MANSFIELD PLACE AND EAST LONDON STREET, FORMER CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH (LATTER BELLEVUE REFORMED BAPTIST CHURCH) WITH RAILINGS (Ref:26849)
This building is in the Edinburgh, City Of Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 22/09/1965.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 2576 7471.
Robert Rowand Anderson, 1872-1885; interior murals by Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1893-1901. Large Norman church on prominent site and falling ground, built up to street level on base of hall, library and offices; aisleless with large gabled narthex and circular baptistery, square corner towers to nave and apse. Squared and snecked rubble, ashlar quoins, blind arcades, pilasters and dressings. Base course, cill course, dentilled and bracketed eaves courses and Lombard friezes. Nook shafts to angles of buttresses and corner towers. Blind arcades with colonnettes. W (GABLE/ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: gable of nave with large wheel window, colonnette spokes, scalloped edge to quatrefoil at centre; small vesica above and apex cross finial; slender, square section corner towers rising above eaves in 2 blind arcaded stages and with substantial pyramidal stone finials (missing apex crosses). Large gabled NARTHEX projecting at ground to centre with gabletted angle buttresses rising into sturdy polygonal, conically-capped pinnacles, cross finials (that to right missing); paired nook shafts flanking 2-leaf timber doors in round-arched and moulded entrance with filigreed lozenge ornament to arch; 5-bay arcade above with larger window to centre, remaining bays blind; quatrefoil window above. 3-bays to left return divided by buttresses, tripartite window to each bay with central light round-arched, those flanking narrow, blinded pointed arches; central bay to right return masked by baptistery. outer bays. 2-bays to right return with tripartite to left, chapter house to right. BAPTISTERY 8-bay circular in form with diminutive tripartites (detailed as above) to each bay divided by polished ashlar pilasters. Conical roof with leaded apex and metal cross finial. Linked to narthex by passage lit by single large circular multifoil window. S (NAVE) ELEVATION: 5 bay nave, pilasters dividing tall, paired round-arched clerestorey windows to each bay. Further square section tower to E corner.N (NAVE) ELEVATION: detailed as above, but with 2-storey gabled house adjoined at ground to outer left (E), see below.CHANCEL: 3 recessed bays with apsidal end to E, round-arched windows to clerestorey, blinded and glazed. Re-entrant angle with nave filled at ground to S by gabled chapel, with large multifoil windows to pilaster-divided bays to S, recessed bay to E divided from these bays by buttress and slender drum finial, bay with 4-part blind arcade and cusped corbelled table, turning to gabled E end where stepped round-arched window. Re-entrant angle with nave to N filled at ground with linking stair block.HOUSE: 2-storey, set low on falling ground to E of N elevation, principal elevation to W, with bipartite windows, round-arched at 1st floor. E elevation with arch-supported link to church, bipartite off-centre to ground, small opening in gablehead. Gablehead stacks to E and W. Small, square-pane, leaded glazing and stained glass (see interior). Graded grey slates, ornamental ridge tiles, differing between nave and chancel. Sawtooth coped skews. Ashlar stacks to house.RAILINGS: decorative wrought-iron railings, finialled posts to gates.INTERIOR: airy nave, aisleless, double cube with timber barrel vault. Narthex with rib vault. Nook-shafts to walls of nave, dividing embrasured clerestorey windows and wall passage. Spiral stairs to passage in corner towers. Tall chancel arch and small flanking arches to chapel and organ aisles with stiff leaf capitals to arcades. Chancel with arcaded clerestorey with clustered colonnettes and continuing wall passage. MURAL DECORATION: Phoebe Anna Traquair, outstanding display of triumphal figurative painting; Biblical subjects including Worship of Heaven, Wise and Foolish Virgins, and scenes from Life of Christ. STAINED GLASS: wheel window by Ballantine, 1885. Some New Testament scenes, identity of author unknown. ORGAN to S wall of nave, cantilevered Romanesque case. BALDACCHINO, 1893-4, white marble, arched, vaulted canopy with gabled angle turrets and spired finial, figurative sculpture adorning (angles, apostles, prophets) by William Birnie Rhind.
Ecclesiastical building no longer in use as such. Built to replace the former Catholic Apostolic Church nearby at 20-24 Broughton Street, it is an outstanding monument of Norman revival design and ecclesiological composition. Anderson won the commission in competition, designing what would be a seminal work for the architect. The absence of aisles reflects the liturgical practices of the Catholic Apostolic Church (the Irvingites, after Edward Irving) and adds to the imposing form of the exterior. The congregation had its origin in the deposition of Walter Tait from Trinity College in 1834. The present church was built mainly by the efforts of W F Pitcairn WS. Phoebe Traquair employed a technique revolutionary at the time of an oil mixed with turpentine and wax on a zinc white ground. The second major edifice of the CA church was that at Gordon Square in London. In 1884, plans had been prepared for the Mansfield Place church showing an Irish-style round tower at the W end, never executed. Anderson's work took inspiration from Glastonbury Abbey, Gerona Cathedral and continental chimney flues. The giant undercroft was originally to house the changing rooms for the ceremonial church services.
Sam McKinstry, ROWAND ANDERSON (EUP, 1991), pp61-2. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH, (1988), p423. OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH vol II, p185. BUILDER, October 5 1872 (design). BRITISH ARCHITECT, August 1 1884. RSA Exhibition 1873. Further information from Dr F R Stevenson.
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