Gillespie Memorial Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09060 87590, map


Chapel Street
KY12 7AW

Also known as:

  • Gillespie United Presbyterian Church (1849)
  • Gillespie Memorial Church


The Gillespie Memorial Church has a history that stretches back to the mid 18th century. In 1752, local minister Thomas Gillespie left the Church of Scotland after a dispute and, with two other preachers, formed the Relief Church. Some time later, they united with the Secession Church to form the United Presbyterian Church. A church was built on this site in the later 18th century and there has been a church here ever since. The current building is the third church to be built here and is over 150 years old. It is located near the centre of Dunfermline in a semi-pedestrianised street. The Gillespie Centre (see separate site) is a former church which became the hall for the Memorial Church, and is still used by the church today as a community hub.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

Gillespie Memorial Church is a fairly large building and has coursed sandstone walls and a slate roof. There are small garden grounds to the front, at the western end, with impressive sandstone gate piers and walling. It is a rectangular building with galleries and a small rear hall.

The west gable forms the front, principal elevation of the church and it is faced with quality ashlar sandstone blocks. A large central bay extends forward from the gable and has tall, round corner buttresses that flank the  wide double doorway. There is a hoodmould above the door and a stringcourse above this. There is an impressive pointed-arch window in the centre of the bay, above the doorway, which features stained glass (recently refurbished) and stone tracery and hoodmould. On either side of the projected central bay are very tall, slender pointed-arch windows, with thick mullions, transomes and hoodmoulds. The corners of the west gable have very tall, angled buttresses, which are topped by ashlar pinnacles. A stone finial tops the gable.

The side aisles of the church are faced with sandstone blocks and feature five very tall pointed-arch windows that reach up to the wallhead. They have large panes of frosted glass, supported by metal tie bars. The rear gable of the church is largely featureless. There are numerous outbuildings attached to the rear, all single storey and with hipped, slate roofs and harled walls. They likely provide a hall, minister's room and other meeting rooms.

J Dowling 2017

Description (interior)

The interior of the church will be photographed and recorded shortly.

People / Organisations:

Mr Andrew BalfourBuilder1848-1849
United PresbyteriansDenomination1849-1900
United Free ChurchDenomination1900-1929
Church of ScotlandDenomination1929-NOW


  • Church: Build/construction (1848 to 1849)
    People: Andrew Balfour
  • Hall: Build/construction (1854-1891)
  • Church: Alteration/conversion (1882A)
    Interior altered at this time
  • Church: Installed (1947)
    Stained glass window by R. Douglas McLundie, c. 1947
  • Hall: Alteration/conversion (NOW0)
    Refurbishment planned.

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 92835
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M028260
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 26037
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: MO28260
Map Collections - Online databaseReference: XXXVIII.8.5Dunfermline Town Plan, 1894, Scale: 1:500
Map Collections - Online databaseReference: XXXVIII.8.5Dunfermline Town Plans, 1894, Scale: 1:500
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4685

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 185
A History of the \'Fitpaths\' and Streets of Dunfermline, Then and NowPitcairn, S.2007p. 95
Reid, Rev. A. G.2007Website: Website: