Not all of Scotland’s places of Christian worship have mediaeval, Georgian or Victorian roots – the 20th century saw the construction of many examples in more modern vernaculars.

The Italian Chapel, Lamb Home, Orkney

The story behind the construction of this isolated chapel is fascinating enough – it was built on Lamb Home during the Second World War by Italian prisoners-of-war sent to work on the so-called Churchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow – but even without that narrative the building itself would stand as a thing of beauty in its own right. Begun in 1943 and not properly finished until after the war ended, it was constructed from two Nissen huts joined end to end, plastered on the inside and then decorated with ornate frescoes. Restored twice, in the 1960s and again in the 1990s, it is now an A-listed building and, in happier times, a popular tourist draw.

Canna Rhu Church, Isle of Canna

Known as ‘the Rocket Church’ because of the unusual shape of its tower, this spectacular-looking church is one of two on Canna called St Columba’s, the other being Roman Catholic. This one was built in 1912 by the Thom family, who bought Canna in 1881 and owned it until 1938. The Rocket Church was awarded Listed Building status in 1971 and is little used these days, though the views to Canna harbour are still pretty good.

War Memorial Chapel, St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh

Housed within an 1894 church built on the site of several earlier places of worship dating back to the 7th century, this small, atmospheric chapel was designed by architect Peter MacGregor Chalmers, who also oversaw the re-modelling of Iona Abbey in 1908. Consecrated in 1921 and sited in the base of the tower from the previous 18th century church, the centrepiece is an apse designed with a gilt mosaic which sparkles in the candlelight. The rest of the chapel is lined with green marble and as befits a memorial chapel there’s a roll of honour on the wall. Perhaps the chapel’s greatest claim to fame, however, is the wedding it hosted in 1930 when Agatha Christie married her second husband, Max Mallowan.

Hoselaw Chapel, Hoselaw

“Modest but dignified” is how Scotland’s Church’s Trust describes this Borders chapel, one of the smallest in Scotland. Another church designed by Peter MacGregor Chalmers, it’s located in the parish of Linton and associated with nearby Linton Kirk, which MacGregor Chalmers also restored. It was built in a traditional Romanesque style in 1905 on the site of a medieval chapel, and offers spectacular views over Hoselaw Loch to the Cheviots.

St Bride’s Church, East Kilbride

The feted architectural firm of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia is best known for its (now derelict) Brutalist masterpiece St Peter’s Seminary, located at Cardross near Helensburgh. But the firm’s ecclesiastical work didn’t end there and this East Kilbride church has almost as many admirers and accolades. Unashamedly Modernist in style, it’s built in red brick and was opened in 1964. Now one of the most recognisable buildings in the town it’s also viewed as one of the most important Modernist church buildings in the whole of the UK: in 2013 it beat 200 other entries to place third in a list of Best Modern Churches and was described by the judges as “a tour de force of powerful form”.

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