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For the Westminster constituency, see Kinross-shire (UK Parliament constituency).
Kinross-shire within Scotland
 - 1975 46,485 acres (188 sq. km) (33rd)
 - Succeeded by Tayside Region
Status Local government county (until 1975)
Land registration county (1996 - )
Electoral ward
Chapman code KRS

County: Kinross County Council (1890 - 1929)
Perth and Kinross County Council (1929 - 1975)

Modern: Perth and Kinross Council (1996 - )
Lieutenancy: Lord Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross (1975 - )
 - HQ Kinross (county town)
 - Motto For all time
Kinross county arms.png
Coat of arms of the county council

Kinross-shire or the County of Kinross is a historic county in eastern Scotland, administratively part of Perth and Kinross.[1] Surrounding its largest settlement and county town of Kinross, the county borders Perthshire to the north, Fife to the east and south and Clackmannanshire to the west.

Kinross-shire is dominated by Loch Leven, a large inland loch, with two islands and home to an internationally important nature reserve. One of the islands contains a castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was once held prisoner. Much of the land in Kinross–shire is fertile agricultural land and most of the inhabitants were originally employed on the land. The gently-rolling farmland surrounding Loch Leven gives way to steep, more rugged terrain.


The shire or sheriffdom of Kinross was formed in the thirteenth century when the two parishes of Kinross and Orwell were removed from the Fothriff area of Fife. Cleish, Portmoak and Tullibole were added by act of parliament in 1685.[2][3] As local government in Scotland evolved, Kinross-shire gained a county council in 1890, which was later amalgamated with Perth County Council under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929.

The county suffered a decline in population in the 19th century as its inhabitants migrated to the urban areas to find work in manufacturing etc. The population of Kinross-shire in 1891 was 6673, in 1901 it was 6981. The only towns are Kinross (population in 1901, 2136) and Milnathort (1052). The 1971 census recorded a population of 6,423 in the county. The decline was hastened by the closure of the railways in the county soon after the Second World War. However, in recent years, construction of the M90 motorway north of the Forth Road Bridge has resulted in the area becoming more prominent. Tourism has increased, with visitors attracted by the unspoiled country villages and gently rolling hills reaching the shores of Loch Leven. The villages of Kinnesswood and Scotlandwell are attractive, and there are ancient standing stones at Orwell. The T in the Park music festival has been held in Balado since 1993, becoming a major annual event.

The economic outlook of Kinross-shire has improved and was recorded in 2009 as having an estimated population of 12,997. In addition, it outperformed both the Perth and Kinross area and Scotland averages in economic performance.[4] The area is promoted by the Kinross-shire Partnership, a body bringing together local government, tourist organisations and local organisations.[1][5]


Burgh of Kinross[edit]

Kinross-shire contained only one burgh, Kinross. The burgh was originally created a burgh of barony in 1540/1 and became a burgh of regality in 1685. In 1864 it became a police burgh with an elected town council. It continued to exist until 1975.

Civil parishes[edit]

The civil parishes of Kinross-shire from 1891. The burgh of Kinross is shown in red, Loch Leven in blue.

The county was anciently divided into a number of parishes: Cleish, Orwell (containing the market town of Milnathort), Kinross and Portmoak were entirely in Kinross-shire. The parishes of Arngask, Fossoway and Tulliebole and Forgandenny were partly in Perthshire. From 1845 they were used for local government purposes and governed by parochial boards.

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 created a boundary commission to ensure that all civil parishes lay within a single county. After the boundary changes the county contained five parishes: Fossoway (No. 1 on map), Orwell (2), Kinross (3), Portmoak (4) and Cleish (5).

From 1894 elected parish councils replaced the parochial boards. These in turn were abolished in 1930, and the powers they had exercised passed to the county council. Parishes continue to be used today for statistical purposes, though they no longer have any administrative function.

Parliamentary constituency[edit]

From 1426 the county returned one member to the Parliament of Scotland.

Following the Act of Union, Kinross-shire returned members to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1708. Due to the small population of the county, it was never a constituency in its own right: from 1708 to 1832 Kinross-shire and Clackmannanshire were alternating counties, a member being returned for one county at one parliament and for the other at the next.

The Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1832 merged the two counties into a single parliamentary county of Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire.

In 1918, House of Commons seats were redistributed, and Kinross-shire was combined with part of Perthshire to form the constituency of Kinross and Western Perthshire. This constituency continued in existence until 1983.

Coat of arms[edit]

The Kinross County Council received a grant of arms from Lord Lyon King of Arms on 18 May 1927. The arms depict Loch Leven Castle on an island (although the blazon simply describes it as a "castle"). The motto adopted was for all time: at the time of the grant the county council was campaigning to retain its independence from its larger neighbour Perthshire.[6]

When Perth and Kinross District Council was granted arms in 1977, the Kinross-shire arms were placed on an inescutcheon, or small shield, in the centre of the new arms.[7] These arms continue in use by the current Perth and Kinross Council.


Most common surnames in Kinross-shire at the time of the United Kingdom Census of 1881,[8] by order of incidence:


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Kinross-shire, from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica (Love to Know)
  3. ^ Text of the 1685 Act from The Annals of Kinross-shire by Dr. Ebenezer Henderson (Fossoway and District Community Council
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ R.M. Urquhart, Scottish Burgh and County Heraldry, London, 1973
  7. ^ R.M. Urquhart, Scottish Civic Heraldry, London, 1979
  8. ^ Most Common Surnames in Kinross-shire

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°15′N 3°25′W / 56.250°N 3.417°W / 56.250; -3.417