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Help and advice for Newburgh

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Description of the parish in 1862

"Newburgh parish forms the boundary of the county at its northwest corner. It is bounded by the River Tay, Abdie, Abernethy, Auchtermuchty and Collessie. The parish enjoys good seaward communication through the port of Newburgh, is traversed by the turnpike road from Cupar to Perth, and has a station on the Perth fork of the E P & D Railway. The main part of the Royal Burgh consists of one long street, a range of houses fronting the harbour, and a number of lanes leading down to the shore. A modern suburb on the south, Mount Pleasant, is in Abdie parish. Both the shops and the principal dwelling houses indicate considerable taste and prosperity on the part of the owners. Its situation on the Tay is exceedingly pleasant. The town house, with spire, was erected in 1808. The linen trade is the chief employer in the town. A considerable trade in grain is carried on, with a weekly fair for corn. The harbour consists of a long pier parallel to the river with 4 jetties at right angles to it. There are 20 vessels belonging to the port, of the aggregate burden of 1256 tons; and one packet is regularly engaged in conveying raw material and manufactured produce between the town and Dundee. The principal exports are lime, grain and potatoes; while coal, timber and other miscellaneous goods form the imports. There is a parish church in the burgh, and also 2 UP Churches. There is a Free Church for Newburgh and Abdie but it is situated in Abdie parish." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Archives and Libraries

Newburgh has the Laing Museum which houses both artefacts and information about the town and its history.

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


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 Newburgh (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.

Gordon Johnson has published a genealogical index to Lindores Abbey and its Burgh of Newburgh (published 1876). The book is online at the Open Library.


There were 2 cemeteries in Newburgh parish:

1. Newburgh Churchyard, site built over, in High Street, next to Town Chambers (grid ref. NO 234183; GPS: 56.351089 -3.240952 Google map):

  • Houses have been built over the site of the old churchyard.
  • No lair register is known to exist.
  • All headstones were destroyed and there is no record of them, apart from a few listed in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).

2. Newburgh Cemetery, Cupar Road, Newburgh (grid ref. NO 244182: GPS 56.349814 -3.225765 Google map):

  • Pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).
  • A transcript of the pre-1855 lair register entries has been published in the Fife Family History Society Journal, vol 9, no. 1.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1847) 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.

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


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 450

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
Newburgh 1042703 1042270 103832 103994 203529 208765
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Newburgh 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

  • Newburgh Kirk Session:

In 1178 St Andrews Tironensian Abbey of Lindores was founded in the district which was later to form the parish of Newburgh, and in 1622 Newburgh was erected into a separate charge with ratification made by Parliament in 1633. The old parish church of Newburgh stood until 1832 when it was removed to make way for the present day building. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Newburgh became termed Newburgh St Katharine's and in 1953 a union was established with the former United Free church congregation of Newburgh St Andrew's, under the name of Newburgh. Newburgh later established a link with Abdie and Dunbog in 1983. The kirk session formerly sat within the Presbytery of Cupar and presently falls within the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of St Andrews.

  • Newburgh Associate Congregation:

The Newburgh Associate (Burgher) congregation, which sat within the Presbytery of Cupar, commenced in 1785. There had been a secession congregation here from 1740. The congregation suffered from the commencement of a Relief Church congregation at Newburgh in 1841. The charge became one of the United Presbyterian Church congregations in 1847. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the charge became Newburgh West United Free Church, and was united with Newburgh East UF Church in 1903.

  • Newburgh United Presbyterian Churches:


  • Newburgh and Abdie Free Church:


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
Newburgh burgh 450/1 1855 1855
Newburgh landward 450/2 1855 1855
Newburgh 450 1856 1931
Newburgh & Abdie 450 1932 1967
Newburgh 450 1968 1971
Newburgh 416 1972 2002
Fife 416 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:

  • QS
    Quarter Sessions for the County of Fife
    Registers of summary trials held at Cupar and Newburgh, 1834-1841, 1846-1850, 1858-1866, and 1875-1885
  • B/Nb
    Newburgh Burgh records
    Police court fines register and case register, 1910-1974; 

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

  • B/12
    Newburgh Burgh records
    Burgh court books, 1459-1479, 1700-1826, with complaints & processes, 1707-1770; Licensing Court records, 1854-1904.

Description and Travel

Newburgh town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°21'3"N
NO 235184 56.351731
KY14 6DA Lon. 3°14'23"W

Surrounding parishes: Abernethy (Perthshire), Auchtermuchty, Collessie, Abdie, by ferry: Errol (Perthshire).

You can see pictures of Newburgh which are provided by:


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.


There is a list of places in Newburgh 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

On 15th May 1891, the following subjects were transferred from the parish of Abdie to the parish of Newburgh: Lochmill Farm and Wester Lumbenny Farm.

On the same date, the following subjects, which were always in the County of Fife, were transferred from the parish of Abernethy to the parish of Newburgh: Easter Colzie Farm & woodlands, Colzie Hill and Lumquhat.

The upper parts of Newburgh burgh (Mount Pleasant) are situated in Abdie parish.

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

You can see the administrative areas in which Newburgh 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:

  • B/12
    Newburgh Burgh Records
    Register of sasines,1784-1946; Register of sasines minutes, 1822-1946

Valuation rolls:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • VR62
    Valuation Rolls: Newburgh Burgh
    1885-1930; 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

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

  • B/12
    Newburgh Burgh Records
    Assessment rolls, 1899-1903, 1933-1940, 1960-1975.

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.


Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO235184 (Lat/Lon: 56.351785, -3.239471), Newburgh which are provided by:


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.


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.

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.


Year Population  
1755 1347  
1801 1936  
1851 2986  
1901 1780  * boundary changed
1951 2270  

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 Newburgh 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/6/47
    Newburgh Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1845-1930.


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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Newburgh Junior Secondary School
    Log books, 1898-1955.
  • Newburgh Madras Female Junior Secondary School
    Log books, 1863-1888.
  • Newburgh Parochial School
    Log books, 1863-1898.
  • Newburgh School Board
    Minutes, 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
Newburgh Newburgh 464 326


"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


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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • B/54
    Newburgh Burgh Records
    Newburgh burgh records,1784-1946, including: Register of sasines,1784-1946; Register of sasines minutes, 1822-1946.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/Nb
    Newburgh Burgh records
    General correspondence, 1954-1969; police court fines register and case register, 1910-1974; abstract of accounts, 1963-1969.

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

  • B/54
    Newburgh Burgh Records
    Record of services, 1829-1958; Council minutes, 1762-1785, 1827-1974; Police commissioners minutes, 1880-1889; Burgh court books, 1459-1479, 1700-1826, with complaints & processes, 1707-1770; Licensing Court records, 1854-1904. Copies of charters etc., 1266-1789; Registers of Voters, 1833-1870; Polling Book, 1871-1895; Public Health (Scotland) Act 1857 execution papers, 1868-1897; Register of Oaths, 1873-1874; Register of Complaints (on behalf of Inland Revenue), 1874-1875; Chartulary, 1878-1890. Assessment rolls, 1899-1903, 1933-1940, 1960-1975; Abstracts of accounts, 1900-1970. Papers concerning: Newburgh church, 1695-1781; Riding of the marches, 1723-1852; Thirlage, 1763-1790; Burgh customs / lands, 1851-1870; Water supply, 1868-1892; Financial matters, 1843-1894; Legal affairs, 1837-1889. Title deeds and other legal documents, 1457-1542, 1600-1763; Burgess rolls, 1715-1854; Miscellaneous papers, 1801-1912; Correspondence of burgh officials, 1883-1894.

Voting Registers

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

  • B/12
    Newburgh Burgh Records
    Registers of Voters, 1833-1870; Polling Book, 1871-1895.