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- Category: A
- Date Added: 14/12/1970
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 26272 76535
- Coordinates: 326272, 676535
William Burn, 1813-16. Greek Revival, 5-bay church with tetrastyle Ionic portico and 3-stage tower with spire; rectangular galleried hall with canted end. Cream ashlar sandstone, stugged to side and rear elevations; ashlar dressings. Base course; depressed-headed windows at ground; band course above; full entablature and blocking course.
E (FRONT) ELEVATION: 3 centre bays slightly advanced with giant corner pilasters; pedimented Ionic portico on plinth of 4 steps; fluted columns. 2-leaf panelled door at centre with traceried depressed-arch fanlight; roll-moulded frame; similar round-headed niches to flanking bays; windows above. Rectangular upper windows with cornices and architraves extending to band course framing sunken panelled aprons, with balustrades to outer windows; corner pilasters.
TOWER: of 3 diminishing stages. 1st and 2nd stages square with freestanding corner columns and corner pilasters; 1st stage with round-headed window and pediment to each face; 2nd stage with clock and bucranium and swag cresting; octagonal 3rd stage ringed by freestanding columns; louvred round-headed openings to each face; Orders ascending from Doric with full entablatures. Fluted spire with oculi lucarnes to alternate faces; capped with gilded Greek cross finial.
N AND S ELEVATIONS: 5-bay; round-headed gallery windows. E bay slightly advanced; ashlar with corner pilasters; fenestration as E front end bays.
W ELEVATION: canted end with angle pilasters; Venetian window to gallery at centre (now blocked) on ashlar plinth with punched tripartite window; flanking bays with 3 semi-circular steps to depressed-arch doorway at ground (as at front) and round-headed window above with pilastered frame in round-arched recess.
Timber sash and case windows; 16-pane to front, 24-pane to gallery (with Y-tracery); stained glass at ground (see below). Piended roof, grey slates.
INTERIOR: vaulted vestibule with 3 niches containing busts of former Ministers, and other memorials; side doors to flanking barrel-vaulted stairwells; cantilevered stone stairs; corniced architraves to windows and doors. Hall with coved ceiling and dentilled cornice; pilastered gallery supported on fluted Ionic columns; panelled window soffits. Raised dais with simple classical pulpit approached by straight flight of steps with hexagonal sounding board and gilded eagle finial. Classical 5-bay organ case in W gallery. Fitted timber benches; 1950s light fittings. Whole painted and gilded. Arcaded undercroft with timber post and beam supports for floor and some brick vaulting.
BURIAL ENCLOSURE: 10-bay ashlar Greek detailed enclosure to S; each bay with opening and cast-iron diamond patterned grille; alternate bays advanced with pedimented Grecian, battered aedicules and laurel wreath frieze. Wrought-iron trellised canopy; some monuments remain on inner (boundary) wall.
HALL AND BEADLE?S HOUSE: single-storey L-plan adjoining enclosure to W; dressed stone. Entrance to hall from Madeira Place. 3-bay house, door to left.
12-pane timber sash and case windows. Piended and pitched roofs; grey slates.
GATES, RAILINGS AND BOUNDARY WALL: rubble boundary wall with ashlar coping; ashlar setts to front with plain iron gates and railings.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. The foundation stone was laid on the 9th April 1814, and the builder was John Russell (who had also submitted a design for the building); the contract price was $8,550. The front is loosely derived from Wilkins' design for the hall block at Downing College, but there is no direct source. David Hamilton's Falkirk Town Steeple, begun in 1813, is very similar, and this cannot be a coincidence. In 1880-81 the church was reseated and the original pulpit, which the Minister entered through the E wall from the vestry above the entrance vestibule, was replaced by a spectacular combined organ and pulpit,with access to the pulpit either through the organ via a pedimented aedicule, or by twin flanking flights of steps. This in turn was swept away in the restoration of 1948-50 by Ian Lindsay & Partners, being replaced by the current humble classical pulpit by Scott Morton & Co. The organ, by Earnest Wadsworth, 1880, was rebuilt by A E Ingram, 1920, and by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1950, when it was rehoused in the W gallery in a classical case by Alexander Kent, blocking the formerly glazed Venetian window. The W window at ground (The Last Supper) by James Ballantine & Son, 1884; on the S side the end windows (Gloria in Excelsis and the Transfiguration) by James Ballantine, 1909-10 and 1912-13, and the windows between them by
A Ballantine & Gardiner, Edinburgh (Suffer Little Children), commemorating a death of 1892, and Douglas Strachan (Christ preaching from a boat) 1907; on the N side re-set glass of 1883 by Barnett & Son and one light (St Hilda) of 1939. Four communion cups and a baptismal laver came from the old parish church, having been gifted to the parish in 1673. The marble font was the gift of John & Louisa McCulloch in 1902, and the oak altar table (and presumably chair) were the gift of Christian and Annalie Salvesen in 1901. There is a modern church hall immediately to the N.
RCAHMS INVENTORY No218. RIAS Guide EDINBURGH (1992) p221. Gifford et.al EDINBURGH (1988) p453. F Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER IV (1895) p482. John Summerson ARCHITECTURE IN BRITAIN 1530-1830 (revised ed. 1991) p472-3. SCOTTISH PIONEERS OF GREEK REVIVAL ed. Nic Allen Scottish Georgian Society Journal (1984) pp7-10. NMRS Lindsay MSS.
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