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St Kilda Church

St. Kilda Church is a small place of worship, built in 1826 to the designs of engineer Robert Stevenson (1772 - 1850) who, at the same time, was responsible for the manse. It overlooks Village Bay on Hirta, intentionally built a short distance from the Village. The congregation left the Established Church for the Free Church, following the Disruption of 1843 and became part of the United Free Church in 1900. A school-room was added in 1898. Following the evacuation of the population in 1930, the church fell into ruin. It was restored between 1957, when the islands were gifted to the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), and 1980. The church has been used for occasional services associated with the military presence on the island and contains a memorial to those killed in the three air crashes on St. Kilda during World War II, which was dedicated in 1979. The interior was designed to accommodate 106 worshippers in rows of pine pews. The large pulpit was installed after the First World War. The school-room has been restored to its appearance in the 1920s. The bell of the Canadian-built SS Janet Cowan, which was wrecked off the island in 1864 en route from Calcutta to Dundee with a cargo of jute, served as the church bell for more than 60 years. The original having gone missing after the island was evacuated, a replica is now located in a wooden frame close to the church entrance.

The manse lies in front of the church and served for a time as the Sergeant's Mess associated with the military camp, which lies immediately to the northwest. The manse has been restored as offices and a shop for the NTS.


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