The Kirk of St John Perth

St John's KirkSt John's KirkSt John's Kirk

Kirk Close runs between St John's Place and the High Street.(See Map) An area on the west side of Kirk Close was excavated by the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust in 1979, before redevelopment of its 18th century buildings. In the 14th century, this area was densely occupied with houses and small-scale industries.

Large amounts of medieval pottery and animal bone were found, together with perishable organic materials such as leather, textiles and the remains of timber buildings, preserved in the waterlogged deposits underlying the centre of Perth. The finds from Kirk Close are now in Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

The Kirk is the oldest standing building in Perth, and one of the most important parish churches in Scotland. It was first mentioned in 1126, and has played a central part in the life of the burgh. The best known incident to take place at the Kirk was John Knox's sermon against idolatry, preached on 11th May 1559. The original building was completed by 1241, when the Kirk was dedicated by the Bishop of St Andrews, but it has undergone many alterations since then. In 1440 a new choir was built, now the oldest remaining part of the building. The nave was rebuilt later in the century.

The distinctive leaded spire was in place by 1511. The north porch is known as Halkerston's Tower, probably after the architect John Halkerston, active in the 1460s. The upper room of the tower was used as a female prison, but was removed in 1823. Until 1580 the area around kirk was the burgh's main cemetery and still contains many burials. Prominent citizens were buried within the Kirk itself.

Address: St John Place, Perth, Perthshire, PH1 5SZ, Scotland
Telephone:+44 (8452) 255121
Tours Operated by: Church of Scotland
Opening Hours: Open May to September, 10.00am-4.00pm weekdays, 12.00-2.00pm Sundays; October to April, when Church Officer is present, usually Wednesday to Saturday from 10.00am.
Admission: Free (donations welcome)
Parking: Yes
Languages: English 
Accessibility: Yes but limited
Toilets: Yes
Shop: No
Cafe/Restaurant: No

Last updated 03/04/2015

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