Creich, Sutherland, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish # 46

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Creich. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

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CRIECH, a parish, in the county of Sutherland, 11½ miles (W. N. W.) from Tain; containing the village of Bonar. This place is famed for a contest which happened in the eleventh or twelfth century, between the Scots and the Danes. The church, a plain structure, built in 1790, is in good condition, and accommodates 500 persons with sittings. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church.[1]

This large parish extends from the parish of Dornoch on the east to the parish of Assynt on the west, a distance of thirty five miles. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Dornoch and Lairg; and on the Firth of Dornoch and its continuation, the river Oykell, forms its southern boundary.

There are no market-towns in the parish, the nearest is in Dornoch. The first and most useful means of communication in the parish is the bridge of Bonar, between Sutherland and Ross-shire. A village and cotton manufactory were established at Spinningdale, by Mr. Dempster of Dunnichen, in the latter part of the last century; but the factory was destroyed by fire in 1809, and that led to the decay of the village.

In the 11th or 12th century a contest of the inhabitants with the Danes is recorded to have occurred at Drinleah, near Bonar Bridge, whence the invaders were driven back with great loss to their ships at Portnacoulter, now the Meikle Ferry. The extraordinary number of graves on the scene of the action, and the greatness of the slaughter, one cannot fail to wonder at the great numbers who must have been engaged, and the consequent density of the population at that remote time in history.

The land-owners of this parish are: George Dempser, Esq. of Skibo, Her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland, Sir Charles Ross, Bart., Right Honorable Lady Ashburton, and Dugald Gilchrist, Esq. of Ospisdale.

The population of this parish in 1801 was counted to be at 1974 persons, and in the 1831 census the count was at 2562.

The parish church is situated near the shore, about nine miles from the east end of the parish, and upwards of thirty miles from the west end. It is convenient for the greater part of the population from the river Shin in the west, to Ospisdale in the east. It accommodates 500 persons, and there are no free seats, except the communion forms occupied by the poor. There are no Dissenters or Seeders of any description in this parish.

There is no mention of any church registers recording birth, and marriages.

This account was written September 1834.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Creich Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 15.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library.  

Census Records
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A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household.  The Scottish government began taking censuses in 1801 but the first one that lists all persons in a household by name is the 1841. Census records are not available to the public until one hundred years have passed.  Read more about census records.

Click here[low quality link] to go to the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Creich.  The Family History Library has a surname index to the 1881 census of the whole of Sutherland county.

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records
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The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1785-1854 0990561 Item 1
Marriages: 1809-1854 0990561 Item 1
Deaths: No entries none
 Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: No record prior to January 1809, except ten transcribed entries for 1785–1804, certified by the sheriff. Separate record for the western district of Creich, 1810–19.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1838–1855
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/865.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Creich Free Church[edit | edit source]

Services were provided by the Presbytery for the people adhering to the Free Church in this parish until the settlement of a minister in August 1843. In this year the church was built and the manse in 1849. A new church was erected in 1881.
Membership: 1855, 630; 1900, 392.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

The Registers held at The National Archives in Edinburgh, Scotland (Reference CH16/14/5)

Minutes 1843-1891

Seat Rentals 1853-1918

Communion Rolls 1845-1931

Baptisms and Marriages 1843-1897, 1907-1908

The Highland Family History Society has produced a publication of Creich Free Church Births and Baptisms 1843-1897 and Marriages 1843-1896 for purchase.

The Family History Library has a copy of the Creich Free Church Births and Baptisms 1843-1897 and Marriages 1843-1896

Rosehall Free Church[edit | edit source]

John D. Kennedy, minister of Rosehall, with a considerable congregation, "came out" at the Disruption. Soon afterwards the church and manse were built. There was after a rapid decrease in the population.
Membership: 1855, 400; 1900, 55.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., pub. 1914. Film#918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records
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Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article onScotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records
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Creich was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Caithness until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dornoch. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Sutherland and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dornoch

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Sutherland. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Sutherland and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 7 August 2014.

Return to Sutherland parish list.