The History of Leith

August 18, 2012

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic cathedral

Immediately adjoining this (Theatre Roal,Now removed) theatre—the gable
wall being a mutual one—is St. Mary’s Roman
Catholic chapel, now the pro-cathedral of the
Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, whose
residence is in the narrow lane to the northward.
It was built in 1813, from designs by James
Gillespie Graham, architect, at the expense of
p£8,ooo. In the original elevations more ornament
was introduced than it was found there were
funds to execute, as these were chiefly raised by
subscription among the Catholics of Edinburgh,
then a small, and still a poor, congregation. The
dimensions of this edifice within the walls are
no feet by 57. The eastern front, in which is
the entrance, is ornamented by two central pinnacles
70 feet high, and the adoption of the Gothic
style in this small chapel first led to the adoption
of a similar style in various other religious edificessince
erected in the city. It possesses a very good
organ, and above the altar is a fine painting of the
Saviour dead. It was presented to the church by
Miss Chalmers, daughter of Sir G. Chalmers.
Some prelates of the Catholic Church lie buried
before the high altar, among them Bishops
Alexander Cameron and Andrew Carruthers. The
interment of the former excited much interest in
Edinburgh in 1828, the funeral obsequies being in
a style never seen in Scotland since the Reformation,
and also from the general esteem in which
the bishop was held by all. He was born in
1747, and went to the Scottish College at Rome
in 1760, and bore away all the prizes. Returning
to Scotland in 1772, he was Missionary Apostolic
in Strathearn till 1780, when he was consecrated
at Madeira, and, succeeding Bishop Hay, had resided
permanently in Edinburgh since 1806.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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