Fordell Castle Chapel

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 14640 85340, map



Also known as:

  • Fordell Chapel
  • Chapel of St Theriot (original site)
  • Henderson Mortuary Chapel


This is a mortuary chapel associated with the Hendersons of Fordell Castle, between Dunfermline and Aberdour to the east of the B916.   The chapel is southwest of the castle building within the garden boundary walls. It was probably built on or very near the site of an earlier church dedicated to St Theriot (also known as Therotus or Theoretus), an 8th century cleric. This earlier building is mentioned in the 1510 Registrum Magni Sigilli regum Scottorum and may pre-date this significantly.   Near the current building is a natural spring, known as St Theriot’s Well, which was probably associated with the earlier chapel. The well has been known in local folklore for some time as “having the extraordinary property of securing that what one wishes, while drinking of its water, shall be obtained” (Buckner p. 52).


The present building is rectangular, gabled, and oriented roughly east-west. It is built of light-coloured ashlar masonry with simple mouldings.   Four two-light stained-glass gothic windows line the nave walls, and in the south wall there is a door with a renaissance-style frame.   At the east gable is an attractive tripartite gothic stained-glass window.   A large belfry is at the top of the western gable, with a window in each side, four small corner spires, and a conical slated main spire.

People / Organisations:

Sir John Henderson II of FordellBenefactor for rebuilding1650
St TheriotLocal saint; original dedicatee


  • Chapel: Build/construction (1650)
  • Listed (1972)
    Category A
  • Chapel: Restored (1999 to 2007)

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 50866
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 50867St Theriot’s Well
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 3652
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 2225

Bibliographic References:

The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v EdinburghMacGibbon and Ross, D and T1887-92
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eleventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Fife, Kinross, and ClackmannanRCAHMS1933Edinburgh
Rambles in and around Aberdour and Burntisland,Buckner, J C R1881Edinburgh