Description of the parish in 1862

"Carnock parish is bounded by Saline, Dunfermline, Torryburn and Culross. It is about 3 miles square. The ground is hilly but highly cultivated. There are 4 villages in the parish: Gowkhall, Carnock, Oakley and Cairneyhill. The village of Oakley has sprung up in the last 15 years, chiefly owing to the Forth Iron Works there. The Stirling & Dunfermline Railway was made to pass contiguous, and at the present time these works yield the principal traffic source for the line. The ore and fuel are raised at the works and there are 7 blast furnaces for the operation of smelting, but there have never been more than 6 in blast at one time. A large number of the inhabitants are employed as miners, or in connection with the iron works, or in agriculture. There are a number of weavers in Cairneyhill but owing to the introduction of machinery in the larger towns, their numbers are decreasing. In addition to the parish church, there is a Free Church at Carnock and a UP Church at Cairneyhill. " edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.


The parish includes Cairneyhill, Carnock and Oakley.


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 is a chapter about Carnock in Mercer's History of Dunfermline, published 1828, is at Google Books.



There are 2 cemeteries in Carnock parish:

1. Carnock Churchyard / Cemetery, Main Street, Carnock (grid ref. NT 041891, GPS: 56.085184 -3.54212):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).

2. Cairneyhill Churchyard, behind church, Main Street, Cairneyhill (grid ref. NT 051865, GPS: 56.060533 -3.525057):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).
  • Another listing of the Cairneyhill Churchyard stones has been published by the Fife Family History Society in their Publication 18, Monumental Inscriptions.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1867) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services West, Dunfermline Crematorium, Masterton Road, Dunfermline,KY11 8QR. Tel. 01383 602335. Fax 01383 602665.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

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



Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 414

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:

(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, other churches include a Free Church at Carnock, a United Presbyterian Church at Cairneyhill and a Roman Catholic Church at Oakley.

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

  • Established Church - 420 plus 106 children = 526
  • Antiburgher Seceders - 143
  • Burgher Seceders - 103
  • Members of Church of Relief - 52
  • Members of the Chapel of Ease, Dunfermline - 31
  • Cameronians - 2
  • children of dissenters - 53.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1843) gives this information:

  • One Dissenting meeting house in the parish, built in 1748 in Cairneyhill for the United Associate Synod.
  • Dissenters of all denominations number 598; 400 of these profess to belong to the congregation at Cairneyhill; 2 are Episcopalians and 1 is a Roman Catholic who occasionally worship in the parish church.
  • The remainder adhere to the United Secession, the Relief, and the Original Burghers. They attend their places of worship in Dunfermline.
  • 652 belong to the Established Church.
  • 19 are not known to belong to any congregation.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the Roman Catholic Church at Oakley, the United Presbyterian Church at Cairneyhill, and the Free Church at Carnock.

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

Details of church history:

  • Carnock Kirk Session:
The medieval church was appropriated to the ministry of the Red Friars at Scotlandwell. There may have been an early dedication to St. Cearnach. Ministry began in 1563 in the person of Richard Brown, reader. Until 1976 the session was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline and Kinross Presbytery, after which time it was within the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Presbytery. In 1994 the session changed its name to Carnock and Oakley Kirk Session.
  • Cairneyhill Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland:
Cairneyhill Associate Congregation, which belonged to the Antiburgher branch of the Secession Church, was formed out of a praying society in Torryburn that had acceded to the Associate Presbytery in 1737. The congregation, which sat within the Presbytery of Dunfermline and Kinross, was initially documented under the name of Torryburn but the church, which was built in 1752, was sited at Cairneyhill and accordingly the charge soon adopted the name of Cairneyhill. The first minister of Cairneyhill Associate Congregation, James Burt, was ordained in 1755. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Cairneyhill U.P. became Cairneyhill United Free Church and following the 1929 union between the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Cairneyhill U.F. became Cairneyhill Church of Scotland. In 1968 Cairneyhill formed a link with the congregation of Torryburn and Newmills however this link was later terminated in 1983 in favour of a link with the charge of Limekilns. The congregation, which remains active today, presently sits within the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Dunfermline.

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: 414

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

Carnock OPRBirths / baptismsProclamations / marriagesDeaths / burials / mortcloths
Register of Neglected Entries   
(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.  Duplicate of Record 1652 -1679. Blank Jan. 1694 - Jan. 1706. Exc. Dec. 1660 - Feb. 1679 in one Record, and 1706 - 1713, Mothers' names seldom recorded till 1752.
M.  Duplicate of  Record 1652 - 1678. No entry for 1691. Blank March 1694 - March 1700, from which date till Aug. 1721 only entries of fees paid by persons when contracted. Blank Aug. 1721 - Oct. 1780. Proclamations and Marriages after 1780.
D.  Deaths and Burials prior to 1678. Duplicate of Record 1653 - 1678. Blank Nov. 1688 - Dec. 1699. Transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues 1699 - 1721. Blank Aug. 1721 - Dec. 1753, after which Burials.

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:

1040153 Items 3 - 4Baptisms, 1652-1792; Marriages, 1652-1694, 1700-1721; Burials, 1654-1688; Mortcloth dues (burial records), 1699-1721; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations and some baptisms and Mortcloth dues after 1650), 1642-1661.
1040154 Items 1 - 2Baptisms, 1792-1854; Marriages, 1780-1854; Burials, 1753-1854.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Lists of Male Heads of Families, circa 1834, gathered as a result of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's 1834 Veto Act have been transcribed for some parishes by Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History.

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 (414/1).

Heritors' Records (HR15) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/59
    Carnock Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1699-1949; Cash book, 1753-1779, 1814-1839 and 1868-1947; Scroll minutes, 1842-1932; Proclamation register, 1964-1977; Miscellaneous papers, 1944-1948.

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

  • Carnock Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1642-1662.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/15
    Carnock parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1784-1927; Cash books, 1868- 1874, 1876-1929; Papers relating to buildings, 1865-1925; Papers relating to transference to Church of Scotland, 1925-1926; Plans of church, manse, 1894.

Other Churches:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/340
    Cairneyhill Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland
    Minutes, 1754-1812, 1820-1866 and 1876-1911; Baptisms, 1746-1760; Collection book, 1779-1816 and 1867-1911; Treasurer's account book, 1835-1894; Congregational minutes, 1895-1903; Communion roll, 1867-1912; Proclamation register, 1932-1977.
    The registers are being made available on the ScotlandsPeople website.
  • bound in with CH3/319/1 (Leslie Associate Congregation) in error
    Associate Session of Cairneyhill
    Baptisms, 1760-1768.
    A transcript of the following baptisms has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 4. It is also available on CD and is available on the Records pages of their website.
    Cairneyhill Associate CongregationBaptisms
    CH3/340/1 and CH3/319/11746-1760; 1760-1768
At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, USA, but available on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres around the world:
  • Microfilm no. 104156 Item 6
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, West Fife Branch
    Record of members, 1881-1887.

The Carnock 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 districtnumberstart dateend date

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 Carnock Jurors, 1851 on the Records pages of their website.


Description & Travel

Carnock town centreOrdnance Survey Grid ReferenceGPSPost codeLat. 56°5'4"N
NT 04389056.084191
KY12 9JGLon. 3°32'24"W

Surrounding parishes: Culross, Saline, Dunfermline, Torryburn.

You can see pictures of Carnock 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

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

You can see the administrative areas in which Carnock 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 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 NT047880 (Lat/Lon: 56.075635, -3.532473), Carnock which are provided by:


Military History

War memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.



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.


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.




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 Carnock may be found in either the Stirling Commissariot (CC21), 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, Stirling 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/6/14
    Carnock Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1846-1930.


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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Cairneyhill Primary School
    Log books, 1874-1905, 1917-1923.
  • Cairneyhill Continuation School Evening Class
    Log books, 1909-1920.
  • Crossford and Cairneyhill School
    Log books, 1905-1917.
  • Carnock Public School
    Log books, 1873-1915.
  • Carnock Primary School
    Log books, 1873-1915.
  • Oakley School
    Log books, 1874-1882.
  • Carnock School Board
    Minutes, 1873-1919.
  • Carnock School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1922-1930.
  • Oakley School Board
    Minutes, 1874-1881.

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 BoardSchoolAccommodation for scholarsAverage attendance


"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.