Sasines are the records of land ownership. They record land sales, loans secured over the land, repayments of loans, annuities created, restrictions on the land use, etc.
They are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh, and printed Abridgements (for Fife, from 1781 - 1947) were available in the library in Cupar. The Abridgements have the bare facts about a land transaction. There are much, much fuller details in the actual sasine itself. From the point of view of local history of the area, I copied the Abridgements from 1782 to around 1880 (for Newport) and to around 1900 (for Wormit). I didn't copy the abridgements completely, but took abbreviated notes from them. They are presented here 'as is', any errors are mine. I have tried to link these to actual locations wherever possible. No doubt some entries are missing, but I believe I have almost all of them. Entries concerning the large estates (Tayfield, St Fort, Scotscraig, etc) were not copied in any detail and, indeed, many have been omitted. Altogether I copied over 2700 abridgements. In time, they will all appear here:
As far as this database is concerned, I have reached 1855 and the entries can be searched here. All the references are linked, but until they are all entered on the database, they will show as blanks. At present only 330 of 2700 are available, and not all maps have been created. It will take a little time!
As an example, there is an abridgement in 1826, no. 2901, registered on 1 Feb 1826, which is in the database as follows:
|1826.02901||David Gibb, presently residing at Maryton seised 42 falls 17 ells & 40 falls 4 ells grnd, pt of lands of Seacraig in village called Maryton on feu ch by Robert Dalgleish of Scotscraig, 16 Jan 1826. PR.147.14||Scotscraig to David Gibb||1 Feb 1826||151, 97, 250||sasine extract|
For each entry, I gave the abridgement a reference - 1826.02901 (first 4 figures for the year of registering, decimal part for the number of the abridgement); then come the abbreviated notes of the printed abridgement; then I summarised the transaction even further 'Scotscraig to David Gibb'; I gave the full date of registering in Edinburgh '1 Feb 1826'; then plot ID numbers (if the location can be ascertained); and if there is an extract from the full sasine, it is noted here.
This transaction refers to 2 plots of land. For each one, I have given it a plot ID number (of no significance whatsoever) and where possible have located the plot on a map. Clicking the link to 'view the plot details' will take you to a page showing the location of the plot and any other transactions connected with the plot. Present-day addresses have also been linked here. In a small number of cases, I took notes from the full sasine record. They will also be noted here.
|97||Maryton||lot 3||42 falls 17 ells||in N most street of Maryton||view plot details|
|151||Maryton||lot 17||40 falls 4 ells||in the middle street of Maryton||view plot details|
|250||Maryton||whole area||view plot details|
|Extract from full sasine:|
|Cupar 1 Feb 1826 … to David Gibb presently residing at Maryton … in presence of David Gray servant to Thomas Honeyman, innkeeper at Maryton … from … Robert Dalgleish Esq in favour of David Gibb … that part of the lands of Seacraig belonging to him plots 3 and 17 on the plan of the ground feued out by the deceased William Dalgleish to form a village called Maryton & made out by David Neave, architect Dundee … no. 3: 42 falls 17 ells Scotch measure, no. 17: 40 falls 4 ells; no. 3 bounded by lot no. 4 of said plan on the E, by a cart road 25' breadth on the S, by lot no. 2 on the W, by a cart road 30' broad on the N; no. 17 bounded by lot no. 18 on the E, a cart road of 24' breadth on the S, by lot no. 16 on the W, and a road of 25' on the N; … one half of the road is included in the measurements of the ground … reserving always to Robert Dalgleish the full & exclusive property of the Seabraes betwixt the northmost road or street and the river Tay with liberty to build thereon so as not to obstruct the said vassals lights, but the vassal shall have the use of the braes for the purpose of taking water there from & bleaching clothes thereon … to make up pavements; … not to block pavements … in presence of … John Thomson groom to the said Thomas Honeyman, innkeeper at Maryton … PR 147/14, RS 32/147/14|
A few cautionary notes:
- the date of registering is of necessity later than the date of the actual transaction on the ground, which again is later than the date of the original documents authorising the transaction (16 Jan 1826 in the above case)
- in some instances many years can elapse between the creation of the original document and the recording of the sasine
- the date of a sasine is no indication of the date of any building on the property
- I have found the printed abridgements to be 'economical', confusing and inaccurate (in terms of the descriptions of the properties concerned); this becomes apparent as you try to follow the transactions through, or read the full sasine
- I have abridged the Abridgements
- my knowledge of the legal terms has grown considerably, but there will be times when I have misunderstood a transaction; the lack of punctuation in the abridgements can make things very difficult to follow at times
- remember I am doing this from a local historian's point of view, not that of a property lawyer
- on the details pages, the transactions are listed in reverse order - newest first, earliest last; remember, there may be gaps in the listings
- the maps are indicative only and should be treated as such
- usually, unfortunately, I didn't note down the reference of the full sasine; if you need to follow it up, you will need to access the abridgement and note the reference number given at the end of the extract (in the above case, I did note it down: PR.147.14)
- present-day street addresses are not given in any of the sasine entries and cannot be searched for; I have added them as links; if you know the present-day address, access the information, if any, from the list of present-day addresses
These are not the easiest of records to search, but you can search the sasine abridgements, and the links to the maps, here. They are also listed on the property pages found from the present-day streets & addresses.
Abbreviations in the notes
t/on - thereon; t/p - turnpike; dw - dwelling; ho - house; pt - part; pce - piece; grnd - ground; bldg - building; Tr/Trs - Trustee/Trustees; ... - words omitted; pol - poles; yd - square yards; : - bounded