The church was commissioned by the family of Thomas Coats of Ferguslie. The initial specification conceived by the family included a
“Spired Gothic Design, church on one level and halls beneath, to seat 800 and cost approximately £20,000.”
Six architects were invited to submit designs in competition. The winning design was that of Hippolyte J Blanc of Edinburgh. Blanc was an admirer of the medieval style and the building is one of the finest examples of the Victorian Gothic Revival. Forming one of the most dominant landmarks of Paisley, the tower, finished with an open crown of eight arches and surmounted by a lantern pinnacle, rises 240 feet above the High Street.
The ashlar walls are built in Corsehill stone (Morrison & Mason) with the roof finished in Westmorland Slate. Springing from lower level buttresses, flying buttresses span the aisle roof to support the clerestory wall and transmit the outward forces of the main roof down through the external walls.
When completed in 1894, the church could seat 1000 and cost closer to £110,000. It stands today as a monumental landmark, commemorating one of Paisley’s most revered citizens.
About 350,000 pieces of coloured marble make up the mosaic floor. The central panel depicts the lamb with halo, surrounded by the traditional emblems of the four evangelista. The roof, of cross vaulting, is richly ornamented with gilt and coloured designs, featuring quotations from Scripture.
Nave and Transept
The barrel-vaulted roof of the nave is lined in oak. The original gasoliers of wrought iron, copper and guilt metal now form the pendant lights. The sandstone walls beneath the clerestory are intricately carved. In each transept, the oak screens and canopies are incredibly detailed, featuring the most delicate tracery and concealed grotesques.
The octagonal pulpit, installed in 1901 to replace the original temporary wooden one, is mad of marble and alabaster from Staffordshire and rests on blocks of red marble and Languedoc. It features scenes from the New Testament as well as Biblical figures, including Jesus, given prominence in the front panel. The Communion Table is outstanding for its fine caring of Christ the King, flanked by symbols of the Eucharist.
The bronze lectern, depicts the four Evangelists as statuettes and beneath each is the corresponding symbol. This is reflected too, in the painted ceiling of the Chancel. On the wall behind the lectern are the bronze memorial plaques to the fallen of two world wars.
In the north wall are three carved panels depicting the Adoration, the Baptism of Christ and the Last Supper. the rich carving on the front of the organ console is surpassed only by the angels on its tip ans at the ends of the choir stalls.
High above on the stone ribbed ceiling are painted angels surrounding the figures of the evangelists.
The Bapistry itself if possibly unique, being always open and constructed of Italian black veined marble
All of the internal features remain in original condition. this includes the curtain fabrics and woven panels in the choir. The ancillary rooms, including the restored vestry, feature hand stenciled wall decoration, and tiled fireplaces with original electric fires. In addition, these rooms boast state-of-the-art Victorian plumbing featuring Doulton toilets in the blue magnolia design.