Records of the burgh of Falkland, Fife

Scope and Content

Register of deeds, 1783-1798; Council minutes, 1758-1904, 1910-1975; Police commissioners minutes, 1893-1901; Treasurer's accounts, 1783-1845; Abstracts of accounts, 1928-1970 and undated; Register of mortgages, 1900-1951; Water supply accounts and minutes, 1870-1894; Burgh charters, 1458, 1595; Valuation rolls, 1947-1949, 1958-1975; Miscellaneous title deeds to local lands, 1696-1901. Freuchie Equitable Co-operative Society Ltd minutes, 1876-1912.

Administrative / Biographical History

Falkland, a small town in central Fife, was created a royal burgh by King James II (1437-1460) in 1458, but the burgh was never represented at Parliament or in the Convention of Royal Burghs, and is regarded as one of four small, non-functioning royal burghs in Fife. Falkland was a place to which some of the early Stewart kings of Scotland had occasional resort, mostly for hunting purposes, and a significant palace was constructed here from the late 15th century. King James V died there in 1542, and James VI (1567-1625) was a frequent visitor.

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. Unusually, Falkland did not seek to adopt the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 and 26 Vict., c.101), which would have caused the election of police commissioners to administer some of the town's affairs; its town council was its local authority. Textiles brought significant employment in the town. In 1881 its population was 1,068, and 896 in 1971.

Falkland 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).

Conditions Governing Access

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 Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted.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, 17 July 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