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Perth, St Paul's Square, St Paul's Church

Church (19th Century)

Site Name Perth, St Paul's Square, St Paul's Church

Classification Church (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) High Street; South Methven Street

Canmore ID 159607

Site Number NO12SW 549

NGR NO 11532 23622

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Perth
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Architecture Notes

Architect: John Paterson 1799 completed 1807. Plans first prepared for new church 6 Jan 1794. March 5 1799 estimates for a castellated church. The Committee formerly app. to examine a report for building new church & spire agreable to plan by Mr Paterson. Mr McEwan, mason. Architect in charge of work.


Perth T.C. Minutes (City Chambers) March 5th 1799 estimate for a new church

Site Management (20 June 1990)

Crenellated octagonal Gothic church (currently disused, 2009) with advanced single-bay sections to S, E, W and N; that to N with inset 5-stage steeple with stone polygonal spire. Ashlar. Base course, crenellated parapet. Narrow rounded shafts to outshot angles supporting angle round projections above. Pointed-arched window openings with moulded architraves.

This 1807 church has significant historical and streetscape importance. It was one of the first churches to be built in Perth after the Reformation, as the population of the city was expanding and a new church was required. Situated at the head of the High Street, it is a focal point of the city when looking West. The octagonal, central plan was unusual in church design at the early part of the 19th century. The interior was not visited as part of the resurvey, but is noted by J Gifford in Perth & Kinross, 2007 to contain a gallery to 7 sides of the octagon and cast iron railings to the stairs to the pulpit.

John Paterson was an Edinburgh-based architect who practised throughout Scotland and the North of England. He was recognised for his 'Castle-style' which had been developed by the Adam brothers. This can be seen in the castellated parapet of St Paul's Church. This church is a good example of this style. He was appointed Clerk of Works to the University of Edinburgh in 1789 with Robert Adam. (Historic Scotland)


Standing Building Recording (10 January 2018)

An Enhanced historic building survey was conducted on the Category B Listed St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square, Perth.The building was constructed in 1805 and was the first church in Perth to be built after the Reformation. The church occupied an octagonal plan and had a clock tower on its north side facing the High Street. The interior of the church was in a serious state of dereliction and had been neglected since it closed in 1986. The ground floor was well lit by tall clearstory windows that ascended to the wall head of the gallery. The pulpit and font were situated on the north side of the church. The pulpit was dilapidated but its rear ornate balustrade still survived and it was of exceptional craftsmanship with an interlaced wrought iron grape vine motif. The gallery was accessed by three staircases each lit by clearstory windows. The staircases were also lit by electric lights but these are now missing. The gallery was supported by a series of wooden and cast-iron pillars. The gallery ceiling was in a poor condition and large sections had collapsed exposing its lath and plaster. The church organ had been removed but its wooden frame was still extant. The church tower was accessed by a passage off the gallery. A small room was present on the first stage. The second stage contained a wooden weight chamber that ascended to the clock mechanism floor. From here a ladder allowed access to the belfry. This housed a single bell housed within its bellframe.

Information from CFA Archaeology Ltd.


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