United Reformed Church, Dunfermline

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09170 87380, map


6 Canmore Street
KY12 7PX

Also known as:

  • United Reform Church (1974)
    The church united with the North Congregational Church (site no. 10602) in 1974 and became known as the United Reform Church.
  • Independent Church (1842 uncertified)
    Marked on 1854 OS Dunfermline Town Plan as the 'Independent Church'.


Dunfermline United Reformed Church was built in 1842 in Canmore Street as a Congregational Church. It is located on a corner plot in a residential area, with the land sloping uphill to the north. A hall was added at the north end of the church in 1867. The church united with the North Congregational Church in 1974, where it was re-named Dunfermline United Reformed Church. The congregation of nearby St Paul's Parish Church also worshipped here from 1976 to 2001 after their church burnt down.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

The church is a large rectangular building, aligned north-south, and it was designed to accomodate 700 people. The 6-bay building is Victorian Gothic in design and the principal elevation is the south gable, which faces Canmore Street. It was built in coursed blocks of sandstone with ashlar dressings and it has a slate roof.

The south gable has a number of embellishments and a central doorway, reached by a wide stone stair. Large pointed-arch windows with simple wooden tracery flank the doorway and a stone cill course steps up over the pointed-arch doorway. The recessed doorway has moulded margins and a hoodmould in ashlar sandstone. Above the doorway is a wide pointed-arch window with a thick hoodmould and multi-pane glazing. Slender buttresses rise on either side of the doorway and are topped by tall pinnacles with finials. A gablehead finial has an attached stone parapet that link the buttresses. There are also corner buttresses with shorter pinnacles.

The east and west side walls of the church have six very tall pointed-arch windows, all with simple wooden tracery and multi-pane leaded glass. The southern-most window is sllightly shorter and wider than the others and lights the inner stairways that provide access to the gallery. This window is flanked by narrow buttresses with pinnacles. The slate roof has three tall, metal ventilators along the central ridge. The single-storey hall at the north end is built in a similar style as the church with matchiing sandstone.

J Dowling 2017

Description (interior)

The interior of the church is largely original and features plastered walls and ceiling and a horse-shoe gallery on the east, west and south sides. Simple, painted wooden pews line the nave and two passageways lead to the sanctuary area at the north end. The galleries are supported on slender cast-iron columns and are lit by the large windows in the side walls.

The sanctuary is dominated by the impressive pipe organ and detailed wooden screen and panelling. A large carved hoodmould frames the central organ pipes and there is a large wooden cross to the centre. The wooden pulpit stands in front of the organ and is reached by a small staircase. The central panel features a First World War memorial, which was dedicated in 1920. In front of the pulpit are the minister's and elders' chairs and a communion table. There are also choir chairs, a lectern and a small wooden font, which also serves as a Second World War memorial.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

Congregational UnionDenomination1842-1974
United ReformedDenomination1974-NOW
Mr John BairdArchitect1841-1842


  • Church: Build/construction (1840 to 1841)
    Opened 2nd January 1841.
  • Church: Union (1974)
    The congregation from the North Congregational Church in Pilmuir Street (site no. 10602, now demolished) joined with this congregation.

Archive References:

Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: L000264
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 25984
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 49372
Map Collections - Online databaseReference: Sheet 51854 OS Town Plan of Dunfermline, Scale: 1:1056
Map Collections - Online databaseReference: Sheet 51854 OS Town Plan of Dunfermline, Scale: 1:1056.
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 2264

Bibliographic References:

Dunfermline: The Post-War YearsMcEwan, B.2004p. 47
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 185
Annals of DunfermlineHenderson, E.1879Chapter 9, part 9.
Historical and Statistical Account of DunfermlineRev. P. Chalmers1844p. 322
The Scottish Congregational Ministry 1794-1993McNaughton, W D. Dr.1993ISBN: 0 900304065 p. 345