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Site Type FRIARY
Canmore ID 31494
Site Number NO31SE 14
NGR NO 3762 1460
Council FIFE
Parish CUPAR
Former Region FIFE
Former District NORTH EAST FIFE
Former County FIFE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NO31SE 14 3762 1460.

(NO 3765 1455) "Under this hill (The Castle Hill, Cupar) stood a convent of Dominican or Black Friars, belonging originally to the Isle of May (Augustinian - NT69NE 1 - 13th century). and later transferred to St. Andrews. When the previous Account was written (c.1790) part of the chapel, of cut freestone, was still standing (OSA 1795). Its site is now occupied by the site of St. James Episcopal Chapel. Many coffins and skeletons were dug up when the ground was trenched about 1836.
Statistical Account (OSA) 1795; New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845.

"In 1579..the monastery became the mansion house of the laird of Balgarvie. The building was finally removed when St.Catherine Street was openend up." "In 1344 Duncan, Earl of Fife obtained a gift of the coquet of the burgh of Cupar from David II"
A H Millar 1895.

A confirmation by James V in 1520, in favour of the Provincial Prior of the Fratres Predicatores at St. Andrews, details the establishment at Cupar as "lying between the water of Eden, the East Port, the Castle Hill and the tenement of ..Tho. Steill" and mentions "Duncan, Earl of Fife its founder" (Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot 1984) In 1572, James VI revoked all alienations made by the Order since the Reformation, and granted their possessions to the Burgh of Cupar as a charitable foundation.
Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot 1984.

In 1519 the Convent at Cupar was suppressed, and its revenues used to restore the house of Black Friars at St. Andrews to its former importance.
RCAHMS 1933.

St. James Episcopal Church is at NO 3762 1460. The present building was opened in 1867, replacing a much smaller church which had been erected about 1819 (Information from Dundee Evening Telegraph 27 January 1962, 10) This smaller church was presumably the St. James Episcopal Chapel mentioned by NSA so that the convent chapel can also be sited to this spot,though the rector (Rev F C Harvey, St James Episcopal Church, Cupar) was unable to confirm the site. No remains of any convent buildings could be found here or within the area delineated by Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot.
Visited by OS (R D L) 22 May 1964.

External Links

Scottish Church Heritage Research (SCHR)

Books and References

Cowan and Easson, I B and D E (1976) 'Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man', London
Page(s): 112 Held at RCAHMS C.3.2.COW

Millar, A H (1895) Fife: pictorial and historical: its people, burghs, castles and mansions', 2v Cupar, Edinburgh and Glasgow
Page(s): Vol. 1, 122, 127 Held at RCAHMS D.4.MIL.R

NSA (1834-1845) The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy, 15v Edinburgh
Page(s): Vol. 9, Fife, 5 Held at RCAHMS B.2.2.STA

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Charity SC026749