City Churches Dundee

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 40130 30120, map


Dundee City


The City Churches occupy a large building in the city centre of Dundee beside the Overgate shopping centre on the Nethergate.

The building currently comprises four churches and former churches collectively known as The City Churches: The Old Steeple (1084), The Steeple Church (1085), The Mary Slessor Centre (10695) and St. Mary’s Parish Church (7844).

The earliest church on this site was known as St. Mary’s Church (1082) and dates from the late 12th Century. It was established as St. Mary’s Burgh Church by David, Earl of Huntingdon, and in the 15th Century a tower was added (1084). In 1548 the Church was destroyed by English troops but the tower survived. Subsequently various parts of the original church were rebuilt and occupied. In 1841 a fire broke out and again destroyed most of the church but not the tower.

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The east of the church (the Choir) was used as a jail in the late 16th Century and part of it also served as a library. This was destroyed in the fire of 1841 and in its place St. Mary’s Dundee Parish Church was constructed (1842-4), also known as The East Church or the Old Church (7844).


After the destruction of the original Church in 1548 the transepts were rebuilt and up until 1582 housed the Cross Church (10694). Around this time it divided and became the Cross Church and the South Church. In 1645 the Cross Church was partly destroyed by fire. In 1651 it was used as a stable by Monck’s troops and in 1745 by the Pretender. The fire of 1841 destroyed both the Cross Church and the South Church.

By 1846/7 part of it had been rebuilt and was known as St. Paul’s (South) or St. Paul’s and St. David’s (10722) (after an amalgamation of congregations). From 1978 the transepts have been used by the Mary Slessor Centre (10695), named after the Scottish missionary who lived in Dundee before leaving for Nigeria in 1876.


After English troops destroyed the original church the nave remained a roofless ruin until 1789 when it was then rebuilt to house The Steeple Church (1085), or the West Church. In 1843 the congregation split and the Church was renamed St. Clement’s (Steeple) Church. In 1963 the congregation joined with St. Enoch’s. In 1978 it was renamed The Steeple Church again following the union of St. Clement’s with Old St. Paul’s and St. David’s, and the Wishart Memorial (6124).

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Archive References:

SCHRReference: 10888