Preservation of ruined church building gets underway

A ruined Fife church and its churchyard are to be preserved for their national significance.

Floral Art Burntisland and primary school pupils were busy planting bulbs earlier this week at Kirkton Old Church, Burntisland.

The project has been led by Burntisland Heritage Trust and supported by Fife Council. The bulb planting is part of a drive to encourage more wildlife into the graveyard.

The 12th century Kirkton Church in Burntisland was awarded £90,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015.

The project, designed to safeguard the future of the medieval building and graveyard, has repaired and made safe the 12th century church, the oldest building in Burntisland, and graveyard refurbishment and enhancement is now nearing completion.

Primary pupils at the 12th century Kirkton Church in Burntisland

Fiona Fisher, Fife Council’s built heritage officer, said: ‘This community-led project is bringing one of Fife’s most important historic sites back into community use, and is set to put it onto Scotland’s cultural and tourist map.

‘The Old Kirkton Church (Burntisland) Community Conservation and Heritage Promotion project is ensuring that Kirkton Church, the oldest building in Burntisland, is preserved for future generations.

‘This has involved clearing off ivy growth, stabilising its crumbling walls, repairing the wall-heads and stabilising, repairing and conserving fallen and broken gravestones.’

When the gravestone stabilisation programme is finished the Kirkton graveyard will be open to the public and visitors for the first time in decades.

Primary school pupils planting bulbs at Kirkton Church in Burntisland

Fiona continued: ‘Crucially, this project is enabling local people and children, as well as historians, to learn more about Fife’s rich history in interesting and exciting ways.

‘Community and educational activities include work with Burntisland Primary School to develop pupils’ heritage skills and knowledge, and further green graveyard conservation initiatives. Digital education and community resources that explore and record the site’s history have been created for the benefit of all.’

Kirkton ceased to be the parish church around 1592 when the present Burntisland Parish Church was constructed, after which it declined.

The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Fife Environment Trust, Fife Council, Fife Council Common Good and Area Funds, The Burntisland Heritage Trust and The Co-operative Society Scotland Ltd.