St. Columba's Parish Church, Glenrothes

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 26970 00910, map


Rothes Road


Under the terms of the New Towns Act of 1946 Glenrothes was to be provided with churches as well as other buildings.   St Columba's was built as a Church of Scotland church in 1960-61 by Wheeler & Sproson, taking its inspiration from the church at Burntisland (site 2183);   it has been A-listed, and is still in religious use at present. The church is in the centre of Glenrothes on a corner site at a road, west of the Kingdom Shopping Centre.

Description (exterior)

This is a square-plan church,  and has a hall to the west and a free standing tower to the south west.   The walls of the church are harled and there is timber on the upper sections.   The church has a glazed clerestory with stained glass, although this has been covered by corrugated plastic on the exterior to protect from vandalism.

The tower is to the south-west of the church and is free-standing.   It is triangular, built of steel in six stages    On the south elevation of the tower there is a wooden cross.

The harled hall is connected to the main church building by a single storey wing on the west elevation of the church.

Description (interior)

The main entrance to the church is from a g glass doorway to the south west corner.    A vestibule lead to a wide nave with congregationl seating on modern carved and painted wooden pews in blocks, separated by aisles, angled to face a wide sanctuary at the east end.    This is on a dais reached by shallow steps.

Along the rear wall of the sanctuary is a 59ft by 9ft mural - 'The Way of the Cross' - by Alberto Morrocco.

In front of the mural there is a stone and brick pulpit, and above it a plain wooden cross.   The remainder of the space on the dais is multi-purpose, for example by the use of a moveable communion table, or piano.   Organ pipes are mounted hight on the south wall with a console at the south east corner of the church, in front of a clear glass window.   

An important and distinctive feature of the church is the admission of light by a window on the upper level of the walls, reaching to the eaves, with a mixture of clear and coloured glass.

People / Organisations:

Wheeler & SprosonArchitect1958-1962When designing the church building, the architects were advised by Professor James Whyte, and other academics from the University of St Andrews, on how they could best express the Scottish Reformation in a building.
Alberto MorroccoArtist1962He produced the mural, 'The Way of the Cross', that is in the church building.
Heritage Lottery FundBenefactor2007Announced that they are planning to give church £95,000 to make repairs to the building.
J. W. Walker & Sons LtdCraftsman1961Made the church organ.


  • Church: Build/construction (1960 to 1961)
    The design of the church was based on that of Burntisland Parish Church (site 2183) and the building was meant to embody the Scottish Reformation.
  • Tower: Build/construction (1960 to 1961)
  • Hall: Build/construction (1960 to 1961)
  • Church: Consecration (1961)
    The church was dedicated on the 14th of April 1961.
  • Church: Renovation (2004)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 7779Researched by R. Scrimgeour, compiled by J. Dowling 18/11/03
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 49999
BBC News - Online databaseReference: 6439397
The Scotsman - Online databaseReference: 392912007
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 135542
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 7779

Bibliographic References:

http://www.visitscotland.comVisit Scotland2006St. Columba's Parish Church, Glenrothes and Markinch.
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 232
The Kingdom of FifePride, G.1999p. 82