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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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24782 73655
324782, 673655


William Burn, 1816-18; Peddie and Kinnear, 1879-82 (sanctuary/chancel); JM Dick Peddie and Forbes Smith, 1915-16 (vestry/hall); W J Walker Todd, 1934-5 (Morning Chapel). Perpendicular gothic church, with flat-roofed square-plan tower to W, pitched-roofed nave with clerestorey, lean-to buttressed aisles and piend-roofed polygonal apse. Polished ashlar (Redhall quarry). Base course; pierced parapet. Gabletted buttresses; crocketted pinnacles. Hoodmoulded pointed-arched windows with perpendicular tracery. Undercroft projects to S as terrace and hall over cloister arcade (see Notes); 1916 chapel projects into polygonal walled burial enclosure to E.

W (LOTHIAN ROAD) ELEVATION: advanced W tower: decorative buttressed corners; Tudor-arched doorway flanked by 7 colonnettes; 2-leaf timber storm door with gothic timber panel above and 2-leaf glazed inner door with timber tracery; 3-light window above; paired louvred windows to each face of belfry, crocketted pinnacles and pierced parapet. 3-light windows to aisles in outer bays, flanked by gabletted buttresses. W elevation of single storey hall adjoins to outer right: gothic timber panelled door in square hoodmould to left; single window flanked by buttresses to right.

N (PRINCES STREET) ELEVATION: 8 bays: 2-leaf timber door with gothic decoration in Tudor-arched surround, flanked by colonnettes, with square hoodmould and carved label-stops, in outer right bay; decoratively corbelled niches with gothic canopies above and in outer left bay. 6 3-light windows to aisle flanked by gabletted buttresses in intervening bays; clerestorey windows to nave above. Projecting crenellated vestry porch with crocketted corner buttresses to outer left: 2-leaf timber panelled door with gothic decoration in Tudor-arched surround

E ELEVATION: 3 tall 3-light windows to polygonal apse, flanked by window to right now lighting vestry, and E window of projecting 1935 chapel. E elevation of hall gives onto E terrace; timber panelled door with cast-iron hinges in hoodmoulded Tudor-arched surround, flanked by buttresses.

S ELEVATION: 8 bays: decoratively panelled glazed timber door in Tudor-arched surround in outer left bay; tripartite gothic niche above. 6 3-light windows to aisle flanked by gabletted buttresses. 6-bay S elevation of single storey hall adjoins to outer right: single windows flanked by crocketted buttresses in each bay; crenellated parapet. 15 bay arcade beneath stone-flagged terrace with crenellated parapet: chamfered gothic arches with blank shields above, flanked by buttresses, contain windows and doors to shops and cafes to left (originally intended as burial vaults).

INTERIOR: square entrance porch with office to right, stairs to galley to left. 6-bay nave with flanking aisles; nave arcade with slim clustered shafts, polychrome foliate capitals and penitent figures at pier-heads; heraldic crests (see Notes) above. Clerestorey wall shafts, gilded and painted plaster fan vaults and pendants (see Notes); ribbed aisle vaults. Choir and chancel with Lierne ribs; canopied choir stalls, pulpit and oak panelling; Caen stone reredos with tiled pictures (see Notes). Organ at NE (see Notes). Gallery above entrance with carved wooden balustrade (see Notes). Gothic and neo-Tudor marble Memorials in aisles; bust of Dean Ramsay by Sir John Steel in N aisle and memorial (bronze, enamel and coloured stones) Gilbert Scott, 1867; memorial to Mary Arbuthnot, John Flaxman, 1822. Important stained glass (see notes).

MORNING CHAPEL: furnished by Walker Todd, 1935. Compartmented shallow vaulted roof, carved Scots oak; cornice of angels' wings. Iron gates by Ian Lindsay. Stained glass window, James Ballantine II.

HALL: dark varnished hammer-beamed roof, panelling and timber reeded and panelled doors in Tudor-arched surrounds.

CHURCHYARD, BOUNDARY WALLS, STEPS, RAILINGS, GATEPIERS, VAULTS AND MONUMENTS: dormitory/burial enclosure to E of church, bounded by high wall, ashlar-faced and crenellated to exterior, rubble to interior, with crenellated gothic-panelled turrets to corners; chamfered Tudor-arched gateway with decorative hoodmould and 2-leaf cast-iron gate; contains memorials including those to Sir Henry Raeburn and Margaret Rutherford (mother of Sir Walter Scott). Dean Ramsay Memorial to NE, tall granite Celtic cross designed by Rowand Anderson, 1878, with Celtic bronze reliefs by Skidmore. Stone steps to lower level with other important monuments (including that of Sir William Forbes,who was the largest shareholder, and James Donaldson, founder of Donaldson's School for the Deaf) in walled enclosures; saddle-backed coping to coursed ashlar walls. Cast-iron railings to low boundary wall; pyramidally-coped gothic panelled ashlar gatepiers to entrances. Arcaded vaults under Lothian Road (built 1926-30).

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Stone from Redhall quarry. Built on the site of a market garden, purchased from the Town Council. Cost ?18,013 to build, raised through donations and subscriptions of ?20 shares. The W tower originally had single windows and an octagonal lantern (based on that of Harrison's St Nicholas, Liverpool (1811), which blew down during construction. An etching after Burn (NMRS C/75576) shows the lantern and the original form of Burn's E end. Fan vaulting based on that of King Henry VII's Chapel, Westminter Abbey). Heraldic crests of bishops of Edinburgh above nave arcade. Pews (replacing box pews), pulpit and aisle panelling by Peddie and Kinnear, 1867. Burn's original flat-ended chancel in the E bay (see NMRS EDD/205/13 plan and illustration in J and HS Storer VIEWS IN EDINBURGH AND ITS VICINITY (1820) p109) was extended by 1 aisleless bay and 3-sided apse by Peddie and Kinnear, 1879-82 (NMRS 205/4). Drawings of Peddie and Kinnearchancel and porch W gallery formerly extended over 1st W bay. Reredos by Peddie and Kinnear, 1889, with tile pictures by WB Simson & Sons, London. Organ by Willis & Sons, 1901. Hanging rood cross, 1912. Canopied choir stalls and oak panelling to chancel, based on those of King's College Chapel, Aberdeen, JM Dick Peddie and Forbes Smith, 1913. Hanging sanctuary lamp designed by DY Cameron. Important stained glass: original E window by William Raphael Eginton of Birmingham (from designs by Andrew Geddes) re-used N and S chancel; E and SE apse windows by Clayton and Bell; NE window by Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 1886; remainder mainly by James Ballantine, 1857-61. Chancel extended into the nave 1984 (10 pews removed) to allow central communion table.



Dean of Guild 19 April 1816. Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) p191, pl 53. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) pp 277-8. Donnelly SCOTLAND'S STAINED GLASS (1997) pp17 AND 21. Laperriere (ed) RSA DICTIONARY (1991). Church guide book ST JOHN'S - THE CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST.

About 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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