Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Tower Restoration Project: Work is due to begin next week on repairs to historic tower

The culmination of five years worth of planning, fundraising and preparation has paid off with the news that work is set to begin on Kirkcaldy Old Kirk’s Tower Restoration Project.

By Debbie Clarke
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 11:33 am

Contractor G Brown will be on site on Monday to start work on the repairs to the 15th century tower at the oldest church in Kirkcaldy which is based in the town’s Kirk Wynd.

The 15th century tower, which offers panoramic views over the River Forth, has overseen the comings and goings in the High Street, to and from the harbour for over 500 years and it is an iconic and well-loved landmark in the town.

Work is now needed to repair the structure because 500 years of braving east winds from the North Sea has taken its toll.

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Rosemary Potter (Old Kirk Trust chairperson) and George Proudfoot (trustee) with the tower in the background. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

A spokesman for Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust said workmen will start by repairing and strengthening the tower roof, which has developed a leak.

She said the stonework will be checked, re-pointed, and replaced where necessary, and the walkway round the top will be relaid with sandstone flags, while the louvres which let out the sound of the bell, first cast in 1553, will be refurbished and repainted.

The windows will be repaired and restored, and the bell and the clock will both be cleaned, repaired and restored by expert craftsmanship.

Inside there will be a few safety upgrades and the present first floor ladder will be replaced with a spiral metal staircase leading up to the ancient stone steps to the top.

Rosemary Potter at the top of the tower. Repair work is due to begin on the structure next week. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

Many of these steps have been sponsored for the refurbishment by local groups and individuals, to the tune of over £5000, and Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust is very grateful for all the community support received.

Anyone wanting to sponsor a step with a donation of £100, and have it recorded on a plaque in situ, can still do so by contacting the trust at www.kirkcaldyoldkirktrust.org.uk or by phoning 01592 265499.

Rosemary Potter, chairperson of the Trust, said work on the project has been delayed due to the pandemic: "We have encountered so many delays and obstacles in the journey because of Covid that I'm only now daring to believe it might happen!

"The community have always been a great support - this is their history and we are doing this for their future. The tower stood here for centuries built as a sign of God's presence in this community, to serve the folk of Kirkcaldy, and we want them to feel proud of it."

Contractor G Brown will be on site on Monday to start work on the repairs to the 15th century tower at the oldest church in Kirkcaldy which is based in the town’s Kirk Wynd.

She said many trusts as well as individuals have contributed to the nearly half a million pounds required for the project.

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Rosemary added: “The Old Kirk Trust is indebted to the generosity of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Kirkcaldy Common Good Fund, National Churches Trust, Scotland's Churches Trust, Dalrymple Donaldson Trust, Fife Environment Trust, Allchurches Trust, Fife Council Local Area Committee and the Wolfson Foundation for their contributions.”

The Old Kirk itself will continue to be open as usual for worship, meetings, concerts and visitors over the six months that the work is expected to take and only the tower will be closed.

The right of way through the churchyard will remain open, but people are advised to avoid lingering in the area around the tower itself as a safety precaution.

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