Description of the parish in 1846

"STONEYKIRK, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Stranraer; containing, with the fishing-port of Sandhead and the village of Stoneykirk, 3062 inhabitants, of whom 56 are in the village. .. Some vessels belonging to the Spanish Armada were wrecked off the western coast, not far from a bay which in commemoration of that circumstance, has since been called the bay of Float; and at Money Point, near the bay, a considerable number of Spanish dollars was subsequently discovered. ..
The parish is bounded on the east by the bay of Luce, and on the west by the Irish Channel, and is nearly ten miles in length and three miles and a half in average breadth, comprising about 21,500 acres, of which 19,000 are arable, 375 woodland and plantations, and the remainder, whereof 1100 might be reclaimed, moorland and waste. ..
The crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses; flax was formerly grown, but its cultivation has been for some years totally discontinued. ..
A post-office under that of Stranraer has deliveries every day, and facility of communication is maintained by the county road from Stranraer to Kirkmaiden, and other roads that intersect the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £231. 15. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum; patrons, alternately, the Crown and the Earl of Stair. The church, which is situated about two miles from the shore of Luce bay, was built in 1827, at a cost of £2000; it is a substantial and handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, and contains nearly 1000 sittings, all of which are free. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords a complete course of instruction to about sixty children; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 3., with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 annually. .. Upon the farm of Clayshank, the foundations of a church may be distinctly traced; and at Kirkmadrine, the churchyard of which is still preserved as a burying place, are some gravestones with ancient inscriptions." - 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

Business & Commerce Records

There are a few business records at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Stoneykirk records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • BT2/913
    Dissolved Companies
    Kirkmaiden and Stoneykirk Steam Traction Company Limited, 1879-1932.


There are 3 cemeteries in Stoneykirk parish:

1. Stoneykirk Churchyard, in Stoneykirk village (grid reference NX 088532, GPS: 54.837300, -4.977500):


2. Stoneykirk Cemetery, on the A716 just north-west of Stoneykirk village (grid ref. NX 086533, GPS: 54.837786, -4.982734):

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


3. Kirkmadrine Churchyard, 1.5 miles south-west of Sandhead (grid ref. NX 080483, GPS: 54.793500, -4.987800):



Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 898

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
Stoneykirk 1042848 1042557 103922 104113 224063 220463
(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 Stoneykirk there was a Free Church (later Unitd 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:

Number of families belonging to the Established Church - 410; Seceding or Dissenting families - 74; Episcopalian families - 2; Roman Catholic families - 10.

The1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church and the Free Church. Church histories:

  • Stoneykirk Parish Church
The first church of Stoneykirk, known of old as Steeniekirk and from which the parish takes its name, is believed to have been built between the 12th and 14th centuries and was dedicated to St Stephen. In 1618 the ancient parishes of Clayshant and Toskerton were united to Stoneykirk and the old medieval parish church was rebuilt many years later in 1827. A further union followed in 1974 when the charge of Ardwell-Sandhead joined with Stoneykirk, with the united session continuing under the name of Stoneykirk, and a subsequent link was established in 1988 with Kirkmaiden. 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.
  • Stoneykirk Free Church, later United Free, Sandhead Church of Scotland:
Stoneykirk Free Church originated at the Disruption, when the minister and congregation adhered to the Free Church. A church building was erected in 1844 and a minister settled in 1846. It passed successively to the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland, and united with Ardwell-Sandhead as Stoneykirk in 1974. The Church of Scotland charge, now linked with Kirkmaiden, is in the presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer (formerly Stranraer) and was in the synod of Ayr until the abolition of synods in 1993.

Church website: Ardwell church


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: 898

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

Stoneykirk OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
898/1 1744-1819 1744-1819 1778-1797
898/2 1820-1848 1820-1839 -
898/3 1839-1854 1839-1854 1839-1854
(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.  Entries out of the order of time occur occasionally throughout the Record, and are very frequent after 1800. On p. 156 are entries dated 1808 - 1832.
M.  Entries for 1744 twice recorded. After Dec. 1796, the fact of Marriage is seldom stated, the entries usually bearing merely that the parties were 'Booked in order to Marriage'.
D.  (Deaths and Burials) Recorded on pages 157 - 165 inclusive of the Register of Baptisms. Blank (except for one entry for 1797) March 1793 - Nov. 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:

1068041 Items 4 - 6 Baptisms, 1744-1854; Marriages, 1744-1854; Burials, 1778-1792, 1839-1854; Neglected Birth Entry, 1830.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)


The Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society have published Irish Marriages in Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, 1759-1826, which includes information on Stranraer, Stoneykirk and Leswalt.

Further information on the main GENUKI Wigtownshire page.

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

Heritors' Records (HR569) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Stoneykirk church records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/1212
    Stoneykirk Kirk Session
    Proclamation register, 1899-1977; Minutes, 1727-1938; Poor's fund accounts, 1739-1839; Cash book, 1895-1942; Baptismal register, 1887-1898; Communion roll, 1859-1863 and 1887-1929.
  • CH1/2/67
    General Assembly Papers
    Stonykirk (Stevenkirk, in presbytery of Stranraer) settlement case. Including: Petition signed by elders and heads of families in parish, 1733, (f.62)

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR569
    Stoneykirk parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1905-1929; Accounts, 1900-1929.

Other Churches:

Records of the Free Church are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Stoneykirk records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/719
    Stoneykirk Free Church, later United Free, Sandhead Church of Scotland
    Deacons' court minutes, 1844-1935; Minutes, 1877-1936.


The Stoneykirk 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
Stoneykirk 898 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.


Description & Travel

Stoneykirk village Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 54°50'10"N
NX 086530 54.836079
DG9  Lon. 4°58'49"W  

Surrounding parishes: Portpatrick, Inch, Old Luce, Kirkmaiden.

You can see pictures of Stoneykirk 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.

You can see the administrative areas in which Stoneykirk has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


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 Stoneykirk.

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. Stoneykirk 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.
  • IRS87/55-57
    Valuation Office (Scotland): Field Book, 1910-1920: Stoneykirk Parish
    Entries 1-100, 101-200, 201-299.
  • 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 Archives of Scotland catalogue for "Stoneykirk" and reference starts "GD". Collections particularly worth searching are:

  • GD135
    Papers of the Dalrymple Family, Earls of Stair, [c1160]-20th century
  • GD25
    Papers of the Kennedy Family, Earls of Cassillis (Ailsa Muniments), c 1290-1940


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NX073499 (Lat/Lon: 54.806784, -4.999621), Stoneykirk which are provided by:


Military History

The Roll of Honour website records the names on the Sandhead (Stoneykirk) 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. Stoneykirk records:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • RH4/23/231 - RH4/23/237
    Ordnance Survey Original Object Name Books for Scotland: Wigtownshire
    Inch, Portpatrick and Stoneykirk (book 37); Inch, Stoneykirk and Old Luce (book 38); Portpatrick and Stoneykirk (books 53 and 54); Old Luce and Stoneykirk (book 55); Stoneykirk (books 56 and 57); Old Luce and Stoneykirk (book 58); Stoneykirk (book 70); Kirkmaiden and Stoneykirk (book 71); Sorbie, Stoneykirk and Whithorn (book 80); Kirkmaiden and Stoneykirk (book 81).

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 1193
1801 1848
1851 3321
1901 2420
1951 2285

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 Stoneykirk 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:

  • CO4/44
    Stoneykirk Parish Records
    Parochial Board Minute Book, 1884-1898; Parish Council Minute Book, 1910-1920; Parish Council Minute Book, 1920-1930;Parochial Board General Register of the Poor, 1846-1877; Parochial Board General Register of the Poor, 1876-1912; Parish Council General Register of the Poor, 1912-1930.


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

At the Ewart Library, Dumfries:

  • EW5/49
    Stoneykirk School
    Log books, 1869-1970. (Access restricted)
    This was erected in 1862 to provide non-denominal education. by 1863 it had a master and a mistress who taught only sewing and there were 36 boys and 26 girls on the roll. By 1951 it seems to have functioned as a primary school as the older pupils travelled to Academy Street Public School in Stranraer.
  • EW5/48
    Sandhead School
    Description Log books, 1863-1978. (Access restricted)
    By 1948 the school had a roll of 99. It was upgraded to junior secondary status in 1951.
  • EW5/20
    Ardwell School
    Log books, 1874-1962; Admissions and withdrawals registers, 1917-1962; Attendance registers and summaries, 1956-1962. (Access restricted)
    This school was established by Lady McTaggart of Ardwell in 1857 and given gratis to the new school board. The original buildings were erected in 1827. By 1876 the school was know as Ardwell Public School. The school was discontinued from the end of session 1961-2.
  • EW5/44
    Meoul School
    Log books, 1901-1968; Admissions and withdrawals register, 1952-1968; Attendance register, 1967-1968; Summary of attendance, 1967-1968. (Records closed until 2035)
    This appears to have been built between 1863 and 1873 by public subsciption.

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

School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Ardwell 160 106
Meoul 70 67
Sandhead 117 80
Stoneykirk 121 108


"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.