Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09500 87500, map


East Port
KY12 7QF


Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is located a short distance north-east of Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, close to the town centre. It is in a mostly residential area, with streets on the north and west sides and a parking area to the south. The church sits within small, walled grounds and is aligned approximately east-west. Holy Trinity was built to accomodate a growing congregation (who were meeting in a smaller building nearby) in 1891 by Edinburgh architect R. Rowland Anderson, and largely funded by local mill owner Erskine Beveridge.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

The church is a fairly complex structure, with a number of additions and aisles. There is a nave and a slightly smaller chancel attached at the east end. The chancel has a small aisle and flat-roofed extension on its northern side. At the west end of the nave is a gabled porch, which forms the principal entrance of the church. Joined to the west end of the nave is a flat-roofed vestibule, accessed via the porch, and at the south-west corner is a much larger, gabled hall, with an attached rear (south) side porch. The hall structure was built on to the church in 1898 and again designed by R. Rowland Anderson. Holy Trinity is built of coursed sandstone blocks, with decorative ashlar dressings and surrounds. The several roofs are all slated and feature contrasting red ridge tiles.

The chancel and nave are fairly long and narrow and have steeply-pitched roofs. The chancel is slightly narrower and shorter in height than the nave. The east gable of the chancel, largely hidden from view from the street, features a single large pointed-arch window with trefoil and quatrefoil stone tracery. Most of the leaded glass is clear although there is some coloured glass nearer the bottom. The north face of the chancel has a fairly narrow, gabled side aisle, which is the vestry of the church. It has a round window with stone tracery and a hoodmould above. Attached to the east is a small, single-storey, flat-roofed addition, which may also be part of the vestry. A large chimney rises from the chancel, showing there was a fireplace in the vestry. The north elevation of the nave, facing the street, has a wide pointed-arch window with stone tracery and leaded glass at the eastern end and a narrower lancet window close to the entrance porch at the west end. A central, stepped buttress divides the north elevation. The gabled entrance porch at the west end has a large, recessed, pointed-arch doorway with a decorative hoodmould. Attached is a single-storey, flat-roofed hall that extends most of the way along the west gable. This has rectangular windows with stone tracery that matches that found in the other windows of the church. The tall west gable of the nave is dominated by a single, massive pointed-arch window, which features fairly intricate stone tracery and leaded glass.

Attached at the south-west corner is a large hall complex, which appears to be the slightly later addition of 1898. Its west gable fronts the street, which drops steeply downhill to the south. This gable features a single, fairly large pointed-arch window with trefoil stone tracery and leaded clear glass. There is a small vent in the gablehead and small gableted finials at the corners. The south elevation of the hall takes advantage of the aspect by there being three large rectangular windows, again with stone tracery, which flood the interior space with light. To the centre is a tall stone chimney which rises to nearly the height of the roof apex. Attached to the east end of this hall is a small, gabled extension, which likely provides additional rooms and facilities. The south elevations of the nave and chancel feature similar pointed-arch windows to those on the north side, with the chancel lit by three equal size traceried windows.

J Dowling 2017

Description (interior)

The interior of Holy Trinity follows the typical layout of an Episcopal church, with pews in the nave facing east to the chancel and altar. An impressive hammer-beam roof can be found in the nave and chancel and it is stained a dark brown. The walls are plastered and painted, mostly white but a contrasting deep red at the east end of the chancel.

Entry into the nave is through a round-arched doorway in the west gable, which leads from a vestibule area that is itself accessed through the north porch. The impressive west window of the nave floods the interior with light. A central passage divides the pews and leads to the chancel.

The chancel is the most ornate part of the church and has several notable furnishings and decoration. It is raised and separated from the nave by two steps. Wooden choir stalls with carved end plates face the central processional passageway which leads to the altar. The altar rises on two shallow steps, with altar rails in front. An impressive wooden reredos is placed behind. It features intricate, painted carved tracery and a central panel with angels and a metal cross. The walls of the chancel have fine carved panelling and a small pipe organ is built into the northern wall. The wooden pulpit is placed at the intersection of the nave and chancel and is easily reached from the vestry to the north.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

Sir Robert Rowand AndersonArchitect1891
Episcopal ChurchDenomination1891-NOW


  • Church: Build/construction (1891)
  • Hall: Build/construction (1898)
  • Church: Addition (1954)
    Several windows by Whitefriars Powell
  • Church: Addition (1963)
    Addition of two-light and tracery by William Wilson (Studio)

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 49373
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M000275
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 26017
Dunfermline Carnegie Library Local History Archive - HardcopyReference: Archive material available here.
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 2265

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 185