Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Kettle parish lies partly in the Howe of Fife and partly on the hills to the south. It is bounded by Falkland, Markinch, Kennoway, Scoonie, Ceres, Cults and Collessie. It is about 8 miles north-west to south-east by about 3 miles broad at its widest. It contains the villages of King’s Kettle, Kettle Bridge, Coaltown of Burnturk, Balmalcolm and Muirhead. For many years the parish was one of the main seats of linen manufacture in Fife, but its importance is declining. Agriculture employs the next biggest number, followed by the coal works at Burnturk and the lime works at Forthar. The present parish church was built in 1832. There is also a UP Church in King’s Kettle and a Free Church at Balmalcolm serving the parishes of Kettle and Cults. " edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Towns and Villages

Kettle Bridge

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

Archives and Libraries

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,


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.


There are 2 cemeteries in Kettle parish:

1. Kingskettle Old Churchyard, 30 Main Street, Kingskettle (grid ref. NO 310084, GPS: 56.262095 -3.114753 Google map):

2. Kingskettle Cemetery, just off A914 near Kettlebridge (grid ref. NO 314079, GPS: 56.259202 -3.10932 Google map):


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 435

The 1841 return 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
Kettle 1042702 1042268 103829 103992 203524 208758
(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 (Kettle East), there was also a United Presbyterian Church (Kettle West), and Kettle and Cults Free church at Balmalcolm.

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, the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Kettle & 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 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: 435

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

Kettle OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
435/1 1633-1721 1633-1721  
435/2 1723-1787    
435/3 1787-1819 1723-1819  
435/4     1700-1723
435/5     1719-1819
435/6 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1842
Register of Neglected Entries 1843, 1849    
(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. B.  Only one entry for 1639. Separate Record of B. till July 1645, and of M. till June 1635. M. blank 1635 - April 1640. B. blank July 1645 - July 1646 after which intermixed with M. Both records blank May 1658 - Feb. 1682. At Feb. 1714 are two leaves containing irregular entries of B. (four families) 1705 - 1826. Records blank Sept. 1717 - June 1719.
B.  blank July 1721 - Jan. 1723, after which a separate Record. Blank Aug. 1748 - Dec. 1752. Exc. May 1682 - Feb. 1699, mothers' names not recorded till Oct. 1731, and sometimes omitted during the period above stated.
M.  blank June 1721 - Jan. 1723, Dec. 1751 - Dec. 1752, and Oct. 1755 - May 1760, after which several leaves imperfect. Leaf at 1794 partially burnt.
D.  (Burials) blank June 1723 - Dec. 1735. Separate Records for West and South Divisions of the Churchyard 1735 - 1799; for East Division, 1735 - 1797, and for Burials in the Church, and in Forther's Burial-place, 1721 - 1791. Record blank (exc. one entry for 1808) Jan. 1799 - Feb. 1817.
[The Old Statistical Account (written in 1790) states "The barrow in Forthar is said to have been a regular place of burial, and to have had a church or chapel near it. But of this no vestiges are now extant."  This would appear to imply a place of antiquity, rather than one until recently used for burials. The "Forther's Burial-place" referred to in the OPR therefore possibly refers to a part of the church or churchyard.]

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:

1040114 Items 2 - 4 Session book (includes baptisms, marriage proclamations), 1636-1658; Baptisms, 1633-1646, 1682-1797; Marriages, 1633-1635, 1682-1721.
1040336 Baptisms (listed by family), 1773-1819; Baptisms, 1797-1854; Marriages, 1723-1854; Session book (includes Marriages, 1701-1705 and Mortcloth dues [burial records]), 1700-1723; Burials, 1719-1722, 1734-1793 (years repeat), 1793-1799, 1808, 1817-1842; Neglected entries (2 baptisms), 1843, 1849.
(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 and at the National Records of Scotland. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (435/1 and 435/4). Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR81) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches :

Records for other churches are held at the National Records of Scotland.

Details of church records here.

The Kettle 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
Kettle 435 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.

Court Records

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

Description & Travel

Kingskettle town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5615'42"N
NO 310084 56.263060
KY15 7PL Lon. 36'55"W

Surrounding parishes: Kennoway, Markinch, Falkland, Strathmiglo, Cults, Collessie, Scoonie.

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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.


There is a list of places in Kettle 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 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.


Historic maps: 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.


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.


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.

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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.


Year Population
1755 1621
1801 1889
1851 2601
1901 1759
1951 1603

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 Kettle 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.


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
Kettle Kettle 400 253


"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.

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