Auchtermuchty

Description of the parish in 1852

Map showing the location of the parish

"Auchtermuchty signifying in Gaelic 'the cottage of the King', is a parish and a royal burgh - the latter 22 miles from Dundee, 19 from St Andrews, 14 from Perth, 5 from Newburgh, and 3 from Collessie, a station on the Edinburgh, Perth & Dundee Railway. It is situated on the road from Kinross to Cupar Fife, 10 miles from the former and 9 from the latter town. Auchtermuchty is irregularly built - many of the houses are thatched and low, but the greater proportion are of a superior appearance. There is a good substantial mansion house in the town, which was once the residence of the Thane of Fife. A stream of water called Loverspool runs through the town, dividing it into nearly two equal parts. This place was constituted a royal burgh by James IV, which charter was confirmed by James VI, and it still enjoys all the privileges arising therefrom, except that of parliamentary representation. It is governed by 3 baillies, 15 councillors, a treasurer, and town clerk, and has a sheriff's small debt court, which is held quarterly. O. T. Bruce Esq. of Grange and Falkland is patron of the parish, and has become of late years a large proprietor in it. There is a castle on one of his estates which was built by the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scotland. A considerable trade is carried on here in manufacturing linen & cotton goods for Dunfermline, Dundee and Kirkcaldy houses, and this forms the principal business of the place. There are branches respectively of the Union Bank of Scotland, and the Western Bank of Scotland, and a bank for savings. The places of worship comprise a church of the establishment, a free church, 3 united presbyterian chapels, and one for baptists. The parish church is an old structure, lately enlarged, and situated near the centre of the town. Schools are connected with the parish church and the free church, and there is one for infants. Fairs April 5th, July 13th and August 21st." from Slater's Directory, published 1852.

Towns and Villages

Auchtermuchty
Dunshalt

Places in Auchtermuchty parish, with links to online historical and modern maps.


Please read the main Fife pages if you have not already done so.

Archives and Libraries

The ScotlandsPlaces website lets users search across national databases by geographical location. It includes, amongst other material,

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 Auchtermuchty parish:

1. Auchtermuchty Old Churchyard, High Street, Auchtermuchty (grid ref. NO 239117, GPS: 56.291615 -3.231047 Google map):

2. Auchtermuchty Cemetery, Station Road, Auchtermuchty (grid ref. NO 242114, GPS: 56.28851 -3.226672 Google map):

Census

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

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 406

The 1851 return 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
Auchtermuchty - 1042252 103825 103986 203516 208747
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

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Church History

In addition to the parish church, other churches include a Free Church, and 3 United Presbyterian churches.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1843) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 3 United Presbyterian churches (East, West & North), and the Free Church.

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

Details of church history:

Auchtermuchty Church was first consecrated by Bishop de Bernham on 31 March 1245 and in 1350 it was granted by the Earl of Fife, out of gratitude for his escape at the battle of Durham, to the Abbey of Lindores. The present day church was erected in 1780. In 1952, following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929, Auchtermuchty old parish church was joined with the former United Free church congregation of Auchtermuchty St Stephen's. After the union the congregation continued under the name of Auchtermuchty and the former St Stephen's church and manse were sold. The kirk session formerly sat within the Presbytery of Cupar and presently falls under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of St Andrews.
The Auchtermuchty Associate (Burgher) congregation, which sat within the Presbytery of Cupar, commenced during the year 1748, but the origin of the secession congregation can be taken back to 1738, when a praying society within the parish of Auchtermuchty acceded to the Associate Presbytery. The reason for the establishment of the charge was to provide a meeting place for families who had been drawn away from their own ministers at Leslie and Ceres and also at Abernethy and Orwell. The first church to house the congregation was built in 1750, and the first Burgher minister was inducted in 1752. The congregation continued, bearing the name Auchtermuchty East, apparently falling later within the United Secession Church (from 1820) and from 1847 within the United Presbyterian Church, when it was within the Presbytery of Cupar. A new church was opened in 1846. During the 1850s the congregation declined, partly as Auchtermuchty's population was falling. The decision was taken to merge the two U.P. sessions of Auchtermuchty East and Auchtermuchty West, to form the charge of Auchtermuchty South. The union took place on 23 April 1873 and the East Church, being the newer of the two buildings, was appointed as the place of worship of the new South Church congregation. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900 Auchtermuchty South became Auchtermuchty South United Free Church.
see Auchtermuchty Associate Session above
During the 19th century the United Presbyterian congregations of Auchtermuchty experienced dwindling numbers and thus the decision was taken to merge the two U.P. sessions of Auchtermuchty East and Auchtermuchty West, to form the charge of Auchtermuchty South. The union took place on 23 April 1873 and the East Church, being the newer of the two buildings, was appointed as the place of worship of the new South Church congregation. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900 Auchtermuchty South became Auchtermuchty South United Free Church and in 1923 a union was established with Auchtermuchty Martyrs. Following this local union the name of the congregation became simply Auchtermuchty United Free Church, and the former South church remained in use as the place of worship, with the former Martyrs church being converted for use as a church hall. In 1929, when the United Free Church joined with the Church of Scotland, the congregation was termed Auchtermuchty St Stephen's and in 1952 St Stephen's united with the parish church of Auchtermuchty Old. After the union the congregation continued under the name of Auchtermuchty and the former St Stephen's church and manse were sold. The kirk session presently falls within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
The Antiburgher congregation of Auchtermuchty North was set up in 1783, the same year in which the church was erected. The establishment of Auchtermuchty North was the result of a request from Antiburgher families for a meeting place within the district of Auchtermuchty, having had for forty years prior to 1783 to travel a considerable distant to the nearest Antiburgher church located at Abernethy. James Browning, the first minister of Auchermuchty North, was ordained in 1785. The church came within the United Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Cupar, in 1847. In 1850 the old church was replaced by a new and more commodious building, although the congregation declined later in the century, partly as Auchtermuchty's population fell. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the charge became Auchtermuchty United Free Church, and in 1910 the congregation was dissolved and the church and manse sold.
The congregation of Auchtermuchty Free Church was established at the time of the Disruption in 1843 and services began in a church erected for the congregation in that same year. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Auchtermuchty Free Church became Auchtermuchty Martyrs United Free Church and in 1923 a union was established with Auchtermuchty South. Following this local union the name of the congregation became simply Auchtermuchty United Free Church, and the former South church was used as the place of worship, with the former Martyrs church being converted for use as a church hall. In 1929, when the United Free Church joined with the Church of Scotland, the congregation was termed Auchtermuchty St Stephen's and in 1952 St Stephen's united with the parish church of Auchtermuchty Old. After the union the charge continued under the name of Auchtermuchty and the former St Stephen's church and manse were sold. The kirk session presently falls 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: 406

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

Auchtermuchty OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
406/1 1649-1819 1649-1794 1649-1667
406/2   1795-1819 1744-1819
406/3 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1851
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 Dec. 1661 - Mar. 1663, and Aug. 1667 - Sept. 1702. After 1794, blank spaces occur, apparently intended for neglected registrations.
M.  blank Dec. 1661 - Aug. 1663, and July 1667 - Oct. 1702. Record, 1702 - 1786, well kept. Blank (exc. five entries for 1794) June 1786 - April 1795, from which date till 1817 entries of Proclamations merely, and these defective till April 1797. Entries of sums 'mortified' by bridegrooms before Marriage 1701 - 1794 in vol. 2.
D.  blank Feb. 1662 - Feb. 1663, and June 1667 - Nov. 1774. Mortcloth Dues from latter date till Jan. 1817, when a Record of Deaths again commences. From 1704 - 1799, occasional entries relating to funeral Expenses of Paupers, mixed up with other matters in vol. 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:

1040148 Item 4 Baptisms, 1649-1667, 1700-1819; Marriages, 1649-1667, 1702-1786, 1794; Burials, 1649-1667.
1040149 Items 1 - 2 Session book (includes Marriage proclamations and Mortcloth dues [burial records]), 1701-1817; Marriages, 1817-1854; Burials, 1817-1851; Baptisms, 1820-1854.
(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 (406/2 and 406/3).

Heritors' Records (HR724) 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:

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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh but not online:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Other Churches :

Records for other churches are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library.

Some of the pre-1855 baptism and marriage registers have been transcribed and published.

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

The Auchtermuchty page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

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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
Auchtermuchty burgh 406/1 1855 1855
Auchtermuchty landward 406/2 1855 1855
Auchtermuchty 406 1856 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

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

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Auchtermuchty Burgh Register of Deeds (1757-1874).

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Description & Travel

Auchtermuchty town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5617'31"N
NO 238117 56.291599
-3.232662
KY14 7AP Lon. 313'59"W

Surrounding parishes: Collessie, Strathmiglo, Newburgh, Abernethy (Perthshire), Falkland - not adjoining but very close.

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 Auchtermuchty 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.

Historical Geography

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

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.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

Maps

Historic maps: Present-day maps:
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Names, Geographical

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

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, 26.

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.

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

The relief of paupers after 1845 was carried out by theParochial Board and later by the Parish Council. Their records are at the Fife Council Archive Centre. See Public Records below.

Population

Year Population
1755 1308
1801 2060
1851 3704
1901 1884
1951 1831

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 Auchtermuchty 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 Auchtermuchty 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:

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

Schools

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

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
Auchtermuchty Dunshalt 83 43
Madras 127 84
North 194 137
South now closed  

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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

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

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Auchtermuchty Burgh Register of Deeds (1757-1874).

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