St. Mary's Episcopal Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 42000 27900, map


Address

10 High Street
Newport-on-Tay
Fife
DD6 8DA
Scotland

Introduction

St Mary's Episcopal Church occupies sloping ground overlooking the High Street of Newport, with the River Tay beyond. The steepness of the ground necessitated the church be built into the hillside at the eastern end, with the roof tops close to the street level here. The west gable, meanwhile, rises high above the High Street with a tall retaining wall supporting the structure. The church was designed by architect Martin Cappon and was built in 1887.

J Dowling 2017


Description (exterior)

The church is built of squared sandstone blocks with fine ashlare sandstone surrounds and dressings. It consists of a nave with an apsidal-ended chancel at the eastern end, a northern side aisle and a small entrance porch in the north side wall. The slate roof is steeply pitched, both over the apse and the nave, and is topped with decorative clay ridge tiles and a metal finial.

The 6-bay nave has pointed-arch windows, which stand on a thick sill course. Stepped buttresses support the side walls of the nave, inbetween the pairs of windows. The entrance porch is part-way along the north elevation of the nave and has small lancet windows, double-leaf pointed-arch door and a partly hipped roof. The doorway has chamfered margins and ashlar mouldings. The tall west gable of the nave features a single, very large pointed-arch window, with stone tracery, leaded glass and a thick hoodmould. The sill course seen in the side elevations extends along the gable and there are buttresses at the corners. A large ashlar bellcote surmounts the apex of the gable and has a pointed-arch opening (with no bell). The side aisle towards the eastern end of the north elevation is the church's vestry and session house, and has a tall, narrow pointed-arch door in the west side wall. A group of three lancet windows are set in the north gable of the aisle. A further trefoil window is placed above. A large chimney on the east pitch of the roof shows that the aisle was heated by a fire place inside. The chancel is attached to the nave and aisle at the east end. It has an apsidal east end, in which are five pointed-arch windows with stone tracery and stained glass.

J Dowling 2017


Description (interior)

The interior of St Mary's is striking and largely unchanged since its late 19th century opening. It has plastered walls with exposed stone dressings and the hammer-beam roof structure and rafters are varnished and are on display.

Original wooden pews with carved end plates face the chancel and are divided by a central passageway. An ornate, highly carved wooden rood screen encloses the large chancel arch. It has a carved figure of Jesus on the Cross in the centre and saints to either side. Detailed carved panelling and ogee-curved tracery also feature in the rood screen.

The chancel itself is the main focus of the church and, aloing with the rood screen, features the most decoration and carved wood. The high altar is the main focus of the chancel. It is centrally placed within the apse at the rear and raised on shallow steps. The five lancet stained glass windows frame the altar and depict Biblical scenes and figures. The altar has carved wooden panelling to the front, which is mirrored in the panelling that lines the lower chancel walls. Simple wooden altar rails divide the altar from the rest of the chancel. Behind the rails are rows of choir stalls, which face the central passageway. On the eastern side of the chancel is the impressive pipe organ, partly set into the side aisle of the church. It features finely-carved panelling and traceried openings.

Other fine features are the pulpit and font, which are found in the nave. The pulpit stands on the west side, at the juncture of the rood screen and the nave. It is raised on a wooden platform and reached via a small stair. The pulpit is octagonal and has blind-arcading style carved panels. The font is mounted on a small platform at the rear (north) of the nave. It consists of a finely-carved stone base, with four attached columns supporting the octagonal font basin. On top is an ornate wooden font cover in the style of a church spire, with tall pinnacles, traceried panels and a tall ogee-curved central spire.

J Dowling 2017


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Scottish EpiscopalDenomination1887-NOW
Mr Thomas Martin CapponArchitect1886-1887
Mr William LambCarpenter1940Carved the rood screen
Mr Walter E TowerStained Glass Artist1930
Mr Vincent HartStained Glass Artist1890
Mr Alexander RussellStained Glass Artist1950

Events:

  • Church: Build/construction (1886 to 1887)
    Designed by T. M Cappon.
  • Porch: Build/construction (1886 to 1887)

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1145
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 33147
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M001003
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 38625St Mary's Episcopal Church, High Street and Blyth Hall Street.

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 335