Pittenweem means "the place of the cave", a reference to St Fillan, an 8th century hermit whose cave remains in the care of St John's. St John's church is in the centre of Pittenweem, on the site of the 14th century Augustinian priory, of which the grade 1 listed Gatehouse remains.
In 1805 St John’s Episcopal Chapel was built by Revd David Low, the then incumbent of Pittenweem and Crail, who largely led the revival of the Scottish Episcopalian Church. He was later elected Bishop of Ross and Argyll, but remained the incumbent at Pittenweem, and thus technically St John’s Chapel was his cathedral.
The building has been altered and extended over the years, but basically it is the same 19th century beautiful small stone building, which comfortably seats 75-80 in traditional wooden pews. The sanctuary is decorated with fine oak carving from the 1920s by the famous architect Robert Lorimer. There are several 19th and 20th century fine memorial stained glass windows, and two new windows, designed by Ursula Ditchburn (illustrated below), were added in 2005 to commemorate the church's bi-centenary and the life of the local community.