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Colinton Parish Church, Dell Road, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.909 / 55°54'32"N

Longitude: -3.2561 / 3°15'22"W

OS Eastings: 321572

OS Northings: 669140

OS Grid: NT215691

Mapcode National: GBR 87Y.Y9

Mapcode Global: WH6SR.YQMZ

Plus Code: 9C7RWP5V+HH

Entry Name: Colinton Parish Church, Dell Road, Edinburgh

Listing Name: Dell Road, St Cuthbert's Parish Church (Church of Scotland) and Churchyard with Boundary Wall, Offertory House, and Gates

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 363751

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB26874

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Colinton/Fairmilehead

Traditional County: Midlothian

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A G Sydney Mitchell, 1907, with tower, 1837, attributed to David Bryce (see Notes). Church hall, Page and Park, 1998 adjoining to SE corner. Square-plan Italianate church with square-plan 4-stage tower to SW. Droved ashlar with polished dressings. Pitched-roof nave flanked by lower side aisles with advanced gables to W and triple gables to N and S. Polygonal apse with flanking swept bays to E. Basecourse. Predominantly key-blocked, round-arched windows with moulded architraves. Square lights with raised margins at ground to N and S elevations. Arrow-slit vents to gables.

N AND S ELEVATIONS: 3 slightly advanced gabled bays with square windows at ground; round-arched windows above with rectangular droved aprons. 2-leaf timber boarded door to outer right to N in decorative carved surround, dated 1907.

TOWER: 2-leaf timber boarded door in roll-moulded recessed porch (Sydney Mitchell, 1907); corniced section above with scrolls to corners and inscribed panel with carved foliate border and angel head above, reading SAINT CUTHBERTS PARISH CHURCH COLINTON REBUILT TO THE GLORY AND DEDICATED TO THE WORSHIP OF GOD MCMVIII. Square lights to each elevation above; cornice above 3rd stage. Belfry to upper stage with paired round-arched windows and cill course to each elevation. Bracketed pavilion roof with weather vane finial.

W ELEVATION: cross-finialled nave to centre; inscribed panel below large round-arched window reads REBUILT MDCCLXXI; 3 small round-arched windows below. Advanced gable aisles flanking with wide semicircular-arched recesses to ground and wide round-arched windows above.

E ELEVATION: semi-octagonal apse with 9 round-arched lights advanced from central gable with cross finial; cill cornice and eaves cornice to apse. Swept-roofed bays to flanks; 3 windows with cill band to right bay; modern church hall attached to left bay.

Leaded lights within timber frames (larger windows with glazing bars). Ashlar coped skews. Graded grey slate; stone ridge tiles.

INTERIOR: 1907, Sidney Mitchell. Neo-Byzantine interior. Roughly square-shaped with barrel-vaulted nave, chancel apse and 3 barrel-vaulted bays to N and S at right-angles to nave supported by columns and containing continuous balconies. Organ balcony to W with paired organs and central stained glass window. Capitals of free-standing columns to nave decorated with putti heads; capitals of engaged columns at E and W ends with foliate and floriate decoration. At W end foliate decoration continued in frieze behind organs. Plaster moulded angels to nave spandrels; 4 central ones bearing the symbols of the evangelists; 4 corner ones with pouring urns. Chancel apse with grey marble dressings to arch; timber boarded panelling to dado, frame panelling above and timber entablature. Stained glass by James Ballantine II to 9 small arched windows above entablature depicting angels representing Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering, Gentleness, Goodness and Faith; two windows to right boarded over (formerly representing Kindness and Self Control). Oak chancel screen inscribed O WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS. Oak lectern with carved eagle relief; oak pulpit with carved reliefs of saints, inscribed THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL; oak communion table with St Andrews cross to centre. War memorial to right of chancel. Plain oak pews in 4 rows with stencilled numbers on ends. Half-glazed 2-leaf timber boarded door with star-glazed fanlight to centre of rear; single similar doors to rear of aisles. Entrance corridor running behind width of church; 3 arched stained glass windows to corridor representing King David and 2 pairs of angels, dedicated to the memory of Isabel Helen Smith (by William Wilson, 1960). Stone stairs with plain cast iron and timber banisters rising to the balconies from each end of the corridor.

OFFERTORY HOUSE, GATEWAY AND BOUNDARY WALL: Mid 18th century, single storey, 1-bay gabled offertory house or lodge with coped stack to NE. Random rubble. Timber boarded door to NW; 8-pane glazing in timber sash and case window to SW. Ashlar coped skews; grey slate. Adjacent arched gateway of random rubble with ashlar coping. Modern (1995) 2-leaf cast-iron gate. Coped rubble boundary wall to churchyard with 2 pairs of cast-iron gates.

CHURCHYARD: considerably older than church with numerous important gravestones and monuments, predominantly 18th and 19th century, but some earlier. Pedimented mausoleum to James Gillespie of Spylaw, 1797; channelled ashlar to S, droved elsewhere; arched entrance to S with cast-iron gate; dedicatory inscription in tympaneum; ashlar coped skews and roof of stone slabs; interior with decorative tiled floor. Row of 3 unroofed Georgian family mausoleums with ashlar stonework and classical detailing. A number of fairly large Victorian monuments, including one in red sandstone with gothic detailing to George Porteous (builder) by his son George M. Porteous. Phoebe Traquair and her husband are buried here.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. The plain Italianate exterior of the church is admirably suited to its picturesque setting in Colinton Dell. The unusual interior of the church is of particular interest, having been designed by Sydney Mitchell and being more ornate than Church of Scotland interiors often are. All the fittings appear to be intact, and the workmanship is of very good quality, especially the carvings on the pulpit, lectern and communion table. The stained glass is also of notable quality, especially the three windows by William Wilson (1905-72), which were done in the same year that he lost his sight as a result of diabetes. Wilson was a former pupil of James Ballantine II, who designed the stained glass in the apse. The graveyard is also of great interest with some seventeenth century gravestones and some large eighteenth and nineteenth century monuments, the most impressive of which is James Gillespie's mausoleum. James Gillespie owned a snuff mill in Colinton, the produce of which was sold by his brother from a shop in the High Street, near Edinburgh City Chambers (it is now marked by a plaque). He lived in Spylaw House. The small lodge at the main gate to churchyard is believed to have been an offertory house, and may later have been used as a session house. The manse is to the east of the church, and the small building to the south (now in the cemetery) was built as the schoolmaster's house (both listed seperately).

A church was founded on this site circa 1095 by Prince Etheldred, a younger son of Malcolm III and Queen Margaret. It was probably destroyed during the Earl of Hertford?s invasion of 1544-5. A second church was built in the mid seventeenth century, and this in turn was replaced in 1771 to the designs of Robert Weir (mason) and William Watters (wright). In 1837 some alterations were carried out by David Bryce, and the bell tower is attributed to him. In 1907-8 Sydney Mitchell reconstructed the church, but retained Bryce's tower.

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