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Help and advice for Kells

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"Kells is one of the most extensive parishes in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. The extreme length is fully 16 miles, and breadth about 8 miles....

The scenery along the banks of the river Ken is eminently beautiful. Kenmure Castle, with its avenue of ancient limes and verdant meadows; the little rural burgh of New Galloway, interspersed with trees; the winding river and the splendid loch Ken, having for its back ground the rocky Lowran and the lofty and wooded Bennan, form a landscape rarely surpased...

It is bounded on the north, by Carsfairn; on the west, by Monigaff; on the south, by Girthon and Balmaghie, from which three last mentioned parishes it is separated by the river Dee; and on the east, by the river Ken, which divides it from Dalry, Balmaclellan, and Parton...

Kells must be regarded, almost exclusively, as a pastoral parish. The grain produced (chiefly oats) certainly does not exceed the annual consumpt...

The number of sheep in the parish is calculated at 17,040, and they are considered worth 2s. 9d. per head annually. There are 565 Highland cattle grassed nine months, which may pay on an average £1 5s. per head; 315 Galloways...

The royal burgh of New Galloway is situated in the parish. Its population is 436. In it the Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts for the Glekens are held. There is a daily post. Post-horses and carriages are kept, and a branch of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Banks has been established. The roads are excellent in every direction..."

Rev. James Maitland, Minister, New Statistical Account, Blackwood.



History, Kirkcudbright. The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 2nd Series, W Blackwood, 1845.



The Church Yard of Kells has had pre-1855 monumental inscriptions transcribed and indexed. The index and transcribed inscriptions are included in a series of volumes that cover all of Kirkcudbrightshire. Kells is in volume 3. Refer to the county page for additional details.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Kells area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

"The parish church with regard to the population is centrically situated. It is seated for 560, but can accommodate more. It was built in 1822, and is in excellent repair. None of the pews are let. The attendance is good and regular. The number of communicants may vary from 350 to 400. There is no Dissenting place of worship in the parish. The number of Dissenters in the parish may amount perhaps to 50; of these 9 are Episcopalians; 10 Irish Roman Catholics, and the remaining belong to the United Associate Synod of the secession church... "

Rev. James Maitland, Minister, New Statistical Account, Blackwood.


Church Records

Church of Scotland records are held at the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Copies of the pairsh register on microfilm may be consulted in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Refer to the county page for additional details.

Records Available Baptism Marriage Burial Reference
Church of Scotland 1698-1854 1698-1733, 1806-1819 1828-1830 OPR 868

Kirk Session Notes: Kells kirk session minutes start in 1693, and continue into the twenteth century. (CH2 202) Refer to the county page for additional details.

Description and Travel

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Land and Property

A primary source of land ownership can be found in Sasine registers. The burgh of New Galloway kept its own sasine register for those that lived within its boundaries. The register starts in 1760.