Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, commonly referred to as Namirembe Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral in Uganda. It serves as the Provincial Cathedral of the Church of Uganda and the diocesan cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, the first diocese to be founded in the Church of Uganda province, in 1890. Between 1919 and 1967, the Cathedral served as the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda, Anglican Communion. In the 1960s, the headquarters of the Church of Uganda moved to All Saints Church in Nakasero then moved back to Namirembe later.
Namirembe Hill has been the location of the main Anglican place of worship in Buganda since Bishop Alfred Tucker established the offices of the Diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa in 1890.
The first church building, constructed in 1890, with a capacity of 800 people, was abandoned in 1891 because it was located in a swampy area at the base of Namirembe Hill. Also, a bigger building was needed to accommodate the ever-growing congregation.
The second church building was constructed between July 1891 and July 1892, with a seating capacity of more than 3,000. In October 1894, strong winds during a thunderstorm blew the roof off the church and it was ruined.
The third church building was built between 1894 and 1895. It had a seating capacity of about 4,000 worshippers. That building, constructed with traditional African materials, was abandoned in the early 1900s due to fear that termites would destroy it.
The fourth church building was constructed with earthen brick walls and a thatched roof, between 1900 and 1904. At the opening ceremony, on Tuesday 21 June 1904, an estimated 10,000 people were in attendance. The congregation included Kabaka Daudi Chwa II, then aged seven years. On the afternoon of Friday 23 September 1910, the roof was gutted by a fire which started when lightning struck the building. Within less than thirty minutes, the entire roof was destroyed and the church was ruined.
The current St. Paul’s Cathedral was constructed between 1915 and 1919 using earthen bricks and earthen roof tiles. The cathedral is still standing, but needs repairs from time to time.
The organ in St. Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, the oldest cathedral in the Church of Uganda, Anglican Communion, was built in 1931 by The Positive Organ Company (1922) Limited. In 1952, after twenty years of service the organ was in need of an overhaul and this work was entrusted to Alfred E. Davis of Northampton, England. The organ gave a further twenty years of service, but after Idi Amin seized power in 1971 it deteriorated seriously during the years of unrest. Eventually in 1998, Peter Wells from the United Kingdom was sent to inspect what remained and advise on the rehabilitation. Several schemes were considered and the organ today operates to a specification drawn up with Michael Sozi, then Chairman of the Organ Committee, in 1999