St Leonard's Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09570 86920, map


Brucefield Avenue


This church is in the Brucefield area of Dunfermline.    With its prominent circular plan tower it was built using a bequest from William McLaren, a manufacturer from Dunfermline. It  replaced an earlier �tin kirk�, known as the Brucefield Church (site no. 10581), which was on a site adjacent to  the current church. It is in a precinct surrounded on the south and west by low sandstone rubble walls with piers and topped with iron railings.   There are higher stepped rubble walls with coping to the north.    On the south side there are two sets of entrance gates with gate piers with crosses in the coping. There are two church halls in the church precinct.   The older hall (constructed in 1908) is orientated north-south and is to the east of the church. The new hall (built in 1987) is orientated east-west and is to the north of the church.    A single storrey passageway connects the church and the halls.

Description (exterior)

The church is built from coursed squared sandstone rubble, with droved ashlar margins and a slate roof.    In a central position in front of the nave on the south wall is a single storey aisle with lean-to roof, which is shorter than the nave at both the east and west ends.   In the aisle there are three pairs of round arched windows and there is an additional narrow round arched window on the west side of the aisle. To the west of the aisle is a gabled porch with round arched doorway, and to the east a gabled transept projects outwards past the aisle. This has a narrow round arched window with hoodmould in its south face.   In the nave at clerestory level there are four round arched windows.   The three above the aisle are shorter than the westernmost window, which contains stained glass.    The south east corner of the building is obscured by the tower.

The two stage west elevation has a central buttress separating two large round arched stained glass windows in the second stage.   A stone wheel cross finial is on the apex.

The north elevation is mostly composed of a full height side aisle, which is shorter than the nave at the western end. In the area between the north aisle and the north-west corner of the building is a bay with a lean-to roof.   On the west side of the bay there is a square headed roll moulded doorway with a small rectangular window offset to the north.   In the north wall of the aisle there are four pairs of round arched windows at ground floor level, two of the central windows being of stained glass. In the upper storey of the aisle there are four shorter windows, and on the west wall of the aisle there is a tall round arched window at clerestory level, above the lean-to roof of the outer bay.

The three bay east elevation is composed of the central gabled nave; the north side aisle and the south transept, which is obscured by the large tower.  Extending from the central bay is a semicircular conical roofed apse which has two round arched stained glass windows on either side of the centre;   these are covered with metal grilles. Projecting east from the north aisle is a passageway connecting the older hall with the church.

The large six storey circular plan tower is at the south east corner of the church. There is a round arched roll moulded doorway on its east side, and three small windows on alternate faces in the lower floors.   On the upper floors there are arrow slits on alternate faces.    At belfry level there are four round arched openings with nook shafts and a cross on top of the conical roof which has a lightening conductor attached to it.

Description (interior)

People / Organisations:

Church of ScotlandDenomination1904-NOW
Peter MacGregor ChalmersArchitect1903-1904
William McLarenBenefactor1903St. Leonard's was built with a legacy from William McLaren, a Dunfermline manufacturer.


  • Church: Addition
    Addition of single-light stained glass window depicting King David with text \"To the Glory of God and in Memory of King James I 1394-1437, Princess Elizabeth 1596-1662, King Charles I 1600-1649 Who were all born in the Royal Palace of Dunfermline\"
  • Church: Build/construction (1903 to 1904)
    Opened 17th September 1904.
  • Tower: Build/construction (1903 to 1904)
  • Hall: Build/construction (1908)
    Date of construction of the older hall.
  • Hall: Build/construction (1987)
    Addition of new hall adjoining the northern side of the church.

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 92819Church
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 222634Church hall
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 26024
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 92819
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 222634
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M001181
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4683

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 186