Description of the parish in 1846

"INCH, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 2½ miles (E.) from Stranraer; containing, with the hamlets of Aird, Cairnryan, and Lochans, 2950 inhabitants. ... It is ten miles in length, and in one part nearly of the same breadth, comprising 30,600 acres. ...
Loch Ryan, situated at the mouth of the Clyde, has long been a secure retreat for vessels entering or leaving that river, and for those navigating the Irish channel, even in the most stormy and dangerous weather, on account of its excellent anchorage and safe shelter off the village of Cairnryan. It is between eight and nine miles in length, from its northern extremity to the town of Stranraer at its head, and is about three miles wide at the entrance. ..
The chief village is Cairnryan, which contains 196 persons, and is distant seven miles from the parish church; about 100 reside in another village, and a few in a suburb of Stranraer, lately built in the parish. The high road from London to Portpatrick, and that from Glasgow to the same place, pass through Inch, and are daily traversed by mail coaches. The steam-packet, also, running between Glasgow and Stranraer, and that from Belfast to Stranraer, touch at Cairnryan, for passengers and goods. A monthly market, called 'the Stranraer cattle-market,' is held from April to October. The parish ecclesiastically is in the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway, and in the patronage of the Crown. The stipend is £264; and there is a manse, rebuilt in 1838, with a glebe containing eighteen acres, valued at £15. 15. per annum, and four acres, lately added by the draining of a loch. The church, built in 1770, and capable of accommodating 400 persons, occupies a beautiful situation adjoining the picturesque woods and lake of Castle-Kennedy. The parochial school affords instruction in the classics, practical mathematics, and the various branches of a good education; the master receives the minimum salary, about £23 in fees, and has a house and garden." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.


The parish includes Cairnryan, Lochans and the eastern part of Stranraer burgh.


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

Business & Commerce Records

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EGD/110
    Papers of John Douglas, Balker Home Farm, Castle Kennedy
    Valuation of farm, 1905; bill book; wages book, 1939; cash book, 1905; miscellaneous stock and account books


There are 5 cemeteries in Inch parish (4 for Inch parish, and 1 serving a church on the edge of Stranraer burgh):

1. Inch Old Parish Churchyard, on the shore of White Loch, in private ground, just off the main drive to Lochinch Castle (grid reference NX 102608, GPS: 54.906783, -4.961867):


2. Soulseat Burial Ground, on the site of Soulseat Abbey, in private ground on the shore of Soulseat Loch (grid ref. NX 101587, GPS: 54.887262, -4.962414):

  • Monumental inscriptions have been published by the Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society.
  • The New Statistical Account gives this information about the oldest inscription in the burial ground at Soulseat Abbey: "Here lies ane honest man, Gilbert Mure, Marchand, burgess of Wigtown, quha departed this lyf 16 September 1616, spouse to Agnes Cunningham."


3. Inch New Churchyard, on the A75 about 1 mile NW of Castle Kennedy village (grid ref. NX 100602, GPS: 54.901200, -4.964200:


4. Cairnryan cemetery, on the A77 north of Cairnryan village (grid ref. NX 062689, GPS: 54.976964, -5.029737) :


5. Ivy Place churchyard, London Road, Stranraer (gridref. NX 064606, GPS: 54.9029,-5.020854):

  • This is the burial ground for the First United Secession Chapel, later St Andrews United Presbyterian Church, in London Road, Stranraer.
  • see in Stranraer


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 886

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

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:

(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.




Church History

In addition to the parish church and a Free Church at Inch, there were also a Church of Scotland and a Free Church at Cairnryan.

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 this information about Dissenters:

  • the total population is 1450; the number of Seceders, young and old, is 240

The New Statistical Account (written in 1839) gives this information:

  • Number of persons professedly belonging to the Established Church - 1965. Number of persons belonging to other religious denominations - 689. Number not known to belong to any religious denomination - 30.
  • Number of communicants at the parish church - 400.

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, Lochryan Church of Scotland (at Cairnryan), and Free Churches at Inch and Cairnryan. Details of church history:

  • Inch Parish Church

The parish church of Inch, which stands on the shore of Loch Inch, belonged prior to the reformation to the Bishop of Galloway. Within the parish there existed two chapels, that of St John's and also of St Patrick's, which gave rise to Portpatrick. In 1931, following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929, the parish church of Inch was united with the former United Free Church congregation of Inch Castle Kennedy. After the union the former Castle Kennedy Church was converted for use as a church hall. In 1982 Inch was linked with Stranraer St Andrew's and a union later followed between Inch and Lochryan in 1985. After the union the parish, which continued under the name of Inch, remained linked to Stranraer St Andrew's. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Stranraer until 1963 when, by Act of Assembly, the Presbytery of Wigtown and the Presbytery of Stranraer were united under the name of the Presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer.

  • Cairnryan Free Church, later United Free

Cairnryan Free Church began as an extension charge before the Disruption. It was separately sanctioned in 1844, with a church opened in the following year. It transferred to the United Free Church in 1900, but the minister retired in the same year and it was served by probationers and missionaries, and did not transfer to the Church of Scotland. The UFC charge was in the presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer and the synod of Dumfries and Galloway.

  • Lochryan Church, previously Burnfoot Chapel of Ease

In 1858 the Parish of Lochryan was disjoined from that of Inch and erected quoad sacra; the church of this parish had been built at Cairnryan a number of years prior in 1841. In 1941 the charge of Lochryan was united to Glenapp to form the session of Lochryan and Glenapp and following the local union both parish churches remained in use for public worship. In 1985 however the union between Glenapp and Lochryan was dissolved in favour of a union between Lochryan and Inch, under the name of Inch. The kirk session sat within the Presbytery of Stranraer until 1963 when, by Act of Assembly, the Presbytery of Wigtown and the Presbytery of Stranraer were united together under the name of the Presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer.

  • Inch Free church (later United Free Castle Kennedy, then united with Inch Church of Scotland)

United with Inch Church of Scotland in 1931.


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: 886

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

Inch OPRBirths / baptismsProclamations / marriagesDeaths / burials / mortcloths
(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.  The Record prior to 1817 has suffered much from damp and want of care - the margins of nearly the whole of the leaves being imperfect. Entries many years out of the order of time frequent. One page of irregular entries, 1753 - 1783, after M. for March 1809. Duplicate of entries Sept. 1810 - May 1813, the original, which is on one leaf, being much wasted. Mothers' names rarely recorded until Aug. 1802.
M.  The first leaf much injured, and a portion of most of the entries thereon destroyed. Except for period 1737 - 1748 inclusive, unless in the case of irregular Marriages, the fact of M. is seldom added to the entries till 1817.

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 7 - 8Baptisms, 1729-1855; Marriages, 1729-1855; Burials, 1843-1847.
(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 (HR794) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/637
    Inch Kirk Session
    Minutes and accounts, 1730-1881; Accounts, 1842-1858 and 1865-1896; Claims for ailment, 1845-1847; Communion roll, 1836-1878; Miscellaneous letters, 1827-1844.
  • CH2/1315
    Lochryan Church
    Minutes, 1859-1941; communion roll ?1859-1876; baptisms, 1858-1876, 1858-1941; Baptismal register, 1878-1985; Proclamation register, 1886-1977; Communion roll, 1882-1941; Collections, 1889-1934, 1934-1964.
  • HR794
    Inch parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1828-1928; Accounts and assessments, 1863-1931.

Other Churches:

Records of other churches are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/1304
    Cairnryan Free Church, later United Free
    Minutes, 1846-1930; Sustentation Committee minutes, 1847-1883; Deacons' court minutes, 1884-1930; Sustentation Fund collections, 1856-1859.
  • CH3/557
    Inch Free church (later United Free Castle Kennedy, then united with Inch Church of Scotland)
    Minutes, 1843-1875; Marriages, 1845-1878; Baptisms, 1845-1879; Deaths, 1845-1878; Marriages of parties married by Peter Ferguson, who were not members of his congregation, 1850-1879; Treasurer's cash book, 1871-1879; Treasurer's cash book, 1880-1899; Marriage register, 1879-1891; Marriage register, 1958-1960; Death and Interment register, 1879-1894.
    The registers are being made available on the ScotlandsPeople website.

    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    LDS Library Film Number:

    889487 Item 5Inch Free ChurchMarriages, 1845-1878; births, 1845-1878; deaths, 1845-1878; memorandum of parties married by Peter Ferguson who were not of his congregation, 1850-1879; marriages, 1880-1893, 1958-1960.Original documents: National Records of Scotland - CH3/557/1, 4
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

The Inch 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 GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration districtnumberstart dateend date
Stranraer Area89919671971
Stranraer Area87019722004
Dumfries & Galloway, Stranraer8702005 

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. As Stranraer expanded, although its parish boundaries remained unchanged, its registration district and burgh boundaries changed. Part of Stranraer registration district and burgh is in Inch parish, and part in Leswalt parish.


Description & Travel

Inch parish churchOrdnance Survey Grid ReferenceGPSPost codeLat. 54°54'1"N
NX 10060254.901200
DG9 8RULon. 4°57'53"W 

Surrounding parishes: Stranraer, Leswalt, Portpatrick, Stoneykirk, Old Luce, New Luce, and Ballantrae in Ayrshire.

You can see pictures of Inch 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.
  • 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 Inch.

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. Inch 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.
  • IRS87/3-5
    Valuation Office (Scotland): Field Book, 1910-1920: Inch Parish
    Entries 1-100, 101-200, 201-300.
  • 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 papers:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

  • GD25
    Papers of the Kennedy Family, Earls of Cassillis (Ailsa Muniments)
  • GD27
    Papers of Kennedy of Dalquharran
  • GD135
    Papers of the Dalrymple Family, Earls of Stair
  • GD154
    Papers of the Agnew Family of Lochnaw, Wigtownshire
  • E614
    Exchequer Records: Forfeited Estates Papers 1715: Particular Estates: Baldoon
    Papers for individual estates include judicial and other rental, claims and decrees thereon, exceptions and appeals, factors' accounts, with vouchers and other papers relating to management, and papers relating to sale of the estate. Owner: Basil Hamilton, son of Lord Basil Hamilton, sixth son of Anne, duchess of Hamilton, and of Mary Dunbar, daughter of David Dunbar, son of Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon, bt. Location: parishes of Inch, Kirkinner, Old Luce and Wigtown in Wigtownshire, and parishes of Borgue, Crossmichael, Kirkcudbright and Twynholm in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Estate claimed successfully by Mary, Lady Basil Hamilton, the forfeited person's mother.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX446475 (Lat/Lon: 54.798231, -4.418898), Inch which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH4/23/228, RH4/23/229. RH4/23/230, RH4/23/231 and RH4/23/232
    Ordnance Survey Original Object Name Books for Scotland: Wigtownshire
    Parishes of Inch and Kirkcolm (book 3); Inch and New Luce (book 4); New Luce and Inch (book 7); Inch and Kirkcolm (book 17); Inch (book 18); Inch, Kirkcolm and Leswalt (book 19); Inch (book 20); Inch and New Luce (book 21); Inch and New Luce (book 23); Leswalt, Inch, Portpatrick and Stranraer (book 35); Inch (book 36); Inch, Portpatrick and Stoneykirk (book 37); Inch, Stoneykirk and Old Luce (book 38); Inch, Old Luce and New Luce (book 39); Old Luce and Inch (book 41).

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.




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 Inch 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:

  • CO4/32
    Inch Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Book, 1845-1872, 1887-1906; Parochial Board Minute Book (Public Health), 1848-1888; Parish Council Minute Book, 1906-1919, 1919-1930; Parochial Board General Register of the Poor, 1847-1890, 1890-1930.


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

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW5/21
    Cairnryan School
    Log books, 1864-1936, 1941-1965; Admissions and withdrawals registers, 1901-1939, 1941-1965. (Closed)
    Cairnryan closed in 1965 and its pupils were tranferred to Castle Kennedy Primary.
  • EW5/22
    Castle Kennedy School
    Log books, 1913-1963; Admissions and withdrawals register, 1940-1963; Daily register, 1961-1962. (Closed)
  • EW5/32
    Inchparks School
    Log books, 1873-1908, 1937-1963. (Access restricted).
    This originally belonged to the heritors but was vested in the school board in 1873. It was a one teacher school whose master doubled as registrar and session clerk. It was replaced by Castle Kennedy Primary in 1963.
  • EW5/66
    Lochans Primary School
    Log books, 1918-1975. (Closed).
    This was erected as a non-denominational school in 1861 opening in November of that year. It was a 3 teacher school in 1936.

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

SchoolAccommodation for scholarsAverage attendance
Castle Kennedy public11567
Inchparks public141103
Lochans public168112
Cairnryan General Assembly school8151


"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.