Beath, parish

Grid reference

NT 152 921 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

315200 692100





Nearby places

Lumphinnan, eccles. Ballingry (1.25 miles)

Lumphinnans, settlement Ballingry (1.58 miles)

St Ninians, opencast coal mine, Beath (1.68 miles)

St Margaret's Well, Beath parish (2.19 miles)

Lady Dean, Dunfermline (2.39 miles)

Object Classification

Parish (extant in 1975)


NGR for the parish kirk of Beath.

Relationships with other parishes

Within Dalgety, parish (formerly)

Parish details


Parish TLA




Medieval diocese


Parish notes

Beath was a chapel annexed to DGY within the diocese of Dunkeld, and under the auspices of Inchcolm Abbey (see Inchcolm Chrs. p.169). It is first mentioned as a par. church in 1430 (ibid. no.xlix). Its parochial status is implied in records relating to its teind sheaves in 1569 (ibid. p.214), but it is referred to as a chapel in 1574 (ibid. p.217). It is specifically described as a par. in 1577 (ibid. p.215). It was re-erected as a par. in 1643, when it was enlarged with lands which had formerly belonged to DFL. These lands were Blairenbathie, Whitehouse, Woodend (alias Kelty), Thornton, Cocklaw, Kelty Houses, Foulford, Lassodie, Meiklebeath, Dalbeath and Hill of Beath, that is all those lands that had once belonged to Dunfermline Abbey (Erskine 1844 i, 7). There are some parts of Beath which are still in DFL e.g. Halbeath and Keirsbeath. The lands of Beath were divided up between the abbeys of Dunfermline and Inchcolm. Dunfermline held the larger part, which consisted of all the south, west, and most of the north of the modern par., while Inchcolm held the centre and north-east corner. RHP 14330 is an estate plan representing the earl of Moray's barony of Beath in 1759. It consisted of the farms of Muirton, Kirkton, Craigbeath, Netherton, Hilton, Easterton † and Shiells. If we add Leuchatsbeath, which by this time was no longer part of the barony, then this plan shows exactly the extent of Inchcolm's part of Beath, which was also co-extensive with the medieval par. of Beath. In 1441 all the lands in west Fife which belonged to Inchcolm were created into a barony called Kirkbeath (Inchcolm Chrs. Beath is unique in Fife in having generated a surprisingly high number of so-called proprietorial names i.e. the place-name Beath coupled with the name of the family which held the lands. It began in the 12th c. with Beath-Fleming and Beath-Waldeve, reached a peak in the 16th c. with names like Beath-Bell, Beath-Coutts, Beath-Halkett, Bonally Beath, Orrock's Beath and Stewart's Beath, and is still evident on the modern map in place-names such as Leuchatsbeath and Keirsbeath (DFL). There are 22 personal names involved, all of which I have listed below. Almost all these personal names occur as the names of tenants of the lands of Dunfermline Abbey, and the bulk of them can be seen as arising from the feuing and alienation of its lands around the time of the Reformation. The lands of Inchcolm were not so fragmented, being taken over en masse by the earls of Moray. The only proprietorial name in Inchcolm's part of Beath is Leuchatsbeath, which was feued out at a relatively early date, and did not become part of the Moray estate. There are three possible constructions involved in these proprietorial names, which can vary within one place-name: most frequently occurring is the personal name + genitival s + Beath (e.g. Keirsbeath); the next most frequent is Beath + the personal name (e.g. Beath-Coutts); and least frequent is the personal name without genitival s + Beath (e.g. Bonally-Beath). For a discussion of these proprietorial or manorial names see, for example, Barrow 1980, 42 note 43. Note that I am departing from my usual arrangement of settlement-names in their pre-Reformation parishes, and have included below all names containing 'Beath' as an en generic element, irrespective of whether they lay in medieval DFL or BEA. The medieval and modern par. is given, in that order, after each name. Personal names combined with Beath: Balmanno, Bell, Bonally, Coutts, Cowden,