Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Group Category Details
100000019 - See notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
Planning Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 48590 69089
448590, 1169089


1753, probably incorporating earlier work, and with alterations of circa 1840 and 1933. Traditional galleried 4-bay hall church of rectangular plan with unusual buttresses and lean-to vestry centring N elevation and wide forestair to gallery at W gable. Base course to harled rubble walls.

E (ENTRANCE) GABLE: symmetrical, with substantial base course, vertically-boarded timber door at centre framed by 3 concrete pilasters to each side spanned by concrete lintel; margined surround centred above containing 4-pane timber glazing to fanlight and loft gallery window aligned above with round-arched 2-pane timber fixed-light at gablehead.

S ELEVATION: symmetrical, substantial buttresses at centre with flight of crowsteps to E side; modern tall 4-pane timber fixed-light windows in bays flanking centre; buttresses with raggles to inner faces flanking centre bays, matching central buttress and linked by low rubble wall; 2-pane timber fixed-light windows to outer bays, elevation framed by smaller buttresses to outer left and right.

W GABLE: asymmetrical, rubble forestair rising from S to flagged platt centred on vertically-boarded timber gallery door offset to left of centre; small window centred over door with narrow 2-pane timber fixed-light adjacent to right.

N ELEVATION: near-symmetrical, lean-to vestry at centre with single-flue wallhead stack over re-entrant angle to left; buttresses to outer left and right.

Purple-grey slate roof with interlocking droved ashlar skew-copes and bracketted skewputts to principal gables, droved ashlar skew-copes to vestry.

INTERIOR: many internal timber fittings surviving including vertically-boarded wainscoting to ground floor, horizontally-boarded pews in U-plan arrangement around pulpit centring S wall; hexagonal panelled and grained pulpit accessed by balustraded steps, blind architraved arch and hinged brass lamps to sounding board rising to circular corniced canopy sounding board with octagonal ogee dome terminated by urn. Timber Roman Doric columns supporting U-plan gallery with boarded pews, panelled and grained fronts to E and W sides and balustraded front to centre. Pedimented monument of circa 1780 to S wall left of pulpit, carved with emblems of death, to Thomas Hunter of Lunna, his wife and son. N doorway contains armorial monument of circa 1700 to Robert Hunter and his wife, with 17th century inscribed stone below.

KIRKYARD WALL: drystone rubble wall extending E and W from N wall of church and enclosing roughly rectangular graveyard to S; square rubble entrance gatepiers to E of church; W wall extending N and S to W gates and shore respectively.

Statement of Special Interest

A Group with Lunna House, Fishing Booth, Folly, Former Schoolhouse, Gothick Cottage, Lunna Harbour, Steading, Walled Garden, and West Gates. In ecclesiastical use. This church was built as a chapel of ease on the site of the family mausoleum at the expense of Robert Hunter of Lunna. Gifford suggests that the centre bays of the S elevation had burial enclosures between the buttresses and that the squint, commonly referred to as the ?leper?s squint? might be part of a medieval church. A brief study in May 1997 by the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group concluded that the buttresses and squint were probably components of an early central heating system which warmed the south wall. From analysis of the components, they concluded that the raggles on the buttresses were evidence of roofs that were extant prior to the cills of windows flanking the central buttress being lowered. The central buttress also revealed a hollow centre in the form of a flue running towards the church, and suggested the flight of crowsteps on the E side were for cleaning this flue, possibly flanked by peat store and furnace chambers. Discussion about how this arrangement might have heated the hall led to further investigation which revealed a large duct behind the sounding board of the pulpit, and the assumption from visible evidence that the outer buttresses were also flues forming a 'hot wall' system as found in walled gardens and greenhouses. These conclusions suggested the 'leper squint' and another similar opening were more likely to be ventilators for the heating chamber. In conclusion, the Working Group suggested that the church is an 18th century building, probably on medieval foundations, with buttresses and the associated heating system dating from the early 19th century, the buttresses perhaps being terminated by tapered obelisks with beach-stone finials to match the Gothick aesthetic of Lunna House and the West Gates.



Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p60. VERNACULAR BUILDING May 1997. John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p497.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 19/04/2019 21:23