Vicarsford Cemetery Chapel

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 43860 25720, map


Address

Fife
Scotland

Also known as:

  • Lady Leng Memorial Chapel (1897)

Introduction

This fine A-listed memorial chapel with its surrounding cemetery, boundary walls and gate lodge were constructed between 1895 and 1897 by local architect Thomas Martin Cappon for the Leng family and in particular as a memorial for Lady Leng. The chapel is based largely on La Saint Chappelle in Paris although on a smaller scale. It is located on a prominent hill near Drumoig and Pickletillum and can be seen from quite a distance. The chapel was never intended to be a regular place of worship and is in fact non-denominational, which makes it a rare structure in Scotland with only a few other examples (such as the Mortuary Chapel in Arbroath).

J Dowling 2017


Description (exterior)

Vicarsford Chapel is a small and relatively tall Gothic structure. It is rectangular and has an apsidal southern end. It is built from fine coursed sandstone from Caen, France, and has a tall, steeply pitched roof which is clad in copper (and has weathered to create a striking green colour). Centrally placed along the ridgeline of the roof is a slender octagonal spire.

The walls of the chapel are heavily buttressed and feature a wealth of carved stone and dressings. The north wall and the southern apse feature tall, narrow pointed-arch windows with stone tracery and hoodmoulds, with a buttress inbetween each window. There is a shallow gabled porch in the north end of the east elevation, which has a recessed, pointed-arch doorway with carved details. The tall north gable of the chapel features a single, very large four-light pointed-arch window with quatrefoil stone tracery and leaded glass. Above the window is a round-arched ventilator in the tympanum. A stone cross finial surmounts the apex of the west gable. The west elevation features a very elaborate buttressed porch with much carving and detailing. Alongside is a three-bay vaulted arcade with traceried pointed-arch openings and fine finials.

J Dowling 2017

 

This memorial chapel for the Leng family, built in 1895-7 is apsidal,   heavily influenced by French Gothic design and bears a striking resemblance to La Sainte Chapelle in Paris, though on a diminutive scale.   The body of the structure is of coursed sandstone, imported from Caen, France with dabbed tool marks.   There is ashlar detailing around the quoins, doors and windows.    The oxidized copper roof is pitched with an apsidal east end which  is topped by an octagonal Gothic spire, pierced by pointed arches and decorated with foliage and gargoyles.


Description (interior)

The chapel is a private place of worship and so the interior has not been recorded. The outer arcade on the west side of the chapel is open to the elements and within can be seen the fine stone vaulted roof structure.

J Dowling 2017


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Mr Thomas Martin CapponArchitect1895-1897
Lady Mary LengBurial1894Memorial Chapel to Lady Leng.
Mr James BremnerSculptor1894sculptor.
Mr William Gillespie LamondArchitectC1898-1899archiect
Sir John LengBenefactor1897Had Vicarsford Memorial Chapel built. Had memorial chapel built.

Events:

  • Chapel: Build/construction (1895 to 1899)
  • Porch: Build/construction (1895 to 1899)
  • Porch: Build/construction (1895 to 1899)
  • Burial ground: Founded (c180 uncertified)

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4692
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M001009
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 8863
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 13476
Scran - Online databaseReference: 4692
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 100942

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Fife in History and LegendLamont-Brown, R.2002pp. 21-24.