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Forgan   (also previously known as St Phillans or St Fillans)

Map showing the location of the parish

"Forgan parish extends 4 miles in length by 2 in breadth, lying near the mouth of the Tay; having Ferryport-on-Craig on the east, Leuchars & Kilmany on the south and Balmerino on the west. The land generally declines to the Tay from an elevated background, and is now well cultivated, inclosed and beautifully wooded. On the shore is Newport where there is a small harbour and ferry station opposite to Dundee. Recently some handsome villas have been erected on the slopes to the river, and a new road cut to Ferryport-on-Craig. Forgan has a constant communication maintained with the Dundee side by ferry. The Kirk of Forgan, which is situate inland, is about 10 miles from Cupar and the like distance from St Andrews. About one mile west from Newport is the small harbour of Woodhaven." from Slater's Directory, published 1852.

Towns and Villages

Newport (now Newport-on-Tay)
Woodhaven
Wormit

Places in Forgan 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.

History of Newport and the parish of Forgan, and rambles round the district by J S Neish, published 1890, contains a very full history of the parish at that time. It is online at the Open Libary (some pages missing).

Newport's Story by Mairi Shiels, published 1990, is an excellent up-to-date history of the burgh, complete with illustrations.

Old Newport and Wormit by Mairi Shiels (1998, Stenlake Publishing, ISBN 1 84033 049 X) contains many photographs and full descriptions.

Business and Commerce Records

William Owen has produced a list of the shareholders of the Wormit Electric Light Co Ltd.

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Cemeteries

There are 2 cemeteries and 2 small burial sites in Forgan parish:

1. Forgan Churchyard, which surrounds the original Forgan Kirk (now in ruins, on a single track road off the A914, north of Drumoig Golf Centre, grid reference NO 446259, GPS: 56.422678, -2.900659 Google map): 2. Vicarsford Cemetery (on a single track road off the A914, north of Drumoig Golf Centre, grid ref. NO 438257, GPS: 56.420928, -2.913437 Google map): 3. There is a small private burial ground at Morton Farm (grid ref. NO 466260, GPS: 56.423177 -2.867280) which has a few graves of the Hay family. 4. At Boulterhall (grid ref. NO 417245, GPS: 56.408880 -2.946396 Google map), in a field, is a single grave of Alexander Nairne of Sandford.

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Forgan Churchyard, Morton Farm and Boulterhall are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 3 The north east parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061999

A complete listing of the inscriptions on all headstones in Forgan Churchyard, Morton Farm and Boulterhall is in Forgan Kirkyard - Monumental Inscriptions and Mortcloth Records by William Owen, published Dundee, 1997 (Tay Valley Family History Society) ISBN 1 87303 216 1. The book also includes a transcript of all mortcloth records for the parish and a transcript of the Gravedigger's Book used at Forgan Kirkyard from 1899.

Many Forgan residents were buried in Ferryport-on-Craig cemetery (lair records available from 1887 at the Cemeteries Department, Cupar) or in the Dundee cemeteries.

War memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 431

The 1841 & 1851 returns can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

The 1851 census has been indexed and published 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
Forgan 1042702 1042267 103829 103991 203523 208757
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

In addition to the parish church at Forgan, in Newport there were a Free Church (later Church of Scotland - St Fillans), a Church of Scotland Chapel of Ease (St Thomas), a Congregational Church, a United Presbyterian Church (Trinity), a Roman Catholic Church (St Fillans) and an Episcopal Church (St Mary's); in Wormit there were a Church of Scotland and a Free Church.

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

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

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the Congregational Church and the Free Church.
The 1913 Dundee Directory lists, in Newport - the Congregational Union Church, the Episcopal Church, the Parish Church, St Fillans United Free Church, St Fillans Roman Catholic Church and Trinity United Free Church; in Forgan - the Established Church; in Wormit - the Parish Church and the United Free Church.

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: 431

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

Forgan OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
431/1 1695-1819 1703-1819 -
431/2 1820-1854 1820-1854 1833-1835
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.  blank Oct. 1700 - Jan. 1704. Mothers' names not recorded till Nov. 1723.
M.  After Jan. 1782, the Record is one of Proclamations only.
[D.  Two pages of Mortcloth Dues 1833 - 1835 at the end of M. record.]
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, Mortcloth Dues for 1696 - 1835 (incomplete; blank Mar. 1741 - Mar. 1767), have been found in the Kirk Session records (CH2/160). A transcript of these Mortcloth Dues has been published in "Forgan Kirkyard - Monumental Inscriptions and Mortcloth Records" by William Owen, published Dundee, 1997 (Tay Valley Family History Society) ISBN 1 87303 216 1.]

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:

1040384 Items 1-2 Baptisms 1695-1854; Marriages 1703-1855; mortcloth dues (burial records) 1833-1835.
Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

There is an index to the maiden surnames of mothers for all the baptisms in the Forgan OPRs.

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 Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR388) are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches:

Records for the Church of Scotland Chapel of Ease at Newport (St Thomas), the Free Church (later Church of Scotland - St Fillans), and the Congregational Church in Newport are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. Details of church records here.

The Forgan 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
Forgan 431 1855 1967
Newport on Tay 451 1968 1971
Newport on Tay 411 1972 2002
Fife 411 2003  

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

Description & Travel

Newport-on-Tay town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5626'23"N
NO 421279 56.439722
-2.940833
DD6 8DB Lon. 256'27"W

Forgan parish is an agricultural parish on the south shore of the River Tay opposite Dundee. It has been the site of a ferry across the river for several hundred years. The village of Newport grew up around the ferry terminal. In the 1820s, the introduction of a steam ferry led to the building of Marytown, an extension of Newport. The town grew steadily during Victorian times. The building of the Tay (railway) bridge at Wormit saw the growth of that part of the parish as a commuter suburb for the middle classes of Dundee while Newport also expanded with similar housing. The burgh was created in 1887 and Wormit was added to it in 1902. Wormit was the first village in Scotland to have electric light in its houses.

Surrounding parishes: Balmerino, Ferryport on Craig, Leuchars, Kilmany, Logie, Dundee (via ferry, and later bridges, across the River Tay).

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Directories

A directory of Newport and (later) Wormit appears in the Dundee Directory in 1834, 1853, and from 1867 to 1974. There is a complete run of this publication at the Local Studies Department, Wellgate Library, Dundee. Complete Dundee directories (with sections for Newport) for 1834, 1853, 1867, 1869, 1871, 1874, 1876, 1878, 1880, 1882, 1884 and all years to 1911 are online at the National Library of Scotland's Scottish Directories pages. The Dundee directory for 1929-30 can be purchased from the Parish Chest. There are online transcripts of the Newport Directories for 1834, 1837, 1852, 1853, 1862 and 1871/72, and the 1898 Newport Telephone Directory.

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 Forgan 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 & Property

Valuation Rolls from 1855-1975 are held at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Also held there are the Valuation Office field books and plans (for the Valuation Office survey of 1911-1915). Details for this parish here.

William Owen has transcribed the Valuation Rolls for 1855, 1860 and 1871. He has also provided indexes of house names in Newport and Wormit to enable addresses to be located.

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.

This Charles Close Society Sheetfinder will provide the sheet numbers for historic Ordnance Survey 1-inch and 6-inch maps for any location.

Present-day maps:
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Military History

The Newport and Wormit War Memorial by Gordon Small has biographies of those recorded on the war memorials in the parish. It is available from the Tay Valley Family History Society.

War memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

There are photographs and listings of all the Forgan war memorials here.

Names, Geographical

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

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, 28.

Occupations

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 National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Population

Year Population
1755 751
1801 916
1851 1125
1901 4720
1951 3727

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 Forgan 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, Cupar Sheriff Court, and Dundee Burgh Register of Deeds.

Schools

School Board records and / or 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
Forgan Forgan 130 129
Newport 421 257

There is a very informative website about the Mars Training Ship which was moored in the Tay off Woodhaven from 1869 to 1929.

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.

There is an online transcript of the Hearth Tax return for 1692.

Town Records

The archives of the former Burgh of Newport-on-Tay (from 1897-1975) are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library and at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Details of records here.

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Voting  Registers

There are online transcripts of the Voters' Rolls for 1873 and 1874, and an index of first appearances in the Voters' Rolls from 1832 - 1865.


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Page maintained by William McM. Owen : last updated 19 December, 2013