Charlestown Limekilns

Location type


Name and dates

Charlestown Limekilns


This is a group of 14 disused limekilns. The remains present a striking appearance being well built in dressed stone.

The kilns are to the north of Charlestown Harbour and south of rising ground where a number of lime quarries were located. Further north again, in an area to the west of Dunfermline, were coal pits. Tramways connected the quarries to the kiln tops and the Elgin Railway ran to the pits.

Lime working is long associated with the area, the town of Limekilns being just to the east. From the 1860s the Earls of Elgin began working lime on their own estate and developed Charlestown, its harbour and the kilns.

The eastern 9 kilns are the oldest dating from the 1770s (source dates vary) and built by the 5th Earl of Elgin. The three to the east of this group may be newer. The western five are from 1792 built during the period of the 7th Earl, a diplomat who is noted for the Elgin Marbles removed from the Parthenon in Athens. The Elgin Railway was again modified to serve the new kilns. During the operation of the kilns the railway was realigned multiple times to serve the works.

The final part of the limeworks closed in 1957.



Chronology Dates

  /  /1792Elgin Waggonway
Branch to Charlestown Limekilns.