Fern (or Fearn) (Angus)

Records, sources & information about the Parish of Fern

Parish number 287

map of Fern

More maps of Fern

Births & baptisms
Books & articles
Census records
Church Session
Clock & watch tax
Deaths & burials
Farm horse tax
Heritors' records
Ministers of the parish
Monumental inscriptions
Old parish registers (OPRs)
Parish Church
Photographs of places
Population statistics
Statistical Accounts
Testaments & wills
War memorial


Please also visit the page of general information applicable to all of Angus & Kincardineshire.

Note: There is also a parish of Fearn in Ross-shire.


NLSNational Library of Scotland
NRSNational Records of Scotland, formerly called the National Archives of Scotland [NAS] and, before that, the Scottish Record Office [SRO]
HM General Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YY (Tel: +44-131-535-1314)
OPROld Parish Registers of Births/baptisms, Banns/marriages & Deaths/burials (pre-1855)


Books & articles


Statistical accounts of Fern


Maps of Fern

For the full range of maps of Fern, see National Library's Maps.


Photographs of places

See Geograph.org: Fern - recent photographs of Fern. National Grid ref. NO4861.


Fern parish church

Located at National Grid ref. NO484617. Built in 1883.

Photograph of Fern Kirk   Another photo of Fern Kirk

There is an article, with photographs, on Fern Parish Church in A Corpus of Scottish Mediaeval Parish Churches.


Parish ministers 1560-1937

adm.: admitted, ass.: assistant, bapt.: baptised, contr.: contract, dem.: demitted, dep.: deposed, ind.: inducted, lic.: licensed, mar.: married, min.: minister, ord.: ordained, pres.: presented, rel.: related, res.: resigned, suc.: successor, test.: testament, tr.: translated

Walter Fairwodder (Fariweather)1563reader
James Melville1563-1567M.A.; min. 1563; also had Menmuir and Kinnell in his charge 1567; tr. to Tannadice 1567
Andrew Leitch1580-1584?pres. to vicarage of Kilmoir, within cathedral kirk of Brechin, 15 May 1577; min. here 1580 with Dunlappie also in charge; master of Brechin Grammar School 13 Jan 1580-1; tr. to Maryton bef. 1585
Patrick Mure1584parson 30 May 1584
Alexander Norie1586-1602son of Robert N.; min. of Dunlappie 1585 with Fern also in charge; removed here 1586; d. Nov 1602; mar.; issue: Alexr; Robert, min. of Stracathro; Barbara, Kath., Isobel, Agnes
Robert Norie1607-1610M.A.; min. 1607; tr. to Stracathro bef. 12 Sep 1610
George Symmer1614-16532nd son of Robt S.; nephew of George Symmer of Balzeordie; M.A. Kings Aberdeen 1604; killed Mar 1653 Dundee; mar. Jean Arbuthnott; issue: Alexr, Helen, another dau.
James Cramond1653-1690yst bro. of Hercules Cramond of Balhall; M.A. Kings Aberdeen 1644; preacher in England 1648, for which he was suspended; reponed 30 Jan 1651; ord. 14 Sep 1653; d. 1690, aged ca. 66; mar. Geils Ramsay; issue: Capt. Wm; James; Eliz. (mar. Col. William Clephane)
Alexander Wilson1690M.A.; formerly of Elie FIF; intruded here; outed; went to Kinnaird
George Wemyss1698-1737M.A. St Andrews 1690; ord. 29 Dec 1698; d. 8 Jun 1737, aged ca. 67; mar. 1699 Marjory, dau. of John Spalding, min. of 2nd charge Dundee; issue: Robt; James, min. here
James Watson1715-1716episc. min.; intruded here Sep 1715 to Feb 1716
James Wemyss1735-1744son of above Geo. W; ord. (ass. & suc.) 2 Apr 1735; tr. to Errol PER 30 Oct 1744
George Tytler1745-1785b. 1706, son of John T., Corsindae ABD; ord. to Premnay ABD 10 Oct 1733; tr. & adm. 24 Apr 1745; d. 29 Jul 1785; mar. 1734 Janet Robertson; issue: Barbara; Geo., divinity student; James, "Balloon Tytler" (1745-1805), author & editor; Henry Wm, M.D., Brechin, author & translator
John Gillanders1786-1802b. 1757 ABD; M.A. Kings Aberdeen 1778; schoolmaster Tannadice; ord. 7 Jun 1786; d. 9 Nov 1802 unmar.
David Harris1803-1867b. 1774, son of Geo. H., farmer; ord. 8 Sep 1803; d., father of the Church, 28 Oct 1867 Blairgowrie PER; mar. 1812 Grace, dau. of William Dow, min. of Blairgowrie; issue: Mary Duncan; Amelia; Geo., min. here; Grace; Eliz. Greenhill; Jane; Wm
George Harris1854-1860b. 18 Jan 1818, son of above; ass. Gamrie BAN; ord. (ass. & suc.) 12 Oct 1854; d. 20 Jul 1860 unmar.
Andrew Wilson1861-1867b. 12 Nov 1819 Macduff BAN, son of Andrew W., seaman; M.A. Kings Aberdeen 1837; teacher Alehouse-hillock school, Cairnie ABD 1839-41; achoolmaster Alvah BAN 1841; headmaster John Watson's School, Edinburgh 1850-5; ord. to Lochgelly Chapel FIF 4 Jul 1856; tr. & adm. (ass. & suc.) 25 Apr 1861; res. 28 Oct 1867; thereafter journalist "Cornelius Crabtree"; d. 8 Feb 1891 Edinburgh
William Waddell1868-1874b. Apr 1844 Langton BEW, son of Alexr W., builder; M.A. Edinburgh 1863; ass. Forfar; ord. 23 Apr 1868; dep. 30 May 1874; d. 18 Sep 1896 Australia; mar. (1) 1869 Jane Reid, dau. of John Alexr Castlemaine Tannoch, D.D., min. of Glamis; issue: Lieut. John Tannoch, 48th Foot; mar. (2) 1884 Mary Davidson, who survived him
John Fergusson1875-1907b. 29 Jul 1834 Glenshee, son of Donald F., farmer; ass. St John's Dundee; ord. to Glenprosen 4 Oct 1860; tr. to New Pitsligo ABD 19 Mar 1869; tr. & adm. 7 Jan 1875; LL.D. St Andrews 1896; d. 6 Aug 1907 Edinburgh; unmar.; botanist, cryptogamist
Robert Constable Mitchell1907-1937b. 19 Jan 1872 Kilry, Glenisla, son of John M., farmer; ass. St Paul's Perth and Wormit FIF; ord. to Wormit Chapel FIF 15 Sep 1898; tr. & adm. 19 Dec 1907; dem. 16 Feb 1937; d. 26 Jun 1945 Dundee; mar. 1914 Eliz. Allan, dau. of Hugh Allan Gault, C.E., Christchurch N.Z.; had issue
George Arthur Sefton*1937-?B.D.; b. 3 Mar 1900 Aberdeen, son of Alfred S., Post Office clerk; from Pitsligo Parish Church, Rosehearty; ind. Oct 1937; d. 1988 Brechin; mar. 1928 Mary C. Reay
Henry Reay Sefton*1962-?b. 1931 Pitsligo, son of the above; educ. Brechin High School; M.A.(St Andrews 1954), B.D., S.T.M., Ph.D.; ord. 15 Sep 1957; succ. 1962; Master of Christ's College, Aberdeen 1982; d. 7 Dec 2019 Banchory

* He was also minister of Careston.


Monumental inscriptions

Monuments in Fern Kirkyard bearing pre-1855 information (ca. 50 stones) are listed in Alison Mitchell (ed.), "Pre-1855 Monumental Inscriptions in Angus, Vol. 1: Strathmore" (Edinburgh: Scottish Genealogy Soc., 1993), which can be bought from the Scottish Genealogy Society. (It's listed as "Angus MI - Vol. 1. Pre-1855 Strathmore" in their online shop.)

Andrew Jervise recorded some monuments at Fern in his "Epitaphs & Inscriptions", vol. 1, pp. 268-70.


Fern war memorial

Fern Roll of Honour, WW1


Births, Marriages & Deaths, 1855 to present

Indexes and actual records for Statutory Registers of Births, Marriages & Deaths, beginning 1 Jan 1855, are available online, following registration and the purchase of credits, at the official web-site, ScotlandsPeople.

Births, Marriages & Deaths, before 1855

Indexes and actual records for all extant Old Parish Registers (OPRs) (pre-1855) of the Established Church of Scotland are available online, following registration and the purchase of credits, at the official web-site, ScotlandsPeople.


Church Session Records of Fern Parish Church
Later, Fern & Careston.

Nature of recordDatesNRS ref. CH2/149/...
Minutes1739; 1803-18101
Poors assessment1845-18744
Loose minutes1788-18015
Cash book1803-18457
Register of accounts1762-17739
Note of subscription by heritors for the poor18019
Communion roll1862-188213
Inventory of property1946-196516
Misc. papers20th c.17
Communion roll1938-198118


Fern Heritors' records

Nature of recordDatesNRS ref. HR30/...
Minute book1913-19271
Draft minute book1922-19262
Cash Account19284
Papers re transference of property to Church of Scotland General Trustees1925-19285


Farmers / Tenants

Alexander Mitchell-1861-1891-
doWilliam Nicoll-1902-1906-
doWilliam Robertson-1926-1937
doTo LetMar 1937
doWilliam Christie-1938-1942-
AuchnacreeGeorge R. Grant of Auchnacree-1906-1924-
BalmadityJames Carnegie-1841-1851-
doJohn Carnegie-1862-
doJohn Martin-1871-1884-
doColin Marshall [d. 1902]-1891-1902
doJames Eaton-1906-1914-
doFletcher's Trustees-1918-1924-
doJohn Caird-1926-1936
doWilliam Mather-1938-1942-
BalquhadlyJohn Anderson-1841-
doHelen Anderson-1851-
doAndrew Balnaves-1861-1871-
doMrs Jane & John Balnaves-1891-
doJohn Balnaves-1906-1940
doTo LetJun 1940
doAlexander Anderson, jun.-1951-1952-
BalquharnAndrew Anderson-1841-
doJohn Anderson-1851-1862-
doAlexander Anderson-1878-1885-
doJames Guild-1888-1891-
doThomas McIntosh-1895-1902-
doGeorge Ramsay-1906-1924-
doJ.G. Graham-1926-1942-
BoggieWilliam B. Buchan [d. 1925]-1906-1925
doJ.T. Lamont-1926-1942-
DeucharThomas Thomson of Deuchar-1891-
doMrs Thomson-1906-
doR. Bruce Robertson [d. 1948]-1926-1929-
doFrederick Johnstone Haughs [d. 1952]-1933-1952
FarmertonGeorge Brown-1871-1891-
Farmerton & CroweMrs & Alexander Brown-1902-1906-
FarmertonAlexander Brown-1910-1929-
doA. & George A. Brown-1933-
doFor SaleAug 1938
doGeorge A. Brown-1938-1942-
do-- Brown-1955-
Hilton of FernAlexander Doig-1861
doWilliam Nicoll [d. 1911]-1881-1911
doJames Greig-1918-1924-
doJ.D. Dawson-1926-1933-
doJ.A.M. Wilson-1938-1942-
NoranparkJohn Drummond-1904-1914-
doMrs Isabel Drummond-1917-
ShandfordJohn Dalgety-1841-1851-
doMargaret Dalgety-1861-
doMrs F.M. Fletcher-1906-
doMrs McGrath-1910-1924-
doWilliam, John & Wm, jun. Crow-1937-1942-
Trusto & ShielhillJames Robertson-1902-1906-
TrustoJames Robertson-1910-1929-
doWilliam Robertson-1937
doTo LetMar 1937
The VayneJames S. Buick-1851-1861-
doJohn Pattullo-1878
doThomas Bowman-1881-
doDavid Bowman-1891-1906
doJames Thomson [d. 1926]-1910-1926
doRobert Thomson-1929-1933-
doW.J. Robertson-1938-1942-
WaterstonJohn Keir-1841-1861-
doGeorge P. Keir-1871-1881-
doGeorge Paterson [d. 1922]-1902-1922
doRepresentatives of George Paterson-1926-1933-
doW. Paterson-1934-1942-
WellfordWilliam Gair-1841-
doJames Tosh-1860-1881-
doMrs Sophia Tosh-1891-
doJohn S. Tosh-1902-
doJohn & Mrs Tosh-1906-
doWilliam Abercromby-1907-1926-
doJames Young-1929-1942-
WindsorAlexander Airth-1851-1861-
doMary Stewart-1871-


Census records

Records of the official censuses of the parish in 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 and 1921 are held in Register House, Edinburgh and are open to the public on payment of a fee.

Indexes to all the original census records, and the records themselves, can be accessed online at modest charge at ScotlandsPeople.

Microfilm copies are also widely available in libraries. The 1881 census is available on CD-ROM.

The early censuses of 1801-31 do not name individuals.


Population statistics

1755500Dr Alexander Webster
1790about 490Old Statistical Account


Testaments & wills

Fern was in the Commissariot of Brechin.

Indexes to all extant pre-1926 testamentary records (wills & inventories of moveable property) can be searched free of charge at ScotlandsPeople. Digital (and paper) copies of the documents can be purchased at that site. See further the introduction to Angus & Kincardineshire at Testaments.

Testaments of Fern people from the Register of Testaments of the Commissariot of Brechin, 1576-1800
'T' before the date indicates that the copy in the register is lost, but the original testament is extant.

John Andersonin Dubbitoun, par. of Feirne11 Mar 1595-6
Richard Andersonin Dubitoune of Ferne10 Sep 1578
Thomas Brucein Ledincarre, par. of Ferne31 Oct 1601
Catherine Fentonspouse to John Lychttoune, in Ferne16 Dec 1577
Marararet Symespouse to Alexander Hill, in Achloche, par. of FearneT. -- Oct 1666
David Webstersometime Beddell at the Kirk of Ferne6 Feb 1610

Testaments of Fern people from the Register of Testaments of the Commissariot of Dunkeld, 1682-1823

John Blacktenant in Vain8 Jan 1814
John Milne (or Mill) of Noranside26 Jan & 18 Feb 1822

Testaments of Fern people from the Register of Testaments of the Commissariot of Edinburgh, 1514-1600

John Birnie (Birney)in the New-Mylne of Feirne [in Angus?]17 Jan 1576-7
Andro Bishop (Bischop)in Sanctfurde, par. of Ferne, sher. of Forfar29 Jul 1590
William Marschall of Auchnacriepar. of Feme, sher. of Forfar25 Oct 1586
Katherine Webstersometime spouse to Robert Leiche, in Bruston, par. of Ferne in Angus31 Mar 1586

Testaments of Fern people from the Register of Testaments of the Commissariot of Edinburgh, 1601-1700

William Deuchar of that ilkpar. of Farne, in Angus2 Feb 1602
Marjory Finlaysonsometime spouse to John Wilkie, in Cristo, par. of Ferne, in Angus28 Jul 1607
James Howin Fermertoun, par. of Ferne, in Angus18 Mar 1605
Mr Alexander Norieparson of Ferne, in Angus31 May 1603
Jonet Stratounrelict of William Dewarche [Deuchar] of that ilk, par. of Fairne, sher. of Forfar2 Feb 1602

Testaments of Fern people from the Register of Testaments of the Commissariot of Edinburgh, 1801-1823

Hannah ---of Alsops Buildings, New Road, Middlesex, relict of John Mill of Fearn12 Feb 1823


Clock & watch tax, 1797-8

Images of the original records for Fern:

NRS ref. E326/12/2/45


Farm horse tax, 1797-8

Images of the original records for Fern:


This page updated 14 Sep 2022