St. Columba's Episcopal Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 18600 85100, map


Address

Inverkeithing Road
Aberdour
Fife
KY3 0SS
Scotland

Also known as:

  • St. Columba's Chapel
    Marked on 1921 OS 1:10,560 map.

Introduction

This cruciform plan church is situated directly beside the main road from Aberdour to Inverkeithing (A921),  in a grassy precinct with a small car park at the western end.      It was built in the first half of the nineteenth century, with various dates suggested for its construction (HS Listed Building Reports: 1830s, Gifford: 1845) but it is believed to have opened  in 1845.    It was built by the Moray Family for workers on their estate and their families.   It flourished particularly during the two world wars, when  many service families with Anglican roots, many of them associated with the Royal Navy, were stationed in the area.   For much of its existence the Rector of St Serf's, Burntisland (Site 4622), has had responsibility also for this church, and it is also closely associated with St Peter's Episcopal Church, Inverkeithing (Site 6108).     


Description (exterior)

The church is constructed from coursed sandstone with snecking, whilst the window margins and quoins are dressed ashlar. There is a bellcote on the western elevation.    A storm in 2012 damaged the bellcote, tower and cross finial, but they have been restored.

Separating the precinct from the road is a low rubble boundary wall with an entrance at the western end;  this has pyramidal coped ashlar gatepiers leading to the parking area and the main entrance to the church.    The entrance, which is on the west gable end,  consists of  an ashlar arched doorway, with a two-leaf timber door.    The doorway is flanked by nookshafts and there is a hoodmould above with carved label-stops.    Above the doorway is a tripartite lancet window with lattice panes and hoodmould above;    the central window is raised and dominant.   In the gablehead there is a niche with a moulded corbelled base. Above the niche there is trefoil detailing which forms the base of the ashlar constructed bellcote.    The bellcote has a large pointed arched opening with a hoodmould above it on the principal face, gablet detailing to each of the four faces and a decorative stone cross finial on top.  The saw-toothed skews on the roof end in gablet detail skew-putts.

On both north and south elevations of the  nave wall there are two pointed lancets with lattice panes and hoodmoulds above. The advanced gabled transept at the eastern end has a large plate-taceried double lancet window with a central quatrefoil above;   the openings all have lattice panes and the window has a hoodmould above. There is a niche with corbelled base in the gablehead and the elevation is topped by saw-toothed skews which end in gablet detail skew-putts.

In the eastern chancel gable end  there is a large tripartite lancet window, the central section of which is raised and has a stained glass cross inserted in the central light.


Description (interior)

A small vestibule leads by two doors to the west end of the nave.    At the eastern end there are two shallow transepts the northern one of which houses the organ and the southern has been curtained off and serves as a vestry.   A gallery at the west end has been enclosed with a glass screen and serves as a meeting room.    The roof is arched with supporting pilasters;   the interior of the nave is plastered with cream coloured paintwork over the lower part and the upper part between the arches painted turquoise blue.    Congregational seating is on wooden pews.with cushions matching the turquoise colour.   The sanctuary is raised by one step from the level of the nave, where the central altar is draped with an altar cloth.  Carved wooden panelling runs the length of the east wall behind the altar.    The sanctuary also houses a credence table and officiant's prayer desk.    At the northern corner of the sanctuary is a carved wooded pulpit, and a wooden lectern stands at the southern corner.    The cross in the central light of the east window was commissioned by a member of the congregation in memory of her husband in 2002.    There are several brass memorial plaques on the south wall, and on the north wall there is a framed history of the church with details of the life of St Columba.   



People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Episcopal ChurchDenomination183-NOW
MorayBenefactor183Built by the Moray family for workers on their estate and their families.

Events:

  • Church: Build/construction (1830 uncertified)

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 92008
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 49678
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 6107

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 60