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Irvine Place, Viewfield Church Including Boundary Wall

A Category C Listed Building in Stirling, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1215 / 56°7'17"N

Longitude: -3.9391 / 3°56'20"W

OS Eastings: 279542

OS Northings: 693778

OS Grid: NS795937

Mapcode National: GBR 1C.L90P

Mapcode Global: WH4P6.GDFJ

Entry Name: Irvine Place, Viewfield Church Including Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 3 February 2006

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398163

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50207

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Stirling

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Stirling North

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

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Description

Viewfield Church, built in 1860, is a relatively unaltered and cleverly designed building in Victorian Gothic style, the only surviving church by local architects F & W Mackison. Set on the hillside at the corner of Irvine Place and Viewfield Place, the rectangular plan, 4-bay church occupies a prominent position in the skyline of the town. It once fronted directly onto Viewfield Place, however today (2005) a later row of partly obscure it from view at street level. The church makes clever use of its awkward hillside site by locating a church hall beneath the E end of the church, raising the church entrance above the street and making maximum use of the available land. The church was built for a United Presbyterian congregation, and now has a Church of Scotland congregation.

Description: assymetrical, gabled entrance elevation, given vertical emphasis by a tall, splayed-foot spire atop a square clock tower to the right of the gable, now with the original lucarnes removed from the base of the spire. Ashlar, staged angle and diagonal buttresses define bays on the entrance elevation, and a pointed-arch arcade at ground incorporates the central main door, with double timber boarded doors. The gable of the elevation is dominated by a large central window with geometric tracery. Internally this window lights an upper vestibule into the church gallery (now used as a committee and office area), and is not visible from the main nave of the church. The 4-bay nave is defined externally by alternating pointed-arch windows and staged angle buttresses. To the W gable of the church another large pointed-arch, tracery window sits above a single-storey double-gabled vestry that projects to the W of the nave. A further trefoil opening sits in the gablehead, possibly to light the roofspace above the nave ceiling.

The ground around the church is at the level of the main entrance, apart from the N side which is excavated to allow light and access into the sunken hall at the E end. The church is connected directly with Viewfield Place below, via a later gateway between the shop units and a flight of concrete steps. To the rear of the church, and a mid-20th century church hall has been added.

Interior: a typical Presbyterian interior, the main body of the church is without an apse at the W end, instead the W tracery window forms the main backdrop to the wood panelled chancel. This W window has been installed with a new stained glass window (December 1999) designed by Christian Shaw. A gallery, supported by cast-iron Corinthian columns, originally sat only along the SE end of the nave but was extended to a U- shape in

1876. A depressed-arch ceiling is divided into 4 bays by moulded ribs, these ribs returning to brackets projecting from the upper nave wall. A large timber and leaded glass, depressed arch window sits in the upper E wall of the nave, designed to allow light to be borrowed from the main window of the E elevation. Staircases from the main vestibule at ground floor allow access to the 1st floor gallery and to the sunken church hall, one with cast-iron barley twist balusters. Cast-iron columns, similar to those of the gallery, are also found in the sunken church hall. Much of the woodwork and chancel furniture in the church dates from 1946-47, the work of joiner and congregation member William Summers, although the pews of the church are thought to have been taken from the Presbyterian church which the present building replaced. The organ was installed in W end of the church in 1949, made by Lewis & Co. of Brixton.

Materials: Squared rubble; ashlar dressings and buttresses. Windows mostly leaded quarries with stained glass margins (later wire meshing to exteriors). Late 20th century stained glass to W window. Original 2-leaf, timber tongue and groove doorways with wrought iron fixings to exterior doorways. Timber boarded doorways to interior. Pitched roofs with Port Dunnock slates.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use. Viewfield Church is the work of F & W Mackison, prominent 19th century architects in Stirling, and most notable for their work in the planning of the Kings Park area of the town. Their other church in the town, the original Baptist Church on Murray Place was demolished in 1988 to make way for shopping development. Built in 1860, Viewfield Church bears a striking resemblance to the present Baptist Church in Stirling (also on Murray Place), originally the South Free Church and built by Liverpool architects J, WH & JM Hay in 1851-53. These two buildings together demonstrate the rapid growth of Victorian Stirling, with the town spreading N through Murray Place and then quickly followed by Barnton Street and Viewfield Place, into the area that was regarded as the 'back o'the toon'.

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