The original church was started by King David II in the 14th century,
making it one of the oldest still in use today, and is reputed to be the closest
to the shore in the country. The church is unusual in consisting of an unfinished
cruciform shape, and has an odd but pleasant stone steeple.
The site has
been in use as a place of Christian worship since the 9th Century, although the
story differs as to how the village got its name. One story says that St Monan
had been a missionary in the Fife area, serving under St Adrian at St Andrews
until he was murdered by Danish raiders. Another says that St Monan was actually
St Moinenn, the Irish Bishop of Clonfert Brenain, and that it was his relics that
were brought to Fife by Irish monks.
|Interior of St Monans Auld Kirk|
Whatever the truth, the village took shape under the name of the Saint,
and the church sprang up in his honour. The church was significantly renovated
in 1828, but still retains much of the charm of the original building. The whitewashed
interior walls mirror those of the village houses, and the consecration marks
can still be seen clearly on the walls in the form of Celtic Crosses.
the church could not be so close to the shore and remain unaffected by the sea,
and two models of ships hang from the roof either side of the transept, and the
church every year holds a harvest thanksgiving service, a thanksgiving to the
harvest from the sea.
Directions: from here you are following the Fife Coastal Trail all
the way along the pathway. It's well marked and sign-posted along the
way, though steep and not suitable for wheelchairs in several parts. Stop
for a snack in Pittenweem, or if you can hold-off till Anstruther, get
chips at the end of the walk.