Fisherford Black Burn 2

Fisherford: Black Burn

© Copyright Iain Macaulay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


Following on from the last post, and in order to help identify the exact location of the Robb properties in Fisherford, I’ve been examining the 19th century census records for the village. In the next few posts I’ll be listing the inhabitants of Fisherford as recorded in the census, starting with 1841.

In the 1841 census, the entries for Fisherford are preceded by those for properties in Overhill and Blackford. The first property mentioned in Fisherford is for the family of George Robb (son of James Robb, younger brother of my 3 x great grandfather Charles), as follows:

George Robb, 35, Slater

Isobel Robb, 35,

John Robb, 5

Alexr  Robb, 3

Jannet Robb, 11

Hellen Robb, 9

Isobel Robb, 1

This is followed by the property belonging to farmer Samuel Stephen and his family, described as being ‘over Fisherford’. Then the properties in Fisherford itself resume as follows (I think I’ve got the divisions between properties / households right):

Charles Booth, 45, Farmer

Margaret Booth, 45

Barbara Booth, 15,

Charles Booth, 15

Helen Booth, 12,

James Booth, 11

Christian Booth, 10

Mary Booth, 8

George Booth, 5


John Rennie, 20, agricultural labourer

Forbes Rennie, 15, agricultural labourer


Margaret Livingston, 5

Ann Leonard (?), 45

The census then lists properties in Middletown, Mains of  Blackford, Redhill, Mill of Blackford, and Redhill again, before returning to Fisherford to include the household of George Robb’s father James:

James Robb, 70, Crofter

Elizabeth Robb, 55

Elizabeth Robb, 10

After this, the census lists properties in East Overhill, Barnyard of Blackford and Westfield.

What can we deduce from this? Firstly, that (frustratingly) the census clerks did not always attach names to farms or crofts. Secondly, there seems to be no systematic order in the listing of properties in the census. One suspects that clerks listed households in the order in which they visited them and (as will be seen when comparing later censuses) this differed from one census to another. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions about precise geographical locations, for example within a village, from the order in which properties are mentioned. However, the fact that James Robb’s croft is listed after properties in Redhill and Blackford, and separately from those of his son and the Booth family, might reflect the fact that it was some way away from these properties (according to the map featured in my last post, the Fisherford crofts were to the south of the main village, which may have been the location for the Booth farm and George Robb’s house).

Perhaps the most important conclusion from examining the 1841 census record in this way, is that the number of properties in Fisherford was actually quite small. Only farmer Charles Booth and crofter James Robb appear to have been tenants or sub tenants of agricutural properties. At this stage, James’ son George does not appear to have farmed any land: as we’ll see, this would change by the time of the next census.