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FRIENDS OF CULTS KIRK

INTRODUCTION

Nestling at the foot of Cults Hill, about a mile to the east of the village of Pitlessie,  lies the Kirkton of Cults with its simple sandstone Parish Church.

The Site

Set amongst the fields and sheltered by a group of mature trees alongside the Cults Burn, a church has stood on this site for more than 1,000 years. Early documents spell it Quilt, Quiltis or Quilque and it was not until the Reformation (1560) that it assumed the more modern form of Cultis, Coults, and finally, Cults. In the vernacular, the church and parish are styled “The Cult Kirk” and “The Cult Parish” (as seen on a tombstone in the Kirkyard, erected by the Rev. T. Gillespie, Minister of Cult). In ancient times the church was a rectory in the Bishopric of St. Andrews, and was re-dedicated by Bishop de Bernham in 1243.

People came to live in this area soon after the retreat of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. They were attracted by the fertile soil which is still cultivated at the farms that have provided employment and food over many generations.

In the woods on Walton Hill is evidence of an ancient fort. It is believed this gave rise to the local name Dennyhogles which when translated from the Gaelic becomes ‘Hill Fort of the Church’. This is seen as evidence that Cults Kirk stands on a site where worship has continued since the days when Gaelic was commonly spoken in the area, more than 1,000 years ago.