Diocese of Edinburgh

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Coordinates: 55°58′26″N 3°34′01″W / 55.974°N 3.567°W / 55.974; -3.567

Diocese of Edinburgh
Dioecesis Edimburgensis
Ecclesiastical province Scotland
Congregations 54
Cathedral St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh
Current leadership
Bishop John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh
Dean Frances Burberry, Dean of Edinburgh
Map showing Edinburgh Diocese as a coloured area around the Lothians and the Borders
Map showing Edinburgh Diocese within Scotland

The Diocese of Edinburgh is one of the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It covers the City of Edinburgh, the Lothians, the Borders and Falkirk. The diocesan centre is St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. The Bishop of Edinburgh is the Right Revd Dr John Armes.


A number of important events took place in the city which put the Edinburgh diocese at the centre of the formation of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Unlike the other dioceses of the Episcopal Church which were inherited from the organisation of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Edinburgh is a relatively recent creation, having been founded in 1633 by King Charles I, the year of his Scottish coronation. William Forbes was consecrated on 23 January 1634 in St. Giles' Cathedral as the first bishop of Edinburgh.[1]

Bishop Forbes died only three months after his consecration and David Lindsay succeeded him on the Episcopal see. At this time, the effects of the Scottish Reformation were taking a new turn and Lindsay, along with all other bishops in Scotland, was deposed in 1638 and the heritage and jurisdiction of the church passed into the hands of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. A period of great political and ecclesiastical turmoil ensued with the Bishops' Wars and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms engulfing Scotland and England. It was not until the Restoration of the monarchy that the Episcopacy was restored to the Scottish Church and George Wishart was consecrated as the new Bishop of Edinburgh in 1662.

Episcopal rule was short-lived. In 1689 Bishop Alexander Rose (1687-1720) found himself caught up in the Jacobite conflict following the Glorious Revolution. Scottish bishops were under pressure to declare their allegiance to William of Orange over the Stuart King James VII

During an audience with the new King William in 1690, Rose's ambiguous declaration arose royal displeasure:

With Jacobite sympathies running throughout the Episcopal wing of the church, the Scottish Episcopalians were disestablished and Presbyterian polity was permanently established in the Church of Scotland. Rose departed from St Giles' Cathedral in 1689 and took with him a number of supporters from the congregation to begin a separate church. They took over a former wool store a short distance down the Royal Mile as a venue for their worship; today, Old St Paul's Church is located on this site, and claims to be the oldest Episcopal congregation in Scotland.[1][2]

St. Giles, the cathedral from 1635–1638 and 1661–1689 (now Church of Scotland)
St. Mary's, the Episcopal cathedral from 1879

For many years, Edinburgh (like the other Episcopal dioceses in Scotland) had no cathedral church. Gradually, as Non-Jurors and Qualified congregations were reconciled and the penal laws were repealed (1792), the Episcopal Church moved back into the mainstream of Scottish religious life; secret Episcopalian meeting houses were replaced by churches, a number of which served as pro-cathedrals for Edinburgh. By the late nineteenth century, the Diocese of Edinburgh was in a position to build its own cathedral through donations from wealthy benefactors, and in 1874 the foundations were laid for St Mary's Cathedral on Palmerston Place in the West End. This new cathedral, completed in 1879, was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Sir George Gilbert Scott and its three massive spires reaching 90 metres (300 ft) and 60 metres (200 ft) can be seen on the western skyline from Princes Street.[3]

The High Kirk of St Giles still stands today on the Royal Mile; while it is commonly referred to as "St Giles' Cathedral" this is an honorary title as, being a Presbyterian church, lacks a cathedra (the throne of a Bishop). It should be noted that another St Mary's Cathedral also exists in Edinburgh, the Roman Catholic Cathedral which is situated on Picardy Place at the top of Leith Walk.

Area and population

The diocese covers the historic counties of Linlithgowshire, Midlothian, Haddingtonshire, Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire and the Falkirk area of Stirlingshire.

This total population of approximately 1,082,000 gives the diocese a ratio of one priest to every 21,200 inhabitants and one church to every 20,000 inhabitants.

Notable people


Prior to the Reformation, Edinburgh was part of the Diocese of St Andrews, under the Archbishop of St Andrews and throughout the mediaeval period the episcopal seat was St Andrew's Cathedral. The line of Bishops of Edinburgh began with the creation of the See of Edinburgh in 1633. After the break with the Church of Scotland in 1689, Bishops of Edinburgh acted as metropolitan bishops until this rank was abolished by a concordat of 1731. Since then, the Episcopal Church has been led by a Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church elected from among any of the Scottish dioceses.[4]

Following disagreements over church polity and the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745, there was an interruption in the line of Bishops 1739-76, and another interregnum 1784-88.

Bishop Dates Notes
1634 William Forbes
1634 David Lindsay
1662 George Wishart
1672 Alexander Young
1679 John Paterson
1687 Alexander Rose
1720 John Fullarton
1727 Arthur Millar
1727 Andrew Lumsden
1733 David Freebairn
1739-76 Vacant
1776 William Falconer
1784-88 Vacant
1788 William Abernethy Drummond
1806 Daniel Sandford
1830 James Walker
1841 Charles Hughes Terrot
1872 Henry Cotterill
1886 John Dowden
1910 George Henry Somerset Walpole
1929 Harry Seymour Reid
1939 Ernest Denny Logie Danson
1947 Kenneth Charles Harman Warner
1961 Kenneth Moir Carey
1975 Alastair Iain Macdonald Haggart
1986 Richard Frederick Holloway
2001 Brian Arthur Smith
2012 John Andrew Armes


The most senior appointed priest of the Diocese is the Dean of Edinburgh.[5] The dean fulfils a role similar to that of an archdeacon in other provinces of the Anglican Communion. The head of the diocese's cathedral is titled the Provost.


St Paul's and St George's Church, York Place (1818)
Church of St John the Evangelist, Princes Street (1818)
St. Mary's Priory Church, South Queensferry (15th century)
The ornate Apprentice Pillar of Rosslyn Chapel (15th century)

The Episcopal cathedral is St Mary's Cathedral, at the West End of the city. Notable Episcopal churches in the Edinburgh diocese include Rosslyn Chapel, popularised by Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code; the Priory Church, South Queensferry, the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles; and Old St Paul's, the oldest Episcopal congregation in Scotland.

The diocese currently has 51 stipendiary clergy and 54 churches. Last fully updated 19 September 2018.

Benefice Name Ref Clergy Ref
Falkirk (Christ Church)
  • Christ Church, Falkirk (1863)
  • Rector: Sarah Shaw
Bo'ness (St Catharine)
  • St Catharine, Bo'ness (1864)
  • Rector: Willie Shaw
Grangemouth (St Mary)
  • St Mary, Grangemouth (1901)
Bathgate (St Columba)
  • St Columba, Bathgate (pre-1915)
  • Rector: Christine Barclay
Linlithgow (St Peter) [3] [10]
Livingston Local Ecumenical Partnership
  • Livingston United Parish Church (1966)
  • Ministers: From other denoms
Dalmahoy (St Mary)
  • St Mary, Dalmahoy (1850)
  • Rector: Christine Downey
Balerno (St Mungo)
  • St Mungo, Balerno (1869)
  • Rector: Malcolm Round
Edinburgh (Cathedral of St Mary) [7]
  • Provost/Rector: John Conway
  • Vice-Provost: John McLuckie
  • NSM: Paul Foster
Edinburgh (Old St Paul) [8]
  • Rector: Ian Paton
  • Hon. Curate: Charles Davies-Cole
  • Hon. Curate: Colin Reed (see below)
Edinburgh (St Margaret of Scotland)
  • St Margaret of Scotland, Edinburgh (1877)
  • Priest-in-Charge: Colin Reed
Edinburgh (St Columba) [10]
  • Rector: David Paton-Williams
  • Team Vicar: Bob Gould
  • Assoc. Priest (NSM): Alison Wagstaff
Edinburgh (St John the Evangelist) [11]
  • Rector: Markus Dünzkofer
  • Curate: Stephen Holmes
  • Curate: Donna Cooper
  • NSM: Clephane Hume
  • NSM: Peter Brand
  • NSM: Sarah Kilbey
Edinburgh (St Philip and St James)
  • St Philip and St James, Edinburgh (1888)
  • Rector: Tembu Rongong
Edinburgh (St Paul and St George) [13]
  • Rector: Dave Richards
  • Curate: Libby Talbot
  • Curate: Paul Sawrey
Edinburgh (St Peter)
  • St Peter, Lutton Place (1807)
  • Rector: Vacant
  • NSM: Robert Halliday
Edinburgh (St Cuthbert)
  • St Cuthbert, Colinton (1883)
  • Rector: Nicki McNelly
Edinburgh (St Ninian)
  • St Ninian, Comely Bank (C19th)
[16] [24]
Edinburgh (St Thomas) Private Chapel
  • St Thomas, Corstorphine (1844)
  • Incumbent: David McCarthy
Edinburgh (St Martin of Tours)
  • St Martin of Tours, Gorgie & Dalry (1883)
  • Rector: Yousouf Gooljary
  • NSM: David Warnes
Edinburgh (Holy Cross)
  • Holy Cross, Davidson's Mains (1898)
  • Rector: Douglas Kornahrens
Edinburgh (St Fillan)
  • St Fillan, Buckstone (1894)
  • Rector: Ruth Innes
Edinburgh (St James the Less)
  • St James the Less, Leith (1863)
  • Rector: Stephen Butler
  • NSM: Michael Northcott
  • NSM: Jane MacLaren
  • NSM: Jolyon Mitchell
Edinburgh (St Barnabas)
  • St Barnabas, Edinburgh (1950)
  • Priest-in-Charge: David Dixon
  • NSM: Alice Anderson
Edinburgh (Christ Church)
  • Christ Church, Morningside (1876)
[22] [31]
Edinburgh (Good Shepherd)
  • Good Shepherd, Murrayfield (1899)
  • Rector: Dean Fostekew
  • Curate: Rosie Addis
Edinburgh (St David of Scotland)
  • St David of Scotland, Edinburgh (1941)
  • Rector: Ruth Green
Edinburgh (St Mark)
  • St Mark, Portobello (1826)
  • Rector: Sophia Marriage
Edinburgh (St Salvador)
  • St Salvador, Edinburgh (1934)
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
  • Curate: Mariusz Wojciechowski
Edinburgh (St Vincent)
  • St Vincent's Chapel, Edinburgh (1857)
  • Priest-in-Charge: Allan Maclean
  • Curate: William Mounsey
Edinburgh (St Michael and All Saints) [28]
  • Rector: Martin Robson
  • Curate: John Penman
Edinburgh (Emmanuel)
  • Emmanuel, Clermiston (1988)
  • Rector/Priest-in-C: Terence Harkin
  • NSM (Queensf): Iain MacRobert
South Queensferry (Priory Church St Mary of Mount Carmel) [30] [38]
Penicuik (St James the Less)
  • St James the Less, Penicuik (1882)
  • Rector: Vacant
  • NSM (Penicuik): Neville Suttle
West Linton (St Mungo)
  • St Mungo, West Linton (1851)
[32] [40]
Roslin (Collegiate Church of St Matthew) [33]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Joseph Roulston
Lasswade (St Leonard)
  • St Leonard, Lasswade & Bonnyrigg (1890)
  • Rector: Peter Harris
  • Curate: Jacqui du Rocher
  • NSM: Michael Jones
  • NSM: Elizabeth Jones
  • NSM: Jennie Godfrey
Dalkeith (St Mary)
  • St Mary, Dalkeith (1843)
[35] [43]
Musselburgh (St Peter)
  • St Peter, Musselburgh (1865)
  • Rector: Andy Reid
Haddington (Holy Trinity)
  • Holy Trinity, Haddington (pre-1770)
  • Rector: Vacant
  • NSM: John Wood
North Berwick (St Baldred)
  • St Baldred, North Berwick (1861)
  • Rector: Simon Metzner
Gullane (St Adrian)
  • St Adrian, Gullane (1901)
[38] [47]
Dunbar (St Anne)
  • St Anne, Dunbar (1874)
  • Rector: Diana Hall
Peebles (St Peter)
  • St Peter, Peebles (1836)
  • Rector: Vacant
  • Asst Priest (NSM): Colin Chaplin
  • NSM: Charles Aitchison
Innerleithen (St Andrew)
  • St Andrew, Innerleithen (1904)
Galashiels (St Peter)
  • St Peter, Galashiels (1851)
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
  • Hon. Curate (Selkirk): David Sceats
Selkirk (St John the Evangelist)
  • St John, Selkirk (1867)
[42] [52]
Hawick (St Cuthbert)
  • St Cuthbert, Hawick (1858)
Melrose (Holy Trinity)
  • Holy Trinity, Melrose (1849)
  • Rector: Philip Blackledge
  • Curate: Margaret Pedersen
  • NSM: Dennis Wood
Jedburgh (St John the Evangelist)
  • St John the Evangelist, Jedburgh (1844)
  • Rector: Vacant
Kelso (St Andrew)
  • St Andrew, Kelso (1868)
  • Rector: Bob King
Coldstream (St Mary and All Souls)
  • St Mary & All Souls, Coldstream (1872)
  • Rector: Jeffry Smith
Duns (Christ Church)
  • Christ Church, Duns (1854)
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
  • Curate: Grace Redpath
Eyemouth (St Ebba)
  • St Ebba, Eyemouth (c1689)
  • Hon. Priest-in-Charge: Vacant

Closed churches in the diocese

Church Founded Closed Ref
St Michael, Edinburgh 1960s [60]
St Aiden, Niddrie Mains [61]
St Andrew, Prestonpans c. 1910 2015 or later [62]
St Andrew, Edinburgh 1855 [63]
St Andrew, Niddrie c. 1897 [64]
St Hilda, Edinburgh 2006 [65]
St Luke, Wester Hailes 2003 [66]


The Diocese of Edinburgh is twinned with the dioceses of two other churches:


  1. ^ a b "History of the Diocese". Diocese of Edinburgh official website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. ^ "A History of Old Saint Paul's". Old Saint Paul’s parish website. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  3. ^ "History". St Mary's Cathedral website. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ Bertie, David (2001). Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 561. ISBN 9780567087461. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  5. ^ "A New Dean for Edinburgh". Diocese of Edinburgh. January 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  6. ^ "The Benefice of Falkirk (Christ Church)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  7. ^ "The Benefice of Bo'ness (St Catharine)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  8. ^ "The Benefice of Grangemouth (St Mary)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  9. ^ "The Benefice of Bathgate (St Columba)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  10. ^ "The Benefice of Linlithgow (St Peter)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  11. ^ "Livingston Local Ecumenical Partnership". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  12. ^ "The Benefice of Dalmahoy (St Mary)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  13. ^ "The Benefice of Balerno (St Mungo)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  14. ^ "Edinburgh Cathedral". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  15. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Cathedral of St Mary)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  16. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Old St Paul)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  17. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Margaret of Scotland)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  18. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Columba)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  19. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St John the Evangelist)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  20. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Philip and St James)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  21. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Paul and St George)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  22. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Peter)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  23. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Cuthbert)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  24. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Ninian)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  25. ^ "Edinburgh (St Thomas) Private Chapel". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  26. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Martin of Tours)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  27. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Holy Cross)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  28. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Fillan)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  29. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St James the Less)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  30. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Barnabas)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  31. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Christ Church)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  32. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Good Shepherd)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  33. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St David of Scotland)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  34. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Mark)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  35. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Salvador)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  36. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Michael and All Saints)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  37. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (Emmanuel)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  38. ^ "The Benefice of South Queensferry (Priory Church St Mary of Mount Carmel)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  39. ^ "The Benefice of Penicuik (St James the Less)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  40. ^ "The Benefice of West Linton (St Mungo)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  41. ^ "The Benefice of Roslin (Collegiate Church of St Matthew)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  42. ^ "The Benefice of Lasswade (St Leonard)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  43. ^ "The Benefice of Dalkeith (St Mary)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  44. ^ "The Benefice of Musselburgh (St Peter)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  45. ^ "The Benefice of Haddington (Holy Trinity)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  46. ^ "The Benefice of North Berwick (St Baldred)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  47. ^ "The Benefice of Gullane (St Adrian)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  48. ^ "The Benefice of Dunbar (St Anne)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  49. ^ "The Benefice of Peebles (St Peter)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  50. ^ "The Benefice of Innerleithen (St Andrew)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  51. ^ "The Benefice of Galashiels (St Peter)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  52. ^ "The Benefice of Selkirk (St John the Evangelist)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  53. ^ "The Benefice of Hawick (St Cuthbert)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  54. ^ "The Benefice of Melrose (Holy Trinity)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  55. ^ "The Benefice of Jedburgh (St John the Evangelist)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  56. ^ "The Benefice of Kelso (St Andrew)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  57. ^ "The Benefice of Coldstream (St Mary and All Souls)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  58. ^ "The Benefice of Duns (Christ Church)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  59. ^ "The Benefice of Eyemouth (St Ebba)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  60. ^ "Ship of Fools: The Mystery Worshipper". ship-of-fools.com. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  61. ^ "Memories of olden days | The Quilietti Family". www.quilietti.com. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  62. ^ "The Benefice of Prestonpans (St Andrew)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  63. ^ "Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, St Andrew's Episcopal Church | Canmore". canmore.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  64. ^ Bertie, David (2000-01-01). Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9780567087461.
  65. ^ "The Benefice of Edinburgh (St Hilda)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  66. ^ "The Benefice of Wester Hailes (St Luke)". www.crockford.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
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