St. Bonach's Chapel

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 45460 21380, map


Pithlthie Road

Also known as:

  • St. Bernard's Chapel
  • St. Bennet's Chapel


This building is no longer in existence. The site may be under the car park or playground of Leuchars Primary School.    An article by William Reid in the 1909 volume of The Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland discusses a possible link with the Templars;   the site of the Leuchars primary school was formerly occupied by a chapel, and graves had been discovered on the site.
The Rev. Mr Kettle, minister of the parish of Leuchars, in the Statistical Account for the year 1795, states:  "A very little to the west of the present Church, once stood a Chapel called ' St Bernard's' Chapel. No remains of this Monument of Antiquity are now visible, the stones of it having been used for common purposes. Round where it stood are to be seen many graves, constructed of four and some of six stones (long cists). Some of these graves have lately been looked into, without affording anything worthy of being recorded."    He further mentions that there is near the west end of the village " an excellent well flowing with an abundant stream of soft water," called by the name of the saint to whom the chapel was consecrated. The minister gives the chapel the name of " St Bennet." He says, " Where the Parish School now stands, there was once a Chapel called ' St Bennets,' of which Sir Thomas Wemyss was Chaplain at the Reformation. No vestige of it now remains, but many human bones are found near the spot enclosed in stone coffins, which, being by no means entire, point to a remote date."    Leighton, in his History of Fife, repeats this story as to St Bennet's Chapel, and the discovery of stone coffins and human remains.    The next writer refers to the chapel being in existence before the present church.   Mr A. H. Millar, LL.D., F.S.A. Scot., in his Fife : Pictorial and Historical, referring to the founder of Leuchars parish kirk, says:�"Previous to the advent of Robert de Quincy to the district, the ecclesiastical establishment here was a chapel (Capella), which had apparently been endowed, if not founded, by Ness, the son of William, whose daughter was married to De Quincy. In a Bull of Pope Gregory IV., dated 1187, reference is made to the church (ecclesia) of Leuchars, and it is therefore probable that De Quincy had begun the erection of a more extensive building in addition to the chapel" .

Approximately thirty four cists were discovered under the playgound in Leuchars Primary School in 1908 and more were discovered in 1948.    See William Reid's article in the 1909 Volume of the Proceedings of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries, pp. 170-9 for more information.

Description (exterior)

Description (interior)

People / Organisations:

Mr William ReidResearcher1909


  • Chapel: Founded (0900 uncertified)
  • Burial ground: Consecration (b100)

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 33198
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4579

Bibliographic References:

Notice of the Discovery of a Group of Full Length Stone Cists at the School Hill, or Temple Hill, LeucharsReid, W.1909pp. 170-179