Papers of St Andrews Sea Box Society

Scope and Content

The records include many miscellaneous papers as well as title deeds, minutes and accounts and rentals.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Seafaring Society in the parishes of St Andrews and St Leonards was founded in 1643 as a Friendly Society. It seems to have lacked any formal constitution until after 1734. There were initially four classes of members: masters, mates, mariners and apprentice masters. Dues were paid as a proportion of earnings. The Society seems to have been administered by two Managers chosen from among the Shipmasters and three assistants. Later a Factor was appointed to act as clerk and treasurer. There was also an officer whose duty it was to call and attend all meetings. There was at least one meeting each year.

In addition to entry fees and annual payments, the society derived income from land and bonds on property and later interest from investment of funds. The benefits paid out to members and their dependants included provision for those prevented from working by illness or disability, superannuation for those over 55 and for widow and children as well as meeting funeral expenses. Alternative names for the society included the Sea Poor Box of St Andrews (1734), the Sea Box Society of St Andrews (1863), the Poor Sea Box Society of St Andrews (1880). The Society ceased to be registered as a Friendly Society of Scotland in 1920 and the last meeting was held on 11 January 1921.

Source: Articles in Three Decades of Historical Notes, (St Andrews, 1991): C. Forrest, 'The Sea Box Papers', p. 155; and M I Smith, 'The Seafaring Society in the Parishes of St Andrews and St Leonards, 1643-1920', pp. 155-160.


Box1:Box1:Minutes and accounts, 1775-1869; minute book 1870-1974; laws and regulations 1800, 1816, 1821, 1857.

Box 2:Box 2:Account book, 1802-1868, 1869-1918, 1919-1966; rental book 1871-1920.

Box 3:Box 3:Miscellaneous papers: builders' accounts1707-1861, legal papers including titles, 1625-1847.

Box 4:Box 4:Miscellaneous papers: payments to the sea box, receipts, parish kirk, constitution, repair of pier, 1643-20th century; titles of 2 Priory Acres 1663-1732 and of property on south side of North Street, 1533-1719.

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the St Andrews Preservation Trust in 1985 to whom the papers had been given by Captain T.L. Langlands.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project.

Other Finding Aids

Brief hand list is available in the Reading Room.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. There are conditions in the terms of deposit which affect reproduction.

Geographical Names