Meetings to celebrate the close of the fiftieth year of the Rev Mr More’s ministry will be held at Cairneyhill, on Wednesday 3rd August 1864. Dr Johnston, Limekilns, will preach in the Church. Worship to begin at two o’clock.

Dinner will be served in the village schoolroom, at half-past three o’clock. Tickets, 3s 6d, to be had of Dr Morris, High Street and Messrs Duncanson, Bridge Street, Dunfermline, and Mr Thos Hodge, Cairneyhill.

A social meeting will be held in the Church in the evening commencing at six o’clock – Rev Mr McDowal, Alloa, in the chair – when Mr More will be presented with the testimonial subscribed for by the congregation and his numerous friends, and addresses delivered by the following gentlemen: Rev G Morris, Dalry, Rev J McLeish, Berwick, Rev P C Duncanson, West Calder, Rev J McGowan, Perth, Rev D Young, Glasgow and others. During the evening several pieces of sacred music will be sung by an efficient choir, accompanied by a harmonium.

Service of fruit on entering.

Tickets for the soiree, 1s; children under fourteen, 6d, may be had from J Miller & Son, W Clark, and D Campbell, Booksellers, and Messrs Duncanson, Dunfermline; T Hodge and J May, Cairneyhill; J M Finlayson, Crossford; John Todd, Torryburn; and Mrs Littlejohn, Low Torry.

As the accommodation for both dinner and soiree is limited, early application for tickets will be necessary.

Cairneyhill, July 29, 1864.

1867 Teacher Presentation in Cairneyhill




On Friday evening a soiree was held in the Cairneyhill village schoolroom, in honour of Mr Alexander, the teacher of the school, when upwards of 140 children were present, and a few of the leading inhabitants of the place.

The Rev Mr Borland, the newly-ordained minister of the village, occupied the chair. after tea, the children were addressed by the chairman and other gentlemen, and a number of songs and duets were sung in a very efficient manner by the Misses Young and Duncanson. In the course of the evening Mr J Gilmour, in name of the children attending the day and Sabbath schools, presented Mr Alexander with a handsome writing desk and a gift from the feuars [meaning landowners] and inhabitants of Cairneyhill, in the shape of a purse containing five sovereigns. Mr Alexander briefly acknowledged the presentation.

The whole proceedings were of a very interesting nature, and at the close the customary votes of thanks were awarded to the chairman and committee, after which the meeting separated.

Land Court Decision – 1924




Has the Sheriff any jurisdiction over a decision of the Land Court?

This was the point which was raised in an action in Dunfermline Sheriff Court today, when James MacDonald, James Wishart, and James Philip, land holders, Cairneyhill, for themselves and as representatives of the Bankhead Committee of land holders, sued George Johnston, land holder, Cairneyhill, for £1 5s; and Thomas Fotheringham, land holder for 11s, being the amounts they claimed of levies for the year ending 11th November last, alleged to be due by the defenders to the fund for the maintenance of the main road common to the land holders of Bankhead, Cairneyhill, and water pipes laid therein, at the rate of one shilling per £1 of their fair rent.

The Land Court, it was stated, on 29th January had pronounced an order finding inter alia [among other things] that the committee should be entitled to make an annual levy on the land holders of 1s per £1 on the fair rent for the purpose of providing a fund for the maintenance of the main road common to the land holders, and of the water-pipes laid therein, excluding the branch pipes leading from the pipe in the main road to the individual holdings.

Defender George Johnston, objected to the levy in respect he was cited to attend a meeting of the Land Court called to decide the question of the upkeep of the pipes.

Defender Thomas Fotheringham, objected to the levy in respect that he never used the pipes nor the roadway, his entrance being from the turnpike road.

Sheriff Umpherston continued the case in order to allow defenders’ agent to go into the point.

Cairneyhill occupations through the decades

Dear blog reader

Hopefully you might find this post interesting looking at occupations in Cairneyhill from the 1880s to the 1950s.






William Fotheringham, Cairneyhill, begs to intimate that he has opened that shop, at foot of Guildhall Street (lately occupied by Mr Sharp), as a fruit and vegetable store; and by offering goods only of the best quality, hopes to receive a share of public patronage. A fresh supply from the country every morning.






The death took place on Thursday evening with tragic suddenness of Mr Campbell Drysdale, retired coal agent, during the day he had as usual been in Dunfermline, and on returning to his home in Cairneyhill he was seized with a shock, and expired. Deceased was well known in Dunfermline and district.





Mr Alex Philip, Ewhurst, Main Street, Cairneyhill, retires this weekend after 44 years with the railway.

He started work at Dunfermline as a number-taker and later moved to Kelty as a shunter.

Mr Philip served in the Seaforth Highlanders during the first world war and was wounded at Ypres.

After the war he was promoted yard foreman at Townhill Junction.

He suffered a severe accident there.

When he returned to work he was regraded yard inspector, from which position he is now retiring.

Mr Philip takes a keen interest in the affairs of Cairneyhill, and is an ardent gardener. He has a fine baritone voice and is in demand for local concerts.

A Cairneyhill funeral for the Blair family

Dear blog reader

When the solicitors’ firm of Thomas Blair & son closed in Dunfermline in 2016, it was reported as one of the oldest Fife firms in existence, having started in 1840.

The firm was started by a Cairneyhill man, Thomas Blair born in 1822 in Cairneyhill to Andrew Blair and Isabella Wilson.

Below is an extremely detailed account of the 1885 funeral of Thomas Blair’s son Andrew.

I hope you find it interesting.








The remains of this much respected and talented gentleman were removed from his residence in William Street yesterday forenoon for interment in Cairneyhill Churchyard. At 9.45, the time appointed for leaving, an assembly of mourners to the extent of nearly 300 persons were present.

The coffin, on which were three handsome wreaths, one of which was given by the Forresters Society and the other two by friends, was carried alternately by six members of the Mansefield Court of Foresters, six of the mussel dredgers, and six of the St Michael’s, Leuchars and Tayport Lodge of Free Masons respectively. At 9.30 the bell of the parish Church tolled a funeral peal, and continued to do so whilst the mournful cortege was wending its way to the railway station. The passenger boat, the various works of the village, and others had flags hoisted half-mast. The route of the procession was lined for the greater part with people anxious by their presence to testify their respect to his memory, and many of whom showed outward signs of grief. The shops on the route were closed.

Amongst those present were Messrs David, James, and John Blair, brothers; Thomas Smith Thoms, Kilmacolm; Thomas Smith, Inverdovat; Thomas Smith, Mains of Fowlis; Peter Smith, Ardgarth – relatives of the decease. The Rev Alexander Jack, UP; the Rev W P Falconer, FC; Dr Constable, Leuchars; Dr Keelan, Tayport; Admiral Dougall; Messrs James Scott; James Laing; W W Wilson; P Christie, Scotscraig Mains; James Donaldson sen.; D Whyte, banker; Joseph Nicoll, teacher; D Nicoll, farmer; Captains Kilgour, W Cowan, Ceres etc.

On the arrival of the train at Dunfermline a hearse was waiting to convey the remains to the residence of the deceased’s father (Mr Thomas Blair, solicitor) at Priory Lane, where the Rev William George, Chalmers Street UP Church, Dunfermline, and Rev John Moir, Cairneyhill UP Church conducted a short service. On reaching the cemetery at Cairneyhill, the Rev J C Crawford, Limekilns UP Church, officiated. The pallbearers were Messrs Thomas Blair (father), David D Blair, James Blair, John Blair and Robert Blair (brothers), James Blair (uncle), William Maclellan (uncle), and David Gilmour (cousin).

Cycle incidents in 1930s Cairneyhill

Dear blog reader

Below are the details of 2 cycle incidents that happened in Cairneyhill in the 1930s, one motor cycle incident and one pedal cycle incident.

I hope you find them interesting.





The advice that it would be far cheaper to take out a license was given by Sheriff Umpherston at Dunfermline yesterday to Adam Ferguson Martin, miner, Main Street, Cairneyhill, who appeared for the second time within a week on a charge of using a motor cycle without being licensed.

Martin, who was fined 10s or five days’ imprisonment, said he was late for his work, and as he could not afford to lose a shift he chanced it.

Mr R J Waugh, the fiscal, said that accused was fined last Monday for a similar offence.



Two cyclists were involved last night in an accident in Cairneyhill village, a few miles west of Dunfermline. Both were taken to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital.

Two youths, Frank Agnew and Duncan Morrison, both residing in Cowan Street, Stirling, made to pass a bus as it drew up at a stopping place. It appears that the cyclists collided with each other and a motorist, in swerving to avoid them, ran into a wall. His car was badly damaged.

The youths suffered from head injuries and other bruises. Their condition is not [known].

Fair rents decided





The Scottish Land Court sat yesterday in the Court Chambers, 1 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh, when three applications to fix a first fair rent was heard. The Bench were Lord Kennedy and Messrs Alexander Dewar, E E Morrison, and Norman Reid.

The first applicant was Alexander Watt, Cairneyhill, Carnock, the respondent being Mrs Margaret Christie. The rent was given as £7.

Examined by Mr William Balfour, SSC, Watt said he entered the place ten years ago last month. He found they had been keeping hens in the house. He had effected numerous repairs on the property.

Cross-examined – He had made an offer of £250 for the house, but latterly had backed out of this offer. His application was for the purpose of getting the rent as low as possible.

John Robertson, Cairneyhill, said he was of opinion that the structures put up by the tenant were of less value than the dwelling house. A rent of £7 was a very reasonable rent. Another £1 could be got for it easily.

The second case was that of Mrs Janet Thomson or Rennie, also residing at Cairneyhill, Carnock, the respondent being the Rev P C Duncanson. The rent given was £8, the holding extending to an acre and three-quarters. It was stated that applicant’s husband had been the tenant for twenty-one years past.

In the last case, Thomas Fotheringham was applicant, the respondents being the Rev P C Duncanson, William Paterson, Wm Fotheringham, sen., and Wm Fotheringham, jun. The prices of land in question were rented at £12 2s, £2, £9 10s and £5 respectively.

The Court announced that they would make their first inspection on the 27th of this month if the weather permitted.


Dear blog reader

It sounds like there might be more to this, if I find any more I’ll be sure to share it with you!


Sir Robert Anstruther at Cairneyhill – a political hustings

Dear blog reader

Sir Robert Anstruther, 5th Baronet, was a Scottish Liberal Party politician who was the MP for Fife between 1864 and 1880 and the MP for St Andrews from 1885 until his death in 1886. He was also the Lord Lieutenant of Fife from 1864 to 1886.

Below is Sir Robert Anstruther’s portrait and an account of his hustings meeting in Cairneyhill in 1864.

I hope you find this interesting – and an insight on the interests of Cairneyhill voters in 1864.






Sir Robert Anstruther addressed the electors of Cairneyhill in the UP Church, on Wednesday afternoon – the Rev Mr More occupying the chair.

The chairman after referring to the earnest and faithful manner in which the late member discharged his public duties, said – should the candidate now before you succeed in obtaining the object in view, which I hope he will, and attain some measure of the esteem and love of the constituency Mr Wemyss possessed, we will have reason to be thankful, and there will be less ground for lamenting the death of our late representative. I now introduce to you Sir Robert Anstruther – (cheers) – and if you have any questions to put to him, I hope you will bring them forward at the close of his address.

Sir Robert Anstruther said – Mr Chairman and friends, I hope I may say with all honesty of heart and purpose, that I sympathise with you in the loss of your dear Member. One of the points in which I feel he was superior to you was, that he had the art of winning hearts. Gentlemen, it is very easy to win heads, to bring a man round to give you his support in a political matter, but I conceive that Mr Wemyss did much more than that, for he had the knack of making everybody love him; and you will support me when I say that both his political friends and enemies had a sincere affection for him. They admired him as a man who was a useful and hard-working member; and though I have heard his enemies say, that he did speak enough in the House of Commons, I may be permitted to say, that the man who works the hardest is often the man who holds his tongue. I desire nothing more, whether I shall succeed Mr Wemyss or not – I desire nothing more than to succeed him in this, to succeed him in getting his place in the hearts of the constituency, a place, sir, which I conceive to be the highest honour I should wish to possess.

Mr Fraser, Inverkeithing, who had just arrived here, intimated that Mr Thomson had at his meeting in Dunfermline, announced that as the news from the whole of the county was so discouraging, he had determined to retire without going to a poll. (Applause).

Mr MacFarlane – The only regret we have is that we have not to go the poll, for there is almost a certainty that the majority which Mr Wemyss had, would be doubled on this occassion. (Cheers).

Sir Robert resumed – Mr Chairman and friends, allow me to congratulate you upon being the first place to hear this good news. I wish, having heard this welcome announcement – if I may now presume to stand before you as the man who will, without further opposition, succeed to the representation of the county of Fife – that I could only state my feeling of the importance of the situation. The only promise I have made, and which I hope I shall be able to fulfill, is, that there shall be nothing wanting on my part in the faithful discharge of my duty; and I can only say that it shall not be for want of trying, for my whole effort shall be to be faithful to discharge it. Mr Chairman, it is hardly necessary for me to detain you very long upon general subjects. I have today stood a savage volley of questions in Dunfermline, questions not prompted by a spirit of honest enquiry, but put for the opposite purpose, and with the view of bamboozling the Liberal candidate. Now, I would be glad if I could say that my friend Mr Hunt did not originate his questions, for they certainly did not do him much credit, because a more futile, feeble set of questions I never heard, and yet, he really thought I was to be frightened by them. Having had this formidable array of questions fired upon me, I hope I may say, I have along with me the support of the Liberal constituency, and I conceive there are many men among us who have not votes, but who are well qualified to possess them – qualified, not only because of their intelligence, but for the reason that they are straightforward men, who have at heart, the glory of their Queen and the good of their country. The Conservatives say, they are not fit to have a voice in the government of the country. Sir, these men manage their affairs as well as other people, very often better than those who have more education, and who profess to have more sense. But the Conservatives say they will swamp the country; and then after telling you this, they bring in a Reform Bill, and take a pride in it, and say they are as good as the Liberals. They do this simply because they know they dare not otherwise come before the country. (Hear, hear). Speaking of the Church rates, he continued – This question has occupied learned heads for years, and how can you expect that a young man like me can settle it? At the same time my sympathies in the matter of Church rates are decidedly with the dissenting bodies. Now, Sir, I wish to say one word about the Confederates. I saw an article, the other day, in a paper for which I have no great respect, and the writer wondered how any gentleman could presume to come before the electors of Fife, and ask their suffrages, and all the while be a supporter of slavery. Sir, that statement is false, and it was made with the view of representing me to the electors to hold sentiments which I utterly detest. I conceive slavery is opposed to all the laws of God, and therefore opposed to all the laws of man; what I said was, that if men hold certain opinions, whether we approve of them or not, that is no reason who they should be coerced into accepting a form of government which they do not want. I do not wish to go into the American question. We sympathise most deeply with that unhappy country in all the horrors she is now suffering. But there can be no doubt that our Government has taken the right course in the question, and I conceive that the conduct of Britain will be handed down in history, as one of the most extraordinary and disinterested courses ever known. In a wordly-wise point of view, we might have said, here is a great and powerful nation, torn by strife, and we might have taken the side of the one, and extinguished the other. Yet, we have maintained a neutrality which reflects the highest credit upon the Government which conducted it. (Applause). So far as I know, there has never been recorded in history an instance in which a nation has acted so entirely from disinterested motives as in the present case. I need hardly detain you longer; if there is any gentleman who wishes to ask me any questions, I trust he will not be deterred by the remarks I have made about those put to me in Dunfermline.

There were no questions put; but Mr Smeaton remarked, ‘You will not be able to break your promises, for you have never made any.’ (Laughter).

The chairman then moved that the meeting consider Sir Robert Anstruther a fit and proper person to represent them in Parliament, which was carried unanimously.

A vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Sir Robert Anstruther, concluded the business of the meeting.

Cairneyhill Valuation Roll 1855

Dear blog reader

Welcome to the first part in a new series, a list of the people, with occupation where known, who were connected with Cairneyhill in 1855.

Hopefully those of you with ancestors from Cairneyhill will find this list useful.


David Addie, weaver
Henry Arnot
Mrs John Bald
Andrew Blair
Lockhart Blallock (possibly Blalloch?)
George Bowie
Mrs Calderhead
John Calderhead
Robert Coye
Francis Crombie
Janet Cuddie or Manclark
John Cunningham
David Cunningham, weaver
Peter Deas, weaver
Henry Deas
Widow Downie
John Duncanson, blacksmith
Andrew Duncanson
Mrs Thomas Duncanson
Thomas Duncanson
Miss Duncanson
Francis Duncanson
Archibald Duncanson
William Duncanson
Robert Erskine
William Erskine
William Finlayson
Henry Fotheringham
John Gilmour
David Hempseed
John Henderson
John Herron
Peter Hodge
Thomas Hodge
William Hodge
Alexander Hodge
Robert Howieson
Robert Kirk
James Lawson
Peter Mitchell
George Mitchell
Alexander Morris
George Paterson
William Paterson
Robert Paterson
William Philp
Robert Philp
David Philp
Thomas Reid
Mary Rennie
Charles Robertson
James Smittan
David Steen
Mrs Charles Thomson
Mrs Mason Thomson
Andrew Tod
James Todd
Campbell Walker
Alexander Walls
John Wightman
Margaret Wightman
Widow Wilson
Thomas Wilson
William Wilson
George Young
William Young

Cairneyhill’s Faith History

Dear blog reader

One of the ‘tag lines’ of my studies of the people and history of Cairneyhill is that Cairneyhill is very significant theologically in Scotland.

The attached article gives a great deal of detail on Cairneyhill Church from it’s foundation in 1752 until 1861 but first some general history.

For a long time the people in the Cairneyhill were dissenters and Covenanters. In early 18th century many local dissenters from Torryburn, Cairneyhill, Carnock and Dunfermline joined forces to form a ‘praying society’ which worshiped in a barn at Drumfin Farm, which still exists to the north-west of Cairneyhill.

On 1 November 1737 the praying society, which by now was quite large, agreed to join the Associate Presbytery, also called the Secession Church, which was a group of ministers who had left the Church of Scotland in 1733. The members of the praying society still wanted some Independence but were put under the care of Reverend Ralph Erskine who had previously left the Church of Scotland. (I was so excited personally a few months ago when researching my own family history to find that a branch with many Church ministers had married into the Erskine family as the Erskine family are so well-known in the Dunfermline area).

In 1747 the Associate Presbytery/Secession Church had a breach because of a disagreement over a burgher’s/burgess’ oath which required holders of public offices to affirm approval of the country’s Established Church, that is the Church of Scotland.

A proportion of the Associate Presbytery/Secession Church disagreed with the burgher’s/burgess’ oath and that portion became the Anti Burghers.

The significant result of that breach was that the Church in Cairneyhill, built in 1752, was the first Anti Burgher Church built in Scotland.

Subsequent to 1752, there were many subsequent mergers which dictated which group of Churches Cairneyhill Church belonged to: in 1820 the Burgher and Anti Burgher Churches reunited to form the United Secession Church, in 1847 the United Secession Church merged with the Relief Church to form the United Presbyterian Church, in 1900 the United Presbyterian Church merged with most of the Free Church to form the United Free Church and in 1929, when most of the United Free Church reunited with the Church of Scotland, Cairneyhill Church rejoined the Church of Scotland.

So, dear blog reader, the above is the general history of the dissenting Churches that Cairneyhill Church belonged to from 1752 until 1929 and below are more specific details of Cairneyhill Church’s history from 1752 until 1861:



A soiree was held in Cairneyhill Church on Monday night, to celebrate the entire liquidation of the debt on the Church and other property belonging to the congregation – the Rev John More in the chair. After prayer by the Rev Dr Johnston, and the audience singing the 2nd Paraphrase.

The Chairman said he was happy to see so many friends present to sympathise with the happy congregation on this joyous occasion. Most of them were aware that debt was a very common thing, and it was also an evil thing to have, and a difficult thing to get rid of. Mr More then proceeded to detail the various improvements that had been made on the Church and other property, from its foundation 107 years ago to the present time.

Mr Bruce said that the object of the meeting was to celebrate the extinction of their congregation debt, and of course it was to celebrate a deliverance from a most annoying yoke of bondage – it had been found so all along. The committee had requested him to give a short account of how and when the debt was contracted, and how and when it was reduced, and ultimately swept away altogether. When the Church was built, 107 years ago, it was a very rude building, though perhaps not more so than other country Churches of that time; still there was some debt rested upon it when it was finished, somewhere about £40, and this was very little to have built a Church. That debt was allowed to remain, and the congregation seemed to have given themselves very little trouble about it. At that time debt seemed to be a bond of union among the members of a Christian society. It proved a mistake to them, however, for they had only existed 34 years with this bond of union, when the half of them left and went to Dunfermline, and erected a place of worship for themselves in Chalmers Street – now being rebuilt. After this the debt would seem neither to have been augmented not diminished, for nearly forty years.

About the year 1790, and onward to 1794, or some part of 1795, the debt was considerably augmented. At that time they took the roof off the Church, and put a new one on. In the year 1794 they agreed to build a manse, and before that they had purchased the house and garden to the rest of the manse, which was now used as a barn. All these things put together, they found, when they were finished, that £100 had been added to the debt, and no great sum either for building a manse, and the rest of the repairs. In the year 1795, the debt was £140.

Well, he supposed, the debt remained much the same till about the year 1814, when their present pastor was ordained. Then repairs had been made on the manse, and these repairs still further augmented the debt. The galleries were put up about the year 1829, and with the other repairs that had been made before the galleries were put up, added about £110 to the debt. At that time the debt was about £250, and other repairs that were effected in the course of time added over £40. Then the debt came to be at its highest point, for £290 or £291 was the highest point to which it reached.

Well, the scale began to turn, and the first reduction of the debt was by a respectable old member of the congregation, who lent them £10 for some object, and previous to his death he made them a present of the money, thus reducing the debt to £281. By-and-bye, there was a small sum of £6 paid, and this further reduced it to £275. In the year 1849 a motion was made in the congregation to try to throw off a portion of this debt. It would still be in the recollection of many that it was tried by taking out a number of shares, and they had a considerable time to pay them. The plan succeeded admirably, and in the year 1850 they had subscribed and collected £110, which reduced the debt to £165. The debt was now coming down as fast or still faster than it was contracted, but there still hung on them that £165 until the beginning of 1860. Some parties in the congregation took it into their heads to try the Debt Liquidating Board, as a considerable sum of money had been thrown into that board by the Ferguson bequest for this purpose, among others, and as they had been in the habit of contributing to this board, a correspondence was entered into by one of their elders and some of the members of the board, the result of which was that two of these gentlemen waited on the congregation in the month of February 1860, and entered into full conversation with those who chose to attend.

The result was, that after hearing parties, and looking at the matter, they agreed to give £50, provided the congregation would raise the rest. All the answer the managers and elders could give was, that they would try. The congregation entered into the thing with spirit, and before long the whole of the required sum was subscribed. (Applause.) They had more than a year to pay it; it was requested to be paid in April last. Well, it was all paid. Some of their friends, both near at hand and far away, had aided them in this matter, for they desired to feel truly thankful. In due time, the whole amount was in the treasurer’s hands, and a circular was sent to Edinburgh, to be filled up, and as soon as this was filled up, the £50 was forthcoming. This put it into the treasurer’s power to pay the whole debt and something over. (Applause.) He concluded by urging upon all, even the poorest, to work for the good of the congregation.

The meeting was afterwards addressed on different subjects by Dr Johnston, Limekilns; Rev P C Duncanson, West Calder; and Rev M McOwan, Perth.

The musical department was conducted by an efficient choir, under the leadership of Mr Tweedie, Dunfermline. All the anthems were well sung, but perhaps the best was ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ composed by the late John Campbell. Mr J L Miller also played several pieces on the harmonium.

The proceedings were concluded about ten o’clock with the usual votes of thanks.