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St. Andrews & St. Leonards Parish Records



Church History

St Andrews once existed as the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland and there is though to have been a religious community here since around 732AD, when relics of St Andrew were brought to the area, which was known in ancient times as Kilrimont. By 1144 St Andrews had established its place in the Scottish Church when a community of Augustinian Canons was set up here, and additionally in early times, around the beginning of the 12th century, there was a parish church built in St Andrews, which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and which belonged to the Priory of St Andrews. The parish church was extensively restored in 1798 and again in the early years of the 20th century. A second charge was founded for the parish of St Andrews in 1589 and between the years of 1593-1620 a third charge was also maintained. The General Assembly, during the early years of the reformed church, held sessions on several occasions at St Andrews, the first of these, in 1572, coincided with the time during which John Knox was resident in the cathedral city. The Kirk Session of St Andrews Holy Trinity, the two charges of which were united in 1978, sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.

St Leonard's originated in a hospital, dedicated to St Leonard, for pilgrims visiting St Andrews founded c1140. In 1512 St Leonard's Hospital was converted into a college of St Andrews University. From the Reformation until 1824, the Principal of St Leonard's College was also minister of the parish. The church was ruinous in 1759, and the congregation thereafter worshipped in St Salvator's Chapel, but a new parish church was dedicated in 1904. In 1975 the congregation was linked with Cameron with Largoward, but the link with Largoward was terminated in 1983. The designation is currently Cameron linked with St Andrews: St Leonard's. The charge is within the Presbytery of St Andrews, and was in the Synod of Fife until synods were dissolved in 1993.

Hope Park originates in a burgher church in St Andrews founded in 1749, although there had been seceding worship in the town for some years before. The first minister was ordained in 1752, but there was not regular ministry thereafter in the remainder of the 18th century. A new church in North Street was opened in 1826, and because the congregation increased another new church was opened in 1865. On the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the congregation became a United Free Church charge, under the designation St Andrews: Hope Park. This name was maintained through the union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland in 1929.

A Free Church congregation at St Andrews was established immediately after the Disruption in 1843. At latest on the union of the Free Church of Scotland the United Presbyterian Church in 1900, the charge became St Andrews: Martyrs, in the United Free Church of Scotland, within the Presbytery of St Andrews and Synod of Fife. On the union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland in 1929, the charge's designation remained as it was. In 1993 it was linked with Boarhills and Dunino. Jurisdiction: Presbytery of St Andrews

The evangelical activities of the Haldane brothers provoked a growth in non-conformity. An independent or congregational society was functioning in St Andrews with its own minister by 1805 and shortly therafter with a chapel at 101 Market Street. From 1839 the building was also used by a Baptist group who moved in 1843 to their own building on South Street. In 1853 the Congregationalists acquired a new chapel in South Bell Steet, a well-designed gothic building by Jesse Hall of St Andrews, which continued in use until the society was disbanded in 1966.

There was a persistent adherence to the Episcopal order within St Andrews after 1690. However, the association with Jacobitism meant that there were restrictions imposed on Episcopal worship until 1792. It was not until 1825 that the St Andrews Episcopalians were able to build a small chapel in North Street, designed by William Burn and embellished in 1853 with and ornate gothic front by Gilbert Scott. In 1867-1869 this church was superseded by a larger building, also called St Andrew's Church at the foot of Queen Street. This was a dignified neo-gothic design by R Rowand Anderson of Edinburgh, often described as a cathedral in its early days and intended to have a lofty tower and spire. The tower was added in 1892 but was demolished as structurally unsafe in 1938. Associated with the congregation was a fishermen's mission (All Saints, St Andrews), in North Castle Street. The congregation remains the largest in the diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is run by a Rector , currently assisted by a Curate and various honorary clergy. Source: R.G. Cant, 'Public Buildings of St Andrews, 1790-1914, Churches, Schools and Hospitals', in Three Decades of Historical Notes, (St Andrews, 1991), p. 121.

The parish of Strathkinness was established in 1860 when it was disjoined from that of St Andrews and erected quoad sacra. In 1935, following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness parish church was joined by the former United Free church congregation of Strathkinness. After the union the former United Free church, which had previously existed as a preaching station, was sold and a link was later established in 1980 with Dairsie with Kemback. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.

Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the former Free Church charge of Strathkinness was accordingly termed Strathkinness United Free Church, and in 1908 was reduced to a preaching station. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness United Free joined with the parish church congregation of Strathkinness, and the former United Free church was later sold.

There was a Relief congregation at Strathkinness from c1801-1816, though not continuously in existence. In 1818, the Original Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline prepared for a church at Strathkinness, but it was only in 1823 when that congregation was organised. In 1827 Mr Ralph Robb, an Original Burgher preacher, was ordained as first minister of the charge and in 1839 he, along with his congregation, joined the Church of Scotland. At the Disruption in 1843, however, Mr Robb left the session, which then became the Strathkinness Free Church. At the 1900 union of the United Free Church and the United Presbyterians, the charge was accordingly termed Strathkinness United Free Church, and in 1908 was reduced to a preaching station. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness United Free joined with the parish church congregation of Strathkinness, and the former United Free church was later sold.

When the church of Boarhills was erected in 1865 it is believed that the remains of an ancient chapel of Boarhills, dating back to the ninth or tenth cent, were found. Prior to the erection of the church in 1865 worship within the district was conducted within Boarhills school from 1840 and it wasn't until the year 1903 that the parish of Boarhills was disjoined from St Andrews and St Leonards and erected as a parish quoad sacra. Boarhills established a link in 1965 with Dunino and a further link followed in 1993 with St Andrews Martyr's. The link with St Andrews Martyr's continued following the union of Boarhills and Dunino in 1994, under the name of Boarhills and Dunino. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.

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Church Records

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

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

Included in the Old Parochial Registers on microfilm and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre, Edinburgh but not online:

453/5 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1638-1659
453/6 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1659-1670
453/7 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1670-1679
453/8 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1679-1698
453/9 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1698-1706
453/10 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1706-1719
453/11 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1719-1729
453/12 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1729-1740
453/13 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1740-1750
453/14 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1750-1763
453/15 St Andrews Kirk Session Minutes 1763-1671
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Court Records

At the NationalArchives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

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Heritors' Records

At the NationalArchives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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Land & Property

At the NationalArchives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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Occupations

St Andrews Sea Box Society

The Seafaring Society in the parishes of St Andrews and St Leonards was founded in 1643 as a Friendly Society. It seems to have lacked any formal constitution until after 1734. There were initially four classes of members: masters, mates, mariners and apprentice masters. Dues were paid as a proportion of earnings. The Society seems to have been administered by two Managers chosen from among the Shipmasters and three assistants. Later a Factor was appointed to act as clerk and treasurer. There was also an officer whose duty it was to call and attend all meetings. There was at least one meeting each year. In addition to entry fees and annual payments, the society derived income from land and bonds on property and later interest from investment of funds. The benefits paid out to members and their dependants included provision for those prevented from working by illness or disability, superannuation for those over 55 and for widow and children as well as meeting funeral expenses. Alternative names for the society included the Sea Poor Box of St Andrews (1734), the Sea Box Society of St Andrews (1863), the Poor Sea Box Society of St Andrews (1880). The Society ceased to be registered as a Friendly Society of Scotland in 1920 and the last meeting was held on 11 January 1921. Source: Articles in Three Decades of Historical Notes, ( St Andrews, 1991): C. Forrest, 'The Sea Box Papers', p. 155; and M I Smith, 'The Seafaring Society in the Parishes of St Andrews and St Leonards, 1643-1920', pp. 155-160.

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

Access by appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs. Access Conditions: Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. There are conditions in the terms of deposit which affect reproduction.
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Parochial Board  /  Parish Council Records

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

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Politics and Government Records

St Andrews District Council

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo. V, c.25) required county councils to draw up a scheme of district councils, to be composed partly of directly elected district councillors and partly of the county councillors from electoral divisions within the district. District councils had various responsibilities delegated to them by the county council under a scheme of delegation. These might include the letting of houses, the upkeep of cemeteries and until 1948 the poor law. District councils also administered special districts or committees responsible for certain functions such as scavenging or water supply, financed by additional rates. District councils were abolished in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65).

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

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School Records

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

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:

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Taxation

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

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Town Records

At the FifeCouncil Archive Centre, Markinch:

At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

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University Records

In the Muniment Collection in the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

Access by appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted.
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Voting Registers

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

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Data provided by the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)


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Page maintained by William McM. Owen : last updated 15 January, 2014