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Leslie

Description of the parish in 1862

"Leslie parish, containing the burgh of barony of Leslie and the village of Prinlaws, lies at the base of the Lomond Hills, between them and the River Leven. It is bounded by Markinch, Falkland and Kinross-shire and measures about 4 miles by 3 miles. Coal and limestone occur, but are not worked. Prinlaws, immediately to the west of Leslie burgh, contains extensive flax spinning, power-loom weaving and bleaching establishments, partly driven by water and partly by steam power. These are the most extensive works of their kind in the county. The burgh of Leslie has records dating back 300 years, but they do not contain anything remarkable. The town has doubled in size in the last 50 years - due to the prosperity of its manufactures of linens and woollens, flax spinning, paper making, yarn bleaching, etc. The parish church was built in 1820; there are also 2 UP Churches and a Free Church. " 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 2 cemeteries in Leslie parish:

1. Kirk on the Green Churchyard, Greenside, Leslie (grid ref. NO 256021; GPS: 56.205496 -3.201059 Google map):

2. Leslie Cemetery, Kinross Road, Leslie (grid ref. NO 243017; GPS: 56.202049 -3.222439 Google map):

  • The current lair registers for Leslie Cemetery (dating from 1921) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services Central, Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6HQ. Tel. 01592 260277. Fax 01592 203438.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

Census

The original 1841 census returns were lost in transit to Edinburgh.

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 444

The 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
Leslie - 1042269 103831 103994 203528 208763
(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 Leslie 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

As well as the parish church, other churches included a Burgher Church, a Free Church (later United Free) and a United Presbyterian Church

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

  • There are 2 meeting houses - 1 for Burghers and 1 for Antiburghers

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) gives this information:

  • 3 dissenting chapels in the parish - 2 belonging to the United Associate Synod of the Secession Church, and 1 for the Associate Synod of Original Seceders.
  • Number of families attending these 3 congregations - 183, which is 1093 individuals.
  • Number of families attending the Episcopalians - 6, which is 15 individuals.
  • There is a small Baptist congregation.
  • Number of families attending the Established Church - 270, which is 1736 individuals.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 United Presbyterian Churches (the 1st Congregation and Leslie West), and the Free Church.

Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website. Details of church history:

  • Leslie Kirk Session

The church of Leslie, named of old Fettykil, was dedicated to St Mary and formerly belonged to the Abbey of Inchcolm. Ministry of the session is recorded from 1567 in the person of Andrew Angus, reader. The church, which was known by the name of Christ's Kirk on the Green, was rebuilt in 1820. In 1991 the Kirk Session, which sits within the presbytery of Kirkcaldy, was renamed Glenrothes Christ's Kirk.

  • Leslie Free Church, Leslie Logan United Free Church:

Leslie Free Church, which sat within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, was established in 1843 at the time of the Disruption, when the adherents of the Free Church resident in the area formed themselves into a congregation. Worship initially took place in the Original Secession Church until their own church, situated in Murray Place, was opened in 1844, a new church was later erected in High Street in 1879. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Leslie Free Church became Leslie Logan United Free Church, and in 1918 Leslie Logan U.F. was joined wiith the congregation of Leslie Trinity, under the name of Leslie Logan Martin. After the local union the former Trinity church continued in use as the place of worship for the united charge.

  • Leslie First United Presbyterian Church:

The congregation of Leslie First U.P. Church, which belonged to the Burgher branch of the Secession Church, can be traced back to 1748 when the Burgher Presbytery was petitioned by a number of persons resident in and around Leslie, requesting that they be provided with sermon. Supply sermon was provided at least once each month from this time, however after a period of two years the Burgher families living in Falkland, and also those residing on the east side of Leslie, were annexed to recently established congregations in Auchtermuchty and in Kennoway. This left the congregation so reduced in numbers that the Burgher cause at Leslie had to be dissolved for a time. A revival however took place in 1761, and 10 years later in 1771 a church, which was to serve the congregation for nearly 90 years, was opened. During the following year, John Morton, the first minister of the charge, was ordained. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Leslie Free Church became Leslie Trinity United Free Church, and in 1918 Leslie Trinity U.F. was joined with the congregation of Leslie Logan, under the name of Leslie Logan-Martin. After this local union, the former Trinity church continued in use as the place of worship for the united charge, and following the 1929 union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland, Leslie Logan-Martin U.F. became Leslie Logan-Martin Church of Scotland. In 1956 Leslie Logan-Martin was joined with the charge of Leslie West and Prinlaws, to form the session of Leslie Trinity Church of Scotland. The congregation sat within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy throughout its existence.

  • Leslie Associate Congregation (later Leslie West United Presbyterian Church):

In 1737 and 1738 several Praying Societies from the parishes of Leslie, Falkland and Markinch acceded to the Associate Presbytery, and on the 25th March 1742 the first meeting of the session of Leslie Associate Congregation took place. John Erskine, the first minister of the congregation, was later ordained in 1744 and the first church of the charge was erected soon after. John Erskine however died in 1951 aged 29, and as a consequence of the fact that it was a time when preachers were few, and calls to individuals were many, Leslie Associate Congregation lay vacant for six years, until the appointment of the second minister, Simon Dempster, in 1757. In 1848, during a meeting of the congregation, a motion was passed stating that the charge should apply to the United Presbyterian Church, and as a result Leslie Associate Congregation became Leslie West, United Presbyterian Church. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Leslie West U.P. became Leslie West United Free Church, and following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Leslie West U.F. became Leslie West Church of Scotland. The charge was reduced in status in 1950, however in 1955 Leslie West united with the charge of Prinlaws under the name of Leslie West and Prinlaws, and a further union was established in the following year with the congregation of Leslie Logan-Martin, to form the session of Leslie Trinity, Church of Scotland. The congregation sat within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy throughout its existence.

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: 444

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

Leslie OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
444/1 1673-1767 1729-1761  
444/2 1764-1819    
444/3   1779-1819 1761-1819
444/4 1820-1854 1838-1854  
444/5   1820-1837 1820-1837
444/6 1600-1645 1613-1645  
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.  blank Aug. 1678 - March 1682. Early leaves much injured by damp. Record 1718 - 1763 kept in the form of a small Memorandum Book. Irregular entries throughout. Mothers' names not recorded till Feb. 1685.
M.  Prior to 1761 kept in form of a Memorandum Book. Blank (exc. one entry 1755, and two entries 1761) Dec. 1750 - March 1779, from which date till 1838 entries of Proclamations only.
D.  (Mortcloth Dues.)
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, records were found at Worcester College, Oxford, containing B. 1640 - 1645 and M. 1613 - 1645. These have now been included in the OPR series (vol. 444/6).]

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:

1040188 Items 3 - 5 Baptisms, 1673-1819; Marriages, 1729-1750, 1761; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations after 1779 and Mortcloth dues [burial records]), 1761-1786.
1040386 Items 1 - 4 Session book (includes Marriage proclamations and Mortcloth dues), 1787-1819; Baptisms, 1820-1854, 1600-1644 (with some misc. notes); Marriages, 1820-1839, 1848-1854, 1613-1644; Burials, 1820- 1837.
(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.

Some of the OPR entries can be searched on the FreeREG site.

Further information on the main Fife page.

Kirk Session (CH2/696) are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (444/3 and 444/4). The Presbytrie Book of Kirkcaldie, the record of the proceedings of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, from 15 April 1630 - 14 September 1653, is available through the web archive.

Heritors' Records (HR210) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/696
    Leslie Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1690-1705 and 1713-1869; Accounts, 1801-1817; Communion roll, 1884-1890.
  • Leslie Kirk Session
    MR113/1
    Copy register of births and baptisms, 1814-1854.
    This has not been filmed.

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

  • Leslie Kirk Session
    • 444/3
      Accounts, 1759-1819.
    • 444/4
      Accounts, 1820-1837.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/210
    Leslie parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1821-1928; Draft minutes, 1893; Accounts, 1893-1928; Vouchers, 1884-1893; Papers relating to buildings, 1869-1920; Papers relating to transference to Church of Scotland, 1924-1928; Correspondence, 1893-1895, 1904; Miscellaneous, 1908, undated; Plans of church, 1869, 1920.
Other Churches :

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/317
    Leslie Free Church, Leslie Logan United Free Church
    Session minutes, 1843-1917 (with list of adherents, 1843); Deacon's Court minutes, 1844-1902; Account book, 1844-1917.
  • CH3/318
    Leslie First United Presbyterian Church
    Congregational and manager's minutes, 1857-1891; Building fund account book, 1857-1859; Baptismal register, 1864-1917 and 1930-1956; Marraige register, 1864-1917; Communion roll, 1885-1904; Non-communicants roll, 1864-1912.
  • CH3/319
    Leslie Associate Congregation (later Leslie West United Presbyterian Church)
    Minutes, 1749-1751, 1758-1796 and 1849-1909; Baptisms, 1748-1749, 1758-1761, 1778-1796, 1802-1808 and 1849-1956; Congregational minutes, 1739-1758; Congregational and manager's minutes, 1846-1854 and 1858-1903; Communion roll, 1849-1899; Miscellaneous documents; Non-communicants roll book, 1875-1885.
    A transcript of the Associate Congregation baptisms 1748-1808 (with gaps) has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 2. It is also available on CD. Baptisms 1741-1747 and 1750-1757 are in the Fife Family History Society Journal, Dec. 1996, also available on CD.
    A transcript of the Leslie West United Presbyterian baptisms 1849-1854 has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 1. It is also available on CD and on the Records pages of their website.
    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    889477 Item 2 Leslie Associate Congregation Church Baptisms, 1742-1806. Original source: ? CH3/319 National Records of Scotland
    3046727 Item 3 Leslie Associate Congregation Church Baptisms, 1748-1808. Original source: CH3/319 National Records of Scotland
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
  • bound in with CH3/340/1 (Cairneyhill Associate Congregation) in error
    Associate Session of Leslie
    Baptisms, 1741-1747, 1750-1757.
    A transcript of the Associate Sesion baptisms 1741-1747 and 1750-1757 are in the Fife Family History Society Journal, Dec. 1996, also available on CD.

The Leslie 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
Leslie 444 1855 1967
Glenrothes 433 1968 1971
Glenrothes 420 1972 2002
Fife 420 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 Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/Les
    Leslie Burgh records
    Burgh of Barony of Leslie council and burgh court minutes, 1620-1904 (with gaps); police court case register, 1930-1975.

Description and Travel

Leslie town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°12'7"N
NO 249016 56.201054
-3.212025
KY6 3AZ Lon. 3°12'41"W

Surrounding parishes: Kinglassie, Falkland, Markinch, Portmoak (Kinross-shire).

You can see pictures of Leslie 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 Leslie 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.
  • 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 Leslie 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.

The Fife Council Archive Centre holds estate papers and accounts of the Rothes family from the 1640s to the 1900s concerning their estate in Leslie and Markinch parishes, including: wage books & other records of miners employed at Cadham, Strathore & Cluny mines c.1680-1750; household accounts for Leslie House, including records of payments to the family's household and farm servants.
For an overview of the papers, see Introduction to the Rothes Papers, W G Rowntree Bodie, in Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 110, 1978-80, 404-431. There is an index to them on the Fife Council website (select  A in the A-Z list, then  Archives enquiries).

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO249016 (Lat/Lon: 56.201104, -3.212040), Leslie which are provided by:

Names, Geographical

There is an index to the Ordnance Survey Object Name Books for this parish here.

Obituaries

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 recently 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 10.

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 Dysart combination poorhouse.

Population

Year Population
1755 1130
1801 1609
1851 3800
1901 3960
1951 3765

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 Leslie may be found in the Dunkeld Commissariot (CC7),  the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824 to 1960, commissary business was conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20). From 1960, it has been conducted at Kirkcaldy (SC23) Sheriff Court.

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

Local sources worth searching for deeds include St Andrews Commissary Court, Dunkeld 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/6/41
    Leslie Parish Council
    Minute books, 1925-1930; Landward Committee of Leslie Parish Council minute book, 1895-1930.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • SC23/22/1920/1
    Kirkcaldy Sherrif Court Processes
    Leslie Parish Council - Extension of burial grounds of the parish, 1920, with plan of proposed extension to cemetery.

Schools

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Leslie Primary School
    Log books, 1901-1929.
  • Leslie School Board
    Minute Books 1873-1919.

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
Leslie Leslie 799 651

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.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/Les
    Leslie Burgh records
    Burgh of Barony of Leslie council and burgh court minutes, 1620-1904 (with gaps); minutes of police commission and town council, 1865-1975; charter from King James II, 1458; account books, 1728-1946; police court case register, 1930-1975; cartulary, 1627-1934.