Limekilns Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 07830 83360, map


Church Street


 The Church and Manse are built on a geological feature known as The Upper Raised Beach, a bed of very firm sand originally deposited in primeval times.   The present Limekilns Parish church was reconstructed in 1826, from an earlier church which was built in 1785.    Before 1785 residents of Charlestown and Limekilns were required to travel to church at Dunfermline.    During the summer of 1824 when the current church was being built, the minister Revd Johnston is said to have held services in a tent in a field beside the village.    In 1882 the forthcoming centenary was marked by donations gifts, and money raised by the congregations which resulted in remodelling of much of the interior and the installation of stained glass memorial windows.   The construction of the notable Neo-Classical facade was facilitated by the seventh Earl of Elgin.   A particularly notable feature is the single span slated roof, designed to cover the building without "interruption of column".    The Church became a centre of worship for several denominations with the coming of Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard.


Description (exterior)

The ashlar sandstone used for the principal elevation was probably sourced from the same local quarries as that used for the Elgin estate at nearby Broomhall,  and the roof is of slate.   The other walls are harled, with cast iron rainwater controls which were manufactured at the Foundry near Charlestown.

The three bay south elevation is symmetrical with full width pediment and six giant order paired pilasters flanking the doorway and windows.   The central doorway is flanked by twin pilasters to either side of a square headed pedimented two leaf panelled door, which has a transom light with egg shaped astragal design, and ornate scrolled consoles to either side.   There are twelve pane timber sash and case windows to either side of the doorway, both pedimented and with scrolled consoles.   At first floor level there are three centred sash and case twelve-pane windows of smaller dimension to those at ground floor level.   There are raised dressings to the openings, eaves course and vertical margins to the arrises.

A path runs alongside the western elevation giving access to a hall at the rear of the building and car parking area.   As with the rear and eastern elevation, the walls are harled and have exposed margins with horizontal tooling to the windows and doors.    There are five large round headed ground and first floor windows with twelve-pane opaque patterned glazing to the ground floor.   There is a single panelled doorway to the right, now out of use.
There is a rubble wall with remnants of cement and lime harling to the boundary.

At the rear, to the north,  a single storey slated and harled extension obscures the rear elevation to ground floor level. There is a pair of round headed stained glass windows to the first floor flanked by two square headed timber sash and case windows with twelve-pane glazing.   Clear perspex covers have been placed over the the stained glass windows. Two small four-pane windows are towards to the gable apex with plain margins.   An open bellcote installed in 1911 is at the apex.   The original church bell has been replaced with electronic bells in memory of a long serving member.

The extension has a mansard style roof with a row of plastic glazed roof lights with zinc/lead flashing and ridging.   There are four square headed windows with bipartite bottom panes and tripartite glazing to the upper panes with privacy glazing. A doorway flanked by two windows is at the western elevation of the extension, with dog legged disabled ramp to ground floor level.

The eastern elevation is is almost identical to the western, with the exception of a door to the far left with disabled access ramp and low coped rubble wall to the boundary with the Manse.

Description (interior)

The main door gives access to a vestibule with a pair of staircases on either side, leading to a timber fronted gallery. Doors provide access to the ground floor of the church with painted walls and painted pews on either side of a central aisle. A raised pulpit against the north wall is accessed by stairs with balustrades.   On either side of the pulpit there are two stained glass memorial windows depicting Resurrection scenes.   Two replacement doors are at the base of the pulpit stairs, giving access to the rear extension. Cast iron columns support the gallery. Hymn boards are suspended to the left and right hand side of the gallery hand rail. An oak communion table is inscribed with 'Do this in remembrance of me' with carved roundels with a central crucifix, wheat sheafs and bowl of fruit detailing to the front.    This was gifted to the church, as were the Elders' chairs.    The organ was installed following an effort by the congregation to raise the necessary funds.

The upper gallery has seven sets of painted box panelled pews, with low doors at gallery level. There is a central ceiling rose and 1930s style hanging light fitments.

People / Organisations:

Earl ElginBenefactor


  • Church, first build, 1775-1776
  • Church: Build/reconstruction (1825 to 1826)
    The church was built as a United Presbyterian church in 1825 at a cost of �2000, and contained 1,500 sittings.
  • Church: Interior remodelled (1883 uncertified)
    Interior wooden furnishings designed by architects Ernest George & Harold Peto, made by Mitchell and Kinghorn.
  • Church: Addition (1911)
    Feature: Bellcote.
    Architect: Hippolyte J Blanc.
  • Bellcote: Addition (1911)

Archive References:

Limekilns Church of Scotland - Online databaseReference:
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M002904
Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-025-661-CImage: John R. Hume
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4676
Limekilns Church of Scotland - Online databaseReference: 4676A Personal Reflection by the Earl of Elgin

Bibliographic References:

Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland - GOR - ZETRev John Wilson (Ed)1857p. 335
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 313