Burntisland in 1130

King David 1, son of Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret, granted the lands for a church at Kirkton in 1130, so there must have been a relatively significant community here at this time. It is not known what form the church took, but it would not have been very large. Burntisland was, at that time, known as Parva Kinghorn (Little Kinghorn).

David's reign has been described as a warm sunrise after a long, dark night. David the First of Scotland succeeded to the throne in the year 1124. Prior to this he had held the governorship of Lothian and Strathclyde, and had forged friendly alliances with many of the Norman lords in England. On his accession these Normans were granted lands and titles in Scotland, becoming the ancestors of such well-known Scottish names as Sinclair, Fraser, Chisholm, Montgomery, Lindsay, Maxwell, Cummings, Crichton and Seton. Among his friends were three who would eventually realise great status - Bernard de Bailleul (Balliol), Robert de Brus (Bruce) and Walter FitzAlan, a Breton who became Hereditary Steward of Scotland (Stewart). Their descendants all claimed the Scots throne in years to come.

An Aberdeen priest, John of Fordun, wrote of David's reign that he "enriched the ports of his kingdom with foreign merchandise, and to the wealth of his own land added the riches and luxuries of foreign nations, changing its coarse stuffs for precious vestments, and covering its ancient nakedness with purple and fine linen". The introduction, at David's request, of Flemish weavers all along the east coast contributed in no small way to the wealth of the nation. The names Fleming and Taylor date from this time. David directed the monastic houses he granted formation to into commerce, encouraging the growth of trading and banking by the gift of revenues, or freedom from customs dues on their ships. He welcomed Benedictines, Augustinians and Cistercians into Scotland, building settlements and abbeys for them.The laws were not neglected, and the Scots traditions of feudal law and privilege, and burghal rights and monopolies date from this time.

The ruined church which we see today is said to have been dedicated to St Adamnan (biographer of St Columba or Colum Cille, and Abbott of Iona). It dates from about the first quarter of the 13th century. The church consists of a chancel, nave, and a south aisle (which is a later addition), and to which is attached a 13th century vaulted cell at the south-east angle. All the features seem to indicate that the church was erected in the 13th century, although it has been surmised that it was then rebuilt in the 15th century. The simplicity of the chancel arch and the absence of an east window are against that supposition. Information supplied by the RCAHMS

The church was consecrated and dedicated to St Adamnan in May 1243 by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews.

Mr Geddie's "The Fringes of Fife" states:
The roofless ruins are very old, dating from the 12th century, and even then a continuation of a Culdee cell, whose existence goes back into hoar antiquity. A remnant of the cell is still standing, with indications of the stone-arched roof similar to that in better preservation over the oratory on Inchcolm.

The two pictures above show the old kirk's collection plate and alms collection holder, currently on display in the parish church.