Old Luce


Description of the parish in 1846

"LUCE, OLD, or Glenluce, a parish, in the county of Wigton; containing 2448 inhabitants, of whom 890 are in the village, 10 miles (E. by S.) from Stranraer. This parish anciently included New Luce, the two places together forming the parish of Leuce or Glenluce, which was divided in 1646 into two parts, one called New, and the other Old. ... The parish is ten miles long and eight miles broad, and contains 40,350 acres. ...
The village [of Glenluce] is situated upon the road leading from Newton-Stewart to Stranraer. Corn and carding-mills are regularly at work; there are also a dye-mill and a flax-mill. Cattle-markets are held near the village, from April to December, on the first Friday in each month, and a fair in the month of May; there is a regular post in the village, and the mail from Dumfries to Portpatrick runs through it every day. Within two miles of it is a harbour in the bay, suited to receive small craft bringing coal and lime; but no larger vessels can approach this part of the shore. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway, and the patronage is in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £158, of which nearly half is received from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum. The church, erected in 1814, is a commodious edifice, and situated close to the village. The members of the United Secession have a place of worship. The master of the parochial school has a salary of £25. 13., with a house and garden; and his fees average between £30 and £40. There are several other schools, of which two are connected with dissenters, and one is supported by the Hay family." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.


The parish includes Glenluce.


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 National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

Several papers concerning businesses in Glenluce are to be found in Court of Sesion records and the records of dissolved companies. They can be found by searching the National Records of Scotland catalogue for "Glenluce" and reference starts "CS" or reference starts "BT2".



Some memorial inscrptions at Ladyburn Church have been transcribed at rootsweb.

There are 3 cemeteries on Old Luce parish:

1. Old Luce Churchyard, Church Street, Glenluce (grid reference NX 196574, GPS: 54.8790, -4.8120):


2. Glenluce Cemetery extension, to the north of the Old Churchyard, Church Street (grid ref. NX 196575, GPS:54.879369, -4.812634):


3. Glenjorrie Cemetery, North Street, Glenluce (grid ref. NX 199578, GPS: 54.882748,-4.808364):

  • The graveyard is administered by Local Services, Culhorn Depot, Commerce Road, Stranraer, DG9 7DE. Tel: 03033 333000


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 894

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
Old Luce 1042847 1042556 103921 104112 224062 220462
(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 at Glenluce, other churches include a Free Church, and a United Associate (Burgher) Congregation Church (later United Presbyterian).

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) has no information about Dissenters.

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

  • There is one Dissenting chapel connected with the Un ited Secession Church, the number of actual members is about 80; the average attendance about 150.
  • Number of families attending the Established Church - 321
  • Roman Catholic families - 19
  • Dissenting or Seceding families - 25 (including 9 Cameronians). Some attend Divine Service in Stranraer, others in Newton Stewart.

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church.

Details of church history:

  • Old Luce Kirk Session
The church of Old Luce, also known of old as Glenluce, belonged prior to the reformation to the Abbey of Glenluce (which was founded in 1190) and held a dedication to St Michael. Ministry of the session is recorded from 1563, in the person of John Sanderson. In 1962 Old Luce was united with the charge of Glenluce Ladyburn, continuing after the union under the name of Old Luce, and a link later followed in 1969 with the parish of New Luce. The kirk session, which remains active today, 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.
  • Glenluce United Associate (Burgher) Congregation Church, later United Presbyterian, United Free, united with Wilson Memorial, Ladyburn Church of Scotland, then united with Old Luce Church of Scotland
Glenluce United Associate (Burgher) Church originated with evangelical work in the area in 1808, leading to a petition to Kilmarnock Burgher Presbytery for supply of sermon. After delays a congregation was organised in 1817 and a minister ordained in the following year. It passed successively to the United Presbyterian and United Free Churches, in the latter case as Glenluce Ladyburn, which united with Glenluce Wilson Memorial as Glenluce UF in 1911. After union with the Church of Scotland Glenluce Ladyburn, the title it had now resumed, was reduced in status in 1948 and united with Old Luce as Old Luce in 1962. The Church of Scotland charge was in the presbytery of Stranraer and the synod of Ayr.
  • Glenluce Free Church, later Wilson Memorial and United Free

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: 894

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

Old Luce OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
894/1 1731-1820 - -
894/2 - 1731-1819 1732-1819
894/3 1820-1854 1820-1854 1812-1841
(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.  This Record has been carefully kept. The pages throughout are subscribed by the Session-Clerk.
M.  Record carefully kept. The entries bear both Proclamation and Marriage, with the name of the officiating Minister, and, prior to 1780, the names of two witnesses to the Marriage are given. Pages certified by the Session-Clerk.
D.  Record titled 'Bills of Mortality'. The entries state the age of the deceased. There is a separate Record of Deaths of Children 1732 - Dec. 1829, and 1840 - 1841.

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 4 - 6 Baptisms, 1731-1854; Marriages, 1731-1854; Burials, 1732-1841.
(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 (HR398) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/1417
    Old Luce Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1724-1761, 1775 and 1821-1962; Heritor's minutes, 1740; Poor's fund accounts, 1724-1779; Accounts, 1822-1960; Baptismal register, 1855-1867 and 1931-1962; Proclamation register, 1888-1977; Communion roll, 1882-1966; Supplementary roll, 1945-1959.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR398
    Old Luce parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1832-1928 (with gaps); Accounts, 1868, 1893-1903; Papers relating to buildings, 1878-1923; Correspondence, 1897-1928; Papers relating to stipend, 1840, 1898; Plans of church and manse, 1847-1905.

Other Churches:

Records of other churches are held at the National Arcives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Old Luce records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/1408
    Glenluce United Associate (Burgher) Congregation Church, later United Presbyterian, United Free, united with Wilson Memorial, Ladyburn Church of Scotland, then united with Old Luce Church of Scotland
    Minutes 1823-1962, includes roll of members, 1868-1890; Managers' (congregational board) minutes, 1887-1962; Baptisms, 1912-1962; Seat rent and stipend book, 1861-1872; Property register, 1956-1980; Communion rolls, 1909-1962; Cash book, church building fund, 1888-1890.
  • CH3/1407
    Glenluce Free Church, later Wilson Memorial and United Free
    Minutes, 1845-1911; Baptisms, 1872-1898; Deacons' court minutes, 1849-1911; Collections (congregational fund), 1844-1860; Treasurer's cash book, 1846-9; Church building account, 1846-54 and 1846-1854; Cash books, 1864-1891 and 1894-1905; General Sustentation Fund, treasurer's cash book, 1874-1888; Statement of income and expenditure, manse, 1896-1899; Baptismal certificates, 1855-1857; Communion roll, 1849-1866 and 1893-1911; Papers relating to Glenluce Free Church school, 1850-1882.

The Old 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
Old Luce (or Glenluce) 894 1855 1966
Stranraer Area 899 1967 1971
Stranraer Area 870 1972 2004
Dumfries & Galloway, Stranraer 870 2005  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes.


Court Records

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH11/33
    Barony of Glenluce
    Extracts from Court Book, 1556; Court Minute Book listing processes, 1601-1642

Description & Travel

Glenluce village Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 54°52'40"N
NX 196574 54.877858
DG8 0PL Lon. 4°48'43"W  

Surrounding parishes: Inch, New Luce, Kirkcowan, Mochrum.

You can see pictures of Old 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.
  • 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 OldLuce and Glenluce.

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. Old 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.
  • IRS87/31-35
    Valuation Office (Scotland): Field Book, 1910-1920: Old Luce Parish
    Entries 1-473.
  • 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 "Old Luce" or "Glenluce" and reference starts "GD". Collections particularly worth searching are:

  • GD10
    Papers of the Murray Family of Broughton, Wigtownshire, and Cally, Kirkcudbrightshire
  • GD25
    Papers of the Kennedy Family, Earls of Cassillis (Ailsa Muniments)
  • GD72
    Papers of the Hay family of Park
  • GD135
    Papers of the Dalrymple Family, Earls of Stair
  • GD180
    Papers of the Cathcart Family of Genoch and Knockdolian
  • 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.

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • GD/449
    Particulars of sale for the estate of Craigenveoch in the parish of Old Luce, 1889.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX209574 (Lat/Lon: 54.879228, -4.794022), Old Luce which are provided by:


Military History

The Roll of Honour website records the names on the Glenluce 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. Old Luce records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH4/23/230, RH4/23/232, RH4/23/233, RH4/23/234 and RH4/23/235
    Ordnance Survey Original Object Name Books for Scotland: Wigtownshire
    Parishes of New Luce and Old Luce (book 24); Kirkcowan, New Luce and Old Luce (book 27);  Inch, Stoneykirk and Old Luce (book 38); Inch, Old Luce and New Luce (book 39); Old Luce and New Luce (book 40); Old Luce and Inch (book 41); Old Luce (book 42); Old Luce and Kirkcowan (books 43 and 44); Old Luce (book 45); Old Luce, Kirkcowan and Mochrum (book 46); Old Luce and Stoneykirk (book 55); Old Luce and Stoneykirk (book 58); Old Luce (book 59); Mochrum and Old Luce (books 60); Mochrum and Old Luce (books 61-62).

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 1509
1801 1221
1851 2841
1901 2157
1951 1918

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 Old 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:

  • CO4/40
    Old Luce Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Book, 1848-1859; Parochial Board General Register of the Poor, 1845-1891, 1891-1916; Parish Council Minute Book, 1918-1930; Parish Council General Register of the Poor,1916-1930.
  • CO4/31
    Glenluce Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Book, 1885-1906; Parish Council Minute Book, 1906-1918


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

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW5/3
    Glenluce (Old Luce) School Board
    Minutes, 1873-1919; Ledgers, 1898-1919; Abstract books, 1898-1919; Register of mortgages, 1876.
    This was originally a parish school and the buildings were erected 1826. By 1858 the master doubled as the registrar and the school roll was 24 boys and 28 girls. In 1939 it came under the control of the master of Glenwhilly School which had closed.
  • EW5/3
    Glenluce (Old Luce) School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1919-1936. (Records closed)
  • EW5/29
    Glen of Luce (Castle Daly) School
    Log books, undated (before 1916) -1930, 1941-1971.(Records closed)
    The school opened in 1859 and was discontinued by the local authority in 1961.
  • EW5/59
    Drochduil School
    Log books, 1878-1961; Admissions and withdrawals registers, 1984-1961; Attendance register, 1960-1961; Summary of attendance, 1960-1961; Record of work, 1959-1960. (Access restricted)
    This was established and built by Sir James Dalrymple Hay and managed by him and his sisters in 1857.

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

School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Drochduil 120 72
Glenluce Academy 313 271
Glen of Luce 128 63

Social Life & Customs

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • FS4/764
    Friendly Society Records
    Oddfellows, Independent Order of, (Manchester Unity), Friendly Society Lodge "Loyal Park and Balkail", Glenluce, No. 6005 Thornhill District, 1852


"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.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • E60/1/7
    Particular Taxt Rolls
    Glenluce Abbacy, 1612.
  • E236/87/16
    Miscellaneous Sheriff Accounts
    Glenluce, bailie, c.1700.

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