Crichton Memorial Church

Crichton Memorial Church
©2021 Gazetteer for Scotland

Crichton Memorial Church

A magnificent building, more of a cathedral than a church, the Crichton Memorial Church is located in the centre of the Crichton Campus, 1¼ miles (2 km) southeast of the centre of Dumfries. Built 1890-97 by Sydney Mitchell (1856 - 1930) to service the needs of the patients and staff of the former Crichton Royal Hospital, the church commemorates the institution's founders Dr James (1765 - 1823) and Mrs Elizabeth Crichton (1779 - 1862) and was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation. The style is High-Gothic, constructed of red Locharbriggs sandstone. The site slopes steeply from west to east; a relatively small arched entrance leads into a large rectangular porch which contains a grand flight of steps that climb up to the level of the church. A massive square tower rises to a height of 37.4m (123 feet) above the crossing and a mortuary chapel lies below the nave, which represents the highest level. The interior is a soaring composition in pink sandstone ashlar from Gatelawbridge (by Thornhill) and is described by John Gifford as "easily the most accomplished work of late Victorian ecclesiastical architecture in Dumfries and Galloway". The building was A-listed for its architectural merit in 1986.

There is an ornate oak roof and finely-carved stonework by William Vickers of Glasgow. The boldly designed floor is of Irish and Sicilian marble and is the work of Allen & Young. The unusual stained glass is by the Glass Stainers Co. of Glasgow (Oscar Paterson) and dates from 1896. The fine organ, by Lewis & Co (of Brixton, London), was installed in 1902, and features a richly-carved oak case designed by Sydney Mitchell. The lectern is supported by a large brass angel and dates from 1910.

While the internal layout is High Presbyterian, the church is inter-denominational. In addition to regular services, it is a popular venue for weddings, concerts and other events.

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