Description of the parish in 1857

"The parish is about 4 miles long and 2 miles in breadth. It is bounded on the north by Portmoak, on the west by Cleish, on the south by Beath & Auchterderran, and on the east by Kinglassie and Auchterderran. About 1 square mile of the parish forms a detached portion, separated from the main part by the parish of Portmoak. The parish covers about 5000 acres, 2840 under cultivation, 1920 under pasture and 234 under wood. The only hill is Benarty, the south side of which is well planted. Oats is the grain most generally sown, but barley, wheat, peas and beans are also grown. Coal is extensively wrought, the annual value being about £10,000. The limestone to be found in the parish is not good. There is a parish school and a Sabbath school. There are 2 public houses, not too well employed, indicating the sober habits of the people." from A Descriptive & historic gazeteer of the counties of Fife, Kinross & Clackmannan by M Barbieri, published 1857.


The parish includes Ballingry, Lochore and Lumphinnans.


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.



There are 2 cemeteries in Ballingry parish:

1. Ballingry Old Churchyard, Hill Road, Ballingry (grid ref. NT 174976, GPS: 56.164133 -3.330843):

  • 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

2. Ballingry Cemetery, Drumhead, Hill Road, Ballingry (grid ref. NT 176977, GPS: 56.164578 -3.328123):

  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1881) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services West, Dunfermline Crematorium, Masterton Road, Dunfermline,KY11 8QR. Tel. 01383 602335. Fax 01383 602665.
Presbyterian / Unitarian
Hill Road, Ballingry, Church of Scotland


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 408

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

The 1851 census has been indexed and published 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
Ballingry 1042699 1042253 103825 103987 203517 208748
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.


Church History

In addition to the parish church, there was also a Church of Scotland at Lochcraig and a Free Church at Lumphinnans.

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

  • Total population - 464
  • Seceders - 80

The New Statistical Account (written in 1837) gives this information:

  • 53 families attend the Established Church, and 16 are Dissenters

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

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

Details of church history:

  • Ballingry Kirk Session:
In the 13th cent the church of Ballingry existed as a dependant chapel of Auchterderran and ministry here is recorded from 1561 in the person of Peter Watson. The old church of Ballingray was rebuilt and enlarged in 1831. Lochcraig was linked with Ballingray at the start of the 21st cent. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Kinross, later Kinross and Dunfermline and presently of Dunfermline.
  • Lochcraig Kirk Session (formerly Glencraig and Lochore U.F. church):
The kirk session of Lochcraig was initially founded in 1908 as the charge of Glencraig and Lochore United Free Church and in 1929, upon the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Glencraig and Lochore U.F. became the congregation of Lochcraig Church of Scotland. Lochcraig was joined in later years with the charge of Ballingry and the kirk session, which remains active today under the name of Ballingry and Lochcraig , sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross until the restructuring of the Presbyteries in 1976, when it became part of the Presbytery of Dunfermline.
  • Lumphinnans Free Church Kirk Session (united with Guthrie Memorial to form Cowdenbeath North, later North and Kirk of Beath):
Lumphinnans Free Church began as a preaching station organised in 1896, with a temporary iron church. In 1900 it passed to the United Free Church, which raised it to full status two years later. A new church was subsequently built. After transferring to the Church of Scotland, Lumphinnans united with Cowdenbeath Guthrie Memorial as Cowdenbeath North linked with Beath, in 1972. In 1998 Beath and Cowdenbeath North was formed by the union of these two churches. The Church of Scotland charge was in the presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross and the synod of Fife.

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: 408

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

Ballingry OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
408/1 1670-1819 1670-1819 1669-1793
408/2 1820-1854 1820-1854  
408/3 (not on OPR microfilm) 1701-1721 1706-1721 1729-1798
(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.  M.  and D.  1670 - 1701 are recorded in parallel cols. of the same pages. M. appear defective 1695 - 1701; but there are separate  entries of Contracts, which to some extent supplement the Record. B. and M. blank 1701 - 1722, from which date till 1745 they are usually entered on alternate pp. of the same Register. Blank (exc. a few irregular entries) 1745 - 1754. No entry of M. for 1819.
D.  Burials to Dec. 1684; Deaths 1685 - 1701 inclusive. Record wanting 1701 - 1783; there is, however, a leaf containing irregular entries1640 - 1717.
[Subsequent to publication of the Detailed List, records were found within other Church of Scotland records (CH2/382/2) which contain Baptisms 1701 - 1721, 1755 (1 entry), Marriages 1706 - 1721 and Deaths 1729 - 1798 (one leaf). These are now included in the OPR Records as 408/3.]

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:

1040194 Items 3 - 5 Baptisms, 1670-1701, 1722-1854; Marriages, 1670-1701, 1722-1745, 1758-1856; Burials, 1670-1701, 1783-1793; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations and Mortcloth dues [burial records]), 1685-1701; Baptisms, 1701-1721, 1755; Marriages, 1706-1722; Burials, 1729- 1761.
304667 Item 8 Kirk sessions records, baptisms, 1701-1721, marriages, 1706-1722, deaths, 1729-1798 (fragmentary)
(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 held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (408/1). The Presbytrie Book of Kirkcaldie, the record of the proceedings of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, from 15 April 1630 - 14 September 1653, is available through the web archive.

Heritors' Records (HR305) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/382
    Ballingry Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1669-1681, 1702-1745, 1757-1808, 1852-1882, 1905-192 and 1955-1976; Accounts of rents of lands belonging to the poor, 1687-1702; Collections, 1702-1722; Baptisms, 1701-1721 and 1859-1881; Marriages, 1706-1721; Accounts, 1819-1831; Proclamation register, 1962-1977; Congregational board minutes, 1966-1985; Miscellaneous papers.
    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    LDS Library Film Numbers:
    304667 Item 8 Parish Church of Ballingry Kirk sessions records, baptisms, 1701-1721, marriages, 1706-1722, deaths, 1729-1798 (fragmentary) Original documents: CH2/382/2 National Records of Scotland
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Included in the Old Parochial Registers on microfilm and at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh but not online:

  • 408/1
    Ballingry Kirk Session
    Accounts, 1681-1701.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh but not online:

  • Extracted from the Ballingry Kirk Session records above. They are not included on the OPR microfilms:
      Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
    CH2/382/2 1701-1721 1706-1721 1729-1798

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/305
    Ballingry parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1757-1812, 1851-1928; Accounts, 1757-1812, 1858-1928; Correspondence, 1903-1920.

Other Churches:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/1407
    Lochcraig Kirk Session (formerly Glencraig and Lochore U.F. church)
    Proclamation register, 1932-1953, 1957-1958 and 1968-1978; Session minutes, 1894-1972; Deacon's Court minutes, 1905-1967; Baptismal register, 1843-1852 and 1899-1969.
  • CH3/1247
    Lumphinnans Free Church Kirk Session (united with Guthrie Memorial to form Cowdenbeath North, later North and Kirk of Beath):
    Minutes, 1899-1908, 1938-1962; Deacons' court minutes, 1946-1957; Cash book, 1944-1972; Accounts, 1948-1963; Proclamations, 1955-1977; Communion rolls, 1903-1972; Jubilee brochure, 1902-1952; Magazines and newsletters, 1970-1991, 1994-1995; Photographs of ministers and of the church, undated; Returns and statistics, 20th cent.; Miscellaneous correspondence, financial and fire insurance papers, 20th cent.; Note of elders' districts, undated; Visitation papers, 1952, 1959; Teind roll, 1943; Leases to Fife Coal Co and related papers, 1936-1937; Newscuttings and miscellanea, undated; Women's Guild accounts, 1930-1981.
At the National Records of Scotland and on the ScotlandsPeople website:
  • Lochore, St. Kenneth's Roman Catholic congregation
    Indexes to and images of the Roman Catholic births and baptism registers, 1902-1908.

The Ballingry 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
Ballingry 408 1855 1908
Lochore 408/1 1909 1930
Lochore 408 1931 1971
Lochore 426 1972 2000
Benarty 426 2000 2002
Fife 426 2003  
Lumphinnans 408/2 1909 1930
Lochgelly 405/2 1931 1971
Lochgelly 429 1972 2002
Fife 429 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 Ballingry Jurors, 1851 on the Records pages of their website.


Description & Travel

Ballingry town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°9'54"N
NT 177977 56.164832
KY5 8NR Lon. 3°19'23"W

Surrounding parishes: in Fife: Beath, Auchterderran; in Kinross-shire: Cleish, Portmoak.

You can see pictures of Ballingry which are provided by:



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

Before May 1891, the parish of Ballingry consisted of 3 separate parts. A detached portion lay to the north-east of the main part, sparated from it by the parish of Portmoak. The boundary between Fife and Kinross had been the River Leven. However, a new river channel was cut between 1826 and 1836. On 15th May 1891, the new river channel became the county boundary. The following subjects, north of the new channel, were transferred from the parish of Ballingry and the county of Fife to the parish of Portmoak and the county of Kinross: part of Wester Balbeadie and part of Craigend (which became parts of Kinneston & Bowhouse). The remaider of this detached portion was transferred from Ballingry to Kinglassie parish: Easter Balbeadie and parts of Craigend and Wester Balbeadie. The second detached portion of Ballingry was completely surrounded by Auchterderran parish and this portion (comprising Brigghills and Spittal) was all transferred to Auchterderran.

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

You can see the administrative areas in which Ballingry 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) sheet 58 - Perth & Alloa
    • 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 NT169950 (Lat/Lon: 56.140353, -3.338654), Ballingry 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.

The Scottish Mining website has extensive information about mining in Fife in general and in this parish in particular.


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.

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Dunfermline combination poorhouse.



Year Population  
1755 464  
1801 277  
1851 568  
1901 4156  * boundary changed
1951 13830  

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 Ballingry 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 Dunfermline (SC21) 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/6/8
    Ballingry Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1878-1930.


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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Ballingry Public School
    Log books, 1873-1911.
  • Ballingry Public School, Infant Department
    Log books, 1908-1939.
  • Glencraig School
    Log books, 1904-1961.
  • Crosshill Public School
    Log books, 1929-1951.
  • Lochore Roman Catholic School
    Log books, 1914-1941.
  • Lochore, St Joseph's Roman Catholic School
    Log books, 1914-1940.
  • Lumphinnans School
    Admissions Registers, 1917-1925, 1942-1953, 1961-1970.
  • Ballingry School Board
    Minutes, 1873-1914.

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
Ballingry Ballingry 250 171


"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.