New College

New College, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

New College, Edinburgh

New College, perched above the Mound in Edinburgh, houses the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh. Originally the Free Church College, established following the Disruption in the Church of Scotland (1843), the building was designed by Playfair and completed in 1850 at the cost of £30,000. Following the reuniting of the United Free Church with the Church of Scotland (1929), the University's Faculty of Divinity, which had continued to supply ministers for the pre-eminent Church, was able to embrace the College and the Faculty re-located to the College building in 1935.

Today, the Faculty of Divinity at Edinburgh is an international renown centre of religious teaching and research.

The Assembly Hall (by the architect David Bryce, 1859), which came to the Church of Scotland with the College, is used for the Church's annual General Assembly, but provided a temporary home for the new Scottish Parliament between its inception in 1999 and 2004. The Library was built as the Free High Church in 1849, for that part of the congregation of St. Giles which left at the Disruption, and continued in use as a church until 1934. It is now one of the leading theological libraries in Britain, with around 235,000 books. The Rainy Hall, reminiscent of the dining hall at an Oxbridge college. was built in 1900 and named in honour of Robert Rainy (1826 - 1906), a former Principal of the College. The Martin Hall, named after another former Principal Alexander Martin, was where the Union between the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church was signed in 1929.

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