St Margaret's Cave

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 08910 87480, map


Bridge Street


This is a small, sacred cave that is associated with Queen Margaret, who is said to have prayed here regularly in the 11th century. It is claimed her husband, King Malcolm (1057-93) had the cave improved and embellished for her. The cave is located a short distance north of Tower Hill in Dunfermline and entry is through a small, modern building leading to an 87-step tunnel which descends around 16 metres into the ground.

The cave appears to be a natural formation with a natural spring at the far end. The walls have been smoothed and possibly cut back to make the cave interior larger. Several niches were cut into the rock and in the 19th century there was said to be a stone table or altar with a cross placed on top. The dimensions of the main cave interior are approximately 2m in height, 1.8m wide and 4m long. Stone benches run along the inside of the cave against the sides. A painted miniature statue of St Margaret has been placed centrally on the floor.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

Queen Margarethistorically associated with the cave11th century
Malcolm IIIpossibly fitted or extended the cave11th century

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 49334
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 10426

Bibliographic References:

'Notices of rock-hewn caves in the Valley of the Esk and other parts of Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.45Coles, F R1911
Historical and statistical account of Dunfermline, 2vChalmers, P1844-59Edinburgh