New award for historic St Machar cathedral, Aberdeen

04 December 2020
St Machar cathedral in Aberdeen has been awarded the 2020 Friends of the National Churches Trust grant, worth £10,000.

St Machar, which despite its name is in fact a parish church, received a £40,000 grant from the National Churches Trust in November 2019 to fund extensive roof repairs to the A-listed building, making the church watertight and preserving its historic fabric.

However, partly due to the difficulties in raising funds during COVID, the church has not managed to raise all the money needed to complete the work.

The story of St Machar cathedral

Belonging to the Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian church, which has neither bishops nor cathedrals, St Machar is a cathedral only by name.

The oak ceiling, the church's most important feature, was erected in 1520 and is of international importance. It is supported on all four sides by a deep wooden frieze. It is decorated with 48 carved and painted heraldic shields; both carving and painting are of very high quality.

The southern rank of shields represents Scotland led by James V, King of Scots; the northern the monarchs of Europe led by the Emperor; and the middle rank the Church led by the Pope, Leo X.

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Professor David Hewitt, on behalf of St Machar cathedral, said: 'Winning a prize as a result of the Friends' Vote is a great surprise.  I greatly admire the work of the National Churches Trust and I appreciate its understanding of the life of churches.  On behalf of the church, the congregation and indeed the people of Aberdeen, thank you very much.'

For more on the work of the National Churches Trust, visit their website.

(report courtesy National Churches Trust)