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Cults

Map showing the location of the parish

"The parish of Cults abounds in coal, lime and freestone, and it is generally well cultivated and enclosed. The parish is chiefly in the Howe of Fife, on the south bank of the Eden, having Ceres on the east, Kettle on the west, and Monimail on the north. The principal ornaments of this district are the mansion house and beautifuly disposed pleasure grounds and plantations of Crawford Priory, which lie on the west side of the road to Cupar. Wilkie, the justly celebrated painter, was a native of the parish, his father having been minister of Cults. The ancient name of the parish was Guilkes, which signifies a nook or corner, it being disjointed from the large strath which runs from east to west along the bank of the Eden. Pitlessie is a small village in the parish of Cults, 2 miles from Kettle.It is situated on the road between Kirkcaldy and Cupar, 4 miles from the latter town. The occupation of the inhabitants is of the same nature as those of Kettle [chiefly weaving]." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Towns and Villages

Pitlessie

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


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

Archives, Libraries and Museums

A separate Records Page page gives details of the records for this parish held by Scottish archives.

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

Cults Churchyard, Kirkton of Cults, near Pitlessie (grid ref. NO 346099, GPS: 56.277044 -3.057770):

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Census

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

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 419

The 1851 return can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

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
Cults - 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, there was also a United Secession church in Pitlessie and a Free Church at Balmalcolm (in Kettle parish).

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) does not mention any dissenters from the Established Church.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1838) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the United Presbyterian Church (at Pitlessie) and the Free Church (Kettle and Cults).

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

Details of church history here.

Church Records

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 General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, and they can all be consulted there at the ScotlandsPeople Centre. 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: 419

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

Cults OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
419/1 1693-1819 1693-1819 1704-1819
419/2 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1854
Data supplied by General Register Office for 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 1693 - 1748, and D.  (Mortcloth Dues) also included from Feb. 1704. United Record blank July 1709 - Sept. 1726, and no entries of M. Dec. 1708 - Jan. 1727. From Feb. 1751, the B. M. and D. (Burials) for each year are recorded by turns in the same Register, exc. that the Burials are blank Oct. 1765 - 1773. There are, however, Mortcloth Dues for this last period. From 1751 - 1764 inclusive, both Contracts and Marriages are recorded. Mothers' names inserted in entries of B. after Dec. 1696.

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:

1040100 Items 2 - 3 Session book (includes Baptisms, Marriage proclamations), 1693- 1709, 1726-1751; Baptisms, Marriages, 1752-1854; Burials, 1704-1709, 1726-1854; Marriage pawns, Mortcloth dues (burial records), 1752-1811.
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 Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (419/1). Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR182) are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches :

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

Details of church records here.

The Cults 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
Cults 419 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.

Description & Travel

Cults church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5616'36"N
NO 347098 56.276160
-3.056130
KY15 5RD Lon. 33'23"W

Surrounding parishes: Collessie, Monimail, Cupar, Ceres, Kettle.

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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 Cults 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 & 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:

This British Library webpage uses small examples of historical maps of London to show the differences between maps at various scales.

Present-day maps:

Military History

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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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.

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. Details of records here.

Population

Year Population
1755 449
1801 699
1851 915
1901 628  * boundary changed
1951 536

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

Prior to 1824, wills, testaments & inventories of residents of Cults 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.

Schools

School Board records and school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Details of records here.

Education statistics for Fife schools in 1891-2 list the following board schools in the parish:

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Cults Cults 150 107

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.

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Page maintained by William McM. Owen : last updated 18 September, 2013


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