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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 25103 71934
  • Coordinates325103, 671934


James Gillespie Graham, 1835; additions by Archibald Macpherson, 1893-5. Aisled neo-Norman chapel with later apsidal gothic E end. Squared coursed sandstone with polished dressings; grey slate of.

W END: symmetrical 3-bay; openings round-arched, roll-moulded and hoodmoulded. Steps up to doorway; panelled door. Tripartite window above. Corbelled stone fleche with swept pyramidal roof at apex. 2 angle buttresses with angle nook-shafts; polygonal stone finials with swept caps. Windows to aisle ends; polygonal angle buttresses with finials detailed as above.

NAVE AND AISLES: 4-bay. Deep-set round-arched windows to aisles and nave, with hoodmoulds and label-stops.

APSE AND LADY CHAPEL: 1893-5. Polygonal apse with full-height buttresses; vestry and polygonal stairtower adjoining to W; Lady Chapel adjoining to E. Traceried pointed arch windows to apse with hoodmoulds and label stops beneath parapet. Similarly detailed window to E Lady Chapel. INTERIOR: circular-section piers supporting 4-bay arcade between nave and aisles; saw-tooth details to cushion capitals and arches. Rib-vaulted plaster ceiling with decorative corbels and bosses. 2-bay chancel and 3 sided apse with stone rib-vaults and bosses to ceiling. Pointed arch panels behind elaborately traceried altarpiece; statues by William Vickers of Glasgow above panels. Lady Chapel reredos by George Goldie, executed by Thomas Earp, 1877. Decorative carved and stained arcaded rood screen, possibly part of original fittings, now removed to W end (stalls in similar style removed to St Mary's Cathedral). Silver lamp in chancel, designed by Gillespie Graham and executed by Cross & Carruthers of Elm Row, 1837. Painted Gothic casket containing relics of St Crescentia, by Bonar & carfare to designs by A W N Pugin, 1842. Crypt with tombs of John Menzies and Bishop Gillis. Stained glass, predominantly figures of saints ddating from late 19th century.

Statement of Special Interest

A-group with other Gillis College buildings. See listing of conventual buildings for extent of curtilage. Ecclesiastical building in use as such. St Margaret's was the first religious house tobe founded in Scotland since the Reformation. The Rev James Gillis acquired the Whitehouse property with the financial help of John Menzies of Pitfodels, Aberdeenshire, and the first Convent of the Ursulines of Jesus in Britain was founded on 26th December 1834. A W N Pugin may have had some involvement with the initial chapel scheme, but he certainly became involved with proposed alterations in 1846-7. At that time he designed a new arrangement of chancel windows, new clearstorey windows, elaborately decorated fittings and furnishings, and suggested painted decoration of the walls. In 1861 Pugin's eldest son, Edward Welby Pugin, proposed a grand formal quadrangle incorporating the chapel (see separate listing of former school).



J G Graham, pen and brown ink perspective (not as built), on display in Gillis College; J Grant Old and New Edinburgh, Vol III (1882), p45; Anon A History of St Margaret's Convent (1886); H Colvin Biographical Dictionary of British Architects (1978), pp355-357; C J Smith Historic South Edinburgh Vol 1 (1978), pp44-48; J Macaulay "The architectural collaboration between J Gillespie Graham and A W Pugin" in Architectural History Vol 27 (1984), p409; Gifford et al. Edinburgh (1984), pp594-595; M Cant Marchmont in Edinburgh (1984), pp87-94; P J Kerr (ed) Commemorative Booklet for the Opening of Gillis College (1986).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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