Description of the parish in 1846

Map showing the location of the parish "INCH, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 2 miles (E.) from Stranraer; containing, with the hamlets of Aird, Cairnryan, and Lochans, 2950 inhabitants. ... It is ten miles in length, and in one part nearly of the same breadth, comprising 30,600 acres. ...
Loch Ryan, situated at the mouth of the Clyde, has long been a secure retreat for vessels entering or leaving that river, and for those navigating the Irish channel, even in the most stormy and dangerous weather, on account of its excellent anchorage and safe shelter off the village of Cairnryan. It is between eight and nine miles in length, from its northern extremity to the town of Stranraer at its head, and is about three miles wide at the entrance. ..
The chief village is Cairnryan, which contains 196 persons, and is distant seven miles from the parish church; about 100 reside in another village, and a few in a suburb of Stranraer, lately built in the parish. The high road from London to Portpatrick, and that from Glasgow to the same place, pass through Inch, and are daily traversed by mail coaches. The steam-packet, also, running between Glasgow and Stranraer, and that from Belfast to Stranraer, touch at Cairnryan, for passengers and goods. A monthly market, called 'the Stranraer cattle-market,' is held from April to October. The parish ecclesiastically is in the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway, and in the patronage of the Crown. The stipend is £264; and there is a manse, rebuilt in 1838, with a glebe containing eighteen acres, valued at £15. 15. per annum, and four acres, lately added by the draining of a loch. The church, built in 1770, and capable of accommodating 400 persons, occupies a beautiful situation adjoining the picturesque woods and lake of Castle-Kennedy. The parochial school affords instruction in the classics, practical mathematics, and the various branches of a good education; the master receives the minimum salary, about £23 in fees, and has a house and garden." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.

Towns and Villages

The eastern part of Stranraer burgh

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

Please read the main GENUKI Wigtownshire 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,


There are 5 cemeteries in Inch parish (4 for Inch parish, and 1 serving a church on the edge of Stranraer burgh):

1. Inch Old Parish Churchyard, on the shore of White Loch, in private ground, just off the main drive to Lochinch Castle (grid reference NX 102608, GPS: 54.906783, -4.961867, Google map): 2. Soulseat Burial Ground, on the site of Soulseat Abbey, in private ground on the shore of Soulseat Loch (grid ref. NX 101587, GPS: 54.887262, -4.962414, Google map): 3. Inch New Churchyard, on the A75 about 1 mile NW of Castle Kennedy village (grid ref. NX 100602, GPS: 54.901200, -4.964200, Google map): 4. Cairnryan cemetery, on the A77 north of Cairnryan village (grid ref. NX 062689, GPS: 54.976964, -5.029737, Google map) : 5. Ivy Place churchyard, London Road, Stranraer (gridref. NX 064606, GPS: 54.9029,-5.020854, Google map):


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 886

The 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 returns can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

There is an online index to the 1851 census created by the Friends of the Archives of Dumfries and Galloway.

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
Inch 1042846 1042555 103921 104112 224060 220459
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Church History

In addition to the parish church and a Free Church at Inch, there were also a Church of Scotland and a Free Church at Cairnryan.

A list of all persons over 12 years of age, collected under instructions to the Episcolalian Curates of Galloway and Dumfriesshire, was published as Parish lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684. It is available at the Open Library.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1839) gives this information:

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, Lochryan Church of Scotland (at Cairnryan), and Free Churches at Inch and Cairnryan.

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.

Parish reference number: 886

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

Inch OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
886/1 1729-1819 1729-1819 -
886/2 1819-1854 1820-1854 1843-1846
(Data supplied by 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.  The Record prior to 1817 has suffered much from damp and want of care - the margins of nearly the whole of the leaves being imperfect. Entries many years out of the order of time frequent. One page of irregular entries, 1753 - 1783, after M. for March 1809. Duplicate of entries Sept. 1810 - May 1813, the original, which is on one leaf, being much wasted. Mothers' names rarely recorded until Aug. 1802.
M.  The first leaf much injured, and a portion of most of the entries thereon destroyed. Except for period 1737 - 1748 inclusive, unless in the case of irregular Marriages, the fact of M. is seldom added to the entries till 1817.

The baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages and deaths / burials indexes can be searched at the ScotlandsPeople website. Copies of the register entries may be purchased.

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:

1068036 Items 7 - 8 Baptisms, 1729-1855; Marriages, 1729-1855; Burials, 1843-1847.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Kirk Session records are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR794) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches:

Records of other churches are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

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

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. Full information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration district number start date end date
Inch 886 1855 1966
Stranraer Area 899 1967 1971
Stranraer Area 870 1972 2004
Dumfries & Galloway, Stranraer 870 2005  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. As Stranraer expanded, although its parish boundaries remained unchanged, its registration district and burgh boundaries changed. Part of Stranraer registration district and burgh is in Inch parish, and part in Leswalt parish.

Description & Travel

Inch parish church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 5454'1"N
NX 100602 54.901200
DG9 8RU Lon. 457'53"W

Surrounding parishes: Stranraer, Leswalt, Portpatrick, Stoneykirk, Old Luce, New Luce, and Ballantrae in Ayrshire.


The parish entry in Pigot's National Commercial Directory for the whole of Scotland, 1837, is online at Google Books.


There is a list of places in Inch parish, with links to online historical and modern maps.

The GENUKI gazetteer will give a calculation of the distance from Inch to another place.

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.


The Inch parish page on the Wigtownshire Pages contains a lot of excellent genealogical material and some beautiful photographs.

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.

Listed buildings in Inch.

Valuation Rolls, from 1855, are held in Edinburgh. Valuation Office field books and plans (for the Valuation Office survey of 1911-1915) are also held in Edinburgh. A few valuation rolls are held locally. Details here.

Some estate papers can be found at the National Records of Scotland. Details of Inch records here.


Historic maps:

This Charles Close Society Sheetfinder will provide the sheet numbers for historic Ordnance Survey 1-inch and 6-inch maps for any location.

Present-day maps:

Military History

The Roll of Honour website records the names on the Stranraer memorials. There are listings for Stranraer and Cairnryan memorials are on the Wigtownshire pages. More information can be found at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Names, Geographical

The Ordnance Survey Object Name Books are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of Inch records here.

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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of Inch records here.


Year Population
1755 1513
1801 1577
1851 3122
1901 3876
1951 5283

There is a page with census statistics from 1755 to 1951 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 Inch may be found in either the Wigtown Commissariot (CC22) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business has been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Wigtown (SC19).

Sources worth searching for deeds include Wigtown Sheriff Court.


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Ewart Library, Dumfries. Details of Inch records here.

The Ordnance Gazetteer for Scotland lists the following public schools in the parish (1893):

School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Castle Kennedy public 115 67
Inchparks public 141 103
Lochans public 168 112
Cairnryan General Assembly school 81 51


"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 1830s. For more information see the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.


The parish listing of the farm horse tax, 1797-98, the female servants tax, 1785-92, and the Male Servants Tax, 1777-98, can be seen at ScotlandsPlaces.

For details of other early taxation records see the Early Taxation Records page.