Erskine Church, Burntisland

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 23830 86280, map


James Park

Also known as:

  • Burntisland United Free Church
  • Erskine United Free Church


This striking church was built in Burntisland in 1903 as a Free Church to replace an 18th century church of the same name (see separate entry). It is located on a prominent site, overlooking The Links parkland and then south across Burntisland's expansive bay and the Firth of Forth. It sits within small garden grounds on a corner plot and there is housing to the north, west and east.

J Dowling 2017


Erskine Church is dominated by its tall tower at the south-west corner and there is a large nave, chancel and attached halls to the rear. It is built of coursed yellow sandstone, with ashlar corner stones and dressings. The roofs are all slated.

The south face is the principal elevation and comprises the tower and gable end of the nave. The tower is square and of four stages and incorporates a slender, octagonal stair turret which rises into a spire with small lancet bell openings. The main entrance to the church is in the south face of the tower. Twin rectangular doors are recessed into an impressive round-arch doorway with carved sandstone mouldings. The tower has a number of narrow slit lancet openings and there is a clock face on the south face. The fourth stage of the tower, near the top, features large lancet openings with stone tracery and louvres. The top of the tower is finished with a Romanesque parapet with blind arcading and hoodmould. Partially hidden by this parapet is a slated, hipped roof over the tower. The south gable of the nave has buttressed margins and twin ogee windows at ground floor level. Above is a single, large round-arched window with stone tracery and leaded glass. The gable is topped by a stone celtic cross finial.

The east elevation of the church has a narrow side aisle and there is a pointed-arch doorway and porch at the southern end. There are small, twin windows at ground level and large round-arch windows above, linked by a thick stringcourse. The west elevation is simmilar to the east, although there is no side porch. At the northern end of the church there is a narrow, gabled chancel attached to the nave, with a single pointed-arch traceried window in the centre. Attached to this is a fairly large (likely contemporary) single-storey hall and session house.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

United Free ChurchDenomination1903-NOW
James ShepherdBenefactor1903James Shepherd of Rossend Castle in Burntisland gifted the site for the church.


  • Tower: Build/construction (1902 to 1903)
  • Hall: Build/construction (1902 to 1903)
  • Church: Build/construction (1903)
    Opened 14th october 1903.
  • Church: Addition (1921)
    Stained glass window opposite the pulpit presented by Mrs William Inglis in memory of her husband and his parents.
  • Church: Addition (1922)
    The organ by Messrs Hilsdon of Glasgow was installed as a Congregational War Memorial.
  • Tower: Addition (1925)
    A single dial clock with Westminster chimes by Gillett & Johnstone of Croydon was a gift from Miss Macomish in October 1925.

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 22850
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M013264
Scran - Online databaseReference: 4621
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4627