Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Ceres parish, containing the villages of Ceres, Pitscottie, Craigrothie, Chance Inn and Baldinnie, is bounded by St Andrews, Cameron, Kemback, Largo, Scoonie, Kettle and Cults. It measures about 7 miles by 4 miles. Fully one half of the land is highly cultivated. There is plenty of limestone, which is extensively worked, and coal is found at Ladeddie. The village of Ceres is 2.5 miles south of Cupar on the road to Largo. The hand-loom weaving of linen has long been carried on here and in Craigrothie, but is now in decline. One bleachfield remains, and there are spinning mills at Tarvit Mill and Pitscottie.In the rural areas, the inhabitants are employed in agriculture, and in mining limestone and coal. Ceres village has a parish church, a Free Church and 2 United Presbyterian Churches (East & West). The latter was the earliest seceeding congregation in the centre of Fife, a number of its members living 10 to 15 miles distant." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross, published 1862.

Towns and Villages

Chance Inn
Pitscottie (part) - the rest is in Kemback parish

Places in Ceres 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,


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.

Local resident John Deacon has written a very informative booklet about Craigrothie: Craigrothie - Walking with History, 2001.


There are 2 cemeteries and 1 family mausoleum in Ceres parish:

1. Ceres Old Churchyard, Main Street, Ceres (grid ref. NO 399116, GPS: 56.293727 -2.971183 Google map):

2. Ceres Cemetery, St Andrews Road, Ceres (grid ref. NO 400115, GPS: 56.293403 -2.970193 Google map):

3. Wemyss Mausoleum, Wemysshall Road, Ceres, in the grounds of Hill of Tarvit House (grid ref. NO 377114, GPS: 56.291203 -3.007006, Google map):

War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and war memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.


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

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 415

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
Ceres - 1042253 103826 103988 203518 208749
(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

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

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

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 United Presbyterian churches (East and West) and the Free Church.

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

Details of church history:

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: 415

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

Ceres OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
415/1 1620-1700 1620-1700 1620-1655
415/2 1700-1763 1700-1763 1707-1763
415/3 1763-1819 1763-1819 1763-1819
415/4 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1854
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.  M.  and D.  (Burials) intermixed till 1644, and recorded in parallel cols. of the same pp. from 1645 - 1817, after which three separate Records are kept. Blank Jan. 1644 - March 1645, and Dec. 1646 - March 1649. Margins of leaves 1642 - 1680 much wasted, rendering many entries of M. imperfect, and some altogether illegible. Blank in Record of Burials May 1655 - Jan. 1708. After Jan. 1817, Deaths.

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:

1040154 Items 3 - 4 Baptisms, 1620-1727; Marriages, 1620-1727; Burials, 1620-1655, 1708-1727.
1040155 Items 1 - 3 Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, 1727-1854.
(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.

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

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 (415/1).

Heritors' Records (HR386) 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:

Other Churches :

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

The Ceres 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
Ceres 415 1855 1967
Cupar 420 1968 1971
Cupar 417 1972 2002
Fife 417 2003  

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

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Description & Travel

Ceres town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5617'36"N
NO 399116 56.293017
KY15 5ND Lon. 258'18"W

Surrounding parishes: Kemback, Cameron, St Andrews, Cupar, Cults, Largo, Kilconquhar, Scoonie, Kettle.


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 Ceres 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.


Historic maps: Present-day maps:

Military History

War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and war memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Names, Geographical

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

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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.


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.

Poorhouses, 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 and the Special Collections Dept. of St. Andrews University Library. See Public Records below.

The workhouses.org.uk website has some information about the Ceres almshouses.


Year Population
1755 2540
1801 2352
1851 2833
1901 1545
1951 1376

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 Ceres 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:

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


School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Ceres 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
Ceres Bridgend Infant School 72 41
Ceres 179 133
Craigrothie 108 66


"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.

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