Alan Dreghorn, architect, 1739-1756. The design for this important and striking church is based largely upon James Gibb's London masterpiece of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1722), and it heralds a new style for large scale classical church design in Scotland. The interior has London precedents in the plasterwork of James Clayton and the richness of its' fittings are of exceptional quality.
Rectangular galleried church, 5 x 7 bays strictly symmetrical with 5-stage steeple, polished ashlar, stonecleaned. Bays marked by giant Corinthian pilasters and angle pilasters. All openings in Gibbsian rusticated surrounds with keystones and bracketted cills, those to ground depressed-arched, those to 1st round-arched. W elevation has steps to giant unfluted Corinthian hexastyle portico 1-bay deep, outer and centre bays to ground have round arched doorways with semi-circular fanlights and double-leaf panelled doors. Inner bays to ground and 1st
have niches. Otherwise sash and case windows with small-pane glazing. Dentilled pediment with cartouche in tympanum.
E elevation with Venetian window to centre bay, square headed doorways to outer bays with triangular pediments.
Flanks 7-bay regularly detailed as above.
Polished band course over ground, dentilled cornice. Balustraded parapet with die pedestals supporting urn finials, similar finials to gable apexes.
STEEPLE square section to lower 2 stages, oculi to lowest stage, 2nd stage rusticated quoins round-arched windows to each face. Cornice with angle urn finials over 2nd, clockfaces to 3rd. Above this rises octagonal colonnaded drum with dome surmounted by pinnacle with ball finial.
INTERIOR: exceptionally lavish 18th century interior, largely unaltered in its finest features of plasterwork and woodwork, however, alterations to the interior were carried out in 1874 by John Carrick, and in 1921 by Peter MacGregor Chalmers. 5-bay interior galleried to 3 sides with giant fluted Corinthian Columns supporting galleries as they rise to support barrel vaulted roof. To W gallery supported by smaller fluted Ionic columns, all with gilded capitals, to E shallow chancel (formerly site of organ). The plasterwork, by Thomas Clayton, and the
timberwork are of the highest quality as is the stained glass, mainly by Stephen Adam. The pews are laid out with aisles below the galleries, they are of pine and date from 1874 designed by John Carrick. The gallery fronts are original, carved mahogony in swagged and diapered panels. The fine mahogony octagonal pulpit rises from an
elaborately carved baluster shaft also supported by a Corinthian pillar which terminates in a gilded crown.
The rococco plasterwork of the vaulted ceiling is the work of Thomas Clayton begun 1753, as presumably is the elaborate gilded plaster surround to the clock in the W wall. The stained glass replaced original clear glazed sash and case windows, it all dates from circa 1874 and is signed by Stephen Adam. The Robert Anderson memorial window to the N gallery is particularly good and Pre- Raphaelite in design.
In the chancel are now housed 9 fine mid 18th-century chairs, originally sited in the W gallery as seating for the Provost and magistrates. Flanking the chancel the Willis organ (1874) is now housed in the upper N chamber. Organ pies to rear of chancel. The walls throughout are stencilled and gilded, repainted in 1920's but to a much earlier design.
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.
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