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Dunfermline, St Catherine's Chapel

Almonry (14th Century), Almshouse (14th Century), Chapel (14th Century)

Site Name Dunfermline, St Catherine's Chapel

Classification Almonry (14th Century), Almshouse (14th Century), Chapel (14th Century)

Alternative Name(s) St Catherine's Chapel And Eleemosynary House

Canmore ID 49407

Site Number NT08NE 8

NGR NT 08928 87360

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Dunfermline
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Dunfermline
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NT08NE 8 0892 8736

St Catherine's Chapel and Eleemosynary House: The date of erection of this chapel and almshouse is unknown. They are not mentioned in any record until 1327 when their names occur in a charter in the register of Dunfermline, which states that they stood "without the port" (i.e. the West Port - NT08NE 7) which itself lay in the middle of St Catherine's Wynd.

E Henderson 1879.

(NT 0892 8736) St Catherine's Chapel and Almshouse: No conjecture can be offered as to the significance of the heavily buttressed wall of a structure of 14th or 15th century date which still stands in Pittencrieff Glen to the NW of the Abbey church (RCAHMS 1933). This is somewhat difficult to understand in view of the fact that the boundaries of St Catherine's yard with the pigeon house built theroen are defined as follows: 'between the tower or fortalice burn on the W, and the mansion or chapel of St Catherine on the E, the garden of William Durie on the N, and the common road on the S'. Before Bridge Street was built, the road to the W passed through Pittencrieff Glen (presumably over Tower Bridge - NT08NE 4). (Webster appears to be implying that the remains mentioned by the RCAHMS are those of St Catherine's Chapel and Almshouse.)

John de Auchtergaven as Almoner of Dunfermline Abbey is recorded c. 1420 as being engaged in rebuilding the 'Chapel of St Catherine Virgin' which was 'destroyed and demolished'.

RCAHMS 1933; RCAHMS 1948.

Other than the buttressed wall, there is no trace of any structures relating to the chapel and almshouse. No further information.

Visited by OS (D W R) 18 February 1974.

Site Management (22 April 2015 - 15 October 2015)

NT 08920 87360 (Canmore ID: 49407) Two-days of vegetation clearance and management were undertaken at the site as part of the Adopt-a-Monument scheme. The work involved the removal of weeds and vegetation from the buildings and surrounding land. The vegetation was either removed or treated with appropriate chemicals in order to help stabilise the building and control the growth of vegetation in the area. A basic elevation of the building was recorded by volunteers’ and in future years a full building survey is hoped to take place. The work was undertaken 22 April – 15 October 2015.

Archive and report: NRHE (intended)

Funder: HLF and HES

Phil Richardson and Cara Donald – Archaeology Scotland

(Source: DES, Volume 17)


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