Methil, former parish, Wemyss

Grid reference

NO 358 006 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

335800 700600

Latitude

56.19375219767513

Longitude

-3.034680549596506

County

Fife

Nearby places

Kennoway, parish (1.17 miles)

St Memma's Church, Scoonie (1.67 miles)

Scoonie, parish (1.67 miles)

Wemyss, parish (2.64 miles)

St Mary's Church, Wemyss (2.67 miles)

Object Classification

Parish (non-extant in 1975)

Is linear feature?

No

Relationships with other parishes

Within Wemyss, parish

Parish details

Methil now part of Wemyss WMS

Parish TLA

MEX

Medieval diocese

St Andrews

Parish notes

Methil MEX now forms part of Wemyss WMS. It lay in the deanery of Fothrif, diocese of St Andrews, and the patronage of its church was in the hands of the bishops, later archbishops, of that diocese from at least the early 13th c. (CPL i, p.30; and Cowan 1967, under Methil). The medieval par. church of Methil lay on the south bank of the River Leven, c.2.5 km from its mouth (NGR NO359006). The land belonging to, and beside, it is called lie Kirkland in 1537 (RMS iv no.1656), and this name still exists as a street- and area-name in present-day Methil. The most likely meaning of 'Methil' is 'middle church' (see Methil below). It lay roughly midway between the par. churches of Markinch and Scoonie, as well as between those of Kennoway and Wemyss. However, this can scarcely be the only explanation of the name, since most churches lie midway between other churches. It may in fact have been that Methil church was a relative late-comer to the ecclesiastical scene in this area, and was therefore named in relation to at least some of the longer-established churches surrounding it. If this is the case, and if, as has been proposed (Taylor 1995), cill was being used to form place-names no later than the early 8th c., then it points to a 7th c. date for the establishment of neighbouring religious centres. Since Markinch and Scoonie both show signs of being particularly early church foundations (see for example Markinch MAI Notes), then it may have been in relation to these two that Methil was named. By 1614 Methil was the name not only of a par., but also of a barony, whose superior was the archbishop of St Andrews (RMS vii no.1026). At some time between this date and the 1630s Methil MEX was dissolved, and became annexed to its larger neighbour WMS. It is thus not mentioned as a par. in the Kirkcaldy Presbytery Book, which starts in 1638 (Stevenson 1900). It was bounded by the River Leven on the north, and on the south-west by the (now mainly conduited) burn which flows into the sea at Denbeath (see RMS vii no.1536). Immediately to the east lay a detached part of Markinch MAI, consisting of Dubbyside or Innerleven, which was not annexed to Wemyss WMS until 1891 (see Shennan, 1892, 262-3; and MAI Introductory Notes). For more details of MEX, as well as of the development of the burgh of Methil, see under the settlement-name.