St John's, Edinburgh

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St John's, seen from Lothian Road
1889 view looking east along Princes Street, with the church to the right in front of St Cuthbert's Church and Edinburgh Castle.

The Church of St John the Evangelist is a Scottish Episcopal church in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is sited at the west end of Princes Street at its junction with Lothian Road, and is protected as a category A listed building.[1]


It was dedicated as St John's Chapel on Maundy Thursday 1818 with construction having begun in 1816. It was designed by the architect William Burn[2] the previous year, at the remarkable age of only 25.

The congregation had begun in 1792 when Daniel Sandford came to Edinburgh to minister on Church of England lines. In 1797 the Qualified congregation moved to Charlotte Chapel which was re-built on larger lines in 1811. They sold shares to fund a new church, the banker Sir William Forbes being the main figure, while Charlotte Chapel was sold to Baptists.

Edward Bannerman Ramsay went to St John's as curate in 1827. He succeeded Bishop Sandford as minister in 1830, and stayed till his death in 1872, being dean from 1846.

The sanctuary and chancel were built in 1879–82 by John Dick Peddie and Charles Kinnear. The vestry and Hall in 1915 to 1916 by John More Dick Peddie and Forbes Smith.

The war memorial was added in 1919 to a design by Sir Robert Lorimer. Lorimer also designed and oversaw the addition of faux-vaults when Lothian Road was widened in 1926.[3]

St John's holds daily services and is unique in that it is the last church in Scotland to hold the weekly service of Matins.


Interior, St. John's Church, Edinburgh
The masterful supporting arch to the west tower
The lower terraces of the graveyard, St Johns, Edinburgh

The plaster ceiling vault is derived from that found in the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Stained glass is largely by Ballantine, but the east window is by William Raphael Eginton.[4]

The morning chapel was furnished by Walker Todd in 1935.

List of rectors



Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together

St John's is one of three churches which form Together, an ecumenical grouping in the New Town of Edinburgh. The others are St Andrew's & St George's West and St Cuthbert's.[5]

Just Festival

The church is also home to Just Festival (formerly known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace) which takes place each August alongside the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


  1. ^ "St John's Church (Episcopal): Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Memorials of the church of St. John the evangelist, Princes street, Edinburgh. George Frederick Terry. 1918
  3. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
  4. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  5. ^ Together Trust Archived 22 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine.

External links

  • Church Website
  • Church Choir Website
  • St. John's on ScotlandPlaces
  • The Episcopal Congregation of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh, 1794–1818. University of Stirling PhD Thesis by Eleanor M Harris

Coordinates: 55°57′00″N 3°12′22″W / 55.9500°N 3.2061°W / 55.9500; -3.2061

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