Lady Yester's Kirk

Lady Yester's Kirk was a congregation of the Church of Scotland. The building is located on Infirmary Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was formerly one of the foremost churches in the burgh. It is now used as the joinery workshop for the Estates Division of the University of Edinburgh.[1]

The church building on Infirmary Street.


Founded with funds provided by Margaret Ker, Lady Yester the widow of James Hay, 7th Lord Hay of Yester, the original building was founded in 1644 and completed in 1647. However, this structure was damaged by Oliver Cromwell's troops during their invasion of Scotland in 1650, and raised to the status of parish church, serving the south-east section of the city. During the period of Scottish Episcopacy (from 1662 to 1690) the congregation were served by the nearby Tron Kirk and the church stood vacant for several years. From 1687 to 1691 the parishioners of the Canongate used it while the Canongate Kirk was being completed.[2]

The original building was replaced by the current structure (built 1803–5), designed by William Sibbald,[3] which is a Category B listed building.[4] The current building lies slightly to the west of the original, which was built on the site of the former Blackfriar's Monastery (now the High School Yards).

A replacement church was built to the west (over the former burial ground) from 1803 to 1805 by William Sibbald. The original church was then demolished 1805/6. Some of the more interesting memorials were relocated: notably the tombstone of Lady Yester herself which is now in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

In 1822 the original site was built over by a Secessionist Chapel designed by Thomas Brown. This was converted to a Free Church following the Disruption of 1843 and was then known as the Tolbooth Free Church.

Due to the depopulation of Edinburgh's Old Town due to slum clearance programmes in the 1920s, in 1938 the congregation merged with Greyfriars Kirk, as did several other Edinburgh congregations. There is now the Lady Yester Chapel within Greyfriars Kirk, incorporating various artifacts from the former church building.


Lady Yester's was a prestigious appointment, and several notable figures have been the minister, including:


  1. ^ "Lady Yester's Kirk". Gazetteer for Scotland. Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  2. ^ Fasti Ecclesiastae Scoticana by Hew Scott
  3. ^ "Edinburgh, 9 Infirmary Street, University of Edinburgh, Department of Works". The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "University of Edinburgh, 9 and 11 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh (Category B Listed Building) (LB27080)". Retrieved 18 March 2019.

Coordinates: 55°56′54″N 3°11′08″W / 55.94833°N 3.18556°W / 55.94833; -3.18556