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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 30456 73748
  • Coordinates330456, 673748


J T Walford, 1903 (design date), 1906. Church in idiosyncratic Gothic style with incipient Expressionist tower and modern (1991) single storey addition to NE. Bull-faced sandstone with polished ashlar dressings; harled and stone clad modern addition to NE. Base course and string courses.

NW (BRIGHTON PLACE) ELEVATION: main door to centre; tower to SW corner; baptistery to NE. Pointed-arched 2-leaf panelled door to gabled bay to centre in gabletted doorpiece; pointed arch traceried window above, pointed arch arcaded band course above, cross finial (now fibre glass); octagonal pinnacle towers flanking with polished ashlar open blunt lantern at top. 2-storey addition to outer right with pointed-arch windows to upper section to each elevation.

TOWER: boarded 2-leaf door at base of square-plan steeple with octagonal clasping buttresses breaking wallhead in arcaded lantern (as above), taller one to centre with further lantern; louvered pointed-arched paired openings to each elevation (louvers now fibre glass), arcaded band course above.

BAPTISTRY: single storey semi-octagonal bay to outer left with off-set buttresses dividing each face and with traceried windows to each elevation, deep parapet; polygonal dies pyramidally capped.

SW (SANDFORD GARDENS) ELEVATION: 7-bay. Tower to W (see above). 2-storey semi-octagonal projection (see W elevation). Lean-to single storey aisle projection to all except outer bays of elevation; 2 traceried windows to each bay at ground, single pointed-arch window above to each bay except penultimate and ultimate bays (chancel). Semi-octagonal piended projection to end of aisle with buttresses and pointed-arched windows to each elevation; 2-storey semi-octagonal and buttressed termination to chancel with pointed-arched traceried windows to each elevation.

NE ELEVATION: baptistery terminating aisle to outer right (see above). 4-bay aisle windows to each at ground and large pointed-arched clearstorey windows with loop tracery above. Advanced M-gabled Sacristy, bipartite windows to each gablehead, door to left; modern 3-bay (with garage) addition to outer left.

SE ELEVATION: polygonal apse with dividing capped buttresses and polygonal capped dies, pointed arch, traceried windows in gablets with fleur-de-lys finials.

Cusped and curvilinear traceried windows. Slate roof. Wrought-iron finials to gableheads and apex of piended roof, outer left bay of W elevation.

INTERIOR: fine display of materials and craftsmanship. Diamond-shaped leaded glazed panels fanlight and upper section of vestibule partition, boarded panelling to lower section. Panelled balcony above with organ pipes above. Pointed-arched octagonal piered arcading with carved angels corbels at springing point (all Grange stone from Burntisland), also at chancel arch. Clearstorey windows set in pitch pine vaulted ceiling with pendants at apex of each. 3 confessionals to left of left aisle. Terracotta-colour encaustic tiles with black and white herring-bone boarded to passages and timber parquet flooring to pew-areas.

CHANCEL: raised 4 steps; carved alabaster and marble chancel fence; marble flooring.

BAPTISTERY: (to left of door) wrought-iron screen and gates; marble flooring; marble font and brass Art Nouveau cover.

SIDE CHAPELS: (to either side of chancel); marble flooring; alabaster and gilt altars to both (S chapel used as a Lady chapel now with altar depicting the Madonna taking the sacrament).

FURNISHINGS: altar, designed by Walford, with painting of Last Supper. 15 ft tall traceried reredos of polished alabaster. Pulpit with 4 carved Evangelists now removed and carvings used as decoration to sacristy corridor. Pine pews. Organ by Rushworth and Dreaper (moved from Hawick in 1961). Carved timber and coloured bas-relief Stations of the Cross, in Gothic frames. Stone (Portland?) carved statuette of St John to left of chancel arch, in style of Hew Lorimer. Wrought-iron with finials gilded to sides of chancel.

STAINED GLASS: to chancel windows, of Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection by Edward Frampton and bordered colouring to other windows.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH is a useful source about the premises prior to the building which has now been erected. There was a chapel (once Episcopal) on the site and was housed in what was "originally in 1826 a villa" (in fact a couple of terraced houses terminating the terrace in Sandford Gardens) and was bought for the purpose in 1834 by the Bishop of Edinburgh (P 147). The foundation stone was laid in 1905 and was formally opened in February 1906. The recent alterations lead to some degree of demolition to the NE. The plans showed further chapels were intended, one to each of the south and north elevations. Edward Frampton also executed the stained glass for the parish church at Aberlady, East Lothian. According to the research of Mrs Rosemary Spiers, Edward Frampton shared an office/studio in 1878 with, amongst others, 'James Thos. Walford'; they also shared in 1883 and it was only in 1887 that Frampton had his own accommodation. It would seem quite possible that the work carried out at St John's could have been by this old acquaintance.



Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND-EDINBURGH VOLUME, (1991), P 651. J Grant, CASSELL'S OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH, (1883),

p 147. Dean of Guild Archives (1956-sacristy).

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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Printed: 27/05/2016 05:34