Description of the parish in 1856

Map showing the location of the parish

"Culross parish contains the royal burgh of that name, and the villages of Blairburn and Low Valleyfield. It is bounded by Tulliallan, Clackmannan, Saline and Torryburn. Coalmines were once extensive but they can now no longer yield a profitable return. The parish is traversed by the Stirling and Dunfermline Railway, and has a small station on it at East Grange. There is a small pier for the accommodation of fishing boats. There is a parish church and a Free Church; an endowed school and 2 private schools. In the town of Culross, most of the houses are shabby and all its streets are in disrepair. It formerly carried on a great trade in coal and salt which is now anihilated." edited from Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland published 1856. 

[N.B. The village is now very different - many buildings having been restored by the National Trust for Scotland.]

Towns and Villages

Low Valleyfield

Places in Culross 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

Perth & Kinross Council Archives and Library, A K Bell Library, Perth. Tel. (01738) 477012, email:, has material relating to Culross and Tulliallan when they were part of Perthshire (before 1891).

Fife Council Archive Centre, Carleton House, Balgonie Road, Markinch, Fife KY6 7AQ.   Tel: (01592) 583352. email:, has more recent material since their transfer to Fife in 1891.

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


There are 3 cemeteries in Culross parish:

1. Culross West Churchyard, by Upper Dean, Culross (grid ref. NS 979865, GPS: 56.06009 -3.64025 Google map): 2. Culross Abbey Churchyard, Kirk Street, Culross (grid ref. NS 988863, GPS: 56.058535 -3.625816 Google map): 3. Culross Cemetery, Blairhall Glen, Shire Road, Culross (grid ref. NS 993872, GPS: 56.067388 -3.618441 Google map):

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Culross West Churchyard and Culross Abbey Churchyard are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 2 The western parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061972

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

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Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1891 censuses: 343
District reference number for 1901 census: 418b

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
Culross 1042692 1042262 103892 104072 203504 208733
(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 (first at the West Kirk, later at the Abbey), there was a Free Church of Scotland (St Kentigern's).

The Old Statistical Account (1793) describes the church as having 2 ministers "the charge being collegiate". It states that the Established Church has the only place of worship, but there are also not above 50 Burghers and Antiburgher Seceders.

The NewStatistical Account (written in 1839) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church with 2 ministers.

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

Details of church history:

The West Kirk was the original parish church before the Reformation.

After the Reformation, the choir and transepts of the Monastery of the Abbey were taken over as the parish church. By Charter of 20 June 1589, James VI erected the rectory and vicarage of Culross with manse and glebe. The medieval church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Serf by Malcolm, Earl of Fife in the thirteenth century. Ministry began in 1567 in the person of Robert Dykes, minister. In 1672 the barony of Kincardine-on-Forth and the lands of Larg, Sands and Kellywood were disjoined from Culross and added to Tulliallan. From at least 1976 the session was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Presbytery, before which it was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline and Kinross Presbytery from at least 1955. Prior to that time the session was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Presbytery. On 13 January 1943 the session united with the United Free Church of Culross, St. Kentigern's. On 1 September 1983 the union of Culross Abbey, Toryburn and Newmills formed Culross and Toryburn Kirk Session.

Culross Free Church was formed at the Disruption and recognised as a station in 1846. The church building dated from the following year, but sanction as a full charge came only in 1867. It passed successively to the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland, in the latter case as Culross St Kentigern's, which united with Culross Abbey under that name in 1943. The Church of Scotland charge was in the presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross and the synod of Fife.

The Story of Culross West Kirk by Paddy Monaghan can be purchased in the village.

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: 343

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

Culross OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
343/1 1641-1687 1640-1687 1640-1685
343/2 1687-1791    
343/3 1797-1819 1687-1819  
343/4 1820-1854 1820-1854 1824-1854
343/5 Index 1687-1819    
(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.  Record appears to have been regularly kept. Mothers' names not recorded till Oct. 1667, and not unfrequently omitted 1672 - 1700 incl.
M.  Portion of second leaf lost. Record 1653 - 1661 very much wasted, large portions of the leaves being decayed, and from 1661 to Aug. 1670, it is entirely lost. Only three entries Nov. 1698 - July 1700. Blank Jan. 1734 - April 1746, and only one entry, 1811, Dec. 1807 - Dec. 1812. No entry June 1818 - May 1820. After 1706 (exc. 1746 - 1754 incl.) the fact of Marriage is seldom added to the entries of Proclamation or Contract.
D.  Blank Dec. 1641 - May 1647, and Nov. 1648 - Aug. 1667. Only one entry July 1674 - Nov. 1679.

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:

1040076 Item 5 Baptisms 1641-1687, marriages 1640- 1686, and burials 1667-1685
1040077 Baptisms 1687-1819, marriages 1687- 1820; kirk sessions which contain baptisms, marriages and burials 1820-1854; and surname index to baptisms 1687-1819.
(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.

Heritors' Records (HR158) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Other Churches :

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

A transcript of these Free Church baptisms has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 1 and is also available on CD:
Culross Free Church Baptisms
CH3/1397/6 1845-1854

The Culross 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
Culross Burgh 343/1 1855 1856
Culross Landward 343/2 1855 1856
Culross 343 1857 1892
Culross 418B 1893 1967
Culross 418 1968 1971
Culross 435 1972 1993
West Fife 435 1994 2002
Fife 435 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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Culross Burgh Register of Deeds (1713-1801).

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Description & Travel

Culross town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 563'18"N
NS 987859 56.055196
KY12 8HN Lon. 337'45"W

Surrounding parishes: Carnock, Saline, Torryburn, Tulliallan, Clackmannan (in Clackmannanshire).


The parish entry in Pigot's National Commercial Directory for the whole of Scotland, 1837, is online at Google Books.


There is a list of places in Culross 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 whole parish of Culross was transferred from the county of Perth to the county of Fife.

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:

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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.

The parishes of Abernethy, Arngask, Culross and Tulliallan parishes will be included in the Perthshire Milita collection, 1680-1891, located at the Perth and Kinross Council Archive, Perth.


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.

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At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh:

A list of Culross wrights, 1612 - 1845, extracted from the records of the Incorporation of Wrights of Culross, held by the National Library of Scotland, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 13 - Trade Incorporation Records. It is also available on the Records pages of their website.

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.

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Dunfermline combination poorhouse.


Year Population
1755 1695
1801 1502
1851 1487
1901 1120
1951 4228

There is a page with census statistics from 1755 to 1961 here.

See also A Vision of Britain and Histpop for population statistics.

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Probate Records

Probate records are 'Confirmations' in Scotland.

Prior to 1824, wills, testaments & inventories of residents of Culross may be found in either the Dunblane Commissariot (CC6) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business may have been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Perth (SC49), the Sheriff Court at Dunblane (SC44), or the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20). From 1960, it has been conducted at Dunfermline (SC21) Sheriff Court.

Indexes and finding aids are given on the main Fife page.

Local sources worth searching for deeds include Dunblane Commissary Court, Dunblane Sheriff Court, Perth Sheriff Court, Cupar Sheriff Court and Culross 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:


School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Culross 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
Culross Culross 137 77


"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


At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

The hearth 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 Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library:

Voting Registers

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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