Scottish Catholic Archives










GB 0240









Columba House, 16 Drummond Place, Edinburgh EH3 6PL, Scotland



+44 (0) 131 556 3661



+44 (0) 131 556 3661



Head of repository


Donna Maguire







Institutional context


The Scottish Catholic Archives collects, preserves, and makes available the archives of the pre- and post-reformation Catholic Church in Scotland and abroad.

The Scottish Catholic Archives cares for the official records of the Catholic Church in Scotland at home and abroad prior to the restoration of a Catholic Diocesan Hierarchy in Scotland in 1878.  Any papers transmitted from the dioceses and parishes of Scotland and from the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, and would normally include: the pre-reformation Catholic Church in Scotland (Pre 1560); the Scots Mission (1560-1878); the Lowland District Vicariate (1727-1827); the Highland District Vicariate (1727-1827); the Eastern District Vicariate (1827-1878); the Northern District Vicariate (1827-1878); the Western District Vicariate (1827-1878); the Hierarchy of Scotland (1878-); the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, its General Secretariat, Commissions and Agencies (20th century-); the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh (1878-); the Diocese of Aberdeen (1878-); the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles (1878-); the Diocese of Dunkeld (1878-); the Diocese of Galloway (1878-); the Diocese of Motherwell (1947-); the Diocese of Paisley (1947-); records of the Scots Colleges: Paris, Douai, Rome, Madrid (15th century-); records of the Seminaries: Scalan, Aquhorties, Blairs, Drygrange, Gillis, Scotus (18th century-); records of the Scots Benedictine Abbeys, Germany (1177-19th century);  missions and parishes.

The Scottish Catholic Archives cares for private records received by gift, purchase, loan or charge and superintendence, which relate to the Catholic Church in Scotland at home and abroad. These can include the records of: individuals; families; estates; businesses; organisations; clubs and societies.

Institutional history


The Scottish Catholic Archives opened in 1958 at 16 Drummond Place, Edinburgh to house the collection of muniments previously located at St Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire, which had been gathered there for a period of up to 100 years.  Since then, the collections have grown in size and being a national agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland means that it is responsible for archives and records management services for the Church at home and abroad. This broad remit ensures that records are selected and preserved for the future and made accessible to interested parties, as well as giving practical advice and support to the administrations creating them.

Administrative structure


The Scottish Catholic Archives is a agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. It receives financial support from the Bishops’ Conference, the Father Anderson Bequest (for the Scottish Catholic Archives) and the Columba Trust. The service is based in Edinburgh, but assists with diocesan records in Aberdeen, Ayr, Motherwell, Oban, Paisley and Edinburgh; as well as administering the archives of the Pontifical Scots College, Rome and the Royal Scots College, Salamanca. 

Collecting policy


The Scottish Catholic Archives acquisition priorities are: to acquire the records of the Catholic Church in Scotland at home and abroad; to transfer non-current records still held within Church properties in poor storage conditions; to acquire records of the Catholic Church in Scotland at home and abroad that are currently held in other archive services; to acquire records from private individuals and organisations that will increase the range and depth of the collections held.




Opening times


Open 10.00am-1pm and 2pm-4.00pm, Monday to Friday by appointment. Please contact the Archivist to make an appointment, subject to public and religious holidays when the archive is Closed.

Conditions and requirements


Membership is required – on your first visit you will need to bring two forms of identification with you in order to apply for membership. Accepted forms of identification are passport; driving licence; matriculation card; Scottish Government travel card; Scottish Government or Local Authority staff pass.  If you do not own any of these documents then you can bring a utility bill showing your current address and a valid bankcard. 

Disabled access


There are 7 steps up to the front door of Columba House, which can make access for those with physical disabilities problematic.  Please contact us in advance of a visit and we can transfer archives to the National Register of Archives for Scotland at West Register House, Edinburgh, where disabled access is available.



The Scottish Catholic Archives is situated within easy walking distance of Edinburgh Waverley Train Station and Edinburgh's Bus Station at St Andrew's Square   It is also on Lothian Regional Transport bus routes numbers 13, 23, and 27. If you are coming by car you may wish to take advantage of the on-street parking available around Drummond Place (chargeable).




Date of creation


Febuary 2017