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Queen Street, the Friary Including Well and Vaulted Cellars

A Category A Listed Building in Inverkeithing, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0298 / 56°1'47"N

Longitude: -3.3984 / 3°23'54"W

OS Eastings: 312949

OS Northings: 682757

OS Grid: NT129827

Mapcode National: GBR 20.S4GW

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.RPWV

Entry Name: Queen Street, the Friary Including Well and Vaulted Cellars

Listing Date: 11 December 1972

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 379549

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB35100

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Inverkeithing

County: Fife

Town: Inverkeithing

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife

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Inverkeithing

Description

Mid 14th century friary hospitium; remodelled as tenement in 17th century; converted into museum, 1934-1937. 2-storey, 6-bay, roughly L-plan arrangement of main block and double-pitched S wing comprising W range of former Franciscan conventual buildings. Random rubble; some squared coursed rubble and ashlar to W; dressed stone margins. Coped rubble forestair to W; lancet windows; crowstepped gables. Well to E (in grounds of former cloister). Ruined vaulted cellars, forming undercroft to former N range, mid 14th century.

W (STREET) ELEVATION: 4 bays to main block left, 2 bays to S wing right. Ashlar coped rubble forestair, pointed arched doorway with timber boarded door to penultimate bay left. Arrow slit ground floor window to left of stair; small window at 1st floor and another set below eaves to far left. 2 blocked windows above stair. Pointed arched doorway at foot of stair to right; transomed and mullioned lancet window above. 2 ground floor arrow slit windows to 2 right-hand bays (S wing); 2 timber sash and case windows centred above.

S ELEVATION: double-pitched; irregular fenestration. Central window at upper floor level. Arrow slit to right at ground floor; window above at 1st floor; shouldered and chamfered blocked opening above. String course to right-hand gablehead.

E (GARDEN) ELEVATION: irregular fenestration; main block to right, S wing projecting left. Central pointed arched doorway. Lean-to roofed newel-stair off-centre left. Transomed and mullioned lancet window to right of newel-stair at upper level. Variety of openings of different sizes including lancet and square windows, square leaded windows;

N ELEVATION: plain gable; former window opening and steeply pitched profile of previously attached buildings in evidence.

Predominantly leaded windows to main block to N; 15-pane timber sash and case to S wing. Pitched roofs; pantiles to main block; grey slates to S wing; straight stone skews to SE gable; beaked skewputts. Gablehead stacks to N and SW; wallhead stack to SE; circular clay cans to S stacks.

INTERIOR: barrel vaulted ground floor; large hall at 1st floor. Turnpike stone stairs to SE; pointed ashlar archways to various passages and internal spaces.

WELL AND VAULTED CELLARS: square-plan rubble-built well to E. 3 barrel-vaulted chambers of ruined rubble-built undercroft sunk in ground to NE; arched doorway communicating between eastmost chambers.

Statement of Interest

Upgraded to category A, 8 December 1997. These buildings form part of a nationally important late medieval ecclesiastical settlement. While clearly revealing mid 14th century fabric, these buildings also demonstrate significant development in domestic burgh architecture of the 17th century. The archaeology of the site has also been recognised as important to the region. These buildings were originally built as part of the convent of the Franciscan Friars (Greyfriars) which was also known as 'The Palace', a term sometimes applied to friaries or priories. This friary also held royal connections to Annabella Drummond, wife of Robert III and mother of James I, who occasionally resided at the hospitium when visiting Inverkeithing. The name 'Rotmell's Inn' was also associated with the present building, originating in late 17th century when Robert Menzies of Rotmell was the proprietor. A friary was probably established on this site after 1346, but was fully equipped by 1384, the date Robert II granted the remission of alms due to the Crown and all other secular burdens. The friary was secularised when it was purchased by John Swynton (burgess of Inverkeithing) in 1559, shortly before the Reformation. The hospitium (W range of the friary) had originally extended farther to the S and to the N. In its massive walls and vaulted chambers it still retains much of its 14th century construction. The wing contains 2 vaulted chambers both entered from a vaulted passage found at the S end of the main block. In the 17th century, the hospitium was remodelled as a tenement. At this time, 2 forestairs were added to the W elevation, while a newel-stair was built to the E within the re-entrant angle. Work carried out by the Town Council in 1934-1937 under the direction of H M Board of Works reinstated medieval features. Work included the reopening of lancet windows, restoration of the original openings to the S passage between the main block and S wing, and removal of the southmost forestair. The upper floor and S wing still accommodate Inverkeithing Museum while the ground floor is used as a community centre for the elderly (2003).

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