St Joseph's Catholic Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 23420 86380, map


Cowdenbeath Road
Cowdenbeath Rd


The Catholic congregation in Burntisland in the 1870s was small and as a result they met in various small temporary locations, such as a sail loft. However, the growing shale oil industry brought increasing numbers of Catholics to the area and larger premises were therefore required. For a short time Masses were held in the Burgh Chambers (site 10498) but after charges were imposed for each meeting it was decided that new premises were required. In 1886 the church moved to the Lochies Schoolrooms on Kinghorn Road. The Catholic congregation continued to grow and by 1930 the number of Catholics in Burntisland, Kirnghorn and Aberdour was sufficient to sustain their own parish. As such St. Joseph�s Roman Catholic Parish based in Burntisland came into being on 5th October 1930; before this Burntisland had been part of Kirkcaldy�s St. Marie�s Parish. By the 1970s the building was proving to be too small for the growing congregation so that the old Drill Hall on Cowdenbeath Road was purchased and a hall and two-storey house for the priest were constructed at the front (north) of the site next to the road. The door to the house is on the northern elevation and there is a single storey extension with garage joined to the west end of the house.

The site is therefore composed of three buildings; the building first visible from the main road is the Priest's house, behind this is the hall and the church building (which is in the old Drill Hall) is set behind and east of this. The house and hall are orientated roughly east-west whilst the Drill Hall is orientated roughly north-south. The site is separated from the road by a coped and stepped red brick wall. There is a paved car park and large grassy area at the back (south) of the site and housing to the east which is set on higher ground than the church complex.

Description (exterior)

This is a harled brick building, with a corrugated iron roof.  

The entrance is at the northern end of the western wall, where there is an advanced gabled concrete block and harled porch which may be a later addition.   There is a square headed glass panelled wooden door set in the porch.   There is a small notice board on the southern side of the door. There is another doorway with a painted frame at the southern end of the elevation but appears that this door is not in use.    Five square windows are along the top of the face, four of which are to the south of the gabled porch and one to the north. The plain glass has a cross design incorporated into it. Small flower pots are positioned in front in the wall.

The north wall hosts two rows of horizontal rectangular windows;  four at ground floor  and three on the upper floor. There is a black painted metal cross in the centre of the elevation between the rows of windows and avent pipe protruding from the wall above the window at the eastern end.
At the eastern wall, the brickwork is exposed and painted  rather than harled. The wall is windowless and abuts the slope of the adjoining housing development, which is set on a higher level than the church building.

At the south wall are three bricked up windows on the upper level; the bricks have been painted.    There is a painted metal cross in the gable head, above which there is a small square opening which is blocked up further back.

Description (interior)

The western end of the building appears to be used for storage; there are piled up chairs visible through the upper storey windows and there is possibly a small kitchen on the lower storey.

People / Organisations:

Mr Iain SommervilleResearcher
Roman CatholicDenomination1974-NOW


  • Church: Build/construction (1970)
  • Hall: Build/construction (1974)
  • House: Build/construction (1974)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 6629