Lassodie History

The village of Lassodie was situated close to Loch Fitty in the parish of Beath in Fife. The village grew up around the mining industry and by 1901 had a population of over 1400.  The village consisted of 3 separate hamlets - Old Rows, New Rows and Fairfield.  There was a post-office and Co-op at New Rows and a Co-op at Fairfield.  The school  and the United Free Church (St Ninians) were also situated at New Rows.  The main coal company offices were situated at Old Rows. By 1931 the mines had closed and many miners were given notice to quit their homes.

Early Days

Advertisement 1825

Farms & Coal in the West of Fife
To be let for 19 years, or such number of years as agreed upon,
The following FARMS on the ESTATE of LASSODIE, in the parish of Beath, about four miles from Dunfermline, viz.
1. Lassodie Mains, with Mansion-house and Offices, containing about 197 Scots Acres.
2. Whinnyhall, containing about 180 Scots Acres
3. Braehead, containing about 195 Scots Acres
4. Blairathie, containing about 267 Scots Acres
The farms being contiguous, will be let either two or more of them conjoined or in such divisions as may be agreed upon. The lands are mostly arable, fit for any mode of husbandry, and susceptible of great improvement at moderate expense, from the excellent lime rock on the lands being now opened, and having commenced burning. They are well situated for markets, the turnpike road from Dunfermline to Kinross running through the lands.
The COAL on the lands of Lassodie will be let on liberal terms, and at a fixed rent, or lordship, or both, as may be agreed upon.
For particulars application may be made to Mr William Beveridge, writer in Dunfermline; and the lands will be shown by applying at Lassodie House.
Offers will be received till the 1st day of July next, by Mr Beveridge, or George Combe, W.S. 2, Brown Square Edinburgh.
The GRASS PARKS on this estate, 15 in number, will be let for pasture for the ensuing season, by public roup, on Wednesday 30th March next. The roup to begin at Lassodie House, at eleven o'clock forenoon. [Scotsman 2 March 1825]

Advertisement 1851

Desirable Estate in Fifeshire
Reduced Upset Price £9500

To be sold by public roup, within the Tontine Hotel, Cupar, on Friday, 10th October 1851, at one pm.

The estate of Cocklaw, including the lands of Lassodie, part of Wyndyedge and the superiority and feu duties of the villages of Oakfield, & c., measuring 403 acres imperial or thereby, together with two thirds of the Mill of Lassodie and converted multures effeiring thereto; all belonging to the sequestrated estate of Mr James Moodie, deceased.

This estate has a fine southern exposure, is mostly enclosed, and, by judicious drainage and improvements, may be made one of the most eligible properties in the West of Fife. There are 6 or 7 seams of coal on the lands of Lassodie, which Mr D Landale, mining engineer, Edinburgh, reports to be of considerable value, and there is also a small field of blackband ironstone which being associated with a thin wild coal, could be wrought at moderate expense. There are about 20 acres in thriving plantations, affording shelter, and at the same time ornamental. The property lies in the parish of Beath, within 2 miles of Cowdenbeath station of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee railways, the branches whereof to Rescobie Lime Works and Kelty Coalfields for which and act of parliament has been obtained, pass along its boundaries on the south and east. It is bounded by the old Queensferry Road on the east, it is intersected by the old public road from Blairadam to Dunfermline on the north, and has also access to Dunfermline from the south by another good road, from which it is only about 4 miles distant.

The teinds are exhausted, and the public burdens are very moderate. The upset price is now reduced to a sum which will afford ample return to a purchaser.
If not sold in One, the property will be offered in 2 lots: the one to consist of Cocklaw, measuring about 240 acres, with the feu duties thereof; and the other, Lassodie Mill, measuring about 155 acres imperial, with the feu duties, converted multures, and minerals thereof.

Full particulars will be communicated by Archibald Borthwick, accountant, Edinburgh; or Messrs Drummond and Mitchell, writers Cupar. Mr Taylor, at Thornton, will point out the boundaries. Edinburgh 3rd Oct 1851. [Scotsman 8 October 1851]

Advertisement 1863

Lassodie Colliery, Dunfermline
The Lassodie coals are, from the celebrated Dunfermline or Fifeshire Splint Seam, unequalled in point of quality for household purposes: and can be had fresh from the pits daily per rail, at moderate prices from:
James Sword, sole agent for the Company, Scotland Street Station, Edinburgh; Junction Wharf and Old Bridge End, Leith [Scotsman 4 July 1863]

Advertisement 1863

Dunfermline New Coal Field
Estate of Lassodie
Lassodie Colliery Office, Scotland Street Station, Edinburgh
Best splint, great and household coal, all of the finest quality for household purposes, public offices, bakers, &c., from 11s. 6d. to 15s. 6d. per ton including cartage
James Sword, Agent by direct appointment for Edinburgh & Leith [Scotsman 24 October 1863]

Water Supply

Prior to 1887 water was drawn from wells.  In 1887, the local council, at the instigation of Mr Brownlie the colliery manager, set up a water supply to the village.

Water Supply - 13 September 1887
A new water supply to the villages of Lassodie and Fairfield, near Dunfermline, was successfully inaugurated yesterday, the ceremony of turning on the water being performed by Mrs Brownlie. [Scotsman 13 September 1887]


Advertisements 1873

New School Buildings
The School Board of the Parish of Beath propose to erect three schools on sites near to the villages of Cowdenbeath, Kelty and Lassodie, capable of accommodating 500, 300 and 250 children respectively. They also propose to erect schoolmasters houses adjoining the schools at Cowdenbeath and Lassodie.
The board invite architects to send in plans, specifications and estimates of the costs of these buildings, not later than 12th November 1873. The plans must be drawn to a scale of one inch to every eight feet, and must be in accordance with the rules of the Scottish Education Department. Premiums of £10, 10s. and £5 5s. will be awarded to those competitors whose plans are not adopted, but who in the opinion of the Board, rank first and second in the order of merit. The Board do not pledge themselves to adopt any plans that may be sent in.

Further particulars may be obtained from the undersigned, to whom plans, &c., are to be addressed.
John Ross, Clerk to the Board Dunfermline 9th October 1873 [Scotsman 18 October 1873]

Advertisement 1874

Teacher (Certificated Female) wanted for Lassodie Colliery School. Salary meantime £40, exclusive of Government grant. A new school to accommodate 250 children is about to be erected, and when completed, the teacher who may now be appointed will be taken over by the School Board of the Parish of Beath if her services prove satisfactory.
Applications with testimonials to be addressed to Mr J Brownlie, Lassodie by Dunfermline.[Scotsman 14 March 1874]

Advertisement 1877

Head Master wanted by the Parish of Beath School Board for the new school about to be opened at Lassodie. Must be certificated. Salary £140 per annum, with new dwelling house adjacent to the school. Applications to be lodged with John Ross, writer, Dunfermline, clerk to the Board, on or before 1st April 1877.[Scotsman 24 March 1877]

The Beith (sic) School Board have appointed Mr Wm Drysdale, first assistant Cowdenbeath Public, to be headmaster of Lassodie Public School [Scotsman 11 March 1882]

Lassodie Court Cases

3 Oct 1876

At a Sheriff and Jury court at Dunblane yesterday, James Malcolm, miner Lassodie, was sent 5 months to prison for assaulting a pitsinker named Mitchell in a railway carriage with a bottle. [Scotsman 3 Oct 1876]

6th November 1923

Peter Mills, Garalands cottages, Beath parish, was fined £1 for having in Lassodie pit neglected to observe the rules with regard to propping. [Scotsman 6 November 1923]

5th February 1924

Action of adherence and aliment
In Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Umpherston heard evidence in an action of adherence and aliment by Mrs Mary Toal or Gray, 19 Old Rows Lassodie, against her husband, David Gordon Ogilvie Gray, a private in the first Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. Pursuer stated that her husband deserted her and joined the Army as the single man. Some time afterwards she met him in Edinburgh, but he deserted her on the street, and she lodged information with the police, which led to his apprehension as an army deserter. Thereafter the army authorities allowed her two shillings a day which was deducted from her husband's pay, but this had been stopped pending an order by the court in the present action. It was stated that defenders army pay was 15 shillings a week. Sheriff Umpherston gave decree of adherence, with aliment at the rate of 14 shillings per week. [Scotsman 5 February 1924]

4th February 1930

Hutch pinning in Fife
John Penman, miner, 38 Dundas Street, Townhill, was convicted on evidence at the Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday, and sent to prison for 60 days' for hutch pinning in No. 10 pit, Lassodie Colliery. James Penman, a son, who acted as drawer to his father pleaded guilty to the charge. The evidence showed that miners in the section in which the Penmans worked had complained for months of not being credited with hutches which they had filled and sent to the surface. A test hutch was prepared and James Penman was seen in its the vicinity. Shortly afterwards it was found that the pin and tally had been removed from the hutch and in its place there was discovered a pin belonging to John Penman. The Sheriff gave James Penman the benefit of the probation of offenders Act. [Scotsman 4 February 1930]

Decline of the Village

19 Feb 1925

Effect of Slack Trade - Work at the collieries in the Cowdenbeath district has been slack for some months and the Fife Coal Company Ltd have given the workers of Foulford and No 9 Pits Cowdenbeath, and of Lassodie Mill and Blairenbathie Collieries Kelty, fourteen days' notice for the termination of employment. Certain workers in the pits of Raith Colliery, belonging to the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Co. Ltd, have received notices to the same effect [Scotsman 19 Feb 1925].

Four coal pits owned by the Fife Coal Co are to be shut down. The pits are the Lassodie and the Bathie at Kelty and the Foulford and No 9 at Cowdenbeath. Fully a thousand miners will be thrown out of work with small prospect of obtaining other employment in the district [The Times 19 Feb 1925].

6 May 1931

Problem of Fife Village Church - One of the many problems which have arisen as a result of the closing down of Lassodie colliery, near Dunfermline, and the impending evacuation of the village was brought to the notice of the Presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross yesterday. A letter was read from the clerk to the congregational board of Lassodie Church of Scotland stating that the board had decided to lay the matter before the Presbytery, with a recommendation that the church be closed, as the people resident in the village had received fourteen days notice to quit their houses. The Presbytery remitted to their Home Mission Committee to review the whole situation and to appoint a representative to meet the Lassodie congregation tomorrow. The charge of Lassodie Church has been vacant for some considerable time [Scotsman 6 May 1931].

3 Feb 1932

Demolition of Fife Mining Village - At the instance of Thomas Spowart & Co. (Ltd), former lessees of Lassodie Colliery, action of summary removal were called in the Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday against the occupants of five dwelling-houses in Lassodie Village. An agent for pursuers stated that, the colliery having been closed, the Company, under their mineral lease, were obliged to clear the houses of the land within a certain time. On behalf of the men, all of whom were stated to be in arrears with rent and taxes, in one case to the extent of £16, it was explained that they had not been able to find employment since the colliery was closed in the early part of last year. Sheriff Umpherston gave a decree of summary removal, the men being ordered to quit the houses within 3 weeks. Each of the defenders was ordered to pay the expenses of the action [Scotsman 3 February 1932].

5 April 1933

Dissolution of Congregation - Dunfermline & Kinross Presbytery to Petition Synod - At a meeting of the Dunfermline & Kinross Presbytery at Dunfermline yesterday, it was agreed to petition the Synod of Fife for the dissolution of the Lassodie congregation.  Following upon the closure of Lassodie Colliery, the village was depopulated and many of the dwelling houses demolished. The union between the congregations of Lassodie and Kingseat has been dissolved, but the Lassodie congregation could not be dissolved until the church property had been disposed of. That has now been done, the church, church hall, and the manse being now occupied as a retreat and conference centre under the name St Ninians [Scotsman 5 April 1933].

19 Aug 1933

A Disappearing Village - Lassodie, in Fife - Demolition of Houses - Since the closing of Lassodie Colliery about 2 years ago, the population of the village, which at one time exceeded 2000, has been gradually dispersed. The houses known as Old Rows have been out of existence for some time; over 30 persons are still resident in Fairfield, an isolated part of the former village, and the New Rows still afford accommodation for 13 families.

Intimation has now been made of the early demolition of the New Row houses which will mean the disappearance of what for nearly a century was Lassodie proper. The announcement is also made by the postal authorities of the closing, on 26th August, of the Post Office, the business of which has been conducted in one of the New Row houses for over 50 years.

Within a short time all that will remain of the once prosperous mining village will be the church and manse, which some time ago were converted into a retreat for weekend conferences [Scotsman 19 Aug 1933].

20th November 1936

Derelict village- Plans for transferring people elsewhere- Fife housing schemes
Big housing improvements in West Fife were foreshadowed at the monthly meeting of Lochgelly local committee. A move is being made to close the derelict mining village of Lassodie, near Kelty, and rehouse the inhabitants in a new scheme.

The difficulty of finding safe housing sites in mining localities also occupied the attention of the committee. It was reported there was a prospect of settling on a site at Lumphinnans. The housing conditions at this place are among the worst in the county, and the committee agreed to press for an early start on the new scheme.

The site difficulty also stands in the way of the new Glencraig housing scheme.

The housing problem at Lassodie has occupied the attention of the authorities for some years. The village was formerly a prosperous mining community of about 200 houses, and with about 10 pit in the district. Coal was worked in Lassodie over a century ago. The last few pits closed a few years ago and since then the population has dwindled until few families remain. Less than 10 years ago nearly 300 pupils attended the village school: now there are only 35 pupils. The teachers' hostel was closed, and the church taken over as a retreat by the Church of Scotland. As the people went to other districts the houses were demolished, and the village has become derelict.

No water except through roofs - The condition of the houses that remain was described to the committee by Councillor Peter Mitchell, Hill of Beath. He said there was no drainage in the place, and the sanitary conditions were appalling. There was no water in the houses except the water that came through the roofs, and there had been a good supply that during the last few weeks. He suggested that the sanitary inspector and the medical officer should report on the matter, so that the committee could submit a case to the county council for new houses for the Lassodie people. He did not care where they were built, so long as the people got houses. He suggested that they could be erected at Kelty, near Cowdenbeath, or at Hill of Beath. It was almost impossible for the people to live in Lassodie.

The chairman, Councillor John Sneddon, Kelty, said that been sanitary inspector and the medical officer had reported on the need for closing the houses some years ago. At that time if Lassodie was to be shut down, the proprietors would have been obliged to level the houses to the ground, and that would have meant considerable hardship. The county council had entered into an agreement with the trustees. Events had moved quickly, however, and the people had mostly left the place. They could not tolerate the present conditions. The officials were agreed that the remaining people should be removed to new houses. The time was now opportune to proceed with a new scheme for the tenants elsewhere, for the county council would get a big grant under the 1935 Housing Act. The committee instructed officials to report on the matter [Scotsman 20th November 1936]

22nd January 1937

Fifes problem village- Bad condition of houses- Closing agreement - The problem of housing conditions at Lassodie, the Fife mining village, again occupied the attention of Lochgelly local committee at the monthly meeting.

At a previous meeting it had been suggested that the village would be practically wiped out if a number of the houses were condemned and new houses built elsewhere under the 1930 Act, and other houses built under the 1935 Act to deal with overcrowding in the village.

This plan has since been found impracticable. It was intimated at the monthly meeting that the committee would be unable to take advantage of the large grant under the 1930 Act as the Department of Health had stated that it was incompetent for a local authority to serve demolition orders on themselves. The committee decided, however, to recommend that a number of new houses be built at Kelty to meet the overcrowded conditions in Lassodie. It was stated that about 16 new houses will probably be required.

Several members took objection to the report by the medical officer (Dr McGillivray) and the sanitary inspector (Mr C A Alexander). The medical officer's report stated that 40 houses were still occupied at Lassodie and, although certain of them were in a decidedly poor condition, most of them were still in a fairly good state. They lacked modern sanitary facilities and had no water laid on. With few exceptions most of the tenants were satisfied with their houses and did not wish to remove elsewhere unless they could be assured of work. They were paying only a nominal rent and were better off than if they were in new houses and had to pay a higher rent.

A ticklish problem - A report by the sanitary inspector said that Lassodie had always been a rather ticklish problem. He understood there was an agreement that the village has to be closed by 1943, and that should be adhered to. Since 1933 the houses had been reduced from about 60-40 and 30 tenants had left the village and found accommodation elsewhere. He thought that within two years' accommodation could be found for half of the population if they were asked to look for it. He did not think they should interfere meantime with the tenants who wished to remain.

The chairman, Councillor John Sneddon, Kelty, said that since he knew they could not get the advantage of the 1930 Act grant he was not so enthusiastic about removing the people from Lassodie. Four of the older tenants who had approached him had been afraid they would be forcibly removed. They wished to remain, and had stated the houses were in a better state than when the pit had been closed.

Councillor P Mitchell, Hill of Beath, said he was disappointed with the report from the Medical Officer and the sanitary inspector. No one, he said, who had seen the Lassodie houses could say they were in a fairly good condition; it was absurd.

Councillor J Davidson, Kelty, also expressed surprise at the report. A number of the houses were not windproof or watertight, more than 50 per cent of them were in a bad state, and he could not see why the reports by the officials said they would be good for four or five years yet

The chairman said that they knew that the houses were in a bad state, but the officials felt that as the houses had to be vacated any case by 1943 the people should be allowed to take advantage of the opportunity of finding houses elsewhere in the area, without building houses specially.

Councillor Moffatt said that at least 20 tenants wished to remove from Lassodie, and it was admitted that the houses were in a bad condition. There was no lighting in the village, and during darkness it was dangerous to enter Lassodie, for the roads were in a terrible state. The villagers had to use carbide pit lamps to go about at night. In view of that he did not think it was right that the people should have to remain for three or four years as suggested by the officials. He moved that they recommend the building of a number of houses at Kelty to deal with the overcrowding conditions in Lassodie. Councillor Davidson seconded and the motion was unanimously carried [Scotsman 22 January 1937].


Theft of timber - For stealing timber to the value of £25 from dwelling houses at Fairfield, Lassodie, belonging to Fife County Council, which had been vacated, Andrew Malcolm, retired miner, Lochview; Alexander Robert Buchanan, assistant farmer, Whinneyhall Farm; Alexander Ramage White, miner, 97 Fairfield; Hugh Ford, miner, 93 Fairfield; David Hunter, miner, Lochview, all of Lassodie; and Archibald Moffatt, miner, 3 B North Drum Street, Kelty were each fined £5, with the alternative of 30 days' imprisonment, at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday. The Procurator Fiscal stated that the houses, which were being vacated, became the property of Fife County Council, and accommodation was found for the tenants. The county housing supervisor impressed on the tenants that he wanted all the timber that was in the houses; but when county council employees went to remove it they found houses had been stripped of flooring, joists, doors, and window facings. The accused Malcolm stated that a county councillor, now deceased, told him he could take everything he required when he removed from the house [Scotsman 27 October 1940].


Tree Planting on Bings - In an endeavour to beautify Fife colliery bings, the National Coal Board, in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and experts from Edinburgh University, are shortly to carry out experimental planting of trees on Lindsay Old Bing, Lassodie Bing, and Kirkford Bing. This information was divulged at a meeting of Fife Planning Committee in Cupar yesterday by Mr L R Milligan, deputy area general manager of the NCB, who said that if the experiment proved successful it could be extended to other bings in the county [Scotsman 13 March 1948].