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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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94193 6726
394193, 806726


James Matthews, 1870 with 2 additional chapels by J Ninian Comper, 1889 and 1908. Rectory, George Irvine, 1908. Aisleless church with later smaller chapels to S and W and with attached 2-storey and attic L-plan rectory to SW, situated on prominent site overlooking city. Tooled, coursed granite rubble with cream sandstone dressings. Some Gothic tracery windows. Late 20th century roof dormers to church.

Entrance elevation to S with steps leading to off-centre, advanced crow-stepped gabled porch with round-arched entrance. Large carved timber crucifix to right.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to rectory. Grey slates to main church roof, red pantiles to rectory and chapels. Raised skews and skewputts. Coped wallhead and gable stacks to rectory.

INTERIOR: nave with open timber roof with rafters springing from stone corbels. Steps to raised sanctuary. 3 pointed-arched openings to chapel to S. Carved decorative oak altar, pulpit and pews. Chapel to S with intricately carved, partly gilded open timber screen. Chapel to W with finely decorated wrought-iron chancel screen.

Good quality stained glass windows, some by Ninian Comper, depicting a variety of liturgical themes.

BOUNDARY WALL: high, coped, coursed rubble wall surrounding church complex.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Situated on a high, prominent site above the city, the church is a dominant feature in the landscape. The small chapel to the W of the nave is an early work by the celebrated architect Sir Ninian Comper and was his first complete buiding. A further Comper Chapel of 1908 and some fine stained glass windows are of particular note in this church. Ninian Comper's father, John, was the first Rector and founder of the parish and the chapel of 1908 was Ninian's memorial to him.

Rev John Comper was the rector at St John's Church in Aberdeen but resigned his incumbency in 1870 to devote himself to full-time mission work in the then notorious Gallowgate area of the city. He, and The Sisters of Mercy ran a day school, and evening classes for men and women. This mission became St Margaret's Church and was initially just a large nave which was gradually enlarged by the additions of the chapels by John's son Ninian, and the rectory.

James Matthews (1819-1898) was a prolific architect, working mainly in Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness, and who was in partnership with his one-time trainee, A Marshall Mackenzie from 1877-93. Matthews output includes large public and smaller private buildings. He became Lord Provost of Aberdeen in 1883 and was mainly responsible for the City Improvement Act of 1883 which included the building of School hill and Rosemount Viaduct which gave improved access to the city. He is buried in St Nicholas Churchyard (see separate listing).

John Ninian Comper (1864-1960) was one of the finest 20th century church architect and designers. He was born in Aberdeen and his work is found throughout the UK. His output consists mainly of internal church furnishings and stained glass, with few complete buildings. His church designs marry a decorative architecture, based on various ecclesiastical styles, with the liturgical processes of the church.

George Irvine, born in England, worked in Aberdeen in the early part of the 20th century, but had moved to Edinburgh by 1910.



2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1899-1901. A Gammie, The Churches of Aberdeen, 1909 W H Fraser & C H Lee (eds) Aberdeen 1800-2000, A New History, 2000 p357. Guide to Church. Scottish Dictionary of Architects, Other information courtesy of Rector.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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