Planted as a daughter church to Dunfermline Abbey, St Leonard’s began life in 1894 and because of the materials used in its construction became known locally as the “Iron Kirk”.
The current building was built in 1904 in memory of John and William McLaren thanks to the generosity of Wm McLaren (a member of the Abbey Church) who in 1897 left the sum of £5,600 in his will for a church to be built on land gifted in Brucefield Avenue. The church is recognised by its unusual pencil steeple from the outside and has a quite fascinating interior.
The Church was designed by Glasgow architect, Peter Chalmers, an authority on medieval architecture. The McLaren hall, vestry and session house were built in 1908. The Morris Hall was added in May 1987.
The Round Tower is a copy of an ancient British style. It is 100 feet high, with 6 storeys and the large windows face the cardinal points of the compass. The church bell is situated in the tower and is rung each Sunday prior to morning worship.
The Apse which is in the Norman style was not common in Scotland at that time. It is used to house the Communion Table and Elder’s chairs. The chairs were designed by Robert Motion an elder of the church and are based on the English Coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. The Candelabra are based on the seven branched candlesticks in the Temple at Jerusalem. The ceiling was painted on vellum by Mr A Samuel, Head of the Craft School. It depicts ”The Risen Christ” with a number of his close followers. The Apse windows are War Memorials - the left shows St Andrew, the right St Leonard.
The Heraldic Gallery
There are 28 shields on the gallery (similar to the 7 shown here) that relate to the Scottish Wars of Independence of the 13th and 14th century - the time of Wallace and Bruce. They show the coats of arms of famous individuals of this period.