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St Patrick's Church is a Roman Catholic Parish church in the Cowgate part of Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland. It was built from 1771 to 1774, and became a Catholic church in 1856. The facade of the church was designed by Reginald Fairlie in 1929. It is situated between South Gray's Close and St Mary's Street north of Cowgate and south of the Royal Mile. It is a category B listed building.[3]

St Patrick's Church
St. Patrick's RC Church, Cowgate.JPG
St Patrick's Church is located in Edinburgh city centre
St Patrick's Church
St Patrick's Church
Location in Edinburgh
55°56′59″N 3°11′05″W / 55.9498°N 3.1846°W / 55.9498; -3.1846Coordinates: 55°56′59″N 3°11′05″W / 55.9498°N 3.1846°W / 55.9498; -3.1846
LocationOld Town, Edinburgh
CountryUnited Kingdom
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
DedicationSaint Patrick
EventsFacade added in 1929
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationCategory B listed
Designated14 December 1970[1]
Architect(s)John Baxter, James Graham Fairley and Reginald Fairlie
Construction cost£4,000
DeanerySt Giles[2]
ArchdioceseSt Andrews and Edinburgh
ProvinceSt Andrews and Edinburgh





From June 1772 to 1774 the original church was built. It was originally a place of worship for the Scottish Episcopal Church. It was designed by John Baxter. In 1818, the church building became part of the United Presbyterian Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church commissioned Alexander Runciman to produce a series of murals for the church. These were installed but covered over by the Presbyterian congregation. Since then, some of the murals have been recovered and remain on the east side of the apse and depict the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Elijah and the Ascension of Jesus.[1]

In 1856, the church was bought by the Apostolic Vicar of the Eastern District, Bishop James Gillis. The church cost £4,000. Half of this was paid by the local congregation and the other half by the Catholic Church. On 3 August 1856, the church was opened in a Mass presided over by Bishop Gillis.[4]


In 1898, the sanctuary for the church was remodelled and a new high altar was installed. It was designed by James Graham Fairley.[5] In 1921, the mortuary chapel was built in memory of the parishioners who died in World War One. From 1924 to 1925, two chapels were built in the church, the Lady Chapel and the Sacred Heart Chapel. In 1929, the front church facade was built. It was designed by Reginald Fairlie and included statues of St Patrick and St Brigid.[1]

Notable personsEdit


On 6 August 1875, Hibernian F.C. was founded in St Patrick's Church. The parish priest Fr Edward Joseph Hannan and Michael Whelahan from the parish's Catholic Young Men Society decided to create the football club. On 17 March 2013 (St Patrick's Day), a plaque commemorating this founding of the club was presented to the church by the Hibernian Supporters Club.[6]

The church has two Sunday Masses; they are at 11:00am and 4:30pm on Sunday.[2] The parish is part of a cluster with the nearby churches of the Sacred Heart, St Albert's, St Columba's, St Peter's and St Mark's.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c 5 South Gray's Close, St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Edinburgh from British Listed Buildings, retrieved 30 June 2016
  2. ^ a b Parishes from Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, retrieved 30 June 2016
  3. ^ Edinburgh, Cowgate, St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church from Canmore, retrieved 30 June 2016
  4. ^ The Church from, retrieved 30 June 2016
  5. ^
  6. ^ Hibs’ Fans Present Plaque to St Patrick’s Parish Church from The Edinburgh Reporter, 18 March 2013, retrieved 30 June 2016

External linksEdit