F T Pilkington, 1862-3. Truncated square-plan Rogue Gothic church, with square-plan rising to octagonal tower at NE; 2 canted side apses to N and S. Steeply-pitched slated roofs. Stugged coursed ashlar sandstone, with bull-faced dressings, polished to margins. Battered bull-faced base course; some bull-faced reveals. Pointed arch openings. Gables surmounted by decorative finials.
TOWER: battered and buttressed square-plan 3-stage highly decorative bell-tower rising to octagonal at belfry level adjoining principal elevation to right; porch to 1st stage of E elevation with cusped pointed arches on squat column to NE, with stiff-leaf capitals and decorative brackets; pointed-arched, shouldered doorway with blind tympanum; 2-leaf diagonally-boarded timber door. String course dividing stages; band course at impost level of belfry openings. Unfinished aedicules and louvered pointed-arch openings with trefoils in arch-heads, in alternating facets at belfry level. Clock faces surmounted by carved angels at N, E and S. Corbelled engaged columns with stiff-leaf capitals clasping angles. Modillions and deep foliate eaves cornice.
E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: entrance gable, with tower recessed to right (see above). Narthex centred at ground, comprising 4-arch arcade with clustered columns on bull-faced plinths, each with differing foliate capitals, surmounted by 3 quatrefoil windows, surmounted in turn by 4 pointed-arch cusped lancet windows, rose window in gablehead surrounded by quatrefoils and cinquefoils. Bull-faced voussoirs hugging eaves.
N ELEVATION: canted apse to right, with gabletted bipartite pilastered cusped pointed-arch windows on moulded cill course and with cinquefoil windows in arch-heads, surmounted by decorative finials; pair of pointed arch cusped openings at centre, on squat columns, with diagonally-boarded timber door in opening to right; tower to left (see above).
W ELEVATION: apse comprising jerkin-headed gable with central multifoil window set in arch on single diminutive columns, including 6-pointed star and foliate decoration.
S ELEVATION: canted apse to left, with gabletted bipartite columner-mullioned cusped pointed-arch windows on moulded cill course and with cinquefoil windows in arch-heads, surmounted by decorative trefoil finials. Shouldered segmental-arched doorpiece to right on decorative colonette brackets. Steep polygonal roofed battered session house to outer left with moulded cornice at impost level of windows, with door to right, and cusped windows to remaining facets.
INTERIOR: dominated by open timber roof with king posts and wrought-iron ties. Chevron-panelled front to gallery supported by barley-sugar timber columns. Organ, by Hamilton of Edinburgh, 1901, including tooled brass quatrefoil plaques and painted pipes. Timber pulpit, with scallop-carved arrises and inscribed brass plaque, reading 'This Pulpit was built by the late Mr. John Graster, Governor and Boys of the Wellington Reformatory and presented by them as a donation to the church, 1865', and later timber communion table, flanked by columns with carved foliate decoration and polished bosses to shafts. Open pyramidal timber roof. Vertically-boarded timber panelling to timber dado. Tooled sandstone foliate brackets. Raked timber pews.
Variety of leaded and stained-glass windows. Graded grey slate roofs, with lead ridges; some snow boards. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Sawtooth skews.
BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: low, bull-faced boundary wall at street, coped (railings removed), including pair of tall gatepiers with decorative gabletted caps and finials.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Penicuik South Church was formerly the United Free church. The formation of Penicuik's Free Church congregation in 1843 was followed by the building of its first church in West Street. When that site was deemed too small, Sir George Clerk of Penicuik gave land to the south of the River North Esk on the Peebles Road for a new church designed by Frederick Thomas Pilkington (1832-98). The cost, ?2,050, was met by funds raised by the congregation and a donation from Duncan Cowan of Beeslack, who laid the foundation stone on May 20th 1862. The building was opened on September 4th 1863, by William Arnot of the Free High Church Edinburgh.
A tall, slated spire with triangular lucarnes was intended for the tower, the emphasised height of which would have greatly affected the overall look of the building. Parallels in Pilkington's ecclesiastical work can be found in the contemporary Barclay-Bruntsfield Church in Edinburgh, and the Trinity Church in Irvine. The sculptor at the Barclay-Bruntsfield Church was a Mr Pearce, who might have been responsible for the carvings capitals at Penicuik South Church.
In 1989 dry rot was found in the church, and a year of restoration work was undertaken, which also included the repair of roof beams, re-setting of slates, repairing of stained glass windows, the re-situation of the organ console, repointing of some exterior stonework, replacement of pillars in arcade, repainting and regilding of clock faces, renewal of plasterwork and timber cladding, and the repainting of interior walls.