Description of the parish in 1852

Map showing the location of the parish

"Collessie is a parish lying to the north of Kettle. It is 8 miles in length by 5 in breadth. It consists chiefly of fine enclosed lands, and some fine plantations rising from the Eden to the hills on the north. The village, of no importance in the way of business, is situated 3 miles from Auchtermuchty and 6 from Cupar. The railway passes through the parish. The parish church is a neat building surmounted by a spire." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Towns and Villages


Places in Collessie 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.


Collessie Churchyard, Braehead, Collessie (grid ref. NO 286134, GPS: 56.305799 -3.155249 Google map):

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

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 416

The 1851 return can be searched on the FreeCEN

The 1851 census has been indexed and published 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
Collessie - 1042254 103826 103988 203518 208750
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Church History

In addition to the parish church at Collessie, there was a Church of Scotland at Ladybank and a Free Church at Ladybank.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church and the Free Church.

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

Website of the Friends of Collessie Church.

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: 416

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

Collessie OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
416/1 1696-1819 1696-1819 1727-1819
416/2   1696-1773 1723-1773
416/3 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.  and M.  intermixed till 1757. Upper portion of leaves of Record 1724 - 1757 very much wasted. and many entries partially, some entirely, destroyed. Mothers' names seldom recorded in entries of B. till 1817.
M.  blank Dec. 1757 - Nov. 1783. There is, however, a separate Record containing Proclamations Dec. 1696 - April 1773, the leaves of which (1723 - 1734) are partially destroyed by damp.
D.  (Burials.) Entries May 1727 - Jan. 1817, recorded on alternate pp. of the Register of B., after which date there is a separate Record. Mortcloth Dues 1723 - 1773 recorded among the Proclamations of M.

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:

1040155 Item 4 Baptisms, 1696-1794; Marriages, 1696-1733, 1750, 1756; Burials, 1727-1794.
1040156 Items 1 - 3 Baptisms, burials, 1794-1854; Marriages ,1783-1854; Session book (includes Mortcloth dues [burial records], 1723-1773 and Marriage proclamations), 1696-1773.
(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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (416/2).

Heritors' Records (HR36) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

The Collessie 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
Collessie 416 1855 1967
Auchtermuchty 406 1968 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.

Description & Travel

Collessie church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5618'21"N
NO 286134 56.307617
KY15 7RQ Lon. 39'4"W

Surrounding parishes: Abdie, Monimail, Cults, Kettle, Strathmiglo, Auchtermuchty, Newburgh.

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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 Collessie 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

On 15th May 1891, the following subjects were transferred from the parish of Cults to the parish of Collessie: Annesmuir (part); Sunnybraes; Edensmuir Commonty; Sweethome.

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

Land and Property

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

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. See Public Records below.


Year Population
1755 989
1801 930
1851 1520
1901 2161  * boundary changed
1951 2042

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 Collessie 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:


School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Collessie 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
Collessie Collessie 129 94
Ladybank 272 273


"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.

In 1878 the inhabitants of Ladybank adopted the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act and Ladybank became a police burgh with police commissioners responsible for the cleansing, lighting, policing and public health of the burgh. The police commissioners were replaced by Ladybank Town Council in January 1901. Ladybank Town Council was abolished in 1975 and its powers were assumed by Fife Regional Council and North East Fife District Council. These in turn were replaced by Fife Council in 1996.

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

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