What to see in Crown Court

The current building was designed by the Scottish architect Eustace Balfour, of Balfour and Turner, and is Grade Two listed by Historic England.

It is built of red brick with Portland stone dressings and a slate roof; the interior in Free Style. The gallery and supporting pillars are an early example of the use of steel framing encased in wood.

The North Wall

The arms above the Communion Table are the Royal Arms of King George I, who was monarch when the first church was built in 1719. The white horse in the lower right quarter represents the house of Hanover. Below the Arms, the St Andrew’s Cross with the thistles intertwined represents Scotland and the roses represent the link with England.

Looking upwards, facing the communion table, you will see three sets of colours. Closest to you are the colours of the Royal Caledonian Schools, whose residential facilities in Bushey closed in 1998, although the organisation itself continues at the [Royal Caledonian Education Trust]. In the middle are the colours of the 1st Battalion the Scots Guards, laid up at the fortieth anniversary of the Armistice in November 1958. Furthest away are the colours of the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards, laid up in September 2003.

Our pulpit, with its passageway underneath, was donated by the granddaughters of John Cumming (1807-1881), perhaps our best-known minister.

At the front of the church is a fine, three manual 36-stop organ, which was built in 1909 by Bevington, most recently restored and rebuilt in 2019 by David Wells of Liverpool. It was one of a number of church organs funded by grants from the Scottish/American philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

Next to the organ, our baptismal font is made of Iona marble, reputed to have been the last quarried on the island, and the Communion Table has an inset of the same stone.

The West Wall

On your left as you enter the sanctuary from the Russell Street corridor is a stone plaque commemorating the “raising of the Kirk of the Crown of Scotland”, laid on 12 May 1909 by former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour MP upon the erection of the current building. Another plaque commemorates the efforts of Lady Frances Balfour (1858-1931).

Next to this is Crown Court’s Coat of Arms, issued by the Lord Lyon King of Arms on 11 November 1975. On the shield are the Burning Bush, the emblem of the Church of Scotland; the Galleon of Lorne, acknowledging the efforts of the Campbells of Argyll towards raising the funds to rebuild the church in 1909; and below that the Portcullis, the emblem of the City of Westminster where we are located.

Further down the same wall are two stone memorials, which are the only remnants of the previous building.

The East Wall

Running along the east wall of the church are four windows containing 34 stained glass panels, depicting Biblical and Scottish themes and commemorating events of note. Several of the panels were designed by Michael Farrar-Bell of Clayton and Bell; in their margins you will find the stylised bell he used as a signature.

The window behind the organ console is the St Paul window, representing scenes from the life of St Paul and dedicated to Dr. Joseph Moffett and all former ministers of Crown Court Church.

The adjacent window has a Scottish theme, with each panel representing a famous Scot. The central panel, the John Knox Window, was dedicated in 1960 to mark the fourth centenary of the Scottish Reformation. The window above it, commemorating Robert Burns, was the first church window to be created in the poet’s memory.

The window second from the back depicts women of the Bible including Mary, Martha, Ruth and Esther.

The final window has a number of panels dedicated to Celtic saints, including Ninian, Columba (Columcille) and Aidan. The panel at the top right was created in 1990 upon the centenary of the Woman’s Guild, and shows Lady Frances Balfour and Lady Victoria Campbell, presidents of the Guild and influential figures in the early 20th century history of Crown Court Church.

The Rear Wall

On the rear wall is a plaque in memory of the soldiers of the Ninth (Scottish) Division who died in the Great War and subsequent conflicts. This is the only memorial to the Division apart from the cairn of undressed stones at Point du Jour, near Arras, in the Pas de Calais. There is also a memorial to the 29 members of the congregation who fell in the Great War.

On the left of the Russell Street door is a memorial to James Braidwood, an elder and Sunday School Superintendent who was also the First Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade. He died while fighting the “Great Fire of 1861” at Tooley Street, remembered as second only to the Great Fire of London itself.

A further plaque commemorates James Mein, a pew holder at Crown Court who subsequently became leader and elder of the congregation at Ebenezer in New South Wales, the first Presbyterian church built in Australia.

Our Coat of Arms

Crown Court was granted its own Coat of Arms by the Court of the Lord Lyon, the official heraldry office for Scotland, on 11 November 1975.

On the left is the Burning Bush, the emblem of the Church of Scotland. At the top right is the Galley of Lorne, the emblem of the Argyll family, who contributed significantly to the rebuilding of the Church in 1909. At the bottom right is the portcullis, the emblem of the City of Westminster.

Crown Court Church of Scotland Crest


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