In 2016 a number of individuals interested in the restoration, reinstatement, preservation and public presentation in their context of the murals painted by Alexander Runciman in the east apse of St Patrick’s RC Church Cowgate, Edinburgh, decided to establish a trust to achieve these objectives.

Although this apse currently functions as a side chapel, it was originally designed as the sanctuary where the liturgy was celebrated. This was before the main altar was repositioned 45 degrees north to its current position.

The initial trustees included representatives of the three religious denominations associated with the history of the building, now known as St Patrick’s RC Church. The church was built by Episcopalians and the murals were commissioned at that stage. Canon Ian Paton of Old St Paul’s Episcopalian Church, Edinburgh was one of the initial trustees.

Following his appointment as Bishop of St Andrews, Dunblane and Dunkeld, he resigned as a trustee in August 2018. David Todd, then a lay preacher in that congregation and now ordained, was assumed as a substitute trustee. Fr John McLuckie, Rector of Old St Paul’s is now also a trustee.

The next congregation to occupy the Church were the United Presbyterians. Rev Neil Gardner, minister at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh was also an initial trustee and remains so. Monsignor Philip Kerr, who is now parish priest at Glenrothes but was parish priest at St Patrick’s at the time the Trust was established, is Secretary to the Trust and represents the Catholic congregation who were the third denomination to occupy the church, and continue to do so.

We are delighted and honoured to have The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch act as Patrons to our Trust. Following the Duke’s visit in May 2019 he and the Duchess wished to continue their family involvement with the church and its murals, which were commissioned by their ancestors in 1774 after the church was built by them in 1772.

The Duke holding an extract from the 18th century register recording the donations by his ancestors in 1772.

The current trustees are:

  • The Right Honourable The Lord Hardie, former Lord Advocate and former Senator of the College of Justice (Chairman)
  • The Right Reverend Monsignor Philip Kerr (Secretary)
  • The Reverend Neil Gardner
  • Professor Duncan Macmillan, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh and former curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery
  • Francis Gill (Treasurer) appointed following the resignation of David Marriott due to ill health
  • Professor Peter Davidson
  • The Reverend David Todd
  • Fr John McLuckie

The trustees are assisted by advisers, notably Dr. James Simpson OBE,Kenneth Ferguson OBE,FRICS,ICIOB and Teresa Keenan, Project and Fundraising Manager, MA (Hons) History of Art.