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St Monans

Description of the parish in 1862

"The parish of St Monans stands on the shores of the Firth of Forth. It is bounded by Pittenweem, Elie, Kilconquhar and Carnbee. The parish extends about 1 mile along the coast and about 1.5 miles from north - south. The fishing village of St Monans, where the majority of the parishoners live, is situated nearly halfway between Elie and Pittenweem. It is a Burgh of Barony, governed by its baron Bailies and Council. There is a Sea Box Society connected with the village; Savings Banks and other social and benevolent institutions. The villagers catch great quantities of herring, cod, ling, haddock, etc. The inhabitants of the landward parts are chiefly employed in agriculture." 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.

Old St Monans (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.

Cemeteries

There are 2 cemeteries in St Monans parish:

1. Abercrombie Churchyard (grid ref. NO 522034, GPS: 56.220987, -2.772584 Google map):

  • Monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell - see below.
  • 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.

2. St Monans Old Churchyard & Cemetery (grid ref. NO 522014, GPS: 56.203174, -2.772069 Google map):

  • Monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell - see below.
  • Burial registers for the period from 1855 are among the Kirk Session records at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1868) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services East, County Buildings, St Catherine Street, Cupar KY15 4TA.
  • Some stones are in di Folco (see above).
  • 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 St Monans Churchyard and Abercrombie Churchyard are listed in "Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 1 South east parishes" by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061948

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 454

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
St Monans 1042704 1042271 103832 103995 203530 208767
(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 St Monans 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, other churches include a Free Church (later United Free, and Braehead Church of Scotland).

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) mentions the increase in numbers of Seceders: the Relief, Burghers and Antiburghers, etc., but gives no details.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1837) gives this information:

  • No Dissenting or Seceding place of worship.
  • " Nor are there now, we should think, above 25 grown up persons in the bounds who acknowledge any dissenting minister as their adopted pastor."

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

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

Details of church history:

  • St Monans Parish Church
The church of St Monans, which was named of old Abercrombie, dates back to 1362 when it was founded by David II, to express his gratitude for his survival after his ship was wrecked in the Firth of Forth. The church, which replaced an earlier chapel, was burn down by the English in 1544 but was later rebuilt as the parish church of St Monans in 1646. In 1939 St Monans old parish church united with the former United Free church congregation of St Monans Braehead, the session continued under the name of St Monans after the union and the former United Free church was sold in 1947. The Kirk Session of St Monans, which was linked in 1983 with Largoward, sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • St Monans Free Church, later United Free, then Braehead Church of Scotland:
The Free Church of St Monans began service in 1869, initially under the charge of the Kirk Session of Elie. The church was built in the following year and the charge was later sanctioned in 1878. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, St Monans Free Church became St Monans United Free Church, and following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church the charge was termed St Monans Braehead, Church of Scotland. In 1939 St Monans Braehead was joined with the old parish church of St Monans, under the name of St Monans, and the old Braehead Church was sold in 1947. The Kirk Session of St Monans, which was linked in 1983 with Largoward, sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.

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: 454

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

St Monans  OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
454/1 1628-1691 1628-1690 1674-1681; 1691-1704
454/2 1707-1819 1707-1819 1736-1817
454/3 1820-1854 1820-1854 1827-1854
(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.  Three entries for 1682 and one for 1690 on first leaf. Margin of Record 1747 - 1773 injured by want of care, and a number of entries thereby rendered imperfect. Entries occasionally occur a few years out of the order of time. At 1817, six irregular entries dated 1807 - 1848. Duplicate of Record 1719 - 1747.
M.  blank (exc. a few entries of Proclamation fees, etc.) Aug. 1691 - May 1707, and Nov. 1756 - March 1758. Occasional entries of Irregular and Clandestine Marriages. Duplicate of Record 1712 - 1740, and 1746 - 1747.
D.  Only Mortcloth Dues prior to 1747. Blank 1681 - 1690, and 1704 - 1736. Deaths Aug. 1747 - Nov. 1756, and Jan. 1773 - July 1781. Burials are recorded after Oct. 1783. There are, however, transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues applicable to the blanks in the regular Record 1756 - 1773 and 1781 - 1783. Blank also Nov. 1817 - Jan. 1827. Duplicate of portion 1827 - 1844.
[The early portion of the B. and M. Register for Anstruther Wester contains entries for the neighbouring parishes of Abercrombie or St Monance, Kilrenny, and Pittenweem.]

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:

1040181 Items 2-4 Baptisms 1628-1691, 1682, 1707-1854; Marriages 1627-1854; Mortcloth dues (burial records) 1674-1704, 1736-1749, 1790-1806; Baptisms 1719-1747; Marriages 1711-1738; Burials 1747-1817, 1827- 1854.
(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 (454/1).

Heritors' Records (HR25) 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:

  • CH2/1056
    St Monans Kirk Session
    Minutes and accounts, 1597-1617, 1629-1660, 1665-1670 and 1689-1790; Acts of ordinances of the session, 1630; Lits of subscribers towards bell of Abercrombie, 1630; Minutes, 1670-1681 and 1790-1939; Accounts, 1670-1682 and 1717-1721; Cash book, 1895-1939; Baptismal register, 1857-1978; Proclamation register, 1855-1978; Burial register, 1855-1939; Tiend papers, 1804-1933; Church hall committee minutes, 1914-1960.

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

  • 454/1
    St Monans Kirk Session
    Debursements 1617 - 1632 (5 pages); accounts mostly mortcloths 1674 - 1681

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/25
    St Monance parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1826-1930; Cash book, 1820-1930.

Other Churches:

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

  • CH3/1067
    St Monans Free Church, later United Free, then Braehead Church of Scotland
    Minutes, 1870-1939; Deacon's court minutes, 1884-1939; Baptismal register, 1895-1939; Proclamations, 1933-1939.

The St Monans 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
St Monance (or Abercrombie) 454 1855 1967
East Neuk 426 1968 1971
East Neuk 414 1972 2002
Fife 414 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

St Monans town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°12'18"N
NO 525016 56.204614
-2.767236
KY10 2BS Lon. 2°45'58"W

Surrounding parishes: Pittenweem, Carnbee, Kilconquhar, Elie.

You can see pictures of St Monans 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 St Monans 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, for St Monans and Abercrombie online at British History.
  • 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 St Monans has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Ask for a calculation of the distance from St Monans to another place.

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 NO525016 (Lat/Lon: 56.204663, -2.767241), St Monans 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, 30.

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 780
1801 852
1851 1241
1901 2007
1951 1619

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 St Monans 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/6/50
    St Monance Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1876-1930.

Schools

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

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

  • St Monance School
    School Board Minute books, 1873-1919; Log books 1911-1928

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
St Monans St Monans 430 333

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 Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • B80
    St Monans burgh records
    Council minutes, 1719-1975; Register of plans and sections, 1933-1962; Assessment rolls, 1962-1975; Harbour dues day book, 1951-1972; Burial ground committee minutes, 1935-1973.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/St.m
    St Monans Burgh records
    St Monans Harbour Commission minutes, 1927-1972; Harbour Commissioners correspondence, 1939-1969, and accounts, 1879-1974; St Monans Town Council improvement committee minutes, 1951-1968; miscellaneous Town Council correspondence, legal papers and vouchers, 1622-1943; Police court reports, 1950-1965.