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Transcribing the kirk session records: the parish of Govan

In this step you will utilise your new skills in order to transcribe an extract from the kirk session records of Govan.

You can re-read the extract as much as you want.

Should you wish, you and your fellow palaeographers can work together using the comments section below.

The parish

The parish of Govan is situated in the counties of Lanark and Renfrew. It began as a pre-Reformation parish and was a Church of Scotland parish for both civil and religious purposes from the sixteenth century.

In 1892 the Boundary Commissioners altered the boundaries, transferring parts of the parish to the parishes of Eastwood and Renfrew. Part of the parish was removed in 1890 to form part of the quoad sacra parish of Cardonald. Govan was annexed to the city of Glasgow for civil purposes in 1912.

The Church of Scotland kirk session for Govan sat within the presbytery of Glasgow and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr, later of Clydesdale.


The coverage of the kirk session records for Govan is outstanding.

The earliest records of the parish date from 1651. The hand is manageable by about 1654.

The entry below dates from 1652 and is a more complex example of the secretary hand.

Don’t panic! This is only an optional example. You can always return to it later once you have further developed your skills.


It should be noted that the extract comprises two lines and marginalia on the left-hand side.

You can use internal evidence from the full extract to help you identify individual letters or the more formulaic aspects of the records.


(NRS, Parish of Govan, CH2/1277/1/34)

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This article is from the free online course:

Early Modern Scottish Palaeography: Reading Scotland's Records

The University of Glasgow