Description of the parish in 1857

"The parish is bounded on the north & east by Kilconquhar, on the south by Largo Bay and on the west by Largo. It is 3.5 miles from north to south and 2 miles in breadth. Its area is 2400 acres, all under cultivation except 350 under pasture and 130 under wood. The land surface near the shore is sandy, forming extensive links which are kept in pasture. The land ascends from the shore to the northwards, reaching its greatest height at Gilston. The soil, with the exception of the links, is very fertile. The rent of land averages £2-12-0 per acre. The parish schoolmaster's salary £30, plus £14 of fees, besides which there is an allowance for teaching a certain number of Poor children, from a fund left by John Wood of Orkie in 1659. There is 1 public house in the parish; sobriety and industry prevail. The nearest market towns are Colinsburgh and Largo. Balchristie is the only hamlet in the parish, containing a few houses." from A Descriptive & historic gazeteer of the counties of Fife, Kinross & Clackmannan, M Barbieri, published in 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.



Newburn Churchyard (grid ref. NO 453035; GPS: 56.221226 -2.883933):

  • The pre-1855 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 18, 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.
  • Transcripts of many of the older stones were made by an unknown hand in the 1870s. They are recorded in the Minute Book of the Anstruther Mortsafe Society, 1830-1874, held by the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. They are included in Publication 38, Monumental Notes part 2, published by the Fife Family History Society.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1857) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services East, 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: 451

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.

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
Newburn 1042703 1042270 103832 103994 203529 208765
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.



Presbyterian / Unitarian
Newburn, Church of Scotland

Church History

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

  • Independents - about 20; the only sect with a meeting house in the parish.
  • Members of the Relief Congregation - about 20.
  • Burghers - 12.
  • Cameronians - 2.

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

  • There are now few seceders of any description.
  • The sect of Independents which formerly flourished in this parish is gone, and the place where they were wont to assemble for public worship os converted into a granary.
  • There are 3 Seceding or Dissenting families.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website. Details of church history:

  • Newburn Church
    The church of Newburn, which was anciently known as Drumeldrie, was dedicated to St Serf and belonged prior to the Reformation to the Abbey of Dunfermline. Between the years 1522-1539 the old church was rebuilt by the Archbishop of St Andrews and this building was later replaced in 1815 by the present day church. In 1958 Newburn was united with the parish of Largo to form the congregation of Largo and Newburn and the united charge later established a link with Largo St David's in 1987. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.

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: 451

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

Newburn OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
451/1 1628-1678 1628-1678 1630-1669
451/2 1678-1819 1678-1819 1760-1819
451/3 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.  and M.  intermixed from 1645 till Nov. 1704. No entries of B. Aug. 1690 - Aug. 1692, nor of M. Oct. 1689 - Sept. 1692. Separate Records of B. and M. from May 1705. Mothers' names not recorded till 1678. No entry of M. for 1731. Blank Nov. 1754 - Oct. 1756. No entry for 1775. Blank (exc. one entry) Aug. 1777 - Jan 1783. No entry for 1790.
D.  (Deaths and Burials) blank Feb. 1638 - Feb. 1643. No entry March 1650 - Aug. 1655. Blank (exc. one entry for 1669) March 1658 - Jan. 1760.

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:

1040169 Items 3 - 5 Baptisms, Marriages, 1628-1644; Session book (includes Baptisms, Marriages), 1645-1678; Burials, 1630-1658, 1669, 1760-1854; Baptisms, Marriages, 1678-1854.
(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 (CH2/278) are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (451/1).

Heritors' Records (HR666) 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:

  • CH2/278
    Newburn Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1628-1687, 1692-1764 and 1824-1958; Communion roll, 1884-1889 and 1893-1942; Accounts, 1746-1756 and 1769-1828; Baptismal roll, 1855-1958; Proclamations, 1855-1880, 1884-1917 and 1919-1958; Cash book, 1828-1910; Mortsafe subscriber's cash book, 1824-1877; Lair plan and heritor's division of kirk, 1886.

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

  • 451/1
    Newburn Kirk Session
    Minutes 1645-78

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/666
    Newburn parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1853-1929.

The Newburn 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
Newburn 451 1855 1967
Leven 443 1968 1971
Leven 415 1972 2002
Fife 415 2003  

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


Description & Travel

Newburn church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°13'15"N
NO 453035 56.220907
KY8 6JE Lon. 2°53'1"W

Surrounding parishes: Elie, Kilconquhar, Largo.

You can see pictures of Newburn which are provided by:



Westwood's ParochialDirectory 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 Newburn 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) sheets 370 - Glenrothes north, Falkland & Lomond Hills; 371 - St Andrews and East Fife

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO450035 (Lat/Lon: 56.221283, -2.889251), Newburn which are provided by:



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 recently re-published it in their Publications Series, 28.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

The relief of paupers after 1845 was carried out by the Parochial Board and later by the Parish Council. None of their records are known to exist.



Year Population
1755 438
1801 412
1851 375
1901 296
1951 191

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 Newburn 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.

No records known.



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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Newburn School
    Log books, 1873-1966; School Board Minutes 1873-1919.

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.

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

  • ms 38464
    Drumeldrie School
    Papers, 18th-19th century.

Education statistics for Fife schools in 1891-2 list the following board schools in the parish:

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Newburn Newburn 90 46


"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.