Description of the parish in 1857

"Auchtertool parish is bounded on the south by Kinghorn, Burntisland and Aberdour, on the north & north-west by Auchterderran and Beath, and on the east by Kinghorn & Abbotshall. It is 3 miles long by 1.5 miles broad and covers an area of 2630 acres. There are 1650 acres under cultivation, 750 under pasture and none under wood. The Cullalo hills at the west of the parish rise to 750 feet above sea level and command a fine view of the Isle of May, the Bass and North Berwick Law. Camilla Loch, near the north-east boundary, covers 18 acres and is 22 feet deep in places. It is supplied with eels, perch and pike. Horses are only bred and reared for farm purposes, but not for sale. Much attention is paid to the breeding and rearing of black cattle, for which the growing of turnips and potatoes is much increased. Sheep have lately been introduced and appear to pay well. There are no collieries, coal having to be brought from Auchterderran. There are 2 limestone quarries, wrought for local use but not for sale. There are several whinstone quarries used for the turnpike and other roads in the parish. The parish church is about 1 mile distant from the village. There is a parish school, a private school and an infant school. There is also a parish library, established in 1824, with 240 volumes. The village has a savings bank, 6 public houses but no inn. The village is famed for its extensive brewery, making ales, porter and table beer. The ales are shipped at Kirkcaldy for London. " from A Descriptive & historic gazeteer of the counties of Fife, Kinross & Clackmannan by M Barbieri, published 1857.


Archives & Libraries

The ScotlandsPlaces website lets users search across national databases by geographical location. It includes, amongst other material,

  • catalogue entries for maps and plans held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh; some maps and plans can be viewed
  • photos and details of historical buildings and archaeological sites recorded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • 17th and 18th century tax rolls
  • Ordnance Survey [place] Name Books
  • an opportunity to transcribe thousands of historic documents


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.



Auchtertool Churchyard / Cemetery, off B925 Auchtertool to Crossgates road (grid ref. NT 206903, GPS: 56.097941 -3.275048):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 2 The western parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061972
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1933) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services Central, Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6HQ. Tel. 01592 260277. Fax 01592 203438.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
Presbyterian / Unitarian
Auchtertool, Church of Scotland


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 407

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
Auchtertool 1042699 1042252 103825 103986 203517 208747
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.



Presbyterian / Unitarian
Auchtertool, Church of Scotland

Church History

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

  • Number of examinable persons of the Established Church - 105
  • Number of Seceders - 20

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

  • Number of families attending the Established Church - 92
  • Number of families attending the chapels of dissenters and seceders - 23. (The younger branches of 2 of these families attend the Established Church).

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

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

Details of the church history:

  • Auchtertool Parish Church:

Auchtertool church was included amongst the possessions of Inchcolm Abbey in the Bull of Pope Alexander III, 1178. Ministry began in 1563 in the person of Thomas Thalland, reader. Throughout its existence the session has been within the jurisdiction of Kirkcaldy Presbytery. On 18 May 1969 Auchtertool linked with Burntisland St. Andrew's under the Rev. J. S. Easton. The link with Burntisland was terminated on 28 February 1987. On 31 Mar. 1987 Auchtertool linked with Kirkcaldy Invertiel (that link continuing after the union of Invertiel with Bethelfield on 8 January 1991).


Church Records

Data provided by the  Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)

The Parish Church (Established Church, Church of Scotland):

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/25
    Auchtertool Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1738-1799 and 1806-1885; Cash book, 1800-1895; Mortsafe association accounts, 1830-1853; Burials, 1830-1855; Mortsafe association minutes, 1830-1863; Communion roll, 1846-1876.
  • HR/638
    Auchtertool parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1828-1927; Accounts, 1849-1930.

Other Churches:

The Auchtertool 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 Fife page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration district number start date end date
Auchtertool 407 1855 1967
Cowdenbeath 410/1 1968 1971
Cowdenbeath 430 1972 2002
Fife 430 2003  

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


Court Records

Fife Family History Society have transcribed a list of Auchtertool Jurors, 1851 on the Records pages of their website.


Description & Travel

Auchtertool village centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°6'10"N
NT 216907 56.102614
KY2 5XW Lon. 3°15'37"W

Surrounding parishes: Abbotshall, Kinghorn, Aberdour, Beath, Auchterderran.

You can see pictures of Auchtertool which are provided by:



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.



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.

  • David Webster's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1819, online at Google Books.
  • Fullarton's Topographical, Statistical and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, published 1842, online at Google Books.
  • Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1846, online at British History Online.
  • Barbieri's Descriptive and Historical Gazetteer of the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, published 1857, is at Google Books.
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4) and John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887), are on A Vision of Britain (click on "Historical places and writing").
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland(1892-6) on Electric Scotland

Historical Geography

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

You can see the administrative areas in which Auchtertool has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Land & 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:

  • On-line maps:
  • Paper maps:
    • Ordnance Survey Landranger (scale 1:50000 -  about 1 inch to 1 mile) sheets 58 - Perth & Alloa, and 65 - Falkirk & Linlithgow
    • Ordnance Survey Explorer (larger scale 1:25000 -  about 2 and a half inches to 1 mile) sheet 367 - Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy & Glenrothes South

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT198902 (Lat/Lon: 56.09781, -3.290567), Auchtertool which are provided by:



Andrew Campbell has produced Fife Deaths from Newspapers 1822-1854 - a compilation of deaths recorded in local newspapers. Copies of this index are held by the Fife libraries and the Family History Societies.

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 re-published it in their Publications Series, 26.



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.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

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 389
1801 396
1851 517
1901 742
1951 558

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 Auchtertool 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.


Public Records

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • FCC/6/7
    Auchtertool Parish Council
    Minute books, 1907-1930.


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Auchtertool records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Auchtertool School
    School Board Minute books, 1873-1896, 1911-1919; School Log Books, 1913-1997.

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
Auchtertool Auchtertool 143 94


"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



At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • E69/10
    Fife Hearth Tax
  • GD26/7/303
    Auchtertool Hearth Tax
  • E326
    Assessed Taxes Schedules 1748-1802

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.