Linktown Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 27830 91030, map


Address

Bethelfield Place, Nicol Street
Linktown
Fife
KY1 1TJ
Scotland

Also known as:

  • Linktown Church (1990)
  • Bethelfield Church (1831)
    This was the original name of the church.

Introduction

The congregation of Linktown was formed in 1737 as a dissenting church by seceders from Abbotshall Parish Church.   The site of the original church was at the point of junction between the parishes of Kirkcaldy and Abbbotshall, hence the name Linktown.    No trace survives of the original building of 1740 (site 10675).   The current building dates from 1831 with the new name of Bethelfield.   At first it was Bethelfied (Burgher) United Associate Congregation, becoming United Presbyterian in 1847, United Free in 1900, and in 1929 Church of Scotland.   In 1990 Bethelfield Church of Scotland united with Invertiel Parish Church (which was already itself linked with Auchtertool, site 2158);   Bethelfield was chosen as the place of worship, and the name Linktown was revived.   Records from 1797 onwards are held in the National Archives of Scotland (Ref. Ch3 846).   The church is on Nicol Street and sits at the junction of a busy crossroads in a fairly small precinct with a gravel driveway and paved footpaths. There are also grassed areas with trees and topiary.

A notable minister of Bethelfield Church was the Reverend Shirra in the 1770s, who is said to have saved the town of Kirkcaldy in 1778 from attack and plunder by the privateer, John Paul Jones.  The minister and his congregation prayed for help at the shore, and a storm blew up and forced Jones's ship to flee.


Description (exterior)

The church is constructed of sandstone with a slate roof.   It is on a plain rectanguar plan with a hall and modern extensions.   The main entrance is on the east gable, with three steps up to a large central doorway with a fanlight above.    There are also single doors at each end of the gable, set in round-headed window frames flanked by ashlar pilasters.   Flanking the entrance porch are two large round-headed windows with wooden astragals and large keystones.    Above these windows is a string course, with two smaller round-headed windows left and right of a central framed window with Doric pilasters.   A blind oculus is at the centre of the gablehead, which is surmounted by urn finials at the apex and outer angles.    The west and east gables largely mirror each other, as do the plainer north and south elevations.   These have four regularly spaced round-headed windows at ground floor and four above.  


Description (interior)

The interior is rectangular with a gallery on the east, south and north sides.    A raised wooden pulpit sits in front of now obsolete organ pipes and in front of the pulpit is a carved wooden communion table from the Bethelfield church.    Following the union with Invertiel Church the Invertiel communion table and font were incorporated into the existing furnishings of the Bethelfield church.    There is also a carved wooden lectern and memorial elders' chairs.    The congregation sits on wooden pews but there are chairs for the choir round a modern organ.   The gallery also has wooden pews.    Communion plate is displayed in a glass-fronted cabinet.   The vestibule houses memorials to past ministers, and to the fallen of the first World War.   The second World War is commemorated in a memorial garden.    Some of the windows in the church are of stained glass, the remainder being of clear glass.   One corner of the church and its window are commemorated as the 'Invertiel corner'.


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Secession ChurchDenomination1831-1847The congregation is said to have had been fairly volatile with many groups breaking away and joining.
United PresbyteriansDenomination1847-1900
United Free ChurchDenomination1900-1929
Church of ScotlandDenomination1929-NOW
Mr George HayArchitect1831
Reverend ShirraClergyman177Minister who is said to have saved the town of Kirkcaldy from certain plunder.

Events:

  • Church: Build/construction (1831)
  • Church: Build/construction (1897)
    Hall built.
  • Hall: Build/construction (1897)
  • Church: Addition (1952)
    Extension to rear
  • Church: Addition (1970)
    Extension to rear

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4636J. Dowling, A. Watters.
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 36388
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M003379
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 94278
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 4636Ann Watters
Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-108-879-C

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 280
The Kingdom of FifeLang, T.1951p. 53
Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches 1560-1843Hay, G.1957p. 258
Bethelfield Church 1831 - 1981Campbell, Rev. R1981