Kirkcaldy Old Kirk

 

Kirkcaldy Old Kirk is the oldest building in continuous use in town and today is a non-denominational Christian building. Founded by Columban monks from Iona in the 7th century, it was reconsecrated by the Catholic Bishop de Bernham in 1244. After the Reformation it became Kirkcaldy Parish Church, with Rev. George Gillespie playing a key part in securing Presbyterianism. In 2000 Kirkcaldy Presbytery united it with St.Brycedale, the former Free Church, as St. Bryce Kirk. Locally the building retained its name as the Old (or Auld) Kirk, by which it is now known. In 2011 Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust, formed from the localcommunity, purchased it from the Church of Scotland.The 15th century 7-metre square tower is the oldest part of the church, part of the Corpus of Mediaeval Churches in Fife, of middle or second pointed period, of rough ashlar sandstone blocks divided in two stages by a slight string course, rectangular in shape, measuring 28 feet by 24 feet, the lower walls being five feet thick. It was heightened at one time to increase the range of the bell, first cast in 1553 and recast several times but still rung today. The parapet walkway gives fine views over the town and the River Forth out to sea, with a unique historical perspective on the growth of the town.Adam Smith was baptised in the Old Kirk, the record from which his tercentenary in 2023 will be celebrated globally.In 1807 the early building became dilapidated and was replaced by the present design by Archibald Elliott, Edinburgh. The builder's financial difficulties resulted in shoddy work and the fall of the north gallery in 1828, a national disaster with 29 deaths. Rebuilt, an annexe was added with toilets and meeting-room in 1961, and a series of fine stained glass windows from Burne-Jones/Morris in 1886, John Clark in 1986, to Crear McCartney in 1994. The church was renovated internally in 1968, set on fire by vandals in 1986, restored again, and re-ordered in 2005 to its present orientation.

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