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- Category: A
- Date Added: 13/01/1966
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 25425 74101
- Coordinates: 325425, 674101
Major Andrew Frazer, 1782-4; steeple built by Alexander Stevens, 1787; internal alterations by Esme Gordon, 1953, and Robert Hurd & Partners, 1976-9. 2-storey neo-classical church with vaulted basement below; elliptical plan, with pedimented portico and slim steeple. Redhall sandstone ashlar, front half droved, rear half coursed rubble; polished Craigleith dressings and steps. Tetrastyle Corinthian portico with oculus in pediment and pedestals for statues (never installed). Polished ashlar 3-bay pilastered frontispiece; at centre, doorpiece with moulded architrave and segmental pediment, 2-leaf panelled door with 4-pane fanlight; flanked by similar blind openings with triangular pediments; at 1st floor architraved window at centre flanked by similar blind windows. Body of church with depressed arched windows at ground, round-headed at 1st floor; moulded cornice and blocking course. Heavy pilastered doorpiece with open pediment to each flank containing depressed arch doorway with 2-leaf flush-panelled door and 6-pane fanlight.
STEEPLE: 4-stage. Square plinth and pedestal with projecting pedimented central faces with swagged husks and clock faces, flanking panels with ribbons and drops of husks; octagonal 2nd stage allows urns at corners. 2nd stage with projecting pilastered central faces containing arched louvred openings. 3rd stage with Ionic columns and arched openings, alternately louvred and blind. Capped by panelled octagonal spire with 3 tiers of oculi; weathervane finial.
INTERIOR: very fine plasterwork and joinery; windows with deeply splayed soffits; U-plan panelled gallery supported on Ionic columns, with original tiered pews; swagged frieze; fine flat ceiling of concentric ovals surrounded by husk garlands. At ground, box pews remain under balcony; pulpit much altered. Present arrangement by Esme Gordon, who also added plaster ornament to vestibule ceiling. Organ at centre of gallery with fine tripartite case by Peter Conacher of Huddersfield, 1881; rebuilt by Rushworth & Dreaper, 1967. Glass: 6 windows to N by Ballantine, 1890; to S, 1 by Alfred A Webster, 1913,
1 by Douglas Strachan, 1934. Crypt adapted for social use by Robert Hurd, with new stair from glazed vestibule extension.
RAILINGS AND LAMP STANDARDS: spearhead cast-iron railings to basement area and steps to side doors; wrought-iron lamp standards.
Statement of Special Interest
Originally St Andrew?s Church. The site was chosen in 1781, the intended site in St Andrew?s Square having been bought by Laurence Dundas, and acquired from John Young, wright, in exchange for a similar plot of land; Young stipulated that there should be no burial ground around the church, as he had already built to the rear of the site (which explains to some extent the elliptical plan, as the site was shallow). David Kay, architect, may have executed Frazer?s plans. Total cost was ?5,813. First important example of a church built on this plan in the UK. William Sibbald had won a competition for the design of the steeple in 1785, but it seems likely that it was actually Frazer?s design which was built. This was the location for the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843.
RCAHMS INVENTORY no 123. MacRae Her 39. Hay POST REFORMATION CHURCHES. A J Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) pp82-5. SCOTS MAGAZINE March 1781. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) pp273-4. C McKean EDINBURGH RIAS Guide (1992) pp94-5. Original drawing for spire in private collection of Howard Colvin.
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