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The origin of the shire of Kinross is lost in antiquity. Sir Robert Sibbald, writing at the close of the seventeenth century, says that it was made a distinct shire from Fife about the year 1426 and contained then only the parishes of Kinross, Orwell, and Portmoak. In 1426, Kinross was separately represented in parliament, but the shire was distinct far earlier, being mentioned in the charters of David II. The very name of the shire indicates that this part of the peninsula was regarded as, to some extent, separate from the rest, for Kinross means the head or mountainous part of the peninsula as contrasted with Culross, the back or lowest part. In 1685, the hereditary sheriff of this small shire was the celebrated architect Sir William Bruce of Kinross, who was able, by the favour of the King, to obtain an Act adding the parishes of Cleish and Tullibole. Subsequently, further changes took place; and in 1891, when the Boundary Commissioners came to simplify the county areas, they found only two parishes, Orwell and Kinross, completely contained within the shire, five other parishes contributing to make up the whole. Kinross-shire now contains five parishes: Kinross, Orwell, Portmoak, Cleish, and Fossoway, the last-named including the older Tullibole.
Like other counties Kinross has a County Council, but, as the shire is too small for division, the whole Council sits as a District Committee with the representatives of the parishes, the latter withdrawing when the business in hand is not concerned with highways or public health. The county is divided into 20 electoral divisions, each returning one member to the County Council. The only police burgh in the county is Kinross, but Milnathort is a "special district" for water, drainage, scavenging and lighting.
Kinross shares a sheriff-principal with Fife, and a sheriff-substitute with Clackmannan. The official head of the county is the Lord Lieutenant, who is also President of the Territorial Association established by the 1907 Act. The Territorial force for the county of Kinross is G Company of the 7th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders with a strength, in 191 2, of one officer and 1 1 1 men out of an establishment of three officers and 117 men. For the purposes of parliamentary representation the county is united with Clackmannan; for ecclesiastical purposes it is within the presbytery of Kinross and the synod of Fife.
Day, John. Clackmannan and Kinross. Cambridge: University Press, 1915.
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