Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 9192 87587
309192, 687587


David Whyte, 1798-1800 with additions; session house to S and W porch (originally one of pair) constructed earlier-to-mid 19th century; hall extensions added to N/E later-late 19th century and 1985; alterations and interior recast 1897-99 by John Houston. 5-bay; rectangular-plan; plain classical former church (built as Secession chapel) with Renaissance porch added to S and other additions to N, E and W. Symmetrical design with pedimented gables with thermal windows to original structure. Coursed droved sandstone (less finely coursed to rear and side elevations) with lightly droved ashlar dressings. Base course to N and S elevations and to S porch; eaves course throughout. Segmental-headed lower windows. Architraved windows to main block; upper ones round-arched. V-jointed angle quoins to principal elevation; plain margins elsewhere. Coped gables.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 2-storey porch to centre; projecting ground floor rounded at edges; flat roof hidden by parapet above cornice. Slightly projecting entrance bay to centre; round-arched entrance with flanking Doric pilasters supporting entablature; 2-leaf panelled timber door with fanlight. Flanking windows to curved bays. Window to return to either side. Pedimented upper floor (possibly later) set back; 3 bays divided by Ionic pilasters supporting entablature with dentilled cornice (which continues to returns on both sides). Architraved window with frieze and pediment to centre; architraved flanking windows with friezes and cornices. Plain piers surmounted by urns project to either side at ground floor; single ground floor window to return to either side. Tall flanking round-arched windows set back to main block. Lower and upper windows to outer bays.

W ELEVATION: porch extension to centre; flat roof hidden by low parapet above cornice. Window to centre; round-arched entrance to right return; 2-leaf panelled timber door with fanlight. Flanking lower and upper windows set back to main block, all segmental-headed; round-arched window above. 3-light mullioned thermal window to pedimented gable; later urn finial at apex.

N ELEVATION: single storey hall extension to left wraps around corner of E elevation; round-arched traceried window to gable end to left; irregular fenestration to partially rendered piended-roofed section to right; entrance to right return; 2-leaf panelled timber door and border-glazed rectangular fanlight. 2 windows set back to right of main block. Central round-arched upper window; flanking pairs of segmental-headed upper windows.

E ELEVATION: single-storey ground floor extensions to left and right. 3-light mullioned thermal window to pediment; later urn finial at apex.

Multi-pane fixed timber frame windows (and 2 leaded stained glass ones) to principal elevation; mostly aluminium replacements elsewhere. Grey slate roofs; octagonal ventilator lantern with finalled conical roof to ridge at centre of main block. Small stack (with moulded round terracotta can) set back slightly from pedimented gable to S porch; slender brick wallhead stack added to N side; gablehead stack to hall extension to N.

INTERIOR: recast in 1897 and most of plasterwork decoration seems to date from this time, as do timber balustrades to pair of staircases to gallery. Semicircular-plan gallery supported on cast-iron columns probably original. Pair of large stained glass windows to S depicting scenes from Resurrection by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 1903; circular stained glass window to N (originally in S wall), apparently depicting Christ, circa 1875.

BOUNDARY WALL: encloses site on S, W and part of N sides. Coursed droved sandstone with ashlar coping; stepped up along terrace on which church is situated. Wide entranceway flanking steps to S; flanking Egyptian-style cast-iron lamp standards at top.

Statement of Special Interest

This former church occupies a significant place in the history of the Dissenting Movement. It was built to replace an earlier building (situated slightly to the S) which had been home to a congregation founded in the early 1740's by the Rev Ralph Erskine, one of the founders of the Secession Movement. It remained in ecclesiastical use (as a Church of Scotland Church) until 1998, when it was sold for use as a creche. It was unfavourably described in 'The New Statistical Account of Scotland' (1845) as 'rearing its enormous rectilinear ridge over all the other buildings in Dunfermline, the Abbey Church itself not excepted'. See separate list description for adjacent Statue of Ralph Erskine.



THE STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, VOL 13 (1794) pp444-45; appears on J Wood's PLAN OF THE TOWN OF DUNFERMLINE (1823); Rev Peter Chalmers, HISTORICAL AND STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF DUNFERMLINE (1844) pp 428-32. THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, VOL IX (1845) p872 and 896-97; appears with session house and porches on ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP, 5ft to 1 Mile (1856), Dunfermline Sheet 4; appears with hall additions to N/E on ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP, 1/2500 (1896), Dunfermline Sheet 8; PLANS and ELEVATIONS of erections of 1897 and 1932, Folder No 2149, Dean of Guilds Records, Dunfermline Council; John Gifford, FIFE, in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series (1988) p186; Bert McEwan, DUNFERMLINE - OUR HERITAGE (1998) pp235-36.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 13/12/2019 08:45