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Architecture Notes

Event ID 764914

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


ARCHITECT: Dr Carson by Peter Slater -sculptor

Robert Burn 1796/7 -paid for mason work

William Burn -restoration

John Mylne -repairs 1637-48

William Hay and George Henderson -restoration 1881-3

Reginald Fairlie -1935 Elders Chairs

Sir Robert Lorimer -Thistle Chapel 1909-11

-Shrine of Youth 1928-9

James Craig paid for a design of the King's Seat 1780

Sir Robert Rowand Anderson -Marquis of Montrose

NMRS Print Room

High Street, St Giles

2 prints - General view from the West and view looking up to the crown

W Schomberg Scott Photograph Collection

Acc No 1997/39


Scots Magazine June 1810 -1 engraving;

Scottish Ecclesiological Society 1911-12 p.355 -text


Scottish Record Office:

Proposals to repair the General Assembly Aisle, and to build a new church in the old church parish. Mr Brown the architect has submitted a plan to the Treasury, but it is suggested that the Treasury architect and Mr William Burn might be willing to advise and to submit plans.

1841 GD 18/4114

Memorial and Petition of Lord Provost, etc to Rt. Hon. The Lords Commissioners of H.M.Treasury.

"Your petitioners have lately removed a great mass of building which stood in the centre of the High Street and in front of St Giles...and now proceeding with taking down a number of shops and booths that have been attached to the venerable fabric on the South".

Appeal for ?15,000 towards sum of ?26-36,000 for repair and for converting 4 "incommodious places"-into 2 in St Giles.

1818 GD51/5/88/1-2

Petition by the Magistrates and Council of Edinburgh & Sir William Maxwell of Calderwood to H.M.Commissioner and the Estates of Parlt. craving authority to buy "a pale" of bells for the High Church and to build a steeple at the West Port with 20,000 marks donated by The Late Thomas Moodie to build a church in Grassmarket (Couldn't be built because it would have been on execution site).

1681 GD86/712

Edinburgh: Interference by the Magistrates of Edinburgh with the burying place of the Montrose family in St Giles.

1818 GD 220/6/1998

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. Letters and report relating to repair and gilding of King's Seat (4 items), including letter from Robert Johnston, Dean of Guild of Edinburgh, explaining additional work on seat, 9 Dec 1817.

1817-21 SRO/E342/32

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. Draft account of Sir Henry Jardine's intromissions with grant for fitting up Assembly Aisle, 1833-4.

1838 SRO/E342/42

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. Letters and papers relating to proposed grant for restoration of exterior walls (23 items), including:

1. Treasury letter concerning memorial by Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 20 Jan 1826;

5. Letter from William Burn, architect, to Lord Provost on estimated cost of work, 20 Dec 1826;

6. Revised estimate, 16 Jan 1827;

13. Letter from Robert Reid, reporting on proposed works, 27 Nov 1827;

14. Letter from Reid on alterations required to allow carriage access to West end of Parliament Square, 13 Dec 1827;

18. Letter from Walter Brown, Lord Provost, on application of grant, 17 Jan 1828;

21. Letter from Burn to Lord Advocate on proposed removal of 'the old porch and projecting window' to improve access to Parliament Square-'No one can feel more solicitous than I do for the preservation of every characteristic feature and peculiarity of our ecclesiastical structures', 21 Jan 1827.

1826-8 SRO/E342/39

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. Correspondence and papers relating to grants for restoration and for fitting up Assembly Aisle (15 items), including:

3. Letter from Robert Reid declining to superintend work carried out by another architect, 29 May 1829;

5-7. Drafts and extract of Act of Town Council for completing work on walls in terms of treasury grant, 24 June 1829;

12. Letter from Reid on arrangements for fitting up part of church as hall for meetings of General Assembly, 29 Jan 1831;

13. Memorandum on treasury grants for Assembly Aisle and restoration of walls, 20 Sept 1831;

14-15. Memoranda on Assembly Aisle, 24 Sept-7 Nov 1831.

1829-31 SRO/E342/40

Repairs and alterations to St Giles'. Letter from Kincaid MacKenzie, the Lord Provost, to Lord Melville. He encloses a copy of the Town Council's petition to The Treasury for a grant of ?15,000 towards the repair of the building and alterations to the interior.

1818 GD 51/5/88/1-2


Country Life, 15th July 1911 -article and photographs

An oil painting of the Old Tolbooth by Alexander Nasmyth and in possession of Sir David Baird, gives a good impression of the West front of St Giles in the old days (Exhibited Saltire Society Edinburgh Branch, May 1948).

1/2" scale drawings of statuary-measured only. 1921-24 by Robert H Morrison, Aberdeen School of Architecture. Surveys stored at Messrs H J Knee's Repository, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.


William Chambers' "Historical Sketch of St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh 1909";

Somerville's "Sketches of Old Buildings", etc -original pencil sketches of Old Record Room, 1823


"The Builder" 5th August 1893 -1 plan;

"Uncatalogued MSS of General Hutton" Vol 1, signed Alec Morton, dated 1813 -No 78 plan, scale 1/2":10';

Country Life, 21st Sept 1929 -Thistle Chapel stalls


Original sketch by Mr Donaldson, c1816

OS NAMEBOOK: Early views and maps of Edinburgh 1544-1852. Ordnance Survey map, Edinburgh sheet 35, of 1852, scale 5':1 statute mile (1/500) gives a plan as at that date of the New College and Free High Church, as well of the Church of St Giles. Also, Ordnance Survey, Edinburghshire, sheet 35 shows the Church and environs of Forrest Road and Bristo Place, in 1852; also the division of the New North in St Giles' after the restoration in 1829-33 (Scale: 5':1 statute mile (1/500))


Folder giving ground and Gallery Seating Plans, no scale, dated 1835 and signed by Thos. Brown, City Supert. The Church is indicated as occupying the Assembly Aisle of St Giles', but the area includes two bays of this Aisle, the South Transept, and two bays of the Chapel South of the Nave.


4 pages of text giving brief history of St Giles -filed under "NEW OR HIGH CHURCH";

5 pages of text giving brief history of St Giles -filed under "THE NEW NORTH CHURCH"


Sources: Dean of Guild Bundle 1813 January-June 22.4.1813

Pet. The Commissiones of Police

"Old Church Aisle"

Conversion into Police Office by Mr William Woodburn, Builder

Plans encl of Ground floor and Second floor

Sources: Dean of Guild Bundle 1813 January-June 20.5.1813

Pet. Alexander Ponton & William Woodburn

St Giles Church

Alterations "...certain Masonic alterations and Carpenter work..."

Fixed for proceeding without Warrant

No plans encl

Edinburgh, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral, Thistle Chapel.


F.S. heraldric design for stone frieze over Royal Entrance (the frieze being above the Romanesque archway). Design shows centre panel with angel holding the sovereign arms, and a further three panels to the right (North) of this centre panel.

Insc: 'Thistle Chapel. F.S. Detail of frieze over Royal Entrance. Sheet no. 103'.

Pencil and watercolour on cartridge, with written details in crayon.

Approx. 8'x15'.

Edinburgh, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral, Thistle Chapel.


Designs for furniture for the Thistle chapel.

Insc: 'St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh - proposed furniture for porch of Thistle Chapel'.

Perspective drawings of benches, chair and table, and 'Key Plan'.

s: Lorimer and Matthew.

d: 6.12.1927.

Pencil and watercolour on tracing, mounted on card.

Edinburgh, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral, Thistle Chapel.


Furniture design for the Thistle Chapel.

Insc: 'Thistle Chapel, Edin. Sketch of Dean's Chair and pine Dieu'.

Presentation drawing 14 1/2" x 8 1/2".

Pencil and watercolour on tracing, mounted on card.

s: R.S. Lorimer.

d: Jan 1910.

Edinburgh, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral.


2 letters from J. Lochhead of Scott Mortons to Lorimer and Matthew re. the Investiture Seat.

1: quoting cost of chair being altered as per revised drawing.

d: 28th June, 1940.

2: Confirming that Scott Morton agree to collect the existing parts of the Investiture seat from St Giles', and to complete new 'framed up back' plus inscriptions at a cost of #30.0.0.

d: 25th June, 1940.

Edinburgh, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral.

The Thistle Chapel, Lorimer.

13 F.S. cartoons of windows and panels in the Thistle Chapel.

Designs for window lights and relief panels by louis Davies [stained glass artist from London]. 13 of the possible 18 designs, one of which [the single light window, centre East end] was executed by Dr Douglas Strachan, but which is not amongst the 13 in the collection.

Drawings: ink, charcoal, coloured chalks and pencil on cartridge, mounted on linen.

Stamped: 'Robert Lorimer'. n/d.



'Montrose' relief panal. Belongs with /3: 'Argyll'. Pelican design. Written specifications [top left] in pencil describing proposed colours.


'Home' window light. Lion design.

Insc: 'Thistle Chapel. Heraldic cartoon for glass 'motto scrolls any colour'.


'Argyll' relief panal [paired with /1 'Montrose']. Lion design. Black and white.


'Balfour of Burleigh', window light.

Insc: 'Thistle Chapel' heraldic cartoon for glass'.

Seal/eagle design. Black/grey/pink.


'Aberdeen' window light. Paired with 'Hamilton of Dalzell', /12. North window of East end. 2 figures.


Single light window at West end. Lion/unicorn design of the Royal Arms of Scotland.


'Haddington' design. Spaniel design.


'Errol' design. 2 figures.


'Rosebury' design. 2 lions.


'Roxburghe' window light. 2 figures.


'Tweedale' window light. 2 stags.


'Hamilton of Dalzell' window light. Paired with /5 'Aberdeen', North window of East end. Design: stag and figure.


'Fife' design. 2 figures with laurels.


Historical File - 'The Tolbooth Church', 'The New or High Street', 'The New North Church' ad 'St Giles, Church of'. Sketch plan of surrounding rail erected by Wm Burn, 1836.

Unable to locate at time of upgrade 15.2.2000.


RIAS Collection.

ESME ( ), architect.

Design for a sanctuary lamp for a proposed war memorial chapel for St Giles, Edinburgh.

Insc: 'St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh. Proposed War Memorial Chapel' 'Sanctuary Lamp. True elevation. Plan. Oblique elevation. 36 Heriot Row Edinburgh'.

s: 'Esme Gordon'.

d: 'Feb 50'.

Pencil and wash.

29" x 21 1/2".

Acc No1980/19.

Unable to locate at time of upgrade 15.2.2000.

Non-Guardianship Sites Plan Collection, DC23618- DC23664, 1911, 1920,1924 & 1952- 1953.

This site was recorded as part of the Listed Buildings Recording Programme (LBRP) for 2001-02.

Information from RCAHMS (NMC), 2002.

People and Organisations