Record

CodeNA6912
Dates1327-1975
Person NameRoyal Burgh of Cupar; 1327-1975
ActivityCupar (Fife) was a royal burgh by 1327. Thereafter it was a significant burgh, visited by most Scottish monarchs, it became the political capital of the county (Fife County Council's HQ was based there when it was established in 1890), and a considerable trade occurred there. Local industries included selling and grinding of corn, brewing, malting, dyeing, tanning, flax-spinning and weaving of linen, and in the late 19th century there were three weekly newspapers.

Royal burghs normally had elected councillors who looked after the burgh's interests, but only a small number of inhabitants had the right to vote in the council elections or to be a councillor. Burgh courts were held, which had some civil and criminal jurisdiction, although these competencies were eroded as time passed and the cases were increasingly petty local disputes. By the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1832 (2 & 3 Will. IV, c.65) Cupar and six other burghs were combined within the St Andrews District of Burghs to elect an MP. The franchise for parliamentary elections was radically changed in 1832, and the Royal Burghs (Scotland) Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV, c.76) imitated the change for the election of councillors. The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV, c.46) allowed any existing royal burgh to establish a police system with responsibility for the watching, cleansing, paving and lighting. This and later acts sometimes resulted in a dual administration, of police magistrates or commissioners, and town bailies and councillors. Cupar adopted lighting clauses of the 1833 Act in 1834. Further clauses, concerning watching, paving and cleansing, were adopted in 1848, and police commissioners (separate from the Town Council) were elected to deal with these matters. In 1861, Cupar adopted the Police of Towns (Scotland) Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vict., c.33), and from 1870 parts of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict., c.101) were adopted in various years. Under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict., c.49) the police commissioners were replaced by Cupar Town Council in January 1901. The population was 5,105 in 1871, and 6,603 in 1971.

Cupar Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65). Its powers were assumed by Fife Regional Council and North East Fife District Council. These in turn were replaced by Fife Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c.39).
Corporate NameRoyal Burgh of Cupar
Add to My Items