The History and Clergy of the Parish

The earliest mention of a Church being in our area, is that of a foundation being made in Inverkeithing in the fifth century, when St. Erat, who was a disciple of St Ninian, established a small church here.  This was later replaced by a Norman church (twelfth century) but it appears that St. Erat continued as the dedication. The church and its associated lands were granted to Dunfermline abbey in the twelfth century. After this, in the early thirteenth century, the Norman church was replaced by a Gothic building. The church was re-consecrated in 1244, after having been closed for reconstruction,  and was dedicated to St. Peter. The foundations of the Norman church were possibly uncovered when the vestry at the western end of the church, to the north of the tower, was constructed in the twentieth century. The tower on the western side of the church was added in the fourteenth century. The Church was taken over for use for Protestant worship at the time of the Reformation.

Inverkeithing was also home to a Franciscan Friary, which is thought to have been established sometime after 1346, but was fully equipped by 1384, the date King Robert II granted the remission of alms due to the Crown and all other secular burdens. The annuals also make mention of a Dominican Priory being located in Inverkeithing during the Pre-Reformation period.

Saintly and Royal connections with our parishes also exist through Saint Margaret, Queen of King Malcom III. Princess Margaret, as she was, landed close to North Queensferry, in 1069, at a point later named St Margaret’s Hope.  This area of land is part of the site of Rosyth Naval Base. St David’s Bay, which can be found in Dalgety Bay is named after St Margaret’s saintly son, King David I, who built many Abbeys and brought a great many Religious Orders to Scotland.

The Chapel of St James the Apostle, the ruins of which can be found in North Queensferry, is mentioned in a charter of the early 14th century.

The Church of St John’s Rosyth is mentioned in a Papal Bull of 1178, so the church was already well established by then, mention being made of the Church from 1123.  Also mentioned in the same Papal Bull is the Church of Dalgety, which we know as St Bridget’s Kirk, to be found on the banks of the Forth.

All of these places of Catholic worship were taken at the time of the Reformation, some were continued to be used for the reformed style of service, others were used for secular use or allowed to fall into disrepair. Only the church in Inverkeithing is still in use today for Christian worship.

The first recorded priest after the Reformation to work in this area of Fife was a Fr Anthony Sweeney, a priest of the Diocese of Dunkeld, who had been loaned to our own Archdiocese in 1909 when he was appointed assistant in St Margaret’s Dunfermline. Fr Sweeney took up residence in 1913 in Clarence House, Inverkeithing and ministered to the workers and the other Catholics of the area based in Jamestown.

Jamestown Mission (Church of St Peter-in-chains)

  • 1913-1917 Fr Anthony Sweeney
  • 1914-1917 Fr James Connolly -curate
  • 1917 -1923 Fr Joseph C. Long
  • 1917-1918 Fr Patrick McHugh -curate
  • 1918-1919 Fr James Hart-curate
  • 1919-1920 Fr William Murphy -curate
  • 1923-1930 Fr Dominic Hart

From 1913 work began on the construction of the Dockyard, and Mass was being celebrated in temporary accommodation in “Tintown” from then.  In 1915 it is recorded that a Requiem Mass was offered on All Souls Day at Rosyth Naval Base for those killed in WW1 and nearly 3,000 attended.

In 1919 a timber building was erected on Church land in Admiralty Road in Rosyth and was the first Catholic school in the area known as St John’s.  Mass was celebrated in this building on Sundays.

A new purpose built school was opened in Crossroads Place, Rosyth on 28th July 1924, replacing the timber building, and again Mass was celebrated in the school every Sunday.

In 1926 the Church of Ss John & Columba Rosyth was built and the attached Presbytery became the residence of the priest.

  • 1930-1931 Fr William Quigley
  • 1931-1936 Fr Thomas Ferrigan

From 1936 the church in Jamestown was looked after by the Parish Priest and his curate from St Joseph’s Burntisland.

  • 1936-1940 Fr Peter McFarlane
  • 1936-1938 Fr Thomas Martin -curate
  • 1938-1941 Fr Robert E Barry -curate
  • 1940-1948 Fr John McHugh
  • 1941-1942 Fr Bernard O’Donnell -curate
  • 1942-1944 Fr Anthony Smith -curate
  • 1944-1946 Fr Eugene Loughlin -curate
  • 1946-1948 Fr John D Mullan -curate
  • 1948-1951 Fr Stanislaus Eardley
  • 1948-1951 Fr Thomas F P Murray -curate
  • 1951-1958 Fr Edward Gilchrist
  • 1951-1955 Fr Liam O’Mahoney -curate
  • 1958-1972 Fr Patrick Quinn
  • 1972-1979 Fr Anthony McNally

In 1977 the Church of St Peter in chains on Hope Street, Inverkeithing was established, with the Church in Jamestown closing.

Inverkeithing Parish (St Peter in chains)

In 1979 a resident Parish Priest was appointed to St Peter in Chains Parish.

  • 1979-1988 Fr (later Canon) John Agnew
  • 1988-1991 Fr George Rogers
  • 19991-2010 Fr (later Canon) John McAllister

From 2010 both parishes of St Peter in Chains Inverkeithing and Ss John & Columba Rosyth have shared the same Parish Priest, resident in Rosyth

  • 2010-2015 Fr Peter Kelly
  • 2015-2018 Fr Kevin A. Dow
  • The Parish was suppressed on 28th October 2018

Rosyth Parish

On the 16th November (Feast of St Margaret of Scotland) 1936, Archbishop Andrew Joseph McDonald OSB of St Andrews & Edinburgh, erected the Parish of Rosyth under the Patronage of St John and St Columba.

  • 1936-1962 Canon Thomas Ferrigan
  • 1962-1993 Canon Daniel J. Boyle
  • 1993-1998 Fr Michael Purcell (also remaining PP of St Joseph’s Kelty and in 1997 becoming PP of Ss Peter & Paul’s Church, Rosyth)
  • 1998-2006 Fr John Scally (St Joseph’s Kelty receives their own priest)
  • 2007-2010 Fr Andrew Kingham (Ss Peter & Paul’s Church is closed)

In 1964 a resident Naval chaplain was appointed full-time in Rosyth, and by the late 1960’s a timber building was given to the Catholic community serving in the Armed Forces and their families, and was dedicated to the patronage of St Peter & St Paul.  In 1990 a new purpose built Church was built by the Ministry of Defense and continued on under the patronage of St Peter & St Paul, being served by priest’s of the Royal Navy. In 1996, the Royal Navy left Rosyth and after a campaign by the local Catholics, the Church came under the pastoral care of the local Parish Priest, Fr Michael Purcell.

From 2010 both parishes of  Ss John & Columba Rosyth and St Peter in Chains Inverkeithing have shared the same Parish Priest, resident in Rosyth

  • 2010-2015 Fr Peter Kelly
  • 2015-2018 Fr Kevin A. Dow
  • The Parish was suppressed on 28th October 2018

 Dunfermline Parish 

Our Lady of Lourdes Church was built as a Chapel of Ease in 1957, at the instigation of the late Rev. Monsignor Richard Delaney (PP of St Margaret’s from 1936 until his death in 1965) and was served from the mother parish of St. Margaret’s, Holyrood Place, Dunfermline until 1964.  In that year, Our Lady of Lourdes became a parish in its own right with the appointment of Rev. John Kerrisk as the first Parish Priest.  The newly erected parish took in former territory of St Margaret’s parish covering Dunfermline south of the railway, and also Pitreave Castle and surrounding areas from the Parish of Ss John & Columba’s in Rosyth.

Fr. Kerrisk died in 1972 but not before he had overseen the extension of the original church and the building of a house and Church Hall.

During the Silver Jubilee celebrations tributes were paid to the memory of Fr. Kerrisk and to Monisgner Delaney by Cardinal Gordon Gray.  It was noted that a street leading from Aberdour Road had been named after Fr. Kerrisk by the former Dunfermline Town Council.  Cardinal Gray was assisted during the ceremony by his auxiliary, Bishop James Monaghan, and the Bishop of Dunkeld, Bishop Vincent Logan.  The Master of Ceremonies was the Rev. R. Holuka, private secretary to the Cardinal.  The event was attended by a large number of parishioners and among the guests were local MP Mr. Dick Douglas;  Provost Les and Mrs Wood; and some 25 members of the clergy.  Also in attendance were three priests who had been curates in St Margaret’s and had served in the Chapel of Ease: Frs. J. Rogerson (1951-1967); M. McCullagh (1953-1965) and J Fox (1960-1966).   Invitations were also extended to the Senior Nursing Officers of the five local hospitals; the Rector of St. Columba’s High School, Mr Ben Conway; and the headteacher of St. Margaret’s Primary School, Miss R. M. Archbold.  The guest list also included Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

A Garden Party was organised to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.  Due to the unpredictable nature of Scottish weather this was held indoors and was attended by Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, who celebrated Mass, with a large number of parishioners attending.

  • 1964-1972 Fr John Kerrisk
  • 1972-1993 Canon Gerald McCabe
  • 1993 – 1998 Fr James Tracey
  • 1998- 2011 Fr Thomas Mullen
  • 2011-2018 Fr Alex Davie

As from the 1st September 2018, Fr Kevin Dow was appointed Parish Priest, whilst also remaining Parish Priest of St Peter in Chains and Ss John & Columba

  • 2018- 2018 Fr Kevin Dow
  • The Parish was suppressed on 28th October 2018

South West Fife Parish 

On the 28th October 2018, a new chapter began in the life of the Catholic Communities of South West Fife. Our parishes were formally amalgamated by a decree of the Archbishop to become one single parish, retaining all three churches with their patron saints.  The name of the new parish is that of the Most Holy Trinity, a reminder of the once great Abbey Church founded in Dunfermline by St (King) David I of Scotland, and dedicated under that title.

2018 – 2021 Fr Kevin Dow

2021 – Present Fr Joshua Kauras