St Leonard's Chapel and Hospital

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09760 86660, map


Address

St. Leonard's Street
Dunfermline
Fife
KY11 3AY
Scotland

Introduction

A thirteenth century chapel and hospital were situated just to the east of Dunfermline town centre on a site now occupied by the oldest part of St Leonard's School. It is possible that they were established by Queen Margaret, wife of Alexander III (1249 - 86), when many other St. Leonard's hospitals were established. The hospital supported eight widows and was also possibly a leper hospital at one time.   It is unclear exactly when the chapel was destroyed but it may have been in the mid seventeenth century by the remnants of the Cromwellian army after the battle of Inverkeithing.    There was a burial ground associated with the chapel and hospital and although the associated buildings were probably destroyed in the mid 17th century the limits of the burial ground were still clear in the mid 19th century. It was disturbed in the later part of the 19th century and partially excavated in 1975. It was also identified when the Asda supermarket was constructed in the later part of the 20th century.   There are now no visible remains of the chapel and hospital.


Description (exterior)

 

 


Description (interior)


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Pre-reformation Church of ScotlandDenomination127-1560
Queen MargaretFounder127Likely that the chapel and hospital were founded by Queen Margaret, the wife of Alexander III (1249 - 86), when many other St. Leonard's hospitals were established.
Church of ScotlandDenomination1560-1651

Events:

  • Hospital: Build/construction (1000-1200)
    Tradition states that the chapel and hospital were founded by King Malcolm III (1031 - 1093) and Queen Margaret. A more likely possibility is that it was founded in the reign of a later Queen Margaret, the wife of Alexander III (1249 - 86), when many other St. Leonard\'s hospitals were established.
  • Hospital: Destruction/demolition (1651 uncertified)
    The chapel was likely destroyed by remnants of the Cromwellian army after the battle of Inverkeithing, 19th July 1651.
  • Hospital: Build/construction (1851)
    Steam-powered weaving factory constructed on the site of the chapel by Messrs Erskine Beveridge and Co. (now demolished).
  • Burial ground: Excavation (1890)
    Many bones exposed at this time, suggesting graveyard had been disturbed.
  • Burial ground: Excavation (1975)
    Some 40 skeletons were excavated at this time.

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 48325
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4652

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
The Scottish Burgh Survey: Historic Dunfermline, Archaeology and DevelopmentDennison, E.P;Stronach, S.2007pp. 25, 38, 61, 95, 115