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Kilminning Castle

Chapel (Period Unassigned), Long Cist Cemetery (Early Medieval)

Site Name Kilminning Castle

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned), Long Cist Cemetery (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Craighead Farm; Kilminning Chapel

Canmore ID 35358

Site Number NO60NW 8

NGR NO 6311 0865

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Crail
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO60NW 8 6311 0865.

(NO 6311 0865) Cists found (NAT)

OS 1:10000 map (1972)

Chapel and Graveyard (NR) (Supposed Site of)

OS 6" map (1919)

The remains of an old graveyard on Kilminning farm, now forming part of the stack-yard. When making some improvements on the farm about 60 years ago, the workmen found large quantities of human bones, from 3'-7' below the surface. Considerable quantities of human bones have since been dug up from time to time. This circumstance, together with the name of the farm is strong proof that a church or chapel also existed here.

Name Book 1854

No trace now exists of the chapel at Kilminning, which was dedicated to St Minin, the same saint who his name to St Monans. (Watson gives the saint of St Monans as Moinenn, Bishop of Brendan's monastery of Clonfert, who died in 572).

A rough bridge of stone slabs crosses the stream immediately SE of the stackyard at Kilminning. In the hillside (facing E) immediately W of the bridge, a number of cists have been found, each composed of 4 or more thin slabs. One or two protruded from the bank in 1891. Human bones lay under the adjoining turf.

E Beveridge 1893; W J Watson 1926

Kilminning farm now forms part of the Royal Navy Air Station, Crail, and the area has been completely levelled and grass planted. In a slit trench on the site, part of the war-time defences, the investigator found some human bones which were given to the Zoology Dept., St Andrews University.

Visited by OS (DS) 15 October 1956

(Location cited as NO 632 086). An emergency investigation was undertaken following the report of the disturbance of a burial at Craighead Farm, Fife Ness. This revealed an extensive long cist cemetery apparently terraced. On the level below this lay the foundations of what appeared to be an early building. Some of the burial ground is now ploughed up and the farmer handed in a spindle whorl from this area.

J C Greig 1967

No trace of this chapel and graveyard exists. The farmer at Craighead reports that quantities of bones are regularly ploughed up in the area centred on NO 6307 0873.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 27 August 1968

There is nothing to be seen at this site. Alongside a fence are a number of stone slabs which have been ploughed up and which may have come from cists. The OS siting would appear to be generally correct.

Visited by OS (JP) 22 May 1974.

NO 631 087 As part of the Crail Mains Drainage a screenhouse will be built adjacent to a long cist cemetery and a stone ruin, possibly a chapel (NMRS NO60NW 8). An archaeological evaluation of the area was specified by Fife Council Archaeology Service and was carried out in January 1997 by Headland Archaeology Ltd. Eight machine-stripped trenches were evaluated but no features of archaeological interest were noted other than the foundations of the demolished 19th-century steading of Kilminning Farm. It appears that the cemetery does not extend as far inland as the pipeline and it is probably restricted to the headland where the chapel ruin stands.

Sponsor: East of Scotland Water Authority.

M Dalland 1997.


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