Howe of Fife Parish Church

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Disciples Sharing God’s light in our Community

Howe of Fife Parish was created on 23rd January 1983 as a union of the former united parish of Collessie & Ladybank (1968), with the former linked parishes of Cults with Kettle (1963). While we now think of four former parishes it is worth remembering that in the late nineteenth century there were actually eight Presbyterian congregations in the area of the current parish.

While the current parish only dates back around 35 years there have been churches and parishes in this area for over a thousand years with some evidence of Christian worship at the sites of Cults and Collessie churches around 1000 AD. Many of the physical features of these two sites would suggest that in fact they may indeed be pre-Christian sites of worship. There has been a parish of Kettle for around the same length of time, but the building was originally at Lathrisk and the current building and site dates from the early nineteenth century. The old church was attached to the graveyard opposite the current church building.

Probably the most famous inhabitant of the parish was the artist Sir David Wilkie RA. He was born in the manse of Cults and many of his works show life in both Cults and Kettle, especially “Pitlessie Fair”. The current church at Cults was built during his father’s ministry. Ladybank is the youngest of the buildings, having been built originally as a United Free church in the 1880s.

Free Churches were also established after the Disruption in 1843 in Pitlessie, Balmalcolm, Giffordtown and Kettle, though none of these buildings survive apart from a portion of wall in the Old Manse in Balmalcolm.

Most of the manses of the four former parishes and some of the Free Kirk manses are still standing but all are now private residences.

While we are committed to serving each part of our parish and regularly hold services of worship in each of the buildings, we are one united church with one Kirk Session and one Congregational Board.

Collessie, Cults and Kettle Churches all have Friends Groups made up of people from the church and community who are interested in the buildings and help to maintain them. They also organise other events and fundraisers. All are separate charities in their own right.

Having been one congregation for over thirty years our plans for the future are to look to develop a new parish centre to replace all our buildings which are proving expensive to maintain and insure. We still want to keep a presence in each part of the parish but recognise that we cannot maintain the buildings as things are.

Much of the history of Howe of Fife and the constituent congregations has been taken from information compiled by Angus Shaw with our thanks. Angus has recently published a complete history of the Howe of Fife called “Is there any scandal?” Copies are available direct from the church or at online booksellers.

History of the Parish