History

Largoward Parish Church

Largoward, meaning probably ‘Largo’s field’, has been a farming community for centuries, and remains so. But like so much of Fife, beneath the fields lies coal, and Largoward has a long history of mining, from supplying coal to the court of James VI at Falkland Palace some 400 years ago until commercial mining ended in the 1920s.

Until 1835, people of Largoward attended the parish church at Kilconquhar, about 5 miles away. But this was deemed too far, and so the present building was erected as a chapel of ease in 1835. In 1860, a new parish of Largoward was created, disjoined from Kilconquhar, and the church had its own Kirk Session. Pew rent was one shilling and sixpence per annum. The first minister of Largoward Parish Church was Revd. John Millar, who had been preaching here since 1847 as the assistant minister, and who died in office, unmarried n 1848. He lived in the Manse, now a private house, which stands on the Falfield Road. He was instrumental in the building of the school on St Andrews Road, which still serves as Largoward Primary School. Mr Millar’s memorial is on the sanctuary wall near the door from the vestibule. The population of the parish in 1891 was 354.

Largoward Kirk
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Largoward Kirk interior Largoward Kirk from drive

Mr Millar was succeeded by Revd. J. Simpson Wilson, whose ministry was cut short after four years by death. Nevertheless these years between 1898 and 1902 saw the installation, first of a harmonium, and then an organ, and of lamps. His last message to parishioners, written in the knowledge of his impending death, remains moving: “We now reach the parting of the ways. My sojourn has been brief, but I hope to you it has not been wholly fruitless.” A memorial to Mr Wilson is above the pulpit.

Subsequent years saw union with the United Presbyterian Kirk at Lathones (less than a mile in the direction of St Andrews, now converted into a house), represented in the church by their brass War Memorial. For many years Largoward Church was linked (and thus shared a minister) with Cameron Parish to the north-east, and then with St Andrews St Leonard’s. But since 1983, Largoward and St Monans Churches have been linked, sharing a minister who lives in St Monans, 6 miles away, on the coast.

Extracted from leaflet written by Rev Dr Donald MacEwan, former minister, Largoward linked with St Monans, 2001-2011

 

 

The Old Kirk St. Monans

St.Monan was an Irish missionary who, around 832, lived in a cell close to where a burn meets the sea and just by the present site of the Old Kirk. The first recognised church dates from 1265. King David (1329-71) enlarged the church to its present size in order to make it a votive chapel in order to give thanks to God that his life was saved following his prayers to St Monan.one story tells that he was in a violent storm another that an arrow was imbedded in his forehead. church built as a votive chapel in order to give thanks to God for saving his life. In 1477 it became a chapel for Dominican friars. There are many indications in stone within the church of its early Roman Catholic history. In 1646 the Old Kirk became the Church of Scotland parish church. Hitherto St. Monans folk had worshipped Abercrombie church a long walk away.

St Monans Kirk
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St Monans Kirk St Monans Kirk in snow

The church underwent a thorough renovation in 1826 when the galleries were taken down and the floor was lowered by four feet! It was at this time also that the distinctive buttresses were erected on the exterior.In 1955 work was undertaken to restore many of the original features including the floor level.

Over the last ten years much restorative work has been carried out. The tower and steeple have been attended to and then much exciting work was done on the south facing widows with expert stone masons faithfully copying the original intricate stonework. The interior has a new heating and lighting system and new carpets and cushions are in place. The interior is all white lime wash reflecting the sea and sky. Perfect for a fisherman’s church! Moreover the church has a quite wonderful acoustic.

Today in St. Monans
We have thousands of visitors every year. We are in the list of the ten most beautiful churches in Scotland.We are open every day from Easter to the end of October. We have printed guides in ten languages.

Do come and visit us. Join us in worship if you can. Join the Friends of the Old Kirk perhaps?