Boarhills Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 56190 13680, map


Boarhills Church
Boarhills, St. Andrews. KY16 8PP
Boarhills Parish
KY16 8PP

Also known as:

  • Chesterhill Chapel (1867)



Boarhills Church lies south-east of St Andrews, close to the A917.   It is oriented east-west and was built south west of the village of Boarhills by the local architect, George Rae between 1866 and 1868.   It is in rolling countryside, on agricultural land and the sea is visible to the east.   The Rev. Robert Skinner, an Episcopal minister writing in 1870, describes the discovery of stone cists at the site of a new chapel at Chesterhill, which is almost certainly the church at Boarhills.   The presence of the cists suggests that the graveyard is older than the present building and that there was probably an earlier building on the site.    There are graveyards to the north and south, the latter still in use,   All of the gravestones face east.   

Description (exterior)

This is a rectangular, gable ended building built of sandstone, with a slate roof.    It  consists of a gabled central cell with a pitched, slate roof, a west porch and a transept to the north.

The east gable has a large three light window.   There are corbelled skewputts with decorative gablets at either end of the skew, and a wheel headed cross finial at the apex of the gable.   The south side  faces downhill towards the new graveyard.   It has four windows with Y- tracery.   The west gable is similar to the east.   It has an arched bellcote at the apex of the gable, although the bell appears to have fallen down and is not functioning.   The bellcote has a stone hood projecting over the edges, serving as a dripstone,  is capped by a fleur-de-lys and has gablet moulding around its base.   Below it is a heraldic shield in a stone frame.  The porch on the west leads into the church, through a recessed arched door.    The roof was formerly capped by a finial, now broken.   Its skew has corbelled skewputts with decorative gablets.   The north wall, without windows and of rough and undressed fabric, faces onto an older graveyard behind the church.   A small vestry extension is at the north east corner.   The building is in good condition;   repairs are evident on the east side of the bellcote.   All the windows are glazed with  coloured glass;   those on the south wall have two lights of small red and green panes and a repeated fleur de lys device.    There is a much larger, three-light window at the east end.

Description (interior)

This church is a simple rectangle, orientated with the sanctuary at the east end;   a small extension to the north east provides a vestry.    The church is entered from a west porch which gives direct access to the nave which consists of one central aisle between rows of pews.    There is a three lancet latticed clear glass window on the eastern gable, above the sanctuary, which is panelled and raised on two carpeted steps.    In the centre front of the panelling is the communion table, with minster's and elders' chairs behind.    The pulpit, to the north of the communion table, is small, and there is a font to the south, and also a lectern and electronic organ.   On each of the north and south walls founr clear glass double lancet windows with pointed arches light the church, the walls of which are also painted light.    All the furnishings and pews are of plain wood with a small amount of carved detail, and dedication plaques.    There are some memorials to past ministers and benefactors of the church, and war memorials for both world wars.

People / Organisations:

Church of ScotlandDenomination1867-NOW
Mr George RaeArchitect1865-1867


  • Church: Build/construction (1865 to 1867)
    The church was built by George Rae.
  • Porch: Build/construction (1867)
  • Church: Custodial Transfer (1903)
    Boarhills was disjoined St. Andrews and became a parish in its own right.
  • Church: Union (1965)
    Boarhills established a link with Dunino.
  • Church: Union (1993)
    Boarhills established a link with St. Andrews Martyrs.
  • Church: Union (1994)
    Boarhills and Dunino were united.

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 15835
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: Boarhills Parish Church
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34381
Records of Boarhills Kirk Session - HardcopyReference: GB 227 CH2/1541
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4668

Bibliographic References:

Note of Stone Kists Recently Discovered in the Neighbourhood of St. AndrewsRev. Robert Skinner1866-67Periodical:
Pages 255 - 256
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988Page 101