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Broad Street and Queen Street, Greyfriars John Knox Church

A Category A Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1487 / 57°8'55"N

Longitude: -2.096 / 2°5'45"W

OS Eastings: 394290

OS Northings: 806424

OS Grid: NJ942064

Mapcode National: GBR SCR.CY

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.SL33

Entry Name: Broad Street and Queen Street, Greyfriars John Knox Church

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354372

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19941

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

A Marshall Mackenzie, 1903. Perpendicular Gothic church with nave and single aisle and large, tall, crocketted and finialled, 3-stage square-plan entrance tower with angled buttresses and spire to W (Broad Street). Adjoining Marischal College (see separate listing). Large 16th century 7-light tracery window to chancel on E elevation incorporated from previous church (see Notes). Grey Kenmay granite ashlar. String course, cill course, buttresses to 6-bay aisle at S (Queen Street). Deep-set rectangular and bipartite windows to S with splayed reveals.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: tower: entrance elevation to Broad Street with steps leading to central advanced pedimented entrance porch. Multi-panelled decorative 2-leaf timber entrance door. Very slender, tall, paired bipartite openings to 2nd stage. Top stage comprises paired tall and narrow perpendicular tracery windows mirrored to all elevations, surmounted by double-height slender crocketted and finialled parapet and needle spire.

Predominantly multi-pane fixed leaded-pane windows, some with hoppers. Grey slates. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: whitewashed with ashlar dressings. 3-bay arcaded nave with clerestory to S. Simple open timber ribbed ceiling. Steep timber gallery at W. Possible 17th century carved timber choir stalls to E (see Notes). Polished granite communion table and pulpit. Timber pews. Stained glass to E chancel window by Charles Earner Kempe.

Statement of Interest

Integrally designed to form the crucial SW corner of the nationally important Marischal College (see separate listing) and by the same renowned local architect, A Marshall Mackenzie, this Church, with its impressive and imposing tower is an important building within the city centre and a defining landmark. Taking its cue from Marshall's celebrated Gothic addition to Marischal College, the Greyfriars John Knox Church is embellished with an array of finials and crockets. Refined work in granite only became possible after steam technology allowed for more sophisticated cutting techniques in the 1830s. A 16th century tracery window has been incorporated into the present church and now has stained glass by C E Kempe. It is likely that the carved timber choir stalls in the chancel also came from the previous church.

The original Greyfriars Collegiate Church was built in 1532 by Franciscan monks and lay at right angles and to the North of the present church, along Broad Street. It was incorporated into Marischal College, which was founded in 1593. The college was rebuilt between 1837-41 and further extended between 1893-97. It was this extension along Broad Street which caused the original collegiate Church to be demolished and after much negotiation between the Town Council, Church and University, Marshall Mackenzie built this replacement in the same Perpendicular Gothic Style as the college extension. It formed an integral part of the whole site.

A Marshall Mackenzie (1848-1933) was a Scottish architect of national repute. Although mainly associated with building in the North-East of Scotland, he also received the prestige of a Royal Commission in 1895 when asked to build the new Mar Lodge outside Braemar for Queen Victoria's grand-daughter, the Duchess of Fife. His output includes many significant public buildings in Aberdeen including The Harbour Offices and Aberdeen Art Gallery (see separate listings).

Part of A Group with Marischal College.

The congregation merged with Queen's Street Church in 2006 (see separate listing).

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