remains of a farmstead, or part of a small fermtoun are situated 100m E of the ruined shell of Kirkness House.
At least three buildings can be identified, each reduced to low earthworks. The buildings lie immediately beyond the headland of a furlong of curving rigs which extend SW towards the walled garden of Kirkness House.
The walled garden has clearly been laid out across the system of rig, and several other furlongs are visible in its vicinity. To the N of the buildings, there are also traces of a trackway leading westwards in the direction of the house.


Kirkness House which stands on a low hill 400m E of West Mains of Kirkness, has been reduced to a shell; examination of its fabric reveals at least four phases of construction. Traces of the layout of the walled garden to the S of the house can still be detected, and various outbuildings lie to the E. The house is depicted as roofed on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Fife & Kinross, 1856, sheet 31), and on the 2nd edition of the OS 6-inch map, (Fifeshire, 1896, sheet xxvi SE).


Kirkness, Portmoak

Kirkness, Portmoak

Kirkness, Portmoak 

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