St Leonard's Parish Church. St Andrews

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 50050 16370, map


Hepburn Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DF


The parish of St Leonards in St Andrews has a long history and had an association with the town's University that went back to the sixteenth century. This was ended by a unilateral decision of the university in 1898, and the minister, the Rev. R.W.Wallace, embarked on raising the money to acquire a site and employ the architect, P.MacGregor Chalmers to build a new church, independant from the University. A site was acquired in a newly-developed residential area in the west part of the town, and the church was built between 1904-6. Because of the restricted area available for the building, it was constructed on a north-south axis. There have been renovations and alterations, the most recent in 2002, which provided enlarged entrances, a hall, and an upstairs session room and meeting rooms.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

St Leonard's Parish Church is built in a Romanesque design with ashlar sandstone quarried locally from a quarry at Nydie, Strathkinness. It comprises a narrow nave and choir, a west side aisle, apsidal chancel and a large square tower. The main entrance is through a small porch on the eastern side of the nave. It has a fine round-arch doorway with moulded margins and capitals. The nave has round-arched windows with decorative hoodmoulds and pillars at the margins. At the north end, where the choir and chancel are situated, is a group of round-arched windows that form an arcade. The round chancel apse at the north end has smaller round-arched windows. The tower at the south-west corner of the church rises in two stages and has large round-arch belfry openings, below a corbelled parapet. The tower is capped by a crow-stepped gabled room which is slated. The south nave gable, which faces the road, has a single large round-arch window to the centre, flanked by empty niches. There are buttresses at the gable ends. Attached to the west of the church is a hall, vestry and session house, which can be accessed from outwith the church via another doorway.

J Dowling 2017

Description (interior)

The interior of St Leonard's has a typical Romanesque layout and construction. The ashlar walls are exposed and the hammer beam roof structure is supported on corbels in the walls. The nave and side aisle are separated by sturdy arcade arches.

The arrangement of the furnishings is in the High Presbyterian tradition; the communion table is in the large chancel facing the nave. The pulpit and reading desk flank the chancel arch. The smaller apse serves as a baptistery and houses the marble font which was brought from St Salvator's when the association of the two congregations was ended. The communion table, pulpit and reading desk are made of Austrian pine; originally the pews were to have been in pine, but thanks to a bequest they too were made of Austrian oak. All of the windows are of stained glass, designed by Henry Holiday (1904 and 1913), Margaret Chilton (1926, 1928, 1934, 1943, 1946, 1949 and 1954), Herbert Hendrie (1933) and the Stephen Adam Studio (1920-2).

People / Organisations:

Church of ScotlandDenominatio1904-Now
Mr. Peter Macgregor ChalmersArchitect1902-1904Church built
Stephen Adam & SonsStained glass artists1903Made stained glass windows in the church
Nills & ShepherdArchitects1938Addition of church hall
Walker & PrydeArchitects1966-2002Alterations to church in 1966 and again in 2002


  • Tower: Build, contrauction (1902 to 1904)
  • Apse: Build, constructiom (1902 to 1904)
  • Church: Build/construction (1902 to 1904)
    People: P Macgregor Chalmers
  • Church: Opening (1904 - 28 July 1904)
    The church was opened ad dedicated
  • Church: Addition (1938)
    Addition of church hall
  • Church: Restoration (1966)
  • Church: Restoration (2002)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4711
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: View Canmore Report Online: 92503
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: View HS Listing Online: 40925 (
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 4711
Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Online databaseReference: M000244

Bibliographic References:

The St Andrews of Jo GrimondGrimond, Lord J.1992Page 89
St Andrews City by the Northern SeaLamont-Brown, R.2006
The Buildings of Scotland - FifeGifford, J.1988Page 384