History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

St Mary's Episcopal Church, Carden Place, Aberdeen

A Category A Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 57.1444 / 57°8'39"N

Longitude: -2.1195 / 2°7'10"W

OS Eastings: 392866

OS Northings: 805949

OS Grid: NJ928059

Mapcode National: GBR S8F.19

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.DPYD

Plus Code: 9C9V4VVJ+Q5

Entry Name: St Mary's Episcopal Church, Carden Place, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Carden Place at Albert Terrace, St Mary's Church (Episcopal), Including Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354398

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19964

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Hazlehead/Queens Cross/Countesswells

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Find accommodation in


Rev F G Lee and Alexander Ellis, 1862-1864; hall and vestry Arthur Clyne, 1904-1905; chancel rebuilt A Ross, 1952. Single storey, simple medieval-plan gothic church. Coursed coloured Aberdeen bond granite rubble, finely finished to margins. Red Tyrebagger granite base course; tooled grey granite ashlar shallow buttresses to each bay, half height to NW and SE elevations and clasping buttresses with decorative red necks; red, yellow grey and dark grey dressings with chamfered reveals; red and grey dividing band courses; red and yellow sandstone eaves course.

SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical; gabled entrance porch advanced to centre of ground floor, deeply chamfered pointed-arched doorway with simple hoodmould, 3 stone steps to 2-leaf boarded timber door with decorative iron hinges, 3 small stained glass pointed-arched windows set in tympanum; pointed-arched windows to left and right returns. Decorative rose windows set in slightly recessed pointed arch flanked by 2 tall buttresses, small rose windows flanking to outer left and right. Crowstepped gable with decorative stone cross to apex.

SE ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 4-bay; rose window below eaves at each of 3 bays to left, pairs of pointed-arched window between; gabled flush transept flanking to right; ground floor obscured by hall and vestry of 1905, by Arthur Clyne: square-plan with piended roof, canted window to S with pointed-arched window in crowstepped gablet with quatrefoil detail inset to each of 3 facets, hexagonal roof, 3 pointed-arched windows to left and right returns; gableted basket-arched doorway with boarded timber door and inset cross patee to re-entrant angle to left. Rose window to gabled bay behind with 4 pointed-arched windows following curve below, stone cross to apex; decorative square-plan finials clasping gable to left and right, recessed red sandstone necks, pyramidal caps with decorative iron brattishing; bell set behind final to right.

NE ELEVATION: predominantly obscured by mid 20th century chancel; grey granite finely finished to margins; advanced chancel with canted end, diagonal buttresses, small pointed-arched window to each facet of ground floor, 3 rose windows above; single storey lean-to addition to re-entrant angle to left, irregular openings, bipartite window set in gabled left return, 2 windows to chancel behind; flat-roofed addition advanced to re-entrant angle to right, boarded timber door, pointed-arched window to centre of ground floor, 3 pointed-arched windows above, 2 pointed-arched windows to chancel behind. Cross to apex of nave.

NW ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 4-bay; rose window below eaves at each of 3 bays to right, pairs of pointed-arched window between; gabled flush transept flanking to left; rose window with 4 pointed-arched windows following curve below; decorative square-plan finials clasping gable to left and right, recessed red sandstone necks, pyramidal caps with decorative iron brattishing.

Stained glass and leaded windows. Decorative coloured slate roof with lead ridge; gableted ventilators to N and S breaking pitch. Coped skews with decorative skewputts. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: coloured brick, granite and sandstone; entrance porch, pointed-arched doorway to nave, on polished pink granite columns with floreate capitals, decoratively chamfered reveals to doorway. Aisleless nave; Minton tiled floor; geometric timber pews; decorative stone doorway with brick tympanum to relieving arch to W; decoratively inset timber lined walls at doorway level; alternating bays plastered, fresco to NW; polished pink granite colonnettes supporting paired arched windows above; highly decorative painted timber roof with scissor and arch trusses. Decorative octagonal pulpit to NE, lectern to SE; stone steps to crossing; choir stalls to left and right with carved timber lectern to each; polychrome pointed chancel arch with decoratively painted timber trusses; replacement chancel with timber roof. Panelled timber door to SE of nave leading to hall and vestry: simple, boarded below dado; decoratively panelled cupboards with quatrefoil motif to upper panels.

GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: bull-faced pink granite gatepiers to W, with truncated pyramidal caps surmounted by decorative ironwork; low coped granite walls to N and S enclosing triangular site; rubble walls to E.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. In 1861 there was a breakaway movement from the city centre Episcopal due to "a difference over churchmanship" (The story of St Mary's). At that time there were no Episcopal churches to the W of the city. The new church, which was at that time on the edge of the city, was built under the guidance of Rev. F G Lee. Lee was responsible for the inspiration, whilst Alexander Ellis (1830-1917) carried out the drafting. The foundation stone was laid on the 1st of July 1862, by Bishop Thomas Suther, with the help of Ellis and Fraser (the builder). The resulting church was described by the Illustrated London News as "one of the handsomest modern ecclesiastical edifices in Scotland", and was clearly influenced by the Ecclesiological movement. The use of granite rubble from Rubislaw, red Tyrebagger granite, dark blue granite from Kemnay, and red Turriff sandstone earned the church the nickname of "The Tartan Kirkie". According to Leith, (p42) there was originally a "lofty fleche or needle spire at he crossing, which was removed at an early stage (in 1869) because of strong winds causing movement". In 1905 Arthur Clyne designed the decorative hall and vestry to the SE of the church, following the polychrome design of Ellis and Lee, the interiors of which reflect his previous church designs with his partner J B Pirie (died 1892). The colourful stone work is not restricted to the exterior of the building, but continues in what can only be described as one of the finest church interiors in Aberdeen. The windows are set high above the nave, the walls below were originally intended to be painted with frescos by Mr Allen Sutherland (1908), only one of which appears to have been completed, the Annunciation. The colourful chancel arch originally framed an altarpiece by Westlake, which was a triptych of the Crucifixion, St. Mary and St. John with attendant angels (Gammie). On the 21st of April 1943 a bomb was dropped on St. Mary's, and the chancel, crypt and sacristy were badly damaged, the windows were blown out, and the walls were badly cracked. The triptych had fortunately been removed, so survived the blast. A new chancel was built in 1952 with the aid of the War Damage Commission and the congregation (Leith, p40). The church also has a fine Samuel Green upright organ of 1778, which was a gift from Mary Leith in 1946. St Mary's Church is the only surviving church designed (at least in part) by Rev F G Lee, as All Saints in Lambeth has been demolished.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.