Old Crombie Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 02820 85540, map


Craigflower Estate


The ruins of this sandstone church are on the Craigflower estate, a short distance south of the A985, the main road from Rosyth to Kincardine.   The rectangular plan is still evident although sections of the east gable have clearly deteriorated since the Royal Commission Inventory site visit in 1928 when triple lancet windows were recorded in it.   By 1998 these were known to have collapsed.   According to Russell Walker's study of pre-reformation churches in Fife (1883), the east gable was similar to that of the ruinous parish church of Rosyth, but of a later date.
The ruined church probably dates from the thirteenth century, and was used for worship until its eventual conversion into a burial aisle for the family of Colville of Ochiltree.    This led to extensive rebuilding, incorporating crests and broken memorial slabs and carved stones.   At some point the north wall was rebuilt into a dyke and is coped along the entire length, incorporating a gateway and probably was fashioned when the building was converted into the burial aisle.   The surrounding graveyard sits on a mound, and has a retaining wall.    The gated entrance is at the north west of the site, where there are three yew trees close to the entrance of the burial aisle and there are further yew trees to the east of the site.    There is evidence of wall repairs to the pathway leading down from the burial ground to the coastal path.    There are many seventeenth century stones and some late Victorian monuments. A few of the stones have trade symbols.

Description (exterior)

The east gable is now half its original height, and the remains of two lancet windows were barely visible by July 2007.   A memorial slab (approximately 1.5m long by 1m wide) sits  vertically against the base of the gable, but moss has largely effaced the lettering.   It is possibly the memorial slab referred to by Russell Walker in 1883, which located it to the west gable end. At that time it was recorded as that of Philip, Laird of Kippo, Mediciner, died in 1640 aged 71. many stones have been uplifted, which has hastened the deterioration of the gable's structure. gable.   The south elevation has been partially rebuilt and coped in cement.    

Description (interior)

Trees have rooted inside the ruins at the east gable end, and the remains of an aumbry are visitble on the right hand side of the interior.     On the south wall there are some inset memorials and carved stones.     There is a small niche and a low blocked door to the centre of the wall.

People / Organisations:



  • Church: Alteration/conversion
    Converted to Burial aisle, probably in the 1800s.
  • Church: Build/construction (1200\'s uncertified)
    Built some time before the unification of the parishes of Crombie and Torry in the late sixteenth century. A Kirk of Crombie was referred to in session records dated the 21st of June 1629, but reference was made to repair work to be paid for by parishioners, costing £30. However, there is not sufficient evidence to ascertain whether the church was then, or afterwards used for public worship (NSAS, volume 9).
  • Burial ground: Alteration/conversion (1869 uncertified)
    The interior of the church was converted to a burial aisle for the Colvilles of Ochiltree.

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 16633
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 49467
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 130722Two large tomb stones dating from c.1600 were found in the floor outside the dog kennels by the owner of Gardener's Cottage. The stones are thought to be from Old Crombie Parish church, including a larger slab with raised flange that could be part of an altar base.
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 2611

Bibliographic References:

Pre- Reformation churches - Fife & The LothiansWalker, J.R.1883Available at RCHAMS library Torryburn section. No page number in publication.
Ordnance Gazetteer of ScotlandGroome, F.H.1883Accessible through Visions of Britain website.
Discovery & Excavation, Scotland 2007I. Fraser2007Page 99. Recording made of early medieval stone. Sculptured red sandstone. Now located at inner lintel of a blocked window, 1.28m from ground, 4.6m from E end of S wall of ruined kirk. key pattern, beading.