The Chapel

The Chapel on the south side of the Quad, was built in an earlier Gothic style quite different from the rest of View of Chapel from Quadthe building. It is an imitation of the perpendicular early English style; its design may have been influenced by Archbishop Laud, who liked Gothic churches and who visited the Hospital in 1633. Certainly the Chapel, in accordance with High Church ideas then prevalent, with the communion table at the east end, was designed to lie east and west in the traditional manner. The great oriel window opposite the entrance door seems to have been designed to house the pulpit.

The windows of the Chapel are the nearest parallel in Scotland to what is known as Oxford Gothic. The windows, in the style known as Scottish flamboyant, have been hailed as "the finest examples in Scotland of the last phase of this style". The Chapel 1859outside decorations of the doorway return to a more classical concept.

 The doorway is placed centrally. It is flanked on each side by paired Corinthian columns raised on panelled pedestals and surmounted by an entablature. The design may have been taken from Alexandre Francini's "Book of Architecture" of 1631; if so, the doorway could be an addition to the original design. On the centre of the frieze is a clasped Bible on a reading desk, with the words VERBUM DOMINI MANET IN AETERNUM (The word of the Lord endureth forever).

The archivolt of the doorway is decorated with alternate roses and stars; the keystone is enriched with a console; and the spandrels have large foliations within triangular panels. At each end of the entablature, over the coupled pillars, are circular pediments surmounted by cherubs' heads; and over the whole order is an open circular pediment. Within this pediment is a composition of the Caryatic order enclosing a tablet with the inscription AURIFICI DEDERAT MIHI VIS DIVINA PERENNEM ET FACERE IN TERRIS IN CAELO ET Old Print of ChapelFERRE (CORONAM) - inferred from a crown carved in relief at the foot. (To me, a goldsmith, power divine was given, {a crown} to make on Earth and wear in Heaven). At the top are the armorial bearings of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths.

The large windows on each side of the doorway contain fine examples of decorated tracery. The tracery of the circular windows above is arranged on the east in the form of a rose and on the west in the form of a star.

The Chapel is 60 feet long, 22 feet wide and 40 feet high, but remained relatively unfinished for some time. lt was repaired from the materials of the Kirk of the Citadel in Leith, which was pulled down in 1673, and the old Angel with Head of Foundersteeple, stone and glass were used. It was refitted again in 1787, when an Adamesque ceiling and other ornaments were introduced, but in a discussion of the Governors in 1833 it was agreed that the ceiling was overloaded with ornament and needed to be taken down immediately for safety reasons. As there was no Heriot architect, J. Gillespie Graham, a Governor and "already something of a celebrity in the production of Gothic artefacts", offered to propose a scheme without charge. It seems probable that A.W. Pugin was responsible for preparing the designs of the Chapel for Gillespie Graham. The ceiling was embossed, painted and gilded. It is divided into compartments, with massive moulded arched ribs, supported bv corbels of angels bearing scrolls with illuminated mottoes.

The pulpit, which was in the recess formed by the oriel window facing the door, was redesigned and placed in the east end of the Chapel to provide additional floorspace.


Above the inside entrance door, cut in oak, in raised antique characters, is inscribed GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO (Glory toGod in the Highest).

Chapel Door

On the south side is a fine oriel window filled with the crests and escutcheons of noble Scottish families and the arms of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh.

Chapel Door

By 1839, twenty-eight bench seats of massive oak, with richly carved ends and costing £3.10/- each, were introduced. The floor, originally paved with marble which was later transferred to the Council Room, was laid with oak- planks, and the Chapel took on the look it has today.

Chapel Door