Crown Court History

Church sign

The Church of Scotland has been active in London since the time of James VI, King of Scots, who became King James I of England in 1603.

There is some evidence that courtiers of the King who had followed him from Scotland worshipped in a chapel in the precincts of the old Whitehall Palace. This site became known as “Scotland Yard” and subsequently housed the original offices of the Metropolitan Police.

The first formal records of what is now Crown Court Church date from 1711. However, it is clear that the congregation existed somewhat earlier than that, possibly becoming established around the time of the Union of the Parliaments in 1707. The original congregation met in St Peter’s Court, off St. Martin’s Lane, and grew steadily as the number of Scots in London increased.

In 1719 this Scottish Kirk moved to a new location in Covent Garden, where it has remained ever since, with the present building replacing the original in 1909. The title “Crown Court Church” is drawn from the name of this site, although it also looks back to the Union of the Crowns of 1603.

The Crown Court site was obtained from the Duke of Bedford at a peppercorn rent for the first year and then £14 per year for sixty years. The original building was completed at a cost of £611.10s.11d, raised by public subscription, and consecrated as the new Kirk on 4 March 1719.