History in Structure

Burial Enclosure, Chapel Garden, Wemyss

A Category B Listed Building in Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages, Fife

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Latitude: 56.1398 / 56°8'23"N

Longitude: -3.0974 / 3°5'50"W

OS Eastings: 331900

OS Northings: 694662

OS Grid: NT319946

Mapcode National: GBR 2D.K033

Mapcode Global: WH6RP.DY81

Plus Code: 9C8R4WQ3+W2

Entry Name: Burial Enclosure, Chapel Garden, Wemyss

Listing Name: West Wemyss, Chapel Garden Including House (Ruin), Sea Wall and Towers, Wemyss Burial Enclosure and House

Listing Date: 11 December 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 350457

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB16671

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200350457

Location: Wemyss

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages

Parish: Wemyss

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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16th century. Remains of 4-storey and garret, rectangular-plan house with round stair tower with door and small window to SE, arrowslit to SE and corbelled out to square at garret with gabletted crowstepped gable and small window. Coursed and some squared rubble with band course. W wall severely eroded.


16th century. Flat-coped rubble wall with bastion and tall 2-stage tower to W, former dovecot to E, and series of grilled arches flanking gateway.

W TOWER: tall 1st stage with small opening near to ground at E leading to low chamber and window to S; band course giving way to 2nd stage with windows to E and E and corbel course below turret roof.

E TOWER: former dovecot with small bipartite window close to eaves below corbel course and turret roof.

WALL WITH BASTION: rubble wall to W between W tower and bastion; rubble wall to E (between bastion and E tower) surmounted by series of grilled arches flanking pedestrian gateway with stepped cope.


Square-plan ashlar gatepiers flanking decorative wrought-iron gates by Robert Lorimer, and inset stone (EMW 1670); modern wall with sculptured panels flanking entrance and 17th century sundial mounted on SW pier (these being placed here for preservation). Upright, re-used headstone (of Burntisland stone) marking communal grave of Wemyss Family remains transferred from St Mary's-by-the-Sea, East Wemyss. Later, individual graves marked with simple crosses of Carrera marble.


Early 19th century. Small, single storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan house with central stack, bowed bays to SE and SW. Harled with painted margins. Base and eaves courses.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical. 2-leaf, part-glazed timber door with 5-pane fanlight to centre bay, and wide-centre tripartite windows to flanking bays.

8- and 12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Coped ashlar stack with cans. Deeply overhanging eaves.

Statement of Interest

Property of Wemyss Estate Trustees. Chapel Garden was originally the site of the 14th century St Mary's Chapel. The ruined house and sea wall were probably erected in 1536 when Sir Patrick Jackson, chaplain, invested ?1000 in the 'chapel and manse'. At this time the chapel is recorded as having a dovecot (see above) and its own saltpan. No longer used after the Reformation, the chapel was converted, in 1627, to a residence when David, Lord Elcho (later 2nd Earl of Wemyss) married the Honourable Anna Balfour, they lived here for twelve years during which time a fine garden was created. The current house (to the W) was built on the site of an earlier house belonging to Admiral Wemyss; and the family remains were moved to the burial enclosure from the former Wemyss Parish Church, St Mary's By-the-Sea in East Wemyss.

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