"The name of the parish, which is frequently written Carsefern, is probably derived from carse and fern, -- as the plain on which the church is situated, was, at the time of the first erection of the church, no doubt covered with fern...

The parish is situated on the sloping side of that mountainous ridge which separates Kirkcudbright from Ayr, and has a southern exposure. On the north (Ayrshire) it is bounded by the parishes of Dalmellington and New Cumnock; on the east, by the parish of, St John Dalry; on the south, by Kells; and on the west and southwest, by the parishes of Straiton and Minnigaff.

The figure of the parish is nearly circular. it extends from north-west to south-east about ten miles, and from north-east to south-west about 9 miles, and contains about 88 square miles....

Surface draining has been carried on for several years to a considerable extent, and has in many cases considerably improved the sheep walks, but the general appearance of the country is but little changed. It would be unjust, however, to say that no improvement has been made in agriculture. Several farmers have laid a considerable quanity of lime upon those parts of their farms most suitable for ploughing, and have, in return, frequently had excellent crops...

The flocks may be considered to have been improved in quality rather than increased in number, since the time when Mr. Smith wrote the former account of the parish. He states the number of sheep to be at that time about 30,000, which may be nearly the average number at present...

Miscellaneous Observations - ...Since the preceding pages were written in 1839, Carspairn has undergone a wonderful change, chiefly on account of the mining operations carried on within the parish. Since the operations commenced, the population has nearly doubled. In that part of the parish in which lead was discovered, and in the bosom of a remote mountain, where the silence of nature was seldom broken, unless by the barking of the shephard's dog, or the call of the shephard, there is now a scene of industry and activity, which requires to be witnessed in order to be understood; and which cannot be contemplated without astonishment..."

Rev. David Welsh, Minister, New Statistical Account, Blackwood.



History, Kirkcudbright. The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 2nd Series, W Blackwood, 1845.



The Church Yard of Carsphairn has had pre-1855 monumental inscriptions transcribed and indexed. The index and transcribed inscriptions are included in a series of volumes that cover all of Kirkcudbrightshire. Carsphairn is in volume 1. Refer to the county page for additional details.


Church History

"The parish of Carsphairn is said to have been separated from the parishes of Kells and Dalry, and constituted a parish, about the year 1627....

The church is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and in the most convenient place for by far the greater portion of the inhabitants. There are many families about five miles distant, however, - some seven, and some even ten miles...

There are three families in the parish connected with the Reformed Presbytery, and one or two individuals who do not attend church, of whom it would be difficult to say to what sect they belong. Considering the distance at which many of the inhabitants are from the church, and the utter impossibility of either the young or the old of such families coming out during the winter, the church may be said to be well attended. "

Rev. David Welsh, Minister, New Statistical Account, Blackwood.


Church Records

Church of Scotland records are held at the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Copies of the pairsh register on microfilm may be consulted in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Refer to the county page for additional details.

Records AvailableBaptismMarriageBurialReference
Church of Scotland1758-1854  OPR 860

Kirk Session Notes: Kirk Session records for the parish start in the 1770's. There are a few accounts in 1737-1738. (CH2 667) Refer to the county page for additional details.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Carsphairn which are provided by:





You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX563945 (Lat/Lon: 55.223444, -4.261044), Carsphairn which are provided by: