Description of the parish in 1852

Map showing the location of the parish

" Kirkcaldy is a royal burgh and a populous thriving seaport. From the narrow dimensions on which the town stands, the inhabitants have had to build their houses in a continuous line along the shore giving rise to the name “the lang toun of Kirkcaldy”. The number of vessels belonging to the port at present is 74 with an aggregate burthen of 9956 tons. The principal imports are flax and grain. Vessels from here have been employed in the Davis Strait whale fishery for many years, and 2 vessels are at present so engaged. The trade of Kirkcaldy is similar to that of Dundee - spinning flax and weaving coarse linen goods. There is also a large floorcloth manufactory, brewing, ironfounding, machine making, and a considerable corn and meal trade. As well as the parish church, there are a free church and chapels for united presbyterians, baptists and independents. " edited from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Towns and Villages

Much of the present-day town of Kirkcaldy (other parts were in Dysart, Abbotshall and Kinghorn parishes)

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

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

Archives and Libraries

Kirkcaldy Galleries has a large collection of genealogy and local history materials.

The ScotlandsPlaces website lets users search across national databases by geographical location. It includes, amongst other material,

The National Collection of Aerial Photography website has photographs of Kirkcaldy taken in the 1940s.

Return to top of page


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 Dysart and East Kirkcaldy and Old Kirkcaldy - Central, North & West (Stenlake Publishing) contain many photographs and full descriptions.

Business and Commerce Records

Wemyss ware pottery was made in Kirkcaldy from 1882 and continues to be made in Fife although now it is produced in Ceres [click on 'About us' then 'History'].


There are 3 cemeteries and a crematorium in Kirkcaldy parish. There are others in the town, in Abbotshall and Dysart parishes.

1. Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Churchyard, Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 281917; GPS: 56.11245 -3.158828 Google map): 2. Bennochy Cemetery, BalsusneyRoad, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 275919; GPS: 56.115336 -3.165034 Google map): 3. Hayfield Cemetery, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 277933; GPS: 56.126269 -3.164659 Google map): 4. Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 274939; GPS: 56.132972 -3.171000 Google map):

Kirkcaldy Central Library has a large collection of transcripts, indexes and manuscript volumes of Kirkcaldy burials.

A selection of  interesting inscriptions and photographs are included in the booklet Guide to Kirkcaldy Graveyards, published by Kirkcaldy Civic Society, 1996 (ISBN 1946294038).

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


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

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 442 (see also Civil Registration). The ScotlandsPeople website has a street index to the 1911 census.

The 1851 return can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

The 1851 census has been indexed 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
Kirkcaldy - 1042269 103830,
index to streets on 104116
index to streets on 104117
203526, 203527,
index to streets on 203392
208760, 208761, 208762,
index to streets on 208606
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Return to top of page

Church History

Kirkcaldy - Church History - links and information

Church Records

Kirkcaldy - Church Records - links and information
Return to top of page

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
Kirkcaldy burgh 442/1 1855 1855
Kirkcaldy landward 442/2 1855 1855
Kirkcaldy 442 1856 1874
Kirkcaldy and Abbotshall 442 1875 1919
Dysart 426 1901 1930
Kirkcaldy 442 1920 1971
Kirkcaldy 421 1972 2002
Fife 421 2003  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. In the 20th century especially, there were frequent changes in registration districts. Kirkcaldy registration district included part of Abbotshall parish until 1874, thereafter the whole of Abbotshall parish was included. Kirkcaldy registration district also included part of Kinghorn parish.

Court Records

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

Content headings for Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court are on the Court Records page.

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds (1716-1884).

Return to top of page

Description & Travel

Kirkcaldy town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 566'38"N
NT 278914 56.109880
KY1 1XN Lon. 39'45"W

Kirkcaldy Civic Society provide lots of information about the town.

Surrounding parishes: Abbotshall, Dysart, Auchterderran.


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.

Return to top of page


There is a list of places in Kirkcaldy 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.


A page of information about some local ship-owning families is available on the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society.

Historical Geography

On 15th May 1891, two detached parts of Abbotshall (both surrounded by Kirkcaldy parish) were transferred to Kirkcaldy parish. They comprised the following subjects: Smeaton, Smeaton Row and part of East Smeaton Farm.

In 1901, the parishes of Abbotshall, Dysart & Kirkcaldy, plus part of the parish of Kinghorn (Invertiel), were united to form the parish of Kirkcaldy & Dysart.

In 1930, the burgh of Dysart was combined with the burgh of Kirkcaldy.

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


Notices from the Local Records of Dysart,a compilation from various sources covering both parish and burgh matters from 1534 to 1697, published in 1853, is available online at the Internet Archive. It includes references to matters in this parish.

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.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:


Historic maps: Present-day maps:
Return to top of page

Medical Records

Hospital records (mostly of an administrative nature) are held by the Fife Council Archive Centre. The following hospitals are included: Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital 1891-1948. Patient records are closed for 100 years.

Military History

The Register of the Fife Fallen in the Great War, vol 1: Kirkcaldy & Dysart Fallen, 1914-1919 has been published and is available from the Fife Family History Society and the Tay Valley Family History Society.

The Kirkcaldy [Boer] War Album with photographs of over 200 Fife men 1900-1902 is online at

War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and 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, 29.


A list of Kirkcaldy shoemakers, 1718 - 1854, extracted from the Kirkcaldy Shoemakers' Accounts Book , held by Kirkcaldy Museum, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 13 - Trade Incorporation Records.

A list of Kirkcaldy wrights, 1753 - 1845, extracted from a list of members of the Kirkcaldy Wright Incorporation Benefit Society , held by Kirkcaldy Central Library, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 14 - Trade Incorporation Records.

Records of Kirkcaldy Burgh Police Officers are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre.

Sailors on board ships registered at Kirkcaldy in 1851 are listed on CD: Scotland South-East Seamen Crew Lists, 1851 available from Family History Indexes.

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.

There is a series of articles about many Fife family businesses in Fife Family History Society's Journal, New Series 10.

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

Return to top of page

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. See Public Records below.

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Kirkcaldy combination poorhouse.


Year Population
1755 2296
1801 3248
1851 5719
1901 14175  * boundary changed
1951 50519  * boundary changed

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 Kirkcaldy may be found in either the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824 to 1960, commissary business was conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20). From 1960, it has been conducted at Kirkcaldy (SC23) Sheriff Court.

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 Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds.

Public Records

Parochial Boards and their successors, Parish Councils, administered many local functions including poor relief.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Some schools were in Dysart parish. Kirkcaldy records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

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.

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

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Kirkcaldy (Burgh) Burgh School 340 236
East 819 790
Linktown, Philip's 233 229
Philip's 228 158
West 930 855
Kirkcaldy (Landward & Abbotshall) Chapel 149 106


"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

Return to top of page


At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

The hearth tax, clock & watch tax, male servants tax, female servants tax, and farm horse tax are all on ScotlandsPlaces.

See also the Early Taxation Records page.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds (1673-1871).

Return to top of page