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Places of worship given positive future

24 September 2007

Five important churches will benefit for Historic Scotland grant offers announced today. Under the Places of Worship Scheme, run jointly with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland has offered over £500,000 in grants towards the repair and maintenance of these historic buildings.

Speaking about the awards, John Graham, chief executive of Historic Scotland, said:

"Since we started the joint Places of Worship Scheme with the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2002, Historic Scotland has been able to invest over £16 million into the repair and maintenance of these important centres for communities. This money has seen over 180 buildings face the future in good repair and with a sustainable future, positively contributing to their local and the wider historic environment and all the benefits that that brings."
The places of worship to receive grant offers will be:

·Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church, Edinburgh - £167,500
·Dysart Kirk, Fife - £32,900
·St John the Evangelist Church, Forres - £31,326
·Saint Margaret’s Church, Clydebank - £167,500
·Church of Our Lady and St Finnan’s, Glenfinnan - £142,370
Total: £541,596

Notes to Editors:
1. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, the agency was established in 1991 to safeguard the nation’s historic environment and promote its understanding and enjoyment.

2. The Heritage Lottery Fund has also issued a media release about their grant wards to these places of worship.

Shiona MacKay
Heritage Lottery Fund.
Direct line: 01786 870638

3. Details of the churches to receive grants are:

St Mary’s Church was designed in 1823 and completed the following year as the Parish Church for this burgeoning part of the New Town. A-listed, it was built by Thomas Brown, Superintendent of City Works for Edinburgh between 1819 and 1847. The Church is set centrally within the curving Bellevue Crescent, designed by Bonnar but taken over by Brown, who incorporated the church within its design. The Church plays a key role in defining the streetscape of this part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage site as the focus of an important set-piece of the city’s urban design. Its interior is of a quality commensurate with the exterior and has escaped major alteration, retaining the majority of its pews and its original pulpit, which adds to its interest.

B-listed, the exterior of Dysart Kirk is of the usual very high quality of the period. It is a cruciform plan Romanesque-style church with a stubby pyramidal tower. It is an important townscape feature and a landmark along the main Fife coastal route. It has been likened by John Gifford (The Buildings of Scotland, Fife; 1998) to the medieval Gothic church at St Monans. The interior is starkly plain in its detailing and economical in its use of materials. However, the strongly-designed saltire-like ribs of the tower ceiling suggest that this was a conscious design choice and the decorative scheme of the interior is likely to have been very important to its success. It is recorded that there were a total of 12 Mackintosh stencilled decorative panels which had been hidden by subsequent decoration and in 2004, a project to uncover and conserve them was undertaken. HS provided grant assistance of up to £22,800 in 2005-2006 through its Building Repair Grants Scheme towards the cost of the panels.

St John’s Church is one of the older Episcopal churches in Scotland and an important and distinctive landmark in Forres. A simple A-listed church, it was designed by Patrick Wilson of Edinburgh in the 1830s which was then substantially re-cast in an Italiante style in 1844 by Thomas Mackenzie of Elgin. The church forms a very striking landmark on the main approach to the town centre and is sited across the road from the popular Grant Park. The interior is particularly noted for its mural in the apse (on canvas) of the last supper painted by William Hole in 1907 and 2 further murals of a slightly later date. The church is an unusual and notable design with a good quality interior enhanced by the William Hole mural.

B-listed, St Margaret’s Church in Clydebank (1970-1972) is a late work and the last church by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia (GKC) whose importance in an international context is undisputed. GKC was one of the most important architectural practices in Scotland and their post-war work became well-known throughout the UK. As well as its formal qualities, this church is important in that it is the first complete translation by the practice of the intentions of and the changes to the liturgy brought about by the 2nd Vatican Council. The Church was slotted into a pre-existing inter-war estate and was deliberately kept to a modest height and scale to enhance the idea of a community room for mass.

This is a Roman Catholic Church built by E W Pugin in 1873 in an area distinguished by its strong post-Reformation RC presence. It contributes by its setting to the sensitive and important wider visual and historical landscape of Glenfinnan. Architecturally, it is a competent work by a nationally known firm of architects and is B-listed. Within a dominantly Presbyterian Scotland, Catholic survival/17th century missionary driven revival were important elements in Lochaber’s historical development. In this context, the building of the church and the choice of site has great cultural resonance. Glenfinnan, at the head of Loch Sheil, was the place where Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in 1745 – representative of the Catholic Stuart claim to the throne. The church is set on a high knoll and overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument which commemorates the event.

For further information

Isla Macleod
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852