The first building on the site of "Wisely House" was a Methodist Church dating back to 1824. This was the first non-Roman Catholic place of worship on the Island and did not really resemble a church as at the time only Roman Catholic Church Buildings were allowed to be erected.
The building later transferred to the Church of Scotland when the Methodists moved to Floriana. This just shows that these two mainstream Reformed Christian churches have a real shared history in Malta.
Our current building was completed in 1857 for the "Free Church of Scotland". It has been modified over years retaining its historical character.
In the 1970’s the Methodist Church was forced to vacate their premises and the two congregations joined together to become one church sharing not just the building but their ministers and the life and worship of a single united church. St Andrew’s has its own unique constitution which reflects this.
As LEP we are part of the Church of Scotland’s International Presbytery and of the South East District of the Methodist Church.
St Andrew's Scots Church in Valletta this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. The church, which stands at the junction of South Street and Old Bakery Street, opened in 1857 and was originally erected for a Presbyterian congregation.
The church was built under the direction of Rev. Dr George Wisely, who was minister of the church from 1854 to 1896 and who continued to live in Malta until 1914.
Wisely was very active in Maltese life in many ways - as well as building St Andrew's, he set up several schools for poor children and helped to build what became the Boffa Hospital. He became very influential in later life and it was said that even the British Governors trod softly around Wisely because he was so well connected in London.
The Methodist congregation from the former Methodist church in Floriana joined the Presbyterian congregation in 1974 to form a united congregation and today St Andrew's is a Partnership church of the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church.
The church was built to Dr Wisely's own plan. He had in mind the typical Aberdeenshire village parish church of his time. Wisely instructed the Maltese architect Giuseppe Bonavia to design a neo-Gothic church, the first time that this style was attempted in Malta. The building as it stands today is as Bonavia designed it and as it was originally built, apart from the roof which has had to be replaced twice over the years.
The minister, Rev. David Morris, said: "A lot of the church records are missing because of bombing during the Second World War when parts of the church and church hall were badly damaged. However, we think that the interior furnishings of the church were probably made in Britain. The pews are in a traditional pattern of the mid-19th century as is the internal layout of the church with its two aisles, gallery and central pulpit."
The building was dedicated and taken into use on
St. Andrew's Day (November 30) in 1857