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St Bridget's Kirk, Dalgety

The shell of a medieval church

St Bridget's Kirk, Dalgety

Centuries of worship

St Bridget’s was built in the 1100s to serve as the parish church of Dalgety. The Augustinian canons of nearby Inchcolm Abbey were responsible for arranging the worship at the church.

St Bridget’s continued to serve the parishioners after the Reformation of 1560, but the medieval church was significantly altered to make it fit for Protestant worship.

New doors and windows were inserted and old ones blocked. Timber lofts (galleries) were built inside, and new stone forestairs leading to them added on the outside.

The only features remaining from the medieval church are the piscina (stone basin) and credence (niche) in the south-east corner of the south wall, close to where the altar stood, before the Mass was abolished.

Worship continued at St Bridget’s until 1830. By this date most parishioners were living over a mile away in the new mining village of Fordell, where a new kirk had been built.

Family aisles

After the Reformation, leading families in the parish were permitted to build private aisles at St Bridget’s, where they could sit during worship and be buried after death. There are four such aisles.

The best of the aisles added to the north and south walls belonged to the Inglis family of Otterston. It opens into the kirk through a fine arch. There are five stone memorials against the west wall, the earliest of which commemorates Elizabeth Heriot, spouse of William Inglis of Otterston, who died in 1621.

The Seton Aisle

The grandest aisle of the family aisles was that built for Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline and Chancellor of Scotland, who died in 1622. The two-storey building, though roofless, is a real gem.

The ground floor contained the family burial vault, lit by narrow ventilation slits. A spiral stair, housed within a semi-octagonal projection on the north side, leads to the two rooms on the upper floor.

The first room was the laird’s loft, where the family sat during worship. It would have been a fine chamber, with stone-panelled walls topped by a stone cornice. Traces remain of its plaster ceiling.

The second room was the retiring room, where the family could rest and take meals between the lengthy services of the time. It too is nicely proportioned, with a fireplace in the north wall and three windows with views over the Forth Estuary.


  • The kirk’s location – in an unexpectedly tranquil spot right beside the Forth Estuary.
  • The Seton Aisle – including one of the best-preserved laird’s lofts built in Scotland in the 1600s.


Strong Footwear Recommended


Region – Kingdom of Fife

On the shores of the Forth, 2m south west of Aberdour off the A921. On the Fife coastal path east of Dalgety Bay

Grid reference - 66 NT 169 838.