Royal Burgh of Kinghorn - for residents and visitors alike



This is the wording on the scroll appearing at the foot of the Burgh Crest of Kinghorn. It refers to the fact that Saint Leonard was made Patron Saint of Kinghorn in 1290 by Pope Nicholas IV.

There are few places in Scotland that can boast a Patron Saint, so it is fitting that this scroll should be part of Kinghorn's Crest.


Saint Leonard of Noblac converted to Christianity in 496 AD and lived in this area (near Limoges, in France) until his death in 559 AD. He founded an abbey in Noblac and was well-known for his piety. King Clovis, the first king of the Franks, promised that any worthy prisoner converted to Christianity by Leonard would be released  and Leonard was given the right to liberate worthy prisoners on behalf of the King.

Saint Leonard's popularity grew rapidly in the 11th Century, when prayers to Saint Leonard were ascribed to deliverance for Crusader prisoners, captives and slaves.


The story now turns to Baldred Bisset, Rector of Kinghorn in 1290, when Scotland was being subjucated by King Edward I of England.

The Scots nobility chose Baldred Bisset to draw up and present a petition to the Pope. King Edward I was sending six bishops to Rome to allow Edward to annexe Scotland as part of England. The Scots sent Baldred Bisset and his pleas for Scotland succeeded, that Scotland was a separate kingdom under God.

The Pope recognised Kinghorn with a patron saint in honour of Bisset's work.

Why the Pope chose Saint Leonard is a matter of speculation: A possible answer is that Saint Leonard being the patron saint of prisoners, the Pope was condemning Edward's practice of imprisoning Scottish nobles' wives and families to exert pressure on the Scots.


Saint Leonard's feast day is 6th November and efforts continue to mark this honour for Kinghorn.

Thanks to Jim Allison.

Contact through the Secretary.

St Leonard - patron saint of Kinghorn.

Wooden statue of St Leonard of Noblac

Crest of Kinghorn - inscribed  “Sanctus Leonardus De Kinghorn” at 11th January 2012