Kilconquhar

Description of the parish in 1857

Map showing the location of the parish

"Kilconquhar (pronounced Kinnuchar) is bounded by Elie, Cameron, Ceres, St Monans, Carnbee, Newburn, Largo and the River Forth. It is 9 miles from north to south and 2 miles in breadth. There are 2900 acres under cultivation, 1600 under pasture, 800 under wood and about 200 acres of links. Kilconquhar Loch, nearly 2 miles in circumference, boasts some of the largest eel and pike in the country. It is also frequented by a large quantity of duck, teal and swans. There are 1450 cattle and over 500 horses, the latter being reared for the market and sold at 4 years old. There are 24 thrashing mills. Coal is abundant in the parish. Nearly 300 persons are employed weaving dowlasses, checks and sheetings for the Kirkland, Kirkcaldy and Dundee markets; yet there are no spinning mills nor manufactures in the parish. Besides the Church at Kilconquhar, there is a chapel of ease at Largoward, and UP churches at Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh. There is a parish school and 6 others. There are 12 public houses. Earlsferry village and royal burgh consists of a single street with bye lanes, intimately joined with Elie. The inhabitants are weavers, fishers and colliers. Colinsburgh is a burgh of barony under the Balcarres family. Its main industry is leather currying. Kilconquhar village also has a tan-works." from 'A Descriptive & historic gazeteer of the counties of Fife, Kinross & Clackmannan', M Barbieri, published 1857.

Towns and Villages

Colinsburgh
Earlsferry, Liberty and Williamsburgh (until 1891, then transferred to Elie parish)
Kilconquhar
Largoward

Places in Kilconquhar 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.

Old Elie & Earlsferry and Old Kilconquhar & Colinsburgh (Stenlake Publishing) contain many photographs and full descriptions.

Cemeteries

There is 1 cemetery and 1 private chapel in Kilconquhar parish:

1. Kilconquhar Churchyard / Cemetery, Main Street, Kilconquhar (grid ref. NO 485020, GPS: 56.207790 -2.831782):

2. Balcarres Chapel, in the grounds of Balcarres House, Colinsburgh (grid ref. NO 474046, GPS: 56.231026 -2.850029):

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in "Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 1 South east parishes" by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061948

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

There are photographs and transcriptions of Elie and Earlsferry war memorials. The site also includes biographical details of the personnel.

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 436

The 1851 census has been indexed 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
Kilconquhar 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, there was also a Relief Church of Scotland at Largoward; a United Presbyterian (Burgher) Church at Kilconquhar; an Associate Relief church at Colinsburgh; and a United Presbyterian church at Colinsburgh.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1837) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, another Established Church at Largoward, the Congregationalist Church in Colinsburgh and the United Presbyterian Church and Colinsburgh.

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: 436

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

Kilconquhar OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
436/1 1637-1709 1637-1709  
436/2 1719-1793 1719-1770 1737-1787
436/3 1781-1819 (+ some indexes) 1770-1819 1787-1819 (+ index 1787-1812)
436/4 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.  Two leaves Nov. 1646 - March 1648 very much wasted, and all the entries partially illegible. Blank May 1709 - Aug. 1719. Duplicate of Record 1781 - 1793. Index to B. 1781 - 1805.
M.  blank Feb. 1669 - May 1673, June 1709 - Sept. 1719.
D.  Burials till 1754; after that date Deaths and Burials. From 1793, entries generally recorded on alternate pp. of the Register of B. Index to D. 1787 - 1812.
[Vol. 436/3 contains an index to B. 1781 - 1788 (surname followed by forename of child); an index to B. 1793 - 1809 (as previous but only letter 'R'); and an index to D. 1787 - 1812 (surname followed by forename).]

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:

1040385 Baptisms, 1637-1709, 1719-1793, 1781-1788, 1793- 1796; Marriages, 1637-1709, 1719-1770; Burials, 1737-1796.
1040165 Items 1 - 2 Baptisms, 1796-1854; Burials, 1787, 1796-1851; Marriages, 1770-1855.
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 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 (HR194) 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 Kilconquhar page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

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
Kilconquhar 436 1855 1967
Leven 443 1968 1971
Leven 415 1972 2002
Fife 415 2003  

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

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Court Records

Records of Colinsburgh Small Debts Court are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details here.

Description & Travel

Kilconquhar church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5612'29"N
NO 485021 56.208688
-2.831801
KY9 1LQ Lon. 249'53"W

Surrounding parishes: Elie, Newburn, Largo, Ceres, Cameron, Carnbee, St Monans.

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 Kilconquhar 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, a detached part of Elie parish was transferred to Kilconquhar parish (comprising part of Charleton, Newton House, Muircambus and part of West Muircambus).
On the same date, an area of Kilconquhar parish situated on the coast was transferred to the parish of Elie. This contained the burgh of Earlsferry, the villages of Liberty & Williamsburgh, Donald's Land, Grange, Grangehill, Melon Park, St Ford, part of West Muircambus, Kincraig, Old Glebe and Crooks.

A Vision of Britain provides historical descriptions, population & housing statistics, historic boundaries and maps.

History

The Elie and Earlsfery History Society have a very informative website.

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Land & Property

Valuation Rolls and Sasines for Earlsferry are held by the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

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

There are photographs and transcriptions of Elie and Earlsferry war memorials. The site also includes biographical details of the personnel.

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, 27 and 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. Details of records here.

Population

Year Population
1755 2131
1801 2005
1851 2489
1901 1517  * boundary changed
1951 1197

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 Kilconquhar 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
Kilconquhar Colinsburgh 176 77
Kilconquhar 144 91
Largoward Largoward 164 92

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.

Town Records

The archives of the former Burgh of Earlsferry are held by the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library and the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

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