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- Category: A
- Date Added: 12/07/1963
- Local Authority: Dundee
- Planning Authority: Dundee
- Burgh: Dundee
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NO 40128 30121
- Coordinates: 340128, 730121
Late 15th century, completed circa 1495. 5-stage, 156-foot ashlar tower, upper 2 stages set back to allow for a walkway at 4th. Caphouse probably 1570, turnpike stair heightened by 'two roundis' by John Mylne, 1643. Most of the detailing restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott 1872, and badly redressed by Dundee Corporation in early 1960s. Modern small-pane leaded glass W windows, 19th century cathedral-panes to 3rd stages. 4th and 5th stages louvred. Slate roof.
W ELEVATION: 1st stage round-arched, double doorway within single round-arched tympanum. Acorn leaf mouldings. Tympanum formerly housed Virgin and Child in relief. Trumeau and shafts badly worn. Large 6-light W window over, spiral mouchettes and Y-tracery. Hoodmould, mask label stops and continuous impost level band course. 2nd stage round-arched window with geometric quatrefoil wheel tracery. 3rd stage small 2-light window, 4th and 5th belfry stages recessed behind quatrefoil parapet with pinnacles, 1 housing a niche with statue.
Roll-moulded angles at 4th stage. Louvred single-light pointed-
arch openings with hoodmoulds and mask label stops, 3 at 4th stage,
2 at 5th stage. Iron clock face at 5th stage. Quatrefoil pierced parapet with the bases for a crown spire. Gabled caphouse.
S ELEVATION: blind at 1st and 2nd stages. Small mid-19th century porch to St Clement's with pointed-arch door and castellated parapet. 3rd stage 2-light pointed-arch window over small hoodmoulded niche with statue of the Virgin. 4th and 5th stages identical to W elevation.
N ELEVATION: blind through 3 stages. 4th and 5th stages similar to W elevation but altered to 1 light over 2 when stair was heightened in 1643. Turnpike stair at left with slit windows. Conical stone spirelet and weathervane.
INTERIOR: tall masonry rib-vaulted chamber. Circular hatch for transport of materials to the upper stages. Splayed arch opened to nave of church, now blocked with rubble. Small pointed-arch door beyond segmental relieving arch. Nook shafts with bell capitals and corbels at impost level formerly supported a timber gallery. Timber structure at upper stages; roof construction is late 17th or early 18th century.
Statement of Special Interest
Municipally owned and no longer in ecclesiastical use. The largest medieval tower in Scotland. The almost unique telescoping of the tower, the triple windows, the small pinnacles and the spiralling mouchettes in the tracery of the W window suggest an affinity with churches around Utrecht, an area with which Dundee had significant trading connections. The double door is also similar to some Low Countries churches, and St Mary's, Haddington.
The tower was separated from the parish church in 1547, when the English destroyed the nave, and re-united in 1787-8 when St Clement's was built on the site. Old St Paul's and St David's (Cross) and St Mary's churches were rebuilt after the great fire of 1841. They are also listed at category A for their grouping with the tower.
Richard Fawcett, 'Late Gothic Architecture in Scotland: Considerations on the Influence of the Low Countries', in PSAS 112 (1982), pp490-494; McKean and Walker (1993), pp59-61; Maxwell, HISTORY OF OLD DUNDEE, p290.
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