The Newport, Wormit & Forgan Archive

Sasines - Background Information and Methodology

Sasines are the records of land & building ownership. They record land sales, loans secured over the land, repayments of loans, annuities created, restrictions on the land use, etc. Historic sasines are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Printed Abridgements - concise summaries of the transactions - were made to enable local access. The Fife abridgements, from 1781 - 1947, were available in the library in Cupar. Those for the whole of Scotland can now be searched on computer, in person, in Edinburgh. The Abridgements have the bare facts about a land or property 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 April 1894 (for Newport) and to December 1896 (for Wormit) . There are a few earlier and a few later.

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 linked 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.
Although most of this information is from the printed Sasine Abridgements, a few full sasines were also consulted for more detail.
All the 2741 entries I noted can be searched here.

The Plots

As an example, there is an abridgement in 1826, no. 2901, registered on 1 Feb 1826, which creates 2 plots and is in the database as follows:

RefAbridgementIn BriefRegisteredPlots
1826.02901David 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.147.14Scotscraig to David Gibb1 Feb 1826151, 97, 250sasine 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 there. In addition, since every plot is created out of another, larger plot (in this case the area known as Maryton or Marytown), I have created a plot ID number and map for that larger area as well.

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


For this abridgement, I also accessed the full sasine - which gives much more detailed information as well the names of witnesses.

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


I have also provided extracts from Rosemary Bigwood's book Tracing Scottish Ancestors about a brief explanation of sasine abridgements and an explanation of the format of a sasine.


The Plot Pages

Example: Plot ID 160 - Maryton lot 1

A sasine plot is part of a hierarchical structure, being created out of a larger plot and having sub-plots created from it. On the page of information about the plot there are

To get to an individual property via the sasines, you will have to go down the hierarchy of plots and sub-plots until you reach the bottom level, by selecting 'sub-plots created from this plot' each time.
For example, to get to 20 Kilnburn: start at the 19th century feuing areas & estates map    --> Kilnburn field (plot 253)    --> Plot 441 (26-30 Cupar Rd, 16-20 Kilnburn)    --> Plot 448 (30 Cupar Rd, 16-20 Kilnburn)    --> Plot 460 (18-20 Kilnburn)    --> 20 Kilnburn

Once the property page has been reached, it is possible to go back up the hierarchy of plots by selecting the plot (under 'Early Sasines' at the foot of the page) and then selecting 'Larger plots from which this one is created' right back up to Kilnburn Field.


Subsequent Transactions

Most of these are for taking out and paying back loans (mortgages), sales of the property, inheritance of the property, the transfer of the property or the loans to trustees / executors, selling a loan on to another party, restrictions placed over the buildings or property, plus a few less frequent reasons. The wording in the abridgements varies. For example:

TransactionDateAbridgement textExplanationlink to plot
Loan secured on the property pre-1869 (lender first, property owner last) Peter Geekie gets bond & disp £350 by George Just over 27 falls 33 ells & ho etc t/on, part of croft of Broadhaugh The owner of the property (George Just) gets a loan of £350 from Peter Geekie, secured over the property - 27 falls 33 ells and house etc, part of the croft of Broadhaugh.
--- gets bond & disp £350 by = receives an obligation to repay £350 ( + interest not stated) using the property as security
Loan secured on the property from 1869 (property owner first, lender last) Bond £500 & disp by James Brown builder to Isabella Stewart / Malcolm, Lochee, widow, of pce grnd & dw ho, the 2nd south from Wester Bogie Place, on E side of Kilnburn Place, 28' frontage, pt of 252.33 pol of Kilnburn Field The owner of the property (James Brown, builder) gets a loan of £500 from Isabella Stewart or Malcolm, Lochee, widow, secured over the property - a piece of ground & dwelling house, the 2nd south from Wester Bogie Place, on the east side of Kilnburn Place, with a 28' frontage on the street, part of a bigger plot of 252.33 poles of the Kilnburn Field.
--- bond £500 & disp by J B = J B gives an obligation to repay £500 ( + interest not stated) using the property as security

There are other examples of the basic types of transactions, and a full worked example, with explanations, for a single property.

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

A guide to old Scots legal terms is very useful. This is a good online Scottish Legal Glossary.


The Small Print

A few cautionary notes:



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