Townhill and Kingseat Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 10620 89420, map


Address

Main Street
Townhill
Fife
KY12 0HU
Scotland

Also known as:

  • Townhill Parish Church
  • Townhill and Kingseat Parish Church
  • Townhill Free Church

Introduction

This building is in a large precinct in the centre of Townhill, Dunfermline.   It was originally built in the village of Townhill as a Free Church to sit four hundred people and is now one of the two churches in a united parish, the other being in the neighbouring village of Kingseat.

The church is at the back (east) of the precinct, which is fronted by low coped rubble walls topped with iron railings and there are metal gates in the centre of the wall.   A second entrance to the precinct on the southern side of the church is formed from large brick built and harled gatepiers which may mark the original entrance.   An ashlar built World War I memorial stands near the front (west) of the precinct. It is square, set on a two stage stepped base. On each face there is an inscribed metal memorial panel with flanking pilaster detail.   It is topped by a stone dome.


Description (exterior)

The principal elevation is constructed from pink coloured sandstone, as are the buttresses and window margins whilst the rest of the building is rubble built, suggesting that the building may have been harled at one time.

In the three bay western elevation the central bay (the nave) is separated from the lower outer bays (side aisles) by tall buttresses with gablet detail extending past the height of the wall. A  central pointed arched doorway with two leaf timber door is at the top of a flight of stone steps.   The doorway is flanked on either side by small pointed arched windows.    A continuous hoodmould goes over and around the door and windows and extends into a string course round the side aisles.   Above the central string course in the central bay are a pair of two light pointed arched stained glass windows with hoodmoulds above them. In the gablehead there is a blind roundel with two spiralling mouchettes and a hoodmould above and above this there are three arrowslits.   There is a stone cross finial on the apex of the gable.   On the return to the south there is a small bell attached to the building. The two outer bays are blank in the lower stage whilst in the upper stage there is a tripartite square headed window just below the eaves course.

On the north, the face of the side aisle is divided into six bays by five buttresses.   In the westernmost bay there is a blocked square headed doorway and a rectangular window at first floor level. I  n the next bay there is what may be a later insertion roundel. The four easternmost bays have pointed arched windows with square quarries, excluding the central bay which has stained glass.

The eastern elevation is mostly obscured by a later addition harled hall with slate roof.

In general the southern elevation mirrors the northern, with the exception of the two westernmost bays. In the westernmost there is a rectangular window in the centre of the bay, whilst the bay next to this has a pointed arched window, as do the other bays in this face.



Description (interior)

The interior of the church is rectangular with a pitched timber roof.   The main entrance is from the west, facing the sanctuary which is at the east end.   There is a west gallery, and in the nave north and south aisles separate block of bench-like wooden pews.    The walls have waist-high panelling above which they are painted light.   Light comes from five tall pointed arch windows on the north and south walls and from a three lancet stained glass window on the upper level of the east gable.    The aisles and sanctuary area are carpeted.

The sanctuary is on a dais reached by shallow steps.   The pulpit is in the centre of the east wall;   it is of carved wood with access stairs on either side.    The plastered wall behind the pulpit features an ornamental curved and pointed arch with a simple wooden cross in the centre.    In front of the pulpit stands the carved wooden communion table, and there are also three chairs for the officiants.    On the north side of the sanctuary is a free-standing font, and a similar wooden lectern is to the south.    Doors on the east wall on either side of the pulpit area lead to ancillary rooms.   There are some memorials on the walls.


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Free ChurchDenomination1896-1900Original denomination of the church.
Church of ScotlandDenomination1929-NOWPresent denomination of the church.
Mr Thomas Hyslop UreArchitect1893-1896

Events:

  • Church: Build/construction (1893 to 1896)
    Opened 15th April 1896.
  • War memorial: Build/construction (1919A)

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 218708
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M023902
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 7765

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 187