Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Newburgh parish forms the boundary of the county at its northwest corner. It is bounded by the River Tay, Abdie, Abernethy, Auchtermuchty and Collessie. The parish enjoys good seaward communication through the port of Newburgh, is traversed by the turnpike road from Cupar to Perth, and has a station on the Perth fork of the E P & D Railway. The main part of the Royal Burgh consists of one long street, a range of houses fronting the harbour, and a number of lanes leading down to the shore. A modern suburb on the south, Mount Pleasant, is in Abdie parish. Both the shops and the principal dwelling houses indicate considerable taste and prosperity on the part of the owners. Its situation on the Tay is exceedingly pleasant. The town house, with spire, was erected in 1808. The linen trade is the chief employer in the town. A considerable trade in grain is carried on, with a weekly fair for corn. The harbour consists of a long pier parallel to the river with 4 jetties at right angles to it. There are 20 vessels belonging to the port, of the aggregate burden of 1256 tons; and one packet is regularly engaged in conveying raw material and manufactured produce between the town and Dundee. The principal exports are lime, grain and potatoes; while coal, timber and other miscellaneous goods form the imports. There is a parish church in the burgh, and also 2 UP Churches. There is a Free Church for Newburgh and Abdie but it is situated in Abdie parish." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Towns and Villages


Places in Newburgh 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

Newburgh has the Laing Museum which houses both artefacts and information about the town and its history.

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 Newburgh (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.

Gordon Johnson has published a genealogical index to Lindores Abbey and its Burgh of Newburgh (published 1876). The book is online at the Open Library.


There were 2 cemeteries in Newburgh parish:

1. Newburgh Churchyard, site built over, in High Street, next to Town Chambers (grid ref. NO 234183; GPS: 56.351089 -3.240952 Google map):

2. Newburgh Cemetery, Cupar Road, Newburgh (grid ref. NO 244182: GPS 56.349814 -3.225765 Google map):

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 3 The north east parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061999

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Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 450

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.

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
Newburgh 1042703 1042270 103832 103994 203529 208765
(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 1836) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 congregations of the United Presbyterian Church, and the Free Church of Abdie & Newburgh.

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

Details of church history:

Church History

In 1178 St Andrews Tironensian Abbey of Lindores was founded in the district which was later to form the parish of Newburgh, and in 1622 Newburgh was erected into a separate charge with ratification made by Parliament in 1633. The old parish church of Newburgh stood until 1832 when it was removed to make way for the present day building. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Newburgh became termed Newburgh St Katharine's and in 1953 a union was established with the former United Free church congregation of Newburgh St Andrew's, under the name of Newburgh. Newburgh later established a link with Abdie and Dunbog in 1983. The kirk session formerly sat within the Presbytery of Cupar and presently falls within the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of St Andrews.

The Newburgh Associate (Burgher) congregation, which sat within the Presbytery of Cupar, commenced in 1785. There had been a secession congregation here from 1740. The congregation suffered from the commencement of a Relief Church congregation at Newburgh in 1841. The charge became one of the United Presbyterian Church congregations in 1847. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the charge became Newburgh West United Free Church, and was united with Newburgh East UF Church in 1903.



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: 450

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

Newburgh OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
450/1 1654-1819 1654-1819  
450/2 1820-1854 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 M.  intermixed till Dec. 1785. Blank July 1690 - May 1702, exc. one entry of B. 1692, seven entries for 1697 - 1698, and two entries of Contracts of M. 1697 - 1698. After 1750, occasional entries of children baptized by Mr Alexander Moncrieff, Minister of the Associate Congregation at Abernethy. Separate Records of B. and M. after Jan. 1786.

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:

1040338 Item 6 Baptisms, Marriages, 1654-1782.
1040169 Items 1 - 2 Baptisms, Marriages, 1782-1855.
(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 for the parish church (St Katharine's - CH2/277) are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library.

Heritors' Records (HR650) 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 :

Most records of other churches are held by the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library.

Some of the pre-1855 baptism and marriage registers have been transcribed and published.

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

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

At the Glasgow City Archives:

The Newburgh 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
Newburgh burgh 450/1 1855 1855
Newburgh landward 450/2 1855 1855
Newburgh 450 1856 1931
Newburgh & Abdie 450 1932 1967
Newburgh 450 1968 1971
Newburgh 416 1972 2002
Fife 416 2003  

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

Court Records

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

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

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Description & Travel

Newburgh town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5621'3"N
NO 235184 56.351731
KY14 6DA Lon. 314'23"W

Surrounding parishes: Abernethy (Perthshire), Auchtermuchty, Collessie, Abdie, by ferry: Errol (Perthshire).


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 Newburgh 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, the following subjects were transferred from the parish of Abdie to the parish of Newburgh: Lochmill Farm and Wester Lumbenny Farm.

On the same date, the following subjects, which were always in the County of Fife, were transferred from the parish of Abernethy to the parish of Newburgh: Easter Colzie Farm & woodlands, Colzie Hill and Lumquhat.

The upper parts of Newburgh burgh (Mount Pleasant) are situated in Abdie parish.

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

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Land and Property


At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Valuation rolls:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

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:

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.

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 1347
1801 1936
1851 2986
1901 1780  * boundary changed
1951 2270

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 Newburgh 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:


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Newburgh 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
Newburgh Newburgh 464 326


"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.

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:

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

Voting Registers

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

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