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Edinburgh, Kirk Loan, Corstorphine Parish Church

Church (15th Century), Gate Pier(S) (Post Medieval)

Site Name Edinburgh, Kirk Loan, Corstorphine Parish Church

Classification Church (15th Century), Gate Pier(S) (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) 2a Corstorphine High Street; Corstorphine Old Church

Canmore ID 52653

Site Number NT27SW 3

NGR NT 20030 72776

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

First 100 images shown. See the Collections panel (below) for a link to all digital images.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SW 3.00 20030 72776.

(NT 2004 7277) Church (NAT) Formerly St John's Collegiate Church (NR) 1429 (NAT)

OS 6"map, Edinburghshire, 1st ed., (1855)

NT27SW 3.01 20062 72724 War Memorial

NT27SW 3.02 20001 72786 Churchyard

NT27SW 3.03 20044 72734 Churchyard Extension

In 1128, Corstophine Church, then a dependent chapel of St Cuthbert's, was granted to Holyrood Abbey by David I. This chapel was a church before 1158. In this church were altars to the Holy Trinity and St Ann (mentioned in the latter part of the 15th century).

In the churchyard and adjoining the aforementioned church, a chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist was founded by Sir Adam Forrester, of Corstorphine (died pre- 1405). His son, Sir John Forrester, erected the chapel into a collegiate church pre-1436/7. An inscription in the church attributes the foundation to 1429. The foundation charter is no extant. Up to 1633 the collegiate church and parish church seem to have existed side by side. The collegiate church, however, was dissolved in 1634 and the collegiate building became the parish church in 1646 when the old parish church was removed and a new aisle, attached to the collegiate fabric, built apparently on the site of the old church.

H Scott (et al) 1915-61; I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976.

The modern parish church, except for its modern accretions, represents the old collegiate church. Its plan comprises a rectangular chancel, a nave less in width and height, transepts at the W end of the nave, and a tower surmounted by a low-set stone spire, beyond which a small porch extends to the main entrance. From the N wall of the chancel aisle and transept are modern: a drastic restoration was projects a two-storeyed revestry or sacristy. The N carried out in 1828, when the nave was largely rebuilt, the N transept and 17th century aisle were removed, and a new transept and aisle erected. Further restorative work has been done in recent times.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 1920.

This church, which is still is use, is generally as described.

Visited by OS (BS) 2 December 1975.

NT 2003 7277 A watching brief was completed in January and February 2004 during pipe trench works in the churchyard. Several stone floor slabs were lifted, and the ground beneath excavated. No archaeological features or artefacts were observed.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: Irons Foulner Consulting Engineers.

R Inglis 2004

Architecture Notes

NT27SW 3.00 20030 72776.

Edinburgh, Kirk Loan, Corstorphine Parish church.


William Burn 1827-28 - restoration.

George Henderson - restoration, 1903-5, Hay and Henderson.

Kinnear and Peddie 1890-93 - additions unexecuted.

William Young, London 1890's - additons unexecuted.

Edinburgh, Kirk Loan, Corstorphine Parish Church.


Restoration of Corstorphine Parish Church.

Receipts and expenditure.

Expenditure now amounts to #5,862,13.10.

There remains an outstanding liability of #1,184.4.10.

Printed account.

1906 GD 193/957.

List of Church plans used for reference in order to plan the seating in the restored church.

The first plan was that prepared by Mr Burn in 1831.

Memo and new plan made by G Somervel Carfrae.

1906 GD 193/952.

Printed plan of the church as restored.

Signed by G Somervel Carfrae (architect).

1906 GD 193/952.

Proposed alterations.

Letter from Sir James Maitland. He objects to the proposed plans to enlarge the church.

1893 GD 193/951.

Estimates total #3,645.15.4.

Money collected or guaranteed amounts to #4,400.

Printed report.

1904 GD 193/957.

Letter from James Hope to John L Mounsey.

Plans for the proposed alterations have been drawn up by Messrs Kinnear and Peddie. James Hope wishes the plans to be submitted to Sir James Maitland for approval.

1893 GD 193/951.

Notes, minutes and memos of Heritors' and congragation's committee meetings.

Financial reports and statements.

1903-07 GD 193/952.

Report from G Somervel Carfrae, architect.

The first part deals with the work done.

The second part lists interior work that still requires attention.

1906 GD 193/957.

Letter to Mrs Steel-Maitland from J C Brodie, W.S.

It concerns the reallocation of seats but mentions some of the alterations carried out. One of the galleries has been removed, a place set apart for the choir, the passages widened and the stalls and more commodious pews introduced.

906 GD 193/952.

Repair of Corstorphine Kirk.

Discharge of proportion of the cost.

1675 GD150/3253/45-46.

Casting of a new bell for the church of Corstorphine.

Receipt from David Hodge, coppersmith, for James Watson of Saughton's proportion of the cost.

1728 GD150/3212/3 page 36.

Repair of the Kirk and Manse. The estinmated cost is #43.0.0.

Memorandum stating the valuation of Corstorphine Parish and consequent proportion of expense due from each Heritor.

1735 GD 150/3193.

Inglis Photograph Collection - general view of tower, church and churchyard. c.1930.

W Schomberg Scott Photograph Collection - 3 exterior views, 2 prints of each. Acc.1997/39.

External Reference.

Edinburgh Public Library.

Accession No. 42374. Circa 1900

One photograph, one postcard, and several engravings of Corstorphine Parish Church.

NMRS Reference.

Inventory of plans.

Typescript, (R6(P36)).


Field Visit (20 August 1920)

Parish Church, Corstorphine.

The present parish church (Fig. 38), except for its modern accretions, represents the old collegiate church. Its plan is exceptional, comprising a rectangular chancel, a nave less in width and height, transepts at the west end of the nave, and a tower surmounted by a low-set but picturesque spire of stone, beyond which a small porch extends to the main entrance through the tower. From the north wall of the chancel projects a two-storied revestry or sacristy. The north aisle and transept are modern: a drastic restoration was carried out in 1828, when the nave was largely rebuilt, the north transept and 17th-century aisle were removed, and a new transept and aisle erected. Further restorative work was done in recent times.

[See RCAHMS 1929 pp.18-23 for a detailed architectural description and notes on the bell, hour-glass and 12 inscriptions and sepulchral monuments that pre-date 1707].

HISTORICAL NOTE. A chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was founded by Sir Adam Forrester of Corstorphine, ‘near to the parish church’ (1) some time before his death in 1405 (2). This Adam Forrester was the first of his name in Corstorphine, having been a burgess of Edinburgh when he was granted the dominical lands of Corstorphine by William More of Abercorn, a grant confirmed in 1376. On the chapel which he founded or built King James I conferred, in 1426, an annual grant of £24,including a revenue of £4, which had been due to Adam Forrester, for the support of three chaplains (3). Payment of this annuity (£20) is noted regularly in the Exchequer Rolls thereafter. In 1429 Margaret Forrester, widow of Sir Adam, and her son Sir John, gave a further sum to support two chaplains and two ‘clerks’ in the Chapel (4). This is the date given in the inscribed tablet to Nicholas Bannatyne, the provost, as that of the inception of the college. But the institution of the collegiate establishment was due to the Bishop of St. Andrews, in 1444, proceeding upon a papal bull of the same year (5). In the entry in the Exchequer Rolls of 1473 the description runs, ‘the collegiate church of St. John the Baptist’, and, in 1488, ‘the chapel of St. John, now the collegiate church’. The establishment consisted of a, provost and eight prebendaries, the provost having the revenues of the parochial churches of Ratho and Clerkington, and the prebendaries respectively the ‘teind sheaves’ of the vills of ‘Gogar, Hadingstoun, Haltoun, Dalmahoy, Bonyngtoun, Platt, Nortoun and Byres’, with certain other revenues (6). As is clear from the earlier references above, the original parish church was a separate and independent structure. When still only a chapel it was attached to the abbey of Holyrood, from which it was dissolved in 1621, when it was erected into the parsonage of Corstorphine (7). Parish church and collegiate church were still separate institutions as late as 1633 (8). Not till 1646 were arrangements made ‘for taking downe of the old Paroch Kirk’ and adding an aisle to the other Kirk (9). From that time therefore the old collegiate church took over the parochial duties.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 20 August 1920.

(1) Reg. Mag. Sig. , s.a., 1426, No. 35; (2) Reg. S. Egidii, No. 28; (3) Reg. Mag. Sig., s.a., No.35; (4) Reg. Mag. Sig., s.a., No. 121; (5) Charters of Collegiate Churches in Midlothian (Bann. Club), pp. 298-304; (6) Ibid.; (7) Acts Parl Scot., iv, p. 677; (8) Ibid., v, p. 158; (9) Charters of Colleg. Churches, p. lxxv.

Watching Brief (29 April 2010 - 30 April 2010)

Headland Archaeology undertook a watching brief at Corstorphine Parish Church, Kirk Loan, Edinburgh between 29th and 30th of April 2010. No Archaeologigal deposits were recorded.

Infromation from Headland Archaeology Ltd.


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