Former Baptist Church, Brechin

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 59890 60420, map


Panmure Street/Southesk Street

Also known as:

  • St Columba's Church
  • East Church


This prominent church at the east end of Brechin occupies a corner site on Panmure Street and Southesk Street. It has been called West and St Columba's Church and more recently East Church. The church was built by J, W H and J M Hay in 1856, with the west hall added by T M Cappon in 1897.

Advertised for sale in the local newspaper in 1992 it was sold and became a furniture and interiors showroom, but has become redundant and empty since 2003/4. It is currently for sale but most of its windows have been smashed and water is leaking into the structure. Birds have free access to the building, causing a lot of mess. The interior was not deemed safe to record when visited (2011). In September 2011 the church building was sold and future plans may be submitted for a conversion/development.

Description (exterior)

The church consists of a striking tower, attached nave and a hall complex to the north-west. The tower was built with coursed rubble sandstone blocks, while the nave was built with random rubble, arranged into rough patterns. The surrounds and corner stones (quoins) are in fine ashlar sandstone blocks. The roof of the nave has noticeably large slates, while that of the hall has smaller slates.


The tower is very large and eleborate for a fairly small church. The pointed-arch doorway is deeply moulded, with four stages of moulded courses supported by attached columns and capitals. The inner doorway has deeply-carved ogee moulding. Surrounding the doorway is a thin hoodmould supported by carved figurehead stops. Above the doorway is a large, 4-light pointed-arch window with interlocking tracery and diamond panes of glass (many smashed). There is a small pointed-arch window at the belfry stage on all four sides. The octagonal stone spire has two courses of lucarnes (window-like openings), the lower ones with dormers and tracery. Attached on the west side of the tower is a small stairtower with slit windows, which gives access to a gallery inside. At the south-west and south-east are large diagonal, stepped buttresses.


The east and west side elevations have a large, narrow pointed-arch window with simple tracery at the southern end. Their height necessitates the windows have gablets as they are taller than wallhead level. These windows are designed to light the gallery inside as well as the nave. The elevations also have four smaller, pointed-arch windows with tracery. There are small buttresses at the south and north ends of the elevations. The rear (north) gable of the church is rubble built with a simple, very large pointed-arch window with no tracery.


Attached to the north-west of the church is the hall built by T M Cappon in 1897. It is smaller in height than the nave and has simple windows, and was built with snecked sandstone rubble. There is an open courtyard in front of the hall. The hall is now a private children's nursery and is well maintained.

Description (interior)

The interior wasn't able to be viewed due to the current state of the building. The nave roof is mostly water tight although leakages were spotted through the smashed windows. The open timber roof structure is complete but the other fittings have mostly been removed.

People / Organisations:

W H & J M HayArchitects of church1856
T M CapponArchitect1992Built the church hall


  • Church built (1856)
  • Church hall built (1897)
  • Church sold (1992)
    Became Angus Classic Interiors until 2003/4
  • Church sold (2011)

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 22522A-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: NO56SE 82
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4505
The Courier archivesReference: ngus/article/16192/dilapidated-st-columba-s-churchArticle on website and newspaper, 14/09/2011