Kingsbarns Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 59280 12080, map


Address

The Square
Kingsbarns
Fife
KY16 8SS
Scotland

Introduction

Kingsbarns Parish Church was built c.1630, and substantially altered between 1810 and 1811 at the hand of Robert Balfour.    The church faces south towards The Square, the central focus of the village of Kingsbarns.    It is surrounded by a graveyard on all sides, encircled by a substantial coped wall.   A sandstone session house with a slate roof is situated next to the entrance to the churchyard to the south of the parish church. The building is entered though a square headed door in the west elevation, and is now equipped with toilet facilities.  The graveyard,  which is still in use, features a number of interesting seventeenth century monuments and eighteenth century tombstones with mortality symbolism.  


Description (exterior)

The church is built on a T plan with a south tower and west porch. The body of the church is harled with a Scottish slate roof.   When visited, the harling was seen to be degrading on all faces of the building, revealing rough courses of squared sandstone and some interesting rough snecking on the north elevation of the main cell.    The sandstone tower is capped by a spire with alternating bands of square and fishscale slate.

The eastern face of the church has a large semi-circular arched window with latticed panes below which is a square headed door.   The northern transept  has a square headed door in its eastern face and a framed memorial to the south of the door.

Central to the southern elevation is the tower, to the east and west of which is a semi-circular arched window (identical to that noted on the east elevation) and a smaller clear glass square headed window.    Between these windows to the west of the tower is a large pilastered War Memorial.  A gallery is visible though the semi-circular arches.

The west elevation has a single latticed window set in a semi-circular arch above the porch. To the north of this is the transept, which has a single clear glass square headed window towards the bottom of the face.  The north face of the north transept has two pairs of clear glass square headed windows.

The tower  is built of sandstone with a spire of Scottish slate.    It faces south towards the square and is divided into three stages.   .   The east and west faces of the lowest stage of the tower are without features.    The upper two stages are mirrored to the north, east and west. The lowest stage of the tower is entered though a door set in a rounded arch which springs from substantial imposts and has a large keystone resting on a ledge which separates this stage of the lower from those above.   Above the ledge are four moulded scrolls on the four corners of a projecting course at the bottom of the second stage.   There are circular openings in the south, east and west faces.   The south opening is glazed, but the others have been blocked.   Below the south opening is a rectangular dedicatory plaque, which is now blank.

The lower two stages of the tower probably date from the seventeenth century.   The upper stage has rounded openings all four of its faces.   Above this is a pair of louvered arches under a simple hoodmould.    There is a clock in each face, just below the corbelled parapet. The slated spire sits in the parapet and has bands of square and fishscale slate, tapering towards a simple metal finial.

There is a rectangular sandstone porch on the west elevation of the church which has a battlemented parapet.   Entry to the church is though a square headed  south door and to the west are two thin rectangular windows with coloured glass. 
 


Description (interior)

This church is rectangular with a northern transept.   Entry for worshippers is from a porch through a doorway in this transept.    There are galleries on the east, north and west sides.   The sanctuary is on the south, with a canopied wooden pulput against the centre of the south wall.   The communion table is in front of this, and elders' chairs facing inwards from the east and west.   Communion table, font, and lectern are all of wood, and wooden pews provide congregational seating, facing the sanctuary from all sections of the church.   An organ occupies much of the north gallery.   There is low panelling round the walls but above that they are plastered and painted to give a light interior.   The windows are all of clear glass, large round-headed ones on each side of the pulpit, and smaller square-headed windows elsewhere.   There are a few memorials and commemorative framed certificates on the walls, a cradle roll, and a Last Supper carving on the pulpit.


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Church of ScotlandDenomination1630-NOW
Mr Robert BalfourArchitect1810-1811Raised the walls by two metres, inserted round headed windows and removed a stone arch which had blocked the north aisle.
Mr George RaeArchitect1866Added the spire to the top of the tower.
Mr John CorstorphineArchitect1789-1797Carried out alterations on the church.

Events:

  • Tower: Build/construction (1630)
  • Church: Build/construction (1630C)
  • Church: Alteration/conversion (1789 to 1797)
    Carried out alterations on the church.
  • Porch: Build/construction (1810 to 1811)
    The porch was probably added during Balfour\'s extensive renovations.
  • Church: Addition (1811)
    Robert Balfour raised the walls by two metres, inserted round headed windows and removed a stone arch which had blocked the north aisle.
  • Session house: Build/construction (1838)
    The session house was built by Scott and Oswald.
  • Tower: Addition (1866)
    The spire was added.
  • Session house: Addition (19c0)
    The piend roof was added in the late twentieth century.
  • Graveyard: Consecration (<1630)
    There has been a graveyard on this site since the erection of the present church building and possibly longer.

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8718
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8719
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34388
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8711
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8794
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8710
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 114016
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1304

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 274