CityofEdinburghEDINBURGHAugustineUnitedChurch(alljengiCC-BY-SA2.0)1 Alljengi

Augustine United Church

Completed in 1861 abutting a viaduct across marshy ground beside the Royal Mile (leading from Edinburgh Castle) is AUC, where Edinburgh’s Old Town developed, AUC was said to 'resemble a brides cake' with elaborate tower ‘in God's praise’.

Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Opening times

By arrangement, possibly guided.
The church building is in frequent use, but might be wholly or partially accessed between 9am and 3pm on weekdays).
Inside there are leaflets in several languages, electronic displays and explanatory board displays in the church outer foyer throughout the day.


George IV Bridge
City of Edinburgh

Dr Lindsay Alexander preached then to about 1,000. There have been several internal developments, denominational and church unions in the later 1900s/early 2000s; the congregation is increasingly inclusive and progressive.

Augustine United Church, is in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Due to the topography of the area, bridges (viaducts) were built. George IV Bridge crossed a marshy, unhealthy area to the south of the spur of rock which runs down from Edinburgh Castle (Royal Mile). Once this wet area was reclaimed and developed, it became home to working people, who had earlier lived (with their animals) beneath the wealthy merchants and academics in cramped conditions on the Royal Mile.

The first church building (1802) nearby was founded by Revd John Aikman, and was under what is now the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. Aikman, with brothers Robert and James Haldane, was a churchman, independent of the Church of Scotland, who freely preached the gospel, assisted the poor, founded Sunday Schools and churches. (Most later became Congregational.) However, Aikman’s building was ‘dark, dingy and comfortless’.

After construction of the new George IV Bridge (1832), Augustine was opened in 1861 (designed by Messrs Hay of Liverpool) Completion was not without difficulty, requiring internal reinforcements due to the weight of the hammer beam roof and slates The building has four storeys; externally it is ornate and the upper tower and spire are in the style of the Giralda tower of Seville Cathedral.

Prominent professional, wealthy classes and academics originally came to hear Dr Lindsay Alexander, first Minister in this building and a renowned orator, preaching. Two stained glass windows (by designer Robert Burns) are dedicated to Alexander and his wife, Mary. Backlighted, they are now at ground level.

The church was named after Augustine of Hippo, who Dr Alexander frequently quoted. A church organ was installed in 1863, later changed to an organ by AE Ingham in 1929; then in 1994 an electronic Bradford organ was installed. Augustine was listed a Category B building by Historic Scotland in 1970.

Ministry was, for its time, rather progressive The building nowadays accommodates Christian related organisations, hosting many community groups. Radicalism continues as the congregation engages with the wider community, is becoming increasingly inclusive, and encourages freedom of thought and progressive Christianity.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Famous connections

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • United Reformed Church

Contact information

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