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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: B
  • Date Added: 08/12/1971


  • Local Authority: Shetland Islands
  • Planning Authority: Shetland Islands
  • Burgh: Lerwick

National Grid Reference

  • NGRHU 47780 41095
  • Coordinates447780, 1141095


James Milne of Edinburgh 1825-9, with additions by John M Aitken, 1895. 2-storey, 3 x 4-bay symmetrical austere classical hall church of rectangular plan; full-height apse centring S elevation, with flanking square plan single storey vestry and (former) session room wings. Droved sandstone ashlar front with droved and polished ashlar details; stugged and snecked sandstone side and rear elevations and additions with droved ashlar margins to windows and corners. Base course, band course at 1st floor, eaves cornice. Projecting cills at windows. Stugged and coped sandstone wallhead stacks flanking apse.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical; regularly fenestrated; full-width ashlar steps accessing 6-panel 2-leaf grained entrance doors with 10-pane fanlights, to architraved openings in each bay at ground. Architraved windows in each bay at 1st floor. Eaves cornice with blocking course above.

W ELEVATION: 4 regularly fenestrated bays, grouped slightly to right.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: apse projecting at centre; curved S wall with round-arched windows flanking centre. Flanking single storey session room and vestry wings.

E ELEVATION: mirrored image of W elevation.

Timber sash and case windows, predominantly 36-pane at ground, 24 and 20-pane at 1st floor, 8 and 12-pane to vestry and session rooms. Stained glass windows depicting Christ to apse. Purple-grey slate piended platform roofs, curved S pitch to apse, profiled gutter at eaves.

INTERIOR: flagged entrance vestibule; flanking 3-centred arches leading to symmetrically disposed gallery stairs with timber handrails. Vertically-boarded timber wainscoting and plaster corniced ceiling. Reeded architraves around entrance doors and 6-panel door to hall. 6-panel flush-beaded timber door to old vestry centred over vestibule.

Vertically-boarded timber wainscoting around hall, plaster cornice and simple strapwork to ceiling. U-plan panelled timber gallery supported on fluted Corinthianesque cast-iron columns. Timber pews with flush-beaded panelling to hall and gallery. 3-centred arch centring S wall, leading to apse containing timber pulpit, communion table, and font, all of 1895. Font of white Caen stone comprises octagonal bowl with carved quatrefoils supported on red marble columns with decorative capitals. Organ by Bryceson Bros & Co of 1871, enlarged 1895, with stencilled pipes and panelled case centring S wall of apse; flanking vertically-boarded timber wainscoting with panelled frieze, pilastered blind arcading above incorporating stained glass windows flanking organ; plaster cornice and coffered dome riding to skylight at centre. 4-panel timber doors accessing vestry and session room.

BOUNDARY WALLS: random rubble wall with stugged ashlar cope to S and E, retaining to W, returned at N and terminated by wrought-iron finialled gate matching that to E.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building, in use as such. This church replaces an earlier building nearer the town centre (now incorporated in the Masonic Hall) and was built between 1825 and 1829 at a cost of ?2881. In 1895 the apse was added by Aitken at the S end with the flanking vestry and session rooms. On completion of this extension, a new pulpit was built and the organ moved its present position. The original contractor was a Robert Stout. An identical (but larger) church was opened in the previous year in Baltasound, Unst, but subsequently reduced in size. Timber for both churches arrived in 1827 on the brig Elrick from New Brunswick, Canada. It was named St Columba?s after union with the United Free church in 1929.



John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p486. E J F Clausen and

T M Y Manson 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LERWICK PARISH CHURCH (1979). Thomas Manson LERWICK DURING THE LAST HALF CENTURY (1991) p268 plate 8. Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p23 and 24.

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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