Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Perth And Kinross
Planning Authority
Perth And Kinross
NO 11471 23915
311471, 723915


William Butterfield, 1849, with various later alterations including 1901-1911, JL & FL Pearson (see Notes). Important Gothic cathedral with exceptionally fine interior components. Buttressed and crocketted with transept crossing and clerestorey, with 1908-11 FL Pearson Lady Chapel, Chapterhouse and vestries to SE, linking to 1936 Tarbolton & Ochterlony former school (currently day centre, 2009). Situated on corner site. Squared and stugged sandstone with contrasting smooth margins. High base course, hoodmoulding, decorative parapet. Pilaster buttresses at clerestory breaking eaves. Pointed arched lancet, 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-light Gothic tracery windows. Some rose tracery windows to gables. Tall, spired fleche with open bellcote to crossing.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: EAST ELEVATION (KINNOULL STREET): buttressed, with large 5-light tracery window with small circular window above and Celtic cross to gable apex. Ornate octagonal crocketted clasping corner pinnacles.

To left: lower polygonal-apsed Lady chapel with crocketted finials and trefoil openings piercing parapet. Single-storey vestry corridor links to gabled chapterhouse to left and 1936 extension to far left.

NORTH ELEVATION (ATHOLL STREET): with pointed-arched doorway with central stone mullion and pair of boarded timber entrance doors with decorative metal hinges. Decorative carving to tympanum.

Predominantly stained glass windows or small, leaded glass panes. Grey slates and some leaded roofs.

INTERIOR: (seen 2009). Fine interior decorative scheme. Steeply pitched ceiling with elaborate timber work. Timber wagon roof over chancel. Pointed arches to nave with quatrefoil-plan piers. Crocketted and finialled stone arcaded sedilia to sanctuary walls at E. Rood beam, 1924 Sir Ninian Comper with Crucifixion scene. High altar baldacchino by F L Pearson with statues of saints and biblical scenes. Many stained glass windows.

Lady Chapel with timber vaulted ceiling.

Statement of Special Interest

Place of Worship in use as such. Consecrated in 1850, this was the first cathedral begun in Britain after the Reformation and is important both architecturally and historically. It was begun by the renowned ecclesiastical architect William Butterfield and has undergone a number of alterations and additions. The exterior of the building is Gothic in style and it is an important part of the streetscape in Perth. The interior has a fine ceiling and a number of important and distinctive features.

The building has had a number of building phases, beginning with Butterfield's work in 1849. Only one complete bay of the nave and the three bays of the aisle walls were built at this time. The nave was completed in 1888-90. In 1901-1911, extensive alterations were carried out by FL and JL Pearson. The West end was built and the East end recast with similar octagonal pinnacles. The Lady Chapel was added in 1908-11. Alterations were also made at this time to the interior with new choir stalls, pulpit and high altar, amongst others and including the elaborate baldacchino. John Ninian Comper was one of the most distinguished Gothic church architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and he designed a rood screen for the cathedral in 1924. This was removed circa 1985, leaving the beam. The Butterfield reredos is now divided between the vestries. There are a number of high quality stained glass windows.

In 1936, the Edinburgh architects Tarbolton & Ochterlony built a school, adjoining the cathedral to the South. This is now a day centre and offices (2009) and is linked to the cathedral.

William Butterfield (1814-1900) was a major British architect of the 19th century of international repute, whose work is predominantly ecclesiastical. His work is found mainly in England and includes All Saints Margaret Street in London and Keble College in Oxford. In Scotland, he was responsible for the Cathedral of the Isles on the Isle of Cumbrae (see separate listing).

JL and FL Pearson were father and son architects, based in London. John Loughborough Pearson was the architect of Truro Cathedral.

List description updated as part of Perth Burgh Resurvey 2010.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1860. John Gifford, Buildings of Scotland: Perth and Kinross, 2007, pf588. Other information courtesy of cathedral staff.

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 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.

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 and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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 advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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