Abercrombie Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 52200 03460, map


Address

Balcaskie, Abercrombie
Fife
KY10 2DE
Scotland

Introduction

This now roofless church was the parish church of Abercrombie, and  is situated to the north of the village, in the grounds of Balcaskie House.   The fabric probably dates back to the late medieval period.    It  lies to the north of a small graveyard and is hidden by a grove of trees.   The graveyard slopes downhill to the southeast towards a stream. The majority of the gravestones date to the nineteenth century and there are no gravestones apparent from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.    In c.1646 the congregation moved to St. Monans Church (site number 3793).   


Description (exterior)

The church is built from sandstone rubble and incorporates reused stonework, much of which was probably added between 1597 and 1602 when the walls were raised during renovations.  

The exterior crowstepped east gable is supported by a central buttress, but is now partially obscured by trees and completely green with moss.    The apex of the gable is missing. Propped against the wall is a  graveslab, dated to 1591, with verbose wording on it.

The south elevation faces the small sloping graveyard.    The wall does not survive to its full height and there are two blocked square headed windows towards its eastern edge and to the west is a blocked squareheaded door.   Between this and a larger square headed door  is a thin rectangular opening which is truncated.

The west elevation is crowstepped and has a wide platform at the apex, capped by the remains of a bellcote platform.   There are three putlog holes; two below the platform and one towards the bottom of the wall.   On the north wall there is a broad square headed door near to the its western edge which is truncated. The doorway is filled with a wrought iron gate.    A red sandstone cross fragment has been  inserted into the margins. To the east is a truncated square headed window with re-used moulded stone uprights.


Description (interior)

The interior of the church was used for burial in the 19th century and there are a number of wall monuments.   In particular the east elevation has a large pedimented memorial in its centre.   There are two putlog holes towards the northern edge of the wall and an aumbry to the south.    There are also small holes in the rock, suggesting that it formerly had a wooden door.    The south elevation has memorials to the Anstruther family in segmental arches.   To the west of these is a stoup next to the door.    The interior west and north walls also have  memorials.   .



People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Pre-reformation Church of ScotlandDenominationB1165-1560
Bishop David de BernhamClergyman1247Consecrated and re-dedicated the church on 24th October 1247.
Dunfermline AbbeyOwner1165See site ID: 2260 for Dunfermline Abbey. The church was in the possession of Dunfermline Abbey at this time.
Priory of St AndrewsOwnerB1421A Bull of Pope Martin V, which was dated 1421, mentions that the church was under the charge of the Priory of St Andrews.
Church of ScotlandDenomination1560-1646

Events:

  • Church: Custodial Transfer (1165)
    Granted to Dunfermline Abbey by William the Lion in 1165.
  • Church: Consecration (1247)
    The church was consecrated and re-dedicated by Bishop de Bernham on 24th October 1247.
  • Church: Abandonment (1647)
    The church was abandoned at this time as St. Monans Church (site number: 3793) became the parish church.
  • Graveyard: Consecration (b1165)
  • Church: Custodial Transfer (B1471)
    Although the church was in the possession of Dunfermline Abbey from 1165, by 1421 it was in the possession of the Priory of St Andrews.

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34195Abercrombie Church and Churchyard.
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34195
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 15552
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1488

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Fife, Pictorial and HistoricalMillar, A.H.1895Vol. I, pp. 423-430.
Discovering FifeLamont-Brown, Raymond1988p. 65
Pre- Reformation churches - Fife & The LothiansWalker, J.R.1883Available at RCHAMS library