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- Category: A
- Date Added: 22/02/1971
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 12869 78434
- Coordinates: 312869, 678434
Circa 1450; restored Seymour and Kinross, 1889; restoration 1999-2000. 15th century Gothic. Nave (originally choir), tower and Baptistery (originally S transept) remain of the original church; W nave demolished circa 1875; W porch addition 1937. Squared and coursed rubble.
S ELEVATION: low round-arched doorway in centre of nave wall; 2 pointed-arched windows in end bays; Y-tracery; cusped single light; scratched mass-dial at SE corner. Projecting Baptistery at left; crowstepped gable; central rectangular window; reticulated tracery; single cusped window to left return; single pointed-ached window to right return; Y-tracery. Blind tower behind; stair projection at NW angle; belfry to E face.
E ELEVATION: crowstepped gable; large pointed 3-light lancet window; hoodmould. Empty round-headed statue niche; 7 surrounding amorial shields; projecting canopy above; flanking single light cusped windows; corbelled base for belfry.
N ELEVATION: single light cusped window at left of nave wall; single storey rubble outshot in centre. Tower at right: 4-stages; central round-headed arched door; windows to left; slits to right; rubble outcrop at 2nd stage (would have interlocked with original nave wall).
W ELEVATION: adjoining new single storey porch at base of tower; square and snecked rubble; ashlar quoin dressings; 2 single light pointed-arched windows; pointed-arched doorway to S face; single pointed-arched window to N face. Round-head of arch seen over porch formed entrance from original nave through to tower and choir; statue base above; profile of nave roof still evident; 2 slim lights to the upper levels; turnpike tower at NW corner.
Stone-slab roof on rubble bed over Nave; slate easing course; Carmyle sandstone roofs over tower, Baptistery and N outshot (Caithness slate used for repairs).
INTERIOR: Pointed barrel vault to Nave; sedilla; piscina; aumbry; memorials to Dundas family; window in W wall; new floor and lights. Tower has round barrel vault; round arches on 3 sides; Rosebery Coat of Arms over Baptistery arch; door in NW corner to turn-pike stair; octagonal font by Sir Robert Lorimer. New glass doors dedicated to Ian Smith in Baptistery; various tombstones. All stained glass windows in the church are dedicated to members of the Dundas family.
BOUNDARY WALLS: coped rubble walls.
Statement of Special Interest
The Queensferry Carmelite Friary was founded in 1330 but the church would appear to date from the 1450s. In the earliest extant charter to the Friary, dated 1457, James Dundas of Dundas granted "to God and the Virgine Mary, and brethren of the Order of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel," a piece of land "lying in the toun of the Ferry ... for the church of St Mary the Virgin and for the construction of certain buildings to be erected there in the form of a monastery". The church and its lands were returned to the Dundas family following the Reformation and a Royal Charter of 1584 affirmed the new ownership. It was decided that the Church should be the town's Parish Church until an alternative was built and in 1635 the congregation moved to the new Parish Church. St Mary's fell into disrepair in the subsequent centuries and was restored by Seymour and Kinross in 1889. On 12 July 1890 the church was reopened by Dean Montgomery of Edinburgh as a Scottish Episcopal Church. The church is now the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles. The church has undergone a recent restoration programme in 1999 -2000 that included repairs to the external material as well as extensive restoration to the church's interior. The architect in charge of the project was Douglas Flett. The work included: new leadwork flashings to stone slab roof wallheads; stripping and re-slating of Baptistery roof; repairs to slated tower roof; replacement of roof to outhouse; overhaul rainwater system; installation of 'French' drains; repairs to stained glass windows; and repointing of boundary walls. Unfortunately nothing remains of the monastic buildings and an archaeological excavation carried out in the 1970s revealed no medieval remains. Although the church has passed out of the Dundas family's possession the family's connection with the church is still strong. Three of the church's trustees are Dundas's and the family paid for the new chairs, which are upholstered with the Dundas tartan.
1st Edition O S Map, 1856; W Fyfe GUIDES TO THE SCOTTISH WATERING PLACES 1. SOUTH QUEENSFERRY (1852), p58; F H Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTER OF SCOTLAND VOL.VI (1885), p232; MacGibbon and Ross THE ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND VOL.III (1896), pp296-309; A Morison HISTORICAL NOTE ON THE ANCIENT AND ROYAL BURGH OF QUEENSFERRY. PART 1 (1927), p49; I Lindsay THE FRIARY CHURCH OF ST. MARY OF MOUNT CARMEL SOUTH QUEENSFERRY (1953); J C Wallace EXCAVATIONS ON THE SITE OF THE CARMELITE PRIORY, SOUTH QUEENSFERRY (1971); C McWilliam BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND. LOTHIAN (1980), p434; C McKean EDINBURGH. AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE (1992), p167; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND VOL.XXI (1992), pp224-5; R Fawcett SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE FROM1371 - 1560 (1994) pp136-7.
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