St. Serf's Old Kirk, Burntisland

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 23030 86370, map


Kirkton Churchyard
Church Street


The remains of this church are in the centre of Kirkton graveyard (in which are also the remains of Burntisland Old Parish Church, site 2183).   The church of Parva Kinghorn (Little Kinghorn) is said to have been dedicated to St Serf or St Adamnan.   The building is in a ruinous condition but the remains of the nave, chancel and a south aisle are visible, although only the gables and chancel walls stand to any significant height.   The nave and chancel date to the first half of the thirteenth century whilst the southern aisle is a later addition.   The addition of this aisle joined the thirteenth century formerly vaulted cell to the church.


This was built as a rectangular church with walls of cubed ashlar blocks;

There is a splayed lancet in the centre of the western gable and on the southern side of this there is a small square niche.   In the stone below this opening there are two small round holes, suggesting that there was once something fixed onto the wall.   Nothing remains of the southern elevation of the nave and the northern elevation only exists as a small piece of wall extending from the western gable.   Most of the chancel survives to a greater height, possibly because of  conversion into a private burial enclosure for the Ayton family in the early nineteenth century.   Inside the burial enclosure there are two nineteenth century sarcophagus-tombstones, one of marble and one of granite. There is also a large marble Celtic cross.   No openings are visible in the northern and eastern faces of the chancel but in the southern face there are the remains of two lancets and a door.    The chancel arch has been in filled with ashlar blocks to form a low square headed opening, (possibly when the chancel was converted into a burial enclosure). There is a moulded stone panel set in to the in filled head of the archway with the words "Burial Ground of Ayton of Grange" inscribed in it.


  • Church: Consecration (1243)
  • Church: Abandonment (1595 uncertified)
    An increased concentration of people around the harbour area meant this church became too small and inconvenient, resulting in the construction of the current Parish Church (site number: 2183) between 1592-95.
  • Church: Alteration/conversion (1800)
    The chancel was converted in a burial enclosure by the Ayton family.

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 52826
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 2182

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 110