Thomas Hamilton, 1826-30. 3-storey, 3-bay with recessed single storey wing, rectangular-plan, crenellated Tudor town house with prison and tower. Stone-cleaned sandstone ashlar to SE and NE, with narrow bands of squared rubble to SW and NW. Base course, string course and corbelled cornice below coped parapet. Angle turrets, corbels, hoodmoulds and label stops; stone transoms and mullions, and moulded arrises.
SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical; 2-stage tower to centre rising above flanking bays. Steps lead up to slightly advanced centre bay with 2-leaf panelled and studded timber door, tall 6-light transomed window to 1st floor giving way to small corbelled panel with clock face (damaged), over-arching hoodmould and small flanking oculi (blind?); whole flanked by polygonal buttresses rising to turreted pinnacles. Slightly lower flanking bays each with small window to ground and tall 4-light transomed window to 1st floor below corbelled parapet with small corbelled turrets to outer angles.
NE ELEVATION: almost full-width, gabled, single storey wing with small window to centre below blocking course, and further window in stone cross-finialled gablehead; polygonal buttresses giving way to small turrets at outer angles; further window on return to left, and boundary wall abutting return to right. 2 windows to recessed face at 1st floor, and 3 polygonal wallhead stacks grouped to centre above.
SW ELEVATION: ground floor with small window in bay to left of centre, 1st floor with tall bipartite window to right and stair window to left; grouped stack (as above) to centre.
NW ELEVATION: door to outer left at ground below small window at 1st and 2nd floors; glazed oculus to left of centre also at 1st and 2nd floors; small corbelled turrets to outer angles.
All windows blocked (1999) but upper lights of transomed windows retain multi-pane leaded glazing. Slates. Coped ashlar stacks with clay cans, and ashlar-coped skews.
INTERIOR: 3 vaulted cells to ground floor with turnpike stair from guard-room to chamber above. 1st floor council-chamber and court-room retaining 4-centred arch marble fireplaces with stop-chamfered jambs to NE and SW; mutule and foliate cornice; decorative cast-iron air vent; panelled timber shutters and architraves. Dog-leg staircase with decorative cast-iron balusters and timber handrail.
BOUNDARY WALLS, EXERCISE YARD AND RAILINGS: low flat-coped boundary walls with polygonal piers, some decorative cast-iron railings and arch to SE. Exercise yard to rear with high, flat-coped, dressed ashlar boundary to NE with blind gunloops and ogee-headed arches to right and left, former with crenellated parapet and flanking piers; turreted polygonal buttress to outer left. High rubble wall to W.
Statement of Special Interest
The Town House occupies the sight of St Leonard's Church which became a town house and jail after the Reformation, and was demolished in 1822 having been struck by lightening. As a royal burgh, Kinghorn's town house required both council-chamber and court-room as well as holding cells, but its design incorporating exercise facilities pre-empts the 1833 Municipal Reform Act. The cost escalated from ?1,707 to ?2,400 by completion in 1830, all coming from burgh funds except ?50 from Mr Ferguson of Raith. By 1906 Reid reports that the building was used for "public gatherings and entertainments, as a place of worship, as the meeting place of the Town Council, and for various assemblages of the civic and social arrangements of the burgh" (p19). The last council meeting held in the Town House was 1965, and the building has been empty for some years. In 1997 the Fife Historic Buildings Trust obtained an outline promise for Heritage Lottery Funding, but a suitable scheme has yet to be finalised.