Ancient Monuments

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Monimail Old Parish Church

A Scheduled Monument in Howe of Fife and Tay Coast, Fife

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Latitude: 56.3146 / 56°18'52"N

Longitude: -3.1356 / 3°8'7"W

OS Eastings: 329852

OS Northings: 714159

OS Grid: NO298141

Mapcode National: GBR 2B.63J2

Mapcode Global: WH6QW.TJ2Z

Entry Name: Monimail Old Parish Church

Scheduled Date: 12 December 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM9851

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Monimail

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Howe of Fife and Tay Coast

Traditional County: Fife


The monument consists of the lower walls of the chancel of the medieval parish church of Monimail. The church is known to have been in existence by 1329 at the latest, when it was annexed to the bishopric of St Andrews.

The medieval structure appears to have been an elongated rectangle. The main medieval features surviving are a fine sacrament house and a tomb recess to its W. The locker of the Sacrament House is an ogee-arched recess at the bottom of a rectangular panel defined by raised nouldings; flanking the head of the locker are two coats of arms, one being the crowned royal arms, and the other having unidentified charges.

The arched tomb recess is likely to have been provided for the builder of the church to its final state, and in this position may also have served as an Easter Sepulchre. After the Reformation the church was extended to a T-shaped plan by the addition of an aisle built for the first earl of Melville in the later seventeenth century, probably around the same time that Melville House was built for him.

The church passed out of use for worship in 1796, and was adapted to form a number of burial enclosures. The walls of the church were greatly reduced and capped by simple coping, and the S side of the Melville Aisle was walled up. The original chancel area was walled off to form a separate enclosure for the Balfour of Fernie family, and the area enclosed by the original nave was extended to the S.

The area to be scheduled is limited to the area of the chancel, with maximum dimensions of about 6m from E to W and 7m from N to S. The area is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a medieval parish church with some notably fine liturgical fixtures. It is of further importance for the archaeological potential of the site to provide information on medieval church planning and subsequent adaptation for reformed worship.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 21 SE 19.


Cowan, I. (1967) 'The Parishes of Medieval Scotland'.

RCAHMS (1922) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 'Inventory of Fife'.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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