Murray Memorial Mortuary Chapel, Hyndford Road, Lanark

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Murray Memorial Mortuary Chapel
Other Name(s)
Murray Chapel
Hyndford Road, Lanark
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 88875 43193
Location Type
HS Reference No


2-storey, square-plan, symmetrical, Art Nouveau chapel, plan changing to Greek cross in upper level with 3-bay open round-arched loggia extending to NE corner and single arch to small court SW punctuated by small paired rectangular windows. Diocletian windows over 3 single lights to projecting 1st floor bays, small domes in re-entrant angles with narrow round arched niches over; modillion cornice between raised angle piers. Central dome supporting a winged figure on circular pedestal flanked by 4 urns. Deep dentilled cornices. Inscription pedimented arched entrance doorpiece on cherub headed brackets reads 'though will not leave us in the dust, thou hast made us, thou art just'. Decorative stained glass panels to large round arched windows. Small-pane windows to plain windows. Copper roofing to small domes, metal roofing to main dome. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

The Chapel is an impressive design of the early 20th century presenting aspects of the Art Nouveau style, but particularly evoking the work of the Viennese Secessionists. A strong, symmetrical composition, with a good sense of proportion, incorporating fine stone detailing and architectural sculpture, including fine depiction of winged figure to building´s apex. Fine use of sandstone ashlar to exterior with fine marble, stone and stained glass finishes to interior. The building has an interesting plan form, square at ground with small domes at each angle, rising to Greek cross at clerestory level with prominent Diocletian memorial stained glass windows further defining the space.

This is a very unusual building type in Scotland, only a few other cemetery chapels are known, the Vicarsford Chapel in Leuchars and the Mortuary Chapel in the Western Cemetery in Arbroath. Comparative building types are 18th and 19th century burial vaults and crematoria which become prevalent from the 1930s onwards.

The Chapel is located in a prominent elevated setting within an extensive multi-period graveyard and acts a defining landmark in Lanark Burgh from S. It lies close to the ruins of the St Kentigern's Church. Known as Murray's Memorial Mortuary Chapel it was erected by philanthropist Helen Murray, descendant of diamond merchant John Murray, as a public and ecumenical mortuary chapel and bequeathed to the community in 1912. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
William Cowie

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
22/09/2008, 29/01/2010, 7/8/2013
Development History
September 2008: External inspection suggests that the building is unused with many of the windows boarded up. Some of the unboarded windows contain broken panes. The central copper dome has been patched up using a different material. There are no obvious signs of recent maintenance.
February 2010: External inspection finds the chapel remains vacant and suffering from a lack of maintenance. The Carluke Gazette reports on a special meeting being held to discuss the future of the Chapel. South Lanarkshire Council are reported to have been seeking a funding package to enable the repair and reuse of the building. To date, funds of approx a third of the total required have been achieved. The bulk of the funding (dependent on the gathering of other funds) is from Historic Scotland. The article notes the building was originally closed 4 years ago, following the discovery of a leaking roof.
June 2010: The building is upgraded from category C(s) to A by Historic Scotland.
July 2010: Carluke Gazette reports a grant of £50,000 towards refurbishment of the chapel is being offered by the Blacklaw Renewable Energy Fund. Total refurbishment is reported to be costed at £225,000. The grant is one of three from REF, set up in 2004 by South Lanarkshire Council, funded by ScottishPower Renewables.
December 2010: Lanark Gazette reports the repairs costs (of £225,000) has now been raised and it is hoped works can commence in early 2011. The article goes on to note whilst the main chapel will return to its previous use, the surrounding burial ground is estimated to have 2 years burial spaces left, at which point an alternative use may have to be found. A project to use part of the building, currently used as storage space, as a family history research centre, is being undertaken by Lanark Grammar School.
28 March 2013: The Carluke Gazette reported in Nov 2012 on delays to the commencement of the repairs to the chapel.
7 August 2013: External inspection finds no signficant change from the previous site visit.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
01698 454672


Current Availability
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
South Lanarkshire Council (?)
Type of Ownership
Local Authority

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Churches and Chapels
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit