St. Fillan's Cave, Pittenweem

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 54950 02570, map


Cove Wynd
KY10 2QP


St Fillan's Cave is a natural Y-shaped underground formation in a sandstone outcrop, a short distance north of Pittenweem's harbour. It is long associated with St Fillan, who is said to have resided here in around 640. There is a 17th century doorway at the entrance, along with a small window cut into the rock. The entrance doorway opens out into Cove Wynd, which is a narrow lane or path that leads steeply uphill from the harbour to High Street. The cave borders the original outer wall of Pittenweem Priory and monks carved a stairway and cellar in the cave, with an opening into the grounds of the priory. Since that time, the cave has been used for numerous purposes, including by smugglers, fishermen and as a midden. It was opened up again and restored in the 1930s and then in 2000, when the wrought iron gate or door was added. The cave is regularly open to visitors and, on occasion, religious services are held there, where a small stone altar is used in the eastern end of the formation. The cave is entrusted to St John's Episcopal Church in Pittenweem.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

Bishop Low TrustOwnerNOW
Priory of PittenweemOwnerC1221-1560See site 3744.
Reverend Walter de VoilClergyman1935Reconsecrated the cave.


  • Cave: Build/construction (1600)
    Wall and doorway constructed.
  • Cave: Restoration (1935)
    Cave cleaned out and an altar built.
  • Cave: Consecration (1935)
    Church was reconsecrated and rededicated.
  • Cave: Installed (1937)
    Installation of electric lighting.
  • Cave: Renovation (2000)
    The cave was refurbished.

Archive References:

Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-108-995-CImage Copyright: Edwina Proudfoot.
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 8141Image Copyright: Edwina Proudfoot.
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 39873The Priory- St. Fillan's Cave
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 39873The Priory - St. Fillan's Cave.
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34254 - Online databaseReference: Pittenweem
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 8141

Bibliographic References:

What to See in Pittenweem: A Guided WalkMartin, P.1994
Old PittenweemEunson, E.1999p. 28. Neuk Episcopal ChurchesSt John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Pittenweem.

St Fillan's Cave, Pittenweem. St. Fillan's Cave.