Description of the parish in 1852

Map showing the location of the parish

"Leuchars parish is 9 miles in length by 5 in breadth. It is bounded on the east by the German Ocean, and watered by the Eden on the south and south-west. The surface is level and the soil tolerably fertile. There is an extensive distillery in the parish. The village of Leuchars is pleasantly situated about a mile from the coast, and 6 from St Andrews, on the road from that town to Dundee. The majority of the inhabitants are employed in the linen manufacture. The Edinburgh & Dundee Railway passes through the parish, and there is a station in the village. The church is very ancient, and considered one of the most perfect specimens of Saxon architecture in Scotland; it is supposed to have been erected in the 12th century. There is also a free church in the parish." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Towns and Villages


Places in Leuchars 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

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 3 cemeteries in Leuchars parish:

1. Leuchars Churchyard, School Hill. (grid ref. NO 455215; GPS: 56.381631 -2.883016 Google map): 2. Leuchars Cemetery, north of the village, next to St Michaels Golf Club. (grid ref. NO 447218; GPS: 56.385879 -2.896405 Google map): 3. 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):

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


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 445.

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

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
Leuchars 1042703 1042270 103831 103994 203528 208764
(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

In addition to the parish church (St. Athernase), there was an Antiburgher Congregation at Balmullo, a Free Church at Leuchars and an Episcopal Church (St Saviour's) at Guardbridge.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) has this to say:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the United Original Seceders Church (Balmullo) and the Free Church.

Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website.

Details of church history:

Church Records

Data provided by the  Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)

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: 445

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

Leuchars OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
445/1 1665-1819 1665-1819  
445/2 1820-1854 1820-1854 1720-1854
(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.  blank Dec. 1692 - Nov. 1695, Oct. 1699 - Feb. 1705. Entries prior to Aug. 1761 tabulated. Mothers' names omitted bet. March and Sept. 1665 incl.
M.  (Contracts.) Only two entries Sept. 1665 - Jan. 1678, and one Dec. 1692 - Nov. 1695. Blank Jan. 1699 - Oct. 1714. Entries prior to April 1792 tabulated.
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, Death records 1720 - 1854 were added to the OPR series (vol. 445/2).]

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:

1040189 Items 1 - 2 Baptisms, 1781-1854; Marriages, 1665, 1677-1699, 1714-1855; Mortcloth dues (burial records), 1720-1765; Burials, 1766-1854.
1040386 Item 5 Baptisms, 1665-1699, 1705-1781.
(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.

The LDS have filmed some other church records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

1484199 Item 1 Leuchars Parish Church Kirk session minutes and accounts, 1762-1807, 1829-1869 CH2/1209/8 St Andrews University Library
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Kirk Session records for the parish church (CH2/1209) are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library and at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Heritors' Records (HR154) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies of the earlier volumes at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Other Churches :

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

The Leuchars page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

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
Leuchars 445 1855 1971
Leuchars 412 1972 1975
St Andrews 413 1976 2002
Fife 413 2003  

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

Description & Travel

Leuchars church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5622'53"N
NO 455215 56.382627
KY16 0HQ Lon. 253'2"W

Surrounding parishes: Ferryport on Craig, Forgan, Logie, Dairsie, Kemback, St Andrews.

Return to top of page


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

RAF Leuchars opened in 1920.

Names, Geographical

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

Return to top of page


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 recently 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.

There is a series of articles about many Fife family businesses in Fife Family History Society's Journal, New Series 11.

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.


Year Population
1755 1691
1801 1687
1851 1991
1901 2499
1951 3620

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 Leuchars 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.

Public Records

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

Return to top of page


School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre and at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. Leuchars 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.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

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

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Leuchars Balmullo 132 67
Guardbridge 172 106
Leuchars 232 185


"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.

See also the Early Taxation Records page.

Return to top of page