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St Andrews, St Leonard's School

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned), Grave Marker (Period Unassigned)

Site Name St Andrews, St Leonard's School

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned), Grave Marker (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 34306

Site Number NO51NW 22

NGR NO 5134 1653

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish St Andrews And St Leonards
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife


St Andrews, St Leonard’s School, Fife, shrine tomb

Measurements: L 1.04m, W 0.27m, H 0.56m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: NO 5139 1656

Present location: in St Leonard’s School, St Andrews.

Evidence for discovery: found in 1895 when the site was being prepared for the new St Rule’s boarding house for St Leonard’s School. It was associated with a cemetery of dug graves, and there were two inhumation burials beneath the stone and a plain upright slab at either end of the monument.

Present condition: weathered.


This shrine tomb was carved from a solid block of sandstone in the shape of a gabled house. Below a plain ridge, there are three rows of tegulae on the sloping roof, beneath which the sides are vertical and plain. The gable-ends are vertical and carved in relief with a Latin cross with an inner incised line.

Date range: eleventh century.

Primary references: Hutcheson 1895; Lang 1974, 231.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2019

Archaeology Notes

NO51NW 22 5134 1653.

Cross and coped sepulchral monument. "The fragment of the cross is characteristic of the crosses of the pre-Norman period in Scotland...a plain Latin cross. Only the top and two horizontal arms remain, the shaft being broken off." The coped monument "in size and shape bears a striking resemblance to the so-called 'Hedda's Tomb in Peterborough Cathedral...It is another link rather with the North of England than with Scotland, and may quite possibly date nearly as far back as the time of the Bishop Acca (died AD 740).

A Hutcheson 1895

(Area NO 5134 1653) St Andrews. On 30th March 1894 while a road was being made from the Hospitium Novum to the Sanatorium of St Leonard's School, nine rude, full length stone cists were found and a tenth discovered three days later.

In March of the following year, when the foundation was being prepared for St Leonard's School boarding house, since known as St Rule's, another stone cist and a number of skeletons without cists were found. The number of skeletons was estimated by the workmen to be from 30 to 60. With the latter were found a shrine-shaped monument and a free-standing cross.

The shrine-shaped stone is 3ft 9ins long, 22ins high and 10ins broad; the sides are quite plain but on each end there is a Latin cross in relief, thought from the toolmarks to be of later date...On each side of the sloping top there are three rows of conventionalised roofing-tiles. According to the labourers who found it...two skeletons were beneath the monument...and a rude slab stood at each end of the stone.

The cross was 5ft 6ins high and had an incised line running round the border on both back and front. Both the Celtic stones are now in St Leonard's School."

D H Fleming 1931


Field Visit (29 May 1964)

No further information was found regarding this burial ground or the cist found in it. The cross and the shrine-shaped stone were seen in St Leonards School.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 29 May 1964.


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