22 December: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh

Every day throughout Advent, we'll be introducing a different cathedral from around the UK and occasionally beyond


Denomination: Anglican (Episcopal)


Building began: 1874

About the cathedral:

The original building was entirely paid for by sisters Barbara and Mary Walker, who owned the surrounding land. Six architects submitted plans for the building – three Scots, and three English – but it was English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott’s neo-Gothic design that was chosen. Two spires that were later added at the west end are today known as ‘Barbara’ and ‘Mary’, after the two sisters.

Did you know?


In 1978, St Mary’s became the first cathedral in Britain to allow girls into the choir. They broke new ground again when in 2005 they employed the first female lay clerk in the Anglican tradition.