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Historic Scotland and HLF grants bring New Year Cheer to Churches

7 January 2010

Five distinguished churches and one cathedral are to have urgent and essential repairs carried out thanks to a funding package announced today by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland.  From an exposed cliff side location to the urban inner city landscape, from Romanesque to Gothic Revival, each one is of important architectural merit and in need of attention.

HLF First Round Pass for a grant of £27,000
Historic Scotland funding £55,000
Situated close to the town centre, the history of Brechin Cathedral began in the late 900’s when King Kenneth II of Scotland endowed a monastery to the site. Three months ago an archaeological dig there, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through Brechin’s Townscape Heritage Scheme, uncovered pieces of medieval pottery and several 14th century coins.

The cathedral developed over the following centuries and the Round Tower, one of only two remaining in mainland Scotland, was added in the 14th century, originally as a separate building. Since 1902 an impressive range of stained glass, created by some of Scotland’s most famous artists and craftsmen, have been donated to the building.

The grants will help complete urgent repair work to counter the effects of wet and dry rot.

HLF First Round Pass for a grant of £86,700
HLF Development Funding of £15,200
Historic Scotland funding £145,100

One of his only works in Scotland, St Salvador’s was designed by Britain’s foremost Gothic Revival architect G F Bodley. Situated in the Hilltown area of Dundee it was originally founded as a church and school to serve the mill workers of the area. Today it is an architecturally important building both within Scotland and in a wider British context.

Its uniqueness lies in the interior of the Church where there is an exceptionally complete and early example of Bodley’s interior decorative schemes. Bodley’s striking ornate and richly coloured stencilling had a direct influence on William Morris. It was restored with the help of an HLF grant 12 years ago but is now at risk of staining, blistering and peeling caused by the damp getting into the building. The grant will enable high-level maintenance of crumbling stonework and defective roofing to be carried out so as to preserve the church’s wonderful interior.

HLF First Round Pass for a grant of £107,800
HLF Development funding of £17,600
Standing on a landmark, cliff-side location, looking out onto the Firth of Clyde, St Bartholomew’s Church has suffered from its exposure to the elements. Built in 1857, a simple Gothic Revival style exterior hides a detailed interior which includes a Plaque of Dutch tiles in remembrance of the hospitality given to Dutch soldiers, sailors and airmen during the Second World War.

A popular venue for music and choral concerts, these have had to be curtailed because of the church’s leaks and lose slates. The project includes partly re-roofing the building, re-pointing and making conservation repairs to the stained and leaded glass.

HLF First round pass for a grant of £82,500
Historic Scotland funding £167,500
With a 140ft spire presiding over the UNESCO World Heritage site of New Lanark, St Mary’s Church was completed in 1910 replacing the original church which was gutted by fire in 1907. The interior reflects a high status ecclesiastic building designed to impress, with beautiful sculptural detail and a Pugin & Pugin designed Caen stone and marble decoration at the back of the alter.

As part of the project a learning pack will be produced for schools including a DVD showing the stages of conservation work.

HLF First Round Pass for a grant of £141,200
HLF Development funding £22,600
Completed in 1911, Sacred Heart Church was designed in a Romaneque style by Belgian architect, Charles Menart, who had studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1893 to 1898. It is situated in what was then the small fishing village of Torry on the south bank of the Dee. The vast expansion and prosperity of Aberdeen gave rise to the building of boat yards and factories at Torry from 1880 to 1920, attracting a large immigrant population.

The Church continues to have a large congregation with attendances of 250 people at the Polish mass on Sundays.

HLF First Round Pass for grant of £152,300
HLF Development funding of £27,300

Essential repairs to the roof and gables are required to make Innerleithen Church structurally sound. The Church was originally designed by Thomas Pilkington in 1865 and then in 1887, comprehensively re-constructed by James Macintyre using many of Pilkington’s details in response to the requirement of a growing congregation.

Overlooking the Leithen Water in the Borders, the Church is a hub for community activity including a weekly service, a day care centre, choir, quiz group, Beavers and youth organisations as well as attracting around 600 visitors each year.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

“Scotland has such a diverse range of churches, each one reflecting the social history of its community as well as the influences upon the country’s architecture. They stamp a sense of identity on their towns and villages while providing a venue for worship and for many other community activities. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to bring some good news to these important buildings as they begin the new year.”

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, said: “Congregations across the country are responsible for an important part of our incredible architectural heritage and they deserve our support. As well as these grant awards, Historic Scotland has been working closely with different denominations in the last year to ensure that we share the expertise we have and make it easily accessible for those charged with maintaining places of worship.”

Notes to editors

  • Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.   To date it has invested over £500million in Scotland’s heritage.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit

  • In October, Historic Scotland, the Church of Scotland, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church launched a CD Rom containing advice on a range of traditional building skills that would be required for the maintenance of many church buildings.

Further information

Heritage Lottery Fund:  Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638/07779 142890 or Jon Williams on 020 7591 6035  Website

Historic Scotland: Lesley Brown on 0131 668 8603/ 07920 768100/

Brechin Cathedral: Douglas Taylor on 01356 629360/ or  

St Salvador’s: St Salvador’s: Dr Graeme Adamson on 01382 667009/

St Bartholomew’s: Evan Williams on 01475 520916/

St Mary’s: Rev Joseph Brannigan on 07802 265085/

Sacred Heart: Michaela Wregg on 01224 224644/

Innerleithen: Philip Macdonald on 0131 2259070/