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Help and advice for Leuchars

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Leuchars

Description of the parish in 1852

"Leuchars parish is 9 miles in length by 5 in breadth. It is bounded on the east by the German Ocean, and watered by the Eden on the south and south-west. The surface is level and the soil tolerably fertile. There is an extensive distillery in the parish. The village of Leuchars is pleasantly situated about a mile from the coast, and 6 from St Andrews, on the road from that town to Dundee. The majority of the inhabitants are employed in the linen manufacture. The Edinburgh & Dundee Railway passes through the parish, and there is a station in the village. The church is very ancient, and considered one of the most perfect specimens of Saxon architecture in Scotland; it is supposed to have been erected in the 12th century. There is also a free church in the parish." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

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 Leuchars parish:

1. Leuchars Churchyard, School Hill. (grid ref. NO 455215; GPS: 56.381631 -2.883016 Google map):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Leuchars Churchyard 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
  • A CD containing an indexed picture gallery of headstones has been produced by Tay Valley Family History Society.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
  • There are Burial Registers for the period 1872 - 1901 in the Kirk Session records at St Andrews University Library.
  • 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.

2. Leuchars Cemetery, north of the village, next to St Michaels Golf Club. (grid ref. NO 447218; GPS: 56.385879 -2.896405 Google map):

  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1900) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services East, County Buildings, St Catherine Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA. Tel. 01334 659336. Fax 01334 412896.

3. Vicarsford Cemetery (on a single track road off the A914, north of Drumoig Golf Centre, grid ref. NO 438257, GPS: 56.420928, -2.913437, Google map):

  • for details, see in Forgan parish.

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: 445.

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.

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
Leuchars 1042703 1042270 103831 103994 203528 208764
(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 Leuchars 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 (St. Athernase), there was an Antiburgher Congregation at Balmullo, a Free Church at Leuchars and an Episcopal Church (St Saviour's) at Guardbridge.

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

  • 22 Antiburgher Seceders
  • 13 Burgher Seceders
  • 1 Berean
  • 1 member of the Episcopal Church.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) has this to say:

  • One church of Original Seceders in Balmullo, with about 70 members and  "a respectable minister whose stipend is of small and variable amount", plus a small manse and 2 acres of grass.
  • Total number of Dissenters in the parish about 100
  • Number of persons attending the [Established] Church: about 600, number of communicants about 700.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the United Original Seceders Church (Balmullo) and the Free Church.

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

Details of church history:

  • Leuchars Church - St Athernase
    The church of Leuchars was dedicated to St Athernase and belonged, prior to the reformation, to the Priory of St Andrews. Ministry of the charge is first recorded from 1563, in the person of John Ure. In 1930, following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Leuchars parish church united with the former United Free Church congregation of Leuchars Henderson, under the name of Leuchars St Athernase. After the union the former United Free church was converted for use as a church hall. A link was established with Guardbridge in 1940. In 1991 the linked charges of Leuchars St Athernase and Guardbridge were united to form the session of Leuchars St Athernase and Guardbridge. Leuchars Kirk Session sat within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • Leuchars Free Church / Leuchars Henderson United Free Church
    Leuchars Free Church had been established immediately after the Disruption in 1843. The congregation joined the United Free Church on the union of the Free Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church in 1900. It was united with Guardbridge from 1903 to 1913.
  • St Saviour's Episcopal Church, Guardbridge
    -
  • Balmullo Antiburgher Congregation
    -

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: 445

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

Leuchars OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
445/1 1665-1819 1665-1819  
445/2 1820-1854 1820-1854 1720-1854
(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 Dec. 1692 - Nov. 1695, Oct. 1699 - Feb. 1705. Entries prior to Aug. 1761 tabulated. Mothers' names omitted bet. March and Sept. 1665 incl.
M.  (Contracts.) Only two entries Sept. 1665 - Jan. 1678, and one Dec. 1692 - Nov. 1695. Blank Jan. 1699 - Oct. 1714. Entries prior to April 1792 tabulated.
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, Death records 1720 - 1854 were added to the OPR series (vol. 445/2).]

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:

1040189 Items 1 - 2 Baptisms, 1781-1854; Marriages, 1665, 1677-1699, 1714-1855; Mortcloth dues (burial records), 1720-1765; Burials, 1766-1854.
1040386 Item 5 Baptisms, 1665-1699, 1705-1781.
(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.

The LDS have filmed some other church records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

1484199 Item 1 Leuchars Parish Church Kirk session minutes and accounts, 1762-1807, 1829-1869 CH2/1209/8 St Andrews University Library
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Kirk Session records for the parish church (CH2/1209) are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library and at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Heritors' Records (HR154) 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:

  • CH2/1209
    Leuchars Church
    Minutes and accounts, 1665-1689, 1714-1825 and 1829-1869; Register of christenings, 1665-1677; Marriages, 1665; Minutes, 1695-1704 and 1869-1908; Accounts, 1697-1705; Proclamations, 1677-1699, 1869-1897 and 1900-1929 ; Baptisms, 1677-1690, 1705-1714 and 1866-1906; Accounts for relief of militia families, 1809-1813; Burial register, 1872-1901 and 1916-1951; Decreet of modification and locality, 1803-1804; Cash book, 1825-1868; Account book, kept by a writer or notary, 1682-1690; Miscellaneous papers, 17th-20th cent; Income and expenditure, 1869-1897; Account of charge and discharge of Trust Funds, 1897-1964; Accounts for legacies, 1940-1955; Communion roll, 1862, 1867-1876, 1900-1951 and 1955-1975; Supplementary roll, 1942-1985; Miscellaneous papers, 18th-20th cents.
    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    1484199 Item 1 Leuchars Parish Church Kirk session minutes and accounts, 1762-1807, 1829-1869 Original source: CH2/1209/8 St Andrews University Library
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • GD1/150
    Letters of horning re Leuchars Church
    Letters of horning at the instance of Alexander Hendersone, minister of the kirk of Leucharis [Leuchars], against the parishioners re taxes for the repair of the roof and choir, 1638.
  • HR/154
    Leuchars parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1803-1928; Cash book, 1828, 1836-1926; Papers relating to buildings, 1893-1924; Papers relating to transference to Church of Scotland, 1925-1928; Miscellaneous, 1871-1872, 1900, 1922; Plans of churchyard and farm steading, 1925, undated.

Other Churches:

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

  • CH2/1209
    Leuchars Free Church and United Free Church
    Minutes, 1845-1930; Deacons' court minutes, 1877-1930; List of deacons 1861-1898; Treasurer's cash book, 1846-1897; Financial abstract, 1846-1901; Communion rolls, 1890-1930.
  • msdep47
    St Saviour's Episcopal Church, Guardbridge
    Registers of services, 1896-1972; Minute book 1908-1917; Financial material 1912-1935, 1955-1972.

The Leuchars 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
Leuchars 445 1855 1971
Leuchars 412 1972 1975
St Andrews 413 1976 2002
Fife 413 2003  

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

Description and Travel

Leuchars church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°22'53"N
NO 455215 56.382627
-2.884173
KY16 0HQ Lon. 2°53'2"W

Surrounding parishes: Ferryport on Craig, Forgan, Logie, Dairsie, Kemback, St Andrews.

You can see pictures of Leuchars 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 Leuchars 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 Leuchars 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.

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO455215 (Lat/Lon: 56.382681, -2.884179), Leuchars which are provided by:

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 11.

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 1691
1801 1687
1851 1991
1901 2499
1951 3620

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 Leuchars 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/6/42
    Leuchars Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute book, 1926-1930.

Schools

School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre and at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. Leuchars records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Balmullo School
    Log books, 1873-1925; Admissions Registers, 1912-1965.
  • Guardbridge School
    Log books, 1889-1993; Admissions Registers, 1921-1957.
  • Leuchars School
    Log books, 1873-1943.
  • Leuchars School Board
    Minutes, 1873-1906.

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.

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

  • ms 38201
    Leuchars School Board
    Letter book, 1884.

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

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Leuchars Balmullo 132 67
Guardbridge 172 106
Leuchars 232 185

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.