Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25706 73380
325706, 673380


J, J M and W H Hay, (Liverpool) 1857-61. Symmetrical, freestyle, nave and flanking aisles church with distinctive central, slightly advanced, 3-stage square-plan entrance tower to W (George IV Bridge), surmounted by 3 tiered octagonal lanterns with metal weathervane at apex. 6-bay elevation to Merchant Street (N) with 2-storey basement. Sandstone ashlar, rock-faced to 2 basement levels. Roll-moulded base course, band courses, string course, blocking course. Pilaster strips with Egyptian motif divide bays. Predominantly round-arched window openings with some rectangular tripartite openings to N. Segmental-arched openings to ground at N with off-centre pend.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Entrance elevation to W with central buttressed and corbelled tower with round-arched entrance doorway with pointed smooth and carved voussoirs and recessed entrance door. 4-light geometric tracery window above and 2-light louvred openings to 3rd stage. 3 centrally-placed tiered octagonal lanterns above with decorative filigree metal balustrade to 2nd tier. Decorative stone balustrade to tower with 8 square-plan stone pinnacles surmounted by ornamental curved pinnacles with fine ornate metalwork finials.

Predominantly 2 and 4-light geometric tracery windows with some plate glass timber sash and case windows to N. Some fixed pane glazing. Grey slates.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Simple, white-washed 5-bay with timber gallery to 3 sides and central, tall, timber round-arch to E wall. Decorative cast-iron columns support gallery and some roof framework. Flat roof, with hammerbeam roof believed to be in situ above.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such.

Augustine Church is a richly decorated, distinctive and unusual building, composed of an eclectic mixture of architectural styles, and with a particularly idiosyncratic squat tower. The mixture of Romanesque, Renaissance and Classical motifs combine to produce a remarkable building which adds significantly to the streetscape of the area. The square-plan tower with 3 octagonal tiers and prominent and decorative iron-work is particularly striking. The Church, with its entrance on George IV Bridge, is typical of central Edinburgh buildings in having 2 basement levels below the level of George IV bridge, making effective use of the differing heights of the streets in this part of the city.

This church was originally a Congregational Church, built as a replacement for a chapel which was demolished circa 1855 to make way for the Royal Museum in Chambers Street (see separate listing). The previous chapel became too small and the congregation purchased land on George IV Bridge for this church at a cost of £900. The building was expensive to construct and incurred more expense when the roof began to collapse during the erection of the building. The architect David Bryce was consulted to suggest a solution and he suggested the cast-iron pillars which were inserted to prevent any further bulging of the walls. The church was opened on 8th November 1861. The newly built church was of some interest to the people of Edinburgh and its unusual architectural style brought a mixed response with one Professor Blackie likening the spire to a Wedding cake.

J, J M and W H Hay (practice circa 1848-61) were an architect firm of 3 brothers based in Liverpool but whose output was largely confined to Scotland and the North of England.. They received commissions for predominantly Free Churches and Schools and built often on the Gothic style. This church is seen as a departure from their usual style.

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.



2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1876-7). John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p148-9. Charles McKean, Edinburgh, An Illustrated Architectural Guide, 1992, p50. The Challenge of our Heritage, Augustine United Church, 2005 p13. Scottish Dictionary of Architects at (accessed 22-05-07)

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to GEORGE IV BRIDGE AND 11A AND 11C MERCHANT STREET, AUGUSTINE UNITED FREE CHURCH (UNITED REFORMED CHURCH)

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 28/01/2022 19:41