Parents and siblings of Robert Philp, in Fife and Midlothian

Robert Philp the grocer was the oldest child of another Robert Philp (the grandfather in Crail, in the MI) and Isobel Brown. They can be traced through birth and death records in Crail.

Robert Philp and Isobel Brown were contracted in Crail on 26th May and married on 18th June 1764. In marriage records of two daughters Robert is described as ‘farmer in Crail’. There are death records and a memorial inscription which give him as a land labourer.  He died in Crail aged 88 on 25, buried 28, March 1808 aged 88, Isobel dying on 15 May 1810 aged 68, so that there was over 20 years age difference between the spouses unless Isobel’s age is mis-transcribed. Given the dates of the marriage and the birth of the last child, I initially thought Isobel might have been several years older, though not many and certainly not 20 at her death in 1810. However, there is a birth for her in Crail, in 1743, that seems to fit - see the section on their descent, below.)

Children of this older Robert Philp and Isobel Brown were:

  • Robert Philp 05 AUG 1765 - this is the grocer in Leith. 
  • David Philip 20 JUN 1767 bap 26th Jun  – died young, probably the child David buried 21 Nov 1771 in Crail
  • James Philip 11 MAY 1769 bap 16 May  – the cabinetmaker in Broughton
  • Anna Philip 17 AUG 1771 bap 23 Aug  – married in Canongate
  • Jean Philip 24 NOV 1773 bap 28 Nov – married in Canongate
  • David Philip 29 OCT 1776  – became a baker in Crail
  • George Philip 05 FEB 1779 bap 9 Feb – agric. lab then house proprietor in Pittenweem
  • Isabel Philip 14 FEB 1781 bap 18 Feb 
  • John Philip 07 MAY 1784 bap 9 May

Several of these children have known histories. 

James Philip born 1769 can be matched with the James Philip, cabinet maker or wright in Broughton, who was witness to the birth of many of Robert’s children in Leith. James was married to Janet Oliphant in South Leith in 1789; they lived in Broughton with several children whose baptisms were registered in St. Cuthbert's parish. Janet Oliphant was buried in Old Calton burial ground, aged 37, on 16 March 1806, and James was buried there aged 55 on 10 June 1824.

Children of this James, cabinet maker,  baptised in St Cuthbert’s parish included:

  • Margaret 28 August 1790
  • John baptised 7 Oct 1794
  • James 30 March 1797

David Philp born in 1776 lived into census times. He stayed in Crail, becoming a baker there.  This David Philp is in the 1841census in Crail, a baker in Marketgate, age (rounded down to) 60, with household:

David Philip    60 baker
Janet Philip    35 (daughter, from later census, born 1803)
James Philip    30 j. baker (journeyman - son, from later census, born 1807)
Jessie Norrie    15 (granddaughter, from later information)

By the 1851 census David is gone - he died on 20th April, 1844, and a MI identifies his wife as Janet Melville - and his son James, 43, is now a master baker in Marketgate, with sister Janet Philp aged 47, and Janet (Jessie) Norrie, 29, now identified as James’ niece. There is a birth record for Janet Norrie in Crail, 1821, parents Robert Norrie and Helen Philip, Helen Philp being another child of David, b. 1799. 

David’s wife Janet Melville died in Crail on 28 Nov 1836 aged 68 and according to the sexton’s book referenced by the Fife burial CDs and now also referenced by FindMyPast, was buried the following February 18th. (This winter of 1836-37 is described in records as particularly severe with early snowstorms - see for details.) David himself died 20 April 1844 aged 67, and was buried on 24th April.

Other children of David Philp and Janet Melville included Robert, born 1798 and dying in 1824, Alexander, b. 1801, and David, born 13 March and baptised 24 April 1805, in Crail. This Robert b. 1798 is mentioned in a document titled Published Family Histories available from Fife Family History Society, at - he is said to be father of an illegitimate child, Alexander, born to Ann Webster on 15 February 1821and later known as Alexander Melville, who emigrated to Utah.

George Philp born in 1779 moved to Pittenweem, being noted in censuses first as an agricultural labourer and finally ‘proprietor of house’ there. The 1851 census shows him with a wife, Jane, in Pittenweem, address Shore, occupation House Proprietor & Fundholder.  House proprietor possibly means a public house or inn.

George Philp    72 head b. Crail
Jane Philp    67 wife b. Carnbee, Fife 

The 1841 census also shows only George Philp and Jean/Jane in Pittenweem. 

(The next household has a Margt Millar, 21 daughter, teacher of music born Pittenweem, and a servant Betsy Motion aged 16. Though Margaret is described as ‘daughter’ in this census., it isn’t clear whose ‘daughter’ she is. However she is unmarried and so likely to not be daughter of George and Jane; possibly her parent was absent from this household at the time of the census. The transcription available from Ancestry runs these two households together.)

Two daughters of Robert Philp of Crail have marriages in Canongate records.

Jean Philp born in 1773, described in the record as daughter of ‘Robert Philp farmer in Crail’, was married in Canongate 10 March 1799 to David Anderson, brewer's servant. 

Ann Philp born in 1771 was married in Canongate in 1800, noted in the online Canongate marriages as: ‘Philp, Ann, daughter of Robert Philip, farmer in Crail, Fifeshire, and Arthur Taylor, ship carpenter 18 Feb 1800’. They did not however stay in Edinburgh. Several children have births registered either in Port Glasgow, one in Crail, indicating movement across the breadth of Scotland. Port Glasgow is of course part of the Clyde area where shipcarpenters were in demand. The ScotlandsPeople and Familysearch indexes give these children:

  • Robert born or baptised 25 Apr 1801 Port Glasgow
  • Arthur 8 bap 16 June 1803 Crail
  • Isabella 8 Apr 1806 Port Glasgow
  • Arthur 27 June 1808 Port Glasgow
  • Ann 08 August 1810 Port Glasgow
  • John 13 August 1813 Port Glasgow

In the 1841 and 1851 census Ann and Arthur Taylor were in Port Glasgow, on Shore Street. The 1851 census shows:

Arthur Taylor    74 head, b. Leuchars, Journeyman Carpenter
Ann Taylor    80 wife b. Crail
Ann Taylor    22 granddaughter, hand sewer
Mary Taylor    16 granddaughter, house servant

1841 shows Ann’s rounded age as 60. Mary is in the household aged 5, and there is an Ann Alexander aged 12. 

While they may not be connected as relatives with our James Philp born around 1775, something took Arthur Taylor from Leuchars to become a journeyman ship carpenter marrying in the Canongate, and those other Philps from East Neuk of Fife to Leith, Broughton and the Canongate. There remains much to investigate here. (Oh, for apprenticeship records!)

The descents of Isabel Brown and Robert Philp of Crail are on the next page of this section.

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