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Inverkeithing, Queen Street, Museum

Friary (Medieval), Museum (19-20th Century)

Site Name Inverkeithing, Queen Street, Museum

Classification Friary (Medieval), Museum (19-20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Franciscan Friary; The Palace

Canmore ID 50940

Site Number NT18SW 21

NGR NT 12949 82757

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT18SW 21.00 12949 82757

NT18SW 21.01 129 827 Trial Excavation

(NT 1297 8274) Old Palace and Monastery (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1946)

In Queen Street the range of buildings being restored by the Town Council is the remains of the 'Palace' or hospitium of the Grey Friars. It dates mainly from the 14th century, with 17th century remodelling.

On the east side of the 'Palace' lay a court, the only remains of the buildings that once enclosed it being a range of three vaulted cellars (mainly 14th century) to the north. There were evidently other buildings in the orchard that extended eastward to the shore.

RCAHMS 1933; H Fleming

Brockie supplies a charter of Philip de Moubray, narrating his erection of a church and convent for the Friars Minor at Inverkeithing with an endowment from the lands of Barnbougle, 28 October, 1268. The authenticity of this charter is uncertain. This Franciscan Friary is mentioned in 1384/5, and again in 1559. The hospitium of the friary remains.

D E Easson 1957

The hospitium of the Franciscan Friars at Inverkeithing is now in use as a County Library: it has been restored and is in an excellent state of preservation. The cellars of the north range have been incorporated into a garden and pleasure ground scheme together with the foundations below soil here shown on RCAHMS plan which have been uncovered. The foundations are of more cellars, probably of the east range: in places, the walls survive to a height of the springing line. The well in the former courtyard (south-east of the hospitium) has been cleared and the well-head protected with an iron grille.

Visited by OS (AC) 11 March 1959


Publication Account (1981)

The early history of the friary is unclear, and in 1559 Mark Flucar, 'guardian of the Cordeliar Friars' set two acres of land belonging to the monastery to John Swyntoune. This charter was signed 'at the ruins of the said place' showing that the buildings had been partially destroyed (Millar, 1895, ii, 190).. Out. of the 'ruins of the said place', is a remarkable survival in the form of •the hospitium of the friary. 'The. Palace' or hospitium is located on the east side of Queen Street has the appearance of a late seventeenth century tenement, 'but on examination its walls were found to represent part of the western range of the cloister buildings and to date mainly from the fourteenth century' (RCAM, 1933, 153). Three-storeys in height, the building has an L-shaped plan with its wing projecting eastward in alignment with the south gable (RCAM, 1933, 153). It was known as 'Rothmell's Inn' after a seventeenth century owner and until early this century was used as a dwelling house. In the 1930s the town council converted it into a community centre, and in 1974, the upper floor was opened as a town museum (Inverkeithing Past and Present, n.d. ,2).

Information from ‘Historic Inverkeithing: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).


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