Outline History

A more detailed look at the history of the City Churches Building of which The Steeple Church is a part.

c.1192David Earl of Huntingdon, brother to King William the Lion of Scotland, returned from the Third Crusade in stormy seas and kept his vow to build St Mary’s Church.
c.1296Church sacked by Edward 1 of England, and rebuilt.
1385Church burnt again by troops of Council of Richard II of England. Rebuilt and enlarged slowly by Monks of Lindores Abbey. Burgh Council took over rebuilding in 1442-43.1495 Bell presented for completed Tower. Church measured 286 ft by 174 ft at transepts. Tower, still standing, is 156 ft high and had a crown on it.
1517The Reformation begins in Europe
1548Duke of Somerset, protector for eleven year old Edward VI of England, destroyed the nave of the church, leaving the tower free-standing for over 200 years.
1558Rebuilt choir area became (unofficially) the first Reformed Church in Scotland, twelve years after the martyrdom of George Wishart at St Andrews.
1560The Reformation officially established in Scotland.
1588‘Collegiate’ system adopted – St. Mary’s being the First Charge. The south transept rebuilt and named South Church(Second Charge), with first minister appointed.
1609Third Charge established; minister (colleague) appointed.
1645Marquis of Montrose captures Dundee for Charles I. South Church made useless.
1651General Monk, having changed sides, sacked Dundee for Cromwell and stabled his horses in the ruins of the South Church. For many years only the East Church was used for worship.
1745Area around church used by some of the troops of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart, for stabling horses. Population of Dundee now 12,000.
1759The north transept refitted as the Cross Church (Fourth Charge).
1788-89The nave is rebuilt after 240 years, to a design by architect Samuel Bell, rejoining the Tower to the main building. The newly built part is named The Steeple Church (Fifth Charge). The French Revolution was just beginning. The City Churches building now had five congregations.
1823St. David’s Church established by the Burgh in a building in the Marketgait (burnt down).
1834The Steeple Church renamed St. Clement’s (Steeple) Parish Church.
1837The Wishart Church started by three Secession Churches.
1841A very serious fire was caused by a faulty boiler. The fire destroyed the whole building except The Tower and St. Clement’s.A copy of a painting depicting this is in the Welcoming Hall. After the fire it was decided to rebuild only two churches onto the remaining structure – the South Church in a shorter transept, and St. Mary’s beyond it at the east end. In time, South Church was renamed St Paul’s.
1843The Disruption. St. David’s minister and most of the elders join the Free Church of Scotland. A new minister is called.
1844Rebuilding of St Mary’s completed.
1847Rebuilding of transepts completed, but shortened to form one church named St Paul’s (South) Church. St. John’s (formerly Cross Church) moved to South Tay Street, and later to Blackness Avenue, now known as Logie/St John’s Cross Church. United Secession Church unites with Relief Church nationally to become United Presbyterian church; so Wishart Church becomes United Presbyterian.
1865St. Enoch’s Church formed as a Free Church.
1874St. Enoch’s is taken by its minister into the established Church of Scotland.
1900United Presbyterian Church unites nationally with Free Church to become United Free Church; so Wishart becomes United Free.
1929United Free Church returns to the fold of the established Church of Scotland, so Wishart becomes Church of Scotland; St. Paul’s Church renamed Old St. Paul’s Church.
1947Union of St. David’s with Old St Paul’s Church using the latter’s building.
1963Union of St Enoch’s and St. Clement’s Churches, using the latter’s building; renamed The Steeple
1975Union of Wishart Memorial Church with Old St Paul’s and St. David’s, using the latter’s building.
1978Final union of the above with The Steeple Church, using The Steeple building.
1981The transept (Old St. Paul’s and St. David’s Church) began to be used as the Mary Slessor Centre, and was developed for Christian care and witness in the city.
1989The Steeple Church celebrated its bi-centenary with the creation of the Welcoming Hall (now called Haldane) within the church.
2012Redevelopment of The Steeple Church interier to provide a modern worship space and halls with lift access.