Chalmers Memorial Church – Port Seton, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Chalmers Memorial Church

Port Seton, Scotland

The true beauty of this church is showcased in the hand-painted stencils across the ceiling.  


Churches in Scotland often emulate jewelry boxes. Their plain and often austere exterior do not necessarily reflect the treasures they contain within. A prime example is the parish church that resides in the seaside village of Port Seton.

Though there has been a place of worship here since the middle of the 19th century, the current configuration and all its internal splendor didn’t appear until the beginning of the 20th century. The name of the church and its architectural wonders owes itself to the Chalmers family.

This Category A Listed building was constructed in the style of the Arts and Crafts movement, a popular trend during this time period. Showcasing more decorative and fine art aesthetics, rather than mass-produced features that were common in the age of the Industrial Revolution.

The building was designed by the architectural team of George Wilson and Arthur George Sydney Mitchell, two Edinburgh-based contractors. Though it is the interior created by Robert Naismith that really grabs visitors’ attention.

On entering this house of worship, guests are reminded of the community it serves. The entire ceiling is decorated in hand-painted stencils of waves, seagulls, and leaping fish. The wooden rafters are covered with these images in light blue, giving one the impression that they have been capsized in a boat. This could also be allegorical to Jesus being “a fisher of men.”

Know Before You Go

Chalmers is a working church, so access may be limited to services and other occasions. It is advised to check the website for opening times.

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November 14, 2022

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