Scotland 24/7 - The definitive guide to travel and tourism in Scotland



Auchtermuchty's name - the field of the pigs - indicates that the community started as an agricultural one. The original field for the pigs was probably cleared from the forest which covered most of Fife, and Scotland, in medieval times. On the higher ground above the marshes of the Howe of Fife the land was fertile.

    When the Scottish Monarchs began to stay at Falkland during the 15th century the village of Auchtermuchty started to grow, providing provisions for the Royal Court and accommodations for those who could not find it, or afford it, in Falkland. Thus though agriculture remained the mainstay of the village, by the beginning of the 16th century Auchtermuchty was turning into a commercial center.

    The Royal Charter of 1517 allowed the Burgh to hold weekly markets on a Wednesday, and a public fair starting on St. Serf's day, lasting for eight days. The Burgh itself was allowed to buy and sell wine, candlewax, woollen cloth, linen cloth and other merchandise.

    Auchtermuchty became a trading center situated ideally on the Stirling - Kinross - St. Andrews road and the Falkland across to Newburgh road.There was produce and grain from the farms and fish from the River Tay and Loch Rossie, which was not drained until 1805. Auchtermuchty at an early stage became a center for weaving linen which was processed in a bleachfield just north of the Burgh.

    In 1728 the present Town House with its characteristic steeple was built. The weekly markets were held at the Mercat Cross outside. The Town Officer resplendent in gold braided black cap, directed traders to their stalls with his sword. Burgh officials tested the grain and measures.

    By 1755 the population of the parish had risen to 1,308 people, of whom about 1,000 lived in the village. In the next 75 years the  population tripled.There were now 700 households in the well cultivated parish. The increase was partly due to to a fall in child mortality, but mainly due to the great increase in the very skilled business of handloom weaving. There were nine farmers employing 85 laborers and thirty eight small holders, employing no laborers. Manufacturing workers had reached 402, and the number of persons employed in the retail trade had jumped to 246. Prosperity had also brought many  professional and other " educated " men to the Burgh. There were about 1,030 handlooms in the parish in 1839, of which 800 were in the Burgh. A good weaver could make 35 pounds per year in wages. During the next 50 years the weaving became mechanized and Auchtermuchty's heyday was over.

    Auchtermuchty is now a quiet village with a vibrant annual Music Festival, an interesting Town Square and other picturesque burgh features. The village is the location for a UK TV Series called "Dr Finlay's Casebook".

"Muchty" ,as  it is known locally, is certainly worth a visit, and is an excellent place as a base location or for a visit.


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