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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: 08/11/1974


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGRHU 47479 41295
  • Coordinates447479, 1141295


R G Sykes of Liverpool, 1885-6. Early English gothic church of cruciform plan on sloping site, with L-plan church hall of circa 1900 to SW. 5-bay church including gabled transeptal bays flanking entrance elevation to N; crenellated square tower centred to S with gabled transepts flanking to E and W, gabled chancel to S; single storey over basement vestry projecting at centre with flanking porch and wing. Stugged sandstone rubble walls with stugged sandstone ashlar dressings, polished at arrises. Base and eaves courses. Chamfered arrises and sloping cills to pointed-arched (lancet) windows.

TOWER: blank S elevation with buttresses extending to left and right; lancets to outer left and right of N elevation with diagonal buttresses at corners; framed blank panels with floreate stops centring E and W elevations with flanking lancets; string course and cornice below crenellated parapet.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical; ashlar steps accessing central pointed-arched 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber door with decorative iron hinges; wheel window centred above; pointed-arched windows flanking door; buttresses with ball-finialled pyramidal caps framing elevation.

E (LOWER HILLHEAD) ELEVATION: stepped 3-light lancet window centring gabled transept advanced in bay to left, flat-roofed porch with vertically-boarded timber door recessed in re-entrant angle to left. 3-bay nave elevation to right; bays divided by buttresses, 2-light lancet window in centre bay with single lancets in flanking bays. Gabled bay slightly advanced in bay to outer right; buttresses framing bay; pointed-arched vertically-boarded timber door with decorative iron hinges at ground, roundel with moulded surround in gablehead above containing quatrefoil superimposed with carved dove.

S ELEVATION: stepped 5-light lancet window centring chancel gable; single storey over basement gabled vestry projecting at ground with narrow windows flanking centre at principal floor and 2-flue wallhead stack with circular cans at SW corner; matching flat-roofed wing and porch flanking in re-entrant angles.

W ELEVATION: mirrored image of E elevation except for tall exposed base course, carved cross in roundel of left gable and paired pointed-arched windows at wing recessed to right of transept gable.

Early 20th century stained glass depicting Madonna and Child in N wheel window, stained glass in S wheel window of 1892 by R G Sykes; plain glazing set into reveals of other nave, transept and tower windows; 4-pane and plate glass timber sash and case windows to vestry and SW wing. Purple-grey slate roof with cast-iron profiled gutters and downpipes. Pyramidal slate roof with wrought-iron weathervane to tower. Triangular ashlar skew copes with gablet skewputts.

INTERIOR: panelled inner vestibule porch; panelled doors with 3-pane glazed uppers and ancient stone set in wall to right. 4-panel, 2-leaf timber inner entrance doors. Cruciform plan nave with large pointed-arched openings at crossing and smaller arches accessing transepts. Vertically-boarded timber wainscoting and pews; stencilled frieze with gothic script over entrance door; splayed reveals to windows, plain coved ceiling with hammerbeam trusses bearing on stone corbels. Organ of 1897 by Harrison and Harrison of Durham in W transept; panelled case with trefoil decorated frieze and open frame above, crocketted at corners, and containing stencilled organ pipes. Balustraded dais with octagonal timber pulpit.

CHURCH HALL: stugged squared and snecked ashlar, droved at arrises. Rectangular gabled hall with partially harled gabled porch projecting at right angles from NW corner. Tripartite windows with taller central light to principal gables; polished ashlar relieving arch over E window; base course and buttresses framing elevation; narrow windows to side elevation and porch. 3-pane timber sash and case windows and plain fixed lights; purple-grey slate roof; prominent ashlar skew copes with gabletted skewputts.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: random rubble walls to E and N; stugged crenellated cope raised to stugged gabled gatepiers at NE corner. Random rubble walls to W (retaining) and S.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building, in use as such. Built to replace the old church of 1839 in Hangcliff Lane, the foundation stone was laid in June 1885 by the Rev Dr Calderwood, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University, and opened in July 1886 by Rev Dr Ferguson of Queen?s Park Church, Glasgow. The church was a United Presbyterian Church from the time of its erection until the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church took place in 1900. It was then named St Ringan?s United Free Church. This meant there were two United Free churches in Lerwick, the other being St Olaf?s (see separate listing). When the union of the United Free Church and Church of Scotland took place in 1929, St Ringan?s became a Church of Scotland. In 1931, the congregations of St Ringan?s and St Olaf?s united as one congregation of the Church of Scotland until a further union of the Parish Church (see separate listing) with Bressay, St Olaf?s and St Ringan?s which was followed by an agreement in 1958 where Lerwick and Bressay Parish Church exchanged their church building, formerly known as St. Oalf?s Church, for St Ringan?s, the former church thereafter being known as St Olaf?s Hall. The stained glass windows were also designed by Sykes. The modern paint applied to the S wall behind the dais obscures script similar to that over entrance door, and reading "This Man Revereth Sinners and Eateth with Them".



Ann W Halcrow CENTENARY GUIDE TO ST RINGAN?S CHURCH 1986. E J F Clausen and T M Y Manson 150th ANNIVERSARY OF LERWICK PARISH CHURCH (1979) p11. Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p28. STEADFAST October 1986. John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p488. Thomas Manson LERWICK DURING THE LAST HALF CENTURY (1991) p230 plate 32. Groome?s GAZETTEER p499.

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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