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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGR: NT 20030 72776
  • Coordinates: 320030, 672776


1404 burial chapel built by Sir Adam Forrester remains at E end of current building. 1429 additions made by son Sir John Forrester which gave church its basic shape. Building W formed nave, south transept, tower, inner porch. 1646 adjacent parish church demolished, stones used to form entrance porch and north transept. 1828 restoration and additions by William Burn, included extension of nave to form N aisle, small W galilee and repositioning of main door below E window of chancel. 1903-5 restoration and additions by George Henderson, included re siting of door to W end, slabbed roof and radical interior changes.

Single storey, cruciform plan church; square-plan tower; octagonal stone spire. Coursed sandstone; sandstone ashlar mouldings. Imbricated granolithic slabbed roof. Heavy angle buttresses, excluding sacristy; canted at apex; square terminal sundials; base course; cill course; finials.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 2-leaf timber door at centre of low entrance porch; round-headed stained glass window; 2 heraldic panels in gable head; skews. Stained glass and narrow splay at 2nd stage to tower; paired louvred openings at 3rd stage to all faces; crocketed finials at each corner. Octagonal spire; 3 crenellated string courses. Gabled N aisle comprises 2-light off-centre opening; central narrow splay to gable head. Central label-moulded entrance at W galilee; 2 leaf timber doors.

N (ENTRANCE THROUGH PATHWAY OFF GLEBE TERRACE) ELEVATION: central lancet arch 3-light opening at galilee to right; perpendicular tracery; triple chamfered reveals. 3 pairs of perpendicular lights to N aisle. Single rectangular mullioned window in sacristy.

S (CORSTORPHINE HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: doorway to E of entrance porch; timber door; small stained glass window at ground; leaded window at 2nd stage in tower. Central pointed arch 3-light opening; perpendicular tracery; triple chamfered reveals; flanking shields; canted shield and bird's head aligned above window apex. 3-sets of paired perpendicular lights to nave. 2 pairs of perpendicular lights to chancel; dividing buttress.

E (KIRK LOAN) ELEVATION: central pointed arch 3-light chancel opening; perpendicular tracery; triple chamfered reveals; beacon light in niche aligned above window apex. 2-light rectangular mullioned light at ground in sacristy to right; leaded single rectangular light aligned above. Steps to cellar.

INTERIOR: predominantly George Henderson, 1903-5. Stained glass, predominantly by Ballantine dated 1904-5 with exception of 3-light window in S chapel by Gordon Webster 1970 and 2 SE nave windows by Nathaniel Bryson, 1904.

ENTRANCE PORCH: carved stones to left, 1 identified as tombstone of

Sir Adam Forrester's grandson.

NAVE: twin tunnel-vaults of granolithic slabs on chamfered stone ribs; six corbels carved by Birnie Rhind with heads derived from Leonardo's da Vinci's Last Supper; foliated capitals. Pulpit, stone pillar lectern and timber furnishings all designed by George Henderson. 17th century hourglass behind lectern, one replaced bulb. Small gallery to W, opened out in 1905 restoration.

SACRISTY: projecting corbels indicate level of 2 upper chambers; window lights at ground and 1st; elaborately carved timber and glass door; altar slab; piscina.

CHANCEL: 2 recessed moulded pointed arch tombs to N wall divided by doorway to sacristy; labelstops of shield carrying angels to hoodmoulds. Effigies of Sir John Forrester and wife to W and 2nd

Sir John Forrester to E. Family shields in panels below. Reader's Chair to S wall, constructed from oak from the now-demolished Provost's house of 1550, which stood on the site of the present Corstorphine High Street Hall. Commemorative dates to Priest's Door, of 1429, 1455 and 1769. Memorial slabs to Alexander Tod (1489) and Robert Heriot (1443). Unidentified stone with floriated calvary cross. Recessed basket arch stone sedilia. Memorial tablets to Nicholas Bannatyne (1429) and George Henderson (architect of 1905 restoration) to E wall. Elaborately carved timber sedilia.

S TRANSEPT: Remains of original groining, badly damaged during the 1828 alterations by William Burn. Stone circular-plan late medieval font from Gogar Church; roughly hewn bowl. Recess with credence table; sculpted panel within by Isobel Reid; tapestry above by Dovecot Studios. Moulded pointed arch recessed tomb beneath S window; effigy of armoured knight, popularly believed to be tomb of Sir Adam Forrester who died in 1405 (armour is of design and fashion of 30 years later, so could be descendent); family shields in panels. 6 ringed stone memorial slab dated 1620; previously covered the burial vault of Watsons of Saughton.

BELL: cast in 1728 after one donated in 1577 by Sir James Forrester has 'rent in the steeple' (in the words of the Minutes).

CHURCHYARD: Many good 18th century monuments. On the S wall, a pedimented monument to Walker (1751) on which name Wm Don may be that of the sculptor.

WAR MEMORIAL: Stone memorial plaque and cross to Kirk Loan within semi-circular niche.

BOUNDARY WALLS, VAULT AND GATE HOUSE, GATEPIERS AND GATES: coped, sandstone rubble walls; low and stepped to Kirk Loan. Coped semi- pyramidal piers at Kirk Loan entrance; cast-iron gates with heraldic shields set within. Single cast-iron gateway to entrance from narrow pathway off Glebe Terrace. Coped pyramidal gatepiers at Corstorphine High Street entrance; cast-iron gates. Single storey gabled rubble gate house and vault to entrances at Corstorphine High Street and Glebe Terrace respectively.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. The history of the present church stems from the acquisition of the lands of Corstorphine by Adam Forrester from William More of Abercorn in 1347. Sir Adam obtained permission to a family chapel next to the existing church of St Mary. His son expanded the chapel in 1429 and the Collegiate Church of

St John the Baptist was formed, functioning alongside St Mary's. After the Reformation, parish worship was transferred to the Collegiate building. It is possible that the entrance porch built in circa 1646 is constructed from the remnant's of St Mary's which was demolished at that time. Despite the many alterations and additions over the centuries, much of the original medieval building remains.

The War Memorial was originally set up in Station Road beside the Station entrance in 1921. When the houses at Irish Corner in Kirk Loan were demolished in 1935 and the ground grassed, the British Legion proposed the current siting as a more suitable site for the memorial.




U Selway A MID LOTHIAN VILLAGE (1890), pp9-16; THE BUILDER 01/08/1903; O Milligan CORSTORPHINE AND ITS PARISH CHURCH (1929); RCAHMS INVENTORY FOR MIDLOTHIAN AND WEST LOTHIAN (1929) pp18-22; E MacRae HERITAGE OF GREATER EDINBURGH (1947), p27; THE BUILDER 20/06/1952, p911; M Cant VILLAGES OF EDINBURGH Vol. I (1986) pp5-8; C McKean EDINBURGH (1992) p172; Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1991), pp522-524;


About Designations

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 statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned 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. For information about curtilage see 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 is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 20/03/2018 07:46