Dunfermline Parish Records


Church History

The Abbey of Dunfermline was founded by Queen Margaret in the 1100s as a Benedictine priory, and was erected on the site of an earlier chapel. In 1128 the status of the building was increased by her son David I who made it an Abbey. In the same year he also extended the Abbey by erecting a new church. The western proportion of this new Abbey church was later to served as the parish church, the east being reserved for the monks. Reference to the parish church within the Abbey dates back as far as 1300. In medieval times the Abbey became an ecclesiastic center of significant importance in Scotland and was also the burial place of several Scottish Monarchs, including Robert the Bruce, whose tomb was rediscovered in 1818. During the reformation, with the exception of the nave, the Abbey Church was destroyed, however in 1593 it was rebuilt and remodeled to serve as the Parish Church of Dunfermline. The present day Abbey Church was built between the years of 1818-1821 on part of the old ruins and comprises the eastern end of Dunfermline Abbey. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline, later of Dunfermline and Kinross and presently of Dunfermline once again.

The congregation of Dunfermline North Free Church, which sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline, was established in 1843 at the time of the Disruption, when the minister and the congregation of Dunfermline North Church Extension charge adhered to the Free Church. The congregation continued to worship in the church until 1849 when they were deprived of it by interdict and a new church was consequently opened in that same year. The church, which was situated in the center of Dunfermline, drew members from a wide area and mission work was additionally carried out in outlying areas. In 1900, upon the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland, Dunfermline North Free Church became Dunfermline North United Free Church and following the 1929 union of the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland, Dunfermline North U.F.C. was renamed Dunfermline St John's Church of Scotland. A number of years thereafter in 1958, Dunfermline St John's Church of Scotland united with the congregation of Dunfermline St Columba's, under the name of Dunfermline St Paul's. Jurisdiction - Presbytery of Dunfermline

At the time of the Disruption in 1843, the minister of Abbey Parish Church in Dunfermline was made a member of the Free Church Assembly, his membership however was short lived and he withdrew soon after. Despite his withdrawal a Free Church congregation was immediately organised within the district, the members consisted of Free Church adherents from the Abbey Parish Church and also a congregation of Original Seceders who had previously joined the Church of Scotland. In 1844 a church in Canmore Street was opened for the newly established Dunfermline Abbey Free Church and this building was later superseded by a new church erected in 1883-1884 on the old site. Following the 1900 union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland, Dunfermline Abbey Free Church became Dunfermline Abbey United Free Church, and after the 1929 union of the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland the charge was renamed Dunfermline St Columba's Church of Scotland. A number of years thereafter in 1958 Dunfermline St Columba's was joined with the congregation of Dunfermline St John's, under the name of Dunfermline St Paul's and under the ministry of Rev W.S. Carr, minister of Dunfermline St John's. Jurisdiction - Presbytery of Dunfermline

The congregation of Dunfermline Free Church, which sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline, was established in 1843 at the time of the Disruption when the minister of Dunfermline Parish Church, along with his congregation, adhered to the Free Church. They retained their church for a time until they were legally required to leave in 1845 and a new church was later erected and opened in 1847. Following the union between the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Dunfermline St Andrew's Free became Dunfermline St Andrew's United Free and upon the union of the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland, Dunfermline St Andrew's U.F. was renamed Dunfermline St Andrew's South Church of Scotland. The charge was reduced in status in 1942-1948 and the church was later closed for worship in 1953, at which time the congregation was transported as a church extension charge to Brucefield. A church-hut was used for a time as a place of worship until a new site was secured in Whitelaw Road. Jurisdiction - Presbytery of Dunfermline.

Dunfermline Queen Anne Street Burgher Church, which sat in the Presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross, first began in 1737 when Ralph Erskine, with whom the congregations origins can be attributed, acceded to the Associate Presbytery. The church of Dunfermline Associate (Burgher) congregation was opened in 1741 however this church was later demolished in 1800 when a new church was opened in Queen Anne Street, with sittings for 1642, built at a cost of £2306. In 1847 the Queen Anne Street congregation became part of the United Presbyterian Church. Following the union between the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Dunfermline Queen Anne Street U.P. became Dunfermline Queen Anne Street United Free Church and upon the 1929 union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland, the congregation became Dunfermline Queen Anne Street Church of Scotland. In 1942 a union was established with the charge of Dunfermline Chalmers Street to form the session of Dunfermline Erskine Church of Scotland. After the local union the former Chalmers Street Church and manse were sold. Further union later followed with Dunfermline St Andrew's in 1974, under the name of Dunfermline St Andrew's Erskine Church of Scotland, and this united congregation remains active today, under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Dunfermline.

In 1788 the members of the congregation of Cairneyhill presented a petition, signed by 44 members, to the Presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross requesting that they be formed into a separate Antiburgher congregation at Dunfermline. The request was granted and without delay the petitioners were formed into the congregation of Dunfermline Chalmers Street Antiburgher Church. Worship initially took place in temporary accommodation until their church was built in 1789 at a cost of £700 and with sittings for 420. David Black, the first minister of the congregation was also ordained in 1789. In 1847 Chalmers Street Antiburgher Church became part of the United Presbyterian Church and in 1862 a new church was opened at a cost£1500, with sittings for 500. Following the union between the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Dunfermline Chalmers Street U.P. became Dunfermline Chalmers Street United Free Church and upon the 1929 union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland, the congregation became Dunfermline Chalmers Street Church of Scotland. The name of the congregation was changed in 1939 to that of Chalmers Street-Headwell. In 1942 a union was established with the charge of Dunfermline Queen Anne Street to form the session of Dunfermline Erskine Church of Scotland and after the local union the former Chalmers Street Church and manse were sold. Further union later followed with Dunfermline St Andrew's in 1974, under the name of Dunfermline St Andrew's Erskine Church of Scotland and this united congregation remains active today, under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Dunfermline.

Townhill Free Church, Dunfermline, began with a temporary church building in 1882, leading to the sanctioning of the charge in 1884 and the erection of a new, permanent church in 1893. It passed successively to the United Free Church, as Townhill, and to the Church of Scotland, as Dunfermline Townhill, which merged with a former Church of Scotland chapel of ease in 1930, but continued under the latter name. The Church of Scotland charge, now Dunfermline Towenhill and Kingseat, is in the presbytery of Dunfermline (formerly Dunfermline and Kinross). Until the abolition of synods in 1993, it was in the synod of Fife. Jurisdiction - Presbytery of Dunfermline

St Margaret's United Secession Church originated in 1825 when a group of members of Dunfermline Queen Anne Street Burgher Church successfully petitioned for disjunction and took over an existing Methodist church in Maygate. It passed successively to the United Presbyterian and United Free Churches and in 1929 to the Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland charge is in the presbytery of Dunfermline (formerly Dunfermline and Kinross) and was in the synod of Fife until the abolition of synods in 1993. Jurisdiction - Presbytery of Dunfermline.

The church of Dunfermline was founded early in 1840 and was opened as an extension church for public worship in November of that year. The parish was later erected in 1855 and established as an independent parish, quoad sacra. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline later Dunfermline and Kinross and following the restructuring of the Presbyteries in 1976 once again became part of the Presbytery of Dunfermline.

In 1851 the parish of Dunfermline St Andrew's was erected quoad sacra by the Court of Teinds, a chapel which had been opened here on 1777 having been granted a constitution by Act of Assembly a number of years prior in 1834. The chapel had originally been erected in 1752 as a meeting house for Thomas Gillespie. In 1974 Dunfermline St Andrew's formed a union with Dunfermline Erskine under the name of Dunfermline St Andrew's Erskine. The kirk session presently sits within the Presbytery of Dunfermline.

The Dunfermline URC was formerly known as the Dunfermline Congregational Church and was formed from the Canmore Street Congregational Church established in 1840 and the North Congregational Church established in 1851 as the Bath Street Ecumenical Church. The church website has a full history.

Limekilns, Associate (Burgher) Church began in 1782 with an appeal to Dunfermline Burgher Presbytery for disjunction from Dunfermline, Queen Anne Street (Burgher) Church. The petition was granted and a separate minister ordained in 1785. The congregation passed successively to the United Presbyterian and United Free Churches, and finally to the Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland charge has been linked with Cairneyhill since 1983. It is in the presbytery of Dunfermline (formerly Dunfermline and Kinross) and was in the synod of Fife until the abolition of synods in 1993.

Crossgates United Presbyterian Church originated as a Burgher church in 1802, when a group from Crossgates applied to Dunfermline Burgher Presbytery for supply of sermon, the church having apparently already been built. The congregation was drawn partly from Dunfermline and partly from Inverkeithing. It passed successively to the United Presbyterian and United Free Churches, and to the Church of Scotland (as Crossgates). It united with Mossgreen as Mossgreen and Crossgates in 1948. The Church of Scotland charge was in the presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross and the synod of Fife.

see under Inverkeithing parish.
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Church Records

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the ScotlandsPeople Centre, Edinburgh but not online:

At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, USA, but available on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres around the world:

Records retained by the church:

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Court Records

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

ORDINARY COURT
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION
SMALL DEBT COURT
DEBTS RECOVERY COURT
SUMMARY REMOVING COURT
CRIMINAL COURTS
COMMISSARY COURT
MISCELLANEOUS SHERIFF COURT RECORDS

At the Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library:

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Heritors' Records

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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Land & Property

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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Occupations

At the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh:

A list of Dunfermline Wrights, 1677 - 1763, extracted from the Incorporation of Wrights of Dunfermline Minute Book, held by the National Library of Scotland, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 14 - Trade Incorporation Records. It is also available on the Records pages of their website, along with a similar listing of Dunfermline Weavers (1596-1863).
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Parochial Board  /  Parish Council Records

At the Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library:

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Politics and Government Records

Dunfermline District Council

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo. V, c.25) required county councils to draw up a scheme of district councils, to be composed partly of directly elected district councillors and partly of the county councillors from electoral divisions within the district. District councils had various responsibilities delegated to them by the county council under a scheme of delegation. These might include the letting of houses, the upkeep of cemeteries and until 1948 the poor law. District councils also administered special districts or committees responsible for certain functions such as scavenging or water supply, financed by additional rates. District councils were abolished in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65).

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

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Poorhouse Records

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Markinch:

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School Records

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Markinch:

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.
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Taxation

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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Town Records

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Markinch:

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Voting Registers

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Data provided by the  Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)