12 December 2019
A £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund extensive roof repairs at the Grade A listed Cathedral Church of St Machar in Aberdeen, making the church watertight and preserving its historic fabric.
The church stands on a site that has been a place of Christian worship since 580AD. Since 1690 St Machar's has been a parish church within the Church of Scotland. In spite of its name, it is not a Cathedral.
Most of the existing building was constructed between 1380 and 1520; it was once longer, but the central tower, crossing and transepts collapsed in 1688, leaving the nave, and turning a cruciform church into a basilica.
The repair work
The building's oak ceiling, erected in 1520, is of national importance. It is supported on all four sides by a deep wooden frieze, decorated with 48 carved and painted heraldic shields; both carving and painting are of very high quality.
The shields include the arms of Pope, Leo X. That the arms of a Pope can still be found above the communion table after 330 years of Presbyterianism is a matter of great celebration, given that the church was despoiled of much of its statuary in the century after the Reformation.
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(report courtesy of National Churches Trust. Read more about the churches included in its latest round of funding here.)