Description of the parish in 1862

"Kennoway parish is bounded by Kettle, Scoonie, Wemyss and Markinch. It contains the villages of Kennoway, Baintown, Bonnybank and Star. It is about 3.5 miles east - west and 2 miles north - south. There are 2 corn and barley mills, and a sawmill. Coal is worked, though only of middling quality. The chief occupations are connected with agriculture and the linen industry, but the number of hand loom weavers is declining considerably. There are 3 churches: the parish church, a Free Church and a UP Church (the oldest building). There is a parish school and also a female industrial school in Kennoway, and a subscription school in Star." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.


The parish includes Kennoway and Star.


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.

Old Kennoway, Star & Windygates (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.



There are 2 cemeteries in Kennoway parish:

1. Kennoway Old Churchyard, The Causeway (grid ref. NO 350023, GPS: 56.209249 -3.049136):

  • All monumental inscriptions are listed in "Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 1 South east parishes" by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061948
  • Another listing has been published by the Fife Family History Society in their Publication 16, Monumental Inscriptions.

2. Kennoway Cemetery, Langside Avenue (grid ref. NO 348030, GPS: 56.21506 -3.053347):

  • The current lair registers (dating from 1894) 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.


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 434

Of the original 1841 returns, only a small part survives. Only about 126 names out of a total population of 2044 survive.

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
Kennoway 1042702 1042268 103829 103992 203524 208757
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.



Presbyterian / Unitarian
Kennoway, Church of Scotland

Church History

In addition to the parish church, there was also a Free Church in Kennoway and a Burgher Church (later United Presbyterian) - Kennoway Arnot.

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

  • In 1785, the population of the parish, of whom the village contains one half, from the age of going to school is 1200, of whom 800 attend the established Church and 400 are Seceders.
  • A Burgher meeting house was erected in the village about 40 years ago, and all that do not belong to the Establishment attend that meeting, except a very few of the Relief party, for there is not a single person of another persuasion in the parish.

The New Statistical Account (written in 1838) gives this information:

  • 2 seceding congregations have places of worship in the village
  • The older congregation, connected with the United Associate Secession Synod, formed in the middle of the last century, minister Rev. Donald Fraser, 428 members plus 290 additional hearers. One third of the whole reside in other parishes.
  • The other congregation, the Original Burgher Synod, formed in 1800, under 200 members, about one half residing within the parish. At present without a minister.
  • Also a very few individuals belonging to the Relief and Independent denominations.
  • Number of families attending the Established Church - 238, which is 1027 individuals.

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:

  • Kennoway Parish Church:

Kennoway church was dedicated to St Kenneth, who first preached the Christian faith in the East of Fife in the 6th cent, and belonged it to the Priory of St Andrews. Records accounting for a church in Kennoway date back to 1177 and ministry is recorded from 1560. The parish church was erected in 1619 and the building remained in use until 1850 when the old church fell into disrepair and the congregation were moved to new premises. During the 18th cent there was a secession church formed in Kennnoway which became known as the Arnot Church. Kennoway Arnot went on to united with the old Parish Church in 1975 under the name of Kennoway. By 1996 the church of Kennoway and the nearby church of Windygates Balgonie had both fallen into vacancy, as a consequence the decision was taken to united the two parishes and in 1997 they joined under the name Kennoway, Windygates and Balgonie St Kenneth's. The parish sits within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy and formerly the Synod of Fife.

  • Kennoway United Presbyterian and United Free Church (Kennoway Arnot):

Kennoway United Presbyterian Church originated as a Burgher church formed after a representation to the Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline in 1750. The first minister was ordained in 1758. It passed successively to the United Presbyterian and United Free Churches, in the latter case as Kennoway Arnot, which united with Kennoway South under its own name in 1905. The Church of Scotland charge, which was in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and the synod of Fife, united with Kennoway Old as Kennoway in 1975.


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: 434

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

Kennoway OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
434/1 1638-1654 1638-1654  
434/2 1691-1770 1691-1770  
434/3 1771-1819 1771-1819 1730-1819
434/4 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.  and M.  prior to 1654 intermixed with other matters. Both blank Sept. 1654 - Feb. 1691; then recorded in parallel cols. till Nov. 1724. M. blank 1724 - April 1737, from which date to Jan. 1740 there is a separate Record of M. after B. for June 1737. B. and M. again recorded in parallel cols. 1740 - 1770; but blank June 1751 - April 1756. Separate records of B. and M. from Jan. 1771. After July 1765, entries of Contracts or proclamations only.
D.  (Burials) blank Jan. 1755 - Feb. 1762, Dec. 1773 - Jan. 1776.

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:

1040113 Session book (includes baptisms, marriage proclamations), 1638-1654; Baptisms, 1691-1819; Marriages, 1691-1724, 1737, 1756-1819; Burials, 1730-1819.
1040114 Item 1 Baptisms, 1817-1854; Marriages, 1819-1855; Burials, 1820-1855.
(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.

Some of the OPR entries can be searched on the FreeREG site.

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 (434/1). 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 (HR293) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/206
    Kennoway Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1654-1675, 1690-1755, 1761-1953; Collections, 1691-1753; Accounts, 1736-1772 and 1820-1889; Baptismal register, 1888-1952; Proclamation register, 1856-1977; Communion roll, 1876-1881 and 1887-1924.

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

  • Kennoway Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1630-1654.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/293
    Kennoway parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1823-1929; Accounts, 1772-1819, 1833-1849, 1851-1899, 1902-1929; Papers relating to transference to Church of Scotland, 1929.

Other Churches:

The location of records of the Kennoway Free Church is not known.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/1369
    Kennoway United Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, Arnot United Free, Church of Scotland
    Baptisms, 1848-1854, 1865-1918, 1925-1974; Congregational board minutes, 1906-1959.
    The registers are being made available on the ScotlandsPeople website.

    A transcript of these United Presbyterian baptisms, 1848-1854, has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 1. They are also available on CD and on the Records pages of their website.

The Kennoway 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
Kennoway 434 1855 1971
Kennoway 419 1972 2002
Fife 419 2003  

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


Description & Travel

Kennoway town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°12'40"N
NO 350026 56.211525
KY8 5LZ Lon. 3°2'56"W

Surrounding parishes: Scoonie, Kettle, Markinch.

You can see pictures of Kennoway 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.
  • 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 Kennoway 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 59 - St Andrews
    • Ordnance Survey Explorer (larger scale 1:25000 -  about 2 and a half inches to 1 mile) sheet 370 - Glenrothes north, Falkland & Lomond Hills

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO335034 (Lat/Lon: 56.218866, -3.073846), Kennoway which are provided by:


Military History

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

Levenmouth at War, by Lillian King, 2005, ISBN 0953983986, is packed with reminiscences of the local area in the Second World War.



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.


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 1240
1801 1466
1851 2257
1901 1505
1951 3629

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 Kennoway 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/6/31
    Kennoway Parish Council
    Minute books, 1914-1930.


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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Kennoway School
    School Board Minute Books, 1898-1911.
  • Kennoway Primary School
    Log books, 1882-1961; Admissions Registers, 1882-1961; Account Books, 1899-1915.
  • Star Subscription School
    Log Books, 1865-1884.
  • Star of Markinch Primary School
    Log books, 1884-1979.

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
Kennoway Kennoway 248 160
Star 110 64


"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.