University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections

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Burgh records

Images of the Burgh records collection

The formal records of the administration of the burghs of north-east Fife until the local government reorganisation of 1975 are held in Special Collections by permission of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. The extent and nature of the records vary from burgh to burgh, but typically include council minutes, accounts, burgh court books, and frequently also stent rolls, valuation rolls, Police Commissioners records and licencing courts. For some burghs there are also considerable series of additional documents, and for a few there are records of the Trades Guilds. They run from the 12th century into the 20th century. These archives are an invaluable resource for local and genealogical research, filled with names and events in the life of each town.

Catalogue records will be available via the online catalogue soon, and there is an ongoing project to catalogue the records of the Burgh of St Andrews, further details on which can be seen at St Andrews Burgh Records on the Projects page.

An inventory of the burgh charters of Crail held in Special Collections is available here: Crail burgh charters (PDF, 29,536 KB)

In addition, Special Collections holds several other series on deposit from Fife Council, including the records of the St Andrews Dean of Guild Court, comprising several thousand architectural plans, with registers, from the 19th-20th century (msdep103), and several late medieval charters and other documents (msdep106).

Further relevant volumes (i.e. Trades Books) are held at various locations within the manuscript collections; see also Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections.

The Church Record series are also likely to be of interest to anyone doing burgh research as they often reflect common themes and events.

Manuscript or muniment?

Not quite sure what the difference is? Learn about how to distinguish between our different archival collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its manuscript and muniment collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting projects the Archive team is currently working on, and those that have been completed recently.