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Help and advice for Culross

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Culross

Description of the parish in 1856

"Culross parish contains the royal burgh of that name, and the villages of Blairburn and Low Valleyfield. It is bounded by Tulliallan, Clackmannan, Saline and Torryburn. Coalmines were once extensive but they can now no longer yield a profitable return. The parish is traversed by the Stirling and Dunfermline Railway, and has a small station on it at East Grange. There is a small pier for the accommodation of fishing boats. There is a parish church and a Free Church; an endowed school and 2 private schools. In the town of Culross, most of the houses are shabby and all its streets are in disrepair. It formerly carried on a great trade in coal and salt which is now anihilated." edited from Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland published 1856. 

[N.B. The village is now very different - many buildings having been restored by the National Trust for Scotland.]

Archives and Libraries

Perth & Kinross Council Archives and Library, A K Bell Library, Perth. Tel. (01738) 477012, email: archives@pkc.gov.uk, has material relating to Culross and Tulliallan when they were part of Perthshire (before 1891).

Fife Council Archive Centre, Carleton House, Balgonie Road, Markinch, Fife KY6 7AQ.   Tel: (01592) 583352. email: archive.enquiries@fife.gov.uk, has more recent material since their transfer to Fife in 1891.

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

Cemeteries

There are 3 cemeteries in Culross parish:

1. Culross West Churchyard, by Upper Dean, Culross (grid ref. NS 979865, GPS: 56.06009 -3.64025 Google map):

  • The Story of Culross West Kirk by Paddy Monaghan can be purchased in the village.
  • Monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell - see below.
  • Transcripts of many of the older stones were made by Erskine Beveridge in the 1890s. They are included in Publication 37, Monumental Notes by Erskine Beveridge and Robert Monteith, published by the Fife Family History Society.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

2. Culross Abbey Churchyard, Kirk Street, Culross (grid ref. NS 988863, GPS: 56.058535 -3.625816 Google map):

3. Culross Cemetery, Blairhall Glen, Shire Road, Culross (grid ref. NS 993872, GPS: 56.067388 -3.618441 Google map):

  • The current lair registers (dating from 1915) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services West, Dunfermline Crematorium, Masterton Road, Dunfermline,KY11 8QR. Tel. 01383 602335. Fax 01383 602665.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Culross West Churchyard and Culross Abbey Churchyard are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 2 The western parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061972

War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and war memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1891 censuses: 343
District reference number for 1901 census: 418b

The 1841 and 1851 returns can be searched on the FreeCEN website. The 1851 census has been indexed by the Tay Valley Family History Society.

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
Culross 1042692 1042262 103892 104072 203504 208733
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Culross 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 (first at the West Kirk, later at the Abbey), there was a Free Church of Scotland (St Kentigern's).

The Old Statistical Account (1793) describes the church as having 2 ministers "the charge being collegiate". It states that the Established Church has the only place of worship, but there are also not above 50 Burghers and Antiburgher Seceders.

The NewStatistical Account (written in 1839) gives this information:

  • Number of families connected with the Established Church: 333
  • Number of Dissenting or Seceding families: 16
  • Number of Episcopalian families: 1

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church with 2 ministers.

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

Details of church history:

  • West Kirk:

The West Kirk was the original parish church before the Reformation.

  • Culross Abbey:

After the Reformation, the choir and transepts of the Monastery of the Abbey were taken over as the parish church. By Charter of 20 June 1589, James VI erected the rectory and vicarage of Culross with manse and glebe. The medieval church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Serf by Malcolm, Earl of Fife in the thirteenth century. Ministry began in 1567 in the person of Robert Dykes, minister. In 1672 the barony of Kincardine-on-Forth and the lands of Larg, Sands and Kellywood were disjoined from Culross and added to Tulliallan. From at least 1976 the session was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Presbytery, before which it was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline and Kinross Presbytery from at least 1955. Prior to that time the session was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Presbytery. On 13 January 1943 the session united with the United Free Church of Culross, St. Kentigern's. On 1 September 1983 the union of Culross Abbey, Toryburn and Newmills formed Culross and Toryburn Kirk Session.

  • Culross Free and United Free Church:

Culross Free Church was formed at the Disruption and recognised as a station in 1846. The church building dated from the following year, but sanction as a full charge came only in 1867. It passed successively to the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland, in the latter case as Culross St Kentigern's, which united with Culross Abbey under that name in 1943. The Church of Scotland charge was in the presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross and the synod of Fife.

The Story of Culross West Kirk by Paddy Monaghan can be purchased in the village.

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: 343

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

Culross OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
343/1 1641-1687 1640-1687 1640-1685
343/2 1687-1791    
343/3 1797-1819 1687-1819  
343/4 1820-1854 1820-1854 1824-1854
343/5 Index 1687-1819    
(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.  Record appears to have been regularly kept. Mothers' names not recorded till Oct. 1667, and not unfrequently omitted 1672 - 1700 incl.
M.  Portion of second leaf lost. Record 1653 - 1661 very much wasted, large portions of the leaves being decayed, and from 1661 to Aug. 1670, it is entirely lost. Only three entries Nov. 1698 - July 1700. Blank Jan. 1734 - April 1746, and only one entry, 1811, Dec. 1807 - Dec. 1812. No entry June 1818 - May 1820. After 1706 (exc. 1746 - 1754 incl.) the fact of Marriage is seldom added to the entries of Proclamation or Contract.
D.  Blank Dec. 1641 - May 1647, and Nov. 1648 - Aug. 1667. Only one entry July 1674 - Nov. 1679.

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:

1040076 Item 5 Baptisms 1641-1687, marriages 1640- 1686, and burials 1667-1685
1040077 Baptisms 1687-1819, marriages 1687- 1820; kirk sessions which contain baptisms, marriages and burials 1820-1854; and surname index to baptisms 1687-1819.
(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.

Further information on the main Fife page.

Kirk Session records are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Heritors' Records (HR158) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/77
    Culross Abbey Kirk Session, Culross Abbey and Torryburn Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1630-1662, 1676-1684 and 1693-1943; Cash book, 1886-1974; Collections etc., 1962-1967; FWO cash book, 1966 and 1973-1975; Baptismal register 1937-1965; Proclamation registers, 1942-1977, Deaths and funerals, 1855-1893; Communion rolls, 1879-1953 and 1963-1987; Inventory compiled by Rev. John Gordon, 1909.
  • HR/158
    Culross parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1755-1927; Cash book, 1846-1912; Accounts, 1905-1927; Papers relating to buildings, 1907-1927; Papers relating to transference to Church of Scotland, 1925-1926; Plans of church, 1905-1920, undated.

Other Churches:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/1397
    Culross Free Church Kirk Session, United Free, Church of Scotland, St Kentigern's
    Minutes, 1934-1942; Deacons' court minutes, 1862-1900, 1919-1933; Baptisms, 1845-1942; Marriages, 1871-1942; Communion rolls, 1878-1905, 1927-1929.
A transcript of these Free Church baptisms has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 1 and is also available on CD:
Culross Free Church Baptisms
CH3/1397/6 1845-1854

The Culross 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
Culross Burgh 343/1 1855 1856
Culross Landward 343/2 1855 1856
Culross 343 1857 1892
Culross 418B 1893 1967
Culross 418 1968 1971
Culross 435 1972 1993
West Fife 435 1994 2002
Fife 435 2003  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. In the 20th century especially, there were frequent changes in registration districts.

Court Records

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH11/18
    Culross Regality Court, 1669-1748
  • JP28
    Small Debt Court book: Culross, 1798-1807.
  • B/12
    Culross Burgh Records
    Protocol book, 1660-1681; Register of deeds and protests, 1713-1801.
    On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Culross Burgh Register of Deeds (1713-1801).

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Culross Burgh Register of Deeds (1713-1801).

Description and Travel

Culross town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°3'18"N
NS 987859 56.055196
-3.628170
KY12 8HN Lon. 3°37'45"W

Surrounding parishes: Carnock, Saline, Torryburn, Tulliallan, Clackmannan (in Clackmannanshire).

You can see pictures of Culross 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.

Gazetteers

There is a list of places in Culross 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.
  • 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

On 15th May 1891, the whole parish of Culross was transferred from the county of Perth to the county of Fife.

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

You can see the administrative areas in which Culross 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:

  • VR19
    Valuation Rolls: Culross Burgh
    1885-1930; the Roll from 1930 is included in the Valuation Roll for the County of Fife
  • VR113
    Valuation Rolls: Perthshire
    1855-1891; covers the part of the parish outwith the Burgh
  • VR101
    Valuation Rolls: Fife
    1892-1975; covers the part of the parish outwith the Burgh
  • B/12
    Culross Burgh Records
    Register of sasines, 1684-1938; Register of sasines minutes, 1846-1938

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NS987859 (Lat/Lon: 56.055244, -3.628195), Culross 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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • GD1/977
    Election record of the Incorporation of Journeymen and Apprentice Wrights of Culross
    Minute book of admissions and annual elections of office-bearers of the Incorporation of Journeymen and Apprentice Wrights of Culross, including articles and regulations of the Incorporation, 1815-1842.

At the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • MS.3577-8
    Books of the Incorporation of Wrights of Culross. In MS. 3577 the main series of minutes, 1691-1793 (ff. 11v-110, 114-76, 178v-188), is preceded and interrupted by records of entries of apprentices, 1612-77 (ff. 1v-7), elections of Deacons and Boxmasters, 1679-82 (ff. 8-10), of the Mortcloth from 1737 to 1793 (f. 187), of payments into the Box, etc.
    MS.3577. 1612-1793. iii+ 184 ff. Quarto.
    MS.3578. 1793-1845. ii + 67 ff. Folio.

A list of Culross wrights, 1612 - 1845, extracted from the records of the Incorporation of Wrights of Culross, held by the National Library of Scotland, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 13 - Trade Incorporation Records. It is also available on the Records pages of their website.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

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

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Dunfermline combination poorhouse.

Population

Year Population
1755 1695
1801 1502
1851 1487
1901 1120
1951 4228

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 Culross may be found in either the Dunblane Commissariot (CC6) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business may have been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Perth (SC49), the Sheriff Court at Dunblane (SC44), or the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20). From 1960, it has been conducted at Dunfermline (SC21) Sheriff Court.

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

Local sources worth searching for deeds include Dunblane Commissary Court, Dunblane Sheriff Court, Perth Sheriff Court, Cupar Sheriff Court and Culross Burgh Register of Deeds.

Public Records

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • FCC/6/19
    Culross Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1845-1930.

Schools

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Blairhall School
    Log books, 1915-1982; Admissions Registers, 1925-2000.
  • Blairhall East Grange School
    Admissions Registers, 1915-1925.
  • Blairhall Junior Secondary School
    Admissions Registers, 1944-1975.
  • Culross School
    School Board Minute Books 1873-1919; Admissions Registers, 1846-1892.
  • Culross Geddes Public School
    Log books, 1868-1984.

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
Culross Culross 137 77

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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • E69/19
    Perthshire Hearth Tax
    The hearth tax return has been reprinted in Perthshire Hearth Tax 1691-1692 published by the Scottish Genealogy Society.
  • E326
    Assessed Taxes Schedules 1748-1802
    Culross Royal Burgh & Perthshire

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

See also the Early Taxation Records page.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • B/12
    Culross Burgh Records
    Culross burgh records, 1660-1938, including: Protocol book, 1660-1681; Register of sasines, 1684-1938; Register of sasines minutes, 1846-1938; Register of deeds and protests, 1713-1801; Council minutes, 1801-1808; Register of voters, 1832-1851.
    On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Culross Burgh Register of Deeds (1713-1801).

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/Cul
    Culross Burgh records
    Town Council minutes, 1588-1975 (with gaps); accounts, 1696-1966 (with gaps); miscellaneous legal papers and title deeds, 1658-1880s; correspondence files, 1971-1976.

At the Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library:

  • The more recent archives of the former Burgh of Culross.

Voting Registers

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • B/12
    Culross Burgh Records
    Register of voters, 1832-1851.