Cupar’s history to be catalogued

One of the documents in the records.
One of the documents in the records.

A record of six centuries of Cupar’s history is to be catalogued for the first time.

The University of St Andrews’ Special Collections Team has been awarded a grant to catalogue and make accessible the records of the administration of the town between 1364-1975.

Town records for the Burgh of Cupar between the two dates are currently held by the Special Collections Division at the university, under the superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

The archive includes minutes of town council meetings, lists of burgesses, records of cases coming before the burgh court, registers of property leases, and financial and secretarial records of town officials, including of the Common Good Fund.

The records also include information on public utilities, such as sewage and water works, street lighting, licensing for public houses, and guild records for trade guilds, such as the weavers and shoemakers, as well as Dean of Guild court records giving planning permission for new buildings and alterations.

Cupar was one of the six medieval royal burghs in Fife and was the county town until 1975.

It also the home of the Sheriff Court of Fife between 1213 and 2014.

John MacColl, university librarian and director of library services at the University, said: “The project will allow us to fulfil a long-held wish to make available for research the records of this important market town just a few miles from St Andrews.

“We await with anticipation what evidence of turbulence, hardship and prosperity might be revealed by the records of this bustling little town, set in the rich farmland of north east Fife.”

David Kirk, chair of the Cupar Development Trust, which is working with Cupar Heritage and other local organisations to deliver the town’s interpretive plan, added: “This is excellent for Cupar.

“The interpretive plan is the springboard for several projects using Cupar’s heritage to revitalise the town centre, and the 600 years of the royal burgh’s records becoming accessible, as a catalogued archive, will be a most valuable tool for both research and presentation.”