Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Markinch parish is bounded by Kennoway, Wemyss, Dysart, Kinglassie, Leslie, Falkland and Kettle. It measures about 6 miles north to south by 4 miles broad. A small detached portion containing the village of Innerleven (or Dubbieside) lies at the mouth of the Leven and is cut off from the rest of the parish by that of Wemyss. The parish contains the villages of Markinch, Milton, Coaltown, Balcurvie, Windygates, Thornton, Woodside, Balbirnie Bridge and Kirkforthar Feus. Coal has been extensively worked, but the deposits at Balbirnie are becoming exhausted. There are paper mills at Balbirnie Bridge, Rothes and Auchmuty; flax and tow mills at Milton, Haugh Mill, Thornton and Sythrum; bleachfields at Rothes, Balgonie, Lochtyside and Kirkforthar Feus; a woollen manufactory at Balbirne Bridge and a power loom linen factory at Milton. There are also a number of flour, corn and saw mills in the parish; and a large distillery and malting establishment at Cameron Bridge. The parish church is at Markinch; there are chapels of ease at Thornton and Milton; a UP Church and a Free Church at Markinch; and a UP church at Innerleven. " edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Towns and Villages

Balcurvie Thornton
Coaltown of Balgonie Windygates
Markinch Woodside
Milton of Balgonie part of the new town of Glenrothes

Places in Markinch 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

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.

Old Markinch and Old Kennoway, Star & Windygates (Stenlake Publishing) contain many photographs and full descriptions.


There are 4 cemeteries in Markinch parish:

1. Markinch Parish Churchyard, Kirk Street, Markinch (grid ref. NO 297019; GPS: 56.205057 -3.134328 Google map):

2. Northall Cemetery, Northall Road, Markinch (grid ref. NO 300024; GPS: 56.208804 -3.12927 Google map):

3. St Drostan's Cemetery, Lawhead, Markinch (grid ref. NO 302013; GPS 56.19902 -3.125726 Google map):

4. Milton of Balgonie Churchyard, Milton of Balgonie (grid ref. NO 323008; GPS: 56.194054 -3.092657 Google map):

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

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Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 447

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
Markinch 1042703 1042270 103831 103994 203529 208764
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Church History

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1840) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 other Established Churches (Milton and Thornton), United Presbyterian Churches in Markinch and Dubbyside, and the Free Church.

A list of past ministers of the Parish Church is available on the Markinch Parish Church website (click on History).

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: 447

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

Markinch OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
447/1 1635-1777 1697-1777 1635-1723
447/2 1780-1819 1779-1805  
447/3   1649-1686 1649-1819
447/4     1799-1819
447/5 1820-1854    
447/6   1834-1854 1820-1854
447/7     1820-1854
(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.  and D.  entered in parallel cols. of the same Record till 1647. At pp. 22 - 25 are four cols. of entries of Deaths which bear to be 'Ane roll off thois quho wer killed at Tibbermure 1 Septemb. 1644, and at Kilsyth 15 August 1645'.
B.  blank July 1642 - Sept. 1697, July 1702 - Jan. 1712, Oct. 1777 - Oct. 1780. Mothers' names seldom recorded in entries of B. till 1701. [In vol. 447/1, pages 336 and 337 (B. 1762) have been placed at the end of the Burial entries for 1723.]
M.  blank June 1686 - May 1697, Nov. 1701 - April 1712, Aug. 1777 - March 1779, and March 1805 - 1834.
D.  Deaths prior to 1647. Blank May 1647 - April 1649, after which Mortcloth Dues, exc. 1713 - 1723, when Deaths and Burials are recorded. Blank June 1695 - April 1713, and June 1723 - Aug. 1796.
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, Death records 1799 - 1819, and 1820 - 1854  were added to the OPR series (vols. 447/4 and 447/7.]

A transcript of the Burial Register 1799-1854 can be downloaded from the Markinch Parish Church website (click on History --> Genealogy).

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:

1040178 Baptisms 1635-1642, 1697-1702, 1712-1819; Marriages 1670-1701,717-1805; Burials 1634- 1647, 1713-1723; Baptisms 1761-1762; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations 1670- 1686, and Mortcloth dues [burial records] 1649- 1695, 1796-1819)
1040179 Burials 1799-1854; Baptisms 1820-1854; Marriages 1834-1855; Mortcloth dues 1820-1852
(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 at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material for the parish church is also to be found in the OPR records (447/3 and 447/6). Details of records here.

Heritors' Records (HR59) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches :

Kirk Session and similar records for the following churches are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Markich St Drostan's CH2/258
Markinch Brunton (Free Church) CH3/386
Balbirnie (United Secession, United Presbyterian) CH3/387
Innerleven & Methil - Dubbieside (Antiburgher) CH3/174
Windygates (Free Church) -

Details of church records here.

The Markinch 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
Markinch 447 1855 1898
Markinch 447/1 1899 1967
Thornton 457b 1902 1967
Glenrothes 433 1968 1971
Glenrothes 420 1972 2002
Fife 420 2003  
Windygates 447/2 1899 1967
Kennoway 434 1968 1971
Kennoway 419 1972 2002
Fife 419 2003  

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

Court Records

Markinch Burgh Court Records (from 1950) are held by Fife Council Archives.

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Description & Travel

Markinch town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5612'11"N
NO 296016 56.201773
KY7 6AA Lon. 38'7"W

Surrounding parishes: Wemyss, Dysart, Kinglassie, Leslie, Falkland, Kettle, Kennoway, Scoonie.


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.

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There is a list of places in Markinch 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

The parish of Markinch had a detached portion situated at Dubbieside (or Innerleven). On 15th May 1891 it was transferred from the parish of Markinch to the parish of Wemyss. It comprised Innerleven, Innerleven Acres and Haugh Lands, and a large number of small properties, chiefly urban, in the police burgh of Buckhaven Methil and Innerleven.

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.

The Fife Council Archive Centre holds estate papers and accounts of the Rothes family from the 1640s to the 1900s concerning their estate in Leslie and Markinch parishes, including: wage books & other records of miners employed at Cadham, Strathore & Cluny mines c.1680-1750; household accounts for Leslie House, including records of payments to the family's household and farm servants.
For an overview of the papers, see Introduction to the Rothes Papers, W G Rowntree Bodie, in Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 110, 1978-80, 404-431. There is an index to them on the Fife Council website (select  A in the A-Z list, then  Archives enquiries).


Historic maps: Present-day maps:

Military History

Levenmouth at War, by Lillian King, 2005, ISBN 0953983986, is packed with reminiscences of the Windygates area in the Second World War.

Names, Geographical

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

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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. Details of records here.

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Dysart combination poorhouse (which, despite the name, was in Thornton, in Markinch parish).


Year Population
1755 2188
1801 3130
1851 5843
1901 6803  * boundary changed
1951 8846

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 Markinch 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 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
Markinch Balcurvie 292 175
Coaltown 200 111
Kirkforthar Feus 94 27
Markinch 394 285
Milton 104 61
Preston 163 101
Thornton 189 184


"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.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

The archives of the former Burgh of Markinch are held by Fife Council Archives. They include Council Minutes from 1890, Accounts and Valuation Rolls. Details of records here.

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