Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
Aberdour (Fife)
NT 19320 85468
319320, 685468


12th century small church with later additions, un-roofed 1790, restored 1925-1926. 12th century rectangular-plan nave with square-plan chancel, small squat N transept dated 1608 and 16th century S aisle with porch. Cubical ashlar to original church, ashlar to N transept, squared rubble elsewhere. Bellcote to W gable.

W ELEVATION: inserted late 16th century pointed arch window with 2-light tracery. Pilastered, corniced panel beneath window inscribed 'PANS O PILGRIM THAT PASSITH BY THIS WAY UPON THYN END AND THOU SAL FEAR TO SIN AND THINK ALSO UPON THE LATTER DAY WHEN THOU TO GOD MAN COUNT THEN BEST THOU NOW BEGIN?. Former 16th century W window to S aisle at right, converted to door in 17th century giving access to former internal gallery (gallery removed at time of restoration) to W, later blocked. Gable to right extends over S aisle to near ground level.

N ELEVATION: chancel; narrow, single light round-headed window, chamfered to arris. Advanced transept to nave; door set to left partly sunken beneath ground level, moulded string course above door, architraved window to centre surmounted by triangular pediment with inscription 'DPCM 1608', corniced memorial panel centred above door. Nave; narrow, single light window as chancel to left of transept, round-headed 16th century door later converted to window flush to right return of transept partly sunken beneath ground level. Small inserted square 17th century window set above door to right, aedicule to far right.

E ELEVATION: chancel; centred narrow single light round-headed window. Flanking aedicules; Tuscan columns with centred winged face surmounted by shaped pediment dated 1688 to left, angel face to pedestal surmounted by curved pediment with skulls to terminating ends dated 1723 to right. Blocked window to recessed S aisle to left of chancel.

S ELEVATION: sunken advanced gabled porch to far left; obtuse pointed arch to entrance, descending flanking stone steps. 3 evenly spaced chamfered rectangular windows to aisle, bipartite to right. Carved memorial panel to Robert Blair (minister at St Andrews and former chaplain to Charles ) dated 1666 set between 2nd and 3rd window. Recessed chancel to far right; doorway to left, 2 evenly spaced narrow single light round-headed windows with detailing as above.

Timber plank doors with nail studs (2-leaf to main entrance). Predominantly 1930s stained glass windows, 2 late 20th century 'millennium' stained glass windows to S aisle at centre and close to porch. Roof to nave extends over S aisle continuously to low S aisle wallhead. Angus stone slabs to roof. Crowstepped gables to nave and S aisle, raised ashlar skews to E gable of chancel and S gable of porch. Slightly projecting ashlar birdcage bellcote to W gable, dated 1588 with former bell of Dalgety Bay Church set within, chamfered rectangular openings to each face, eaves cornice below stone pyramid roof with ball finial.

INTERIOR: porch; stone benches to each side, centred rectangular doorway to church, roughly carved out benatura to right. W nave; exposed masonry of original 12th century church near to ground. 5 Morton family brass coffin plates fixed to wall. Projecting later 20th century timber balcony supporting J.W.Walker & Sons Ltd organ pipes flanking 2-light 16th century window. N nave; round arched opening from nave to barrel-vaulted N transept, floor to transept set above nave at same level as former nave door to left (now window). 20th century square timber pulpit to transept set behind timber screen. Single light to far right of nave with deeply splayed ingo. E nave; central arch opening to chancel with hoodmould. Timber carved pulpit to left by Scott Morton & Co, 1926. Stone font; 20th century polygonal shaft with earlier octagonal basin to right. S nave elevation leading to S aisle; 3- bay stone arcade running from E to near W, circular piers, cushion capitals with chamfered round arches. Timber chairs to nave by Design Furniture Group, 1973. Timber roof. S aisle; 3 rectangular splayed windows with deep ingos to base, timber roof with exposed rafters and purlins. Chancel; raised floor above nave, deeply splayed ingos to base of windows, fixed timber pews to side walls, central timber communion table with carved arcade detailing by Scott Morton & Co,1926, timber barrel-vaulted ceiling.

GRAVEYARD AND BOUNDARY WALLS: small graveyard surrounding church enclosed by random rubble boundary walls incorporating high garden walls of Aberdour Castle with triangular copes to N and W (a doorway to the far right of the W wall leads from the graveyard to the castle terrace). Lane to NE lined with collection of early 18th century finely carved headstones with shaped pediments.

Statement of Special Interest

NOTES: Ecclesiastical building in use as such. St Filan?s Church is a very good example of a simple, small Romanesque church with later 15th, 16th and 17th century alterations. St Fillan's fell into ruin after being de-roofed in 1790 however the church was carefully restored between 1925-1926. In the 15th century the church was enlarged by the addition of an S aisle, it was at this time the floor level in the nave dropped to accommodate the 3 circular piers inserted into the existing S wall. In 1474 the vicar of St Filan's, John Scot, besieged the Earl of Morton to grant an acre of land to the N of the church for the building of a hospice to deal with the large number of pilgrims who came to visit a holy well renowned for its eye healing qualities (the well was situated to the SE of the church, it is now drained and covered, 2002). In 1486 the right of rectorship to the hospice was taken away from the vicars of St Filan's and given over to the Sisters of the 3rd Order of St Francis, the hospice was swept away during the Reformation in 1560 and no traces of it remain. The slab set below the Gothic window to the W Gable with its inscription is a reminder of the pilgrims' visits to Aberdour, the stone originally stood nearby possibly on the pilgrim way from the hospice to the well. In the 16th century various alterations were made to the church including the gable walls being raised and crowstepped, the roof set at a steeper pitch, the gothic window in the W gable being inserted and the S porch added. In the late 18th century it is documented that the Countess of Morton was annoyed that the populace of Aberdour came to worship in such near proximity to Aberdour Castle (see separate listing), thus in 1790 St Filan's was abandoned and a new parish church set away from the castle was built on the High Street, this is now the church hall, 2002, (see separate listing). St Filan's lay abandoned and ruined throughout the 19th century. In 1914 Rev Robert Johnstone instigated the restoration of St Filan's and set about raising awareness within the local community, work began in 1925 after a large donation was made by a local family. William Williamson of Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn was appointed architect and local masons and joiners were employed to repair the walls and roof. The restoration was completed in just over a year and St Fillan's was re-dedicated and re-opened for worship on the 7th of July, 1926.




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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

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