Kilrenny lies just off the A917 road just a few hundred yards north of the edge of Anstruther (or, more accurately, Cellardyke): a gap that is steadily closing with the development of new housing. You can read the full text of the chapter about Kilrenny in D Hay Fleming's 1886 book: Guide to the East Neuk of Fife.
It is a surprise to find that such a tiny hamlet was probably the first settlement in the area. A church was established here in the dark ages and gave rise to the name. Cill Reithneach, the Scottish Gaelic for church of the bracken had become "Kilrinny" by 1160, and Upper Kilrenny some time later. It was only when nearby Lower Kilrenny changed its name to Cellardyke in the 1500s that Kilrenny dropped the "Upper" from its name. Despite this, when a town hall was needed for Kilrenny in 1624 it was built in Cellardyke.
The first church in Kilrenny was probably connected with St Adrian, an Irish monk who lived in a cave at nearby Caiplie until killed by Vikings in 875. It is unclear what happened to it this first church, but a replacement was built in the early part of the 1200s and dedicated in 1243.
Although the sign outside today's church notes its consecration in 1243, the earliest part of the structure is the tower, dating back to the 1400s and long used as a beacon by fisherman from Cellardyke. Much of the rest of today's church was built in 1807-8. An unusual and very striking addition is the Lumsdaine Burial Enclosure, attached to the west of the tower and looking like a Grecian addition to the church itself.
The old core of Kilrenny gathers around the church. These days it is a relatively quiet village: it was less so before a bypass was built to take the A917 traffic round Kilrenny.
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