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Extensive Definition

Dunfermline (Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Phàrlain) is a town and former Royal Burgh in Fife, Scotland. It sits on high ground 3 miles from the shore of the Firth of Forth, northwest of Edinburgh. The town is an historic capital of Scotland. King Robert the Bruce is buried within Dunfermline Abbey, which is situated in the town. The town is intersected from north to south by the picturesque Pittencrieff Park, from which the town derives its name and at the bottom of which flows Lyne Burn. Recent population estimates show the population of Dunfermline in 2006 to be 45,462. The population of the wider Dunfermline Area including the adjacent towns and villages supports an estimated population of 75,570.
Dunfermline is effectively coalesced with the town of Rosyth, which is itself continuous with nearby Inverkeithing. Industries in the Dunfermline area include engineering, electronics, defence and textiles. Employment in the town has diversified into service sector employment and major employers in Dunfermline include HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland), BSkyB and FMC Technologies, amongst others..


The history of Dunfermline goes back to a remote period, for the Culdees had an establishment here. The name comes from the Gaelic "Dùn Fearam Linn" which translates as "the fort in the bend of the stream". There is no documentary evidence for the name being derived from any other origin, other than the modern form of the name in Scottish Gaelic. The monks of the abbey called the Tower Burn, 'Aqua de Ferme' and the 'Ferm' element in the name dates back to documents of the eleventh century.
The city's increased fame and prosperity date from the marriage of Malcolm Canmore and his queen Margaret, which took place in the town in 1070. The king then lived in a tower on a mound surrounded on three sides by the glen. A fragment of this castle still exists in Pittencrieff Park, a little west of the ruins of the later Dunfermline Palace.
Under the influence of Queen Margaret in 1075 the foundations were laid of the Benedictine priory, which was raised to the rank of an abbey by David I (see Dunfermline Abbey). Robert the Bruce gave the town its charter in 1322, though in his Fife: Pictorial and Historical (ii. 223), A. H. Millar contends that till the confirming charter of James VI (1588) all burghal privileges were granted by the abbots.
In the 18th century Dunfermline impressed Daniel Defoe as showing the "full perfection of decay", but it regained prosperity. A staple industry was the manufacture of table linen. The famous Dunfermline lodge of free gardeners was founded in 1715 with the support of the Earl of Moray and the Marquis of Tweedale. The weaving of damask was introduced in 1718 by James Blake, who had learned the secret of the process in the workshops at Drumsheugh near Edinburgh, to which he gained admittance by feigning idiocy; and after that date the linen trade advanced by leaps and bounds, much of the success being due to the beautiful designs produced by the manufacturers.
Among other industries that have largely contributed to the welfare of the town are dyeing and bleaching, brass and iron founding, tanning, machine-making, brewing and distilling, milling, rope-making and the making of soap and candles.
The town is well supplied with public buildings. Besides the New Abbey church, the United Free church in Queen Anne Street founded by Ralph Erskine, and the Gillespie church, named after Thomas Gillespie (17081774), another leader of the Secession movement, possess some historical importance. Erskine is commemorated by a statue in front of his church and a sarcophagus over his grave in the abbey churchyard; Gillespie by a marble tablet on the wall above his resting-place within the abbey. The Corporation buildings, a blend of the Scots Baronial and French Gothic styles, contain busts of several Scottish sovereigns a statue of Robert Burns, and Sir Noel Paton’s painting of the "Spirit of Religion." Other structures are the County buildings, the Public, St Margaret’s, Music and Carnegie halls, the last in the Tudor style, Carnegie public baths, high school (founded in 1560), school of science and art, and two hospitals .

Dunfermline Eastern Expansion (DEX)

Dunfermline has seen substantial physical and population growth, partially resulting from the rising house prices in Edinburgh. A large town expansion is taking place at Masterton and Duloch on the eastern side of Dunfermline. Utilising the area between Linburn Road and the M90, which was previously farmland, this includes housing and employment as well as a new library and community hall, two new schools - The Duloch Schools Complex (Containing Duloch Primary School, Calaiswood Special Needs School and a community library and leisure centre) and Masterton Primary School, a commercial leisure park with a cinema, bowling alley, bingo hall, fitness club, hotel, garden centre and several chain restaurants, and a district park with community woodland and open space.



Dunfermline is home to professional football team Dunfermline Athletic who play their games at East End Park on Halbeath Road.

Rugby union

Dunfermline Rugby Football Club]] are based at McKane Park. The club has various teams, from the First XV which plays in Scotland's Premier 3 League, through to a Mini Section for primary school children.


Linsey Macdonald was a member of the bronze medal winning women's 400m relay team at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She was also a finalist in the individual 400m. Her old club Pitreavie AAC is still an active club with international competitors in track and field, cross country and road running.
The Dunfermline City Half Marathon is one of several summer long distance races which attracts an international field.


Dunfermline Tennis & Bridge Club is located on Bothwell Street and has teams that regularly compete in inter-club competitions. The club also offers coaching for all ages and abilities. More information is available at

Areas of Dunfermline

Areas of Dunfermline include:
Abbeyview is an area in the east of Dunfermline, bounded by Woodmill Road (North), Linburn Road (East), Aberdour Road (South) and Blacklaw Road (West). The area is noted for its social deprivation and is one of Fife's designated regeneration areas. Abbeyview has a shopping district (situated around Allan Crescent, Duncan Crescent and Abbey View), community centre, library and two schools - Woodmill High School and Lynburn Primary School. Pitcorthie Primary is situated on Aberdour Road, in the far south of the area.
Baldridgeburn is named after the main thoroughfare through the area. North of East Baldridge Drive is mainly a private development built in the 1990s. South of East Baldridge Drive is older housing and McLean Primary School.
Bellyeoman is situated in the north east of Dunfermline, mainly around Robertson Road and Bellyeoman Road. It is nearby to Queen Margaret Hospital and has a primary school, Bellyeoman Primary, and a Co-op supermarket.
Brucefield is an area in the east of Dunfermline, situated around St Andrews Street, Beveridge Street and the end of Wedderburn Street. A small shopping district is located around the junction of St Andrews Street and Hospital Hill, with a David Sands supermarket, Domino's Pizza, Take-away restaurants and a Subway store.
Duloch is a large suburb in the east of Dunfermline bounded by Halbeath Road (North), M90 motorway (East), Aberdour Road (South) and Linburn Road (West). Duloch is the newest area of Dunfermline, consisting of private developments. The area is popular with commuters to Edinburgh. Fife Leisure Park is located in the north of the suburb. Fife Leisure Park contains several restaurants, Carlton's Bingo Club, Odeon Cinema, Bannatyne's Health Club, and Dobbies Garden Centre. Other amenities include a large Tesco supermarket and a small village style shopping area. Duloch Schools - a school complex containing a nursery, primary and special school and also a community library and leisure centre are also in Duloch.
Garvock is an area in the east of Dunfermline. It is wholly residential and is centered around Garvock Hill. Garvock is separated from Touch by the Fife Circle Line. East End Park, home to Dunfermline Athletic is nearby. Commercial and St. Margaret's Primary School are situated to the south of the area.
Headwell is a residential area in the north of Dunfermline. It is situated between Plimuir Street and Townhill Road. The area is consists mainly of ex-council houses.
Kingseathill is a small area in the far north of Dunfermline. It is centred around the junction of Townhill Road and Kingseat Road. It is situated on high ground with views of the Forth Bridges and Edinburgh.
Masterton is a new residential area, south of Duloch. It comprises of new private developments. The area is named after Masterton Road, which leads to a hamlet, Masterton, south of Dunfermline. Masterton Primary School was opened in 2007 to meet the demands of these developments.
Milesmark is a small village on the north western outskirts of Dunfermline, situated on Carnock Road. It has a small primary school.
Nethertown is a small area in the south west of Dunfermline. It has a large industrial estate and is near the southern entrance to Pittencrieff Park.
Parkneuk is located in north western Dunfermline, between Milesmark and Baldridgeburn. It is a small area and is centred around Parkneuk Road.
Pitcorthie is a large housing estate situated in south east Dunfermline. It was built in the late 60's / early 70's. The main thoroughfare through the area is an oval shaped road, split into three parts - Birrell Drive, Evershed Drive and Pitcorthie Drive. It is bounded by Aberdour Road (North), Masterton Road (East), Pitreavie Playing Fields (South) and Queensferry Road (West). Pitcorthie is served by two primary schools - Canmore and Pitreavie. Pitcorthie Primary School is situated opposite Canmore Primary, on Aberdour Road, in the Abbeyview area.
Pitreavie is a business park in the south of Dunfermline, opposite the Pitcorthie housing estate. It is named after the medieval Pitreavie Castle. The business park has many warehouses and light industrial buildings, a Somerfield distribution depot and the Head Office of Dunfermline Building Society. Two major employers in the area are also situated here, HBOS and BSkyB, in Carnegie Campus.
Pittencrieff is an area in the west of Dunfermline, situated north of the picturesque Pittencrieff Park. It is bounded by Baldridgeburn (North), Bruce Street (East), Pittencrieff Street (South) and William Street (West). Amenities include Pittencrieff Primary School.
St Leonards is situated to the south west of the city centre. Council housing developments around Izatt Avenue and Whirlbut Crescent are located here. Amenities include a small ASDA supermarket, St Leonard's Primary School and Dunfermline High School, one of the largest schools in Scotland, serving southern and western Dunfermline as well as the western half of Rosyth and the West Fife village of Kincardine.
Townhill is a village on the northern outskirts of Dunfermline. It is home to Townhill Country Park, including the Scottish Water Skiing Centre, tennis courts and artificial and grass playing pitches. Townhill Primary School is fairly large and serves the villages of Townhill and Kingseat as well as areas in northern Dunfermline, such as Headwell and Kingseathill.
Touch is an area in the east of Dunfermline, north of Abbeyview and east of Garvock. It consists of flats and council housing. Local school is Touch Primary School.
Wellwood is a village on the northern outskirts of Dunfermline. It consists of mainly council housing. Queen Anne High School, one of the largest schools in Scotland, serving northern Dunfermline, as well as many villages in West Fife, is situated nearby.

Town Centre & Shopping

Dunfermline is a sub-regional shopping centre serving west Fife . The centre is popular and has some of the highest levels of footfall in Fife . The main shopping thoroughfare is located along a traditional, pedestrianised High Street. At one end of the High Street is a modern shopping mall, the Kingsgate Centre. A major extension of the Kingsgate Centre is currently underway and is due for completion by the end of August 2008 and the new bus station on Queen Ann Street has recently opened .
Much of Dunfermline's Town Centre is a Conservation Area and it contains a large number of historic buildings. The most prominent of these is the historic Abbey. The ruins of the former palace sit adjacent to this to the south. Abbots House Museum located to the north of Dunfermline Abbey is one of the oldest properties in the town. The town centre also contains a number of historic churches and the gothic style City Chambers which form an important part of the town's skyline. The town centre is popular for tourists and improvement works are currently being undertaken to enhance the public realm and historic streetscape.
Public facilities in and around the centre include the Carnegie Theatre, the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Sports Centre, the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum and the Dunfermline police station, sheriff court and fire station are located at various points on Carnegie Drive to the north of the town centre.
Dunfermline has several retail parks. Carnegie Retail Park abuts the northern boundary of the town centre and contains a number of well-known retailers. Halbeath Retail Park is located on the eastern edge of the town adjacent to the Carnegie College (formally Lauder College). Halbeath Retail Park contains a large ASDA foodstore, a number of bulky goods retailers and a restaurant. Tesco and ASDA are the major supermarket operators in the town. ASDA has two branches, one situated in Halbeath Retail Park and a smaller store on St Leonard's Street. Tesco is located off Aberdour Road forming part of the eastern expansion's district shopping centre, this has recently been given planning consent for a large extension. The district centre also includes an Aldi store and a parade of shop and commercial units.
Plans have been submitted to develop a large Tesco Extra store on the Thomson's World of Furniture site on Bruce Street in the northwest of the town centre. Rival proposals have also been put forward for a major mixed use development on the same site.[8]



Dunfermline has always had a folk music tradition. Local groups include the Dunfermline Folk Club, Dunfermline Abbey Choir and Dunfermline district pipe band. Live Music Venues, also have had a strong prominence in Dunfermline with the likes of Montys and PJ Molloys. Many night clubs are also present such as Harlem, Johnson's, Life and Lorenzo's(Formerly Urban). Velocity serves as both a nightclub and music venue(previously Kinema, The Ballroom and other names) and are mainly concentrated around the city centre. Nazareth, Big Country and The Skids are among the famous bands to come out of Dunfermline in terms of popular music.


Dunfermline is fortunate to have been bequeathed with two theatres, the Carnegie Hall Theatre and the Alhambra.
Carnegie Hall is a 540-seat theatre complete with a music institute and a restaurant. The theatre was gifted to Dunfermline by philanthorpist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Alhambra Theatre was founded in 1922, operating for many years in the town, until the site was sold to a bingo club in 1965. The theatre is one of the most impressive in Fife holding at least 1000 seats, with much of the original building work intact and will be a benefit in the city centre with the on-going regeneration project. The theatre is due to re-open, by late 2009. The Alhambra campaign, ALhambra Alive, had a launch in the theatre in late winter 2007.


Dunfermline has three museums located in and adjacent to the town's centre. The Carnegie Birth Place Museum is located at the southern gateway to the town centre. It contains artefacts relating to Dunfermline's most famous son, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The Abbotts House Heritage Centre is located in the historic core of the town centre on Maygate. It contains exhibits relating to Dunfermline and its place in history. The Pittencrieff House Museum is located in Pittencrieff Park adjacent to the town centre. It contains exhibits and artefacts relating to the history and formation of the Park over 350 million years.


Queen Margaret Hospital

Queen Margaret is the main general hospital for Dunfermline and the west fife catchment area. The hospital was built in two stages between 1985 and 1993. The hospital has many services including an A&E department and a nearby railway station.

Lynebank Hospital

Lynebank, opened in 1968. The hospital deals primarily with pyschatric and paediatric patients.


Primary Schools

Dunfermline has 16 primary schools:
  • Bellyeoman Primary School
  • Canmore Primary School
  • Commercial Primary School
  • Duloch School
  • Lynburn Primary School
  • Masterton Primary School
  • McLean Primary School
  • Milesmark Primary School
  • Pitcorthie Primary School
  • Pitreavie Primary School
  • Pittencrieff Primary School
  • St.Leonard's Primary School
  • St.Margaret's RC Primary School
  • Touch Primary School
  • Townhill Primary School
  • Wellwood Primary School

Secondary Schools

There are four High Schools in Dunfermline. These are:

Dunfermline High School

Dunfermline High School is one of the oldest and most populated high schools in Scotland, founded in 1120.

Queen Anne High School

Queen Anne High School is a large non-denominational secondary school of around 1,750. It is the fifth largest in Scotland and serves pupils in the north of Dunfermline.

Woodmill High School

Woodmill High School is located in Dunfermline.

St Columba's High School

St Columba's is a Roman Catholic High School, one of only two in Fife, serving West Fife. It has an expansive catchment area, stretching from Ballingry in the North to North Queensferry in the South and Kincardine in the West to Lochgelly in the east.

Special Schools

Calaiswood School, located in the Duloch Schools Campus, next to Duloch Primary, part of Duloch Schools. Is is a purpose-built special school offering an elaborated curriculum for pupils with additional support needs from nursery age to 18. Calaiswood replaces the former - Robert Henryson and Headwell schools. There is also a DSE ( Department of Special Education ) at Woodmill HS.

Further Education

Dunfermline is home to Carnegie College (formerly Lauder College), located in the Halbeath area to the east of the town.
Dunfermline is within commuting distance for universities in Edinburgh,St. Andrews, Stirling, Dundee and Glasgow.


Railway Stations

Dunfermline is served by two railway stations: Dunfermline Town and Dunfermline Queen Margaret. Dunfermline Town was formerly known as Dunfermline Lower.
Dunfermline Queen Margaret railway station is located on Whitefield Road primarily for hospital traffic and is also served on the Fife circle line.

Dunfermline Bus Station

The bus station is sited on|queen%20anne%20street,%20dunfermline#map=56.07216,-3.46241|20|256&loc=GB:56.07189:-3.46294:17|queen anne street,dunfermline|QueenAnneStreet,Fife,Dunfermline,Scotland,KY127 Queen Anne Street/Randoulph Street]

Political subdivisions

The original plans for reform of local government in the early 1970s envisaged splitting Fife between two regions based in Ediburgh and Dundee but after public protest the plans were dropped and Fife became a separate region with Dunfermline one of its constituent districts.
Since 1996 Dunfermline has been included in the Fife unitary area. (See: Subdivisions of Scotland)
See A. H. Millar’s Fife: Pictorial and Historical (2 vols,, 5895); and Sheriff Alneas Mackay’s History of Fife and Kinross (189?).

Town twinning

Notable people

  • Andrew Carnegie, (1835-1919), is the most celebrated of all Dunfermline's sons, as he is certainly Dunfermline's greatest benefactor. He gave to his birthplace the free library and public baths, and, in 1903, the estate of Pittencrieff Park and Glen, rich in historical associations as well as natural charm, together with bonds yielding £25,000 a year, in trust for the maintenance of the park, the support of a theatre for the production of plays of the highest merit, the periodical exhibitions of works of art and science, the promotion of horticulture among the working classes and the encouragement of technical education in the district. So while New York's Carnegie Hall is much better known, Dunfermline has its own.
  • Robert Henryson (c.1430-c.1500), one of Scotland's most important poets, was connected with the Abbey and probably ran the grammar school which would have served the Royal Burgh. He wrote in a period when the city, with its palace and abbey complex, was one of the key cultural centres in Scotland. His poetry, which is subtle, vivid and multi-layered, can often convey a strong impression of the life and landscape that would have been found in and around Dunfermline at the time. It is also a rich record of the Scots that would have been spoken. It is likely, though not certain, that he was native to The Kingdom of Fife and he has been tentatively associated with Clan Henderson of Fordell.
Other well-known people born in Dunfermline:
Notable residents include:
  • David Ferguson (ca. 1533-1598), parish minister who made the first collection of Scottish proverbs (not published until 1641),


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