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Help and advice for Falkland

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Falkland

Description of the parish in 1862

"Falkland parish contains the Royal Burgh of Falkland and the villages of Newton of Falkland and Freuchie. It is bounded by Kinross-shire, Strathmiglo, Auchtermuchty, Kettle, Markinch and Leslie. It measures about 6 miles by 4 miles. There is a considerable tract of flat land between the northern boundary of the parish and the burgh and this was once part of the royal chase. Nothing now remains of the ancient forest of Falkland in which our Kings enjoyed the pleasures of the chase, except for a small portion of natural wood at Drumdreel in the parish of Strathmiglo. The forest was destroyed by Cromwell who cut down the timber to take to Dundee for the construction of a fort there. The town of Falkland consists of one main street with some cross lanes. It was at one time regularly afflicted with malaria from the neighbouring marshes, but drainage has resulted in a remarkably healthy town. The chief object of attraction is the Royal Palace, favourite home of James VI. In addition to the parish church, there are both an Independent Chapel and a Free Church in Falkland, and a UP Church in Freuchie." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Archives and Libraries

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.

Cemeteries

There are 3 cemeteries in Falkland parish:

1. Kilgour Ancient Burying Ground, Kilgour Farm, Falkland (grid ref. NO 222079; GPS 56.257749 -3.256478 Google map):

  • The New Statistical Account describes this burying ground as having a small church in its centre, but not a vestige of either remains. The land was returned to farmland in the 1820s. The burying ground was reputed to have been used up until the early 1800s.
  • There are no known records of monumental inscriptions.
  • If interments did take place here after the move to the churchyard (2, below), then records of burials may be found in the OPR records.

2. Falkland Old Churchyard, High Street, Falkland (grid ref. NO 252074; GPS 56.252835 -3.210897 Google map):

  • According to the New Statistical Account, this cemetery was probably used from about 1670 as the earliest date upon the tombstones is 1674.
  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 3 The north east parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061999
  • Another listing has been published by the Fife Family History Society in their Publication 16, Monumental Inscriptions.
  • 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.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

3. Falkland Cemetery & extensions, Newton Road, Falkland (grid ref. NO 259074; GPS 56.252075 -3.19696 Google map):

  • The current lair registers (dating from 1862) 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.

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 428

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
Falkland 1042701 1042267 103829 103991 203523 208756
(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 Falkland 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 in Falkland, there were also a Burgher Congregation (later United Presbyterian) at Freuchie; a Free Church in Falkland (Falkland East); a United Free Church (Scott Memorial) at Freuchie; and a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Freuchie.

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) gives this information about Dissenters:

  • Members of the Established Church - 1860
  • Seceders - 338.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1845) gives this information:

  • There are 3 dissenting places of worship - 2 in Falkland and 1 in Freuchie.
  • The number of dissenters is not large, the 2 congregations in Falkland being very small.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the Free Church, and the United Presbyterian Church at Freuchie.

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

Details of church history:

  • Falkland Church:

The church of Falkland, which was known of old as Kilgour, belonged prior to the reformation to the Priory of St Andrews and the kirk session records ministry from 1565, in the person of Alexander Mure. In 1431 the parish church was rebuilt by the Prior of St Andrews, the preceding building having been destroyed by fire in around the year 1425, and in the early years of the 16th cent a new church termed, 'the new church of Falkland ', was erected. The old church at Kilgour survived until 1825 when its foundation stones were dug up to be used for alternative purposes, and 'the new church of Falkland' was in turn replaced by the present day building in 1850. In 1981, the kirk session of Falkland, which sat within the Presbytery of Cupar until the restructuring of the Presbyteries in 1976 when it became part of the Presbytery of St Andrews, established a link with Freuchie.

  • Freuchie Church (Freuchie West):

The parish church of Freuchie was opened for worship on the 15th October 1876 and the parish itself was disjoined from that of Falkland, and erected quoad sacra on the 15th March 1880. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Freuchie Parish church, (which was termed for a time after the 1929 union, Freuchie West) established a link between the years of 1935 and 1949 with the former United Free Church congregation of Freuchie Scott Memorial. Freuchie was later linked with Falkland in 1981. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Cupar, until the restructuring of the presbyteries in 1976, when it became part of the Presbytery of St Andrews.

  • Falkland Free and United Free Church:

At the Disruption in 1843 the minister of Falkland Parish Church, along with a number of his congregation, adhered to the Free Church and the first Falkland Free Church communion service took place on the West Green on 16 July 1843. During the initial months the congregation worshipped in the Congregational Church, and latterly in the town hall, until a church was erected and opened in March 1845. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Falkland Free Church became the United Free Church of Falkland and following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Falkland U.F. was termed Falkland East Kirk Session. Falkland East later went on to unite with the charge of Falkland Old, under the name of Falkland, and after this union the East church was converted for use as a church hall.

  • Freuchie Burgher Congregation (later United Presbyterian, then United Free - Scott Memorial Church)

A meeting place on the site of the present day Lumsden Hall was erected in 1795 in connection with the Associate (Burgher) Presbytery of Perth. This congregation later became the United Presbyterian congregation. The United Presbyterian Church was built in 1869 with seatings for 520 and replaced the 1795 meeting place. In time, the United Presbyterian Church became the United Free Church. The church building was named the Scott Memorial Church.

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: 428

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

Falkland OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
428/1 1669-1674 1661-1706 1670-1706
428/2 1702-1819 1702-1819 1737-1819
428/3 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1855
Register of Neglected Entries 1826-1852    
(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.  blank July 1674 - Feb. 1702; Jan. 1746 - June 1748. Defective March 1755 - July 1758. Blank (exc. four entries) May 1759 - March 1767. From 1772 - July 1780, the entries are made alphabetically, according to the baptismal names of the children, in the form of an index. Six pp. of irregular entries 1789 - 1817 recorded in 1817.
M.  Chiefly Proclamations, intermixed with other matters, prior to 1669, and from 1687 - 1705. No entries Nov. 1688 - Oct. 1691, nor (exc. entries of Pledges) May 1703 - Jan. 1705, after which the Record is pure. Blank May 1746 - May 1748, Dec. 1755 - April 1772, and April 1780 - April 1786. The fact of Marriage is rarely recorded after 1687.
D.  Blank Sept. 1706 - March 1737, April 1780 - Oct. 1784, and June 1795 - Jan. 1817.

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:
1041475 Baptisms, 1669-1674; Marriages, 1661-1706; Burials, 1670-1706.
1040111 Items 2-4 Baptisms, 1669-1674, 1702-1855; Marriages, 1669- 1682, 1702-1755, 1772-1849; Mortcloth dues (burials records), 1666-1683, 1737-1758; Burials, 1777-1795, 1817-1819; Session book (includes Marriage Proclamations, Mortcloth dues), 1661- 1667, 1682-1706.
1040337 Item 1 Marriages, 1849-1855; Burials, 1820-1853; Neglected entries (baptisms), 1826-1852
(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 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 (428/1).

Heritors' Records (HR416) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

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

  • CH2/428
    Falkland Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1643-1661, 1667-1681, 1691-1706 and 1772-1952; Cash disbursements, 1643-1644; Testimonials, 1656-1663; Minutes and accounts, 1702-1750 and 1755-1770; Proclamations and marriages, 1856-1955; Copy of some parochial census statistics, 1801; Accounts, 1772-1864; Baptisms, 1862-1863 and 1878-1945; Parish electoral roll, 1898; Communion roll, 1856-1937.

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

  • 428/1
    Falkland Kirk Session
    Minutes 1662-7, 1676, 1682-1706

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/416
    Falkland parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1784-1930; Cash book, 1843-1928; Accounts, 1778-1896; Papers relating to buildings, 1790-1885; Correspondence, 1793-1850; Miscellaneous, 1690-1856; Plans of church and manse, 1848-1885, 1930, undated.

Other Churches:

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

  • CH2/1066
    Freuchie Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1880-1949; Manager's minutes, 1877-1892; Communion roll, 1877-1928; Cash book, 1876-1917; Baptismal register, 1880-1982.

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

  • CH3/357
    Falkland Free and United Free Church
    Session minutes, 1845-1921, with lists of members and baptisms, 1902-1909; Session minutes, 1922-1938; Deacon's Court minutes, 1872-1938; Accounts, 1924-1938; Baptismal register, 1918-1938; Communion roll, 1869-1938.
At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, USA, but available on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres around the world:
  • Microfilm no. 104151 Item 4
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Freuchie Branch
    Record of members, 1851-1854

The Falkland 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
Falkland burgh 428/1 1855 1855
Falkland landward 428/2 1855 1855
Falkland 428 1856 1967
Auchtermuchty 406 1968 1971
Auchtermuchty 418 1972 2002
Fife 418 2003  

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

Court Records

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Falkland Burgh Register of Deeds (1783-1798).

Description and Travel

Falkland town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°15'12"N
NO 253076 56.255011
-3.207274
KY15 7BZ Lon. 3°16'4"W

Surrounding parishes: Strathmiglo, Auchtermuchty (not adjoining, but very close), Kettle, Markinch, Leslie, Portmoak (Kinross-shire).

You can see pictures of Falkland 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 Falkland 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 Falkland has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Land and Property

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • VR31
    Valuation Rolls: Falkland Burgh
    1885-1930; the Roll from 1930 is included in the Valuation Roll for the County of Fife
  • VR/101
    Valuation Rolls: County of Fife
    1855-1975, contains the landward (i.e. not burgh) part of the parish.
  • B/25
    Falkland Burgh Records
    Register of sasines, 1694-1938; Register of sasines minutes, 1856-1938; Plans, 1870-1894, nd.

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

  • B/25
    Falkland Burgh Records
    Valuation rolls, 1947-1949, 1958-1975; Miscellaneous title deeds to local lands, 1696-1901.

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.

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO253076 (Lat/Lon: 56.255062, -3.207288), Falkland 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, 28.

Occupations

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 the Parochial Board and later by the Parish Council. Their records are at the Fife Council Archive Centre. See Public Records below.

Population

Year Population
1755 1795
1801 2211
1851 3102
1901 2231
1951 2379

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 Falkland 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, Cupar Sheriff Court and Falkland 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/6/26
    Falkland Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1848-1930.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CO/12
    Fife County Council
    Falkland parochial board, inspector of poor's letter book, 1848-1849.

Schools

School Board records and school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Falkland records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Falkland School
    Log books, 1874-1955; Admissions Registers, 1935-1962; School Board Minutes 1873-1919.
  • Freuchie School
    Log books, 1878-1993; Admissions Registers, 1934-1983.

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
Falkland Falkland 272 201
Freuchie 299 154

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.

See also the Early Taxation Records page.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

Falkland was a Royal Burgh, founded in 1458.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • B/25
    Falkland Burgh Records
    Falkland burgh records, 1694-1938, including: Register of sasines, 1694-1938; Register of sasines minutes, 1856-1938; Plans, 1870-1894, nd.

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

  • B/25
    Falkland Burgh Records
    Register of deeds, 1783-1798; Council minutes, 1758-1904, 1910-1975; Police commissioners minutes, 1893-1901; Treasurer's accounts, 1783-1845; Abstracts of accounts, 1928-1970 and undated; Register of mortgages, 1900-1951; Water supply accounts and minutes, 1870-1894; Burgh charters, 1458, 1595; Valuation rolls, 1947-1949, 1958-1975; Miscellaneous title deeds to local lands, 1696-1901.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Falkland Burgh records
    Various accounts, correspondence etc, c.1946-1975

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Falkland Burgh Register of Deeds (1783-1798).