Records of the burgh of Newburgh, Fife

Scope and Content

Record of services, 1829-1958; Council minutes, 1762-1785, 1827-1974; Police commissioners minutes, 1880-1889; Burgh court books, 1459-1479, 1700-1826, with complaints and processes, 1707-1770; Licensing Court records, 1854-1904. Copies of charters etc., 1266-1789; Registers of Voters, 1833-1870; Polling Book, 1871-1895; Public Health (Scotland) Act 1857 execution papers, 1868-1897; Register of Oaths, 1873-1874; Register of Complaints (on behalf of Inland Revenue), 1874-1875; Chartulary, 1878-1890. Assessment rolls, 1899-1903, 1933-1940, 1960-1975; Abstracts of accounts, 1900-1970. Papers concerning: Newburgh church, 1695-1781; Riding of the marches, 1723-1852; Thirlage, 1763-1790; Burgh customs/lands, 1851-1870; Water supply, 1868-1892; Financial matters, 1843-1894; Legal affairs, 1837-1889. Title deeds and other legal documents, 1457-1542, 1600-1763; Burgess rolls, 1715-1854; Miscellaneous papers, 1801-1912; Correspondence of burgh officials, 1883-1894.

Administrative / Biographical History

Newburgh (Fife) was a royal burgh by 1631, although as it was never represented at Parliament or admitted to the Convention of Royal Burghs it was one of four inactive royal burghs in Fife. It had been a burgh dependent on the abbey of Lindores, from 1266, and in 1600 it was erected a burgh of regality for Patrick Leslie, son of the commendator of Lindores.

Royal burghs normally had elected councillors who looked after the burgh's interests, but only a small number of inhabitants had the right to vote in the council elections or to be a councillor. Burgh courts were held, which had some civil and criminal jurisdiction, although these competencies were eroded as time passed and the cases were increasingly petty local disputes. The franchise for parliamentary elections was radically changed in 1832, and the Royal Burghs (Scotland) Act 1833 (3 and 4 Will. IV, c.76) imitated the change for the election of councillors.

In 1858 Newburgh became a police burgh when it adopted certain sections of the General Police (Scotland) Act 1850 (13 and 14 Vict., c.33): the Act was adopted partly as the burgh wished to retain its own police force rather than amalgamate with the County force. In the late nineteenth century the linoleum industry replaced weaving as the main source of employment, although there was a certain amount of trade through the harbour. The population was 2,182 in 1871, and 2,062 in 1971. Newburgh Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65). Its powers were assumed by Fife Regional Council and North East Fife District Council. These in turn were replaced by Fife Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c.39).

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

Held under charge and superintendence of the Keeper of Records for Scotland.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project, based on description created by Alan Borthwick, Scottish Archive Network project, 27 February 2003 and modified on 5 August 2003.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in St Andrews University Library Department of Special Collections and in National Archives of Scotland search rooms.

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.

Geographical Names