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St Columba's Free Church Of Scotland, Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9489 / 55°56'55"N

Longitude: -3.1941 / 3°11'38"W

OS Eastings: 325527

OS Northings: 673513

OS Grid: NT255735

Mapcode National: GBR 8NG.HZ

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.XQ5W

Plus Code: 9C7RWRX4+G9

Entry Name: St Columba's Free Church Of Scotland, Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh

Listing Name: Oa Johnston Terrace, St Columba's (Free) Church, with Railings

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 364450

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB27325

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Thomas Hamilton, 1843-5, John Burnet, 1908 (see Notes). 5-bay Early English gothic church with hall (formerly Dr Guthrie's School) at lower level (basement to Johnston Terrace, full-height to Victoria Terrace). Polished ashlar to Johnston Terrace, coursed sandstone to Upper Bow and Victoria Terrace. Pitch-roofed 5-bay nave; parapets to pitch-roofed 3-bay aisles (containing galleries) adjoining to N and S. Gabletted chamfered angle buttresses; slim finialled octagonal pinnacles to corners. Hoodmoulded pointed-arched windows.

N (JOHNSTON TERRACE) ELEVATION: 2-storey projecting pitch-roofed porch to left, angled to line of Upper Bow; studded 2-leaf timber boarded door with decorative cast-iron hinges in pointed-arched surround; paired lancets above; circular quatrefoil window in gable; circular window with finialled pointed hoodmould above blind arcade in re-entrant angle. Projecting 3-bay block to centre with circular windows with finialled pointed hoodmoulds above blind arcading to ground, lancets lighting galleries above. Single storey porch with parapet to right, skewed to line of Johnston Terrace; studded timber boarded door with decorative cast-iron hinges in pointed-arched surround with finialled pointed hoodmould; circular windows in wall above.

E (UPPER BOW) ELEVATION: advanced gabled centre bay with tall stepped triple lancets and small circular window above in gable; timber boarded door with small-pane glazed fanlight to ground, flanked by small windows (Church Officer's House). Small lancet lighting porch in recessed bay to right. 3 small windows (lighting stair) to recessed single bay to left.

S (JOHNSTON TERRACE) ELEVATION: advanced 3-bay block to centre: paired flat-headed windows separated by colonnettes with trefoils under pointed hoodmoulds to ground; circular window under finialled pointed hoodmoulds to 1st floor; lancets lighting galleries above. 2-storey flat-roofed single bay containing stair to right: studded timber boarded door with decorative cast-iron hinges in finialled pointed hoodmould; 2 small lancets above. Single bay to left: 2-storey round-arched recess containing 3-light flat-headed window to ground and 3-light pointed-arched window above; paired lancets to 2nd floor. Ornate pulpit with pinnacled canopy (see Notes).

INTERIOR: slim clustered cast-iron columns with stiff-leaf capitals support open-spandrelled timber arches; double hammerbeam roof with gilded pendant arches. Decorative carving to fronts of galleries to S, E and W. Original pews to rear and in S, E and W galleries; benches with horsehair seats and backs, probably 1908. Pinnacled and crocketed pulpit (see Notes).

Small-pane glazing and stained glass in geometric leaded frames. Grey slates. Stone skews.

RAILINGS: Decorative cast-iron railings set on ashlar coped low wall to basement areas to Johnston Terrace and Upper Bow.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building still in use as such. Originally Free St John's Church, built immediately after the Disruption of 1843. Dr Guthrie was the minister from 1843-73. Monument with bust of Thomas Guthrie, William Brodie, 1873. Hamilton's pulpit was sketched by Ruskin, who thought it an 'abomination.' Burnet's alterations of 1908 were to make the building more suitable for its new use as the Free Church Assembly Hall. The 1908 article in The Builder explains that the alterations are to make the building 'more suitable for assembly purposes,' creating division lobbies, widening passages and reconstructing the basement floor. The spaces under the N and S galleries were enclosed with glazed partitions, and the Moderator's Gallery (behind the pulpit) created.

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