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Aberdeen, Broad Street, Greyfriars Church

Church (20th Century)

Site Name Aberdeen, Broad Street, Greyfriars Church

Classification Church (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Queen Street; Greyfriars John Knox Church;

Canmore ID 20081

Site Number NJ90NW 175

NGR NJ 94292 06434

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeen, City Of
  • Parish Aberdeen
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District City Of Aberdeen
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ90NW 175 94290 06424.

Built 1903, architect A Marshall Mackenzie; at its E end is a window taken from the previous Greyfriars Church (NJ90NW 26).

HBD List 1965.(Aberdeen).

Architecture Notes


Aberdeen, Greyfriars Parish Church. (New)

Architect: A.Marshall Mackenzie. Opened 1903.

Site Management (14 June 2011)

Perpendicular Gothic church with nave and single aisle and large, tall, crocketted and finialled, 3-stage square-plan entrance tower with angled buttresses and spire to W (Broad Street). Adjoining Marischal College (see separate listing). Large 16th century 7-light tracery window to chancel on E elevation incorporated from previous church (see Notes). Grey Kenmay granite ashlar. String course, cill course, buttresses to 6-bay aisle at S (Queen Street). Deep-set rectangular and bipartite windows to S with splayed reveals. Predominantly multi-pane fixed leaded-pane windows, some with hoppers. Grey slates. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Integrally designed to form the crucial SW corner of the nationally important Marischal College and by the same renowned local architect, A Marshall Mackenzie, this Church, with its impressive and imposing tower is an important building within the city centre and a defining landmark. Taking its cue from Marshall's celebrated Gothic addition to Marischal College, the Greyfriars John Knox Church is embellished with an array of finials and crockets. Refined work in granite only became possible after steam technology allowed for more sophisticated cutting techniques in the 1830s. A 16th century tracery window has been incorporated into the present church and now has stained glass by C E Kempe. It is likely that the carved timber choir stalls in the chancel also came from the previous church.

The original Greyfriars Collegiate Church was built in 1532 by Franciscan monks and lay at right angles and to the North of the present church, along Broad Street. It was incorporated into Marischal College, which was founded in 1593. The college was rebuilt between 1837-41 and further extended between 1893-97. It was this extension along Broad Street which caused the original collegiate Church to be demolished and after much negotiation between the Town Council, Church and University, Marshall Mackenzie built this replacement in the same Perpendicular Gothic Style as the college extension. It formed an integral part of the whole site.

A Marshall Mackenzie (1848-1933) was a Scottish architect of national repute. Although mainly associated with building in the North-East of Scotland, he also received the prestige of a Royal Commission in 1895 when asked to build the new Mar Lodge outside Braemar for Queen Victoria's grand-daughter, the Duchess of Fife. His output includes many significant public buildings in Aberdeen including The Harbour Offices and Aberdeen Art Gallery. (Historic Scotland)


Standing Building Recording (8 March 2017 - 20 March 2017)

NJ 94287 06433 (NJ90NW 175) A Level 2 standing building survey was carried out, 8–20 March 2017 of the category A listed Greyfriars Church prior to conversion work. The church was built in one phase in 1903 as a free-standing building, but was later joined to the new Marischal College frontage. 17th-century wooden panels inscribed with names and dates

were incorporated into the E end of the new church, the facing of the first floor gallery and the exterior of the SW main door. It is uncertain where these panels originated but they may have come from the old Greyfriars Church or St Nicholas Kirk. A watching brief on trial pits below the floor

identified no finds or features of archaeological significance.

Archive: NRHE

Funder: G1 Group PLC

Alison Cameron and Robert Lenfert - Cameron Archaeology

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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