St John's Cathedral, Oban

Coordinates: 56°24′58″N 5°28′25″W / 56.41611°N 5.47361°W / 56.41611; -5.47361
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St John's Cathedral
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
Cathedral church of St John the Divine
DenominationScottish Episcopal Church
ChurchmanshipBroad Church
DedicationSt John the Divine
Consecrated22 September 1864
DioceseArgyll and The Isles
Bishop(s)Sede Vacante
ProvostMargi Campbell

St John's Cathedral or the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine (Scottish Gaelic Ard-eaglais Eòin an Diadhair) is a cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church, located in the town of Oban. It is one of the two cathedrals of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, and one of the sees of the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles.

Interior view showing the unusual steel girders which support the central tower

The MacDougalls of Dunollie and Campbells of Dunstaffnage began the project to build an episcopal church in Oban in 1846. The first church was completed in 1864. The committee for the erection of the church appointed Charles Wilson as the architect, but following his death, the work was entrusted to his successor, David Thomson of the architectural practice Heath Wilson & David Thomson, Glasgow. As the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles Alexander Ewing was in Europe on account of his health, the church was consecrated by the Bishop of London Archibald Campbell Tait on Thursday 22 September 1864.[1] It was described as being of small dimensions, consisting only of a nave and chancel, the total length being 61 feet (19 m) inside. The east window was filled with painted glass and donated by Sir Donald Campbell, 3rd Baronet of Dunstaffnage in memory of his brother Sir Angus. The rose window in the western gable was filled with painted glass, the gift of David Hutcheson. The contractors for the building were John McCorquodale for masonry, Andrew Fairgrieve for plumbing, Hugh Brown for slating, George McAlpine for plastering, Charles McLaren for glazing, R. Reguson & Sons for painting, and G. Smith & Co for ironwork. The cost of the first phase of the building was around £1,400 (equivalent to £173,900 in 2023).[2]

In 1882 a side aisle was added to the south of the 1864 building.[3] The 1910 additions were by architect James Chalmers of Glasgow.[3] Funds ran out before construction finished – thus we are left with a unique cathedral (designated as such in 1920[4]) with each phase clearly visible in the cathedral and the steel girders still supporting the incomplete vision of a grand structure.

A screen was added in 1958 designed by Ian Gordon Lindsay.[3]

List of rectors and provosts[edit]

  • 1859-1880: Robert Jackson MacGeorge
  • 1881-1896: Arthur Ingelby (formerly curate of Hawley, Hampshire)[5]
  • 1896-1930: Charles Pressley Smith
  • 1930[6]-1942:[7] George Preston Tonge (formerly Rector of Christ Church, Falkirk)
  • 1959[8]–1979: Charles Copland (formerly Canon of St Mary's Episcopal Church, Arbroath)
  • 1980-1986: Nigel Abbott (former Vicar of Holy Trinity Coventry)
  • 1986-2000: Alan Maclean of Dochgarroch (formerly, Rector Dunoon)[9]
  • 2000–2012: Norman MacCallum
  • 2012–2017: Nicki McNelly
  • 2018–present: Margi Campbell

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Consecration of St John's Episcopal Church at Oban". Glasgow Herald. Scotland. 28 September 1864. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  3. ^ a b c "George Street, Cathedral of St John the Divine (Episcopal) with Railings". Historic Environment Scotland. Historic Environment Scotland. 16 May 1995. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  4. ^ "New Cathedral at Oban". Dundee Evening Telegraph. Scotland. 10 June 1920. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Preferments and Appointments". Berkshire Chronicle. England. 22 January 1881. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Oban Episcopal Appointment". The Scotsman. Scotland. 18 March 1930. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Memorial Service". Falkirk Herald. Scotland. 3 October 1942. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Canon Copland Honoured". Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs. Scotland. 11 December 1959. Retrieved 12 October 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ Revd Dr Fergus King, Farnham Maynard Senior Lecturer in Ministry, Trinity College Theological School, Melbourne

56°24′58″N 5°28′25″W / 56.41611°N 5.47361°W / 56.41611; -5.47361