St Fillan's Cave


The cave, which was refurbished and opened to visitors in October 2000, is situated on Cove Wynd and is owned by the Bishop Low Trust. It is entrusted to the care of St John's Scottish Episcopal Church in Pittenweem.  We are happy for you to visit the cave and we trust that its peacefulness will accompany you on your travels.


In earlier times this wynd to the harbour would have been used by those doing business there, and it is likely that from time to time the cave served as both a home and a store place for fisherfolk and their equipment.

The cave has traditionally been associated with St Fillan, although there are stories of several Saints with that name from the area. They may have lived as hermits who used the cave and engaged with pilgrims who passed along the various routes, which lead towards and away from St Andrews.

Celtic monks travelled here from Ireland and maybe from other parts of the continent, - evidence from the Isle of May and from the graveyard at neighbouring St Monans suggest that pilgrims from Spain (Santiago di Compostella) may have lived and died in the locality.

Although the cave is now situated several metres above sea level it was formed by erosion. After the ice ages (some 10,000 years ago) it would have been at sea level for a long time, and  the cavern was probably carved out by water action. The surface over which you walk was shaped by movements of a river which would have flowed through the cave to the Firth of Forth. There are no traces of this apart from the markings on the limestone floor.

We ask that people respect the silence of the cave and its spiritual atmosphere. It is a place of pilgrimage and has been used for many purposes over many generations. Today it is a shrine to the memory of St Fillan and to the people of Pittenweem who have lived and worked here over the centuries. You are welcome to share the experience of being in this special place.

From time to time Christian services held in the Cave.  In 2011 we were very happy to welcome children from Pittenweem Primary School to join with us in a crib service just before Christmas, which was recorded by the BBC and broadcast on TV. 




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