Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
Planning Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 47780 41095
447780, 1141095


James Milne of Edinburgh 1825-9, with additions by John M Aitken, 1895. 2-storey, 3 x 4-bay symmetrical austere classical hall church of rectangular plan; full-height apse centring S elevation, with flanking square plan single storey vestry and (former) session room wings. Droved sandstone ashlar front with droved and polished ashlar details; stugged and snecked sandstone side and rear elevations and additions with droved ashlar margins to windows and corners. Base course, band course at 1st floor, eaves cornice. Projecting cills at windows. Stugged and coped sandstone wallhead stacks flanking apse.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical; regularly fenestrated; full-width ashlar steps accessing 6-panel 2-leaf grained entrance doors with 10-pane fanlights, to architraved openings in each bay at ground. Architraved windows in each bay at 1st floor. Eaves cornice with blocking course above.

W ELEVATION: 4 regularly fenestrated bays, grouped slightly to right.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: apse projecting at centre; curved S wall with round-arched windows flanking centre. Flanking single storey session room and vestry wings.

E ELEVATION: mirrored image of W elevation.

Timber sash and case windows, predominantly 36-pane at ground, 24 and 20-pane at 1st floor, 8 and 12-pane to vestry and session rooms. Stained glass windows depicting Christ to apse. Purple-grey slate piended platform roofs, curved S pitch to apse, profiled gutter at eaves.

INTERIOR: flagged entrance vestibule; flanking 3-centred arches leading to symmetrically disposed gallery stairs with timber handrails. Vertically-boarded timber wainscoting and plaster corniced ceiling. Reeded architraves around entrance doors and 6-panel door to hall. 6-panel flush-beaded timber door to old vestry centred over vestibule.

Vertically-boarded timber wainscoting around hall, plaster cornice and simple strapwork to ceiling. U-plan panelled timber gallery supported on fluted Corinthianesque cast-iron columns. Timber pews with flush-beaded panelling to hall and gallery. 3-centred arch centring S wall, leading to apse containing timber pulpit, communion table, and font, all of 1895. Font of white Caen stone comprises octagonal bowl with carved quatrefoils supported on red marble columns with decorative capitals. Organ by Bryceson Bros & Co of 1871, enlarged 1895, with stencilled pipes and panelled case centring S wall of apse; flanking vertically-boarded timber wainscoting with panelled frieze, pilastered blind arcading above incorporating stained glass windows flanking organ; plaster cornice and coffered dome riding to skylight at centre. 4-panel timber doors accessing vestry and session room.

BOUNDARY WALLS: random rubble wall with stugged ashlar cope to S and E, retaining to W, returned at N and terminated by wrought-iron finialled gate matching that to E.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building, in use as such. This church replaces an earlier building nearer the town centre (now incorporated in the Masonic Hall) and was built between 1825 and 1829 at a cost of ?2881. In 1895 the apse was added by Aitken at the S end with the flanking vestry and session rooms. On completion of this extension, a new pulpit was built and the organ moved its present position. The original contractor was a Robert Stout. An identical (but larger) church was opened in the previous year in Baltasound, Unst, but subsequently reduced in size. Timber for both churches arrived in 1827 on the brig Elrick from New Brunswick, Canada. It was named St Columba?s after union with the United Free church in 1929.



John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p486. E J F Clausen and

T M Y Manson 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LERWICK PARISH CHURCH (1979). Thomas Manson LERWICK DURING THE LAST HALF CENTURY (1991) p268 plate 8. Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p23 and 24.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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