North Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 08600 87900, map


Address

Golfdrum Street
Dunfermline
Fife
KY12 8DG
Scotland

Also known as:

  • Buffies Brae Church

Introduction

Originally built as a chapel of ease in 1840, this church is on the northern side of the town at the top of a slope which rises up from the south. The location of the church with its prominent bellcote and spire on the principal (south) elevation makes the church visible from a distance. A hall was built at the back of the church in 1886 and this was further extended in the late twentieth century. In the early 1980s the church was closed for approximately four years while work was carried out to repair damp and rot in the building. During this time the congregation met for services in the church hall and once a month they worshipped with the United Free Church on Chalmers Street (site no. 6199).


Description (exterior)

The church is constructed from coursed tooled sandstone with a polished ashlar principal elevation.   The roof is of slate.

The southern elevation has three bays.   In the centre of the advanced central bay is a round arched doorway with a two leaf timber door with fan light above.   This fanlight has a stained glass representation of the burning bush with Latin text either side.   The angular hoodmould over the doorway continues as a band course out to the edge of the central advanced bay.   On either side of the doorway, above the band course, is a large round arched multi-pane window with red coloured glass borders and Y-traceried detailing at the apex.   There is a similar smaller window between these two larger windows (above the door).   All these windows have hoodmoulds above them.   There is a marble war memorial panel to the east of the door. The outer set back bays are blank.   A corbelled bellcote projects from the apex of the roof
In the western elevation there are four square headed windows and a square headed door (at the southern end of the face) at ground floor level and this doorway has a hoodmould above it.   There are five round arched openings at first floor level.

The northern elevation is mostly obscured by the later (1886) hall which extends across the face from east to west (see hall section). The tops of two round arched windows (with similar detailing as those on the south face) can be seen above the hall. There is a chimney on the apex of the gable.

The eastern elevation mirrors the western elevation.


Description (interior)

The door on the southern side of the church leads into a porch area which has rib vaulting in the centre of the ceiling.   On either side of the entrance porch are flights of stone steps which lead up to square headed doors which give access to gallery level in the nave of the church. There is a timber World War II memorial  in the centre of the back (north) wall of the porch and on either side of this memorial there are doors which give access to the nave.   Most of the timber pews were removed from the nave in the early 1980s (due to problems with damp and rot) and have been replaced with plastic stacking chairs.   There are some pews remaining on either side of the raised chancel.   At the back of the chancel there is a large organ by Walcker of Ludwigsburg which was donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1903.   There is a timber pulpit in front of the organ which is of the same date;   this has steps leading up to it on either side.   At the back of the church, on either side of the chancel, there are small rooms, one of which originally served as a vestry, which is now in the later twentieth century hall extension.   Above the nave, on the south, east and west sides, is a gallery supported on fluted cast iron columns;   in the gallery there are boarded timber pews.

An ashlar constructed square plan corbelled bellcote overlaps the apex of the principal gable. At the base of the southern face there is a timber clock face.   In the upper stage, in each of the four gableted faces, there is a round arched louvered opening.   An octagonal stone spire projects from the top of the bellcote.

A hall was built adjoining the northern end of the church in 1886.  


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Church of ScotlandDenomination1840-NOW

Events:

  • Bellcote: Alteration/conversion
    Spire reduced in height after lightening damage.
  • Church: Build/construction (1840)
  • Bellcote: Build/construction (1840)
  • Church: Build/construction (1886)
    Hall and vestry built adjoining the northern side of the church (see hall section).
  • Hall: Build/construction (1886)
    Hall and vestry built adjoining the northern end of the church.
  • Church: Alteration/conversion (1980 to 1984)
    The roof was raised, the floor taken up and the pews removed due to damp and rot.
  • Hall: Addition (1980 uncertified)
    Hall extended to the west.
  • Church: Installed (1990 uncertified)
    New windows installed in the late 1980s-early 1990s.
  • Hall: Build/construction (2000)
    Back (north) wall of the hall extension rebuilt due to problems with damp.

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 92847
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 7763Robert McEwan
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 45779
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 7763

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 185
Annals of DunfermlineHenderson, E.1879Chapter 9, part 9.