New Luce


Description of the parish in 1846

"LUCE, NEW, a parish, in the county of Wigton; containing 652 inhabitants, of whom 278 are in the village, 9 miles (E. N. E.) from Stranraer. This place, the name whereof is of uncertain derivation, once formed part of the ancient parish of Glenluce, from which it was separated in the year 1646, since which time the original parish has in contradistinction been generally designated as Old Luce. New Luce, the northern portion, is bounded on the east by the river Tarf, which divides it from the parish of Kirkowan, and on the west by the river Luce, which separates it from the parish of Inch. It is about ten miles in length, and varies from five to six miles in breadth...Lead-ore has been found, and was many years since wrought; and it is in contemplation to renew the search under the auspices of the Earl of Stair, the principal landed proprietor. The rateable annual value of New Luce is £3050. The village contains three good inns, and several shops well stored with various kinds of wares for the supply of the neighbourhood.... The church, which is situated in the village, is a neat plain structure erected in 1816, and containing 400 sittings, without galleries. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children: the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a small dwelling-house, and the fees average £5 per annum; he also receives the interest of a bequest of £50 for the gratuitous instruction of poor children. A late earl of Stair bequeathed £300, of which the interest is annually divided among the poor." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.


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 are 2 cemeteries in New Luce parish:

1. New Luce Churchyard, which surrounds New Luce Kirk, Main Street (grid reference NX 175645, GPS:54.945549,-4.852883,)


2. New Luce Cemetery, at the north end of the village (grid ref. NX 174649, GPS:54.791463, -4.429668:

Presbyterian / Unitarian
New Luce, New Luce, Church of Scotland


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 893

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:

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
New Luce 1042847 1042556 103921 104112 224062 220461
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.



Presbyterian / Unitarian
New Luce, New Luce, Church of Scotland

Church History

In addition to the parish church there was also a Free Church (later United Free).

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 1839) gives this information:

  • There is no other chapel or Dissenting meeting house in the parish. There are 4 families of Dissenters and 3 Roman Catholic families.

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists only the parish church.

Details of church history:

  • New Luce Kirk Session
The parish of New Luce was disjoined from Glenluce (or Old Luce) in 1646 and erected into a separate parish. Ministry of the session is recorded from 1647 in the person of John Crooks. In 1969 New Luce was linked with the parish of Old Luce under the ministry of Rev W.G. Tran, minister at Old Luce. 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.
  • New Luce Free Church, later United Free, then Church of Scotland
New Luce Free Church was formed as a preaching station in 1862. A church was built in 1871, but it never became a fully sanctioned charge. It passed to the United Free Church as Newluce, but remained a mission station until 1930, when it united with the Church of Scotland charge of New Luce. The UFC mission station was in the presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer and the synod of Dumfries and Galloway.

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: 893

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

New Luce OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
893/1 1695-1819 1694-1819 1730-1819
893/2 1817-1854 1820-1854 1822-1854
(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.  Only two entries (1695 - 1698) prior to June 1701. Blank (except for four entries 1711 - 1722) Oct. 1710 - Dec. 1725, and all the leaves of the Record till 1797 are very much wasted - numerous entries being partially, many entirely, destroyed.
M.  Blank Jan. 1711 - Jan. 1726, except for three entries March and April 1725. The leaves from 1775 - 1796 are in a condition similar to those of the B. Register, mere fragments only of some of them being preserved. Blank 1796 - Dec. 1798. No entries for 1816.
D.  The first four leaves are very much wasted, and many entries partially, some entirely, destroyed. Thirty entries prior to Jan. 1730 with dates destroyed. Blank 1738 - 1745, 1747 - 1750, and 1755 - 1766 inclusive; also Sept. 1772 - Aug. 1800, and (except two entries) Nov. 1811 - Feb. 1818. Blank also Nov. 1819 - 1822, and 1829 - 1846.

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:

1068039 Items 2 - 3 Baptisms, 1695-1854; Marriages, 1694-1856; Burials, 1730-1854.
(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 (HR606) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/700
    New Luce Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1694-1770 and 1788-1893; Contribution for bell and steeple, 1730; Poor's fund accounts, 1803-1847; Parish Board minutes, 1847-1866; Accounts, 1874-1897; Baptismal register, 1855-1954; Marriage register, 1855-1971; Proclamation register, 1855-1977; Communion roll, 1855-1927.
  • HR606
    New Luce parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1850-1928; Accounts, 1867-1927.

Other Churches:

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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/1390
    New Luce Free Church, later United Free, then Church of Scotland
    Minutes, 1894-1930; Accounts, 1897-1929; Communion rolls, 1914-1939; Baptisms, 1876-1929.

The New Luce 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 district number start date end date
New Luce 893 1855 1970
Stranraer Area 899 1971 1972
Stranraer Area 870 1972 2004
Dumfries & Galloway, Stranraer 870 2005  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes.


Description & Travel

New Luce village Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 54°56'37"N
NX 173647 54.943440
DG8 0AJ Lon. 4°51'9"W  

Surrounding parishes: Inch, Old Luce, Kirkcowan, and Ballantrae and Colmonell in Ayrshire.

You can see pictures of New Luce 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 has an entry for Glenluce.
  • 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 New Luce.

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. New Luce 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.
  • IRS87/29-30
    Valuation Office (Scotland): Field Book, 1910-1920: New Luce Parish
    Entries 1-100, 101-136.
  • 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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

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

  • GD72
    Papers of the Hay family of Park
  • GD135
    Papers of the Dalrymple Family, Earls of Stair


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX192676 (Lat/Lon: 54.970206, -4.825637), New Luce which are provided by:


Military History

The Roll of Honour website records the names on the New Luce war memorial. More information can be found at the Scottish War Memorials Project.


Names, Geographical

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

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH4/23/228, RH4/23/230 and RH4/23/232
    Ordnance Survey Original Object Name Books for Scotland: Wigtownshire
    Parishes of Inch and New Luce (book 4); New Luce (book 5); New Luce and Kirkcowan (book 6); New Luce and Inch (book 7); New Luce and Kirkcowan (book 8); Inch and New Luce (book 21); New Luce (book 22); Inch and New Luce (book 23); New Luce and Old Luce (book 24); Kirkcowan and New Luce (book 25); Kirkcowan, New Luce and Old Luce (book 27); Inch, Old Luce and New Luce (book 39); Old Luce and New Luce (book 40). 

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 459
1801 368
1851 791
1901 557
1951 296

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 New Luce 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:

  • CO4/39
    New Luce Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Book, 1866-1876, 1877-1901; Letter-book of New Luce Inspector of Poor, 1845-1862; Parish Council Minute Book, 1915-1930, 1923-1930; Parish Council General Register of the Poor, 1926.


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

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW5/12
    New Luce School Board (prior to 1919) then School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1873-1930.  (Access restricted)
  • EW5/30
    Glenwhilly School
    Log book, 1911-1944.  (Closed until 2020)
    The school buildings including the teacher's house were erected by subscription on the estate of the Earl of Stair, who granted a lease of 99 years. In 1937-38 the school was closed due to changes in the railway timetable and difficulties in pupils getting there, but it was reopened in 1940.

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

School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Glenwhilly 31 17
NewLuce 131 93


"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.