Corstorphine Parish Church

(Collegiate Church of St. John the Baptist)

Corstorphine Parish Church, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Corstorphine Parish Church, Edinburgh

Located in Kirk Loan, towards the eastern end of the old Corstorphine village (Edinburgh) is Corstorphine Parish Church. It was built in the late 14th Century by Sir Adam Forrester (d. 1405) next to the original early 12th Century St. Mary's Parish Church, the latter demolished in 1646 to make way for the north transept of the current building. Forrester's church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It was extended to form a collegiate church by Sir Adam's son Sir John and both were buried within the church.

Subsequently it has been much altered. The growing population of Corstorphine necessitated the enlargement of the church, undertaken in 1828 by William Burn (1789 - 1870), who re-oriented the church internally. Most recently, in 1903-5, some of Burn's modifications were undone and a major refurbishment was undertaken by George Henderson (1846 - 1905). The church has heavy buttresses and a distinctive low tower (dating from 1429), but perhaps its most notable feature is its roof of heavy stone slabs. On the east gable is niche which once held a light used to guide people through the marshland which once existed between Corstorphine and Edinburgh. Inside are the Forrester tombs, topped by recumbent effigies, but otherwise much of the interior dates from Henderson's 20th Century restoration.

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