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Help and advice for Ferry-Port-on-Craig

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Description of the parish in 1852

"Ferryport-on-Craig parish, or South Ferry, is 5 miles in length by from half a mile to 1 mile in breadth - stretching along the sea at the mouth of the Tay, where the land rises into a hilly range, extending westwards. The village is 3 miles from Dundee, seated at the base of the hills opposite to Broughty Ferry. The Edinburgh & Dundee railway terminates here, and passengers are forwarded by steam-boat to Dundee and Broughty Ferry - both on the north bank of the River Tay. For facilitating the shipping of goods, the railway company have constructed a dock and thrown out a pier; the latter can be approached by the steamers at all states of the tide. A great part of the village is composed of new houses, some of which are suited to the accommodation of visitors, who resort hither from the inland parts of the country for the benefit of sea-bathing - the beach here being naturally well-formed for the purpose: but the chief support of the inhabitants is derived from the weaving of course linens, and from the salmon fishery, which is coextensive with the parish along the coast; the fish captured here are mostly sent to the London market. The Glasgow & Edinburgh Bank have opened a bank here. The places of worship are the parish church, a free church, and baptist and presbyterian chapels." from Slater's Directory published 1852.

The parish includes Tayport.


Archives and 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.

Old Tayport (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.



There are 2 cemeteries in Ferryport on Craig parish:

1. Ferryport on Craig (Tayport) Churchyard, Queen Street (grid ref. NO 459287, GPS: 56.447174, -2.879408):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for Ferryport-on-Craig Churchyard (in Tayport) are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 3 The north east parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061999
  • The churchyard stones have also been indexed by the Tay Valley Family History Society in "Ferryport on Craig, Tayport - Monumental Inscriptions".
  • Some stones are recorded in Graveyard Monuments in East, North and Central Fife, John di Folco, published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1969-70, vol. 102, pages 205-236, which deals largely with stones dated pre-1707. It can be downloaded from ARCHway.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

2. Tayport Cemetery, Newport Road (grid ref. NO 445292, GPS: 56.451022, -2.901475):

  • The current lair registers for the Tayport cemetery date from its opening in 1887. They are administered by Fife Council, Cemeteries Department, County Buildings, St Catherine Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA. Tel. 01334 659336. Fax 01334 412896.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.



Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 429

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.

The 1861 census has been indexed and can be downloaded here

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
Ferryport on Craig 1042702 1042267 103829 103991 203523 208756
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Ferry-Port-on-Craig area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

In addition to the parish church, there was an Associate Congregation (Antiburgher, later United Presbyterian) and a Free Church (Queen Street United Free) in Tayport.

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

  • "All the parishoners adhere to the principles of the Established Church except
  • 1 Unitarian
  • and 1 Seceder
  • both of whom came lately to this parish from Dundee."

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) gives this information:

  • There is a small Dissenting meeting house in the village in connection with the United Secession.
  • It has about 50 members in the parish, any others that belong to it coming from other parishes.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church.

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

Details of church history:

  • Ferryport-on-Craig Church / Tayport Church
    The parish of Ferryport-on-Craig was disjoined from that of Leuchars in 1602 and in 1606 was erected by Parliament. The parish church was rebuilt in 1825. In 1962 Ferryport-on-Craig, which became known in later years as Tayport Ferryport-on-Craig, was united with Tayport Erskine under the name of Tayport Erskine, Ferryport-on-Craig, and a further union followed in 1978 between Tayport Erskine, Ferryport-on-Craig and Tayport Queen Street, to form the session of Tayport. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of St Andrews, later of Dundee and, following the restructuring of the presbyteries in 1976, it once more became part of the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • Ferryport-on-Craig Associate Congregation / Tayport Erskine United Free Church
    The Associate Congregation (Antiburgher) of Ferryport-on-Craig was established during the early years of the 19th century and is thought to have owed its origins largely to persons who withdrew from the Established Church. A place of worship was constructed for the charge, which was later replaced by a new church erected in 1844, and in 1809 the first minister of the congregation, Adam Blair, was ordained. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Ferryport-on-Craig U.P. Church became Ferryport-on-Craig Erskine (later termed Tayport Erskine) United Free Church, and in 1902 the charge was transferred from the Presbytery of Dundee to that of St Andrews. In 1962, following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Tayport Erskine united with the congregation of Tayport, Ferryport-on-Craig, under the name of Tayport Erskine, Ferryport-on-Craig, and a further union followed in 1978 with Tayport Queen Street, to form the congregation of Tayport. Tayport Kirk Session still remains active today.
  • Ferryport-on-Craig Free Church (later Tayport, Queen St United Free Church)
    At the Disruption of 1843 the minister and congregation of Tayport, Ferryport-on-Craig adhered to the Free Church, and during that same year a church was erected to house the session. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Ferryport-on-Craig became the Queen Street United Free Church and in 1909 was transferred from the Presbytery of St Andrews to that of Dundee. The congregation continued after the union of the United Free Church with the Church of Scotland in 1929. In 1978 Tayport Queen Street and the congregation of Tayport Erskine Ferryport-on-Craig established a union, under the name of Tayport. Tayport Kirk Session, which presently sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews, remains active today.

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: 429

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

Ferryport on Craig  OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
429/1 1634-1772 1640-1772  
429/2 1772-1819 1772-1819 1783-1819
429/3 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1854
(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.  blank Dec. 1694 - June 1697.
M.  From 1640 - 1674 intermixed with B. for the same period. Separate record from 1674 - 1708 which contains only four entries Nov. 1701 - March 1704, and is blank Dec. 1704 - Nov. 1706. Blank also Dec. 1708 - Oct. 1710, after which date Record again intermixed with B., and so continued throughout. In general there are separate entries of Contracts and Proclamations, and of Marriages, before 1757.
D.  (Deaths and 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:

1040337 Items 2 - 4 Baptisms, 1634-1697, 1710-1854; Marriages, 1640-1674, 1693-1854; Session book (includes Baptisms), 1697-1710; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations), 1674-1692; Burials, 1783-1854.
(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 Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (429/1).

Heritors' Records (HR743) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

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

  • CH2/150
    Ferryport-on-Craig Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1640-1674; Minutes, 1710-1755; Minutes, 1756-1853; Accounts, 1756-1819; Scroll minutes and accounts, 1763-1776; Accounts (with a few minutes, mostly relating to poors' fund), 1819-1857; Baptismal register 1855-87; Proclamation register 1855-1903, 1855-1903; Proclamation Register, 1887-1921; Communion roll, 1858-1865; Communion roll, 1866-1876; Communion roll, 1880-1885; Communion roll, 1886-1897; Minutes (1853-1905) communion roll (1856-1857), 1853-1905; Minutes, 1905-1926; Minutes, 1926-1976; Vacancy committee and congregational meetings minute book, 1923-1928; Minutes of congregational board, 1950-1962; Cash book, 1857-1885; Cash book, 1886-1900; Cash book, 1901-1927; Cash book, 1928-1949; Cash book, 1950-1962; Collection cash book, 1865-1916; Collection cash book, 1916-1949; File of papers: annual accounts and statistics, 1939-1961; Pew register, 1926; Seat register, 1930; Seat letting book, with enclosures, 1930-1950; Seat letting book, 1950-1961; Proclamations book, 1922-1940; Proclamation register, 1932-1949; Proclamation register, 1961; Communion roll, 1898-1909; Communion roll, 1910-1922; Communion roll, 1923; Communion roll, 1923-1928; Communion roll, 1929-1934; Communion roll, 1935-1944; Communion roll, 1945-1960; Kirk session letter book, 1879-1906; Letter book, 1903-1907; Woman's Guild minute book, 1936-1953; Woman's Guild cash book, 1895-1912; Woman's Guild cash book, 1903-1939; Bundle of collection books, by district, 1923-1928; Cash book, church hall, 1909-1927; Certificates of transferrence stubs, 1965-1981; Certificates of transferrence stubs, 1965-1981; Tayport Parish Church kirk session minute book, 1978-1989; Tayport Parish Church congregational board minute book, 1978-1984; Correspondence files, 1978 - 1980, 1982 - 1985, 1978-1985; Box of papers of session clerk, 1978-1989; Box of papers of session clerk, 1879-1932

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

  • 429/1
    Ferryport-on-Craig Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1674-1710.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/743
    Ferryport-on-Craig parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1925-1928; Accounts, 1925-1928; Cash book, 1924-1926.

Other Churches:

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

  • CH3/315
    Ferryport-on-Craig Associate Congregation / Tayport Erskine United Free Church
    Session Minutes 1809-1810, 1827-1843, 1867-1899, 1809-1899
  • CH3/294
    Ferryport-on-Craig Free Church (later Tayport, Queen St United Free Church)
    Session Minutes, 1843-1909

The Ferryport-on-Craig 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
Ferryport on Craig 429 1855 1971
Ferryport on Craig 410 1972 1993
Tayport 410 1994 2002
Fife 410 2003  

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


Description and Travel

Tayport town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°26'50"N
NO 458287 56.447340
DD6 9BY Lon. 2°52'51"W

There is an informative Tayport website with some old photographs.

Surrounding parishes: Leuchars, Forgan, Monifieth (via ferry to Broughty Ferry across the River Tay).

You can see pictures of Ferry-Port-on-Craig 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.

A directory of Ferryport on Craig or Tayport appears in theDundee Directory in 1834, 1853 and from 1876 to 1974. There is a complete run of this publication at the Local Studies Department, Wellgate Library, Dundee. Complete Dundee directories for 1834, 1853, 1876, 1878, 1880, 1882, 1884 and all years to 1911 are online at the National Library of Scotland's Scottish Directories pages. The Dundee directory for 1929-30 can be purchased from the Parish Chest.



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

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Ferry-Port-on-Craig to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.


Historical Geography

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


Land and Property

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

  • B81
    Tayport Burgh Assessment rolls, 1874-1934, 1939-1970, 1974-1975.

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.


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, 28.



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.

There is a series of articles about many Fife family businesses in Fife Family History Society's Journal, New Series 9.


Poor Houses, 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 Fife Council Archive Centre. See Public Records below.



Year Population
1755 621
1801 920
1851 2238
1901 3445
1951 3326

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 Ferryport on Craig may be found in either the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business has been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20).

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/6/27
    Ferryport-on-Craig Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute book, 1906-1930.


School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Ferryport-on-Craig records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Tayport (Ferryport-on-Craig) School
    Admission Register, 1880-1902, 1934-1976; Admission Register (Juniors), 1900-1917; Admission Register (Infants), 1902-1911; Admission Register (Higher Pupils), 1903-1923; Log books, 1863-1920; Log books (Higher Grade School), 1920-1967; School Board Minutes, 1891-1919.

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
Ferry-Port-on-Craig Ferry-Port-on-Craig 576 466


"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.


Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

Tayport was created a burgh of barony by King James VI (1567-1625) in favour of Robert Durie in 1599, when its name was Ferryport-on-Craig. It was erected as a burgh of regality in 1725 for Robert Douglas, second son of Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, Bt. The town's name became Tayport after the opening of the railway connection to Cupar and Dundee. In 1888 Tayport became a police burgh after the adoption of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act. The police commissioners were replaced by Tayport Town Council in January 1901. Tayport Town Council was abolished in 1975 and its powers were assumed by Fife Regional Council and North East Fife District Council. These in turn were replaced by Fife Council in 1996.

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

  • B/81
    Tayport Town Council
    Council minutes, 1887-1975; Assessment rolls, 1874-1934, 1939-1970, 1974-1975; Finance committee minutes, 1974-1975; Register of bonds, 1888-1975.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/T
    Tayport Town Council
    Minutes, 1973-1974; general correspondence, 1953-1973; accounts, 1931-1974; lists of Police Commissioners and town councillors, 1888-1971; minutes of Feuars of Ferry Port on Craig and Commonty Fund committee records, 1819-1905.