Plea to save historic Perth church as £4m funding bid launched

The 900-year-old St Johns Kirk of Perth, where John Knox sparked the Scottish Reformation, faces an uncertain future.

A community group in Perth desperate to save one of its oldest buildings say its closure would “let down” future generations.

St John’s Kirk of Perth has stood in the city centre for nearly 900 years and is famed as the site of John Knox’s famous sermon which sparked the Scottish Reformation in 1559.

But after centuries of wind and rain, the iconic church is starting to show to its age.

Now, a campaign has been launched to raise £4m for urgent repairs to the building.

Brigadier Sir Mel Jameson is chair of the campaign committee.

He said: “The stonework is needing repaired, the roof is leaking and the wonderful steeple which was built in 1510 – the lead lining is leaking.

“It houses Perth and Perthshire war memorials and is the spiritual home of The Black Watch as well as boasting Scotland’s largest carillon of 35 bells.

“Windows, pews, pillars and crypts all pay homage to famous local families and historic organisations and institutions including the Guildry, Freemasonry and local council.

“And, perhaps most famously, it was the site of John Knox’s inflammatory sermon in 1559 which ignited the Reformation in Scotland.

St John's Kirk of Perth is famed for being the site where the Reformation began

“It is also the Kirk of the Kings, visited and supported over the centuries by a string of royals from David I to the late Queen Elizabeth II.”

Right next door to the church is the newly refurbished Perth Museum.

Bill Wilson, the Session Clark of St John’s Kirk hopes visitors will also take an interest in one of the city’s oldest buildings.

He said: “We want to make sure the place is warm and welcoming, safe and dry and particularly we want the visitors who come to the New Perth Museum to find they can continue their journey learning about Perth by coming to St John’s.

“I think it would be appalling if the church had to close.

“We would be letting down not just our forbearers but more importantly our children. It’s so important for the future of Perth that St Johns is vibrant.”

More information about the campaign to Save St John’s Kirk can be found here.

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