Name: Crown Court Church of Scotland
Address: Russell Street. WC2B 5EZ
Please visit the website for times of services and details of other events.
Our Presbyterian church in central London welcomes all.
It is unique in its history as the “Kirk of the Crown of Scotland”; the longest-established Presbyterian church south of the border, dating from 1711.
It is also unique in its location, on a site in Covent Garden in the heart of London’s theatreland.
Finally, and most importantly, it is unique in its fellowship, providing a “home away from home” for Scots and fellow Presbyterians from all over the world.
We also hope that, having seen it, you will want to visit us the next time you are in London and experience Crown Court for yourself. You are assured of a very warm welcome.
The church takes its title partly from the Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland in 1603, and partly from Crown Court, the name of the site on which it stands. Scottish congregations then worshipped at the site of the disused Scottish Embassy, which was to achieve fame later as Scotland Yard. The church at Crown Court was consecrated as the new Kirk on 4 March 1719. Crown Court innovated the establishment in 1845 of a ‘Ragged School’ for the education of 500 needy children in the neighbourhood. These schools, which preceded the introduction of compulsory education in England, were taught in an extension to the church. In the twentieth-century, Crown Court has experienced an ever-changing congregation. Joseph Moffett, Minister from 1917-1962, spoke of ‘preaching to a procession’. Today, the church is involved in a wider mission within London and is still ‘preaching to a procession’ as people of the Church of Scotland and Presbyterian tradition worldwide come to London.
Over the communion table is the Coat of Arms of George I. The House of Hanover is denoted on the Arms by the white horse in one quarter. Scotland is represented below by the cross of St Andrew, intertwined with thistles, while roses denote the English connection.
There are several interesting windows, including a John Knox window, which marks the fourth centenary of the Scottish Reformation, a window celebrating the bi-centenary of Robert Burns, and also one portraying Sir Walter Scott. The Australian connection is emphasised with the link with James Mein, First Pastor and Elder of the original Scottish Church in New South Wales. He had been a member of Crown Court, where his children were baptised.
Doctrine and Style of Worship
Crown Court has a structure of service common to Reformed Churches. The Word of God is given a central place and the Minister and the congregation participate in the reading of scripture and in prayer. Music plays a large part in all services. There is a strong emphasis on preaching and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated monthly, at the conclusion of morning worship, and quarterly in June, October, December and March. A Gaelic service is held four times a year, Gaelic-speaking ministers being invited from Scotland.
Members are predominantly, but not exclusively, Scottish. Members also come from the Presbyterian/Reformed family of churches in Australasia, Africa and England. We frequently welcome visitors from Presbyterian churches in Canada and the United States of America.
Crown Court supports the wider mission of the Church of Scotland. The church is actively involved with Christian Aid, Borderline (a charity which supports the plight of Scots homeless in London), with the Royal Scottish Corporation (a charity based in King Street) and with the work of St Mungo’s.
The church is used by musical and theatrical groups (including a prizewinning Gaelic choir), being in the centre of Theatreland’ and the hall is well-used by other local groups.
Activities and special features
Crown Court has an active Choir, Creche and Sunday School, Guild, Rambling and Social Club, Scottish Country Dancing Group and Scots Circle.