Markinch Parish Church

Markinch Church, exterior, south flank 1

Summary description

The west tower, parts of the nave west wall, and possibly parts of the east wall survive from an early twelfth-century three-compartment church; heraldic evidence also points to later medieval work. A lateral north aisle was added in the mid-seventeenth century. Further works date from the mid-eighteenth century, 1788, 1806-7 and 1883-85. 

Historical outline

Dedication: St John the Baptist and St Drostan(1)

One of the most ancient parish churches for which a history can be traced, Markinch was granted c.1055 by Bishop Maoldhùin of St Andrews (c.1028-1055) to the celi dé of Loch Leven.(2)  Around a century later, between 1152 and 1159, Bishop Robert of St Andrews made a grant of twenty bolls of cheese and a pig annually from Markinch as part of the renders owed to the monastery of Loch Leven when he granted it to Robert, prior of St Andrews.(3)  Between 1165 and 1171 the possession of Markinch by the priory of St Andrews was regularised by Earl Duncan II of Fife, who gave the church to the canons.(4)  Around the same time, Bishop Richard of St Andrews made over his rights in the church to the priory, reserving only his episcopal rights, and confirmed this also in a general charter of all of the priory’s properties in his diocese.(5)

A first royal confirmation of the priory’s possession of Markinch came from King William between 1165 and 1169, confirming the church with a toft and its teinds as gifts of Aedh II, son of Aedh I, son of Gillemichel, earl of Fife.(6)  This was followed by a second confirmation by William in 1173 x 1178, whereby he confirmed the church of Markinch with its lands, teinds and dependent chapel of Kettle as gifts of Duncan II, earl of Fife, and again in 1189 x 1195.(7)  In 1228 King Alexander II confirmed the priory’s possession of Markinch with lands and teinds as a gift made by Earl Duncan II.(8)  Earl Duncan’s grant was also confirmed by his son, Earl Malcolm, between c.1180 and 1204.(9)  St Andrews’ possession of the church was further secured in general papal confirmations from popes Gregory VIII in 1187, Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(10)

Despite the wording of early grants it seems that the priory still only enjoyed the advowson of the parish church, which was confirmed to again them in 1246 by Pope Innocent IV, but in 1240 Bishop David de Bernham had granted it to the canons in proprios usus in a grant along with the churches of Cupar and Ecclesgreig.(11)  Bishop David’s grant also placed a requirement on the priory to provide vicars for the appropriated parishes with suitable portions for their maintenance.  It was David who also dedicated the church to St John the Baptist and St ‘Modrust’ (i.e. Drostan) on 19 July 1243.(12)  This vicarage settlement was operative before 1275 when the church was recorded as the vicarage of Marking in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, paying 11s 8d in the first year and 12s for the second term.(13)

Named vicars perpetual are recorded from 1284 onwards.(14)  Some of the fruits of the parish were given in 1486 as a pension for Walter Moneypenny, prior of Loch Leven.(15)  The union of the parsonage to the priory of St Andrews continued at the Reformation, when the church was valued at £160.(16)

An entry in the Chamberlain’s Accounts for the archbishopric of St Andrews in 1539 recorded payment of 50s to sir Thomas Dalrymple, chaplain, for celebrating requiem mass in the church of Markinch for the souls of the father and mother of James Beaton, archbishop of St Andrews, himself lately deceased.  A second payment in the same accounts for 1541 records payment upon a precept dated 25 May 1541 of £10 10s to Andrew Manschone, Frenchman, for a new brass for the tomb of Beaton’s father and mother sent to the church of Markinch.(17)  The location of the Beaton monument in the church is not recorded and all trace of it has been swept away in post-Reformation rebuilding of the main body of the church.

Notes

1. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 348 [hereafter St Andrews Liber]; J M Mackinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Non-Scriptural Dedications (Edinburgh, 1914), 217; S Taylor and G Markus, The Place-Names of Fife, ii, Central Fife Between the Rivers Leven and Eden (Donington, 2002), 394-395.

2. St Andrews Liber, 116.

3. St Andrews Liber, 43.

4. St Andrews Liber, 242-243.

5. St Andrews Liber, 135-6, 141-144.

6. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.28 [hereafter RRS, ii].

7.RRS, ii, nos 151, 333.

8. St Andrews Liber, 232-236.

9. St Andrews Liber, 244.

10. Scotia Pontificia: Papal Letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, ed R Somerville (Oxford, 1982), nos 148, 149; St Andrews Liber, 71-6, 76-81.

11. St Andrews Liber, 92-5, 166.

12. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 524 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews]; St Andrews Liber, 348.

13. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 61.

14. St Andrews Liber, 421; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, ii, 1305-1342, ed W H Bliss (London, 1895), 385; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 69-70, 586; Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon 1378-1394, ed C Burns (Scottish History Society, 1976), 173; Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 58-59; Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, i, 1418-1422, eds E R Lindsay and A I Cameron (Scottish History Society, 1934), 253-4, 256; Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iii, 1428-1432, eds A I Dunlop and I B Cowan (Scottish History Society, 1970), 157, 168-69, 198, 208, 264; Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iv, 1433-1447, eds A I Dunlop and D MacLauchlan (Glasgow, 1983), no. 158.

15. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xv, 1484-1492, ed M J Haren (London, 1978), no.111.

16. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 10, 15, 17.

17. Rentale Sancti Andree (Scottish History Society, 1913), 65, 125.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to the Culdees of Loch Leven (c.1055), the church passed to St Andrews priory 1126x52. A fresh grant of the church to this priory was made by Gillemichael, earl of Fife 1165x78, but this was the patronage only. In 1240 it was granted to the uses of the priory proper; the parsonage was annexed and a perpetual vicarage erected.(1)

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to SS John the Baptist and Drostan.(2)  Place Names of Fife vol. 2 notes that the church was dedicated to Drostan from an early stage, perhaps due to connections between the earls of Fife and Buchan (the centre of the cult).(3)

c.1055 Maoldhùin, bishop of St Andrews (c. 1028-1055), conferred the church of Markinch to the célidé of Loch Leven.(4)

1152 x 1159 Robert, bishop of St Andrews, gave to the cathedral priory ‘twenty bolls (melis) of cheese and one pig from Markinche’ (i.e. the cáin owed from Markinch) as part of the assets of the monastery of Loch Leven.(5)

c. 1165 x 1171 Duncan II, earl of Fife, gave (dare) the church of Markinch to the priory.(6)

1165 x 1169 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed the church of Markinch to the priory; saving episcopal rights. However, it is interesting to note that this charter includes a pro anima clause despite using the verbs concedere and confirmare, the implication being that a gift was made. In this case the bishop appears to have ceded his rights in the church.(7)

1165 x 1166 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Markinch which all that pertains to it in lands, fields, and meadows as a gift made by him.(8)

1165 x 1169 William I confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Markinch with a toft and tithes as a gift of Hugh II (or Aedh), and son of Hugh I, son of Gillemichel, earl of Fife (described as a knight).(9)

1173 x 1178 William I confirmed the church of Markinch with lands, tithes and also the chapel of Kettle as gifts of Duncan II, earl of Fife. 1189 x 1195, William I confirmed the church of Markinch and also the chapel of Kettle (ecclesiam de Marchinche cum capella de Katel) as grants made by Duncan II, earl of Fife (Regesta Regum Scottorum, II, no. 333).

1173 x 1178 William I confirmed the churches of Scoonie and Markinch with lands and tithes and also the chapel of Kettle as a gift by Duncan II, earl of Fife.(10) c.

1180 x 1204 Malcolm, son of Duncan II, earl of Fife, confirmed the churches of Cupar, Markinch, Scoonie and also the chapel of Kettle as grants made by his father.(11)

1228 Alexander II confirmed (general confirmation) the church with lands and tithes as a grant made by Duncan II, earl of Fife.(12)

Papal Confirmations

The church of Markinch was confirmed by Gregory VIII in 1187, Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(13)

1240 David de Bernham granted the churches of Markinch, Cupar ‘in Fife’, and St Cyrus ‘with all lands, tithes, and obventions’ to the cathedral priory in proprios usus.(14)

1246 Pope Innocent IV confirmed (general confirmation) that the cathedral priory held the advowson of the churches of Dairsie, Cupar, Markinch, Scoonie, Portmoak, St Cyrus, Lathrisk and Kennoway.(15)

1332 Grant to Thomas de Haddington to hold in conmmendum his church of Markinch alongside another benefice.(16)

1392-96 Henry Lythonens (student at University of Orleans, claims to be cousin of Robert III) has church on death of John of Kinross.(17) Resigns in 1396 and succeeded by Richard Knight (envoy to papacy of Robert III).(18)

1421 John Elwald (BA in Theology) holds both Markinch and Selkirk Regis with dispensation.(19)

1428-34 On death of  Laurence de Laverok, litigation between John Feldew papal envoy of James I) and William de Hawick. John wins but gives up church to John Wincestre in 1432 following his translation to Linlithgo.(20)

1431 (May 16) James Haldenstone, prior of St Andrews disclaims appointing John Feldew, licence of decreets and vicar of Markinch and magistrate of the hospital of St Nicholas, as the collector of papal dues (part of wider process with William de Hawick).(21)

1486 Walter Moneypenny, prior of Loch Leven, given pension consisting of all the tithe of scheaves lawfully belonging to the priory of St Andrews in the parish of Markinch.(22)

1555 (20 Oct) financial deal takes place in the cemetery of the parish church of Markinch, witnessed by the curate Alexander Sibbald.(23) (church dedicated to John the Baptist).

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage and vicarage with priory of St Andrews, set for £160.(24)

1630 (15 Apr) Record of the stipends of ministers in the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy; the minister gets produce and no cash.(25)

1636 (11 Aug) A visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy finds the minister (Andrew Lawmonth) and reader to be competent. The school is to be reopened, the heritors to contribute 100 marks pa and the town 200 marks.(26)

1638 (11 Mar) Appointment between the heritors and John Masterton, glass wright, to uphold the glass windows of the kirk and choir of Markinch for all the time thereafter (Masterton paid £4 pa for the remainder of the session).(27)

1639 (24 Jan) Report from the general assembly on the minister of Markinch, Andrew Learmounth, accusing him of ‘railing against the signatories of the Covenant, calling them perjerous clerks’. He is also accused refusing to subscribe to the Covenant (only to be deposed if he refuses to make repentance in his church).(28)

1687 (July) £19 paid to the slater for pointing of the steeple, further £6 to a wright on the same work.(29)

1687 (23 Oct) £4 paid to a mason for part payment for laying of the kirk floor.(30)

1690 (Nov) £7 paid to a mason for mending the kirk (no further details).(31)

1705 (6 Jun) Visitation of Markinch finds the fabric of the church needs to be repaired (tradesmen to report).(32)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev John Thomson, 1791): ‘The church of Markinch is a very ancient place of worship’.(33)

The steeple of Markinch is another ancient building, and from the similarities of the workmanship is probably of the same age as Balgornie castle’.(34) [author guesses 12th century]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev J Sieveright, 1840): ‘The church is in excellent repair…..The manse is of very ancient construction...it has undergone repairs and alterations so numerous as it greatly affects its apparent identity’.(35)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay): c.1780, incorporating 12th century tower; renovated 1806, spire added 1809, again renovated 1885.(36)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 143.

2. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 217.

3. Taylor & Markus, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Two, pp. 394-395.

4. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 116.

5. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 43.

6. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 242-43.

7. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 135-6.

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 141-44.

9. RRS, II, no. 28.

10. RRS, II, nos. 151 & 333.

11. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 244.

12. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 232-36.

13. Scotia Pontificia, nos. 148, 149; Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 71-6, 76-81.

14. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 166.

15. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 92-5.

16. CPL, ii, 385.

17. CPP, 586, CPL, Clem, 173, CPL, Ben, 58-59.

18. CPP, 69-70.

19. CSSR, i, 253-4 & 256/

20. CSSR, iii, 157, 168-69, 198, 208 & 264, CSSR, iv, no. 158.

21. Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree, pp.47 & 406-08.

22. CPL, xv, no. 111.

23. NRS Prot Bk of James Dalrymple, 1551-57, NP1/19, nos. 10 & 15.

24. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 10, 15 & 17.

25. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fol. 8.

26. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 183-184.

27. NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1626-1646, CH2/258/1, fol. 166.

28. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 254.

29. NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 20.

30. NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 21.

31. NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 28.

32. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1704-1713, CH2/224/3, fols. 4-6.

33. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), xii, 525.

34. Ibid, 535.

35. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1840), ix, 683.

36. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 175 & 258.

Bibliography

NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1626-1646, CH2/258/1.

NRS Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2.

NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1.

NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1704-1713, CH2/224/3.

NRS Prot Bk of James Dalrymple, 1551-57, NP1/19.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal letters, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal Petitions, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1976, ed. F. McGurk, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon, 1976, ed. C. Burns, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1418-22, 1934, ed. E.R. Lindsay and A.I. Cameron, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1433-47, 1983, ed. A.I. Dunlop and D MacLauchlan, Glasgow.

Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree. The Letter-Book of James Haldenstone, Prior of St Andrews (1418-1443), 1930, ed. J. H. Baxter, Oxford.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Donaldson, G., 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

Hay, G., 1957, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, 1560-1843, Oxford.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford.

Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, 1841, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

Mackinley, J.M, 1914, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Non-Scriptural Dedications, Edinburgh.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of Malcolm IV (1153-65), 1960, Edinburgh.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214), 1971, Edinburgh.

Scotia pontificia papal letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, 1982, ed. R. Somerville, Oxford.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh.

Taylor, S & Markus G., 2008, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Two. Central Fife between the Rovers Leven and Eden, Donington.

Architectural description

Markinch appears to have been a place of some importance from an early date.(1) The church was granted to the Culdees of Loch Leven by Bishop Melduin of St Andrews (c. 1028-55), and it subsequently passed to St Andrews Cathedral Priory along with the other possessions of Loch Leven in the time of Bishop Robert (c. 1123–59).(2)

It seems that initially it was only the patronage that was involved in the grant, and it was evidently Bishop David de Bernham who eventually appropriated the church to the priory, in 1240, with the stipulation that the cure should be a vicarage. (3) That same bishop dedicated the church to St John the Baptist and St Modrust, on 19 July 1243, though there is nothing to suggest that the dedication was associated with any new campaign of construction.(4)

The earliest part of the church as it now stands is the west tower, a structure of 4.9 metres from north to south and 5.2 metres from east to west, and with a height of 22.25 metre.(5) It rises from a deep, narrowly chamfered base course above a vertical plinth; its four stages are marked by string courses, the lower two of which are double-chamfered and decorated with bands of lozenges in relief. The masonry is of large blocks of carefully laid buff-coloured ashlar that appears initially to have been finely jointed.

The lower stages of the tower are lit by simple round-headed single-light openings. At the belfry stage there are paired lights with quirked and rebated arches cut into lintels, which are supported by substantial engaged three-quarter shafts to the jambs and a central round shaft between the lights. All of these support cushion caps. The paired lights are embraced internally by single semicircular rear arches. Regularly set pockets at second- and third-floor levels were presumably putlog holes.

The tower is now entered by a doorway at the centre of the west wall that has a raised margin with block imposts and keystone, and which is presumably an eighteenth-century insertion. A door in the north wall now gives access to the stair at the north-west angle of the tower, but there are traces of a blocked internal door. The stair is constructed over a helical vault.

The tower arch is blocked, but its head is visible within the tower, from where its west face can be seen to have carefully constructed voussoirs with a plain arris. The way in which that side of the arch is constructed of two concentric orders brought out to the general wall face suggests that there have been at least two orders on the east side, towards the church. Part of the head of the arch on the east side was exposed in September 2014, but insufficient was visible to be able to draw any conclusions about the overall form of the arch on that side. The individual stones were seen to have incised markings that were perhaps masons’ marks, one of which is in the form of a cross patée.

Above the arch is a doorway into the church roof space; it is aligned a little to the north of the axis of the tower arch, and is lintelled towards the tower but round-arched towards the main body of the church. It may be wondered if it opened onto a gallery of some kind.

Parallels with the tower of St Rule’s church in St Andrews in the character of the masonry and the detailing of the belfry windows suggest it could have been built by masons who had earlier worked at the cathedral priory, and perhaps on St Rule’s itself. But a slightly later date than for St Rule’s is suggested by the lozenge decoration of the string courses.

That decoration shows parallels, for example, with an external string course on the tower at Muthill Church, with an internal string course at Leuchars Church, and with the hood mould of the altar recess in the tower at Dunblane Cathedral, none of which is likely to be earlier than the second quarter of the twelfth century. While earlier parallels for such detailing can be found in major churches wider afield, it is presumably the more local comparanda that are significant as dating evidence.

It can be seen that, as might be expected, the tower was attached to a nave of slightly greater north-south width; this is evident in the way that the base course and lower string course extend a short distance along the west wall of the existing church to the north of the tower. The evidence to the south of the tower is obscured by an offshoot that has been built on that side.

It appears that the nave and chancel of the twelfth-century church must have been of a quality comparable with that of the tower from the fragments of stone with chip carving that have been re-used in the walls of the later church. An ex-situ fragment with chip-carving and a quirked edge chamfer appears to have been a voussoir from an arch of considerable radius, and it is attractive to think it may have been from a chancel arch. There are partial parallels for such treatment with the hood mould of the chancel arch at Dalmeny Church, and with the middle order of the chancel arch at Leuchars Church.  

Large blocks of what appears likely to be twelfth-century ashlar are to be seen in the east wall of the church. In this situation they are probably in secondary use, though it is likely that the east wall is on the line of the east wall of the medieval chancel. The reason for concluding this is that there is a length of base course of medieval character at the centre of the east wall, running below the squared ashlar, and an approximate date for this part is probably provided by the carved arms of Prior John Hepburn of St Andrews (1483-1526) higher up in this section of wall.

On this basis, the present church must be of the same overall length as its medieval predecessor in its final state. Geophysical Survey carried out in December 2013 suggested that the church had an architecturally distinct nave and chancel as first built, with the latter narrower and shorter than the former.(6)

Apart from the evidence for the width and overall length of the medieval church discussed so far, the only other accessible clue to its form is a series of roof creases on the east side of the tower, within the roof space of the present church. What appears to be the earliest of these indicates a steeply pitched roof whose apex reached up to a little below the second string course up from the base of the tower. The roof represented by this crease was evidently replaced at a later date by a roof of lower pitch.

At some stage that second roof was in turn replaced by one which was associated with an extension of the church to the south. There is nothing to indicate the date of this southward extension, but it could relate to the addition of a single longitudinal aisle in the later middle ages, as happened at a number of Fife churches, including Aberdour, Kilconquhar and Kirkcaldy. But it could equally be associated with a widening of the church after the Reformation with the intention of creating proportions more suitable for Protestant forms of worship.

Following the Reformation, the church was adapted on a number of occasions to meet changed requirements and forms of worship. A laterally projecting aisle was built on the north side for the Leslie family, who lived at nearby Balgonie Castle, and who held the earldom of Leven from 1641. As part of this operation a fine armorial panel with the arms of Alexander Leslie, first earl of Leven, who died in 1661, was inserted. The aisle presumably accommodated both a burial vault and a pew or loft for the family to occupy during services.

Some work was in progress in the later 1680s. In July 1687 £19 was paid to a slater for pointing the steeple, with a further £6 paid to a wright.(7) On 23 October 1687 £4 was paid to a mason in part payment for laying of the church floor,(8) and in November 1690 £7 was paid to a mason for ‘mending’ the church.(9)

One of the most significant operations involved the construction of a continuous wall extending along the whole of the south side that was clearly intended to act as an imposing show front on the most prominently visible side of the church. It may have reached this state in the central decades of the eighteenth century on the evidence of a vignette on a map that appears to date from 1764 or 1765.(10)

Although subsequently extensively remodelled, the new front was designed to a widely favoured pattern. At its outer ends have been doors, that to the west, which has been reduced to a window, having been set within a segmental arch. Within these openings are two levels of windows, reflecting the internal provision of a polygonal arrangement of galleries. Towards the centre of the front a pair of larger windows flanks the pulpit, above the location of which is a circular window. A central blocked doorway, which has at some stage been covered by a porch on the indications of a roof crease, was presumably provided to permit the minister to enter directly into the pulpit from the exterior.

Further works are recorded in the heritors’ records as being in progress in 1788.(11) It has been suggested these were carried out to the designs of Thomas Barclay, who had earlier built the manse in 1785-6.(12)

The church was extended to the north in 1806, by James Barclay, who was presumably a kinsman of the Thomas who had built the manse. The two of them were to be involved in work on the church over a number of years, and it was evidently James who designed the present spire, with Thomas constructing it in 1807.(13) It rises above a bold cornice, and is octagonal with a bold entasis; its faces have three levels of recessed ovals, and it terminates in a concave finial and weather vane.

The north side was again remodelled in order to provide an entrance range, in 1883-5, to the designs of James Ross Gillespie.(14) The most recent works of any structural significance took place in 1929, when the walls of the tower was strengthened with a ferro-concrete ring and it was underpinned.(15)

Notes

1. Simon Taylor, The Place-Names of Fife, vol. 2, Donington, 2008, pp. 393-400,

2. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, ed. Thomas Thomson (Bannatyne Club), 1841, pp. 43, 51, 116, 175.

3. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 143.

4. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 524.

5. Accounts of the church can be found in: David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1896-7, vol. 1, pp. 193-6; Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, Edinburgh, 1933, pp. 201-2;   John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Fife, London, 1988, pp. 318–19; Bruce Manson, ‘Markinch Parish Church, an Archaeological and Historical Assessment’ (Report for the Hunter Archaeological and Historical Trust), Markinch, 2014. Measured drawings of the tower have been published in J.R. Walker, Pre-Reformation Church in Fifeshire, Edinburgh, 1885.

6. OJT Heritage, Markinch Parish Church, Report on Geophysical Survey, 2013. The findings are indicated graphically on fig. 26 of that report. Current investigations are being conducted under the aegis of Markinch Heritage Group, Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.

7.  National Records of Scotland, Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 20.

8. National Records of Scotland, Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 21

9. National Records of Scotland, Markinch Kirk Session, 1650-1708, CH2/258/2, fol. 28

10. Reproduced in Manson, 2014, p. 50.

11. Manson, 2014, p. 51.

12. Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 4th ed., New Haven and London, 2008, p. 95, citing National Records of Scotland, Heritors’ Records, 59/6.

13. National Records of Scotland, Heritors’ Records, 59/1.

14. Online Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

15. Markinch Parish Church (guide book), 1984, p. 20.

Map

Images

Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery and slideshow.

  • 1. Markinch Church, exterior, south flank 1

  • 2. Markinch Church, exterior, south flank, 2

  • 3. Markinch Church, exterior, change of base course along east wall

  • 4. Markinch Church, exterior, east wall, changes of masonry

  • 5. Markinch Church, exterior, arms on east wall of chancel

  • 6. Markinch Church, exterior, junction of north flank of tower and west wall of nave

  • 7. Markinch Church, exterior, tower from south west

  • 8. Markinch Church, exterior, tower from north west

  • 9. Markinch Church, exterior, tower, north belfry window

  • 10. Markinch Church, exterior, tower, string course along tower north flank

  • 11. Markinch Church, interior, tower, upper level

  • 12. Markinch Church, interior, tower, head of arch

  • 13. Markinch Church, interior, tower, lower west window embrasure

  • 14. Markinch Church, interior, tower, nave roof creases on east side tower, as seen within roof

  • 15. Markinch Church, interior, tower, north jamb tower arch

  • 16. Markinch Church, interior, tower, north-east angle as seen the within roof

  • 17. Markinch Church, interior, tower, stair soffit

  • 18. Markinch Church, interior, tower, upper window rear arch

  • 19. Markinch Church, interior, looking north east

  • 20. Markinch Church, west tower, cross section (Walker)

  • 21. Markinch Church, west tower, west and north elevations (Walker)