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Anstruther Easter

Description of the parish in 1852

"Anstruther Easter, a royal burgh, in the county of Fife, is 22 miles east from Kirkcaldy and about 10 south from St Andrews. It has an excellent harbour which is the chief asylum for vessels overtaken by storms in the Firth of Forth. It was a place of great importance before the union with England, carrying on an extensive trade with Holland and France; and, from its contiguity to Cellardyke, it is still one of the first fishing stations in Scotland. The trade is principally of a domestic nature; baking, brewing, tanning and fish-curing are the most prominent branches; but there is likewise a considerable proportion of business done in the export of grain, potatoes, etc: a number of coasters and several square-rigged vessels belong to the port; and a steam packet plies 3 times a week between it and Leith, conveying hence grain, fish, etc, and returning with merchants' goods. It is the station of a custom house whose district extends from Edenmouth to Largo Bay. Branches respectively of the 'National Bank of Scotland' and the 'Eastern Bank of Scotland' are settled here. The town is governed by 3 baillies, a treasurer and 15 councillors elected under the Scotch Borough Reform Act. This burgh is united with St Andrew's, Cupar, Crail, Kilrenny, Anstruther Wester and Pittenweem in returning one member to parliament. It is worthy of note that Dr Chalmers, the celebrated orator and divine, and professor Tennant, author of 'Anster Fair', were natives of this town." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Archives and Libraries

The Murray Library, Anstruther holds copies of the East Fife Observer newspaper from 1914-1967.

Anstruther is also the home of the Scottish Fisheries Museum which has both static and floating displays telling the history of this industry and its traditions.

The ScotlandsPlaces website lets users search across national databases by geographical location. It includes, amongst other material,

  • catalogue entries for maps and plans held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh; some maps and plans can be viewed
  • photos and details of historical buildings and archaeological sites recorded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • 17th and 18th century tax rolls
  • Ordnance Survey [place] Name Books
  • an opportunity to transcribe thousands of historic documents

Bibliography

A very good description is to be found in the relevant chapter in History of the County of Fife: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time by John M Leighton, published 1840, online at Google Books.

Old Anstruther (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.

Cemeteries

Anstruther Easter Churchyard, School Green, Anstruther (grid ref. NO 566037, GPS: 56.223728 -2.700322 Google map):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Anstruther Easter Churchyard (St Aidan's) are listed in "Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 1 South east parishes" by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061948
  • Some stones are recorded in Graveyard Monuments in East, North and Central Fife, John di Folco, published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1969-70, vol. 102, pages 205-236, which deals largely with stones dated pre-1707. It can be downloaded from ARCHway.
  • The Lair Registers for 1836 - 1854 have been published in the Fife Family History Society Journal, vol. 8, no. 3 (April 1966). They are also available on the Records pages of Fife Family History Society's website.
  • A Churchyard register, 1855-1879, is amongst the Anstruther Easter Kirk Session papers (CH2/625) held by the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1836) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services East, County Buildings, St Catherine Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA. Tel. 01334 659336. Fax 01334 412896.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
  • War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and war memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.
  • St Adrian, School Green, Anstruther-Easter, Church of Scotland

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 402. See also Civil Registration.

The 1841 and 1851 returns can be searched on theFreeCEN website.

The 1851 census has been indexed by the Tay Valley Family History Society.

The 1861 census has been indexed and can be downloaded here

Some census records on microfilm may be consulted in LDS Family Search Centres around the world.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Anstruther Easter 1042699 1042252 103825 103986 203516 208746
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Churches

  • East Green, Anstruther-Easter, Baptist

  • St Adrian, School Green, Anstruther-Easter, Church of Scotland

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Anstruther Easter area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

In addition to the parish church other churches included an Associate Burgher Church, a United Presbyterian Church and a Free Church.

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) does not mention any dissenters from the Established Church.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1837) gives this information:

  • 3 Dissenting meeting houses in the parish: Burgher, Independent and Baptist
  • Families connected with them, living in the parish, - 33

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish churches of Anstruther Wester and Easter, the Free Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Union Church and the Baptist Church.

Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website.

Details of church history:

  • Anstruther Easter Kirk Session:
A church was first built within the district of Anstruther Easter in 1634 and a number of years later in 1641 the parish of Anstruther Easter was disjoined from that of Kilrenny and erected as a separate parish. In 1961 Anstruther Wester and Anstruther Easter were united together to form the session of Anstruther St Adrian's, and a further union followed in 1973 between Anstruther St Adrian's and Anstruther Chalmer's Memorial, under the name of Anstruther. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • Anstruther St Adrian's Kirk Session:
In 1961 the charge of Anstruther St Adrian's was formed by the union of Anstruther Wester and Anstruther Easter, and a further union followed in 1973 between Anstruther St Adrian's and Anstruther Chalmer's Memorial, under the name of Anstruther. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • Anstruther Associate Burger and United Associate Church:
Anstruther Associate Burgher congregation was first established in 1818 at the request of a group who named themselves 'Managers of the Associate Society of Anstruther' and who expressed a wish in that year to the Presbytery of Perth that they be formed into a congregation and be supplied with a minister. In 1820 the Synod granted the congregation £20 to assist in the erection of a place of worship, and in the following year a church was erected, which was later replaced by a new building in 1852. The first minister of the congregation, John Thom, was ordained in 1825. The church became part of the United Presbyterian Church in 1847. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the charge became Anstruther Erskine, United Free Church and in 1904 the congregation of Anstruther Erskine was united to that of Anstruther Chalmers Memorial, after which time the Anstruther Erskine church was sold.
  • Anstruther Free Church (later became Chalmers Memorial, United Free Church):
In 1843, at the time of the Disruption, the minister of Anstruther Easter adhered to the Free Church and established the congregation of Anstruther Free Church. A church to house the congregation was opened in 1844 and later replaced by a new building erected in 1858, which in turn was also superseded by a new construction in 1891. At the 1900 union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Anstruther Free Church, which sat within the Presbytery of St Andrews, became Anstruther Chalmers Memorial, United Free Church.
  • Chalmers Memorial United Free Church:
Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Anstruther Free Church, which sat within the Presbytery of St Andrews, became Anstruther Chalmers Memorial, United Free Church and in 1904 the congregation of Anstruther Erskine was united to that of Chalmers Memorial, after which time the Anstruther Erskine church was sold. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Anstruther Chalmers Memorial U.F. became Anstruther Chalmers Memorial, Church of Scotland and in 1973 a union was established with the charge of Anstruther St Adrian's, under the name of Anstruther.

Church Records

Data provided by the  Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)

The Parish Church (Established Church, Church of Scotland):

The original Old Parish Registers (of baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages, and deaths / burials) of the Church of Scotland, which cover the years up to 1854, are held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, and they can all be consulted there at the National Records of Scotland. The baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages and deaths / burials indexes can be searched at the ScotlandsPeople website. Copies of the register entries may be purchased.

Parish reference number: 402

The Old Parish Registers (OPRs) span the following dates (although there are gaps within these ranges):

Anstruther Easter OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
402/1 1641-1699 1641-1697  
402/2 1699-1796 1699-1795 1746-1798
402/3 1796-1819 1796-1819  
402/4 1820-1854 1820-1854 1833-1846
Register of Neglected Entries      
(Data supplied by the National Records of Scotland)
 

The Detailed List of the Old Parochial Registers of Scotland, published 1872, provides this information about the content of the OPRs, including the gaps within them:

B.  and M. intermixed till May 1643. Separate Records of B. June 1643 - Dec. 1649. Blank Dec. 1649 - Jan. 1657, after which B. and M. are again intermixed till 1670. Blank June 1670 - July 1672. Separate Record of B. from July 1672. Only six entries July 1681 - Aug. 1684. Entries 1736 - 1773 tabulated. Exc. June 1643 - Dec. 1649, Mothers' names not recorded in B. till Jan. 1670, and sometimes omitted after that date.
M.  blank March 1654 - Jan. 1657, May 1670 - April 1678, March 1681 - Oct. 1684, and July 1690 - Nov. 1691. One entry May 1696 - Oct. 1698. Blank Dec. 1718 - July 1720, Jan. 1724 - Oct. 1725, and Aug. 1795 - Oct. 1796. No entry 1810. Duplicate of Record 1796 - 1824. After 1773, fact of Marriage rarely added to the entry of Contract or Proclamation.
D.  Deaths and Burials till June 1779, then Deaths only. Blank (exc. one entry for 1829) Sept. 1798 - 1833.

Copies of the registers on microfilm may be consulted in some local libraries and at LDS Family Search Centres around the world. The indexes to baptisms / births and proclamations / marriages can also be searched on the LDS Family Search website or on the IGI on microfiche in local libraries.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

1040145 Baptisms, 1641-1854; Marriages, 1678-1827, 1796-1854, 1844-1847; Burials, 1746-1798, 1833-1854; Neglected entries.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Deaths / burials are listed on Fife Family History Society's  Pre-1855 Fife Deaths CD.

Lists of Male Heads of Families, circa 1834, gathered as a result of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's 1834 Veto Act have been transcribed for some parishes by Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History.

Further information on the main Fife page.

Kirk Session records are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (402/1).

Heritors' Records - none known.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies of the earlier volumes at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/625
    Anstruther Easter Kirk Session
    Minutes and accounts, 1654-1710; Minutes, 1717-1961; Accounts, 1796-1822, 1825-1828 and 1831-1903; Weekly collections, 1851-1869 and 1895-1962; Seat letting cash book, 1834-1934; Proclamations, 1855-1972; Baptisms, 1855-1961; Rental book of kirk session's lands of Anstruther Easter, 1780-1807; Churchyard register, 1855-1879; Admiral Black's bequest fund minutes and accounts, 1853-1892; Communion roll, 1841-1845, 1872-1880 and 1897-1960; Cash book, 1717-1725; Extracts from Kilrenny session minutes, 1713-1842; Inventory of documents and property, 1920-1951; Miscellaneous documents.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • CH2/1539
    Anstruther St Adrian's Kirk Session
    Communion roll, 1961-1973; Minutes, 1961-1972; Congregational board minutes, 1965-1972; Property register, 1956; Baptismal register, 1961-1972.

Included in the Old Parochial Registers on microfilm and at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh but not online:

  • 402/1
    Anstruther Easter Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1641-1654.

Other Churches:

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • CH3/1559
    Anstruther Associate Burger and United Associate Church
    Session minutes, 1833-1881; Manager's minutes, 1818-1904; Communion roll, 1852-1881.
  • CH3/1560
    Anstruther Free Church (later became Chalmers Memorial, United Free Church)
    Minutes, 1843-1871; Session minutes, 1843-1857 and 1871-1909; Deacon's Court minutes, 1844-1901; Communion roll, 1857-1900; Baptismal roll, 1843-1847; Plans, 1888-1936.
    A transcript of the following baptisms has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 1 and is also available on CD and on the Records pages of their website.
    Anstruther Free Church Births and baptisms
    CH3/1560 1843-1847
  • CH3/1561
    Chalmers Memorial United Free Church
    Session minutes, 1909-1972; Deacon's and manager's minutes, 1901-1972; Communion roll, 1902-1973; Communion roll, removals and deaths, 1967-1972; Baptismal roll, 1914-1972; Proclamations, 1932-1972; Williamson benefaction book, 1893-1911; Property register, 1956.

The Anstruther Easter page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. Full information on the main Fife page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration district number start date end date
Anstruther Easter 402 1855 1930
Anstruther and Kilrenny 402 1931 1967
East Neuk 426 1968 1971
East Neuk 414 1972 2002
Fife 414 2003  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. In the 20th century especially, there were frequent changes in registration districts. Anstruther Easter registration district includes part of Kilrenny parish.

Description and Travel

Anstruther Easter town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°13'21"N
NO 567036 56.222983
-2.699870
KY10 3HF Lon. 2°41'56"W

There is a useful Anstruther website here.

Surrounding parishes: Kilrenny, Anstruther Wester.

You can see pictures of Anstruther Easter which are provided by:

Directories

The parish entry in Pigot's National Commercial Directory for the whole of Scotland, 1837, is online at Google Books.

Westwood's Parochial Directory for the Counties of Fife and Kinross for 1862 and 1866 are online at Google Books. On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is a transcription of the 1862 edition.

Gazetteers

There is a list of places in Anstruther Easter parish, with links to online historical and modern maps.

Several old gazetteers are available. They all contain descriptions of the parish and many are also worth searching for entries of places within the parish.

  • David Webster's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1819, online at Google Books.
  • Fullarton's Topographical, Statistical and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, published 1842, online at Google Books.
  • Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1846, online at British History Online.
  • Barbieri's Descriptive and Historical Gazetteer of the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, published 1857, is at Google Books.
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4) and John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887), are on A Vision of Britain (click on "Historical places and writing").
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland(1892-6) on Electric Scotland

Historical Geography

A Vision of Britain provides historical descriptions, population & housing statistics, historic boundaries and maps.

You can see the administrative areas in which Anstruther Easter has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Land and Property

Details of historic buildings and archaeological sites in this parish held by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, are catalogued at ScotlandsPlaces. In the results, click RCAHMS. Unfortunately, not all entries have digital images.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • VR3
    Valuation Rolls: Anstruther Easter Burgh
    1855-1930; the Roll from 1930 is included in the Valuation Roll for the County of Fife
  • VR101
    Valuation Rolls: Fife
    1855-1975; covers the part of the parish outwith the Burgh
  • GD1/140
    Feuduty book, lands of Anstruther Easter
    Book recording the feuduty payable to Sir John Anstruther and his son, John, for a tenement of land in Anstruther Easter, 1698-1777.

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO567036 (Lat/Lon: 56.223032, -2.699873), Anstruther Easter which are provided by:

Obituaries

Andrew Campbell has produced Fife Deaths from Newspapers 1822-1854 - a compilation of deaths recorded in local newspapers. Copies of this index are held by the Fife libraries and the Family History Societies.

Fife Deaths Abroad 1855-1900 - a compilation of overseas deaths recorded in Fife newspapers - has been produced by Andrew Campbell of Fife Family History Society. The Society have re-published it in their Publications Series, 26.

Occupations

Directory of Seafarers - the East Neuk of Fife1580-1800 and The Shipping of Anstruther and the East Neuk of Fife by David Dobson can be obtained from the Tay Valley Family History Society.

The parish is included in Andrew Campbell's compilation of Fife Shopkeepers and Traders 1820-1870 taken from newspapers and directories. It is available in most Fife reference libraries, in the libraries of the family history societies, and at the Manuscript Department of the Special Collections Department of St Andrews University Library. It is also available as Fife Traders and Shopkeepers on CD from Fife Family History Society.

There is a series of articles about many Fife family businesses in Fife Family History Society's Journal, New Series 9.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

The relief of paupers after 1845 was carried out by theParochial Board and later by the Parish Council. Their records are at the Fife Council Archive Centre. See Public Records below.

Population

Year Population
1755 1100
1801 969
1851 1161
1901 1024
1951 509

There is a page with census statistics from 1755 to 1961 here.

See also A Vision of Britain and Histpop for population statistics.

Probate Records

Probate records are 'Confirmations' in Scotland.

Prior to 1824, wills, testaments & inventories of residents of Anstruther Easter may be found in either the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business has been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20).

Indexes and finding aids are given on the main Fife page.

Local sources worth searching for deeds include St Andrews Commissary Court and Cupar Sheriff Court.

Public Records

Parochial Boards and their successors, Parish Councils, administered many local functions including poor relief.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • FCC/6/3
    Anstruther Easter Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1845-1930.

Schools

School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Anstruther Easter records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Waid Academy
    Log books, 1921-1946.
  • Anstruther Easter School Board
    Minutes, 1873-1917.
  • Anstruther Easter and Wester Joint School Board and Joint Technical School Board
    Minutes, 1912-1919.
  • Anstruther School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1944-1949.

Entries less than 50 years old may contain sensitive personal information and are not on open access. If you are a former pupil you are entitled to see your own entry. Please contact the Archivist for further details.

Education statistics for Fife schools in 1891-2 list the following board schools in the parish:

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Anstruther Easter East 228 127
West 104 89

Statistics

"Statistical accounts" giving fascinating insights into the local topography and history, social and economic conditions, and even the daily lives of people, were written by the parish ministers in the 1790s and the 1840s. For more information see the main Fife pages

Taxation

The hearth tax, clock & watch tax, male servants tax, female servants tax, and farm horse tax are all on ScotlandsPlaces.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • E326
    Assessed Taxes Schedules 1748-1802
    Anstruther Easter Royal Burgh

See also the Early Taxation Records page.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 &20 Geo. V, c.25) , the Fife royal burghs of Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester and the burgh of Kilrenny were amalgamated to create the United Burghs of Kilrenny, Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester. The Kilrenny, Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester Town Council was abolished in 1975.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • B/3
    Anstruther Easter and Wester and Kilrenny Burgh Records
    Burgh records, 1775-1953.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • B/3
    Anstruther Easter, Anstruther Wester & Kilrenny burgh records
    Anstruther Easter: Town council minutes, 1691-1749, 1753-1929; Court book, 1726-1731; Police commissioners minutes, 1841-1893; New Town Hall accounts, 1870-1872.
    United burgh: Town council minutes, 1929-1974; Charities' committee minutes and journal, 1944-1974; Assessment roll, 1974-1975; Abstracts of accounts, undated; Miscellaneous documents, undated.
    Admiralty Court book, East Fife, 1738-1775; Anstruther Sea Box Society minutes, 1838-1943; Unidentified solicitor's business ledgers, 1924-1939, 1943-1946.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/An
    United Burghs of Kilrenny, Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester records
    Town council minutes, 1970-1975; correspondence files, 1933-1964; Dean of Guild court register of plans 1901-1949, and petitions, 1953-1963; Anstruther Joint Licensing Court records, 1912-1975 (with gaps); Anstruther Union Harbour Commission minutes, 1860-1975; correspondence, etc relating to housing and slum clearance, 1926-1963.

Voting Registers

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • B/10
    Crail burgh records
    Papers relating to elections of Member of Parliament for Crail, Kilrenny, Anstruther Easter and Wester and Pittenweem