Description of the parish in 1846

"GLASSERTON, a parish, in the county of Wigtown, 1 and 3/4 miles (S. W.) from Whithorn; containing, with the village of Monrieth, 1253 inhabitants.
The present parish was formed by the union of the lands of Glasserton and Kirkmaiden. The walls of Kirkmaiden church are yet in existence, on the shore, near Monrieth; and it is clear that it was formerly a distinct parish; though when it was united with Glasserton cannot now be ascertained.
The parish is about eight miles in length, varying in breadth from one to three miles, and contains 13,477 acres. It has the parish of Mochrum on the west; Sorbie and Kirkinner on the north; Whithorn on the east; and the bay of Luce on the south." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.


The parish includes Glasserton and Monreith.


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
  • an opportunity to transcribe thousands of historic documents


There is a churchyard and 1 ancient burial ground in Glasserton parish:

1. Glasserton Churchyard, Glasserton (grid reference NX 421380, GPS: 54.713054, -4.452637:

  • The graveyard is administered by Local Services, Culhorn Depot, Commerce Road, Stranraer, DG9 7DE. Tel: 03033333000
  • Monumental Inscriptions were recorded by J E Birchman in the 1980s. They have been published by the Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society. Copies are in local libraries and at the Ewart Library, Dumfries.


2. Kirkmaiden Old Church and churchyard, off the A747 near St Medan Golf Club (grid ref. NX 365399, GPS: 54.72796, -4.539682:



Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 885

The 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 returns can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

There is a transcript of the 1851 census on the Maxwell Ancestry site.

There is an online index to the 1851 census created by the Friends of the Archives of Dumfries and Galloway.

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
Glasserton 1042846 1042554 103921 104112 224060 220459
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.




Church History

The only church is the parish church.

A list of all persons over 12 years of age, collected under instructions to the Episcopalian Curates of Galloway and Dumfriesshire, was published as Parish lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684. It is available at the Open Library.

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) gives no information about Dissenters.

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

  • "... I shall refrain from saying how few they are, though truth will not permit me to say that they are many ... the Dissenting families are old residenters in the parish."

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

Details of church history:

  • Glasserton Parish Church
The kirk session of Glasserton was united in 1618 with the parish of Kirk-Maiden-in-Fairnes by the Commissioner of Teinds. The original church, which sat within the parish of Wigton and the Synod of Galloway, belonged to the Priory of Whitern. The old parish church was rebuilt in 1732 and enlarged in 1837. Ministry is recorded at Glasserton from 1567 in the person of Rodolph Peirson. Glasserton united with the parish of the Isle Whithorn on the 13th January 1946 to form Glasserton and Isle of Whithorn. Despite the local union both churches continued in use. Whithorn St Ninian's Priory was linked with Glasserton and Isle of Whithorn in 1990.

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.

Parish reference number: 885

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

Glasserton OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
885/1 1700-1819 1700-1825 -
885/2 1819-1854 1849-1854 -
(Data supplied by 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 June 1731 - Nov. 1744, and irregular and defective Jan. 1753 - Aug. 1778 inclusive. Blank (except irregular entries) 1778 - 1813. After 1819, five pages of entries 1784 - 1819, and a copy of the Record 1813 - 1819.
M.  Blank Dec. 1727 - Oct. 1736, July 1740 - Jan. 1744, June 1744 - Jan. 1814; and (except for two entries for 1825) Dec. 1819 - Jan. 1849. The Record 1814 - 1819 seems defective, and the entries embrace merely the names of the parties.
D.  One entry, dated 1839.

The baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages and deaths / burials indexes can be searched at the ScotlandsPeople website. Copies of the register entries may be purchased.

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:

1068036 Items 5 - 6 Baptisms, 1700-1854; Marriages, 1700-1819, 1849-1854.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Kirk Session records are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Heritors' Records (HR319) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/179
    Glasserton Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1700-1750, 1761-1772, 1814-1821, 1834 and 1847; Collections, 1701-1715.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR319
    Glasserton parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1824-1929; Accounts, 1863-1894; Cash book, 1900-1928; Papers relating to buildings, 1824-1913; Correspondence, 1869-1913; Plans of church and churchyard, 1835-1892.

The Glasserton page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

Other Churches:



Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. Full information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration district number start date end date
Glasserton 885 1855 1966
Whithorn 900 1967 1971
Whithorn 875 1972 2004
Dumfries & Galloway, Whithorn 875 2005  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes.


Description & Travel

Glasserton Church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 54°42'47"N
NX 421380 54.713054
DG8 8LY Lon. 4°27'9"W  

Surrounding parishes: Kirkinner, Sorbie, Whithorn, Mochrum.

You can see pictures of Glasserton which are provided by:



The parish entry in Pigot's National Commercial Directory for the whole of Scotland, 1837, is online at Google Books.




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, vol. 1, A-H only, online at Google Books.
  • Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1846, online at British History Online.
  • 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.


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.

Listed buildings in Glasserton.

Valuation Rolls, from 1855, are held in Edinburgh. Valuation Office field books and plans (for the Valuation Office survey of 1911-1915) are also held in Edinburgh. A few valuation rolls are held locally. Glasserton records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • VR123
    Valuation Rolls: County of Wigtown
    1855-1975; the rolls for 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1920, 1925 and 1930 are online at the ScotlandsPeople website.
  • IRS87/1-2
    Valuation Office (Scotland): Field Book, 1910-1920: Glasserton Parish
    Entries 1-100, 101-150.
  • IRS133
    Valuation Office (Scotland) maps to accompany the above field books, scale 1/2500, Ordnance Survey sheets for Wigtownshire.

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW4
    Wigtownshire County Council: County Treasurer's Department
    Valuation rolls, 1891-1975; Assessment rolls, 1890-1897, 1950-1960.

Estate records:

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EGD/104
    Rent book, Whithorn
    Rent book for lands of Cavans and Appleby (in parish of Glasserton), 1756-1789, with manuscript transcription, undated.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Some estate papers can be found by searching the National Records of Scotland catalogue for "Glasserton" and reference starts "GD". Collections particularly worth searching are:

  • GD46
    Papers of the Mackenzie Family, Earls of Seaforth (Seaforth Papers)
    Considerable collection of papers concerning Glasserton and Wigtownshire.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX410408 (Lat/Lon: 54.736701, -4.471698), Glasserton which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The Ordnance Survey Object Name Books are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Glasserton records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH4/23/236 and RH4/23/237
    Ordnance Survey Original Object Name Books for Scotland: Wigtownshire
    Parishes of Glasserton, Kirkinner, Mochrum and Sorbie (book 74); Glasserton and Mochrum (book 75); Glasserton, Mochrum, Sorbie and Whithorn (book 76); Glasserton, Kirkinner, Sorbie and Whithorn (book 77); Glasserton, Sorbie and Whithorn (book 79); Glasserton and Mochrum (book 83); Glasserton, Sorbie and Whithorn (book 84); Glasserton and Whithorn (book 85).

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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. See Public Records below.



Year Population
1755 809
1801 860
1851 1487
1901 887
1951 591

There is a page with census statistics from 1755 to 1951 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 Glasserton may be found in either the Wigtown Commissariot (CC22) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business has been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Wigtown (SC19).

Sources worth searching for deeds include Wigtown Sheriff Court.


Public Records

Parochial Boards and their successors, Parish Councils, administered many local functions including poor relief.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CO4/30
    Glasserton Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Books, 1845-1863, 1864-1879, 1879-1899; Parish Council Minute Books, 1899-1907, 1907-1920, 1920-1930; General Register of the Poor, 1845-1930.


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Ewart Library, Dumfries. Glasserton records:

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW5/28
    Glasserton School
    Log books, 1874-1946. (Access restricted)
    This was originally a parish school and the buildings were erected 1826.
  • EW5/8/2
    Glasserton (Whithorn and Sorbie) School Board
    Register of mortgages (including receipts, 1918-1919), 1875-1894.
  • EW5/8/1
    Whithorn, Glasserton and Sorbie School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1947-1949. (Closed until 1/01/2025)
  • EW5/47
    Ravenstone School
    Log books, 1904-1962; Admissions and withdrawals register, 1915-1962; Attendance registers, 1956-1963. (Access restricted)
    This was established by the school board after 1873 and befoore 1892. In 1892 it had accommodation for 74 pupils.
  • EW5/37
    Knock School
    Log books, 1883-1961; Admissions and withdrawals register, 1923-1960; Attendance registers, 1953-1961; Summaries of attendance, 1953-1961; Record of work, 1960-1961; Certificates of attendance, 1944-1949; Cleaning register, 1935-1949. (Access restricted)
    Knock School was held from Sir Herbert Maxwell, Bt. of Montieth, MP and was part of the entailed estate of Monteith. It was held on lease for a nominal rent. The buildings were erected in 1859. There was no teacher in 1883 nor had any registers or records been kept. It was discontinued by the local authority in 1961.

The Ordnance Gazetteer for Scotland lists the following public schools in the parish (1893):

School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Glasserton 94 70
Knock 91 58
Ravenstone 74 55


"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 1830s. For more information see the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.



The parish listing of the farm horse tax, 1797-98, the female servants tax, 1785-92, and the Male Servants Tax, 1777-98, can be seen at ScotlandsPlaces.

For details of other early taxation records see the Early Taxation Records page.