Mayfield Church

Mayfield Church


The above information is taken from the booklet entitled Parish Guide which was prepared by Andrew Bethune and published by Mayfield Salisbury Church in 1996


Mayfield Church was established in 1875 as a Free Church congregation in the developing suburbs of Newington, the nearest Free Churches to the north being Buccleuch and Newington (now the Queen’s Hall).



Now Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church

The congregation first met in Clare Hall School at 18 Minto Street, later moving to Mayfield Road into what is now the Lower Hall at Mayfield Salisbury Church (opened 1876). The church, The designed by the renowned Scottish architect, Hippolyte Blanc, opened in 1879, but the spire was not completed until 1895. Known as ‘Mayfield North’ from 1929 to 1957, then ‘Mayfield & Fountainhall’ from 1957 to 1968, then 'Mayfield Church' from 1968 to 1993 when it became Mayfield Salisbury.

MAYFIELD 100 1875-1975

This booklet was produced in 1975 to mark the centenary of Mayfield Church. It was entitled 'A selection of historical notes, recollections and illustrations to record the Centenary of Mayfield Church.' It was edited by J.A.R.Moffat and published by the Publications Committee, Mayfield Church, Edinburgh 1975. It can be download and read in its entirety here in low quality (1MB): files/Mayfield100-LowerQuality.pdf or medium quality (8.5MB recommended!): files/Mayfield100MediumQuality.pdf



Sheriff Nigel Thomson C.B.E. (1926-2011)

NIgel Thomson's fascinating booklet of recollections and photographs of earlier times at Mayfield Church can be downloaded and read in its entirety here: Memories of Mayfield


Service from 1992

A morning service from 1992 at which Very Revd Bill McDonald is the preacher and Sheriff Nigel Thomson is one of the readers may be listened to




1975 onwards– Some more recent history -  Revd Ralph Smith

As described above, Mayfield Free Church was established in 1875, and the above gives details of the many changes which ocurred up until the centenary in 1975.

The following article gives brief details of some more recent changes

Mayfield_cropped.jpgIt was in January 1993 that Salisbury Church joined with Mayfield, under the present name of ‘Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church". The Salisbury building, on the corner of Grange Road and Causewayside, was sold, but the Salisbury War Memorials were installed in the North Transept of Mayfield Salisbury, and their Morris window placed and illuminated in the South Transept.  They also brought with them their fine Victorian Communion table, lectern and font, all of which have been recently restored and are now back in use. Images of the war memorials, the window and the Communion table can be found in the Gallery. The money raised from the sale of Salisbury church and manse was used partly to provide help in housing the former Salisbury minister, the Revd Brian Casebow, who with his wife retired to Cupar.

In recent years there have also been changes in the original Mayfield buildings. The original manse on West Mayfield, ‘Church House’, the ground floor of which is used as meeting rooms with the Church Officer’s flat above, has had the flat extended to make it more suitable for family living. In the church itself an Allen 3-manual digital organ replaced the pipe organ in 1996.  In 1997 a new extension and vestibule were constructed for the entrance on West Mayfield.  In 2000 the church kitchen was upgraded.
2009, however, was the big year. An ambitious programme of ‘Renovation and Renewal’ was undertaken.  For five months the congregation worshipped at the Methodist church in Nicolson Square while the IMG_4391.JPGsanctuary at Mayfield Salisbury was completely refurbished. It was rewired, relit and the sound system updated. The pews were removed, shortened, cleaned, and replaced so as to allow wider aisles. The whole interior was re-painted, the flooring sanded and re-varnished, and the aisles re-carpeted. The apse ceiling was re-boarded and painted in traditional dark blue with gold stars.

IMG_3280.JPGThe stained glass windows are a particular feature of the building and a rolling programme of restoration on them was begun. In 2010 Dr Elizabeth Cumming collaborated with others in putting together a most beautiful book, ‘Thy Story in Glass’, detailing their history and biblical significance. This is available from the church office, price £5.00, all profits going to the Renovation Fund. The lower hall, which had been the first worship space from 1875-79, was also rewired, re-lit, re-painted and new radiators were installed.  Then in 2010 the manse received a much-needed restructuring of the kitchen and rear ground floor area, new bathroom and shower room, and was repainted inside and out. All this work was accomplished with remarkable efficiency and as near to time and budget as anyone could hope for. Credit is thus due to members of the congregation who supervised, and organised, were hands on, and gave of their time and skill voluntarily to what was a most successful project.
In August 2018 the Upper Hall was refurbished and re-named the 'Bill McDondald Hall' in memory of Revd Dr William J G McDonald  (1924-2015) and a lectureship was set up in his memory, the first lecture being given in October 2018 by his son-in-law, previously a BBC correspondent,  Allan Little. An artilce oin the opening of the hall can be found here.

The Church is people so who have been and are the people here? The roll call is far too long to list.  What follows are just some of the more conspicuous names.

Ministers   The Very Revd Dr William J G McDonald (Bill), who was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 1989-90, following his immediate predecessor at Mayfield, the Very Revd Professor Jim Whyte, was minister here for 33 very distinguished years, from May 1959 until his retirement in November 1992. More details can be found of both these men in the article on 'Our Moderators'.

He was followed by the Revd Alexander W Young (Sandy). Born in Stirling in 1959, Sandy graduated from Glasgow University in 1986. He joined us with his wife, Pamela, and their 2 daughters, from Ardrossan in September 1993, as the first minister of the newly created Mayfield Salisbury Church, and the union was fused very amicably under his guidance.
In 1999 Sandy Young left to become Hospital Chaplain to the principal Edinburgh hospitals. In 2000, the Revd Scott S. McKenna was appointed  and through preaching and leadership  conducted an outstanding teaching and spiritual ministry, until his call to Ayr in 2019.


There have also been many Assistants and Associate Ministers over the years:  Vernon Stone, Bill Henney, Alistair Heron, Douglas Aitken, Alison Matheson, John Wells, George Munro; and Pastoral Assistants including Joe Ritchie, Jean Cochrane, Hamish McIntosh, Nancy Mills, Margaret Nuttall, Fergus McPherson, Sheila Wallace, and Philip Hacking.  The congregation continues to be particularly well served by our pastoral staff.  In many years also there have been students for the ministry attached for short periods; several of whom have gone on to notable ministries of their own.
The church has also always emphasised the importance of children and young people.  Youth specialists have numbered Fiona Fidgin, Bruce Sinclair and Angus Adams.    
Organists since 1969 have been: Norman Shires, Philip Hacking, Methven Aitken, Damien Mason, and today Dr John Willmett.  Their work has been supplemented by Choir Directors: Marjorie Turkington, Christine Bethune, Hugh Macdonald, and today Walter Thomson (the well-known conductor of the Jubilo Choir, and founder of "the Show Stoppers").
Church Officers have been John Kennedy, David Beath, George Sword, William Frier, CSM Lawrence Porteous, John Mabon, Samuel Hay, James Manson, Robert Turnbull, Wilfred Batty, David Stewart and Robert Nicoll.  Today's Officer is William Mearns whose new title "Church Manager" indicates that his function has extended well beyond the role of "the minister's man".  Today the church office is high-tech, where William manages the web site and prints out beautiful material which demonstrates that the church is a thoroughly modern and professionally run organisation Quite a change from 1980, when the gift of an overhead projector for Sunday School use drew gasps of admiration when demonstrated to the Kirk Session! 

There are many photographs of the church as it is today on the Gallery

1975 onwards - Revd Ralph Smith, 25/09/10

Our History

Our History - Roots

Our History - Mayfield Church

Our History - Fountainhall Road Church

Our History - Salisbury Church (Newington South Church)

Our History - Hope Park Church

Our History - The Moderators

Our History - Rev Dr John Ross

Our History - Stained Glass Windows
Our History - The Organs

Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scottish Charity Number: SC000785


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  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
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