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A peek into our long and fascinating past from
the Cathedral's historical archives are featured here

How it Began | Trek Through Our Past | Tour of CathedralCathedral Gates
Virtual Tour of the Nave & Bell Tower | Photo Gallery

We are told that the site occupied by the Cathedral was expressly reserved in 1823 for a church by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. At that time, the few members of the Church of England were ministered to by the chaplains of the East India Company ships or by missionaries of other denominations. The first Anglican priest appointed to Singapore was the Revd Robert Burn who arrived in 1826. Services were then conducted in the Mission Chapel of the London Missionary Society which stood at the junction of Bras Basah and North Bridge Roads.

Sir Stamford Raffles, Founder of Singapore

First Church
It was not until 1834 that the foundation stone of the first Anglican Church was laid on the site of the present building. This church was completed in 1837 but enjoyed a short and unfortunate history. Twice struck by lightning it was condemned as unsafe and finally closed in 1852.

Original St Andrew's Church building

St Andrew's Cross
The construction of the church building was funded by Scottish merchants. As such, the Church was named after St Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland, an Apostle and brother of St Peter. The logo of St Andrew's Cathedral is the St Andrew's Cross.

St Andrew's Cross

Present Building
On 4 Mar 1856, Bishop Daniel Wilson of Calcutta laid the foundation stone of our present building. Underneath the foundation stone, the exact position of which is not known, was placed a piece of parchment inscribed as follows:

"The first English Church of Singapore commenced AD 1834 and consecrated 1838 having become dilapidated, this stone of a new and commodious Edifice, dedicated to the worship of Almighty God according to the rites and discipline of the Church of England under the name of St Andrew was laid by the Right Reverend Daniel Wilson, D. D., Lord Bishop of Calcutta, and Metropolitan of India, on the 4th day of March, 1856, in the 24th year of his episcopate, and in the nineteenth year of the reign of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

" The Hon'ble Edmund Augustus Blundell, being the Governor of the Straits Settlements.

"The Hon'ble Thomas Church, being Resident Councillor Singapore.

"Lt Col Charles Pooley, of the Madras Army, commanding the troops.

"The Revd William Topley Humphrey being chaplain, and Captain Roland Macpherson, of the Madras Army, being  architect...."

The building was consecrated by Bishop G.E. Cotton of Calcutta on 25 Jan 1862. Bishop Cotton reports:

"On Saturday, 25th January being the fast of St Paul's Conversion, I consecrated St Andrew's Church. The memorial was read at the West door by the Hon'ble the Resident Councillor, the morning prayer by Mr Nicholson, the lessons by Mr Venn, missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the Decree of Consecration, Epistle, Offertory Sentences and Prayer for the Church militant by Mr Vallings. I preached from Romans 12.1. The collection was assigned to the Diocesan Additional Clergy Society."

The building was designed by Colonel Macpherson, to whose memory a cross was erected which stands on the South lawn of the Cathedral compound. The window over the West Door also commemorates this designer who, though unqualified, produced such a fine and dignified building. The building operations were in the hands of Captain McNair of the Royal Artillery. He was in charge of the convict labour and the supply of materials.

Colonel Macpherson

The use of convict labour for the building of a Cathedral is often a subject of comment. In fact much building in Singapore at this time was carried out in this way.

The style of the present Cathedral is Early Gothic and the building consists of a nave with north and south aisles. The north and south transepts, originally built as porches for carriages, have in more recent years (North Transept: 1952, South Transept: 1983) have been extended to provide halls, meeting rooms and offices.

Present Cathedral building

Click here for a tour of the Cathedral building.




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