Earlsferry Chapel, Elie

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 48090 99390, map


Earlsferry Chapel (remains of)
Earlsferry, Fife. KY9 1AH

Also known as:

  • Ardross Hospital Chapel (1154)
    The hospital was founded by Duncan. fourth Earl of Fife for travellers and the poor.


The remains of this medieval chapel are located on a grassy headland overlooking the Forth Estuary in south-east Fife, a short distance south of the former fishing village of Earlsferry. It has been suggested that the chapel may have been built alongside a small hospital (attached to a nearby monastery) to tend to poor travellers, some of whom may have been making a pilgrimage to St Andrews Cathedral.  Nineteenth century historian D Hay Fleming noted that there was a similar chapel across the Forth Estuary in North Berwick (East Lothian) and that both chapels may have been attended to by nuns from North Berwick.

The remains of the chapel today consist of the east gable and a small section of the south wall, both of which are around a metre thick. The chapel is thought to have been approximately 13m by 6m and was built with rubble whinstone. Later concrete pointing provides some protection to the exposed gable top. A later panel set in the gable states that the chapel was built by MacDuff, Earl of Fife, in 1093 and repaired in 1830.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

Description (interior)

People / Organisations:

Earl Duncan Fifth Earl of FifeBenefactor12Granted to the chapel to the nuns at North Berwick.
Earl Duncan Fourth Earl of FifeFounder1154Founded the hospital at Ardross in 1154.


  • Chapel: Founded (1154)
    Ardross Hospital was founded.
  • Chapel: Custodial Transfer (1200)
    The chapel was granted to the nuns at North Berwick.

Archive References:

Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-025-755-CImage: Edwina Proudfoot
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 55108
Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-025-755-CImage copyright: Edwina Proudfoot
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4648

Bibliographic References:

Guide to the East Neuk of FifeFleming, D Hay1886Available as an ebook at http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usebooks/fleming-eastneuk/index.html See chapter on Earlsferry.